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We have a special guest on the blog today! We are so excited for Andi Teggart to share her incredible DIY greenhouse with us. The entire greenhouse is made out of recycled windows and doors from East Nashville, and yes—we had the pleasure of seeing it in person.

“Hi there! I’m Andi and I’m so excited to be on A Beautiful Mess today! This past fall, I moved from San Francisco to Nashville with my husband Eric, daughter Lucy, and our dog Jack. We went from renting a 650-square-foot apartment in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood (where my daughter slept in our walk-in closet!) to owning a 100-year-old, 2,000-ish-square-foot home in the charming and hip neighborhood of East Nashville.

When we moved in, our house (here are more photos of the inside!) had a standalone garage in the backyard, which could be accessed from a back alley. We decided immediately that we would NOT put our car in there because it was falling apart and had termite/rot damage, as evidenced from our home inspection report. A few weeks after we moved in, Eric proposed the idea of turning the garage into a greenhouse. We’ve both always loved plants and thought this was a challenging and creative way to turn an unsightly, useless structure into a meaningful, functional, beautiful space to house plants and herbs. 

The entire project took about seven months from start to finish, and we ran into quite a few bumps along the way—weather, inexperience with this scale of a project, and the biggest being that we had to deal with a lot of city of Nashville + Nashville Historic Society paperwork, codes, complaints, applications, approvals, etc., to make this thing happen. 

I’m excited to share how we turned our falling apart garage into a greenhouse! I hope you’re inspired by this project and get some helpful info in case you want to build you own. You can always message me @luckyandi with greenhouse-related questions, too!


Quick note: Our greenhouse building process started by tearing down our falling apart, termite-infested garage in our backyard. If you already have a spot in mind for your greenhouse and don’t have an existing structure in that place, you can skip Steps 1 and 2 and start at Step 3!

1. OUT WITH THE OLD. Start with any siding, windows, or doors and start swinging your sledgehammer—just making sure to leave the frame intact! Make sure to keep testing the structure along the way so it doesn’t collapse on you! When you get down to the studs, use a jigsaw with a wood and nails blade to cut down the wall and knock it down. My husband Eric did this all by himself, but recommends finding a helpful friend for this part of the process, as it’s pretty challenging and labor intensive. 

2. CLEAN UP. This part isn’t glamorous or fun, but necessary after Step 1, as you have to get rid of the old stuff before you can build the new! We got rid of A LOT of debris, but ended up saving some of the garage siding, a couple of old doors, and windows that we integrated into the final greenhouse. We also found some really old license plates (from the 1920s!) in our garage and saved those to clean up and display in the greenhouse.

3. COLLECT OLD WINDOWS. Now to the fun stuff—the hunt for windows! There are a ton of renovations happening in our neighborhood of East Nashville, so it was really easy for us to collect windows. We were able to pick up windows (for free!) from five different houses in our area. We love that they aren’t all the same shape or size—it makes the greenhouse more unique and interesting! Facebook Marketplace, garage sales, estate sales and auctions are other great places to look for old windows.

4. FRAME THE STRUCTURE. Using old windows means you will have a super unique framing throughout the greenhouse structure. Our greenhouse is 10×14’ in size, so we laid out the old windows like a puzzle and spaced out 2x4s of different lengths to put together four mostly glass sides of the structure. I recommend collecting all the windows first, and then taking the time to plan out the full structure with detailed drawings. Make sure to invest in pressure treated lumber when building an outside structure, too. Being new to this, we had a non-pressure treated 2×4 on the ground on one side of the greenhouse and had to remove it and replace the board halfway through the project! Learn from our mistakes and just use pressure treated lumber. 🙂 An avid gardener friend also told us to make sure we had a fan for air circulation in the greenhouse, so we bought a solar powered attic fan and installed it into the back wall of the greenhouse.


5. BUILD THE ROOF. The easiest greenhouse roof covering is corrugated plastic that you can attach to the rafters. This will make the roof-building process a whole lot shorter and much more manageable. It will still look beautiful, too! We had collected so many recycled windows that we ended up using the old windows for the roof, too. This posed some unique challenges, but we love the finished product! If you want to make the roof out of windows, here’s what to do: start with a long ridge board (2×6) and attach your rafters with birdsmouths cut out on either side to support. Similar to building the frame, plan out window placement on the ground to size where your rafters should be making sure that the rafters supported by the top beams on the structure all the way to the ground. You will then attach the rafters using hurricane ties to the frame and frame in the windows. We filled in the gaps with a silicon sealant and used white asphalt roof panels along the ridge beam.

