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Maker’s Monday: James + McLain

October has flown by and we are already at our last Monday of the month. Boy, does time sure fly! I can’t help but get the itch to start changing up decor in the house to transition with the seasons. Down come the jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and spider webs for a much cozier, homespun atmosphere. No, I’m not going full-blown Christmas (that would be crazy!), but hints of evergreen, wood and other natural elements to slowly transition to a full-on Christmas wonderland. This Maker’s Monday featured shop has just the decor to get me there, James + McLain.

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James + McLain specializes in hand-painted wood signs and decor with a pleasing neutral palette and extremely high-quality. Their wood signs are the perfect addition to any gallery wall, fireplace mantel or coffee bar.

Here is a glimpse at some of James + McLain’s beautiful work:

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James + McLain, located in the heart of Texas, offers custom sign orders — perfect for a wedding gift, housewarming gift or to welcome a new little one to the family.

Special promo

Enjoy an exclusive promo for James + McLain and check out these amazing wood signs. This week enjoy 10% off your purchase with promo code HAPPYFALL at checkout. Happy shopping!

IMG_1855Check out some of the other House Fenway Maker’s Monday Shops:

Dandelion Wishes Candle Co.

Curious Timbers

Gam Gam Handcrafted

The Vintage Nest

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5 Smart Ways You Can Instantly Brighten You Home Interior

It’s never good when your home feels quite dark and gloomy. During the night, this isn’t much of an issue as you can turn the lights on. But, during the day, you feel like you’re living in a cave as it’s so dark and there are shadows everywhere. Aside from making you feel uncomfortable, all this darkness can detract from the lovely design of your interior. Therefore, it makes sense to try and brighten up your indoor spaces as naturally as possible.

What can you do? Some of you may argue that you can just turn the lights on during the day, and that ends the article right here! However, having your lights on during the day is not only a waste of electricity, but it’s also just plain weird. It feels odd having the lights on when it’s light outside, I don’t like it!

Instead, you should try some of these straightforward and smart ideas that will instantly brighten up your home interior:

Refresh Your Windows

Sometimes, your windows are guilty of blocking out a lot of natural light. This happens when they’re ancient and have become almost caked in dirt and grime. Or, it may just be the style of the window that doesn’t let a lot of light in. Regardless, you can solve a lot of your problems by refreshing your windows.

There are two distinct ways you can do this, and the first is to straight up replace the windows themselves. Find a glazier that will restore and install new panes and fixtures for you, which will improve your home quite dramatically. Not only will your house look nicer, but you can choose windows that let in light better and are perhaps wider than your old ones too. As such, your interior becomes a lot brighter and free from shadows.

The second option is less extreme, and it’s just to get the windows professionally cleaned. Often, you should do this first as it helps you see if the windows were just filthy. If things improve, then you can brighten up your home while saving a lot of time and effort too.

Change The Decor

Another widespread cause of darkness in the home is the decor you’ve chosen. Some people will rock really dark colors in their home that just don’t do a great deal to make it seem bright and inviting. Instead, you almost shoot yourself in the foot by creating a gloomy atmosphere. Now, it might not be your fault as you could’ve just moved into a house that’s decorated like this. This doesn’t matter, all that matters is you fix the problem!

I love this idea as it’s one of the easiest and most fun to do. All that’s required is a little renovation of your interior design. Assess your dark rooms and think of brighter colors that will make them feel less dark and more bright/happy. White is obviously always a good color to use on the walls as it will reflect natural light and really brighten up any room. Not only that, but you can get wallpapers that are primarily white, but also use other colors/patterns, which mean you can have fun re-designing your rooms as well.

Obviously, you can choose any bright colors you like, but I only used white as an example because it’s the best example to choose. Some other colors might be a bit too ‘out there’ for some people, while white remains neutral. This means you can come up with an interior design theme that stays in fashion for a long time as well.

Make Good Use Of Mirrors

Ah, mirrors – one of the most underrated interior design features on the planet. People think this item should only be used in bathrooms or bedrooms to give you something to look at when you’re getting ready. However, they have so many more uses as well. We all know that mirrors help open up a room and give the illusion of more interior space. But, they also serve to brighten up your interiors as well.

