Adoption Rocks!

My little sister (who isn't related by blood) adopted just over a week ago! It's a beautiful miracle and I was honored to capture this amazing season in their life. Me and my little four-month mister traveled to Dallas for the occasion and we honestly had a wonderful time and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. I would love to share them all, but it would take me all day to upload them all. 

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Newborn Olivia

Now that we are well into 2017 I'm excited to share more projects and photoshoots I've been apart of the last few months. First off, this beautiful newborn. The ideal situation is to have a newborn sleeping during the session but Olivia wasn't having it and I didn't mind because she was one happy camper and so content! 

play area

Do y'all love before and after's as much as I do? I've got a lot coming up and today I'm sharing the little play area we made for our girls. Our house isn't huge but we wanted a space just for the them that wasn't in their room or in the living room and the hallway closet was the perfect solution. Why? Well because the closet has an electrical outlet and taking down the doors, the hallway was plenty spacious to do something. Plus we had a play kitchen that fit perfectly. 

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What do you think? Kinda fun, uh? The curtains were a clearance find at HomeGoods for $10 for the pair! The ABC print was from the dollar section at Target, hung with washi tape. Organizing the books by color was the best decision because both girls can put books back and it stays organized! 

Thrifty Master Bedroom Makeover

Summer came and went and I'm not sure where it went! Does anyone else? Today I'm sharing our master bedroom. When looking for the before photos, I completely forgot how bad it was and then immediately felt like I needed to explain why I let it get to that state. But... I won't waste my time or yours because it's not that good of a story. 

We've been in the house for two and half years and it's taken us about that long to complete it. Heck, it wasn't until we decided to put the house on the market that we found the time to paint over the awful lime green in our bathroom. I don't have a before photo of the bathroom, but you can get a sneak peak of it in third photo down. When you're on a tight budget, it takes time. Time to dig through thrift stores or update hand-me-downs. 

What made the biggest difference? Paint and lots of it. We painted all the doors white, the furniture and obviously the walls. I really didn't want to paint our dressers because they were my grandparents but there was some damage (from our amazing dog & moving) that I couldn't repair without painting.

Also. lighting was a big change. Thankfully my husband hates overhead lighting about as much as I do, so we updated the fan with no light- which is an easy fix if you don't want your ceiling fan to be noticed! I found wall sconces at Lowe's on clearance for $20 that I spray painted using my favorite gold spray paint. My husbands time in the Navy as an electrician has come in handy more than once. 

Most of the accessories came from around the house (#usethecrapyougot) or I went shopping in my mom's basement. However, I did buy a few things. 1. The curtains were $40 for the pair off Craigslist (they're normally over $95 a piece and they were only used to stage a house.) 2. The mirror above my dresser was a $9 Goodwill find. 3. The blue and white plates I bought thrifting on our trip to Connecticut last summer, $3 a piece. 4. Our headboard was an amazing deal at $180 and it tied the room together just like I visioned. 5. The magnolia painting was a last minute find at Goodwill as well for only $9. Not too bad uh? Being patient pays off when it comes to thrifty design. 

Want to know anything else? I'm an open book.  

 

A few AFTER photos!

Are y'all ready to see the completed condo renovation?! 

With just a simple introduction to this project, let me add that this was a very quick turnaround as far as makeovers go! The client contacted me, and I had less than two weeks to plan, shop, plan, arrange, and plan some more. Working in an area not my own proved trickier than I anticipated- especially finding contractors willing to work was at times comical to say the least!

Ps. I added a few before photos to the previous post.  

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Guest room

Guest room

Condo Reno

Have y'all tried SnapChat?! My girls love to play with the video filters, and I am all about the instant updates without the "perfection" that seems to have taken over the Instagram world. So to see real life, real mess, real behind the scenes, check me out at - maemaestudios - but a video/scene only stays up for 24 hours, so if you're anxious to see this beach house I'm currently covered in sand in, get on snap today!

I'm currently in Florida working on a staging project with my great friend, Melysa, who helps me with staging. We make a great team because she helps me focus on maintenance issues just as much as making the space beautiful. Call us crazy but we have our kids with us, and although we are sleep deprived and the original painter and electrician bailed, we're having a great time.  

