Monday, August 22, 2016

Patio Overhaul

Okay, overhaul might be a tad dramatic but hear me out. We bought our home almost 3 years ago... within 1 month of moving in, I had just about every room (minus 1 bedroom) decorated and furnished. Now, I have made some serious changes in the 3 years, learned SO much, made mistakes and then corrected said mistakes but I was committed to making this house a home... except the patio.

This tiny, little, square space remained "blah". And by blah I mean sad, empty and kinda dirty. 

 It's small. Very small. But that should never be an excuse. Small spaces are often the most charming! My Mom gave me a vision (because she loves doing yard work) and I loved her vision so much I made it a reality! Try and picture it in your mind before I do a reveal. Ready?

  1. Power wash the heck outta the patio. 
  2. Move the hose unit to the left and make a flower bed there.
  3. Move the grill to the bottom right corner (if you're standing facing the sliding glass door head on) 
  4. Area rug, centered
  5. Fire pit somewhere lol
  6. Chairs
I started by raking the dead grass. Our yard is filled with plush, green grass. (worked REALLY hard to get it that way!) So why, you ask, is this one small strip of grass yellow, dried and dead? Allow me to explain... one fine day, I was mixing a weed killing solution in my handy, dandy spray can. Said spray can BROKE, I freaked out and dragged the weed killer along this lovely strip as the can basically exploded all over. So cool! (insert my new favorite eye rolling emoji) After feverishly raking, I sprinkled some grass seed and water every night. 

Here is a close up of how filthy the patio had become... yuck! I power washed (that's a funny story I will share NEVER... seriously way too embarrassing!) 

Then it was time to make the flower bed. I bought Ashland Empire Concrete Edging Stone from Lowes. The color I chose is different than the link. I moved the hose unit further to the left and pulled out the weeds and grass. Placed the edging stones (5 pieces) and filled it with soil. Here is the before... 

Picture it... ready? 

I'm really happy with how it turned out! I also think it will be gorgeous once I add some green! In the fall, I am going to plant some dwarf boxwood. (yet another vision from my Mom!) 

Okay, here are some pictures of the completed patio... I also added a source list with links below. 

Here is a night time view- LOVING the fire pit and the white lights. :) 

2 patio chairs- Resin Wicker from The Christmas Tree Shops (clearance $19.99) 

Garden stool- Homegoods 

Plant holder- Homegoods

Let's play the "dream patio" game....

Now, if I had NO BUDGET and were able to do anything to this space, I would expand the patio space (double it), allowing for bigger furniture. I frequently spend hours browsing online at Arhaus. I found some gorgeous pieces I would love to use on this dream patio of mine. Brian and I are going to most likely finish off the basement sometime in the next 6 months and the theme will be very neutral. Since the patio is right off the basement, I would love to just make it an extension of the basement. I love this Hamptons Outdoor Teak Chaise  SO much. Again, since I would ideally double the size of the patio, I would be able to fit 2 of these Teak Chaise lounges. My favorite fabric is the stunt pebble. Typically, I am a sucker for color but again, I would want this to be very neutral.  I would definitely upgrade our fire pit and stick to a neutral rug, like this one. I fell in LOVE with this accent table and would add lighting and coziness with these lanterns. I would finish everything off with industrial outdoor light bulbs like these from Target

Isn't it FUN to dream?!?!?! :) One day, maybe! 

As always, thanks for stopping by! 


(See previous posts on the dining/living roomthe most recent family room picsa full family room tour here, although not current, and kitchen although again, made some changes, like finally buying a valence for the window.) Wow, writing out my changes made me realize that I should probably take updated Home Tour pics! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top 3 DIY Projects

I thought it would be fun to share my top 3, most viewed DIY projects. Each picture will take you directly to the project page! I want to tackle a new project soon... feeling the "project itch". I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Striped Accent Wall 

Sunburst Mirror 

                                                                      Wall Stencil

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Dining Room Discussions

When we bought our home in 2013, I was so excited to have a "formal" dining room. This special space is where we host Christmas every year, have cute little tea and dinner parties with dear friends and, more recently, where I wrote my entire Master's Thesis. My husband wanted a traditional rectangular dining room table where as I was aiming to get a round table with a mirrored base and over the top tufted chairs. Due to room dimensions, we went with a rectangular table that we both fell in love with at Ashley Furniture. I would consider it a transitional piece, being that the chairs are upholstered and it's a deep wood but the structure lines are very clean and sleek. 

