Luxury Log Home

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I have a passion for log homes; renting them each summer in Maine or New Hampshire where we like to vacation. It is only fitting then, as I spent the week looking at dozens of log homes on various lakes for our summer rental, that today’s House Tour is a log home. Not just any log home, a Barna Log Home.

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Jim Barna’s company is one of the largest  log home manufacturers in the United States, defining the log home industry with his innovative ideas and passion for the outdoors. Quoted from their site,” He started the trend of milling the logs to specific, uniform tolerances and joining them together with interlocking saddlenotch corners and tongue-and-groove walls. These techniques kept the structures air- and water-tight and maintained the straight lines of the logs.” This is the real deal folks, log home nirvana.

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A color palette of camel, hues of red and forest green bring the outdoors in drawing inspiration from nature and the beautiful surroundings, this home is warm and inviting.

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The open plan concept allows for multiple gathering areas for a family to spread out; something I look for when renting our vacation home. Below, a cozy spot to curl up with a book after hiking all morning, a cozy bunk room perfect for an afternoon nap and a lovely master bedroom that opens to the covered balcony.

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The master is rustic chic with a corner fireplace that I just love. Below, can you imagine dining with a view like this, I would never leave. The window trim is all forest green which I am usually not a fan of but here it is perfection staying consistent with the surroundings.

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I hope you have enjoyed our tour, do you share our passion for log homes and have you ever stayed in one? More rustic inspiration and cozy lodge design details here.

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Ready, Set, Entertain: St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 and if you are entertaining this is the perfect time to get organized. Today I want to share ideas to get you started; setting a festive table, some simple DIY decor and a menu of traditional Irish fare with a twist . What I love about St. Patrick’s Day parties and dinners is that the menu is basically pre-determined and a little bit of green in your decor goes a long way. For a busy working Mom like me this takes the stress out of planning and makes finding a few wow factors an easy task. This year my husband’s Irish side of the family is coming from Texas and Colorado for another event and stopping in for dinner at our house, its time to get my act together and start planning. Above, printables are a fun and easy way to add some pizzazz to any Irish inspired display, find these free printables at Catch My Party.

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You can easily achieve a festive feel with a piece of green pottery filled with Bells of Ireland. Add a few green items from around the house like these vintage books and your set, this is a must for my table! The table-scape is an easy focal point for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities from elaborate to simple, loving the potato place-card and fresh clovers.

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For my family their favorite part of St.Patrick’s Day is making, sharing and eating Irish Soda Bread like this one pictured below from Green Eggs & Ham. There are many different versions of this bread but we just love our great grandmother’s family recipe. One of our family secrets is baking the Irish Soda Bread in an old cast iron pan, ours has been past down to us from Nana Maureen and it makes a huge difference.

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Adding green is the key when decorating for St. Patrick’s Day, you don’t need to infuse a tone of green, touches here and there are enough to make a festive impact. Learn how to make this simple DIY wreath from one of my favorite craft blogs Made in a Day, steps here. Perfect for my front door, adding instant holiday curb appeal to greet my guests, love it.

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Last but definitely not least, what is on my menu? As I mentioned we are going with a traditional Irish menu with a twist. This year we decided to make Shepard’s Pie our main dish so I had to find an appetizer with corned beef. I found a real wow factor appetizer that is beyond delicious and easy to make. Corn beef and cabbage rolls from Sweat Peas Kitchenrecipe here. The main course is scrumptious Shepard’s Pie recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, YUM! What would St. Patrick’s Day be without a Guinness? Delectable Guinness brownie bites from Sweet Tooth that is, Happy St. Patrick’s Day friends!

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Passion for Powder Rooms

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This week I received several questions about powder rooms and creative ways to make them feel special. I decided to post another solution from our Just Ask category where I solve design dilemmas for you daily.  

ap5 The definition of a powder room or half bath is a room that contains a toilet and sink but no bathtub or shower stall. Based on the scale of the room there is not a lot of opportunity to create design details or bring in a wow factor. This means each decision has to be well thought out and purposeful. Here are five steps you can follow to help you through the design process that will help you create a well designed powder room with personality.

Address the Walls

The walls are one of the best opportunities you have to create a look for your powder room. Above, a simple chair rail allows you to select two different paint colors or materials for the walls. I just love the gray painted bottom and subtle shimmer of the wallpaper on top. Built-in shelves create a nice design detail in a small space while a large vertical mirror facing the entrance can give the illusion of depth (also nice for the last minute style check as you leave for the day). Further below, wainscoting the entire wall or even half provides some architectural wow. Simple, chic and elegant. Wallpaper is an easy way to bring in color and texture; it can be on all walls, an accent wall or above the wainscoting.

