Monochrome Book

While I do think space planning, large item selection and color palette are the key essentials to a successful room – accessories can make or break a room.  I get asked by friends and family often about accessorizing tips so I want to share one of those tips with you.

This tip features a very simple way of displaying books while keeping a monochromatic color palette.  In our living room I decided to a neutral color palette – mainly because we have beautiful built ins that we refinished with a dark stain to highlight.  The thought of having large massive built-ins can be overwhelming and books of all colors and shapes could be distracting and overbearing considering I wanted to stay true to this monochromatic feel while filling the shelves with collectables and treasured items.  Main objective – keeping the shelves simple and clean while carrying the color palette.

One option could have been buying a beautiful linen fabric and covering each book – but this would take a lot of time and effort.  I wanted a simple solution…so I turned the books around to make the book pages the bulk color visible.

Flip books around to keep monochromatic neutral palette.

Flip books around to keep monochromatic neutral palette.

This works great for paper back books but even with the hardback color books I like the look turning the books around.

Hardback Books - Monochrome Look

Hardback Books – Monochrome Look

Of course this makes finding books a bit more difficult because you can’t see the title of the book – Simple tip: sort the books by topic.

Don’t get me wrong I am HUGE lover of COLOR and the large coffee table books I do adore, but for this room I wanted to carry a monochrome feel and this simple trick was the perfect solution.

Accessorizing Bookshelves - Simple but stylish

Accessorizing Bookshelves – Simple but stylish

I also like to store my extra pillow covers because they are too beautiful to store and hide in a closet.  Also extra incentive to redo the living room soon – next time around to infuse more color.  And I am dying to use my new Kelly Wearstler pillows.  It should be crime not to have those puppies out.

Accessorizing - Bookshelves - Accessorizing – Bookshelves –

More on storage ideas for hiding the kiddos toys and other accessorizing tips soon!  What is your best bookshelf accessorizing tip?

Creative Croutons

My family loves Ceasar salad. My four-year-old gobbles it up, so we make it at least once a week to go with evening meals. I was getting bored with the traditional take, so I decided to get a little creative with the croutons. Instead of pouring pre-made croutons out of a bag, which is what I normally do, I made these out of tortillas. They’re so fun and you can either crumble them into the salad or eat them like crackers.

First, take a whole wheat flour tortilla and baste each side with olive oil.

Basting with Olive Oil

Basting with Olive Oil


Season one side with kosher salt. Chop fresh rosemary and sprinkle it all over the tortilla. Cut it into triangles, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them at 350 degrees for about  7 minutes. They will be golden brown on the edges and starting to curl up a bit.

Seasoned Tortilla

Seasoned Tortilla




Creative Croutons Ready to Bake

Creative Croutons Ready to Bake


Serve them however you’d like with your salad. Or, use them with a dip. They have a fantastic texture…I promise your family will love this homemade version of croutons, chips, crackers…whatever you want to call them. Enjoy!

Creative Croutons Recipe - Middle Redefined

Creative Croutons Recipe – Middle Redefined



Master Bedroom Inspiration

I’m super excited that the time has finally come to redo our master bedroom! I mean, we have been living with carpet in our bathroom (why do builders do that???) for almost two years!! We had several other things on our list to get done before tackling the master, but we’re ready! So I’ve scoured Pinterest for ideas and want to share the direction I’m going to get your feedback.

First, I’m planning to redo my DIY upholstered headboard. I currently have black and white stripes, but I’m thinking of going with a grey suede. I’m totally going to add nail heads to it like the one below. The room was designed by Kerrisdale Design. I’m loving the bright creamy walls, white side tables, and white bedding with pops of color. That’s what I’m going for.


This room, featured by Belle Maison, looks so luxurious with the charcoal grey, satin-y headboard, and gold accessories. I adore the simple circle artwork on both sides of the bed, and I’ve pinned this photo because I’m going to do my own version. Who can’t make circles on some paper and frame it? So simple, but I think it’s so fun!


Belle Maison

Belle Maison

What I’m trying to figure out is what accent color(s) to do. I’ve thought about corral, pale blue, rose, emerald green…as you can see I really haven’t nailed that down. This adorable room was featured on House of Turquoise, which is one of my favorite blogs to visit. What accent color do you think I should do?

House of Turquoise

House of Turquoise

I’ll have ”before” and “progress” pictures to show you in the next couple of weeks! Happy Friday everyone!

“Mustard” Yellow

I have a love affair with some “odd’ colors says the mister.  ”That looks like mustard (beautiful hue of yellow).”  Or that is “poo green” (chartruese).   Completely fine by me as long as he agrees to let me utilize these colors in our home.  So here goes “mustard”…in Liam and Dax’s bathroom.