The stenciled accent wall was done about 2 years ago with a moroccan tile wall stencil. Check out the link ^ for details. 

Lately, I have been seeing bar carts all over the web. One of the most popular is the Ikea Bar Cart Hack... 
This is such a cost effective way to scoop up a bar cart! Check out more details here

Something I try very hard to avoid is over crowding a space. Too many pieces of furniture mixed with zillions of pretty little things gives me a headache! The eye can't focus and the space is no longer enjoyable. In an effort to avoid this all together, I decided to create a "bar tray" instead of a bar cart. I used all of the things I already had to assemble. 

Colorful straws don't need to be hiding in a drawer. Stick them in a glass for a fun pop of color.

We love to entertain so our liquor collection has grown over the years. I decided to keep the bottles that get the most use out on the tray. Some of these items are things we don't even drink but our family does so we always keep them in stock. I also made decisions based on balance and height. Although this is something we use, it still needs to look esthetically pleasing to the eye. 

There is no need to keep the colorful martini glasses hiding in the cabinet. Let them free for the world to see!!!
The bar tray lives on our dining room server. At one point, this sucker was piled with little things here and there but for now, less is more. 

Like our entire house, this room has changed so much since we bought almost 3 years ago. I snapped a few more pictures to share the most recent updates. A majority of the purchases came from HomeGoods.

Here is a shot from the stairs. It's meshed into one, long space. I love the open concept. 

I just put that hot pink knob on the end table. It's dreamy!!!! Find a comparable one here at Hobby Lobby. #color #color #morecolor

That chaise lounge is one of my most treasured purchases. After months of hunting for a chaise and being discouraged at the prices, I found this beauty at Bobs Discount Furniture for only $199. Does it get any better? AND it's comfortable, too! Check it out here. It comes in both grey and cream.

Griffin was keeping guard while I was snapping pictures this afternoon. 

Thank you for checking out today's post!!! Hope I have inspired you to be more decisive about your decor!!!! 


Monday, March 7, 2016

Pineapple Perfection

May I introduce you to the pineapple?! A super sweet, juicy and delicious fruit found in tropical regions. Have I changed my blog concept from decor to food you ask? No, no, no people. Never! This cute, yellow fruit is simply my latest decor obsession! Did you know the pineapple is a symbol of warm welcomes and hospitality? An even BETTER reason to have at least one in your home. 

I spotted a super cute, white pineapple on Instagram not too long ago and was totally intrigued. I love quirky little statements, such as artichokes, deer antlers and golden animals but a pineapple had been uncharted territory in the Hochstaedt Home... until NOW. 
I found the perfect, little, yellow pineapple at Hobby Lobby and just knew that it had to come home with me! 

In an effort to avoid turning my house into a pineapple plantation, I "window" shopped and found some pineapple decor at Homegoods to share. Shopping and snapping pictures helps me to not buy as much. It's good. 

These throw pillows were only $19.99. I was tempted to buy that white and silver one for our bedroom but, I passed. Trying to be good. 
Really fun for spring/summer! The inserts are feathers, which are the best kind of pillows... In my opinion. 

 Filled with potpourri, this metallic pineapple almost had a new home. But again, I'm being good.  :) 

These little boxes are perfect for organizing pictures, paperwork, stationery and office supplies. Paperwork and stacks of printed photos can be such an eye sore on a book shelf or even in a closet but putting them in a fun, bright box is a great solution. 

Pineapples on the web:

Are you into the pineapple? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by. Until next time!!!


Saturday, January 23, 2016


One of my favorite activities is to rearrange shelves. It brings me great joy to clear and redo without spending a dime! That is why shelves are one of my favorite decor accents. You can change their look frequently by simply moving pieces from around the house. 

A year ago, I wrote a post about shelf styling. You can check it out here. There is great advice on placement with a diagram and some arrows . All good stuff! Since then, I have changed this shelf LITERALLY 15 times. I will let you in on a little secret... I love change. It brings me great joy to change things. My husband once asked me if we could leave everything in the entire house the same for just ONE month. I made no promises and he only asked that one time. I think I'm off the hook. #GoodMan

Last March, I did a little family room makeover, which allowed me to spruce up my bookshelf by adding some funky elements and much more color. 

After revamping this room (See Family Update on a Budget) I have been able to really have fun with color, gold animal figurines, animal prints and pillows. Rearranging the bookshelf and changing out the pillows every few months keeps things exciting and new. 

