Painted Brick

During the winter months we tend to get a little stir crazy, so to keep ourselves from going insane we try stay busy by working on projects inside (i.e., the master bathroom makeover, which I promise to post about… some day.) But after months of being cooped up indoors and severe a Vitamin D deficiency, the arrival of warmer weather is always a welcome change. So for the sake of our sanity (and our pasty white complexions), we move the projects outside. The last few weeks have been spent cleaning up the yard, building a really cool piece of furniture for the deck (pics coming soon!), putting down mulch and planting flowers and veggies in the garden. In addition to working in the yard, we have some big changes planned for the exterior. The biggest being, painting our exterior brick! It is something I have wanted to do since the day we moved in.

Before we can paint, we are replacing the windows. Most of our windows are original to the home, so they are far from being energy efficient and the bulk of them are completely painted shut. The new windows are being installed today and then, it’s paint time! Anyone who’s done it before will agree, picking exterior paint colors is hard! As soon as I think I have my mind made up, I see a picture or drive by a beautiful painted home and completely rethink things. I will probably spend the next several days shuffling through the growing stack of paint chips and changing my mind at least 50 times, so in the meantime I wanted to share a few pictures of beautiful painted brick homes that are really inspiring my paint choices.

painted exterior 2 | home sweet blog

painted exterior 9 | home sweet blog{ via }

painted exterior 4 | home sweet blog

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painted exterior 5 | home sweet blog

painted exterior 3 | home sweet blog

paint exterior | home sweet blog

painted exterior 10 | home sweet blog

painted exterior 7 | home sweet blog

painted exterior 12 | home sweet blog

painted exterior 8 | home sweet blog { via }

painted exterior 11 | home sweet blog

In addition the the windows and exterior paint, there are a few other exciting DIY projects we’re tackling… more to come!

{ all photos via my Pinterest board unless otherwise noted }

Summer Daze

I know I’m not alone when I say that this has been the longest, coldest winter I can remember. Like, ever. The first full day of spring has me dreaming of swimsuits. Typically I don’t dream of swimsuits. Instead I have nightmares about being forced to try on teeny bikinis in fitting rooms with horrible lighting. But in the spirit of warmer weather here are a few suits I have my eyes on and how I’d wear them. And in case you couldn’t tell… I’m all about the one-piece suits!summer daze | home sweet blog

ONE. swimsuit // sunglasses // shoes // bag

TWO. swimsuit // hat // nail polish // shoes

THREE. swimsuit // hat // sunglasses // shoes

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake | home sweet blog

Muffin tops are by far the best part of a muffin – and the worst part of really tight pants. But, if we’re talking about actual muffins… who doesn’t love those delicious crumbly, sugary tops? There’s even a Seinfeld episode about it. It’s the reason I love this cake – because it’s covered in a thick, crunchy streusel topping. Basically, a giant muffin top.

{ blueberry crumb cake }

the streusel

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups flour

the cake

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan or spring form pan. For the streusel, combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and flour and set aside. For the cake, in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on high for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Off of the mixer, gently fold in blueberries and stir by hand to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and crumble the streusel topping over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and serve.

*I found that fresh blueberries work much better than frozen. Frozen blueberries tend to make the cake a little soggy, especially once it sits for a day or two.

blueberry crumb cake 3 | home sweet blog

blueberry crumb cake 1 | home sweet blog

blueberry crumb cake 2 | home sweet blog

Office Fabric

The bathroom upgrade is almost finished and the next project on our list is tackling a little upgrade in my home office. I’ve been working an inspiration board for the space and while pulling together my sources I realized the fabric I’d picked for my window treatments – a sample I’ve had for years – is no longer available! I’ve searched everywhere and cannot seem to find it online. It has been discontinued and I don’t think the odds of finding it are very good.

Premier Prints Netherlands Kelp Linen | home sweet blog { Netherlands Kelp Linen Fabric by Premier Prints }

The fabric is even prettier in person and at $10.99/yard the price was certainly right. I’m still not willing to accept that this fabric is gone forever… but in the meantime I guess I’m off to find something new. Let me know if you have any suggestions! I’m hoping to find something with some green tones.