6. FRESHEN UP THE SPACE. The area around the greenhouse wasn’t so pretty, so we decided to spruce up the space around it. We had built the greenhouse on a concrete slab where the garage used to be, so we planted flowers and plants around the greenhouse, which really freshened up the exterior. We hired a local contractor to build a deck on the front of the greenhouse to make more of a special entrance to the space. The deck covers the existing concrete slab, and overall, allows the greenhouse to look more finished.

7. TIME TO PAINT! This is the fun part—you are almost done! After a trusty Instagram poll, I was toying around with the idea of painting the greenhouse a sleek black color. After a recent trip to Tulum, I saw some gorgeous all-white greenhouses and immediately decided that we should paint ours white too. The white also matches our house and overall backyard vibe better, too. Painting the entire structure one color really helped make the greenhouse look more finished and refined and we LOVE the way it looks! 

8. ADD THE PLANTS! This is the *most* fun part! Now that the greenhouse is complete, you can work on decorating the interior and, of course, that means all the plants! When Eric built the structure, he built some plant shelves inside. Most of our plant pots are simple terra cotta pots. Dangly plants look great hanging over a shelf edge and you can’t go wrong with golden pathos or English ivy. We cut trimmings from some of our other plants to create new plants for the greenhouse, bought a few new plants and “adopted” plants that I found on Facebook Marketplace and at garage sales.

We are SO happy with the final greenhouse result! It truly transformed our backyard. It’s been so special to walk through the greenhouse with our daughter Lucy and show her how we water and care for plants, and sample from the raspberry bush! Right now, we are just thankful it’s done and are working on adding more greenery and plants in the space. Eventually, we want to hang lights in here and add bench seating in here so we can host brunch and dinner parties with friends! I also want to use it as a backyard office or yoga room. Thanks again ABM for having me!”

You can see more photos of Andi’s greenhouse and Nashville home on Instagram. xo.

Credits // Author: Andie Teggart. Project Credit: Andi Teggart & Eric Burdullis. “After” photos: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Hello friends! I am finally sitting down to share a really personal post about my health journey. A little over a year ago I began working really hard on my habits, health and other things that were causing me anxiety and stress. It was during the first season we were home with Nova. It was, by no means, the first time I had started a healthy commitment, but in a lot of ways it was my “breakthrough” that I had been wanting for so long. Today, I want to share some of the things that helped me to achieve my goals.

First, I want to say this isn’t a post about weight loss, although dozens of “how did you lose weight?” DMs are what prompted me to write this post. This post is about how I changed my WHOLE life and if you read it all the way through you’ll see that it was not just one thing (such as a diet or exercise routine), but a compounding effect of a lot of healthy changes.

What people saw on the outside was that I lost 20 pounds, but what those closest to me saw was that I changed my whole life. Last year was, by far, the biggest year of change I’ve ever had. Becoming a mom felt like the right time to face my “demons” and focus on being the best version of myself I could. It’s a lot of responsibility to have a little person watching every single thing you do, and it changed my life.

I know many people (myself included) can feel triggered by weight loss posts, before/after photos and promises of what a 30-day plan can do. This is not that. One of the reasons I have struggled to explain, even to my best friends, how I was able to lose weight is that is a very long story and it’s not all about food or exercise. For me, a huge part of it was internal work that I needed to do.

Before I begin, please understand that this is my personal experience and story, not an advice post. Maybe it’s something that could help you, maybe it’s just a story. That’s OK.

It started with a 100-day challenge.

One hundred days is a long time. Time enough to accomplish a series of small goals, but short enough that if you don’t make the goals you’ll feel like you blinked and the time has passed.

I drew 100 squares on a piece of paper. I made a list of things I wanted to change. Some are too personal to list, but my list included having better spending habits and saving money, losing some weight, having a more organized home (this list was extensive), and many things on the list were things I had been putting off out of fear or laziness … but the kind of things you stress about when you wake up at night.

As the days began to pass and I would color in a square each day, I felt motivated to face each thing on my list. As I began to cross off items from my list, I felt more and more in control of my life.

These are some of the things I changed in different areas of my life during that time.

Doctors: Before our adoption, I hadn’t been to the doctor or dentist in around 10 years. With each year that passed, I became more panicked, but also more avoidant. It was a big deal for me to begin seeing a doctor (I took care of the dentist at the same time just to leverage that momentum) as we were preparing for our first adoption. It was a requirement for the home study to get a basic physical. After that was over, I was so happy and relieved that I kept going to my regular appointments, vowing to not be afraid of them anymore. It’s been such a great feeling to stay on top of these things instead of avoid them!

