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Something insanely exciting is happening this week. I’m getting my own TV show! Unspouse My House airs this Thursday, June 6th on HGTV! This is something I’ve worked toward my whole life, without really knowing I was doing so. I’ve had a wild, winding career that was at most times scrappy and trying, at rare times glamorous and rewarding. And now I’m on the precipice of this huge benchmark. The number one question I’m getting from friends right now is “Are you excited!?!” And the answer is absolutely YES. But the pre-show emotional journey has been a lot more complicated than that. I live in a world where many of my friends have created their own TV shows, where being on TV and being paid for your creative work is commonplace, but I realize this isn’t everyone’s experience. So I thought it would be kind of interesting to explore what it actually feels like to have your very own TV show come out.

It’s probably important to note that my show is unique in a lot of ways. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, this show is deeply personal. It came from my own personal experience of getting dumped by a man I loved very much. A few years ago, my boyfriend told me he didn’t want to be together anymore. I spent the followings months being depressed, but the one thing that got my mind off the loneliness (and the overwhelming hopelessness I was feeling about life and relationships) was redesigning my new apartment. It sounds SO CHEESY AND CONTRIVED to say, but during this time I really learned the healing power of interior design. It gets your mind out of the gutter of the past and gets you thinking about what you’re going to do in the future. It’s a way of inventing a new life for yourself. It’s the most tangible way of restarting.

The second thing that makes my show unique is that it’s really a brave departure for HGTV. They’ve been known for years for their beautiful, exciting home renovation content but they’ve made an active, strategic move with my show to insert even more personality and story into their lineup. I’m a gamble for them because they know what their audience loves and they’ve been delivering it for years. Whether they’ll respond to my brand of playful wildness is yet to be determined.

Thirdly, Unspouse My House tells real stories about real people going through a difficult time in their lives, attempting to emerge from the loss of someone they loved, attempting to move on and figure out how to live their lives. This is uncharted territory for HGTV and I’ve recognized from the beginning that this is potentially very dark subject matter. The way I remedied that is by focusing the show completely on positivity. This is a feel-good show about me meeting people and just doing nice things for them. I come into their lives and befriend them and fill their time with jokes and good deeds. It’s not complicated, it’s just really nice to see people doing nice things for each other on TV. And I love doing it quite a bit.

The genesis of this show took a very long time, I’ve been trying to get a show off the ground for years. In fact, Emily and I even met with producers right after Secrets from a Stylist went off the air almost ten years ago to chat about show ideas. Nothing ever took hold, and Emily continued to create the most important daily interiors blog while I developed my own blog and social media outlets. Years later, a woman named Jen Rettig reached out to me via Instagram and we began chatting about show ideas. Jen and I immediately loved each other, just kindred spirits, the same sense of humor where you never have to explain your joke because the other person just gets it. We started working together a long time ago, shooting a presentation at Orcondo in 2015 for a crazy ass show called “Dear Design Disaster” which was crazy and fun (and maybe will be made someday) but never got off the ground.

Eventually all my Insta storying led to a TON of producers and production companies reaching out to me. There were weeks when I got reach out from new producers every single day about a show. The reason being, producers are always looking for new talent to connect with projects or to base new projects around. And, quite frankly, there are a ton of interior designers in LA but not a lot with the on-camera and content creation experience I have.

The actual process of “Unspouse” going from sizzle reel presentation to pilot to actual TV show took less than a year, which is something incredibly rare in Hollywood. HGTV was massively supportive from the beginning. They were the network that responded first to our pitch, they paid for the pilot, and they greenlit the show from a very rough edit before even seeing the glossy final version which airs this Thursday. In short, I could not have asked for a better outcome from the process of creating this show.

I’m not gonna lie, the process of shooting this show was GRUELING. My days began at 5 AM, the locations were all about 2 hours driving each way, and my day usually ended around 9 PM when I got home. I would scarf down a hastily-made Frankenstein salad from Whole Foods and then go to sleep twenty minutes later. And being on-camera five days a week is rough. It’s exhausting to have your every move, word, gesture captured by a camera, worrying constantly about what you look like, if what you said sounded stupid, trying to be as articulate as you can be, sometimes on just a few hours of sleep.

