Get the look: Prague vacation rental

I’ve been using Airbnb to book apartments in almost every city Scott and I have visited. It’s typically less expensive than staying in a hotel–rates are less, and you can eat some meals at home–and I love really getting a taste for how the locals live.

I’m always interested to see the design of the apartments (remember, I designed a vacation rental too), and I was particularly impressed with the flat we rented in Prague for a long weekend.

Prague flat 1

I loved the modern neutral wallpaper in the hallway. Paired with the natural wood stools and pendants, the mostly-white apartment felt instantly warm.

Prague flat 2

The mix of furnishings make them look as though they were collected over time. My mother-in-law and I wanted to take the vintage-looking, French-inspired, cane-back dining chairs with us.

Prague flat 3

The bedroom was extremely simple with tons of natural light and soft neutral furnishings.

Here’s how I would get the look for little money:
Prague flat get the look

Have you rented a place you wish was your own?


Innovative decorating with collections

When I was in London, I visited the Camden Lock Market. While I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without, I was inspired by a small hallway where two different collections were displayed.
Books on the wall
Books on the wall serving as frames for old pictures. These vintage tomes are painted white, have a colored satin ribbon glued in as a bookmark and old pictures pasted inside. Really, there are two collections here–vintage books and old photos. Both totally collectable. Other ideas for displaying books or photos? If you’re an avid reader, collect colorful versions of the classics and style them within a bookshelf or on a desk. If you’re not an avid reader, buy books in complementing colors and style those on a shelf or desk.
Closeup of book
As for photos, another option might be to think about framing a collection by subject, location, etc. and mixing them in on a gallery wall with modern art too.
These skeleton keys were dipped in paint and strung from a grate suspended from the ceiling.
Closeup of keys
Try hanging them from ribbon and stringing them in the window, or group them as a display and hang them on a wall (from just a simple nail).

The individuality seen in these collections is what I love most. Rather than simply collect figurines, glassware, books, etc., think about how you can make the collection uniquely you. Paint, ribbon and display gave these vintage finds a personal touch. This got me thinking. What collection do I have in California that I could throw my mark on?

I have a small collection of milk glass–maybe three or four vases–and I am inspired by this photo to gild them.
white and gold vases
My mom has a collection of buttons. I’m thinking of taking her jar, sifting through it to find some fun colors and shapes and making a one-of-a-kind artwork like this.
Love button artwork

What is it that you collect? How do you display it?

Warm white

White on white
The colorless shade has so many variations that can make spaces and furnishings appear stark, shabby chic and modern. But most don’t think of adding white to warm up a room. Let me show you the ways:
white church
Scott and I recently visited the island of Hvar in Croatia. And while I was taken with the tiny city of Hvar Town’s Renaissance and Gothic architecture, I was more impressed with the color (or lack thereof) of the buildings. Shades of white, cream, ivory, alabaster, pearl, chalk, milk and snow wrap stone buildings, blanket cobblestone streets, cover windows and shade outdoor markets.
white hotel
I was totally inspired by so much non color. Scott’s not a huge fan of decorating with white. He prefers color and pattern, but I suspect if I created one of these inviting vignettes at home, I would change his mind.
Warm Welcome
Create a warm welcome
Lay something soft but durable at the entry, like this striped dhurrie rug. Place a bench on top, a place to sit and put on or take off shoes–and a place to drop your bag. Make it cozy with a small sheepskin rug and a few textured throw pillows, like these linen and cable-knit designs. Add a decorative coat rack. And a few cozy items, like this shearling vest and wood bead wreath. And something whimsical and fun, such as this vintage cowbell.
Create a comfy nook in the office
Make a comfy nook in the home office
Start with a comfortable but inexpensive couch, something with a removable slipcover if possible. Add a small end table. Add a few throw pillows for additional comfort. I couldn’t find any white-and-metallic-gold pillows that I loved, so I would buy this metallic linen fabric and this geometric pattern and make my own. Shed some light on the space for reading. And finish the space with one-of-a-kind art.

Fourth of July party decorating ideas

I spent this past week in Germany and Austria, traveling with my good friend, Naomi (the one I designed the nursery for). We stayed in charming Bad Aibling, about an hour outside of Munich. The little town was peppered with tiny artisan shops–felt goods (where I bought something for Naomi’s nursery; there will be a post about that project when it’s complete), handmade housewares and Vergissmein Nicht, a fantastic flower shop.

Vergissmein Nicht

Wandering through this place, I could not help but envision the July Fourth party I would design. Here are a few ideas I would steal–and tweak.

Red wrapped bottles

Dig through the recycle bin and save all empty bottles–hot sauce, wine and beer. Wrap them with shades of red and blue yarn and secure (in a discreet spot) with hot glue. Play with texture and thickness here. I love the nubby blue one.

Blue wrapped bottles

Fill the vessels with small bunches of wild flowers.

All-white table

This is brilliant. I always run out of room on my table between the food and decor. Why not bring in a smaller console, coffee table, even a dresser to nest under the dining table and give yourself more surface area. Don’t have white furniture? Dress surfaces in casual white linens, like burlap. Then use all white and silver serving pieces and candle holders. Think outside the box when it comes to serving pieces. A galvanized bucket sitting in a closet makes a great chip container or utensil and napkin keeper.

Succulent ideas

Decorate with inexpensive varieties of succulents. Don’t plant them in squat tiny pots. Elevate the pretty plants on your table by planting them in tall silver or white vases.

Shim idea

These plant markers are actually just pieces of wood veneer, but it gave me the idea to do something similar with wood shims. I would tell guests what they’re eating by writing appetizer and dessert names on these wooden sticks (use a thicker paint pen) and placing them in small terracotta pots filled with dry rice (so they stand straight).

Great dog parks nationwide

Mahoney Locust Point Dog Park 4

OK, I am departing from decorating, decor and entertaining ideas to promote a story I just wrote for because it was just so much fun. The article features the best parks and places across the country to take dogs this summer. Click here to check out a great Boulder hike, two pooch-friendly cafes in the Twin Cities, a beach where dogs can play while their surf-loving owners ride waves and a park in Baltimore that’s more like a playground for dogs with climbing structures and water features.


While writing this story, I went through pictures of our golden retriever, Miles, and our corgi mix, Perry. These two pups have a few favorite Southern California spots where they like to frolic. Miles loves Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, where he chases his ball into the waves and swims


Miles also thoroughly enjoyed his first hike, greeting people and other dogs along the trail, chasing sticks and swimming. The Cedar Creek Falls Trail is a dog-friendly, moderate 4.5-mile out-and-back hike outside of Julian, California with a pretty waterfall and pool at the bottom, a great place to picnic and swim.

Miles on a hike

Perry’s not much of a hiker since he has short legs, but he amuses himself chasing big dogs at Dog Beach.


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