• Tell Your Friends

I’ve loved Austin ever since I attended SXSW in 2008. Maybe it was the opportunity to chill with a bunch of my far-away friends, or maybe it was the addictive breakfast tacos, but I’m still smitten with the city. The fact that there’s a definite modern home aesthetic there is just icing on the cake for me. (Or salt on the margarita rim at Guero’s, if you will.) So, seeing photographer Ryann Ford’s Austin digs on Houzz made me kinda jealous.

modern austin home

Photos: Kailey Flynn

The space has so much natural sunlight, which is the perfect complement to Ford’s desert-mod-vintage style. And the details are darling! Tilting the cafe sign in the living room vertically, painting the office wall with chalkboard paint — it all works for me. I’ll be heading to SXSW again this year, and if you happen to spot me with a dreamy, far-away look on my face, I’m daydreaming about settling down in Austin in a place just like this.

  • Tell Your Friends

“Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.”
-Author Unknown

I had a bit of a nervous breakdown this weekend. With the impending move (the first weekend in April—yes!) and out-of-state guests coming for an extended stay in mid-April, I furiously took stock of each item on our ever-growing to-do list.

Our in-progress guest bedroom, complete with missing door handle, unfinished trim and an uncovered switch plate.


  • Tell Your Friends

Hi all! Because August is going to be a heavy month for renovating (siding and kitchens and baths, oh, my!), I thought I’d take a deep breath and pause for a moment. Renovating is a strenuous process and I’ve found that even when you’re not living in the same house you’re renovating, the drywall dust (both literally and metaphorically, I suppose) seeps into every other area in your life, causing a renovation haze that I’m convinced no one can understand unless they’ve lived through it.

So, if you’re considering a renovation (or are in the thick of one yourself), I’m here to answer your burning questions. We’ve been collecting reader questions for a few weeks on Twitter, Facebook and the blog, but if I’ve missed yours somehow, feel free to email me. I’m glad to help.

house-of-david-delfin-and-gorka-postigo-in-madrid-by-aka-studio-photos-by-manolo-yllera-_yatzer_11_69592097 copy

P.S. I’m sprinkling in a few inspirational rooms that I love so you’ll have plenty of eye candy along the way!

Advice From the Renovation-Worn

  • Tell Your Friends

After two years of searching all over Manhattan, I bought a home! I’m so tangled in the red tape that I haven’t had time to think about actually LIVING there. It’s an old department store that was converted into a co-op: 800 square feet with 17-foot brick barrel ceilings. The previous owner drywalled  the brick ceilings and walls and painted them an awful red faux finish. There’s an ugly staircase and salmon colored marble on every surface in the kitchen.

I thought living in my new space sans aesthetic improvements would be okay for the time being but now that I’m about to move in, I’ve had a change of heart. So I’ve prioritized: 2 cheap changes with a big impact.

First: The faux finish will be covered in a clean white paint to brighten and modernize the space. My second improvement is will surprise you…I want a swing. It’ll remind me not to take this so seriously. I’ve been consumed by the stress of buying, so the swing serves as a reminder that even though this new home is a huge responsibility, it’s first and foremost, HOME.  So, What kind of swing do I choose?

This swing was on Apartment Therapy:

It reminds me of the swing we had at summer camp overlooking the lake.

How about this one? It reminds me of my backyard swing from my childhood home:

Ahhh, the Bubble Chair. A pricey modern classic. I love how it doesnt block the view:

The wicker hanging chair is a common option. It comes in many shapes and styles:

I love that these chairs look like they were made out of twigs and rope:

Which hanging chair do you think I should go with or are you totally opposed to my hanging chair idea all together?

  • Tell Your Friends

As you could probably imagine, working at HGTV has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the big pluses is I get to see one fabulous home after another on our shows each and every day. The disadvantage? I don’t get to live in one of them! So for the winter holiday, I decided to live the good life in the only way I could afford to: VACATION in one! I went searching all sorts of sites from Vacation Rentals by Owner to Vacation, etc. in search of the perfect home. I ultimately found this beauty in Palm Springs and gathered ten of my closest friends to join me on the trip of a lifetime to the California desert. Let me tell you, it was worth every penny!

Exterior of Palm Spring Rental

Ultimately, we got to stay in an absolutely gorgeous mid-century contemporary home (my favorite type of architecture), and met the owner of the home, who was one of the kindest and most charming people I have ever come across. Upon our arrival, she even baked us cookies and a cake! Talk about great customer service.

In the Living Room of the Home

But the coolest part was that we had the opportunity to stay in a Wexler Butterfly Home for a fraction of the cost of a 5-star hotel, pool and spa included, and yes, it looked exactly like it did in the pictures.

Stunning Views of the Interior

I’d highly recommend this for your next trip, before automatically just calling to make generic hotel reservations!

  • Tell Your Friends

Nothing says holiday cheer like a stocked bar! Or does it. I’d like to submit the following as the etiquette question of the day: Is it better to disguise the hard stuff behind/under/inside a nice piece of furniture? I ask because it seems that offerings for barely-there home bars are popping up everywhere. Take Ballard Designs (which, by the way, is offering free shipping through Dec. 13). Right now they’re featuring no less than three handsome hide-the-booze pieces. So what happened to stashing the rum in a kitchen cabinet? Does it make it more civilized or is it a little weird to have a whole piece of furniture devoted to cocktails? I’m torn on the topic. Thoughts?

MI260_1.jpg MI266_1.jpg MI267_1.jpg

5 Secrets of Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining (HGTV)
Party Ideas: Do-Ahead Cocktails, Menus and Decorations You’ll Love (HGTV)
Holiday Party Planning (Food Network, a sister network of HGTV)

See What We’re Pinning

  • Make a red, white and blue wine spritzer with in-season

  • Make a Tiki Ice Cream Float for #HGTVHappyHour! Get the

  • Step-by-step instructions for making these Southern-style

  • How To Make Jam Party Favors >>