Today is Friday and it looks like a hurricane came through, but the changes already are dramatic. For now though, I'll just share the before photos. 

 

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And look at this beautiful scenery.  

 

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Kitchen Makeover

Happy Tuesday! Before I post another Design Tip, I'd like to share a small kitchen makeover that was completed at the beginning of the year. You may recognize this kitchen from the big staging project we worked on last year. If you don't, no worries- here's a link to that post

I loved working on this project because it shows how new countertops, backsplash, lighting and hardware can change the entire look of a kitchen. I also loved it because it shows a project in phases.  I see so many people discouraged when it comes to updating a kitchen. Mostly because they have a very little budget or they want it all done immediately (with a little budget). But let me be the first one to tell you... good design takes time and a plan! 

First phase: Painting and (some) lighting. 

Phase Two: Quartz countertop, butcher block countertop for island, paint island, backsplash and sconces.  We didn't paint all the cabinets because the house was still on the market and I knew the other updates would give us the look we were going after. Plus, the butcher block goes so beautifully with them it makes for a cohesive, warm look. 

photo credit: real estate photographer 

photo credit: real estate photographer 

Design Tips Part 2

Okay. Now that we have done some much needed elimination, let's talk furniture placement. The options are endless here- with a myriad of rooms ranging in size, location, functionality, etc.... we could chat about this for hours! With all the possibilities at our fingertips, let's start by asking yourself these questions while you look into the room(s) you have in mind. (Go ahead, jot down some notes while you're at it!)

1. Scale.

  • Is your furniture too big?
  • Do you have too many pieces in one room that is taking up valuable real estate? (If you answered yes, you might want to re-read the blogpost with the first design tip and take action!)
  • Does your furniture look "squatty" because you have high ceilings?

2. Traffic flow.

  • Are you blocking a window when you don't need to?
  • Are you blocking the fireplace? (Please, say it ain't so!)
  • Do you have a 36" walk way?
  • Is your furniture facing a focal point? Or is your furniture's back to the focal point? 
  • If you're in a small room, could you turn the bed against the wall for a "daybed"? 
  • Do you have bed placed immediately by a door? Example below..

I had this problem in my girls room. I really wanted to use a mirror that has special meaning and the only way I could was to place the dresser on one wall and the bed on the other that blocked the flow immediately when you walked in. 

See the difference? 

3. Furniture shape.

  • Is all your furniture the same shape? (ex: boxy/rectangular) Remember, variety is the spice of life!
  • Would adding a round ottoman or round end table soften the edges in the room?

 

Now that we've got your creative juices flowing when it comes to furniture placement, let's take a read at a few of my  'Go-To Tricks' to put into action:

-Always make a floor plan. This is something anyone can do, digitally or by hand. I'm old school and love to draw a room to scale on paper before I take it digitally. Almost all big furniture stores offer a free room planner option online. To name a few I like: Haverty's; Better Homes & Garden; Urban Barn

- Sectionals!  I love using sectionals in homes, especially with kids. It gives plenty of seating and eliminates unnecessary pieces, such as an end table with a lamp. (Remember, eliminate? Let's adopt the minimalist mindset when possible!) No sectional, no worries. My favorite saying is "use the crap ya got".

-Upholstered/Leather ottomans! These are especially great with kids because there are no hard/sharp edges. Plus, you can use it to kick your feet back while watching TV, as well as serve for extra seating when needed. 

-Symmetry! If possible, I always like to put things symmetrically. It's easier on the eyes. and tends to give more style and function to a room. For example, two identical sofa's facing each other or two identical chairs together facing a sofa, etc.  

Furniture placement is key to getting the best functionality and flow in a room as we continue creating your beautiful, serene space that is your sanctuary from the outside world. I'm always willing to answer questions so don't be shy! 

Library Party

In my attempt to get my life better organized, I stumbled upon some old photos. Our oldest daughter is adopted and when the adoption was final, we wanted to have a big party with our second family in Connecticut. We don't live there anymore but I always start missing it tremendously this time of year. One of my closest friends happens to be a library director and she let us host the party there, which happens to be an amazing home. The party included "adult" food, kid picnic, face painting, tons of games and an egg hunt. She's turning five this year and I'm excited to plan another party for her. 