On another note, here’s an update on the bathroom redo:

  • paint walls
  • install subway tile above shower / grout
  • buy shower curtain rod / install
  • find window treatment fabric / order / decide on a trim color (I’m waiting for a few swatches to come in from
  • sew window treatments / hang
  • order new light fixture / hang
  • frame mirror
  • paint shelf / hang
  • paint cabinets
  • install new cabinet hardware

Things are coming along. We did have a few set backs – like when we decided we wanted two separate light fixtures instead of one and knocked a whole in the wall only to discover that due to a stud we could not run the new wiring. So technically you could add “knock a hole in the wall for new light fixture, change mind about new light fixture, patch the hole” to the list. But the end is in sight!

Living room chairs | an update

After going back and forth between the two styles I shared here on the blog, we finally made a decision. We went with the simple, darker stripe. We have lived with them for a few weeks and I could not be more pleased! The scale is perfect in the space and for their small size they are actually really comfy. Since I scooped them up them for such a steal, I had to share…

living room chairs | home sweet blog


SAVE via


While the chair has a different style name on each site, it’s the same chair! The manufacturer is Safavieh, so if you happen to be buying this chair – or another one of their pieces – really dig around online, ’cause I’d be willing to bet you can find a great deal. I know Safavieh often shows up on One Kings Lane and Joss & Main so be sure to check there, too!

Some more exciting news – this awesome steal is being featured on Copy Cat Chic next week! If you’ve never checked out the site, it’s a must.

Mixed Metals

As soon as we moved in to our house two years ago, we knew that eventually we wanted to make a few upgrades to the kitchen. Our kitchen is not horrible – in fact it’s really nice. It’s open, and bright, the cabinets are all new and we have plenty of storage – but it’s just not our taste. The cabinets and hardware are both a little more modern than we would have chosen if we picked out everything ourselves. This is the room where we spend most of our time and I really want it to be a cozy space that reflects our style. We’ve already made some changes, we’ve added a new light fixture (the old one can be seen here and more about our lighting, er, ceiling fan dilemma can be found here), installed under cabinet lighting and added a chalkboard wall to the side of the cabinet. Our ultimate plan is to paint the cabinets white, install a subway tile backsplash (like we did in the bathroom), install butcher block countertops, add an apron front sink and change out the hardware. Here’s how the kitchen looks today,

kitchen | home sweet blog

kitchen | home sweet blog

I would also love to add molding to the tops of the cabinets, remove the microwave and build a range hood and build some narrow open shelving (maybe something like industrial like this?) to replace the small shelf we have now… which was in my dorm room in college. But, that’s for another day.

While the kitchen reno is not on the top of our priority list, I’m constantly looking for inspiration. I’m obsessed with brass hardware, but have been worried about using it in the kitchen. We have a stainless faucet and stainless appliances and an oil-rubbed bronze light fixture. I wondered if bringing in another metal would be too much. Lately I’ve really started to notice kitchens with several different metal finishes and I think they all look ahh-mazing!

mixed metals 8 | home sweet blog

brass kitchen cabinet hardware | home sweet blog

brass t-bar pulls | home sweet blog

brass footed pull | home sweet blog

brass bin pull | home sweet blog

brass knob | home sweet blog

mixed metals 7 | home sweet blog

mixed metals 5 | home sweet blog

mixed metals | home sweet blog

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mixed metals 3 | home sweet blog

And of course, one of my all-time favorite kitchens from one of my all-time favorite bloggers,

mixed metals via urban grace | home sweet blog

mixed metals 2 via urban grace | home sweet blog

mixed metals 3 via urban grace | home sweet blog

mixed metals 4 via urban grace | home sweet blog

mixed metals 6 via urban grace | home sweet blog

mixed metals 5 via urban grace | home sweet blog

mixed metals 7 via urban grace | home sweet blog

What do you think? Are stainless and bronze and brass too much for one room?

{ all images via my Pinterest board unless otherwise noted }

Help! Living Room Chairs

living room chairs | home sweet blogWe are ordering new chairs for our living room and I am having the hardest time making a decision! I need your help! Which stripe do you like best? I asked yesterday via Instagram and got very mixed reviews. Now I’m even more confused! While I love the grey on the left I think the simple stripe on the right might work best in our space. We have a lot of brown/warm tones in the room and for some reason, I just think they’ll be the better fit. These chairs will be replacing a pair of slipcovered parsons chairs (that were moved from the dining room temporarily for additional seating… aaaand two years later) that you can see from this post a year ago. In fact, so much as changed in the room since that picture. I’m excited to order the new chairs and share pictures of how the room has changed.

Picture 13Soooo, what do you think? Left or right?


***1/23/14 UPDATE: The chairs have been ordered! Be sure to check back next week to see which ones made the cut! Also, to find out where you can score both the chairs above at a mega discount!