Old House Design Shopping

Using New Technology in an Old Home

October 11, 2017


[Our Nest Thermostat sits pretty in our entryway]

My style walks a line somewhere between modern minimal and traditional. I love clean lines and new technology but I also have such a fondness for old things and craftsmanship. It can seem tricky to mix modern technology in an old home, but there are a lot of well-designed gadgets out there that are pretty nice to look at can fit right into a well-designed home.

I’ve gathered up a few items that we use and love plus some that that are on my wishlist.

[ Nest Protect | Samsung The Frame TV | Ring Video Doorbell | Sonos Play:1 |
Nest Thermostat | Aura + Jonathan Adler ]

When we moved into our house, the rooms had fairly new smoke detectors (the cheapest available) and some very old looking carbon monoxide detectors. We couldn’t tell when they were installed and to be safe, wanted to update and upgrade. We’ve been switching out our old detectors with new Nest Protects every few months. They talk to our phones, let us know if any smoke or carbon monoxide is detected, and check their own battery levels. A nice bonus feature is that they can act like a nightlight by detecting motion and lighting up a pathway, perfect if you stumble around in the dark like me.

The Samsung The Frame TV is on my never-gonna-happen-we-just-bought-a-new-tv list. There are lots of clever ways to disguise a TV or make it blend into a gallery wall, but this is the most stunning option I’ve seen. When it’s not playing your fav shows, it displays artwork with a realistic looking mat. Plus, you can pick up thin wooden frames to add a traditional framed art look.

My favorite piece of tech we’ve bought for the house is our Ring Doorbell. It detects motion in front of our house and sends notifications to our phones. We know when our mail is delivered, when FedEx shows up, when the DHL guy looks through our stack of packages, and when deer stop by to snack on our flowers. We can see and talk to anyone who rings the bell and let them know we’re too busy to answer the door or to leave packages without a signature. This has truly made me feel safe in our home. Plus, the matte black cover looks sleek against our home’s brick exterior and it works with our old hanging chimes in our entryway.

Sonos is one of those things we thought was neat but that we didn’t really need. We started using them at work and it wasn’t long before we picked one up for ourselves. We use ours in the kitchen and Andy listens to his favorite podcasts while he makes us coffee in the morning and washes dishes at night. The speakers come in white or black (we chose white) which will work with any space, light or dark.

Paired with our Nest Protect we have two Nest Thermostats. Our heat is gas and our A/C is electric so we have installed one for each. It is so nice to have it on a schedule so that our house is set to the perfect temperature when we’re home, but not when we’re away. The thermostats work with the Nest app which does a million things but I enjoy being able to crank the heat up a few degrees without having to wiggle out from under my blankets.

Aura is a digital photo display styled like a traditional picture frame. They recently partnered with Jonathan Adler for an exclusive rich navy blue design with gold trim. This touch of Alder glam would look stunning in a traditional home with moody tones and paneled walls. It syncs with your phone to update the frame with your most recent pictures, recognizing the people you take photos of most and even filtering out your nudes. Technology!

What am I missing? What technology are you using in your home that you can’t live without?

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions on these products are my own.

Interiors Inspiration Shopping The Scenery House

Deep Green Guest Bedroom Vibes

June 19, 2017


[sources: Aurelie Lecuyer | Rue Magazine | By Thornam ]

Ever since I went with a deep, moody blue shade in our living room, I’ve been looking for the right room to paint the deepest, darkest green. I’ve always associated dark colors with traditional decor, but I’m seeing moody walls paired with modern pieces more and more. The images above are clean, uncluttered and simple with just the right amount of texture.

I have to thank Deuce Cities Henhouse for inspiring me to pair our unpainted wood trim with dark walls. She is fantastic. And this look worked so well in the living room that I knew I needed to do it again. The guest room (already affectionately called the “green room“) was the first room to pop into my mind.


