I know that the Christmas season is now upon us, but I wanted to drop in and share how I dressed our Thanksgiving table this year. It was an intimate dinner with just five people - my hubby, my mommy, and two of our dear friends whom we love to pieces. We ate REALLY well (thanks to my for mom throwing down), and had a wonderful time. I managed to snap a few pictures just before our guests arrived.

Because I'm a use-what-you-got kinda girl, I try to remix whatever I find in our Billy bookcase. You would not believe how many candle holders and vases I have behind those doors!

Thankfully, Thanksgiving-theme decor always looks right at home in our place. We live with green and orange year-round, so it definitely wasn't a stretch. The only thing I bought in honor of the occasion were fresh flowers from Kroger.

As usual I had a great time arranging flowers. So much in fact that my mom told me that flower arranging might be my hidden talent, and that when I retire I might need to open up a little shop! I kind of laughed it off, but it is pretty fun. I like puzzles, and it's always a challenge to figure out which vase from my arsenal would pair well with my flower bounty!

Aside from the centerpiece, I did a mini arrangement on each place setting with a leaf "place card". Metallic markers people! Who would have thought? Next year I may invest in one with a thinner tip. The gold one I used here was a college oldie but goodie.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering where the dinnerware and glasses are, I like to leave that stuff on the kitchen countertop. We always serve dinners buffet-style in our place, so I try to make those pieces convenient to assembling your meal.

I must say that I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out - small, sweet, and chic. Hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful. :)

Finally! After all of this time, we are finally remodeling Children's IKEA!!!! During my extended stay in the office I was able to fully plan 5 new roomsettings for the department. First up for implementation was a nursery. Believe it or not, our store has been without a nursery roomsetting for years Which is such a missed opportunity when many of our visitors have babies with them, or are currently pregnant.

This implementation was actually quite personal because I actually had the opportunity to train one of our sales co-workers, on the ins and outs of being an interior designer in the store. It was a great learning experience for the both of us, and the room turned out to be one of the best Children's IKEA roomsettings that our store has ever had. Here's how it turned out.

 But first, let me refresh your memory, here's a sliver of what this room used to look like:

 And here's what it looks like now:

Because of the nature of our remodel (tear everything down and start fresh) I was able to make this space a couple of feet bigger in each direction The priority products in this particular room are the Children's IKEA storage system Stuva, and the Sundvik crib. I made the executive decision to add over and under cabinet lighting to the system using Format halogen, and Rationell LED lighting, and honestly it made a world of difference in a room full of black-brown furniture! Looks chic, right? 

My goal for the room was to create a sophisticated and somewhat gender-neutral nursery, but we just couldn't help ourselves when it came to buying clothes for the interior fittings, and furnishing the space with photographs. A baby boy definitely lives here. The royalty-free images are courtesy of my senior manager. They're photos of his incredibly cute kid!

I also wanted to keep the theme for the room very subtle by choosing our woodland motif for the textiles and soft toys.  Overall the space feels very cozy and bright. Just as a nursery should.

As you can see from behind the Strandmon chair in this photo, there's still lots of work to be done!

Would you believe me if I told you that De'Airra and I built and installed ALL of the furniture and lighting in this room? P.S. That  Stuva unit was a beast! :)  Also a big shout out goes to De'Airra, you are such a pleasure to work with, and I simply could not have done this without you! Oh, and as always, a big thanks goes to my team for all of their encouragement support! I'm totally ready to get down with the next room! Readers stay tuned!
So for those who don't know, the month of August was pretty tough for me. Too much stress on my body (in particular my right foot) gave me an unfortunate case of tendonitis. Because of the severity of my condition, I was immediately given a cortisone shot, placed in a huge "moon boot" for 3 weeks, and sentenced to office duty. I say "sentenced" simply because my job is very physical, and while there is a nice amount of office work involved, a huge part of it is physical implementation.

To say the least, I was very, very bummed about it... and borderline pitiful. Thanks to the grace of God there were quite a few projects in the store that needed to be planned, which allowed me to focus my full attention on creating the best solutions possible. Three weeks in the boot, two weeks in an ankle brace, and five weeks of physical therapy later and I'm doing pretty well. I still have the occasional shoots of pain, but I'm happy to report that I'm almost back to myself, and happily back on the floor implementing projects. First up was the IFS office (A.K.A the IKEA Food Services office).