You see, mirrors are incredibly reflective, which means that light will bounce off it back into the room. If you position your mirrors smartly, you can use the natural light coming in through your windows to reflect all over the room. It almost acts as a daytime light, totally illuminating the space. But, the clear difference is that mirrors don’t run on electricity so your energy bill won’t go through the roof!

Another reason I love mirrors is that they can be used to complement your interior design as well. A grand mirror in your living room can completely tie everything together and make the whole place feel more connected. It’s a decoration, as well as a reflector of light!

Switch To A Different Flooring

Carpet has its pros and cons, but I don’t think it’s very beneficial in the modern era. Sure, it can add warmth and comfort to your property, but I think some neatly placed rugs will do the same when put on top of a different flooring option. Plus, ideas like laminate, vinyl, and tiled floorings will help brighten up your home as well.

How? Well, it’s pretty much the same effect that mirrors have on your property. These floorings are all quite shiny – especially tiles – which means they reflect the light and bounce it around the room very well. It will definitely be considerably different compared to what a carpet or some old hardwood flooring will bring to your home. Here, they can act as a bit of a light dampener – if that makes sense. No light reflects off them, and they almost suck it out of the room and create a sense of dullness.

Consider Installing Skylights

Fair warning; this idea won’t work for every room in your home. However, where it makes sense, it will be unbelievably useful. If you don’t know, a skylight is basically a window in the ceiling. It lets it light from the sky, which can illuminate an entire room. Typically, you see these in attic bedrooms or places where you can install a window in the ceiling. A lot of people will have kitchen extensions to make this room stick out from the rest of their home, giving them the ability to install a skylight and bring more natural light into that particular room.

This idea is also trendy for upstairs bedrooms and bathrooms as well. If you can do this, then it’s so highly recommended as it instantly changes the outlook of a room. You produce another light source (along with the standard windows), and it can make the space feel much brighter and create a happier atmosphere.

On the topic of installations that don’t suit every room, I’ll include a bonus one for you; patio doors. These are great if you have a back garden and want to connect your home to it. The way most houses are made, you have either the kitchen/dining area that sits at the rear of the house, with the garden behind it. Sometimes, you have a back door leading out, but you should change to a patio door. This will give you some massive ceiling to floor windows that also function as sliding doors. Therefore, you get loads of natural light in this room when you want it!

Final Thoughts: Why Should You Brighten Your Home Interior?

I’ve given you all my ideas to help you brighten the inside of your home, but I thought I’d wrap things up by telling you why this is something you need to do.

For one, there’s the clear benefit of just getting to enjoy your home more. Who wants to live in a shadowy home? No one! It totally brings your mood down when you’re in dark areas, whereas it brings your spirit up when it’s light. Plus, you can improve the way your home looks and really bring out all the fine details in your interior design work.

From a more practical point of view, this is essential for anyone selling their home. If you want a quick sale for a reasonable asking price, then your home must look bright and attractive. Nobody wants to buy a house that looks dark and shady; it’ll be on the market for years!

Finally, and this is something I touched upon earlier, you reduce the need to turn the lights on during the day. If you focus on bringing more natural light into your property and using it to your advantage, then there’s no reason to have the lights on until it’s dark outside. This can save you an absolute flipping fortune in energy bills! As a consequence, you can use some of these savings to revamp your home and make it look even better.

On that note, you know why it makes sense to brighten up your home interior, so go ahead and get started. Run through all the ideas mentioned above, and pick out the ones you think will work best for your property.

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Maker’s Monday: Curious Timbers

It’s Monday again and that means another Maker’s Monday here on House Fenway! Every Monday I feature a small business and/or artist, their wares and a little bit about them. It has always been a fun experience meeting other makers and enjoying their creations and I want to share that all with you. The time and talent that goes into each products made by a small business or artist far out ways anything you could purchase from a big box retailer. This week’s maker is a newbie to the community, opening up on Etsy this Summer.

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A cute accent to greet your Thanksgiving guests.

Meet the Maker

Meet Curious Timbers, John & Ashley, a husband and wife duo from the heart of Utah. Ashley loves design and John loves handy work, so it was a natural fit to marry their passions together into a business. Curious Timbers specializes in handmade dimensional wood signs. From fancy script lettering to custom seasonal signs, you’d be sure to find something fitting to accent your home.