[ Black Evergreen Paint | Curtains | Flush Mount Light | Frame | Print | Bed (similar) | Vase | Bowl Planter | Dresser | Rug | Lamp | Nightstand | Duvet Cover | Pink Pillow | Square Pillow | Sheets | Basket ]

I want the room to feel cozy and clean while looking like it was assembled over time. To get the sort of “accumulated style” I’m seeing in my head, I’ll need to pick up pieces from a variety of sources in finishes that go together but don’t exactly match. The bed (which we already own) is an older IKEA style with a rattan headboard in a natural finish. I could go matchy with light wood night stands but I’d rather add contrast with black metal nightstands with brass pulls. I think any room needs at least one vintage piece and I’d love to find a gorgeous mid century dresser like this one from Chairish. I’ve been hunting craigslist and thrift stores for the perfect fit. A good light is so essential to the overall vibe of a room – we just installed a Cedar & Moss Conifer Flush Mount in our bedroom and absolutely love it – and I’m tempted to just spring for another one in the guest room. I like to go neutral on duvets (I’m dreaming of this linen one from Parachute Home) and add color and texture with printed sheets and throws. I can’t seem to decorate a single room in my house without at least one pink accent, so this room will be no exception. And there’s no color that looks better with pink than deep green.

Would you paint any room in your home this dark?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and buy, I’ll get a few cents. All opinions on these products are my own.

Interior Styling The Scenery House

Oh Hi, Design Sponge!

June 12, 2017

Oh my goodness! Welcome Design Sponge friends! I am totally flattered to have a tour of our home on my most favorite design blog ever. It’s honestly a dream come true.


This tour pushed me out of my comfort zone – I 100% did not believe the house was ready for this sort of thing yet. But then I talked myself through some facts like that this house will never be completely perfect, that it’s going to evolve with time, and that I need to chill out.

Check out our home tour on Design Sponge now!

The Scenery House

You Have to Start Somewhere – The Second Floor

April 30, 2017

I shared the listing photos of the first floor of our house last time and I’m back to show you the second (and third!) floor of our house, just as we first saw them.

This is the landing. And as I mentioned last time, the entryway/staircase/hallway walls were painted white when we first saw it but isn’t it nice to know it used to be this color? Dried flower arrangement on a door – the perfect touch. More chairs! From this view, you can see the smaller of the 3 bedrooms and the door to the 3rd floor.

This is the smaller bedroom and one that belonged to a teenage girl. It has two small square windows which are very cute and painted white. There are, of course, two kinds of window treatments on these windows. Oh yeah, and peep that chair rail.

Next is what we are affectionately still calling “the green room.” This was a boy’s room with a light space theme. The boob lamp on the ceiling has a great space design that glows in the dark. Our guests have been loving it.

This leads us to the bathroom. THE BATHROOM. Girl. Patterns on patterns on patterns in here. The toile shower curtain matches the 2nd layer of window treatments matches the sconce shades matches the skirt that was GLUED onto the original pedestal sink. When we moved in, the toilet had been replaced along with the shower curtain which now matched the wallpaper exactly. Oh, did you notice the wallpaper? Did you notice the border on top of the wallpaper? And lastly, because the more I stare at this picture, the more I remember: the shower curtain rings were covered in black ruffle covers like tiny scrunchies.

This is the master bedroom, which is pretty huge. There is more chair rail in here which I ripped down during our first weekend of ownership. Very fancy in here like a bed and breakfast. So many window treatments and so many cobwebs behind them.

Here’s the other side. The wardrobe is placed in front of a space that used to be a fireplace. There’s a nice bit of closet space in here plus a walk in closet built into the space above the sunroom. You can see the ensuite bathroom here and more tiny rugs leading to it. In this shot it looks like the original windows were still in place but were replaced with cheap vinyl windows when we bought it.

This leads us to the 3rd floor which runs the full width of the house and is finished. It has an exposed brick chimney and 4 small windows.

Here’s the other side. This is a great space despite the shiny walls. The unfortunate thing is that the former owners kept their cat up here and it didn’t take the move very well. The whole floor has a terrible cat pee smell, even after we removed the carpet and scrubbed the wood floors underneath them. I’m not sure if refinishing or painting the floors will help remove the smell. I have great hopes for this space as either a big extra bedroom or a photo studio space.

And that’s it for the listing tour! Through all of the extra stuff (so extra), I hope you see the amazing potential we saw, still see, and keep finding more of.