And the on-camera stuff, though it took up the full day, was only part of it. We were also transforming peoples’ homes. I was making a million design decisions between takes and troubleshooting the millions of things that came up during these renovations. These renovations were like regular renovations on steroids, projects that should have taken six months and cost $100,000 took three weeks and cost $40,000. They were literally TV magic. And it’s not necessarily easy to pull that magic off. It requires VERY long hours, a lot of people (most notably my incredible Design Producer Lee Tosca), and the ability to make decisions very quickly (which luckily I’m quite good at).

I’m not saying all this stuff to complain about how hard it was to make my show. I’m saying it for two reasons. Firstly, because I think it’s important to note the hard work that goes into these shows, from executive producers at the top trying to determine which shots will work for the final edit to the entry level PA’s working their asses off to get all the supplies and logistics together so that everything runs smoothly. I was blessed with the most amazingly hardworking crew, everyone KILLED it and worked just as hard as I did. And quite frankly it was EXHAUSTING.

The second reason I’m talking about this toil is that it explains a little bit why post-show I went into a little bit of a hole. I went directly from months of prep, shooting, and an insane schedule to a New York marketing trip to finally getting back to LA and having some time to prep for the show last week. And when I had a moment to breathe, I kind of collapsed. It has been an amazing, challenging year.

This show has been the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, the most important opportunity that has arrived at my doorstep. And while I am filled with gratitude for it, I cannot believe I’ve been honored in this way, I also had an incredible amount of fear and performance anxiety about it. Would I be engaging enough as a host? Would I come across as too silly? Too boring? Too gay? Would I look fat and gross and shiny on camera? Having your every move scrutinized by a camera and microphone (and hopefully by millions of viewers) is a terrifying thing to do. You have to kind of say goodbye to curating how you are seen. On Instagram, I can choose the lighting, angles, and spaces where I’m shot. On TV, all bets are off. You have to kind of be okay with angles that are unflattering, with lighting that makes you look old, being shot in spaces that aren’t always beautiful (many of the the homes on “Unspouse My House” were rough to begin with).

I think I really rose to the occasion of hosting my own TV show. Watching it, you probably wouldn’t be able to guess how nervous I am in certain scenes, how stressed I was about what was going on with the design off camera, how anxiety riddled I became when scenes didn’t pan out quite like producers and I though they would. Again, I’m not trying to complain about this amazing opportunity, I just want to be fully real about the fact that it was WORK for me, I was doing my very best to be fun and engaging on camera, often when I was tired and anxious and fretting about the final design looking PERFECT for our homeowners, who I felt a tremendous amount of love and gratitude for and for whom I really wanted to pull off a magical transformation to help them restart and heal from their breakups.

When the announcement for our air date (June 6th on HGTV and the HGTV App!), I entered into the first freakout. Some people call what I went through at that point a Vulnerability Hangover. It’s the feeling of shame people get when they’ve been very vulnerable in a public way. I’d been so anxious to use my experience getting dumped for good that I hadn’t stopped to think, “Hey, I’m basically branding myself as a loser, someone who gets left.” There are many ways I could have processed my breakup, I could have moved on and said it was a mutual decision like many people do. But I thought the more helpful thing to do, the thing that might actually help other people, was to take a moment and talk about what it feels like to be rejected, so that other people going through the same thing might see themselves in me and feel less alone.

That didn’t come without a cost to me. While I’d healed from my breakup, doing the show forced me to relive it over and over, in order to relate to the homeowners who so graciously shared their own stories with me. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t think it was worth doing, if I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. But just because something is worth doing doesn’t mean it’s easy. The process of reliving my grief dragged out my own healing process a little bit. So much so that when I came up for air as we announced our air date I thought JESUS WHAT HAVE I DONE? IS THIS WHO I AM NOW? IS THIS MY BRAND?

