...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.24.15 / Rainy Day Ideas

summer storm

The last few days have been gorgeous here, but that hasn’t been the case all summer. We’ve had so much rain that severe weather warnings and flood watches don’t faze us anymore. In our neighborhood alone we’ve had lightning strikes, fallen trees, flooded roads and power outages on an almost weekly basis. I love a good thunderstorm and slow, drizzly days (I usually open a door or window to hear and smell the rain) but I can only take so many lazy, rainy days in a row before I start to feel a little batty. We’ve had to get creative and move beyond the typical book reading, movie watching and puddle jumping activities to thwart boredom. Here are a few things we’ve been doing when precipitation strikes:

candlelit kitchen

We light candles all over the house. We play cards and board games by candlelight. We’ve eaten breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert by candlelight. It feels slower and special. The kids love it. It’s gotten to the point where as soon as it starts to sprinkle they ask to light candles.

glow in dark chess

We play glow-in-the-dark chess. Layne was gifted this set last year and it has gotten so much use. The kids usually set it up in the boys’ room on the bottom bunk and close the blinds and bed curtains. It’s kind of the coolest thing ever.

We make stop motion videos. We use the myCreate app. It’s ~$5 and worth every penny. The kids use Play-Doh, Legos, matchbox cars and figurines to plot out visual stories. They even add audio sometimes. It’s pretty comical to watch and it keeps the kids occupied for long periods of time.

new recipes

We try new recipes. I’ve mentioned it before…this cookbook is my current fave. Paleo or not, the recipes are easy and tasty.

Or sometimes we stick to our old favorites like chocolate no-bake cookies. Who am I kidding? We make these even when it isn’t raining! I use almond milk instead of dairy milk. So, so good.

art museum

We visit local museums. Our favorites are the Dayton Art Institute and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The latter has FREE admission!

We have a balloon party. It consists of blowing up a bunch of balloons and hitting / kicking them all over the house.

aether cone

We listen to our Cone. The kids like to request silly things like “I like pizza” and “cucumbers.” Surprisingly, Cone almost always finds a song to meet their requests. (Yep, there really is an “I Like Pizza” song.)

We make origami. Earlier this summer, I purchased colorful origami paper and this beginner’s guide to modular origami. Sometimes we refer to tutorials on youtube as well. It’s a great activity for my oldest, Layne, who is 10 years old. He has created some really beautiful pieces. I think some of them might even make an appearance in the BHG feature.

vacation house

We browse airbnb and vrbo for fun. We take turns picking destinations and then pretend to search for a vacation home. “Oh, I would totally stay here!” “That would be my room!” “Forget vacation, I want to LIVE here.” Sometimes we end up booking a place, most times not. The pretending is almost as fun as the real thing.

We look through family photo books. I’m amazed by what the kids remember about certain events. We talk about happy and sad times, easy and difficult times. It’s usually a good reminder to me to order new books.


We make silly costumes out of everyday objects. I’ll hand the kids electrical tape, a paper bag and scissors and say, “Okay, make me laugh.” They always do.



We visit a local nursery. It might sound counter-intuitive but rainy days are my favorite days to visit the nursery. We usually have the place to ourselves and the fresh air is just what we need. I think the plants look so healthy, thirsty and beautiful covered in rain droplets. Our local nursery even has a children’s play table set up in the greenhouse. There are miniature animal figurines, dump trucks, shovels, buckets, gravel, sand and dirt. The kids can scoop, dump, pour and dig to their hearts’ content.


kid cave

umbrella man

We discover new parks. Again, it’s not an event that would normally come to mind for a rainy day activity but it’s one that we have come to really enjoy. Who knew there was a limestone waterfall just a short drive from our house? Or a real cave? (Perfect for hiding out in when the rain picks up.) Funny story: Layne was climbing on the natural rock walls which is against park policy. Steve and I quickly pointed out the “no rock climbing” sign. Layne said, “Oh, I thought that was a guy tripping on an umbrella.” Haha! That just goes to show how much rain we’ve had lately.

open house

We visit open houses nearby. This is my new personal favorite ;) I love getting a peek inside houses that I walk or drive by regularly. If I’m lucky, the homeowners have great taste and mad DIY skills.

What are some of your favorite rainy activities? Do you have any unusual rainy day traditions?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

moody luxe 5

When I started this blog my family was living in a builder spec home. The finishes were cheap and I was doing my best to put my stamp on things. I turned to the internet for inspiration but was disappointed in what I found. Most looks weren’t achievable in our house. We had nondescript carpet and vinyl flooring – not hardwoods. There were no particularly alluring architectural features. We also had practical things like ceiling fans and light-filtering window shades. Tweaking that house taught us many things. Eventually, we came to value quality over quantity which prompted our downsizing adventure. But it also taught us that you don’t have to wait until bigger, future projects (i.e., installing new flooring) are completed to start making little changes that better reflect your preferred aesthetic.