When I started my 100-day challenge, I had a few appointments I was still putting off. I wanted to see a dermatologist to get a skin cancer screening and begin a yearly regimen for that. And I wanted to see a chiropractor (as soon as we adopted Nova I developed extra back issues due to becoming an instant parent to a toddler and all the physical stuff that comes along with that).

I did both these appointments right away and felt like a NEW PERSON.

After that, I faced another kind of random fear, which was to get massages. I don’t know why I was so weird about it; I had a few massages in the past, but this past year I began to get them regularly (usually during Nova’s weekend nap time) and it was a huge self-care step forward for me!

I know these may seem like strange fears to you, but facing them gave me so much new confidence!

Money: Becoming a parent put a lot of things in perspective for me. For the first little bit, I barely even thought about money, I was pretty overwhelmed. But sometime last year I began to feel irrationally panicked about money, savings and our future. It wasn’t all the time, but when those feelings popped up they were strong.

It wasn’t until we began talking to a financial planner that I was able to relax. I think that having that outside perspective really helps to feel like we are on track and keeps me focused on our next couple goals, not too many goals at once. Money is never going to be my favorite thing or my big passion, but having a plan that we work on with a professional helped me feel at peace with it.

Parenting: This one was easier in some ways because I was literally from scratch. I didn’t have to fix years of bad habits as I did on some of the other ones.

I’m still a new parent and I’m not pretending to be an expert. So I’ll just simply tell you what things we did that worked well for us and that I’ll keep doing. 🙂

Seasonal bucket lists have been HUGE for us. They help to remind me to do fun things and a bigger variety of things than I would think of without the list. I also make a list before every weekend of 2-3 fun things to do for each day (so 6ish things) and we usually get to about half of them. Having that plan for doing things like crafts, going to the library, scheduling outings with friends or going on a picnic to the park helps me from defaulting to easier things that I don’t want to default to.

I’m not a perfect mom, but these simple habits have helped me to give Nova the most magical childhood I can.

The other thing I feel like I am really good at is not comparing myself to other parents—especially other moms on Instagram. I really believe that is a mind game you can’t win. Most importantly, there’s nothing to compare because comparing reality to someone’s Instagram photos is not a fair comparison. It’s a losing game, so don’t fall into that trap!

Food: I realized that the best diet for me was the one I could stick with long term. That’s it.

Over the years, I tried a lot of extreme diets that didn’t work for me, or only worked temporarily. The big changes I made last year were surprisingly simple. I found super healthy foods that I loved and stayed on a path of eating healthy for longer. It wasn’t any one diet or plan. Some of the time I counted calories, which my husband does so it came easily to me. Some of the time I did my own version of Weekday Weekend where I stuck with my super healthy soups, carrot juice and vegetable dishes during the weekdays and had some fun food on the weekends.

During this year, I still ate pasta and had cocktails and wine, but I also had long periods of time where I skipped all alcohol, all sugar and ate vegetable-based meals.

The only new thing I did last year was stay on my healthy streaks for longer. There is no secret. Unless the secret is broccoli.

One last thing I want to say about food—at one point I hadn’t had alcohol for two months and people started asking me about my skin constantly. It was a great feeling (if you haven’t entered your 30s yet, skin compliments become like GOLD), but I always felt like I had to tell them the truth. There is no skin serum in the world that can do what a couple months of no alcohol can. It’s sad for someone who loves a strong cocktail as much as me, but it’s the truth.

Exercise: This one is tough for me. I have been through a lot of different fitness obsessions, but I still struggle to stay consistent all the time. This year, I have been trying a new routine that has finally helped me. If you’re already good in the fitness department, just skip this next part because it’s kind of embarrassing.

I realized that the number one reason I was struggling was because I kept choosing workouts that I “dread.” Now I know this is different for everyone, so I wont get too specific. But I kept starting and quitting after three days over and over again.

The thing that helped me is that I gave myself an easy workout. And my goal right now is to just do the damn workout without dreading it. I feel like I can work up from there, but at least I am moving my body every day instead of feeling guilty for not working out for weeks at a time.

Again, the same as food—the best workout for me is whichever one I will actually do.

Lowering my bar + letting go: In addition to all these new habits, there were other things where I simply just lowered my bar, or decided to let some things go. A few examples:

I used to feel bad all the time when I didn’t get dressed during the work week (I work in my pjs a LOT) or when I didn’t have time or feel like getting “cute” before we went to brunch on the weekend. This was an area where I was feeling guilt and shame for something that I didn’t actually want to fix. So what I did instead was change my perspective. I let go of the guilt. Now if I do hair and makeup for our brunch on the weekend, I feel like it’s a bonus, not a necessity. And if I realize it’s now 6 p.m. and I’m still wearing what I woke up in, I feel grateful that I had a productive day working from home. No guilt!

Time management was another big one. As I new mom, I finally got to a point of accepting how many hours there are in a day, both to be a mom and to do my work. I learned to be more protective of those hours and more realistic. This will always be something I struggle with, but learning to say no (a lot) more and to focus on a few important tasks each day is how I live my life now. No going back! It’s simple math. There are only so many hours in the day and so I use them the best I can each day.

(Dress from Sezane (similar here), Boots from Seychelles.)

A year later, I still have things I want to work on and change, and I know I always will. The big difference is I know I can do it. I know there is no reason to put things off or avoid making an appointment. And though it still scares me, I feel more able to try something new and commit myself to something without the fear of failing. We all fail! The key to my success was trying longer before I gave up. It sounds so simple now, looking back, but it changed my life. Thanks for reading! xx – Elsie

Note: This post is pre-scheduled. I am currently on my maternity leave with baby Marigold (!!!!!!!), so if I don’t respond to your comment, don’t worry, someone else on our team will. I am so grateful for the opportunity to take a little time to bond with our new baby. But I left a bunch of posts in the drafts for you to enjoy while I’m away. See you on the other side! xx

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Heyyy everyone! This is my FIRST 10 Things I Love post and I’m really excited about it! We just got home from a week in my hometown, and while it was so nice to see family, we’re soaking in being back in our city and summertime in Nashville. I’m loving …

  1. This cute mini pool. We don’t have a pool and I love that these are darling alternatives to the (occasionally) not-so-great looking inflatable pools.
  2. My beauty food this summer has been cherries! They’re in season, so delicious, and worth the work of spitting the pits out, haha. Cherries are a rich source of polyphenols and vitamin c and have great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties—they’re great for skin and your bod in general!
  3. Loving these swimsuit bottoms SO much—my favorite I’ve ever had!
  4. The perfect stripes.
  5. I covet this towel so much.
  6. My YMCA membership. I honestly love all the classes they have and my favorite by far are the dance cardio classes—I totally forget how sweaty I’m getting!
  7. This top. What is it about fruit-themed clothing that makes me want to buy it all?!
  8. My guilty pleasure lately is watching Dynasty (the reboot) on Netflix. It is so high drama, we’re talking a legit soap opera, and you can’t help but root for Fallon’s character.
  9. Loving this pajama set from Target. Their whole Stars Above line is amazing! I’ve gotten a few pairs of these pj’s because they are so soft and comfy and perfect for summer.
  10. This perfume from Sephora. It’s blended with natural ingredients, including natural, organic and fair trade essential oils to support nations rebuilding. They also use safe lab produced ingredients that are phthalate free, paraben free, sulphate free, UV inhibitor free and formaldehyde free. It’s one of my favorite fragrances ever and I don’t find myself missing my Chanel/Viktor and Rolf anymore!
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Welcome back to my Nashville bnb and welcome to part two of my tour (see part one here!). Today, I want to share the bedrooms with you. My side of our duplex has three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. One is downstairs and two are upstairs. I’ll start with the one that is located downstairs. My bnb is now available to rent here. 

Wood letter board.

This bed is queen size. I’ve had the frame for over 10 years. It’s one of the first adult pieces of furniture I ever owned. It’s from Room + Board. We recently changed our bed at home to a king, so this frame needed a new home, I got a fresh mattress and moved it here! It’s always fun to see a piece of furniture live LOTS of different lives in different homes through the years. This is probably the piece I have owned the longest.

The little flag is from Urban Outfitters. Kind of random, but they also have a Palm Springs one. My two favorite cities!

The lamps, quilt, and pillows are from Target.

One of our priorities is to make our home welcoming to families. We didn’t do a full-on “kids room” this time, but we did add a lot of little details that will be fun to families who rent our bnb! I love this plush bear rocker.

We devoted this closet to kiddo things. We added a high chair, a pack and play, blocks, some books and a ukulele.

Upstairs, the master bedroom has a king-size bed and Fleur wallpaper from Urban Walls. I LOVE the floral and I’m so glad I opened my my heart to the color BLUE for this space.

The two upstairs bedrooms are carpeted with brand new carpet. Though carpet is not my first choice, I know a lot of people like it and we decided to leave it for now since it is brand new.

Here’s a link to the bed, the full-length mirror and the pouf.

This bedroom also has an en suite with a double sink and a large shower.

We didn’t do a lot to the bathrooms in this bnb … if it’s not broke don’t fix it, you know? We felt SO lucky that they all came with white quartz counters and a mix of subway tile and penny tile. They’re fresh and simple!

