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Summer is officially here (as of Friday) and bees are buzzing around like crazy. When brainstorming this week’s post, I thought what better way to ring in the season than with a post dedicated to these busy pollinators? Our very own Kelley Walters is actually a beekeeper and looks adorable in her hat and vintage veil passed down from one of her bee mentors. Do we have any other beekeepers out there?

Mood Board Monday: Beesvia Pinterest | Handmade Works | LYST | Note to Self | Wedding.com | A Little After Party | via Pinterest | Etsy | Chictopia

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

Interested in bees? Check these out:

You may not know that HGTV.com is based in Knoxville, Tenn. It’s mainly known as Big Orange Country (Go Vols!), but many people don’t realize how beautiful it is around here. The Great Smoky Mountains are very close to the heart of downtown, and the Tennessee River flows right through the city. The surrounding areas boast amazing farmland, including Murphy Springs Farm, a 190-acre farm in Northeast Knoxville. Kevin Murphy, the current resident, walks us through how he renovated his family’s 1841 farmhouse.

Murphy Farmhouse circa 1890Murphy Farmhouse Circa 1890

The house didn’t undergo a significant renovation until 1925, 84 years after Kevin’s great-great-great grandfather, Hugh Murphy, built the house. It was passed down from generation to generation, and was eventually only occupied during the summers from the 1970s until Kevin moved in in 2008.

Present-Day Murphy FarmhousePresent Day Farmhouse

See the Renovations

Along with a ring of keys, lots of possibilities and a bunch of mysterious light switches, homeownership comes with a bucketful (or maybe more like a truckload full) of “Aha!” moments.

Gray Cedar House From Above

Signs of spring at our house

At just four months in, we’ve had a few of these moments. Exhibit A: We now know every project takes twice as long as we thought it would. (I’m talking to you, master bedroom.) But many things are still yet-to-be-discovered. Luckily, I have all of you to thank for some stellar advice gleaned from your own years spent living with bad carpeting, remodeling dust and wood paneling.

As I kick my bedroom project into high gear (color palette picks coming soon), I thought I’d share some of the best advice I’ve gotten so far — from you!  Then tell me: What do you wish you’d known when you bought your first house?

Start Small
“Fix the cheapest, fastest issue first so you will begin to build your momentum.”
-Mary W.

Don’t Rush Into Big Projects
“I have owned 3 houses and it is a mistake to do big renos until you’ve lived there for at least a year. I hated my current kitchen so much that it was our first project. Had I lived with it awhile, I would have made different choices.
- Lee

Create a Dust-Free Zone
“Take care of your master bedroom first! It is your sanctuary and your place to go when you can’t stand the mess in the rest of the house. Who cares what the visitors think when they walk into your kitchen? Make your bedroom beautiful 100 percent, right down to the sheets before you move on to the next room. Which, by the way, should be your master bath. It will get your through it! Just sayin.’”
- AspenKate

It’s Worth It…Really!
“My house was built in 1950; I purchased it in 1998. The remodeling has been a labor of love as it continues.I would pick a vintage home with good ‘bones’ over a new one any day (I have had both).”
- Fay via HGTV’s Facebook Page

“Every home I’ve ever bought entailed an entire rehab. I know what will be dealing with but I also know the satisfaction you will gain from “making it your own” and seeing transformations you can be proud of…There is so much opportunity for improvement it will be an adventure and things can only get better (that’s the upside).”
-Frugal Interiors

The Remodel Never Ends
“Don’t think this list will ever end. Once you get through your initial list, a brand new one will pop up unexpectedly. Things that you never noticed will suddenly start making you shudder with distaste every time you walk past them. I am 3 years, countless projects and over $20,000 into my first home, and my list of “to dos” is longer than when I moved in. ”
-MizzyD

Read Liz’s previous House Diaries posts here and follow her home inspiration board on Pinterest.