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Design the Lighting

In any room the lighting plan can greatly impact the feel of the space, even in a powder room. I like to use a combination of fixtures, select the combination that works best for you. (1) A central fixture (mini chandelier or fixture) and lighting above or sconces on either side of the mirrors. (2) Recessed fixtures (usually four for a typical scale powder room) with lighting above or sconces on either side of the mirror. (3) Recessed lights above the mirror (shown below) with a decorative central fixture. All three options would include an exhaust fan, I recommend installing the fan off to one side in the ceiling without a light in it so it disappears. I recently used a fan/light combination in a modern bathroom in NYC and it was fine but I am usually not a fan of these (LOL a pun). Designer tip: even in a small powder room I would install two switches keeping the lighting separate from the fan.

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Flooring Material

Since this is a powder room you are not limited to a specific material based on function. I use tile, marble (other types of stone) or wood . If you are a fan of tile in a powder room I like it to feel less “bathroom like” similar to the the first image. Other types of stone and marble I like to use when creating a specific look, the Carerra marble shown in the full wainscoting image adds to the elegant feel in comparison to using concrete in modern apartments in the city. Wood is always a nice option especially when you are continuing the flow of consistent flooring materials throughout the floor the powder room is on.

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Vanity & Faucet Selection

One of the first things you see when you enter a powder room is the vanity. You need to decide if it is going to be your wow factor or simply complement the design you are creating. Things to consider when selecting a vanity; does it need to have storage, will it be a pedestal or piece of furniture re-purposed, what type of sink will you be using, a vessel (shown above) or an under-mount sink and is the counter top part of the vanity or a separate top? If the counter-top is separate what type of material will you be selecting (granite, marble etc.) and if using a re-purposed piece of furniture do you want to cover the top with glass to make it more durable? My brother re-purposed a fabulous vintage piece of furniture for his vanity, view here. The faucet selection can add to the design elements, decide if it will come off the wall or sit on the vanity first then select the finish and style.

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Window Treatments, Artwork & Accessorizes

These are the final opportunities for design details in a powder room. I love shutters in powder rooms, roman shades (pictured above)and even simple white wood blinds just to mention a few suggestions. Next, select a hand towel rack and toilet paper holder choosing style and location (I like when the finishes match, a different style is fine), a fabulous mirror above the sink and some character pieces on a shelf or on the vanity. Complete the look with artwork or wall decor, I like to keep this minimal and chic. I hope these five steps help you to create the powder room you are envisioning, combining aesthetic and functional design details that you and your guests will enjoy.

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Reader Romance: Love Locks Revisited

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Hello friends, several weeks ago I posted an article about a trend that is happening called Love Locks. Couples from all over the world are inscribing their names on padlocks and attaching them to bridges or various other hot spots, then they toss away the key as a symbol of their everlasting love. I am so excited because one of my readers was celebrating her 26 th wedding anniversary and was so inspired by the post that she decided to do it! Here is the story in her own words, I think you will really enjoy it;

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“We did it !! Februrary 21st, the 26th anniversary of the day my husband Tommy took off his skis on a double black diamond slope in Jiminy Peak, went down on one knee and proposed to me. 25 years later, 3 kids, built a house and added an addition on all ourselves, several jobs and many romantic times and fun! Your Love Locks was the perfect way to “Lock in another 25 years”. I bought a lock and asked Tommy out on a date. He engraved the lock with “2/21/13 K+T” (in a heart) on the front and “26 years” on the back. We made it up to Highland with 25 mins to spare before the walkway on the Hudson Bridge closed. We walked ¼ way over the Hudson River and found that the lock was too small for the bridge spindles so we put it on the gate behind the railing. To our surprise, there was a small gold lock already there, we chose to put ours right above the other the lock. The lock came with two keys so we each clicked our keys and threw them into the river. I have to say it was really fun to do and something I might give as an anniversary present in the future”. Kathy

alock Congratulations on your 25 th Wedding Anniversary Kathy and Tommy! Thank you for sharing your sweet love story and this Love Lock adventure with us.

I received several emails after the original Love Locks article asking where to find vintage locks. This weeks Friday Find is from one of my favorite vintage shops, MackeyBlue in Hoboken. Not only are these three locks fabulous but the set is $24.00, a steal. I began keeping my eyes open for vintage locks at estate sales and flea markets, I found a few but I couldn’t find any with keys or at this price. This year I am celebrating my 20 th wedding anniversary and it will be the Brooklyn Bridge for us. Share your Lock Love adventure with us if you had one!