“Nothing you do for your home is ever wasted.” – Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan for Apartment Therapy

We never did install new flooring in our previous home. But we did paint the walls & kitchen cabinets, install new countertops & a backsplash, experiment with furnishings and hang curtains & artwork. By the time we moved, the space definitely felt more like us than it had when we moved in.

All that to say, you don’t have to wait until you can do everything to do something.

And that’s what this makeover is all about. My clients moved into their home less than six months ago. They would love to upgrade the flooring, redo the kitchen, install statement light fixtures, fully furnish each room and improve the bathrooms but, as with most newly acquired houses, those things just aren’t in the budget right now. Instead, they’re tackling smaller projects as time and money allow, injecting their sense of style as they go. So far, they’ve painted nearly every room in the house and I recently helped them revamp the master bedroom. (You can read about my plans for the space and see a mood board here.) It’s a real room with carpet, blinds, a ceiling fan and even a TV. I hope it inspires you to do something.


arhaus bedroom before 1




arhaus bedroom before 2



We made a lot of changes but, in my opinion, rotating the bed, painting the walls a deep charcoal and bringing in mismatched furniture were the game-changers.

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Relocating the bed to a blank wall makes it a natural focal point and lets more light pour in through the windows. The tufted headboard makes a grand statement. I love how the sides turn in for an intimate effect. So cozy!

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My client’s style is decidedly more luxurious than my own. When she requested sequins, I cringed a little. But this Moroccan wedding blanket was the perfect solution. It jingles ever so lightly! I wanted to take it home with me. I searched high and low for a vintage one that was large enough to fit the king bed but not a bazillion dollars. I kept the rest of the bedding simple with a linen duvet and lumbar pillow. The bordered euro shams are a nice detail and tie in to the khaki stripes on the Moroccan blanket.

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Patterned sheets are a fun surprise when the duvet is pulled back.

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X-based campaign-style nightstands pop against the moody walls. The geometric lines contrast with the headboard’s curves. I LOVE the lamps. They’re oversized to match the scale of the headboard. Anything smaller would have been dwarfed. The wood bases warm up the white nightstands and bedding.

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I turned to one of my favorite artists, Clare Elsaesser, to fill the void between the windows. I’ve always loved her work. The rich color combinations, tangled poses and fluid brush strokes create a dream-like quality making her pieces ideal for a bedroom. I framed the large print in a poster frame spray painted gold to match the curtain rods (also spray painted gold). At the eleventh hour, I decided to add black ribbon trim to the leading edges of the curtains for a little drama. It was more work but not expensive and totally worth it.

moody luxe 7

I think a TV in the bedroom is a personal choice and my clients choose to have one in theirs. To make it less conspicuous, we mounted it on the wall above one of the vintage dressers I rehabbed. (The dark walls go a long way in hiding the TV, too.) An accordion-like bracket allows the screen to be angled toward the bed for easier viewing.

I was the teensiest bit apprehensive about the dressers. I absolutely LOVE how they turned out and knew they would look great in the space. However, when I met with my client initially, she told me she didn’t like gold and preferred “rustic” furniture pieces. The minute she saw them, she was sold – on the gold and the midcentury style. I was so glad because the clean lines and warm wood tones were very much needed in the space. I made her a believer! (Her husband loves them, too, but I knew he would.)

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The feather finish tops were a hit, too.

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I brought in a bench and mirror for easy dressing and quick once-overs. (A hallway leading to his and hers closets is located just to the left of the bench.) The mirror actually came with the dresser I used in my boys’ room. I had no use for it but hung on to it because it’s a solid piece. It finally found a home! At night, the Moroccan blanket can be folded up and placed on the bench.

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My client had her heart set on a chaise for the adjacent sitting area. She imagined it as a quiet space for lounging with a book and / or a glass of wine.

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A metal accent table picks up on other gold details in the room and provides a surface for reading material and a drink. Layered textiles create a relaxed vibe. The kilim pillow repeats the color scheme of the artwork in the sleeping area. The hanging planter fills vertical space and adds life to the vignette. We treated the two smaller windows as one large one (one curtain rod, two curtain panels) to make the space feel lighter and brighter.

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I paired the other dresser with black and white abstract art to give the sitting area a modern edge.