The third bedroom is a queen size with an attached balcony patio. It’s so cute!

Bed, bedding, pillow, and wreath.

Dresser (we added these pulls), art, disco ball.

Here’s the little outdoor balcony. It’s the perfect spot to sip morning coffee or enjoy a cold glass of rosé on a warm summer night.

WOOHOO! I am so happy to have this space all set up and ready to go! Here’s the link to our listing. If you have any questions about the space, let me know! 🙂 xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Project Assistant: Collin DuPree. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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I know I used to think “I know I have something to say, but how can I say it?” Feeling like you have influence to wield but not knowing what it is (or how) can be a daunting feeling, and A LOT of us have been there. If you feel stuck and wonder where your talents lie and how to put them to use, this quiz is for you, my friend. Once you find out what kind of influencer you are, we have some recommendations on how to put it into action.

Want to find out what kind of influencer you are?! Click HERE to take the quiz!

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Hi friends! I’m here today to talk about baby naming! I’ve loved the subject of baby names for as long as I can remember. Even as early as elementary school I can remember drawing photos of my imaginary (HUGE) family and giving them each names.

As fate would have it, I didn’t enter the world of motherhood until I was 35 years old, so yeah, I had plenty of time to acquire a very long list of beautiful and unique baby names. If I would have become a mother at age 20 or 25 or 30 (or honestly 31, 32, 33, 34 …) who knows what our kiddos would be called because I have changed favorite baby names throughout the years. So props to you if you’re one of those people who picked a baby name in high school and you still like it! I’m impressed.

Anyway, back to our story. Some of you may remember that we actually named Nova twice (lol) because after we knew we were adopting from China, but before we were matched with Nova, we decided to call her Winter. We still absolutely love the name Winter, but it wasn’t right for Nova—both because we felt it was too literal because of her albinism, and once we saw her we wanted to give her a more powerful name. We ended up calling her Nova Winter. It feels kind of magical to me now that her middle name was winter and we met on December 4.

We knew we wanted a celestial name for Nova once Jeremy had told me he wanted to adopt her during the solar eclipse. We looked at every possible celestial name and Nova was the one that stuck. We love it because it’s short, easy to say/understand (we avoid names that are confusing to pronounce, just one of our preferences) and super bold.

Nova grew into her name very quickly. It fits her and she’s so proud of it.

When it came time to choose a second name, the struggle was REAL. We had about six months to brainstorm options between the time we began paperwork and the time we were matched. It was slightly easier to visualize our imaginary “little sis” since we knew we were adopting a child with albinism, but we still wanted to wait until we saw her photos to officially choose the name (just in case).

The one thing we knew for sure is that we didn’t want to do a second celestial name to “match” with Nova. We felt more excited to choose a different name, maybe something earthy, with some contrast.

I had been keeping a list on my phone since before we had Nova of baby names and adding anything we thought was pretty along the way. You can see the full list here. We had three or four frontrunners. I kept coming back to Rosemary and Jeremy kept coming back to Noelle. But neither of us were sure about the other name, so we took those off the list. I spent several weeks OBSESSED with hunting for names. We even had a wonderful blog reader who works for Nameberry make us a custom list of suggestions (thank you, Sophie!).

In the end, we only really had one name—well, two. Marigold and Goldie. I wanted Marigold and Jeremy wanted Goldie. We then found out that Goldie was a family name (on Jeremy’s side), which makes it even sweeter.

We went to visit friends for the weekend and he randomly announced to everyone (including me lol) that we were going to call our daughter Marigold.

We decided to call her Marigold June. At the time I am writing this post, I don’t know for sure if we’ll be meeting our little gal in June, but I kind of have a feeling. We’ll see!

Oh! For anyone curious why we didn’t keep our children’s Chinese names, read this post. It’s a personal preference that we’ve received a brutal amount of judgment for. So if you feel inclined to judge, be sure you read that post and have more information before you proceed. 🙂 I understand the knee jerk reaction to feel like we “took” something from our girls, but I also think it’s a beautiful and wonderful story to have names given to them, with love, from the parents they will grow up with. As with most things in life, it’s more complicated than a simple right/wrong situation.

Note: This post is pre-scheduled. I am currently on my maternity leave with baby Marigold (!!!!!!!), so if I don’t respond to your comment, don’t worry, someone else on our team will. I am so grateful for the opportunity to take a little time to bond with our new baby. But I left a bunch of posts in the drafts for you to enjoy while I’m away. See you on the other side!

xx. Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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When we heard Brooke White was a fan of A Beautiful Mess and she wanted to be part of our At Home With series, we were like … YES, please. Today, she’s sharing her remodeled home (spoiler alert: it’s bright, airy and sooo cozy) and a little bit about her new single, and record—which is coming soon!