Interior Styling The Scenery House

Sneak Peek: Bathroom Details with Serena & Lily

April 24, 2017

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

When Serena & Lily asked me to review one of their products I couldn’t have been more excited. Their line is sophisticated, elegant and downright classy – a few things I aspire to be. Andy and I have been working hard to get our home’s original black and white tiled bathroom restored and pretty again and although I’m not ready to do a full reveal yet, I want to show you some details.

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

I’ve been shopping around for accents to go with our newly refreshed bathroom so this little partnership was perfectly timed. I chose the Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Collection as a modern yet timeless complement to this classic room. Our new set of hand towels and bath towels in Dove Grey pair beautifully with our freshly painted blush walls.

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

Pink tones and gray tones are a classic combination and work well with the white and black tile accents. The towels are bright white with wide light gray stripes and thin, darker gray stripes. The towels have a soft woven cotton front with a terry backing to give the elegant look of a Turkish towel with the absorbency and feel of a terry towel. These really feel so soft on the hands and are lovely to use.

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

Although we have an ensuite bathroom in our master bedroom, I prefer this bathroom with its feminine vibe and perfect sunlight. Whenever we have guests, I give them full use of this room and try to make it as tidy and useful as possible. With no available storage to speak of, I added an IKEA MOLGER cart to hold guest towels, a few essentials and some of my skincare favorites.

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

The bath towels even look pretty hanging to dry. Although the towels are gray with a bright white base, the white works well with our old tiles and doesn’t make them look dingy in comparison.

Classic blush bathroom with Serena & Lily Towels

Here’s a closer look at the front and back layers of the towel. Because these towels are comprised of two layers vs. the typical single layer, they require just a little extra futzing while folding to make them look crisp. I love these as summer towels because they are soft and light and thus dry quickly compared to our everyday thicker towels. The color is just as expected and the fabric and stitching are of excellent quality. The extra touch of class these towels add is exactly what the room needed.

I can’t wait to show you the full reveal of this room!

This post is sponsored by Serena & Lily. All opinions are my own.

Interior Styling The Scenery House

But What Rug Goes Best with Those Dark, Moody Walls?

April 9, 2017

I love rugs. When I decorate, I usually find myself picking a rug first and then building the whole room around it. And that’s probably the issue here because I started decorating our living room without a plan, just a bunch of quick decisions.

Here’s where we are now, no art on the walls and sporting a giant rug pad. We have the rug pad because I ordered a big traditional Persian rug the whole way back in November (this has been quite the saga) but decided it was just too much red and blue and shipped it back.

I went with dark walls to make the room cozier and bring out the unpainted woodwork – plus, I’ve been seeing them everywhere and they look gorgeous. To balance that out, I picked a light gray KIVIK from IKEA because it was budget friendly, the room is suited for a large sectional and we were dying to sprawl out in here. Our coffee table is marble with an iron base and I’ve brought in black and white and pink accents. And now I’m stuck.

A quick note on our TV situation – there just isn’t a great place for a TV in our living room but we love hanging out in here and watching Netflix, so we came up with a solution. We decided to put the TV on a cart that we can roll away into the sunroom when we want to be fancy for guests. The extension cord is temporary until Andy and my dad rewire a closer outlet into a 3 prong. Dealing with old house electrical is a treat and probably deserves its own post.

At the other end of the living room is Andy’s record collection and listening nook. In our apartment, his record collection was kept in the dining room and we were really happy to have room for it in our living room. The shag rug is too small for the space but works for now until we figure out the whole larger rug situation.

The room is a large rectangle and needs a rug that is at least a 9×12. That could be a lot of look and has the potential to change the vibe of the room. And at that size, it’s also a big spend so I want something that will last us a long time without feeling dated. With this in mind, it makes the most sense to go with something either traditional or simple. Andy would love a thicker, densely piled rug so flatweaves are out. To keep things clean, modern, and flexible, I’m thinking neutral is the way to go. That way, I can refresh accessories over time to make this thing last.