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The best part? My clients absolutely love the room. I can’t tell you how good it feels to witness people go from detesting a living space to not wanting to leave it. I’m so grateful they allowed me to put my spin on things. Not everyone is willing to go dark or try things outside of their comfort zone, but they were game. Thanks Maggie & Jeremy!

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore kendall charcoal, color-matched in Valspar Reserve
ceiling fan – Amazon
headboard – Mariah headboard in taft pewter, Arhaus*
Moroccan wedding blanket – etsy
linen duvet, lumbar pillow – Ikea
euro shams – Ralph Lauren in polished bronze, Macy’s
sheets – Target
nightstands – Overstock
wood lamps – Lamps Plus
ring holder – Target
curtain rods – Amazon (spray painted gold with Rustoleum Universal pure gold)
curtains – Ikea
black ribbon trim – Amazon
large print – “Unclasped” by Clare Elsaesser, etsy
poster frame – Amazon (spray painted gold with Rustoleum Universal pure gold)
dressers – vintage, DIY
pierced hurricane candleholders – Target
woven basket – Target
bench – Overstock
mirror – vintage
chaise – Audrey chaise in tumble natural, Arhaus*
black and white abstract art & wood frames – Minted*
jute plant hanger – Amazon
olive throw – Overstock
kilim pillow – etsy
metal side table – Urban Outfitters
hide & sheepskin rugs – Ikea
task lamp – Ikea
ivy planter – thrifted

*Denotes items provided specifically for this project. This is NOT a sponsored post but I would like to thank Arhaus and Minted for providing the items listed above. I am grateful to be in a unique position to pass along quality products to my clients to help stretch their budgets. You can see more pictures of this space and read my tips for creating a beautiful bedroom over on Arhaus’s blog, Greenhaus.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Last year Arhaus invited me to a local store to scout out my favorite items for a giveaway. I had so much fun working with them and hooking up a lucky reader with a sweet chair. This year I’ve partnered with Arhaus once again to bring some much needed luxe to a client’s bedroom. Here’s what we’re working with:

arhaus bedroom before 1

The room itself is well-proportioned but it’s suffering from a bad case of the matchy-matchies. The bed matches the nightstands matches the chest matches the dresser. (It’s okay. We’ve all been there.) The alternating olive and tan walls are distracting.

arhaus bedroom before 2

This is the view from the bed. My client enjoys watching television from the comfort of her bed, but the location of the TV on the tall chest of drawers is awkward and slightly precarious. An adjoining sitting area is empty – save for a lone dresser.

My goal for the space is to make it feel less choppy, less empty, less generic, more refined but not stuffy. Per my client’s request, the TV, carpet, columns, blinds and king mattress will stay. My client prefers muted hues and luxurious touches like tufted upholstery, nailhead trim and linen. She even asked for a few sequins! Here are my plans for the space:

Moody Luxe master bedroom


1 – To capitalize on the room’s innate moodiness, I chose Benjamin Moore kendall charcoal for the walls. The cream trim and molding and light-covered carpet will contrast nicely with the charcoal. To break up the dark walls, I’ll hang white curtains and oversized art with lots of movement.

2 – The bed will be turned 90º and placed against a blank wall instead of blocking the two windows. Arhaus’s Mariah headboard in taft pewter will make the bed a grand focal point. I’ll dress up a simple, white linen duvet with a vintage (sequined!) Moroccan wedding blanket and euro shams with a contrasting border. White campaign-style nightstands and cog-like table lamps will flank the bed providing symmetry, contrast, texture, storage and light.

3 – A midcentury dresser and chest will add warm wood tones and clean lines to the space. Brand-new dressers aren’t in the budget so I will be revamping a vintage set. A low dresser will hold the TV and be placed opposite the bed in the far corner near the window so it isn’t as obtrusive. (The dark walls will also help camouflage the screen.) A taller chest of drawers will reside in the sitting area.

4 – My client chose the Audrey chaise in tumble natural as the main piece for the sitting area. A bronze side table will provide a surface for books, magazines or a glass of wine. A kilim pillow in rose and sage will break up all the tufting and add muted color. Black and white abstract art is a modern touch and a large wall mirror will bounce light around from the windows.

That’s the overall plan! Even though I’m mainly dealing with the wife during meetings, I want her husband to enjoy the space, too. So I’m balancing out the feminine details (sequins, curves) with more masculine elements (charcoal paint, straight lines). I checked in on the room’s progress recently and things are slowly shaping up. I can’t wait to share the finished space in a few weeks!

*This post is NOT sponsored but I would like to thank Arhaus for providing the two pieces mentioned above. I am grateful to be in a unique position to pass along quality products to my readers and clients to help stretch their budgets.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking