Friday, October 17, 2014


(with an owl Halloween decoration if you're wondering what the fuzzy black thing is!)

This was the sad state of my family room bookshelves. It's embarrassing given my profession. I didn't have anything all that great to display on my bookshelves so I used them mostly to store my magazine subscriptions. Slowly these shelves became a catch-all for any magazine or book that came into my home. And the DVD player on the top?! Who even watches DVDs anymore? And that unsightly receiver - the necessary evil of any family room that has a TV. I needed to find a way to make it not so obvious.

My sweet Grandma, who had amazing taste and a vast collection of antiques recently passed away at 96 years-old. I was lucky enough to inherit some of her antiques, including some really great old leather-bound books and figurines/jars. I wanted to display these new objects, so I felt like it was time to redo these shelves and give them a little love.

Where to start?!

1. Take EVERYTHING off your shelves. A clean slate is necessary to get the old set-up out of your mind. In fact, after you empty your shelves, walk away and do something else for a minute so you can come back and see the empty bookshelves in a new light. I know this sounds funny - but this is what I had to do to clear my mind of the old set-up and think of something new!

2. Lay out everything you are thinking about displaying on your shelves. You can do this in a variety of ways. I recommend putting the must-haves in a section so you know what you need for your base. Then lay out all of the other objects/books/etc. and look for coordinating colors, textures and sizes.

3. Put the must-haves on the shelves in no particular order. I knew I wanted my Grandma's Emily Post Etiquette book on the shelf (it's a family tradition to read from it every now and then and teach us some manners). And the porcelain horse reminds me of my Grandfather who raced horses, so I definitely wanted that on the shelf. The leather-bound books are not really meaningful besides the fact they came from my Grandma, but pretty and cool, and books (for a bookshelf, ha) so these were going on the shelves for sure. And the planter and preserved boxwood seemed like good accessories to go with my must-haves.

4. Look for similar colors, heights, and sizes and keep them either grouped or dispersed throughout the shelves.

I randomly started setting things on the shelves around my must-haves. Looking at the shelves I saw 4 groups of objects - by color. 1) Red tones 2) Blue/Green Tones 3) Whites 4) Golds. Grouping by color is the easiest way to make sense of what you have on your shelves. I like to balance the groups by keeping them scattered amongst the shelves, rather than grouped all together.
Mark D. Sikes
Above is an example of dispersing colors and similar objects throughout the shelves. Notice the ginger jars and pops of red on the books - scattered in a way that gives balance.


Group them all together like this photo...
Habitually Chic
They grouped everything by color and size and it looks great! This is a very easy way to organize your shelves that I highly recommend for first-timers.

5. Spacing. Make sure to allow blank space to show by mixing heights of objects and setting books/objects apart from each other.

I decided to "frame" the horse by splitting up the book collection. It made a more dramatic effect by having that space between them. On the top shelf, however, I felt like there was too much space between the horizontal and vertical books. Too much space just looks incomplete or like something is missing, right?

6. Take a picture, rearrange, take another picture, rearrange... This is the process I went through for about 30 minutes! Just snapping photos, looking at the picture and seeing what seemed out of place, or out of balance. For some reason, when you photograph something you see it in another light and it is really helpful for seeing color and balance.

7. Be Happy. And finally, even though it isn't perfect (as nothing is) I felt like this was good enough. I accomplished everything I wanted to. I organized. I displayed my inherited pieces. And I somewhat camouflaged my receiver with two photo books I wanted easily accessed.

It's a lot better than then before...

Below are close-ups of what I used on my shelves. Can I add that 80% of the items on these shelves have meaning and/or purpose. That is really important to me. My motto - THOUGHTFUL DESIGN. I can't stand decorating with "props". I feel like I'm living in a magazine or furniture store. Not good.

There are lot's of great posts on how to style a bookshelf. Here are some of my favorites.

Lessons in Design: Bookshelf Styling
Chic & Glamorous: 6 Chic Styling Tips for Bookshelves
Little Green Notebook: Book Shelf Styling
Coco + Kelley: Pastel Styling: A Bookshelf Makeover

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 10, 2014


2523 E. Commonwealth Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT
2170 square feet
4 bedrooms, 3 baths

Another flip project has finished, and only a week on the market and I think we have a buyer! That's always a great feeling. This home is in a nice area of Salt Lake and I love the floor plan and feel of this home. I think we made the best use of the space. With classic finishes this home will only be enhanced by great furnishings.

I will give you a quick tour of the home. I used a lot of the same finishes I have been using in my other homes - quite honestly I don't have time to reinvent the wheel on these flip projects since they are more side projects and I need to dedicate more time to my other projects. But I love doing these flips and taking homes in dire states and turning them into fresh, happy, homes (on a budget).

Countertops: Carrara Marble
Pendant light fixture: Home Decorators Bronze Pendant - $89
Backsplash: Datile white subway with Mapei Gray Grout

Countertops: Carrara Marble
My favorite mirrors: Rectangular Mirror - $89 each
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Moonshine
Floor Tile: Arizona Tile Black 1" Hexagon
Shower Tile: Datile Subway Tile 

Tile: Carrara Herringbone tile from Salt Lake Tile Company
Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Moonshine for walls, and White Dove for Trim

V Groove wall in the dining area.
Chandelier: Circa Lighting Large Country Chandelier

And this concludes my very brief tour of the home. There is obviously a lot more to the home, but I won't bore you with mundane room shots. Hope you enjoyed this remodel! 

Friday, September 26, 2014


I'm excited to finally post the pictures from my recently finished flip project of this charming Avenues project. Below are a mixture of photos from the listing on the MLS and my phone. I apologize for the less-than-professional pictures, but if I waited to have it professionally shot, it would never happen (unfortunately).


214 N M Street, Salt Lake City, Utah
2,005 square feet
3 Bedroom
3 Bath (2 full)
2 car garage
Built in 1910

I decided to keep it simple and classic in this home. When doing a flip it's so hard to know what the end buyer is going to love or hate! Because this home was built in 1910 I wanted to use vintage finishes, like honeycomb tile, brass hardware, and subway tile. There is definitely a black and white theme throughout the home - but what is more timeless than that color combination? 

The home was completely gutted and the floor plan redone. All of the flooring, base and case, and finishes are new. Hope you like this one!

front door detail - so charming!

Entry/Dining Area
FLOORS: White Oak (sand and finish in place) 
LIGHT: West Elm

it's all in the details - original leaded glass window

Living Room

Fireplace tile close-up
SCONCES: Circa Lighting
TILE: Black marble herringbone tile from Salt Lake Tile Company

Kitchen with mixture of marble and wood 

Desk area

the view from the sink - this window lets in the prettiest light!
The built-in hutch adds a lot of storage and a great way to display plates, cookbooks, even artwork!

COUNTERTOPS: Carrara Marble
BACKSPLASH: Carrara Herringbone tile from Salt Lake Tile Company
HARDWARE: Jeffrey Alexander Pulls & Knobs

Master Bath

FLOOR TILE: Black 1" Hexagon tile from Arizona Tile
SHOWER TILE: White Subway tile from Home Depot
SCONCES: Circa Lighting

Powder Bath
Laundry room/mud room 

View of the mountains from the laundry room window - just ignore the satellite dish :)

2 Car Garage (rare for the Aves!)
This home is such a charmer in person, and I hope you got a little sense for it from my pictures. There of course is more to the home, but these are the highlights. If you live in Salt Lake City and are in the market, you must stop by! This home won't last long and it is such a great area. Call BJ Blaser to show the home @ 801-309-7603.

And get excited for two more projects that I am finishing in the next couple of weeks! 
Here are a couple of snapshots/teasers...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I'm so excited to announce that I'm teaming up with Kirsten Krason and Erin Morgan of House of Jade Interiors, Caitlin Creer, Sita Montgomery, and Jennifer Stagg to have a designer sale of all our odds and ends, things our client's didn't use, and even some new product. And as a special treat we will have Kera of Interwoven selling her fantastic kantha quilts, and rugs and pillows. 

Here are some highlights of what I'm going to be bringing to the sale...

This 7' brand new sofa for only $1000!

2 of these fabulous metal shades from Circa Lighting for $100 each.

This classic and super functional bench/ottoman in white painted wood with linen. It's SLIGHTLY used and retails at $1200 but I'm selling it for $650!

A couple of yards of this fabric that is indoor/outdoor and was super $$$.

And some pillows, odds and ends, a desk, a rocker/glider, a fantastic slipcovered sofa, and much much more! CASH, CHECK, or PAYPAL only please!

And check out Kera's AMAZING new collection she will be bringing.  Go to INTERWOVEN to see it all!

Can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I've never done a paint color for Tried + True Tuesday, but today I thought, why not? Paint is definitely a product we all buy and use and we need to know if it's a good product, right?! I picked one of my favorite go-tos, Farrow & Ball's Down Pipe.

Keep in mind that while buying the paint from Farrow & Ball is best, there are ways around it if you are on a budget (since their paint is a little pricey).

- Order a sample paint can from Farrow&Ball and have it matched at your favorite paint store.
- Get a swatch from F&B and take it to your favorite paint store who can likely match it from the swatch. Best part is that their swatch books are free

I have used Down Pipe for a number of projects.


bathroom cabinets painted in Down Pipe (for one of the flips)
Kitchen cabinets are stunning in Down Pipe.


Before on the left, and Down Pipe painted on the right
(one of my current projects - soon to be on the market)
Front Door in Down Pipe via

Loving this treatment of Down Pipe - contrasted with fresh white painted stairs and flooring.

And as a wainscot color it's beautiful.

After looking at these pictures you see how different applications of the paint and lighting changes the color. In my experience, Down Pipe is a deep gray with a blueish undertone. And my favorite application is probably on exteriors, since exterior colors are so hard to find, and this color hasn't failed me yet.

Have you used Down Pipe in your home? Please share!

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