The challenge:
  1. Maximize the function of a tiny office space to include storage for 5 food service team-leads (otherwise known as assistant managers in IKEA speak) and organize the workspace so that it may be used by at least 4 of those team leads simultaneously. 
  2. Incorporate all necessary IT and safety equipment into the design
  3. Infuse the space with our Swedish Modern identity  
Did I mention how incredibly tiny this office is?  Keeping that in mind, I decided to place all the workstations and individual storage on one wall, and shared storage on the opposite wall.

 This is my third and final version which incorporates Numerar countertop, Sjunne legs, an Alex drawer unit, and 5 Expedit 2x2 cubes above the workspace. I also ended up taking the countertop wall-to-wall instead of leaving 9" gaps on the end (which were originally going to be for folded step stools but I found another place for it).

Below are the elevations. Click on the image to make it larger. Oh, and do you like my girl? I named her "Long Hair Don't Care" because she always looks totally disinterested at whatever is going on.

After the technical aspect was nailed down, I started to focus my attention on color. I was totally inspired by our Hallenknopp fabric for the color scheme. It's bold, bright, and a little silly. For the wall color, I wanted to take a big risk and go with Citron by Benjamin Moore.

After I nailed down my inspiration, I put together a scheme board to get a feel for how the room would come together. Some finishes and products weren't used, but it definitely helped me get my ideas in order.

 Now for  what you came for - the before and after photos!

The huge storage wall (which consisted of items that mostly needed to be purged) was dispersed on the wall with the opening and split up between 3 Galant storage units. The file unit is down below.

I wanted to come up with a good way to blend the necessary safety equipment without compromising style, so I decided collages were the way to go. Also, check out the light sources. Now they have overhead florescent (which came with the office), Gruntal halogen accent lighting above each individual Expedit unit, and Jansjo LED task lighting.

As for the middle of the office, to say it was rough is a total understatement.

It's amazing what a little organization can do.

While we left the surveillance camera in the corner, truth be told there isn't much of a need for it anymore. We actually had the safe in the room relocated to make more room for much-needed storage.

As you can see, this is totally real life! The team leads couldn't wait another minute to start using the space which is evident the new magnetic boards.

Notice how having desks back-to-back in the this space simply wasn't working. I also down-sized the chairs so that they wouldn't overwhelm the space.

Now this corner feels cozy without feeling super cramped.

On the other wall I used a lockable Galant roll-front storage unit with an extension top for binders. Below the second window is lockable Galant sliding door unit for extra restaurant equipment.

These pieces really fit the space like a glove.

Next to the opening was a plethora of pieces which thankfully got paired down quite a bit.

This was another instance where a simple collage did the trick. Also, see the small, white circle? It's an on-off switch for the Grundtal lighting. I'm still in awe that we have that in the range now!

And just for the heck of it, here's a before and after panoramic view.

 I still can't believe the transformation!
And for customers waiting in line at the restaurant here's what you can see from the window:

P.S. I was in such a rush towards the end that I had to go back the next week and put finials on the curtain rods. :) Big shout out to Michael for painting the office and all his amazing support and encouragement throughout this entire process. Also a big thanks to Hugo for all of his flawless carpentry execution, and De'Airra for helping me with the initial implementation! Oh, and thanks to the IFS team for baring with the process while being displaced for two weeks. Hopefully we made it worth your while!

But wait, that's not the only thing I planned while in the office for almost six weeks. Can we say Children's IKEA remodel? Oh yeah, it's really happening! Stay tuned! :)
As expected, our decanter collection is still growing!

I acquired these two from TJ Maxx. The crystal one was around $7, and the green one was $12. I simply couldn't pass them up, especially the green one which Brandon lovingly refers to as our genie bottle lamp. Of course to make room for them I had to remove the orchid, corks, and Missoni candle. Don't worry though. They found a good home on our coffee table.

Eight decanters and counting...

On the other side I've starting collecting some spunky art. I picked up both of these pieces at Goodwill for just a few dollars each. Oh, and the Missoni platter below was also a Goodwill find. People,  just keep giving your Target by Missoni pieces away - I'll gladly keep collecting them. :)

As for the vibrant original paintings, keep giving those away too! I'm looking for a third one to round out our mini collection. If I don't find one soon, I may bite the bullet and create one myself. I'm thinking of a black and white abstract, kind of like this one. I can't wait to get them mounted on the wall!