I got over this because ultimately I don’t care if I seem powerful and desired. I’d rather be seen as helpful and empathetic. Humility and kindness are the traits I value most in other people and I strive to exhibit them in my personal life and in the content I create. So my boyfriend dumped me for getting fat. So what! Moving on.

The second freakout I had relating to the show came with the absolute terror that it might bomb. This happened the week I got back from a pretty intense trip to New York where I met with a lot of journalists and got some training in how to deal with media from HGTV (very valuable, but also very challenging and scary). When you have a show that hasn’t aired yet, you get the sense from a lot of people who you’re dealing with that you’re only as valuable as you are famous. Like that they’d love to cover your show if it’s a hit but are less interested if it’s not. It’s a weird feeling. I kinda get it, people want to cover things that are relevant to their readers. But at the same time, it makes you feel a little bit like a disposable product. Like your only value is how much money you can make for other people. HGTV has been so fully in support of my show and so enthusiastic, so I know there is some genuine collaborative intent on their part. But with major news outlets and journalists it can be tricky, they don’t want to waste their time on people who might not turn out to be “important” enough.

I know intellectually that whether my show is a hit or not is now a bit out of my hands. I also know that no matter what happens having an HGTV show under my belt is going to be a career boost. I know these things, but I’m also ambitious and I want the show to do well. I have always had a Type A personality and have always really pushed myself. So the inner Tracy Flick in me is freaking out that I might not win this one, that my amazing show might not be a hit. WHICH IS SO SCARY.

I got so anxious about whether my show would be a hit that I basically exhausted myself. I had a few weeks where I was so anxious about it that I would wake up, work for a few hours, then have to lay down again because my chemistry was so off that I was completely deflated. I got so worried that something was actually wrong with me that I went to the doctor and demanded blood tests. He basically laughed at me and prescribed a walk on the beach, his nice way of telling me to calm down.

Luckily, I’ve kind of gotten over that anxiety exhaustion hump and have moved onto excitement exhaustion. We shared a streaming episode of the show and PEOPLE LOVE IT. Obviously I know that once it hits the general public the response might not be so generous, but honestly it’s just so satisfying to see something that me and my crew worked so hard on finally go out into the world. I am still in a state where I feel completely exhausted by how enormous this opportunity is for me. So I’ve been laying low a little bit, trying to socialize but getting to bed early because I get tired early from all the excitement about the show and the remaining worry about how well it will perform.

I’m lucky that my mood has generally shifted from Vulnerability Hangover, to Massive Anxiety, to Intense Excitement. Now when people ask me “Are you excited?!?” I can honestly respond “Yes!” without reservations. The show means everything to me, so obviously I want it to do well. But for now I am just trying my best to concentrate on the gratitude I have for being able to make it and for all the people around me who lifted me up and made it possible.

Photo by Zeke Ruelas. A preview episode of Unspouse My House is available now. The show airs Thursday June 6th at 9:30/8:30c.

