The Top Posts from 2014 + Happy 1st Birthday!!!


Christmas Tour 2014

My Humble Holiday Home...

The Unique Nest has been quiet these past few weeks and will probably remain that way throughout the Christmas season. Because for me, Christmas is about family, faith, reflection, and did I mention family? 

As much as I love to look at magazines, websites and blogs filled with beautifully decorated homes, perfect Christmas trees and gorgeous tablescapes - the reality at my home is much different. Nothing is perfect - none of the decor really matches, and most of what I have was hand made by one of my children. While I'd be lying to say this doesn't slightly drive me and my OCD a little crazy, it's exactly what makes Christmas so special.

It's taken some time for me to realize that it's not about the glitz and the glam, but about displaying memories and heirlooms that make Christmas so special! So here is a look at my not so perfect, but festive home for the holidays...


My simple entrance to our home...


Happy Thanksgiving!


Modern Country Bathroom: With a Splash of Gold!

Today's post is brought to you by guest blogger Zoe Blake from the UK-based bathroom retailer "My-Bathrooms". Zoe brings a professional aesthetic and strong sense of design when it comes to bathrooms in the home. I hope you enjoy our guest post and find it helpful or inspirational in your home design/decor...

In search for ideas to create your very own country bathroom with a modern touch? My name is Zoe and I believe your bathroom needs to be practical but it should also be beautiful! Here is how to achieve the perfect modern country bathroom: encompassing all the practical mod-cons while retaining (or attaining) an air of rural comfort and relaxation!



Twirl & Take a Bow Linky Party

Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I'm here as a guest co-host from The Unique Nest! I'm thrilled to have been part of this great Twirl and Take a Bow linky party for the past several weeks and I'm super excited to present this week's features. 

Thanksgiving Inspiration from Pinterest

Seeking out holiday inspiration on Pinterest is just too much fun isn't it? The amount of clever, crafty and inspirational ideas out there is simply incredible! Like you, I turn to Pinterest to seek out inspiration for my holiday decor when I'm feeling like I need a brain boost (which is exactly how I feel right now).

While I'll start my Christmas decorating over the next couple weeks, I'm fixated on the gorgeous, understated elegance of Thanksgiving. So I put together some of my favorite Thanksgiving pins from Pinterest to share with you today...
What's inspiring you this Thanksgiving? What look are you going for? I would love to read your comments and see your boards on Pinterest! Share below in the comment section and let's inspire one another....have a great day! xoxo Laura

Twirl & Take a Bow {Linky Party}

It's that time of the week again where we get to share some incredible ideas and get inspired by the looks and creations of so many talented people! This past weekend, I was feeling festive so I got a head start on outdoor Christmas decor. I figured I could hang up some lights and get things done before temperatures start to get too cold in upstate New York. Have you started your holiday decorating yet? So much to do, but so little time right? 

Let's hope you can get some ideas and inspiration from tonight's link party --- let's get thing started!!!

Sheet Music Holiday Wreath

"Jazzing" up your holiday decor with a fun DIY project!

Have you started thinking about your holiday decor yet?

Master of The House

A Space to Retreat, Relax and "Follow Your Dreams"
(literally & figuratively --- and yes, I love Les Mis)


Twirl & Take a Bow Linky Party

It's time to Twirl and Take a Bow!


Caramel Apple Cider Martini

Halloween Treats aren't just for kids after all :)

* Images by William LeBlanc Studio *
By now you must know how much I love Halloween!  A day to be different, a day to celebrate, and a day to entertain! While much of the focus is spent on costumes and candy, I'd like to offer up a cocktail that's delicious and simple for the well as a virgin version for the kiddos!


Old meets New {Vision Board}

Antique Furnishings mixed with New Pieces

I worked on a living room vision board this week that I'm loving. The super fun part about vision boards is that you're able to create your own inspirational graphic that can help steer you in a design direction without making an actual purchase or commitment. It's a great way to begin a project and see how pieces would work together.


Twirl & Take a Bow Linky Party

Hey friends! It's that time of the week again we where are twirling around and taking a bow at our Monday night linky party! I'm having so much fun as a guest co-host and love seeing all of the incredible ideas that everyone is sharing.