When deciding to turn the occasional table into a bar, I also created the challenge of finding a home for all the other things that no longer live there. Our Tradig bowl was transformed into a funky plant stand. I must admit, I like it much better used this way because I was struggling with how to fill it (we're not fruit bowl people). Plus, it allows our peace lily to get more sunlight since it sits behind our Sig chair. And let's face it,  that plant is way more chic now that it's not just sitting on the floor.

The CB2 candle sticks were relocated to the mirror turned tray on our Besta unit. In their honor I decided to add more white and glass to the vignette. I also added the leaves that I saved from last year's Kroger flower bunch. They're totally real, and still very vibrant. It's fall ya'll and I'm finally (reluctantly) embracing it! It seems like all the bloggers I follow love fall, but I'm a true summer girl at heart and could totally do without cold weather. Any tips for getting me into the fall mood?

When I get really bored I start to switch things up. So that's how our Malm occasional table went from a random collection of cute things ...

To a place to pour drinks!

Allow me to explain. For the past two years our Billy bookcase has been appointed with the task of housing most of our various bar accoutrements. But a problem arose as I began to collect more vintage decanters from Goodwill, and we started filling them with libations. Reaching up and over other things to take them down started to become a real drag. Instead of shifting everything to the bottom shelf, I decided to relocate our bar ware to the other side of the dining room. 

When I was done with this particular vignette, I couldn't help but think it belonged in a CB2 catalog... remember these cubes from here? I definitely like them better stacked.

The middle of the table has our dormant orchid, one of our Missoni by Target candles, and the snack bowl from the kitchen full of corks.

I can't believe that we've collected six decanters so far, and that four out of  the six came from Goodwill! The two with the matching finials were sweet Christmas gifts from my in-laws. We feel like such adults! I stole the tray from our office to group them, which just so happened to fit them perfectly. As our collection grows I'm sure I'll have to do some more shifting around, but for now it's kinda cool.

On the end I placed our ice bucket, wine decanter and bar tools.

I'm so pumped to have some visitors so that we can test it all out. Not bad for things we already had scattered around our crib, huh?  Next I would like to remix the artwork and add more height to the wall. I also need to fill in some gaps in the Billy. Wish me luck!

A good percentage of my ideas for our home manifest in my mind for a good while until I finally work up the courage to take the plunge. I had been thinking about making a succulent garden for quite some time, but it wasn't until I saw this quirky footed bowl at work that I decided - this ish is going down!  The following isn't really what I'd call a tutorial. It's more of my own discovery process on how to plant something, make it pretty, and hopefully not completely kill it in the process.

So I laid all of my succulents and cacti out and formulated a plan of attack. I simply wanted the plants in the bowl. Pretty basic, I'll admit. But I actually couldn't leave them like this...

The first cactus I grabbed literally fell apart in my rubber-gloved hands. All of its little nubs just detached when I separated it from its pot. Now I'm no gardener, but I barely touched it. Once I got over the fact that I was definitely set up for the okey doke, I decided to scrap all the little nubby bits and go with the two pieces that seemed to be okay with staying together.

From there I started adding each plant in circular fashion and packing the soil down as I went to ensure that each plant was sturdy enough not to  fall over. Side note: After speaking to a trusted gardening source, I was told that because succulents like to completely dry out before being watered again, it probably would have been in my best interest to put some rocks at the bottom for drainage before packing down the soil. Going forward I'm going to try and be cautious when watering (by spritzing sparingly) and hopefully they'll thrive.

I eventually ended up with this configuration - short succulents and cacti on the outside, and tall aloe in the middle. I used a spoon to gently get the soil where it needed to be without getting poked. I also added a touch of water to clean the plants off, as they got pretty dirty during this process.

Then I added the rocks. I needed a bag-and-a-half to cover everything. I won't lie, the rocks actually make it look finished and pretty special.

So here's what I was left with.  Not bad right? It almost looks like I knew what I was doing!

Hyfsad bowl: $9.99
Cactaceae and Succulents: 5 @ $2.99 ea.
Knaster stones: 2 bags @ 89 cents ea.

A new centerpiece for your dining room table - priceless