BEFORE: Outdated, brass and just plain boring.  I don’t have a great picture of the strip lighting.  It.was.BAD.

Boys Bathroom Before - Outdated and boring

Boys Bathroom Before – Outdated and boring

AFTER: Updated lighting, strong black and white combo with pops of “mustard”.  Exactly the impact I wanted to keep it fun and infuse color.

Boys Bathroom After - hints of "mustard" yellow.

Boys Bathroom After – hints of “mustard” yellow.

[caption id="attachment_423" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Kid friendly bathroom accessories Kid friendly bathroom accessories

Updated Cabinets with fresh coat of an almost black paint and new pulls.

Updated Cabinets with fresh coat of an almost black paint and new pulls.


Accessories featuring DIY Art Project

Accessories featuring DIY Art Project

My favorite part of this bathroom might be the DIY art that features whale wallpaper.  I would have loved to wallpaper the entire back wall but that was NOT practical given the price per roll so I decided to order a sample of the wallpaper for less than $5.  I grabbed a fabulous “mustard” frame and it is the perfect final touch to this bathroom.

For more use of this amazing hue of yellow – check out Erica’s living room take of gray and yellow which is absolutely divine!

On Display: Make Your Own Photo Board

When I was in college, my incredibly creative friend Jamie had this massive photo board that displayed all kinds of fun pictures of all our friends and her family. One day, I asked her to show me how to create my own, and it has traveled with me to every house since then. Recently, I decided to give it a face lift so it would fit a little better with my current style.

My old one was red waverly – not my husband’s favorite material.

Old Photo Board Material

Old Photo Board Material


For my new one, I decided to use some of my leftover recycled coffee sacks I had used for another art project. I purchased several of these off ebay for about $10. Most of the time, when you search for coffee sacks, the sellers don’t guarantee what they actually look like when you get them. However, I’ve loved all the ones I’ve received.

Recycled Coffee Sack

Recycled Coffee Sack


If you’re starting from scratch, just buy an artist’s canvas. They make perfect photo boards, and you can usually buy them in multi-packs at Hobby Lobby for $5-$10. Lay your material over the top and wrap the fabric around the back, tucking the extra under the edging. Staple it all around the back.

Recovering Photo Board

Recovering Photo Board


Then use whatever kind of ribbon you want. I chose a satin cream colored ribbon because I didn’t want the color to compete with what I put on display. Depending on how large your board is, cut strips of the ribbon so that you have an equal amount of ribbon going each direction. In my case, I chose to do five strips going up and five going down.

I’m not incredibly precise with most of my projects, so you could totally measure and make sure everything is exactly even between each ribbon. In my case, I started in the middle, using the top and bottom points for the first ribbon, then worked my way out by eyeballing it from there. Each time I cut the ribbon, I just left an extra inch so I could wrap it around to the back. I did all one way and then all the other way…no need to mess with weaving anything in and out of each other.

Adding Ribbon to Photo Board

Adding Ribbon to Photo Board


Staple the ribbon on the back.

Back of Photo Board

Back of Photo Board


Find decorative tacks to stick into the canvas at the cross-sections of the ribbon. Once you push them in, however, you have to put something on the back to make them stay put. Jamie came up with the brilliant plan to cut Q-tips and use the sticks as the back. I just ended up reusing those same Q-tips – if it ain’t broke… My mom made some of these recently to donate to a nursing home, and she sewed buttons on instead of using tacks. They looked adorable.

Photo Board Finishing Touch

Photo Board Finishing Touch


Q-tip Solution

Q-tip Solution


We use our photo board in the kitchen to display photos of our family and friends. It’s also a perfect place to hold invites instead of on the fridge. Hope this inspires you to create your own display boards!

DIY Photo Board - Middle Redefined

DIY Photo Board – Middle Redefined

DIY Photo Board Up Close

DIY Photo Board Up Close


Simple Note – DIY Art Project

I am all about simple DIY projects and I cherish meaningful art pieces.  Last year Valentine’s Day I wanted to create something unique and meaningful for the mister and to a better job at acknowledging one of  his main “love languages”.  Words of affirmation is a huge “love language” of his – so, I went to work on a very simple DIY that did the trick.

