Location: New Jersey
I Live With: My husband, pre-school age son, and toddler daughter. We share our home with our pet schnauzer and two fish.
Square Feet: 3,200
Home Style: Traditional, Colonial
Decorating Style: Traditional, Coastal inspired, slightly Tropical, British Colonial inspired
I am so excited to be sharing my own home tour today! Before moving into our current house, my husband and I were on the lookout for a new house for over 3 years. We knew we wanted a newer home with an open kitchen and family room flow, a playroom for our kids, and a big backyard. We saw several nice houses that we liked, and even a few that we were serious about, but they never felt completely right to us. On a whim one day, I began searching for new construction homes in our area. I didn’t think I would find anything as there had not been any single family new construction in my town for about 10 years. So I was so surprised when I found a listing for a new neighborhood close by with the exact floorplan we wanted and a big yard! When we went to see our home lot for the first time I was teary eyed because it finally felt like home! We put a deposit down on the lot the very next day. Construction wasn’t actually ready to begin in that neighborhood for a long time, so in total we waited about a year and a half for our home to be built. But it was so worth the wait for our dream house! We chose many of the finishes for the home as it was built, but as you’ll see by in our home tour, there have been a lot of DIY projects that we’ve done to customize the house since moving in.
Our favorite DIY project has been adding built-in shelves to our formal living room. The living room didn’t have much of a purpose before this project, as we also have a family room where we spend most of our time. Previously our living room went unused and just housed our old, sad looking, brown furniture.
So we added a new lighting fixture and sconces, crown molding, and of course the built-ins, which my husband and father custom made! Not only did this add style to the room, but also a lot of functionality and purpose. The cabinets are full of board games and our Wii so we use this space as our game room. We purchased a new light blue couch which adds to the beachy vibe. The marble side table is a Target find and we kept the same coffee table as before because it matches the wood counter top of the built-ins.
This is the first room you see upon walking into our house, so I love entering our home and seeing the gorgeous sea painting and shelves full of our favorite photos, books, and travel mementos. I decorated the room with soft blue and turquoise hues which compliment the white shelves and light walls.
We love to collect things when we travel. Every trip requires purchasing a commemorative magnet which we ceremoniously hang on the side of the refrigerator as soon as we get home (seriously, we all gather around the refrigerator to hang the magnet!) But we also love collecting postcard art prints when travelling. My favorites are watercolor picture postcards of our favorite landmarks from the trip. It’s an inexpensive way to bring home a small piece of art that is meaningful to us. The built-ins house a few of our favorite postcard prints in simple white frames.
Black & Glam Kitchen
When we were building our house, I fell in love with the large layout of the kitchen. I spent months dreaming (almost literally- I spent many nights wide awake at night thinking about the house when I should have been sleeping) about the big kitchen island and how I would set it up to host Christmas day brunch.
I always wanted a kitchen full of white cabinets, but when our budget didn’t allow for that upgrade, we went in the opposite direction and chose nearly black cabinets instead. I didn’t want the dark cabinets and stainless steel appliances to make the kitchen look industrial, which wouldn’t match the rest of our house, so we added two crystal chandeliers and Filton Ivory White Quilted Leather 28″ Counter Stool” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>quilted white bar stools which stand out against the dark cabinets and add some glam to the room. The range hood is a DIY project which makes the kitchen feel fancy! (I will share the details of how we built the range hood soon.)
One of the next house projects on our to-do list is to add a backsplash to the kitchen.
My favorite home hack is to organize at least one small area per week. On most weekends, I pick at least one drawer, cabinet, or closet that I can organize in 10-20 minutes. Over time these small projects add up and help to keep my house organized, and ultimately cleaner when every item has a place to be kept. I always start with something small as that often inspires me to tackle a second or larger project. Don’t get me wrong, my house is no where close to being totally organized, but this helps me keep things manageable.
Sunny & Tropical Inspired Sun Room
Our kitchen is connected to a sunny morning room which houses our kitchen table. Since we love the beach, we really wanted to have some tropical looking touches in this room, especially because it’s sunny and fully of windows. When I first told people that I was planning a “tropical” room (and that I love tropical decor in general), I got a lot of funny looks as people thought everything would be palm tree printed and look like the Golden Girls house. You should probably know that I LOVE the Golden Girls, but I had a more subtle look in mind. After researching tropical design styles, I realized that we loved “British Colonial” decorating and the style’s warm wood tones and natural materials that mix traditional design with tropical elements.
We chose a beautiful wooden table with carved legs and matching chairs with woven backs. In the corner of the room we have two wicker chairs and a little black side table which coordinates with our dark kitchen cabinets (both are second hand finds and I love mixing old items with new). We filled the room with plants, airy white curtains, and little tropical touches like a woven placement and colorful vase on the table. The capiz chandelier is another beachy touch and I love that it looks like it’s floating above the room like a happy cloud.
Beachy, Casual Meets Formal, Family Room
The other side of our kitchen is connected to our family room. This room is a mix of formal and casual, and I love that contrasting combination. The fireplace is the centerpiece of the room and the mantle was designed and made by my father. How amazing is that?! The mantle is gorgeous and it’s so special to me that it was made by my super talented Dad.
However, I didn’t want the room to feel too formal or stuffy, so I complimented the fancy decorative mantle with many casual elements. We continued our beachy color scheme of turquoise, blue, green, and grey shades in here. These colors are pulled in through the large beach painting and the colorful rug (which has a great pattern for hiding stains and spills from my kids.) I continued to mix old and new in this room as both the turquoise side table and white cabinet (which houses our electronics) are yard sale finds which I painted with chalk paint. I love upcycling old pieces to add character to a room.
The opposite side of the room houses a natural wood console table which I decorated with my favorite family photos and some more beach accents.
Life In My Neck of the Woods
My favorite thing about living in southern New Jersey is that we live in close proximity to so many different places: Philadelphia, New York City, the beaches of the Jersey shore, Baltimore, Washington D.C. We have beaches, woods, farm land, and even mountains within driving distance.
Common Misconceptions: New Jersey is known for the Real Housewives and Jersey Shore. And while, Theresa Guidice and Snooki have made us famous for big hair and flipping tables, there is so much more to life in New Jersey! I really love the outdoors in New Jersey. We have woods and a pond behind our house and a little (inflatable) boat that we take for rides on the pond. It’s so relaxing! During the summer, our favorite family activity is taking the kids to beach until sunset and then rides and pizza on the boardwalk.