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When I turned 18 and was getting ready to head to college, I did something extreme. I went through my childhood bedroom, put almost everything I owned in garbage bags, and hauled it down the street to a dumpster. I did this for a few reasons. First, because high school was terrible and I was ready to say goodbye. Second, because I have had a life long fear of clutter and disorderliness. The only thing I regret getting rid of that day is my childhood Teddy bear, Tofy (named after Tofu). I do, however, massively regret how I got rid of all that stuff. I should have donated it. Something that I didn’t really learn until adulthood was the importance of making sure my items were reused rather than dumped directly into a landfill. My recent collaboration with Savers® (or Value Village® as some of you may know it, depending on where you live) reminded me of a lot of the benefits of thrifting and vintage shopping, so I’m going to share a few of my decluttering tips here. If you’re not familiar, Savers® and Value Village® are a family of thrift stores committed not only to environmentalism but also to community involvement. The tolls of fast fashion are kind of mind boggling. We now have the ability to run out and buy a t-shirt for $3.99, which is great. The downside, quality is often questionable and because of their low price, people are often fine to wear things a few times then throw them away. Every year North Americans deposit 12 million tons of textiles directly into landfills. That’s not only a lot of trash, it takes a TON of water to make these clothes (a typical t-shirt takes about 700 gallons, jeans about 1800 gallons). It’s well known that my friend Emily and I are big fans of vintage furniture and clothes, which to be fully honest is mostly because vintage items add so much character and uniqueness to a home. But until I met the team at Savers® , I wasn’t aware of how dire the clothing and housewares waste issue was. Below I’m going to share a few of my tips on how I like to declutter. As part of Savers® “Neat-ish” campaign, I’m helping spread the word about reuse and taking the pain out of the decluttering and donating process. Tip 1: Be Ruthless. I’m pretty aggressive with my decluttering process. People tend to be a little more sentimental than they should be about items that have no inherent sentimental value. When you’re looking at your clothing and housewares, think about how often you use them and if they might be more helpful to someone else. For example, if you have stuff you’ve never worn and have had for six months, GET RID OF THEM. For example, I bought some bright aqua sweatpants four months ago, solely based on color, without trying them on. I held onto them because I LOVED the color, but I never wore them because they were too big and made me feel gross. So I got rid of them. Don’t keep things around that aren’t useful! Make space for the things you actually want and use! Tip 2: Start by Making a Huge Mess. In order to create order, you first need to create a certain amount of chaos. I always start by taking everything out of my closet, armful by armful and creating “Yes, No,” and “Maybe” piles. The “Maybe” pile is your real saving grace here because it makes the whole process less scary and lets you ruminate on whether you want to keep those items or not while you sort through everything else. Usually by the end of the process my entire “Maybe” pile ends up in the “No” pile. Tip 3: Make It Fun. Dancing and singing definitely makes decluttering more fun. Other things that make it fun: inviting a friend over to gossip with you while you do it, listening to a podcast (I like “Throwing Shade” and “This American Life”), or just listening to music and drinking wine. Anything to make it feel like a fun, cleansing activity that celebrates the newfound freedom your newly decluttered space will bring you. Tip 4: Take Your Stuff to the Right Place. Make sure to know where your beloved items are going. When you declutter responsibly at Savers®, you know your items are going to a good place where they will go to good use. Not only does Savers® purchase your items from nonprofits providing them with revenue, they also make sure that items not able to be resold are recycled. So you can be sure that if you donate here your items are either going back into circulation or are being recycled responsibly. Tip 5: Wrap It Up! If your items show up damaged at the donation center, they’re basically useless and it’s kind of like throwing them in the garbage. So take a minute to wrap up breakable items in newspaper so they don’t shatter on the trip. Another common issue I learned about from Savers is pairing items (earrings, mittens, shoes, etc). Do you want a single unpaired shoe? Neither does anyone shopping at a thrift store! (But even if you only have one shoe, you can still donate it to Savers®) Tip 6: Make Decluttering a Ritual. I am constantly shopping and bringing new items into my home. Mainly because it’s my job but also because I love trying out new things. This constant flow of goods motivated me to create a rule for myself: for every object that comes into my home, I give something away. I give things to my family and friends every week (ie fancy lamps, beautiful trays, etc) and everything else I donate to a nonprofit at Savers®. I want to make sure that the things I love end up being used by someone who also loves them.
I was raised by parents who are very environmentally conscious. So much so that whenever I go to their house I feel like a loser for not doing as much as they do for the planet (composting, water capture/reuse, etc). But there are certain things, such as reusing our goods responsibly, that are easy to do and a no brainer. To learn more about my collaboration with Savers® and the Neat-ish campaign, head on over to the Savers® site.

This post is a paid collaboration with Savers®. The ideas and opinions expressed are genuine and my own. Collaborations like this one fund this site and social media content.

TVI, Inc. d/b/a Savers® is a for-profit professional fundraiser.
Visit savers.com/donate to learn more.