DIY Meaningful Art Project -

DIY Meaningful Art Project –

A simple “I ____ you because…” fill in the blank.  This can be  filled in with “I appreciate you because…” or “I love you because…” or get a little saucy with “I want you because…”  Hopefully not too many “I loathe you because…”  or “I am angry at you because…”

This project is SO incredible simple.  Buy a frame – I love square frames for this project.  Pick up a sheet of scrapbook paper that fits the frame size.  I used 12×12 and in total this cost me 12 dollars.  I have a set of typewriter inspired stamps that I use on many projects and I chose to emboss these letters individually (I have a secret obsession when it comes to embossing – more on this in later posts).  But, if you haven’t tried embossing to make your own thank you notes or stationary you are missing out.  So simple!

Once you emboss or stamp “I ___ you because…” you frame the paper and then you write on the outside glass with dry erase markers.  SO EASY!

I added the “XO” to the end where we usually sign our names and this hangs in our laundry room next to our mail / key drop off.  This is a place where the mister and I walk into every single day and these little notes really make me smile.

DIY Art - Meaningful Art Project

DIY Art – Meaningful Art Project

My favorite to date – which I secretly took a picture of…

[caption id="attachment_380" align="alignnone" width="640"]Favorite " because..." DIY Meaningful Art Favorite “I…you because…” DIY Meaningful Art

While I have a hopeless romantic as a husband this little board is easy for me to leave messages to him so I much better at telling him my appreciation / love by a simple note on a more regular basis.

I have actually gifted this to friends of mine who were getting married as a shower / wedding gift.  If anyone would like to “order” one comment and let me know I would be happy to put my embossing skills to work and send it your way!

Cheers to spreading the love with this simple DIY project and showing your appreciation to your loved ones!


Weekend Brunch

This weekend, I had my family and in-laws over for a Sunday brunch after church. To my friends in NYC, this means sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. For those of us in the Midwest, it’s around 11:30 a.m. With seven people to feed, I decided a frittata was in order. A frittata is basically just a crustless quiche, and it’s faster and easier than a quiche. The only thing you need in order to make one is a skillet that can also go in the oven.

You can fill it with whatever veggies you have on hand. In this case, I used onion, red pepper, and asparagus. I also generally include some sort of breakfast meat, like bacon, sausage, or ham.

First, cook your meat or just warm it up in the skillet if it’s pre-cooked. For mine, I had pre-cooked turkey sausage on hand, so I just cut it into bite-sized pieces and sauteed it for about three minutes. Then, I set it aside.

Turkey Sausage for Frittata

Turkey Sausage for Frittata


After that, I sauteed chopped red pepper, asparagus, and onion in some olive oil. Throw the meat back in the skillet when the veggies are close to done.

Veggies for Frittata

Veggies for Frittata


Crack and whisk together 12 eggs (I only use 6 eggs when it’s just my family). Whisk in about 1/4 cup of milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and meat. Let that set up a bit until the outside edges firm up. The middle will still be a little wobbly. While it’s cooking, I usually gently lift the outside edges with a rubber spatula and tilt the skillet so that extra egg can run under the frittata and cook a little faster.

Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese, and put the whole thing in a 350 degree oven. This will help set the top. It usually takes about five minutes. It’s done when the center is no longer jiggly.

Frittata Recipe - Middle Redefined

Frittata Recipe – Middle Redefined


Serve it just like a piece of quiche. It’s even yummier when serves on a super fancy plate. Enjoy!

Brunch Frittata - Middle Redefined

Brunch Frittata – Middle Redefined


Gray and Yellow Fun

One of my favorite color combos right now is gray and yellow. There’s just something so relaxing about those two colors together that makes me happy. So I decided to use that combo when decorating my family room. Last week you saw my DIY Roman shade project, which was the latest addition to this room’s design.

DIY Roman Shades - Middle Redefined

DIY Roman Shades – Middle Redefined

Now I’ll show you the rest of the room and share where we found some of our favorite pieces.

My first yellow accessory was a vase from Anthropologie. I paid around $35 for it, and it helped drive the shade of yellow I wanted in the rest of my room. The gray vase and tray are from Target. My rustic trunk that stores Kingston’s puzzles and games was $150 find at an antique shop in the middle of nowhere Kansas.

Gray and Yellow Accessories

Gray and Yellow Accessories

The pops of yellow ar so fun, and so easy to switch out down the road if I want to add a different color. We tried to make sure we truly brought our family into this room with lots of photography. It’s also really important that we have plenty of room to play, so we chose fairly small furniture and tried to limit too many extra decorative items.

I got my couch and arm chairs from Nebraska Furniture Mart. The pillows on my couch are from Pottery Barn, and the yellow Ikat ones are from Etsy.

