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Spring 2018 News from Menu


Phew! What a week! This post was originally drafted almost a week ago however Thursday night we had to take our sweet little girl into the ER. If you follow me on IG Stories then you might have seen some of the updates. Poor thing woke up with a lot of pain and was screaming. Long story short the ER doctor said she had Torticollis, something we had never heard of before that night. Friday and Saturday were tough days at home, trying to keep her comfortable and her neck still. Today she is almost 100% again, which is an enormous relief as I felt so bad to see her in pain. Tomorrow we consult with a physical therapist to make sure she's healing alright but for now I just want to catch up and tie off loose ends form last week and share news and incredibly inspiring images from Menu's SS '18 catalog!



When to remodel and when to look for a new home


photo by Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home of Lotta Agaton's styling for Tisca Rugs

There are pros and cons to everything including trying to evaluate when you consider what kind of house to buy. For years my husband and I have gone back and forth about this topic, a fixer-upper offers you some savings up front but then the renovations, not only can they add up but it can be time comping. A home that is move-in ready limits the amount of time that you will spend on renovations.

There are many factors that need to be considered before making a purchase. Older homes come with surprises that are hiding in the walls or attics or foundations. Electrical and plumbing may be something that you need to include in your budget, and I know first hand how quickly this can add up after our kitchen renovation several years ago. Before buying a house that needs major remodeling, you'll want to invest in a good home inspection to identify any problem areas that may exist in the home.

Do your research on local contractors and remodeling agencies in the area to save time if you aren't planning on living in the home during any renovations. For instance, if looking at a fixer-upper in Pacific Beach, La Jolla or similar areas, you might want to check out the top San Diego bathroom remodeling services to get a sense for the cost of upgrading the property.

The primary benefit is that you will be able to remodel the home to your exact style and needs which obviously is a great advantage if you aren't crazy about the current style of the house or of the contractor houses in your area. This approach applies to virtually all strata of residential property, from premier Santa Barbara real estate to modest homes right off main street.

Newer homes naturally come with a higher price tag because everything is completed and of course, new. Some of the benefits are having brand new appliances, not having to pay both a mortgage payment and rent at the same time and saving an incredible amount of time rather than being patient as your remodeling completion date keeps being pushed back.

Something else to consider is that older homes have stood the test of time. They often have larger dimensions of wood in their framing versus newer construction that can use more engineered styles of wood at a smaller dimension. It might be more less damaging to the environment to redo an existing home and start from scratch. And older homes have established yards and larger trees, where new homes have new everything, and that can be good or bad depending on your perspective.

Ultimately there are drawbacks to either type of home so you you have to decide what is most important to you. Get out an old fashioned notepad and paper and jot down what is most important to you in a house. Then write a list of pros and cons to remodeling or purchasing new. Sometimes putting your thoughts to paper and seeing them in black and white can really offer direction if you are feeling stuck in the middle. Another idea would be to talk with friends who have done both and find out what their experience is like. We are still undecided but leaning more in the direction of fixing up an existing home. I like having mature trees and even a new home won't be my style! Either way, happy hunting!

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A minimal hillside house in Norway, made from 6 cubes


A home in Norway was created using 6 cubes of varying sizes that are intended to give the residents a cozy feel as a shelter from the Nordic winter days and nights by Norm Architects. The concept of the cluster design overlaps one another giving dwellers the feeling of togetherness without inhabiting one room. The house, situated near the town of Gjøvik and Mjøsa Lake, is situated on a hillside that overlooks a woodland area. Cold concrete contrasts warm wood materials which are repeated seamlessly throughout the house, varying subtly in finish from room to room to mark separation from one space to the next.


A minimalist escape in France, by Nicholas Schuybroek


The minimalist holiday home, S House, was recently complete by Belgian architects Nicolas Schuybroek of NS Architects In Cap d'Antibes, Côte d'Azur, France. The modern architecture juxtaposes the natural surroundings with the strong use of concrete. Indoors however the same minimal principles from the outside were applied. Concrete flooring and walls further accentuate while natural light floods in through carefully positioned skylights above the two master bedrooms’ shower stalls. Neutral toned furniture and wood-finishes add to the overall minimalist scheme of the S House.


Win a rug! Giveaway with Mum's Designs


Earlier this week I posted a giveaway with Mum's from Finland. They make these fantastic, fair trade rugs and you can win this one for yourself if you head over to IG and leave a comment tagging 1 friend. Extra entries if you repost this to your Facebook. Good luck!

How to create a capsule wardrobe with Andy Heart

Nearly one year ago exactly I spent the first month of 2017 discussing minimalism on the blog with A Month of Minimalism. Pretty straightforward title right? January is always a month for me that contrasts December, and I suspect many others feel the same way. The pendulum always swings the other way doesn't it? From a month of decadent foods, nostalgic decor and extra partying, we find ourselves on the other side of all that when January arrives. Maybe not the first few days but once the holiday decor and food have been swept out of your home, one can find themselves wanting to streamline for the new year.