“We moved into this house 2011–pre-kids! Little did we know we’d be bringing a little baby London home a year later. Moving from the craziness of the valley out to the quiet suburbs of Ventura County, however, was definitely an intentional step in moving towards starting a family, we just didn’t know how soon. But this was a home we could grow into—not too big, not too small.

It was built in the ’70s, and at first glance was nothing special. When we walked in, my husband immediately said “heck no” and I said “heck yes” because I could see a diamond in the rough! It was a fixer upper with loads of potential but also loads of teal … teal walls, teal floors, teal ceilings, teal tile, teal carpet … ALL THE TEAL TEAL TEAL! I can understand why my husband wasn’t jazzed, but I caught a vision and loved the idea of a project and making it our own. I managed to talk Dave into it, talking up the view from the balcony, the only redeeming quality for him. Prior to moving in, we de-tealed the house immediately, sanding down the wood floors to their natural shade and restaining them, scraping popcorn teal ceilings and resurfacing every wall and giving it a fresh coat of paint inside.

It’s become hard for me to figure out which room I love the most, because the older I get, and the longer I live here, the more I’ve been able to really pull it together and wait for the things I really loved. If I had to choose, it would be a toss-up between my music room (I love all the natural light from the skylights and the whole vibe in there) and the front room—how it turned out with all the records and the old baby grand piano. But then again, we spend so much time as a family in the family room that opens up into the kitchen. The best decision we made in this house was to knock down the wall and join these two spaces; it’s really changed the way we live!

I think what I love the most about my home are the fun treasures I’ve thrifted and made along the way … such as my blue leather Chesterfield sofa in my front room. I got it at The Deseret Industries Thrift Store in Gilbert, Arizona (where I’m from and was home for Christmas) for 30 DOLLARS! Yep, $30! Luckily, we had brought the truck, so we loaded it up and brought it back to California! I had a giant blank wall space behind it, so I decided to add some vinyl covers in frames I spray painted red above it to create a huge display of some of my favorite records as works of art! It makes me happy every time I look at it!

I also love the old church pew in our office between our front room and kitchen dining table. The space in there was unique and narrow, so I had the thought to look for a church pew on Craigslist. It was New Year’s Day and I found one instantly—an hour and $100 later, the man who sold it to me brought it to my house and it has stayed there ever since. It fits perfectly there. I did sand it down quite a bit, and have had a handful of people ask me if I considered ever selling it, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with it.I’ve also created some of our art, including the diptych blue bike on the wall and framed photos I’ve taken. I always wanted to buy real art, but because of my budget could rarely afford it, so I have made a lot of my own. But I also have found some incredibly special pieces at the thrift store, two of which are textile and thread arts from the early ’70s! I love art so much and am thankful that I was able to come across such treasures for such great prices.

We just crossed the eight-year mark in May—we’ve spent half our married life here. What we’ve learned is that, contrary to the Pinterest/Instagram illusions, the process of making a house your HOME doesn’t happen overnight. I joke that it took about 2,967 days/nights to figure this place out, and we’re still working on it! It feels like years of waiting to find the right pieces for the right prices. To save up enough to fix this, and renovate that. It requires a lot of patience and trial and error, and sometimes settling on things you don’t really love. Our house was a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs and random thrifted things. It still is, by design and necessity. I’ve embraced the eclectic default and ran with it.

We did the initial cosmetic fixes when we first moved in, but there was loads more of work to be done, which we have done along the way, including landscaping, knocking down a wall, a full kitchen and master bathroom remodel and dozens of weekend projects. When we first moved in, I chose grey for most the rooms (yellow for the kitchen and pale blue for the family room) and I had a gig out of town while the painters were here. When I got home, the color was much more taupe-tan than I had hoped and wanted to repaint it immediately … but it wasn’t in the budget. So one by one, I have turned each room white and I love how open and clean it feels! We also did away with the carpet upstairs with wood floors to match the rest of the house the month before Sonny was born, and they were finished the day before I went into labor.

At this point in my home it feels good, it feels personal, it feels intentional. Having children changes your life and home massively. I’ve learned that you have to create your space with them in mind—lots of storage for toys and a space designated for art and crafts. London is artsy and leaves a trail of glitter everywhere she goes. I often have to let go of perfection, and embrace this messier-than-I-like season, because it’s short, and it’s good to remember that a house is for living!