Here are some options I’m looking at:

[ 1. Tiger Stitch Rug | 2. Niles Rug | 3. Carmel Hand Knotted Rug | 4. Arlequin Cream Wool Rug | 5. Essouara Rug | 6. Basket Weave Textured Wool Rug ]

Here’s each option in mood board form.

This Tiger Stitch Rug from West Elm caught my eye months ago but its availability date keeps getting moved. It is ivory and navy and is likely to look lovely with our walls. The availability shifts and lack of additional product photos makes me hesitate on ordering this one.

The Niles Rug from Serena & Lily has a distinctly modern visual texture from the gray lines but enough imperfections to make it more classic. This is a very pricey option but a really nice one.

Another spendy option is the Serena & Lily Carmel Hand Knotted Rug. This gives a traditional vibe which would go well with the kilims I have throughout our home but is also an overall neutral.

Morrocan style rugs are pretty timeless but I’m wary of how trendy they’ve been lately. This pattern on this Arlequin Cream Wool Rug from eCarpetGallery might be unique enough and the price is great.

This is another beautiful Morrocan style rug with a modern twist in the form of small abstract shapes in muted colors. The Essouara Rug from Anthropologie is one of my favorites and looks insanely comfy.

Last up is this very neutral but very textured rug. It’s the Basket Weave Textured Wool Rug from Rejuvenation and it’s the type of rug that would add the right kind of visual texture but not steal the show.

Good heavens, please help. Which of these neutral options is your favorite? Am I going in the right direction with the neutral rugs or should I be thinking color?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and buy, I’ll get a few cents. All opinions on these products are my own.

Interior Styling The Scenery House

Get Your Glooms Out – How to Refresh Your Bedroom for Spring

April 4, 2017

This is our first spring with a house and the first time I’ve really thought about refreshing a room for a season. This past winter was also the first time I purchased winter-specific bedding as it was the first time in 7 years that our heating costs weren’t rolled in with our rent. Although we had the privilege of not paying for our heat, we also couldn’t control it and thus lived in a constant tropical state. The thought that spring would ever really be here hadn’t occurred to me until the Leesa Mattress folks asked me to write about spring cleaning. So, I set about figuring out what it means to clean and refresh for spring and it ended up being a big, satisfying mood booster.

Our down duvet and flannel duvet cover served us well this winter – our old house has drafty windows but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Right now, in Pittsburgh, the weather is really thinking about warming up and I think we’re finally through the weird in-between season where it will be 70 degrees one day and drop to 20 degrees the next.


[ Nate Berkus Collonade White Sheets | Organic Washed Cotton Duvet Cover | Dash Stitch Throw ]

I swapped out our heavy down duvet for a lighter down alternative version that will work well for us all the way through summer. I put away the flannel duvet cover and replaced it with a fresh white duvet with gray stitch details. There will be many chilly nights between now and summer so I added a throw for some extra warmth, color and texture. The sheets are a blush pink color with stripes and dashes which is about as much color as I can handle in bedding. Can you tell I have a thing for dash prints?


To help diffuse the bright spring and summer sun, we added some IKEA SKOGSKLOVER rolling shades that also add privacy. We’re working on adding these to all the windows in our house but for now, they’re just on the front and back windows. The IKEA shades are the perfect fit for our windows and look much more expensive than they are at about $20 each. They retract slowly as if motorized with just a tiny tug.

I’m so excited about the new, cheerier cut flowers that start showing up as spring rolls in. These delicate anemones are one of my favorite flowers.

Here are my tips for prepping your bedroom for spring:

  • Dust your walls and ceilings, get those cob webs hiding in the corners and on the ceilings. I like to use a Swiffer duster wipe on a floor wand.
  • Give your rugs that extra vacuum, maybe even vacuum underneath them for good measure.
  • Switch out winter linens for lighter ones. Textiles lighter in visual weight and actual weight will freshen your space and keep you comfy.
  • Drape a light blanket on your bed for chillier nights.
  • Swap out winter candles for cut flowers and greenery.
  • Take this opportunity to rotate or flip your mattress, because when else will you remember?

The idea for this post came from the folk at Leesa Mattress but it is not a sponsored post. All captured spider webs, dusted dust, loads of laundry and opinions are mine.