A few tips:
  • ALWAYS clear the entire bookshelf. Starting with a clean slate will give the best results. Trust me. 
  • Use books to add depth and height. Place decorative pieces on top of books.  
  • Arrange the books in different ways. Some stacked side by side, some in piles. 
  • Arrange items by color. All blue books together, all white magazines together, etc. 
  • Keep the shelf balanced by alternating items on different sides of different shelves... example: top shelf- books on the right, next shelf- books on the left, middle shelf- books on the right. 
  • Don't be afraid!!! Worst case? It looks bad and you have to try again. 
  • Take risks: I used a real deer skull and antlers on the top shelf. It's weird but I LOVE it. :)
  • Use what you love! After all, that's my "blog motto". 

Shelf Product List: (top to bottom)
  • Boxwood- (HomeGoods: $20)
  • Deer Head/Antlers- (My Dad found it in the woods: free lol)
  • Various Books- (Use what you have)
  • Golden Antelope- (Hobby Lobby: no longer available. great substitute
  • Blue Candle- (HomeGoods: $8)
  • Golden Turtle- (Target: $15 sold out ---> similar here
  • Black and White Vase- (Target: One Spot $3)
  • Blue Frame- (HomeGoods: $6)
  • Green and Black "Our Family" art- (Hobby Lobby)
  • White ceramic egg- (Target: no longer available)
  • Gold Wire Magazine Holder- (Target: One Spot $3)
Anyone else uber passionate about their shelf styling? Share your ideas and pictures in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you. 

If you're in the NorthEast, STAY WARM!!!! It's awful outside right now!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Master Bathroom Shower Renovation

A looooong time ago,  (truly... like well over a year ago) we had a leak in our kitchen ceiling. After 2 lovely holes cut out of the ceiling and a $150 visit from a plumber, we discovered it was the master bathroom shower. All it needed was new grout- all the pipes were fine, which was a relief. So, we got a quote for new grout which was reasonable but for some reason, we held off. No CLUE why- it was actually rather annoying but we just used our guest bathroom to shower for over a year until deciding to re-do the ENTIRE shower versus just re grouting. We had these grand plans but it was going to cost a legit fortune. So, we met with a few different contractors, heard their ideas before choosing Kinsey Contracting here in Morris County, NJ. He had wonderful reviews on Angie's List and gave us the most competitive price! 

Sneak peak the outcome... OMG, I KNOW! :) 

I wanted to share the process with before, during and after pics. It's incredible the difference a new shower made. 

The before! 
We truly loathed this shower... could be it how tiny it is? Maybe the foggy, plastic, rippled enclosure? Or the giant metal frame? 

Every contractor who looked at this shower asked the same question, "Why did the builder put this shelf on the outside of the shower? Where do you guys keep your soaps and shampoo?" Our answer... "THE FLOOR!" 

Ok, so demo day was, ummmmmm... interesting! I was mostly worried about dust, dust and more dust. I cleared EVERYTHING out of this bathroom before Dan, our contractor, began. Towels, all decorative items, cleared the counter... they came out!

Basically, Dan just cut out the old shower. Here are some pics... 


Then, he added a WEDI water proof shower system. It's better than cement and sheetrock and only cost us about $100 more. 

Here are some pics of the WEDI up... 

DAY 2- WEDI system

Griff was really confused!

DAY 4- tile floor, sans grout

Next, he tiled the floors. We went with these geometric white tiles. They came in 1 square foot sheets. Click here for the exact tiles, purchased at Lowes.

We decided to go with a grey grout which is such a nice contrast against the white. We went with the darker grey, Dove Grey grout.

DAY 5- tile up, sans grout

We chose white subway tiles from Lowes. Here is a link to the ones we choose. We went simple... :) and most cost effective :) :) 

DAY 7- final day!!!!

*** Glass enclosure is custom so we are waiting for that to come in. We chose 7 foot, frameless glass. 

Tiling to the ceiling was my husband's idea and I am SO glad we did. It makes the shower look HUGE!!! The shelf will actually be INSIDE the shower once it's completed

Love the contrast of the grey and white... plus the grey marble adds such richness to the shower. I literally look at the shower 100 times a day!

We are soon happy with the outcome of the shower... 

We choose to make the glass enclosure 7 feet tall and seamless. We also had the half wall INSIDE the shower, to add extra space and a shelf for shampoo and soap. (Our original shower had the half wall on the outside of the shower... so bizarre! 
We also added some floating shelves above the toilet... REALLY happy with these, as well. :)

If you have any questions about the prices of everything/anything, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog! I'd be happy to share!

Until next time...