I've been spending these past couple of weeks getting the house ready for one of our favorite days of the year---Halloween! With only a couple days to go, and costume revisions to be made for the kiddos, I'm feeling as excited as they are. Anyone else still feel like a kid on Halloween too? 

Enjoy the holiday everyone and be safe!



My "Mini" Gallery Wall

Creating Visual Interest (on the cheap!)

Since moving into our second new home in just two years, I have been in no rush to hurry up and put holes in these newly sheet rocked walls. In my last home, I was in a crazy rush to hurry up and hang everything and make it all PERFECT! This house is different. 


Twirl & Take a Bow Linky Party

Week #2 as a guest co-host for the {Twirl & Take a Bow} linky party (woo hoo)! Last week there were so many great link-ups that my head was spinning trying to read through all the amazing and clever ideas. Let's keep the sharing coming again this week!

This past week I spent some time capturing photos of my home for Halloween. After all, it is one of my favorite days of the year, so there's a little pressure to display that enthusiasm in my decor. However - if you're like most of us, and are super pressed for time, check out this cute pumpkin I made with a little chevron burlap and stick-on sequins from Michael's craft store:

Halloween Details in My Home

Halloween for many is an annoying day where pesky little kids come running around and terrorizing the neighborhood in search of more refined sugar than any human being should ever consume. For others, it's the holiday of all holidays --- and this is the case with my crazy family, ever since I can imagine. We aren't, and never have been, into all the Halloween gore. But we certainly love us some Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus, The Halloween that Almost Wasn't, Mr. Boogedy (and the list goes on). We are the adults that are probably more excited about Halloween then the kids (cue Michael Jackson's "Thriller"). 

Twirl & Take a Bow Linky Party

Happy Columbus Day friends! I'm not sure about you, but I'm thinking every weekend should be a three-day weekend! Nothing like a perfect fall day to recharge the batteries and soak up the colors of autumn.  I actually stepped out of {my nest} these past few days and drove through the countryside in many of my favorite upstate New York spots! Sometimes, in order to spark creativity and inspiration, you just need a time out from the hustle and bustle of life.


Spooky Halloween :: Thistle & Poppy Frames

BOO! Are you crazy over Halloween? Want to switch up your decor a bit and have fun? Then check out what I've done with these amazing frames by Thistle & Poppy {with a little help from Michael's Craft Store and Martha Stewart}.

FALL-ing for my Porch

Inviting decor for my favorite time of year...

Autumn in upstate New York is (to me) - the most magical time of year! The colors are so vibrant and glowing, everything feels alive. The great harvest is upon us and the fruits of our labor are abundant. Pumpkins, squashes and gourds make great soups and great seasonal decor! 

~Envisioning My Dream Apartment~

A Trip Back in Time...

A couple weeks ago, an interesting question was posed that really got me thinking:

"If you could go back in time to your first apartment, with the style and taste for design you have now, what would it look like?" 

This question arose from a company named Modani (they specialize in modern furniture pieces). I really love their selection and wanted to mix their sense of modern, with my taste of eclectic and feminine.

Now - I don't know about your first apartment, but I was as broke as broke can be when I had mine. Hand-me-down furniture was the theme of my first space. Nonetheless, I loved the freedom of having it be mine. So to think of an apartment, where I could afford nice "things" and actually define my style, well this was a challenge that I was up to! When I think of apartment life, I think of entertaining because I did so much of that when I was younger. To me, entertaining means people, and people need seating. So I decided to create my vision board around a living room concept.

My Dream Look...

The room ended up taking on a very Moroccan feel, even though that wasn't what I necessarily had in mind when I started out. I wanted a room that was feminine yet bold, with patterns and colors that felt inviting.


Powder Bath Mini-Makeover

Turning a Standard Bath into a Custom Space

A few months back I was contacted by the lovely Casey family, who were seeking some advice on their powder bath. They knew they wanted to change the flooring and give the bathroom some "wow" factor, but like so many others, they weren't sure where to start. The Casey's have two small boys - and as is the case with most little boys I know - they are active. Therefore durability was a big factor.