Gray and Yellow Family Room - Middle Redefined

Gray and Yellow Family Room – Middle Redefined


We keep a small table in the family room for Kingston to sit at for art, snacks, or other activities. It’s his little space where he stores papers and other goodies. I think we got it at Big Lots for about $50.

I adore the mirror on the wall, and it was a random find at Mission Antique Mall – I splurged a little on it and paid $75 because you can’t beat that distressed look. The ladder was $10 at a flea market in Lawrence, KS. And my mother-in-law got me that adorable throw blanket with little birdies at Marshalls.

The side tables are actually outdoor stools, and I bought them years ago at Pier 1. They’ve been about four different colors. I just put cut glass on top to extend the space.


Kid Space

Kid Space


The dough bowl on my flea market shelf is one of my favorite accessories. Another antique shop treasure from a road trip years ago, and I think I paid a whopping $50 for it. I’ve never found another one of this size for less than $150. I love the flecks of gray and blue.

Dough Bowl

Dough Bowl


The corner of the room holds a shelf with more of our personal treasures and photos. We got the shelf at Winfield House in Lawrence, KS. They don’t have a website, otherwise I’d guide you there. The basket is yet another place we store extra toys, books, and kid things that need to be easily accessible.

Gray and Yellow Family Room Corner - Middle Redefined

Gray and Yellow Family Room Corner – Middle Redefined


When searching for art that would incorporate some kind of yellow, I came across these adorable “You Are My Sunshine” signs from Etsy – only $24.

You Are My Sunshine Sign


It’s so fun when all the pieces start falling into place. We love our family room and hope it’s inspired some ideas for your home as well. Do you love gray and yellow as much as me?





Sunday Spring Art

When I lived in LA and worked for an interior designer I remember the incredible art collections that some clients had and would drool at their galleries.  Of course I was jealous and on a strict budget I figured I might dabble in trying to create my own abstract art.  I had no idea how to paint, what kind of paint to get or for that matter been in a true art store my entire life.  So, I turned to my friend Allie who taught me a thing or two about painting and went to town on Sunday afternoon.

Abstract Spring Art on Canvas - Custom -

Abstract Spring Art on Canvas – Custom –

Being a complete rookie I decided to go with acrylics instead of oils.  Earlier that day I had taken a walk along the gorgeous strand of Hermosa Beach and was inspired by spring flowers blooming.

Now over the years the colors in this painting have evolved – in its most recent edition I decided this painting needed to sit in our master bedroom above the vintage royal blue settee so I chose to add in turquoises, chartreuse, navy and hints of hot pink.  I know those colors may sound add but I think it did the trick.

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Vibrant Colors Pop - Hung slightly below top of vintage blue velvet settee Vibrant Colors Pop – Hung slightly below top of vintage blue velvet settee

Spring Art in Master Bedroom above Vintage Settee

Spring Art in Master Bedroom above Vintage Settee

As you can see, the neutral background really helps balance this piece out and every morning this painting makes me smile.  Perhaps because I know it is an original (done by yours truly) and maybe because many visitors have commented on how much they like it.  Of course I would love to have some killer art pieces done by true professionals someday soon but I think I will hang on to my very own custom art that I painted for a very long time.  I think it might always have a place in my collection.

Sunday Spring Art - Custom

Sunday Spring Art – Custom

From Traditional to Glam

Recently, my friend Mia wanted to update her kitchen light. She didn’t just want to replace it, she wanted to create a statement piece. Her dining room had just gone through a remodel, so she had this traditional-looking chandelier laying around waiting for a new home. Many suburban homes built in the past 10-15 years have these exact chandeliers hanging in them – must have been an awesome deal for builders.

Traditional Chandelier

Traditional Chandelier

So Mia asked for my help in reinventing the sad chandelier with no home. Mia’s kitchen has a lot of earth tones along with deep reds. And with all the beautiful curves on the fixture, I suggested we paint it a sexy red and remove the bulb covers to give it new life. Removing bulb covers is one of the easiest ways to give a fresh new look to an old fixture.

And here’s the final product.

Glammed Out Chandelier - Middle Redefined

Glammed Out Chandelier – Middle Redefined


Isn’t it stunning? Mia absolutely adores her new glammed-out fixture, and she definitely got the statement piece she wanted. One thing that proved a bit more difficult were the light bulbs. We wanted decorative bulbs, – the ones that look like flames – but we wanted them to have a more vintage glow. Not so easy to find that kind of bulb in a vintage style. However, Mia ended up finding exactly what she wanted at Watts Up in Merriam, KS. They’re the perfect touch. I love the finished product!

What do you think?

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