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Curious Timbers also has a wide selection of paint and stains options available to help you match your existing decor. The skies the limit when it comes to customization. Here is a quick preview of current signs offered at Curious Timbers:

 

Love Shopping Small?

Check out these other small shops that have been features on Maker’s Monday.

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Shade Tree Naturals

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Gam Gamz Handcrafted

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5 Things You Should Never Do When Decorating A Spare Room

Are you constantly telling yourself that you’re going to do something with your spare room instead of just using it to store all of your junk in? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Spare rooms around the globe end up wasted which is a real shame because you could be doing something so much better with that space. If you take the time to clear out all of the clutter that you’ve got in there and convert the room into something else, you’ll have a lot more space in the rest of the house and you’ll actually be able to enjoy using that room. But you’ve got to be careful when you’re converting a spare room because there are a lot of mistakes that you can make. If you get it wrong, the room will be just as useless as it was before. If you’re thinking about doing something more interesting with the spare room, make sure you don’t make these mistakes.

Using It For The Wrong Thing

Before you start doing any work, you need to decide what the room is going to be used for. So many people get it wrong and choose a function that just doesn’t suit the room. For example, if you have a fairly small box room and you try to turn it into another bedroom, you’ll fill all of the space with the bed and the room will be incredibly cramped. Equally, if you take a large room and make it into an office space, you’re not going to make great use of all of that space. That’s why you’ve got to be careful when you’re working out what to do with that spare room.  Consider the space and think about how you can get the best use out of it. By letting the space in the room guide you, you can be sure that you find the right use for it.

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Not Matching It With The Rest Of The House

Now that you’ve decided what you’re going to do with the room, you can start coming up with a design. You might have an idea in mind but before you get carried away, think about how the room will fit with the rest of the house. You need to match the decor in the spare room to the rest of the house, otherwise, it’ll look out of place. That doesn’t mean you have to use the exact same decor that you’ve got in other rooms, but you need to find a color scheme that accents it well.

Trying To Do Too Much Yourself

When you’re making home renovations, DIY is a great way to save money. But you do have to be careful because there are some things that you should never do yourself. For example, if you’re going to start messing around with the radiators or any other plumbing, you need professionals like ABC Plumbing Services to do the work for you. If you try to do it yourself and you haven’t really got a clue what you’re doing, you’ll end up with a flooded spare room instead of the great new space you were hoping for. The same goes for anything to do with the electrics. You’re going to end up hurting yourself if you start poking around in plug sockets. There are plenty of things that you can do yourself, mainly the cosmetic stuff. Any wallpapering or painting etc. is fine to do on your own as long as you take your time and plan properly. But anything more complex is always a risk so you need to get some professionals to do it for you.

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A Short Lived Design

When you’re trying to pick a color scheme for the new room, consider the longevity of the design. If you’re decorating in the fall, you might decide that you want to use lots of nice oranges and browns. That’ll look great for a while but it might not fit well when the winter comes. When you’re designing the room, it’s important that you don’t let yourself be swayed by seasonal styles that won’t look good all year around. Try to pick something fairly neutral that isn’t going to fall out of style a couple of months down the line. You should also try to avoid using any new design trends. While everybody might think that those styles are here to stay, they usually fall out of fashion pretty quickly. Instead of a stylish spare room, you’ll end up with dated decor that you’ll end up having to change again.

Measuring Badly

When you’ve landed on a final design for the new spare room, you’re ready to start work. But if you rush into things and just start throwing wallpaper onto the walls, you’ll end up with a shoddy job that looks terrible. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they’re starting a new renovation is measuring badly. If you don’t get your measurements right, you’ll cause yourself all sorts of problems down the line. When it comes to buying materials, you can easily end up not ordering enough because your measurements are wrong. Getting halfway through a wall before realizing you’ve run out of paint and having to go out and get more can easily ruin the finish. Equally, you might overestimate your measurements and end up wasting a load of money on materials that you can’t use again in the future.