Master Bedroom Upgrade

I have some pretty amazing clients. Clients who trust me and don't question why I tell them to do certain things. It makes my job easier and this client is a dream. If you remember we did her living room a few months ago. The approach was the same to the master bedroom: use as much as possible! We didn't repaint. We didn't buy new furniture. We simply eliminated some furniture, painted furniture, bought new bedding and a few accessories. That's all it took to make this room feel cozy and look sophisticated. 

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Easter

The older I get, the more special Easter becomes. I love it for many reasons, but most of all because of how my life is better because of my relationship with my Savior.

Last week, I had a fun opportunity to take photos of some pretty cute kids with a live bunny. All the kids loved him - which kind of surprised me!

Big sister is enthralled with the bunny! 

Big sister is enthralled with the bunny! 

I loved this session with these sweet sisters!!  

How to Organize Kids Bookcases

I've been organizing a lot of bookcases lately, mostly in playrooms it seems, and I have two simple and easy steps to share: 

1. If your bookcase is full of books, sort by color. I've found that my girls actually put books back better when they are sorted in a rainbow instead of by series. After all, they can't read, but they know colors- plus it's pleasing to the eye!

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2. If you have room for other objects on the shelves, start by sorting books by size first, and then color. Place similar sized books on the same shelf and large books flat on their backs. 

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3. Bonus tip! I place all paperbacks in either a baskets or cubed bin. Typically paperbacks make the bookcase look a little too "junky".  

Hope these few tips help!  

Grandma & Grandpa's

Here it is, The Clark Homestead. My grandpa built this home 65 years ago. My mom was 5. I've always known this house and loved it but there was something different that happened this last visit where I saw and appreciated how progressive grandpa's ideas/designs were for the early 1950's. {I took these photos with my phone and I didn't do any staging.} 

Piano Room. It connects to the dining/tv area. The big windows are the show stoppers in this room. There is lighting in the ceiling that frames the room which gives off a soft warm glow at night which is my favorite. Anyone that knows me knows how much I dislike overhead lighting. It's too harsh! 

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Fireplace with solid wood bookshelves. The same wood was used throughout the house for any built-ins. 

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This was a commissioned painting from a dream my grandpa had...

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This painting my grandparents brought back from New Zealand when they served a mission there in the 80's. It's painted on velvet and has always been a unique/inspiring piece to me. 

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To the left of this fireplace is the dining table. The fireplaces are not quite back to back- more back to side- but they use the same chimney; both modern and sleek in design. 

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Although this chalkboard is all I've known at the house, when my mom and her siblings were in the house, it was a black chalkboard. When they'd come home from school their chores written out.  Funny how these are so popular in kitchens now and my grandparents have been using this system for 60+ years. Also, anyone notice the same sconces used throughout? Sconces are popular now too. 

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Master Bedroom. The light, headboard and bowed window with custom curtains spoke to me. Also, I don't even think the bed is a queen and my grandpa is NO small man. He and my uncles range from 6'3" to 6'7". 

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Cedar closet for her to the right. And partial cedar closet for him below. Plus the organization and height stood out to me. Above both closet doors were cabinets (similar to the built-in in the next photo). 

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Wide hallway where my grandma's sewing machine sat with this beautiful built-in behind her. This storage is dreamy! Closet doors, cabinets, shelves AND drawers! #perfection 

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The one and only bathroom (besides an unfinished one in the basement). Pink tile for days. 

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The tile may be pink but the way it was laid to frame the shower, mirror and around the entire room, in addition to the back shower wall in a contrasting tile equals pure genius. 

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Cement seating for the back patio area. The wall behind the seating also has flower beds on top, example in old family photo below. I remember the grounds were always so beautiful in the Spring and Summer, thanks to my grandma's green thumb. 

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Original lighting in the "garage/extra room". I see lighting similar to this being used across the board in commercial and residential builds.  

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This is the only photo I took of the downstairs. These are lockers that were used for each child (there were 9), Grandma would also use them to hide Christmas gifts. Grandpa found these at a army surplus store. He was good at that.... he did buy an old mining town afterall. 