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Photography by Zeke Ruelas

Dear Diary,

Remember that one time like ten million years ago when I told you I was renovating my parents’ kitchen? RAISE YOUR HAND IF IT’S BEEN SO LONG THAT YOU FORGET ABOUT IT. ALSO RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’RE LIKE “DUH I REMEMBER BUT WHY IS HE HIDING THIS KITCHEN FROM US???” Well, a few reasons. The project began almost two years ago during the holidays when I started showing my parents renderings I’d made of what their kitchen could look like if we expanded it onto a deck previously occupied by an awkward deck. They were like “COOL STORY ORLANDO” until Bertazzoni busted through the wall like the Kool-Aid man screaming “HERE HAVE SOME FREE TOTALLY GLAMOROUS LUXURIOUS ITALIAN APPLIANCES!” It was the greatest, most heartwarming moment in all our lives and my parents were like “OKAY FINE LET’S DO IT WHAT COULD IT COST, $10?”

Keep in mind, this was December 2016 and we basically thought the world was ending (side note: it did) so my parents were probably just like “SCREW IT WE’LL ALL BE DEAD SOON ANYWAY.” We set about finding a contractor in early 2017 and had one selected by March. We were pretty much ready to go but construction didn’t end up starting until August 2017, lasting until May 2018. So yeah, this project was LONG. But it’s funny how something can be stressful and take so long and then just months after it’s completed you totally forget about how ridiculous the process was. Today, on this blog, I will be chatting about all the appliances, furnishings, fixtures and finishes I chose for this project. Over on my wife Emily’s blog, I will be spreading even more juicy gossip, chatting about things I would have done differently if this were my kitchen.

Sources: Refrigerator, Dishwasher, Range, Hood, Backsplash (Color: Crater Lake), Countertop, Globe Pendant, Brass Pendants, Roman Shade (Color: Romaria Aquatint), Concrete Floor Tile, Stools, Faucets (Finish: Brushed Nickel), Large Sink, Small SinkVase, Island Color, Wall Color, Cabinet/Trim ColorTea Kettle

Now, before we really get into things, just a little, slightly traumatizing refresher on what this room used to look like:

The previous kitchen wasn’t HORRIBLE. It was fine. But for a house this size, it felt oddly out of scale. My parents’ house, nestled in the hills outside the city of Santa Rosa in idyllic Sonoma County, California, has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. It’s built for a family and my parents use it to host a lot of family events. So the kitchen just wasn’t functional for the way they wanted to use it.

Since you’ve all been so patient, I wanna chat a bit about why this project took so long. It’s hard to fully talk about it because much of it had to do with nuances with the contractor and I don’t want to say anything negative about him because that seems unfair given my platform. Aside from everything relating to labor, the project itself was a lot more complicated than it looks. PLEASE ENJOY THIS DRAWING SHOWING EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED CONSTRUCTION WISE:

You look at that layout and think “OH YEAH JUST EXPAND ONTO THE DECK! EASY!” But in actuality there’s a ton of engineering and permitting that needs to happen when you expand a home, especially if you’re expanding over an open space (if you want to see what the exterior of the house looks like check out my post on the deck I designed as part of this project). So number one reason for how long this project took was probably the engineering/architecting/permitting. The other reasons are boring and convoluted and so I wont waste your time with them. Just know that none of it was my fault and it was all everyone else’s fault, K?

My parents bought their house at the base of the market and got an insane deal on it. It had been foreclosed, purchased for literally nothing, and flipped. The design decisions made by the flipper weren’t horrible, they were just super dated and cheap and gross. So okay yes they were hittable. The house was filled with anything you could get a great deal on at a big box hardware chain. The worst thing about the kitchen was the size. The second worse thing were the gross ARE-THEY-FILTHY-OR-NOT? countertops. The beautiful white Cambria countertops we replaced them with were a breath of fresh air (you can actually tell that they’re clean now!).

The very first decision made about the kitchen was the range. I took a wonderful tour of the Bertazzoni factory in Italy before this whole thing started and I loved this appliance the second I saw it. I love that ranges that have a bit more of an ornate, intricate look are having a moment right now. They give the room such a beautiful focal point.