I’m super excited to soon be releasing my upcoming record Calico, (hybrid for California Country, which is exactly what this record is) on October 4, 2019! This is my first true country album to date, and while I’ve always leaned into that singer-songwriter sound, I’ve had it in my heart to make a country album for a long, long time. I had planned to make it in Nashville, but again, having kids changes everything. I was still nursing sonny boy and walking London to kindergarten, so I realized that I wasn’t going to just up and leave my life and family in LA to make a country record in Tennessee.

So, I stayed and made one here close to my family and home and it really worked out better than I could have imagined. And that is exactly what the title track Calico is all about … blooming where you’re planted, making the most of it and loving it. It’s the most modern and fun thing I’ve done musically to date. And I am thrilled to be offering it on vinyl for the first time in my music making life! And it’s bright yellow like the sun.”

Thanks so much for sharing, Brooke! You can pre-order Brooke’s album now at http://calicogoods.com or here: http://ffm.to/calico and listen to her single, Into the Trees, below. xo!

Brooke White - Into The Trees (Audio) - YouTube

Credits: Author and Photography: Brooke White.
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Clary Renew Repair Oil
OK, this one is nowhere near new to me, but I’m not sure I’ve shared about it. A few years back when I had breast reduction surgery, I began using this oil on my healing scars. I’ve been using it ever since and swear by it as my favorite body oil.

Weleda Skin Food Light Nourishing Cream
I love Skin Food to the point of obsession, but it’s very thick. I am glad they came out with this light version because sometimes it’s needed. It smells so great and is very affordable (and sold in Target now). It’s my go-to face and body lotion and I carry the hand cream in my purse at all times.

Glossier Cloud Paint
Total honesty—I have tried a lot of Glossier products that were just OK to me. But I really love this cream blush! It’s beautiful and will last forever because all that’s needed is a tiny bit each application. (The colors I use are Dawn and Beam.)

Jane Iredale Cream Blush
I use the color “Warm Rosy Neutral” and it’s like a bronzer and blush-in-one for me. It’s one of my most used blush shades recently. I love cream blush and will likely never go back to pressed powder.

Oui Fresh Wellness Oil 
My favorite oil for boosting immunity naturally. I use a drop mixed with sleep oil and diffuse it quite often in my office while I’m working.

Note: This post is pre-scheduled. I am currently on my maternity leave with baby Marigold (!!!!!!!), so if I don’t respond to your comment, don’t worry, someone else on our team will. I am so grateful for the opportunity to take a little time to bond with our new baby. But I left a bunch of posts in the drafts for you to enjoy while I’m away. See you on the other side! xx

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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I’ve been wanting to make an upholstered waterfall bench for years! But just the idea of this project has really intimidated me, due to my lack of upholstery skills. After a couple of years upholstering miniature furniture (no joke!), I’ve built up the confidence to finally try my hand at upholstering a life-size piece of furniture that I actually built myself … out of material that isn’t balsa wood and super glue!

I’ve gotta say—this project was not as difficult as I had built it up to be in my mind. Whew! Such a relief at how straightforward it was. It’s even a project you can do in one day! However, I also must say, I didn’t do it perfectly, which is a bit of a bummer for a detail-oriented person such as myself. But I think it turned out pretty well for my first try at this type of upholstery. I certainly learned a few things along the way that will help me next time, and help you your first time! Read on to learn how to make your own upholstered waterfall bench.

Materials:
-2 pieces of 2x8x7 lumber (I used poplar) to make a 55″ long bench. Use shorter pieces of wood for a shorter bench.
-3″ construction screws (I used 12 of these)
Wood glue
-2 1/2 yards of heavyweight upholstery fabric
-2 1/3 yards of 16″ wide 2″ thick foam (this is a standard piece of foam that can be trimmed to fit)
3/8″ T50 staples
-Chipboard tack strip
-Metal tack strip
-Furniture glides (I used 6 of this type)

Tools:
Chop saw
-2 Long clamps (able to span at least 15″)
Carpenter’s square
Power Drill
-Staple gun (this electric one is so handy and easy to use!)
Electric carving knife
-Rubber mallet

Tool Workarounds

Don’t have a chop saw? Don’t worry! You can still complete this project without one. Most lumber yards or hardware stores will make cuts for you, and sometimes without a charge. Likewise, if you don’t have long clamps, you can do what I used to do before I invested in clamps—simply use duct tape stretched tightly to hold your wood while the glue dries.

Step One: To make a 55″ long bench (like mine), you will need each of your two 2×8 boards cut into the following lengths: two 13.5″ long pieces; one 55″ long piece. That will give you a total of four 13.5″ long pieces and two 55″ long pieces of wood.

