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
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to be the lead designer and project manager for this year's showroom entrance remodel. Every year we remodel the entrance to give visitors a taste of the new year's catalog priority, as well as present a microcosm of what IKEA is about. For fiscal year 14 IKEA is focusing on living with children. Every winter, a set of briefs are sent to every IKEA store in the world by Common Store Planning, and it's up to each store to adapt and implement each plan into the space they have. The concepts and main priority products usually stay the same, but in addition to adapting plans to the space we have, we also inject some solutions and choices that reflect our local market.

The lead designer is generally in charge of the space planning, material selection, construction documents, transfer management, and contractor / carpentry schedules. Because it was my very first time I had A LOT of help. My co-worker Marianne (a very seasoned IKEA designer) helped me every step of the way, and I simply could not have done this without her! I also had wonderful support from my manager Michael, my co-workers Robin and Loree, and our carpentry team David and Hugo. The project was packed with learning experiences and oops moments, but it's finally done. It's definitely been a challenging 8 weeks! Ok, enough talk, check out the pictures!

Priority Products - Klippan / Algot
Living room or play room? You decide.

Side note: Because products are always going in and out without a moment's notice, sometimes we (reluctantly) have to go back and adjust our design. Notice in the photo below that the sofa has been changed to a Lycksele sofa bed. It just so happens the Klippan sofa hit a snag somewhere along the line of its production and had to be pullled... literally two weeks after we finished the room. Just another day in the life of an IKEA designer!

Priority Products - Besta / Melby
Modern-age home office

I think that this particular room ended up being my favorite.  If you look closely you can see a tv mounted on the wall amongst the artwork.When I initially saw the concept for the space I thought  the space was kind of weird, but Loree and Robin brought it to life! I love the contrast, and I want all of those IKEA PS prints for myself! It would be nice to have an office with so much storage and seating. I could totally see Brandon with that desk, but my now-a-days my baby requires THREE 24" monitors. Yes, three. Nerds...

Priority Products - Fjell and Hemnes
A country-bedroom-in-the-city vibe complete with a beautiful bathroom, and an attached balcony

The idea of floating a bed in the middle of the room is one that I hope to try one day. If the room's big enough and the back of your bed is finished, why not?

Unique to IKEA Atlantic Station - Balcony outdoor area
Priority Products - Hyllis / Tarno

Priority Products - Soderhamn / Besta
Quintessential media room for the family

I love how soothing and monochromatic this room turned out. Customers Ooo and Ahh over the sectional. I totally see this space in a terrace-level basement in the suburbs.

Unique to IKEA Atlantic Station - Patio outdoor area
Priority products - Falster / Applaro

Priority Products - Ektorp / Lidingo
An open-concept space for a family living with children 

My favorite part of this space is the kitchen. I love the usage of open shelving and rail system in place of  wall cabinets. I also dig the kitchen table connected to island. Aren't the Lidingo Gray fronts hot? They're my favorite traditional door style by far!

So what do you think? Why don't you come by and visit sometime! Don't forget to pick up a 2014 IKEA catalog while you're at it!
Hopefully the purchase of a super chic, loft town home in a hip neighborhood is in our near future. Until then, I've been trying my best to show our bedroom some design love without spending a lot of dough. Since our plan is to only be in our current place for seven more months, I've decided to implement some fresh, frugal changes.

So here's what it  looks like now.

 In case you're in need a reader refresh, here was my plan.

The overall intent is still the same, but I made a couple of tweaks so save some cash. First, I decided to forgo purchasing some new end tables and use two we already had. On my side I'm rocking a lime green side table I purchased from Target a few years ago from their back-to-college clearance sale for $4.98.

Underneath I have a little basket that use for small things like the cable remote, my Kindle, and iPod. 

And instead of doing the matchy-matchy thing for Brandon's side, I used the Trollsta side table I'd been hoarding underneath our bed. (Hey I have furniture hoarding tendencies, what can I say?)

But then I realized that the space wasn't nearly as adequate as it needed to be to accommodate all of the things that my techie hubby brings to his bedside. Even though he liked the idea that the top was metal, and he could sit his drinks down without using a coaster, I wasn't completely convinced. So I ended up using another shelf-turned-bedside-table that I picked up on clearance for $19 at CB2.

A tray from our dining room helped holds his Kindle Fire HD, Roku remote, TV remote, iPod, and a reading light his books. The Tiki was a gift from Brandon's Granny. He keeps lots of little odds and ends in there, gift cards, change, etc.

Underneath are a few paper boxes that hold his various chargers and such. A small apothecary jar I got from Goodwill holds his ear buds.

I needed a place for the accoutrements that we'd been accumulating on our low dresser, so I decided to pick up a $15 Hyllis shelf and use it in the corner. Of course as lazy as I am I never mustered up the courage to finish sewing our Britten Nummer curtains (the bottom hem was still being held together with pins) so I decided to be daring and purchase a new pack Natvide curtains out of As-Is. Thankfully they graze the floor perfectly without having to rehang the curtain rod. I will say however that the hazy blue light they cast when they're closed is taking a little while to get used to.

For now the dresser is pretty much clear. My next project is to make inserts for the glass. I'm kinda over looking at clothes through the glass. I was thinking of cutting cardboard or poster board and wrapping them in fabric to place behind the glass panels. Here's the other side.

So for now, I'm content with our little makeover.

What do you think?