Ormomdo has slowly collected blue Le Creuset dutch ovens over the years. Honestly my dream in life is to live in a world where all my food is cooked in blue Le Creuset. I would just drink wine straight out of a 3 quart dutch oven and just laugh about France and the meaninglessness of existence. It would be beautiful. I think they are such gorgeous, functional pieces. And also they are extremely helpful for styling photo shoots because they help bring in some pretty, vibrant color when you just need a little pop. The double oven feature of the 48″ Heritage range we chose has already come in so handy for holidays. Just another place to bake bread or warm up dishes.

Ormomdo and Orlandad. Ready to party.

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Dear Diary,

At long last! My super exciting laundry room makeover with Grove Collaborative and Method Home is ready to share! The family that won our glamorous makeover is Ta’Shiba and Dave Brannon, along with their five EXTREMELY CUTE CHILD MODEL children. They live in San Antonio, Texas, where I’d never been before and which was much more hip and cool than I expected. I’m going to fully break down the makeover, but first, check out the cute video we made of it below:

Home Makeover - Laundry Room Edition | Grove x method - YouTube

The laundry room in question is a small, windowless space next to their kitchen. It doubles as a pantry for food storage so not only did it need to be functional as a laundry space, it also needed to be a place to store food (enough food for five kids and two fully grown human beings, btw). The room was neither functional nor aesthetically pleasing before. Basically, T’ashiba and Dave had stacked their washer and dryer in the hopes that it would open the space more, but all that did was make a huge tower next to a vacant space. This left no room for folding laundry or placing a laundry basket.

My goal with the space was to create a pretty, soothing room where Ta’Shiba, Dave, and their kids could do laundry in peace. Sidenote: Those kids have a ton of energy and are so funny and fun. I don’t know how their parents keep up because they are constantly running around that house. A trip to the kids’ bedrooms shows you why their parents might have neglected their laundry room – the kids are definitely the priority and their bedroom is thoughtfully set up with toys and play spaces. I was happy to get to do something for these parents who seemed to be prioritizing their kids while ignoring their own needs a bit.

The kids/child movie stars are: Dave, Addison, Dawson, Dylan, and Dean. Honestly they all had such charisma, they reminded me of my niece who always steals the show. Like always ready for action and fun and so capable of coming up with the funniest one-liners.

The three main things I learned about laundry room design from doing this makeover (my first stand alone laundry room makeover) can be easily summarized:

  1. In a small space that lacks personality, go bold with wall color. This not only gives a dark space some vibrance, it also brings in much needed personality.
  2. Maximize wall storage to get things off the floor and out of the way.
  3. Adding counter space (where laundry can be folded) is crucial to the room’s functionality.

I took inspiration from my friends at The Home Edit when I created the plan for food storage. I wanted pretty open shelving (we sourced this walnut wood at a local wood lot). But I also wanted everything to have a place. Since this is already a pantry, I didn’t want to put closed shelving in here (seemed weird to open a door to go into another room and have to open more doors). So I chose attractive storage containers for all their cereal and snack items, which I imagine have to be constantly replenished with five growing kids who are basically doing jumping jacks and cartwheels 24/7.

One of my favorite things in the room, both for its cute color and its practicality, is the sage colored step stool. The kids are super helpful and sweet and I wanted them to be able to access not only the snacks in the shelving but also the counter for laundry. The flooring got updated to a wood-look linoleum flooring. The reason I chose this was to add a durable surface to an area that would likely be getting a lot of drips and water on it. I love the warmth and texture it added and it honestly looked like the real thing in the space. Ideally, I would have done a tile or wood floor in here, but because the adjacent kitchen and rooms were all linoleum and we couldn’t fit reflooring the entire home into the budget, this linoleum was a happy compromise.

I have these wool dryer balls and I love them. You can win these (along with a year’s supply of laundry products) by entering our fun sweepstakes (see more info below).

Another item in the room I love is the washable rug. I’ve been looking all over for washable rugs for my parents’ kitchen, so I was happy to find this one. You can tell the kids love it. Which probably means they’ll love wandering in here after football practice to get dirt all over it. Which is why it’s so great you can just plop it into the washing machine.