When you’re measuring things out, always make sure that you’re taking your time and measuring everything twice. You might save yourself 5 minutes now by rushing it, but you’ll waste hours and loads of money further down the line when you make a mistake. Measuring right is particularly important when you’re cutting things. If you get it wrong you’ll have to go out and buy more materials.

Converting a spare room is a great way to get more use out of the space in your home but if you make these mistakes, you’ll end up with a room that’s more useless than it was before.

 

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How to Decorate your Home for Autumn

Autumn is just around the corner so now it is more important than ever to get the house in order. Autumn is a wonderful time and all of the leaves will soon turn nice and golden, before falling from the tree onto the cold and hard ground. It’s safe to say that autumn is one of the best times for you to spruce up the home but at the end of the day, so many people fail to do it every single year. So if you want to get your home ready for autumn then you can find out whatever you need to know right here.

Orange is Your Friend

When you think of autumn colors, what really sticks out is the various shades of orange. Consider using deep and dark accent colors. These rustic colors will really create a wonderful feeling of warmth and it will also give you a good level of comfort as well. You will even find that it makes your home feel much more inviting and this is a great way for you to get everything looking great.

Warmth

Autumn is the time for log fires and snuggling up on the sofa. This is a fantastic way for you to combat those wet, miserable Mondays. One of the best ways for you to make your home feel way warmer without having to decorate is to invest in a space heater. They are super practical and they are also very easy to carry around the home as well. you can even invest in a log burner as well. When you do have a log burner you can install it into your wall and nothing can quite compare to this.

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Accessorize

Your autumn wardrobe is all about accessorising. You have to think about coats, scarves, gloves, hats and more. Your homes cosiness will be boosted with the right accessories and the best way for you to do this would be for you to add some soft textures. A lot of people are so against mismatching fabrics and even accessories that they really don’t open up the full potential of their home. Consider opting for things such as fleeces, heavy cottons or even knitted items as well. This will add layer after layer of cosy comfort and it can work wonders for the cosiness level of your home. You may even want to opt for a knitted ottoman as well, or even invest in a throw for your sofa. When you add a few cushions you will soon see how this can make all the difference and you will also see that you can add so much personality to your home as well.

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It’s All About Layers

If you think that there is a rule of one rug per room then there are a few rules that you need to follow.  There is no such thing as too many rugs or even carpets. If you want you can overlap lots of rugs and you can even add a cosy Moroccan vibe as well. The main thing that you have to remember here is that you don’t want to trip over them when you walk into the room, so try and space them out appropriately and don’t put them right outside doorways.

Lighting

Another way to make your home cosier would be for you to add more lighting. A great way for you to capitalise on making your home look as cosy as possible would be for you to have some dot lamps around the room. You also need to try and grab an end table and even find a way to install a shelf or two as well. When you can do this you can easily install way more lighting and this is a fantastic way for you to make the most out of the light that you have in your home.

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Never Ignore the Bathroom

The bathroom is easily one of the major rooms that you should focus on. It helps to have a rug that is right next to your bath and this will help to stop your feet from touching the cold, tiled floor. If you want to maximise the feel of the room then it also helps to have some scented candles as well. Vanity lamps are ideal and you can also have some floating shelves installed. When you do this, you can then really get more light into the room and you can also brighten it up as well. When you are choosing your scented candles, try and make sure that you are choosing ones that are nice and spicy. Toasty scents are also great because they can really make your home feel warm, so do keep that in mind when the time does come for you to get started.

The Windows

Sure, it’s cold outside but you really don’t want your windows to make your home feel cold as well. Invest in some vinyl windows or even try and have some nice flowers in the windows. This is a fantastic way for you to really make your home feel more cosy and you can even decorate to your heart’s content as well. When you look at your curtains, try and make sure that they are nice and thick and also make sure that they are able to lock in heat as well. Curtains that are able to do this often have more than one layer. So when the night gets late and there is frost outside, you can shut the curtains and feel instantly warmer. The best thing about this is that it can also save on your energy bills as well, and this is a fantastic way for you to really make the most out of the bills that you pay.

Of course, if you want to really make your home feel cosy then these top tips will help. You would be surprised at how easy it is for you to really turn things around and when you put the work in, you can seriously get your home ready for the colder months.

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