A Kitchen Fit for a Queen

$2,000 DIY Kitchen Makeover with some serious ELBOW GREASE

When homeowner and mother of three Tracy Morrell hired me to give her kitchen a complete overhaul for $2,000 - I was immediately up for the challenge! Tracy longed for a space to cook and entertain in that was functional and modern. She wanted light and airy with a country flare.

Like many of us, Tracy had a tight budget BUT was willing to make up for it by doing a lot of the work herself. Even though it meant spending her time during her summer off from teaching, Tracy was ready to work and up for the challenge.

When I first met with Tracy at her home, this is what her kitchen looked like:
Outdated formica countertops in a bright blue color overwhelmed the space and were paired with a burnt orange paint color. Along with that, Tracy complained that the space looked cluttered and lacked "wow" factor...

I considered all of Tracy's wishes and went to work. Much of the time I spent on this project was devoted to budgeting and materials selection, being that we had tight confines to work within. I came up with a plan and here's what it looked like...

To bring this kitchen up to date and give it a more modern, open feel, I went with neutral earth-tone colors that would feel timeless and also open-up the space. Since new cabinetry was not an option, we opted to paint the existing cabinets and give them a fresh new look. 

For counters, we went with a formica surface (again for budgetary reasons - as the kitchen island is HUGE and had to be kept for work space). Here is the color we selected...
Tracy painted the entire downstairs and stairwell of her home by herself (with some help from her kids) before moving onto the cabinets...Goodbye Honey Mustard!

I wanted to give Tracy that "wow" factor or unique talking point that people would love when they came to visit. There were actually two "wow" factors I came up with:

1) Backsplash
2) Rough Cut stained lumber on the kitchen header (used Rust-oleum wood stain as pictured below)

For the stained header feature, I used rough-cut Hemlock and four different wood stains - here's the step by step of what I did:

(Yes - I began staining for this project during quite a thunderstorm...what can I say...I'm dedicated)

After my boards were stained in all four tones, I played around with patterns and how I would lay it all out...

I was thrilled to find a backsplash that worked perfectly with the tones of stain I had selected for this project... (Oil Rubbed Bronze hardware I selected for the cabinets is also pictured below)
Now for the dirty are some additional BEFORE photos of the kitchen as we embarked on the job...

Let the priming begin! Tracy used both a sprayer and roller to prime and paint her cabinets...
 She even came up with a handy dandy "hanging" process...GO Tracy!!!
 Tracy enlisted the help of her teenage son for much of the project...

 The cabinets came out AWESOME and saved Tracy thousands of dollars!

 Now time to tackle the unsightly header that Tracy hated in her kitchen...bring on the nail gun!
My contractor (who also happens to be my brother) and I decided to not make the boards look too patterned. We selected random pieces and nailed them into the header.
 We worked our way across the kitchen header until it was completely covered...

Next we tackled detail work, which tends to be the most time consuming. My brother custom built a new cabinet to fit an existing space that was empty and lacked functionality.  Tracy installed the new cabinet hardware on her own (again saving money)...

The kitchen really started coming together the day the old blue counters were ripped out and the new ones installed...check out the difference!

After counters it was onto backsplash. Tracy had a family member install the tile and it saved her tons of cash!

The end result...

After weeks (about 4 weeks to be exact) of work and patience...Tracy's hard work and dedication paid off! Her kitchen renovation was complete and for only $2,000 in total (WOW!) Here is the outcome...

 Did I mention that Tracy is the Queen of home made salsa, pickles and everything else!
 A once open and wasted space is now functional and aesthetically pleasing...
(The bottom shelve doubles as a place to store the microwave) 
 The backsplash adds depth and character to this kitchen...

A new Oil Rubbed Bronze faucet I purchased from eBay makes the sink (which is actually the original sink) look brand new and it matches the new countertop perfectly!
 New pulls spruce up the island and match the faucet...

Tracy added wainscoting and trim to the back of the island and gave it a custom feel without spending "custom" dollars...

Here are some more detail pics from the makeover...
 Industrial style lighting gives new energy to the eating area...

Last but CERTAINLY not least...the little lady behind this big renovation...Tracy in her new kitchen and loving the outcome!

I'm so grateful that Tracy gave me this opportunity and it was a pleasure to work with her and her beautiful family...congratulations Tracy!
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