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Dear Diary,

At long last! My super exciting laundry room makeover with Grove Collaborative and Method Home is ready to share! The family that won our glamorous makeover is T’ashiba and Dave Brannon, along with their five EXTREMELY CUTE CHILD MODEL children. They live in San Antonio, Texas, where I’d never been before and which was much more hip and cool than I expected. I’m going to fully break down the makeover, but first, check out the cute video we made of it below:

Home Makeover - Laundry Room Edition || Grove x method - YouTube

The laundry room in question is a small, windowless space next to their kitchen. It doubles as a pantry for food storage so not only did it need to be functional as a laundry space, it also needed to be a place to store food (enough food for five kids and two fully grown human beings, btw). The room was neither functional nor aesthetically pleasing before. Basically, T’ashiba and Dave had stacked their washer and dryer in the hopes that it would open the space more, but all that did was make a huge tower next to a vacant space. This left no room for folding laundry or placing a laundry basket.

My goal with the space was to create a pretty, soothing room where T’ashiba, Dave, and their kids could do laundry in peace. Sidenote: Those kids have a ton of energy and are so funny and fun. I don’t know how their parents keep up because they are constantly running around that house. A trip to the kids’ bedrooms shows you why their parents might have neglected their laundry room – the kids are definitely the priority and their bedroom is thoughtfully set up with toys and play spaces. I was happy to get to do something for these parents who seemed to be prioritizing their kids while ignoring their own needs a bit.

The kids/child movie stars are: Dave, Addison, Dawson, Dylan, and Dean. Honestly they all had such charisma, they reminded me of my niece who always steals the show. Like always ready for action and fun and so capable of coming up with the funniest one-liners.

The three main things I learned about laundry room design from doing this makeover (my first stand alone laundry room makeover) can be easily summarized:

  1. In a small space that lacks personality, go bold with wall color. This not only gives a dark space some vibrance, it also brings in much needed personality.
  2. Maximize wall storage to get things off the floor and out of the way.
  3. Adding counter space (where laundry can be folded) is crucial to the room’s functionality.

I took inspiration from my friends at The Home Edit when I created the plan for food storage. I wanted pretty open shelving (we sourced this walnut wood at a local wood lot). But I also wanted everything to have a place. Since this is already a pantry, I didn’t want to put closed shelving in here (seemed weird to open a door to go into another room and have to open more doors). So I chose attractive storage containers for all their cereal and snack items, which I imagine have to be constantly replenished with five growing kids who are basically doing jumping jacks and cartwheels 24/7.

One of my favorite things in the room, both for its cute color and its practicality, is the sage colored step stool. The kids are super helpful and sweet and I wanted them to be able to access not only the snacks in the shelving but also the counter for laundry. The flooring got updated to a wood-look linoleum flooring. The reason I chose this was to add a durable surface to an area that would likely be getting a lot of drips and water on it. I love the warmth and texture it added and it honestly looked like the real thing in the space. Ideally, I would have done a tile or wood floor in here, but because the adjacent kitchen and rooms were all linoleum and we couldn’t fit reflooring the entire home into the budget, this linoleum was a happy compromise.

I have these wool dryer balls and I love them. You can win these (along with a year’s supply of laundry products) by entering our fun sweepstakes (see more info below).

Another item in the room I love is the washable rug. I’ve been looking all over for washable rugs for my parents’ kitchen, so I was happy to find this one. You can tell the kids love it. Which probably means they’ll love wandering in here after football practice to get dirt all over it. Which is why it’s so great you can just plop it into the washing machine.

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Dear Diary,

This year is the first year in quite a while (since college?) that I’m not doing Thanksgiving with my family. This is for a number of reasons, mainly that we have nowhere to host it. My parents kitchen is aeons away from being finished (due to a series of frustrating delays that have nothing to do with the fire that almost burned their house down), my sister and her wife just had a baby and don’t want that many people in their house, and my brother and his wife always spend Thanksgiving with her family so they can do Christmas with us. I guess I could host, but I only have one guest bedroom so there’s nowhere to house everyone, and everyone hates coming to LA because it’s so stressful and annoying to get around (Also, I’m from Northern California where everyone hates LA).