Oh man, I love a good excuse to make a list. What better time to write down our renovation goals than January of this fresh new year? Ken and I have an insane amount of work to do, but we’re also pretty proud of how far we’ve come. Take a look at what’s on our to-do list this year, and be sure to check back every Wednesday as we mark things off.

The dining room, oddly enough, is one of our most finished rooms. Just a few things left to do before we can call it officially done!

Renovation Photos- Erin Loechner

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Remember the other day when I said that I thought bees might be the new chickens? That very well may be the case, but designers are still cranking out great new poultry products.

chicken co-op by raad studio

Case in point: this cool Chicken Co-op (get it?) meant for urban poultry designed by Raad Studio. The Co-op, which coyly bills its ultra-modern design as a, “chicken residence,” comes flat-packed and features, “open, loft-like spaces which liberate the lifestyles of modern chickens.” The designers definitely have a sense of humor about their coop, but they’ve also vetted it with scientists and made it easy for the city-dweller to get started. No tools are required to assemble it; just add chickens and wait for eggs.

Beekeeping is all the rage in grow-your-own circles; so much so that I’m tempted to say that bees are the new chickens (now there’s a phrase I never anticipated writing).

cedar beehive

Our very own Kelley Walters is a beginner apiarist and when I showed her this cedar beehive from I found on Etsy from seller Steidlewave she said she gasped.  This visually stunning piece is handmade from recycled cedar fencing and doesn’t come cheap at $999.  But it is so lovely that I’d be tempted to use it as a side table in my living room.

Are any of you keeping bees? Tell us in the comments!

Some people ask for a new car or a trip to Europe upon receiving their college degrees, but I asked for a composter. You think I’m kidding for the sake of editorial humor? Well, this blogger would never tell a lie. I asked my significant other to get me a composter I’d seen at the local hardware store, and he presented me with my very own plant-food-maker at my graduation party. While my friends were backpacking through the Alps, I was making nutrient-rich plant food by composting my kitchen scraps.

Compost Tumbler

While I do love my composter, I’m wishing I had shopped around a little because the Jora Jk125 Composter available at Eartheasy is the Cadillac of compost tumblers. It’s two chambers keep fresh scraps separated from finished compost. No more waiting for your huge pile of compost to cook when you have plants that need some fertilizer this week. Our green thumb Design Happens readers know exactly what I’m talking about.

To be entered into the random drawing for this state-of-the-art compost tumbler, leave us a comment before 12/11c Monday, June 27.

This week’s question: What home and garden product is on your wish list right now? I’m always hinting that someone should buy me a cedar potting bench.

Tell us in the comments below.

Click for official rules.

The ways global style are expressed at home are as diverse and dynamic as our multi-cultural world. This past April, Elle Decor featured the beauty of this approach to decor throughout the pages of their annual international issue. And if you flip through the portfolios of some of America’s top interior designers, you will see that the global aesthetic is definitely finding its way into both modern and contemporary spaces. More and more, we see homes showcasing global wares picked up on travels or from a visit to a favorite boutique. Here are some of my favorite global tables inspired by a multitude of nations and cultures.

Modern Tea Room, Design by Amy Lau, Featured in Elle Decor

This tea room, designed by Amy Lau and featured in Elle Decor, brings together a Parsons table (you can find a similar one at West Elm), German-designed lanterns and a Chinese cedar Buddha. The mix of cultures feels so modern and eclectic.

Moroccan Style Dining Room by Designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

This dining room is the work of interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and highlights the striking beauty of contemporary Moroccan-inspired decor. Aren’t those carved chairs gorgeous?
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Sweltering temperatures in New York over the last couple days have made me dream up a myriad of ways to cool down. I can’t say that any of them look as refreshing as this, however:

outdoor shower elle decor

Photo:Tim Street-Porter

Elle Decor is showcasing a weekend retreat that is, “Redefining Contemporary Country Chic.” Boy, is it ever. With natural elements like the cedar shower wall and the stone flooring, the country house is embracing its surroundings in a very grown up way. I have to say, if my outdoor shower looked this beautiful, I might never shower indoors again.

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