As part of the series I shared a little feature with Apphia Michaels, who has a very selective style, even with two kids. She mentioned the idea of a capsule wardrobe and the thought of it has never left my mind. Fast forward to this year and I have the amazing Ann Kim from Andy Heart, an expert in great style and dressing minimally, give us her own take on creating a capsule wardrobe and the key pieces to start with! I can't imagine where I'd start with such a task but Ann makes it look so simple. If you've ever wondered about those key basic items every wardrobe needs or if you've wanted to try creating a capsule wardrobe for yourself, this is the perfect place to start!

1. Trenchcoat: This versatile piece looks just as good worn buttoned up and alone as it does casually over a pair of jeans or a dress.
2. Blazer: From jeans and a t-shirt to an evening suit or silky slip, the black blazer is one of the key pieces in high rotation in my wardrobe.
3. Cashmere Sweater: One essential I always have in my closet. The Everlane cashmere sweater is lightweight, soft and the perfect fit.
4. Dress: The versatile black slip dress can be layered over a thin sweater or under a leather jacket. The slip works from day to night.
5. Tank/Tee: A classic effortless piece for layering or wearing alone.
6. Everyday Denim: A good pair of jeans that fit your body. I love my vintage Levis but for the perfect fit I get them tailored to fit just right.
7. Black trousers: A good tailored pant is my go-to and nothing beats a beautifully cut pair of cropped pants.
8. Bag: The perfect everyday bag should fit all your essentials and can be worn more than one way. As a shoulder or a top handle bag.
9. Jewelry: Love this distinctive yet timeless piece by Kat Kim that adds something unique to your everyday look.
10. OOPS, I can't count!
11. Pumps: This style works dressed up or down, adding a feminine touch to any outfit.
12. Sneakers: The perfect nonchalant piece that works across just about any occasion.
13. Flats: These Martiniano flats are my everyday shoe, comfortable and easy to pair with any look.

You can stay connected with Ann over at Andy Heart, on Facebook and Instagram!

8 favorite kitchens


Comprehensive lists like this are a little daunting for me to compose because the moment I hit the "publish" button there will be another kitchen, another home that I adore and found too late to add to this list. So if I'm real honest, I've been collecting these over the course of a couple months, hoping to track down some of my most adored kitchen spaces.
Almost 4 years ago we renovated our own kitchen and since then, as you might imagine, my tastes have changed. Our mostly white kitchen is still bright and cheery and super clean looking (when it's actually clean) but now I'm drawn much more to muted colors, greys and warm taupes with an all over color. New materials or new places for food preparation never cease to inspire like open fire cooking or even a Brown Jordan outdoor kitchen. Or kitchens with lime was backsplashes or dark wood cabinets doors. While my tastes have changed some, these kitchens stand out as some of my most favorite and I've gathered what I could find to share with you!

1/ Monochrome
Practically a singular color, this matte moleskin painted concept kitchen created by Lotta Again for last year's Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, photographed by the talented Katerina from ODL.

2/ MDF
I've really embraced using out-of-the-ordinary materials in a kitchen but even I'm surprised by how nice this MDF kitchen from Plaza Interior looks. Painted with a clear matte finish, the color is like that of craft paper or cardboard but it looks ever so nice with brass handles and marble counters.

3/ Brass

Robert Lindvall's kitchen design includes a brass plated island. I'm unsure of how this sort of material wears with food and water but I'm sure it patinas into a very rich a organic color. This against the valchromat cabinets is quite striking.

4/ Elegant

A large kitchen with ample storage, ladder included, and a central kitchen island for easy access to counter space from Kobenhavns Mobelsnedkeri.

5/ Soft minimalism

Cheery and bright this from Bulthaup kitchen proves you don't need white to have plenty of light in the kitchen.

6/ Dark

Norm Architects designed this dark on dark kitchen for The Silo with dark wooden cabinets, countertops, backsplash and even tap.

7/ Furniture-like

This kitchen lacks upper cabinets and the bottoms have legs, resembling a piece of furniture rather than kitchen cabinets. Photographed by Fanny Hansson for Nordiska Kök.

8/ Accented in chrome

A home I shared last summer feels distinct by it's styling with chrome accents, hardware and pale wood counters.

9/ Warm wood

A kitchen by Garde Hvalsøe, who also happened to make the personal kitchen of renowned chef Rene Redzepi. The all wood look is beautiful and simple.

A collection of furniture that resembles cuddly creatures


French designer Pierre Yovanovitch has designed a collection of chairs which resembles bears and inspired by the fairytale of Goldilocks. The chairs come in three sizes including Papa, Mama and baby chair. Recently they were on display in New York for an exhibition titled OOPS at Tribeca gallery R & Company.

"I sought to make it, in a way, a dialogue between 20th and 21st century design – while I have a passion for contemporary works, I also feel as though paying homage to historical design disciplines is an act of respect as a designer."

A set of lights by Yovanovitch was named ET, due to a resemblance to the iconic alien in Steven Spielberg's 1982 movie.

Welcome, 2018


I never did schedule a post for Christmas day or even Christmas Eve but I wanted to make sure to wish everyone a Happy New Year! 2017 was a greta year in many respects but I have new goals for 2018 and am making them a priority. More on that later.

For now, I leave you with my most sincere thank you. Thank you for so much for reading, for commenting, for reposting and following along. I'm incredibly grateful to have been able to blog another year and to have a place to share inspiration and projects.

Wishing you all health, joy and peace for the new year!

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