So this year is going to be more of a Friendsgiving kind of year. I’ll be doing Thanksgiving with a group of friends so I was excited to work with World Market to share some of my favorite of their harvest hosting pieces. I’ve always been a fan of World Market because of their inventory of affordable and unique items from around the world. And anyone who knows me knows I love good serving items. I have a whole closet filled with them. Below are my favorites from World Market‘s Thanksgiving hosting collection, many of which can be used every day.

Resources: White Casserole BakerYellow Casserole Baker, Measuring Spoon SetRadish Tea Towel, Hey Sosi Original Paintings, Raku Vase by Me.

The seascape I had in my kitchen recently got destroyed by a coffee maker gone rogue, so I replaced it with these handmade paintings from HeySosi. I love these simple Casserole Bakers, which come in many a fun color. Full disclosure: I tend to love keeping everything simple and white in the kitchen (easiest to see food that way), so all my dishes, mugs, etc are white. I’m more a fan of the simple white version, but I also love the happy yellow color.

These Casserole Bakers solve an issue that most bakeware can’t: how to keep food hot while you’re serving. Most of the time when I’m serving side dishes I’ll put a dinner plate over the serving dish to keep the contents warm. This one you can just stick in the oven, and then take it out once the dish is ready and put the wood lid on. Why don’t all serving dishes come with cute wooden lids like this?

Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I am obsessed with the triple-friendship between Martha Stewart, her righthand man Kevin Sharkey, and their daddy photographer friend Douglas Friedman. I’m also obsessed with looking up recipes on Martha’s site, which I did to figure out what to do with this pre-cut butternut squash. Check Martha’s favorite recipes for butternut squash here.

Resources: Large Turkey PlatterGrey Stripe Tea Towel, Carving SetPumpkin Caserole Baker, Vase by Susanne French, Faucet from Delta Faucet

Ormomdo (if you don’t know who this is troll through my Insta) told me she needed a big serving platter, big enough for a turkey, so I found this one I plan on sending up to her. I love how simple this one is. I find that often I go out looking for simple servingware and everything I see has unnecessary details all over it. I don’t know why this is such a thing. I see it in furniture design as well. People tend to over-design things and add details until the whole thing is a complicated mess. My design mantra (that I scream at clients all the time) is that usually the simplest answer is the better answer. Don’t complicate things with flourishes that do nothing but bewilder your eyeballs and stress you out!

Resources: Yellow Casserole Baker, Floral Tea Towel, Marble Paddle Cheese BoardStainless Steel Roaster, Bertazzoni Range

I love Brussels sprouts but hate the way they smell. So when I serve them at my Friendsgiving I will most  definitely be using the wooden lid to keep in that gross smell.

Resources: Stainless Steel Roaster, Radish Tea TowelYellow Casserole Baker.

A roasting pan is essential for any host’s kitchen, but I didn’t have one so I was glad to find this simple stainless steel one. Now I just need to learn how to cook a turkey and I’ll be set. I cooked one last year but I already forgot how to do it. I just remember smothering lots of melted butter all over it every two minutes. IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO???

Resources: Marble Paddle Cheese Board, Salad Plates, Brass Salad Forks, Maple Leaf Napkins, Birch Candle, Red Wine Glass.

These live “pumpkin” tree branches got a lot of play in my Friendsgiving decor scheme. I knew the second I saw these at the grocery store that they weren’t actual pumpkins, but it took a good deal of online sleuthing to verify this. These are actually a variety of eggplant grown to look like pumpkin. So basically your whole life has been a lie.

Resources: Pumpkin Caserole Baker, Olivewood LadleGrey Stripe Tea Towel, Glass Lanterns.

I love a harvest pumpkin shape, so I immediately ran over and hugged this pumpkin casserole baker when I saw it. I paired it with that wooden ladle, which reminded me of the type of ladle an old witch would use to try and serve you a poisonous potion (in a good way).

Resources: House Shaped Terrarium, Multicolor Stripe Placemat, Dinner..

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