Step Two: Right now your pieces of wood are only 7.5″ wide. You will want to edge glue the pieces together so they become 14.5″ wide. Squeeze wood glue onto the edge of one 13.5″ board and connect it to another piece of the same size. Clamp them together for at least 10 minutes, allowing the wood to dry. It’s a good idea to wipe away any seeping wood glue before it dries. Repeat this for another pair of 13.5″ pieces as well as the pair of 55″ pieces.

After this step is complete, you will have two 14.5″x13.5″ pieces of wood for the legs of your bench and one 14.5″x55″ piece of wood for the top of your bench.

Step Three: Apply wood glue to the top of your bench legs and attach them to the bench top. As you clamp the pieces together, make sure that the legs are perfectly square with the top. Use a carpenter’s square to verify this as you tighten the clamps.

Step Four: Make sure the legs are clamped for about 10 minutes before removing clamps. Next, drill pilot holes and countersink the holes so the screws will be recessed into the wood as they’re drilled into place. In the top right image, you can see that I have countersunk the top two holes.

You can drill the holes while the wood is clamped or after the clamps have been removed. But I do recommend screwing together the wood before the glue has completely dried.

Step Five: Drive the screws into place before the glue from step three has cured. If you countersunk the holes, the screws should not stick out proud of the bench top. If they’re sticking up, take them out immediately and countersink the holes.

Step Six: Lay out your foam across the top of the wood bench and trim the foam to fit the width and length of the bench. Use an electric carving knife along the edge of the bench to trim the foam. My parents only get out their carving knife when it’s Thanksgiving or when I’m doing an upholstery project!

Step Seven: Cut a 30″ wide strip of your upholstery fabric to staple across the top of your bench. Begin by stapling it to the bottom of one leg as shown above left. Then stretch it super tight and staple to the other leg. I used a piece of quilt batting between the foam and fabric, because I happened to have extra quilt batting on hand. But I don’t think it’s necessary for this project as long as you’re using heavyweight fabric.

After securing each end, work your way around until all of the fabric is tightly stapled onto the underside of the bench. Use the weight of your body on the upside-down bench to squish the foam down, allowing for a tighter upholstery job. At the corners, try to make neat folds as the fabric wraps around the foam.

Step Eight: Cut a 16″ wide strip of fabric for the underside of the bench. Laying the fabric face-down, staple the kraft upholstery tack strip right up to the edge of your bench. This will make a nice, crisp edge for the underside of the bench upholstery (as seen below left). Attach the middle section (not the legs) and stop. Complete the next step before doing the tack strips on the legs.

Step Nine: Flip the fabric so that the nice side is now positioned up. Look how nice that edge is, thanks to the tack strip! This next part is the trickiest. You’ll need to take your metal (or spiked kraft strips, in my case) tacking strips and poke the spikes through your fabric that slightly overhands the edge of your bench, as shown above right. If you leave any slack in your fabric (as I accidentally did), then you’ll end up with wrinkles in the fabric.

Step Ten: Flip the tack strip under and gently begin pounding along its length with a rubber mallet until all of the staples are punched into the wood bench.

Repeat steps 8-10 for the legs of the bench as well. When you get to the bottom of the legs, use another spiked tack strip to tuck under the raw edges of the fabric at the feet.

Step Eleven: Finish the feet of the bench with some plastic furniture gliders. I thought three for each side seemed to do the trick nicely.

You can see in the above image that I didn’t quite stretch my fabric tightly enough when attaching the spiked tack strips in step nine. Next time, I’ll be more careful in this step. But overall I think it looks pretty good for my first time doing a completely finished upholstery project!

This bench makes a great entryway seat, coffee table, or resting spot for the foot of a bed. And by resting spot, I mean resting spot for clothes that didn’t quite make it to the hamper, right?! If you don’t have space for a 55″ wide bench, simply use shorter boards for the middle, and save money on lumber! I think it would also be nice to make a set of two small, matching benches. What color would you choose for your fabric? – Mandi

Credits//Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
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Today, we’re rounding up our favorite swimsuits—but not just any swimsuits. These are both budget-friendly and flattering. We love a cute one-piece, and high-waisted bottoms are a godsend. 🙂

We really love this brand, and it’s available on Amazon Prime. Speaking of, it’s Prime Day!! Treat yourself to a new swimsuit and some other goodies. Shop our faves here:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11

After seeing this adorable Mommy and Me set, we had to include some kids options, too. So many cute styles! Why didn’t they make these when we were kids??

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

We can never have too many swimsuits, so share your favorites with us in the comments! xo. – The ABM Team

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