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Built-in vanity in the "blue room". I really (really) enjoyed using this while visiting. Closets and above cabinets frame it to make a big statement in the room. 

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A small railroad box, something grandpa probably found at an army surplus store. 

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What do you think? I feel pretty special that I come from such talented people! 

Davidson Family Home Part 4

My family and I just got back home from a week in Utah & Idaho to celebrate my grandpa's 95th birthday! I also got to visit a clients (my BFF) new construction and help with a few final decisions. 

Although we had an amazing trip, it's good to be back home and see my own home in a new light. Now I just need to wait for the perfect timing to tell my husband I have more for him to do. 

I love designing playrooms! Although we are still waiting for the perfect piece to go above the sofa, it's a warm and happy place for the kids to play, read, paint or watch TV. This basement used to be a garage and where the TV is now, used to be the stairs. My friend/client is pretty brilliant and knew exactly what she wanted, so it was fun to help her make it a reality. 

Sectional: Haverty's, Rug: Overstock

Sectional: Haverty's, Rug: Overstock

Table and poufs: Land of Nod

Table and poufs: Land of Nod

Pillow and lamp: Land of Nod

Pillow and lamp: Land of Nod


Davidson Family Home: Part 3

This boy space was so fun to do because we had a few creative challenges, namely, my client wanted something that could grow with him for years. And do boys ever grow out of super heroes? Also, this space was already tight and we went from a twin to a full size bed. The acrylic book shelves came in handy because we were able to get the bookcase off the floor and add visual interest - while adding function - to the wall. I'm not a big fan of themed rooms, however, I feel this room works well because it's not an immediate "Wow! This is a super hero room!" Instead, the balance came from simple patterns and textures you might not expect. 

A simple, homemade buffalo check pillow completes the bed. 

A simple, homemade buffalo check pillow completes the bed. 

The industrial light is from Pottery Barn Kids and really sets the tone for the room (AND under $100!)

The industrial light is from Pottery Barn Kids and really sets the tone for the room (AND under $100!)

Client found these comic books at an antique shop. 

Client found these comic books at an antique shop. 

A little of this and a little of that create a personalized nook on his dresser. 

A little of this and a little of that create a personalized nook on his dresser. 

Is this shelf awesome! We scored it at Dot & Bo. 

Is this shelf awesome! We scored it at Dot & Bo

One child can never have enough books.  

One child can never have enough books.  

And what reading nook isn't complete without a chair from PBK? 

And what reading nook isn't complete without a chair from PBK? 

(As a courtesy to my clients, I share some, but not all, of our sources.) 

Davidson Family Home: Part 2

Yay! I finally get to share this girl's room with you. Kids rooms are one of my favorite because it allows them to express who they are in their own space. In this room we started with the bed and everything just magically feel into place from that piece. The room is small, so we doubled the desk as a nightstand and used an invisible chair to keep things light and visually less crowded. It's one of my favorite rooms to date because of the pops of color everywhere. 

A few sources: 

bed/bedding/rug/curtains/desk: Land of Nod

decorative pillow: Caitlin Wilson Designs

invisible chair: Amazon

wall decal: Pottery Barn 

lamp: Target

books: Amazon and Goodwill 

art: Etsy 

light: West Elm 

Davidson Family Home: Part 1

I'm a little behind but Happy New Year! 2015 was an awesome year for MaeMae Studios and I have big plans and a few changes coming for 2016. I'll be announcing them soon! But first I want to start with talking about design. Although I'll still be doing photography my shift will be geared more toward design and showing you how to make your house a home; a happy place to LIVE. 

My great friend Megan D and I go way back- we even started our photography business together named The Other Megan. Clever uh? Last year they were forced to make some renovations because of a major issue with the septic tank and a few other things. Although the circumstances weren't ideal I was excited she asked me to help! I'll start by sharing the piano area. Before the stairs were moved to accommodate the changes in the basement, this area was the main living room. Now, it's a perfect gathering spot for her husband and kids to play music plus store kids backpacks. 

A few changes we made were: refinish the wood floor, add rug, pulled extra chairs from dining table for seating and painted the piano...which is such an easy way to update an old piano and add a pop of color!