Laura Rennie

My home

My home // Decorating goals for 2016

My homeLaura RennieComment

I am itching to make headway on the many decorating updates and projects I have planned for our home! I haven’t given much thought to New Year’s resolutions, but decorating is always on my brain! :)

I tend to take a long time to put a room together. I come up with a vision for a space and then take my time locating items that go along with my vision. I used to purchase an item simply based on cuteness factor, but then I ended up with a closet full of small accent rugs and decorative pillows (none of which really go with my home’s decor). I always try to sell or get rid of something in our home before bringing something new in. Andy calls me his “Craigslist queen.” :) We space out our big purchases, and in the meantime I often make small updates, such as updating our guest bath towels or hanging a new print in our bedroom. Some of the notable changes to our home are:

2012: moved in / 2013: purchased new living room sofa, recliner and end table, purchased used credenza and desk / 2014: hired my uncle to paint our kitchen cabinets white, purchased two accent chairs and two end tables / 2015: installed shelving unit in the den, purchased an antique sideboard for the dining room, a living room rug and a desk

I’m hoping to make some of the following changes in 2016:

  • new lighting in the entryway, kitchen and dining room
  • complete our upstairs guest bathroom by changing out the shower curtain and hanging a piece of art
  • complete our queen-bed guest room by adding new floor-length curtains, a new side table and new placement of existing art
  • install privacy shutters on our kitchen windows
  • complete my office by adding ONE MORE COAT of paint (ugh), finding a comfortable and affordable office chair and finalizing placement of wall decor
  • replace curtains, bedding and wall decor in the master bedroom (my vision so far: soft, natural, simple)
  • replace living room curtains
  • somehow re-upholster and repair the dining room chairs that have been in my family for generations
  • strike it rich and hire someone to paint our stairwells, main floor and master bedroom and bathroom
Amy Berry Design

Amy Berry Design

I think I’m most excited to replace the lighting on our main floor! Stay tuned for a round-up of lighting options.

What are some of the updates you’d like to make in your home? It’s not too late to purchase a specially-priced design service (or to put a service on your Christmas list)!

My home // office plans

My homeLaura RennieComment

My office transformation is coming along sloooowly but surely. I’m still dreaming about what I want the space to look like, but I have a general idea: lots of white, with pops of gold, green and varying shades of blue. 

office_inspiration copy.jpg

ON GOING WHITE: The only room in our home that isn’t beige is our den, and it’s essentially a dark beige. I really wanted to try something new to me. Emily Henderson is one of my favorite stylists, and if you know her work then you’ll recognize where I’m getting my office inspiration from! It’s important for me to play around with different colors and styles in my own home, since I’ll be encouraging you to do the same in yours!

Unfortunately, painting my new office has been more of a chore than I expected. The Home Depot employee working in the paint department accidentally handed me someone else’s paint! I opened the can at home and thought, mm, this looks a little pink. Maybe it’s because it’s a paint and primer combination? Surely it will dry white. I started painting, and sure enough — it was PINK. Thankfully, the Home Depot employee had realized his mistake not long after I left the store and he was extremely apologetic and helpful when I went back to get the right color. (Also, I should have noticed there was a label on the top of my can with a different name than the paint I had bought.) I went with Behr Ultra Pure White. I must be terrible at getting a thick coat of paint on my brush and roller, because I have to do three coats! :( I completed two coats and had to take a break to focus my energy on the site launch. I’ve saved up an episode of “Undisclosed” to listen to while I finish up the painting this weekend. (I also plan to catch up on what’s been going on in the lives of John and Sherry Petersik from “Young House Love.”)

MY IM A LEGIT DECORATOR NOW BECAUSE I HAVE A FIDDLE-LIF FIG PLANT: Having to make multiple trips to Home Depot ended up being worth it when I spotted this fiddle-leafed beauty in the garden department. I think it was $18? I’ve kept it alive for two weeks — so far so good!

WHITE WALLS, A WHITE DESK AND A WHITE CHAIR? That’s the plan! I wanted a simple no-frills desk with lots of space for my laptop and notebooks. I went with the Maxwell metal desk and I’m really happy with it. I haven’t purchased a desk chair yet, but I’m leaning towards the Dorado office chair. (Costco has it for $80!) I have researched desk chairs for hours and keep coming back to this one. It doesn’t offer much of a cushion, which is why I haven’t snatched it up. I plan to get up to stretch and take short walks throughout the work day, though, so maybe it won’t be a problem? Let me know if I’m crazy!

ART AND DECOR: See those brass duck bookends? My mom snatched them up from a yard sale for me. I currently own brass antelopes, brass ducks and wood and brass finish egrets. I can’t help myself. I may pass the ducks along to a client someday, but for now they’ll live on my desk alongside this quirky hand I bought today in downtown Frederick. I also have my eye on a navy gourd lamp from Target, but the one I want is out of stock.

I have a few pieces of art ready to hang once I’m finished painting. I try to pop into Goodwill once every week or two to see if I can find any unique frames or artwork. I found this amazing NY over LA / LA over NY poster and almost bought it. The condition isn’t great, but it’s such an incredible piece! I’m tempted to buy it every time I go in there. 

I cannot wait to pull it all together! What’s your favorite item in your office? 

(Come back Friday to see the before and after pics of Melissa G.’s mud room!)


My home // den shelves

My homeLaura RennieComment

What do you do after spending months searching for the perfect bookcase and coming up empty? You make one yourself!

I was desperate for a new bookcase. I have books displayed in nearly every room of the house, and I was running out of surface space! I noticed I was frequently having to tuck books away in various nightstands and closets around the house. I also had a collection of decorative objects I wanted to display, but again — no surface space! 

It took me a long time to realize the height and depth of shelves I wanted weren’t going to be found at a big-box store. I began looking into adjustable shelving units and came across this post on Almost Makes Perfect. I LOVED the way Molly’s shelves turned out and immediately knew I had found the solution to my problems. I set to work designing a unit that would fit our space and needs. Here's how it all came together:

I couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out. I love to sprawl out on the couch and gaze at these shelves! I’m content with the configuration and don’t have plans to change it, but it’s nice to know the shelves can be moved around if I ever wanted to switch things up.

The great thing about adjustable shelving is that it offers a custom look at an affordable price. It also works in every room — from the laundry room to the bathroom to the nursery. If you were to do a similar project, which space would you do it in?


Shelving unit materials – Home Depot / Trunk – childhood / C-clamp bookends – Home Depot / Trophy cup – The Cottage, Harrisonburg, VA / Rhinoceros – Kohls /  Vintage camera – thrifted / Magnifying glass holder – Canton Street Antique Market, Roswell / Salzburg print – purchased in Salzburg, Austria / Frame around Salzburg print – gifted / Prism frame – Umbra / Gold bell – gifted / Woven basket – Michaels / Framed photograph – gifted / Eyeglass holder – World Market /  Hanging frames – World Market / Armillery sphere – gifted (World Market) / Brass antelope bookends – gifted / Gold clock – gifted / Vintage set of “works of” books – bequeathed