Say Cheese

A couple weekends ago, we had professional family photos taken. I decided that I wanted a photo in which we would have not just our immediate family, but also my little man’s grandparents, aunt, and uncle.  I was really excited about these photos because I don’t have anything with both sides of the family in it. And I wanted to put these on display in my house, so there were a few things I had to think about when planning them out:

1. Choosing the color scheme. Since the colors in my house are mostly grays, I asked everyone to wear some sort of grey and/or white. People in the photos shouldn’t necessarily have the exact same combination (i.e. – don’t have everyone wear a blue shirt with gray shorts). The photo is more balanced when there are variations among the group. It’s also important for people to wear clothes that they feel comfortable in. Don’t make your dad wear a tie if he NEVER wears a tie. It’s not a true representation of who he is, and he’ll look stiff in the picture.

2. Picking the scene. Since I wanted everything to stay very much in the white/gray family, I chose to take the photos by an old school house. This provided the perfect backdrop. When thinking about where to take your photos, whether it’s in a studio or outside, think about how the colors of the background not only enhance what your family is wearing, but also your interiors. Also, think about what “style” you want the background to be – industrial like buildings downtown, casual and around your own house, or maybe you want rustic like an old barn. Plan it out and talk with your photographer about what look you’re going for. Once you frame these photos and put them on your wall, they can truly become art when they coordinate with the feel of whatever room you put them in.

3. Bringing meaningful ”props.” When you’re having photos of your children taken, they are way more comfortable when they’re “playing” during the photos. For instance, my little man loves to write and draw. So I brought a framed chalkboard that he could write on during photos. I also wanted to capture that side of him because it’s such a big part of who he is. Bringing a toy, balloons, or something very personal to your child can help bring out very genuine laughter and smiles that you want to capture.

4. Telling your vision to your photographer. It’s important that he or she understands the look you’re after and what kinds of poses you’d like. Having that conversation ahead of time helps them be successful in the end and gives you the best possible photos of your beautiful family.

Now that I’ve shared my tips, here are my photos! I’m so thrilled with them!! Thank you so much to Casey of Little Things Photography for taking them – check out her blog for more information on her services!

Family Photography

Family Photography


Interacting in Family Photos - Little Things Photography - Middle Redefined

Interacting in Family Photos – Little Things Photography – Middle Redefined


Using Props

Using Props


Being Silly

Being Silly


Pure Joy

Pure Joy




Refurbish – Media Console

This may be my best Craigslist find to date.

Before Media Console Before Media Console - Inside

No joke, I got this beauty for $35!

Yes, you read that right.  When I stumbled upon this I did a little happy dance.  No really, I danced in my living room.

Because I saw the potential – AND it was ONLY 35 dollars!  I know, I still can’t believe it.  I didn’t even try to give the woman less – that would have been a crime I think.

Media Console After1

I put the mister to work and he used his magic and the results are pretty stunning.

The best thing about this project, since the distressed look is what we were going for – he didn’t have to strip the piece, just lightly sand and paint directly over the existing piece.

Here are the steps we used to refurbish this media console per the mister -

  1. Lightly sand
  2. Apply light coats (preferably using a high powered spray gun) paint & primer “in one” of your desired hue – I chose a high gloss black because I love the sheen and it is easier to clean.
  3. If you want distressed look, sand using a block sander in areas where natural wear would occur – wipe clean sand dust
  4. Apply clear polyurethane coat for protection
  5. Enjoy!

Best yet, he reconfigured the shelves inside so the media console doubles as toy storage.  One shelf houses Liam’s John Deere collection and the side shelves have Dax’s toys and puzzles.

Media Console After

What is your most prized budget find?  This is definitely mine.

For more specific details on how to achieve this look, which I am told by the mister is “very easy” message me.  Then I will send those questions on to him to answer:).



South of Market

I’ve mentioned my absolute love of the home interior shop South of Market in my “Less is More” post. Their oversized light fixtures and seating are so unique, and they have a way of using unexpected items as art. When my mom and I were in Charleston this weekend, we got the opportunity to visit their store on King Street, which is coincidentally, South of Market street.

The darling gal working at the shop allowed me to snap some shots for our blog, which I greatly appreciated!

Lately, I’ve seen them use a lot of Emerald green, the Pantone color of the year for 2012. This light fixture would be so amazing in someone’s dining room!!

Bright Green Light Fixture - South of Market

Bright Green Light Fixture – South of Market

There was a whole section that featured rich orange. I love how they gather oars on the wall as art.

Orange Design - South of Market

Orange Design – South of Market

They also showcased royal blues as well.

Laid Back Blues - South of Market

Laid Back Blues – South of Market

Check out this blue stunner!! How fantastic would this be in a family room or bedroom!!

Blue Stunner - South of Market

Blue Stunner – South of Market

I must admit that although I loved the colors they’re using right now, this was my favorite. I adore the distressed table, large cream chairs, and massive galvanized light fixture. I so wish I could have ordered it on the spot!

South of Market Love - South of Market Love –

My first interaction with South of Market inspired me to turn a large lampshade into a hanging light fixture. I hope this darling store sparks creativity in you as well!

Charleston Memories

So we’re back from our absolutely fabulous weekend trip to Charleston. If you remember from my post last week, my mom and I took a girls’ trip to one of my favorite cities in the country – and she fell in love with it as much as I did a year ago.

Once again, the architecture was so charming, it made me happy.

Brick Charmer

Brick Charmer

They are known for their grand doorways – maybe we should adopt this architecture more in the Midwest!

Grand Doorway

Grand Doorway

We visited a plantation and learned more about local history.

Plantation Tour

Plantation Tour


Here’s a beautiful barn from the Middleton Place Plantation.

Middleton Place Plantation

Middleton Place Plantation

We ate our weight in Southern food.

Fried Green Tomatoes -

Fried Green Tomatoes –

And partook in festive drinks from local eateries…

[caption id="attachment_901" align="alignleft" width="600"]Fun Drink at Husk - Fun Drink at Husk –

such as Husk – they have converted two old homes into a restaurant and bar. Love the brick, wooden beams, and bright red seating!

[caption id="attachment_902" align="alignleft" width="600"]Husk Restaurant Husk Restaurant

Finally, we walked through their open-air market and saw lots of handmade sweetgrass baskets, which are so very lovely and special to the history of Charleston.

Locally-made Baskets

Locally-made Baskets

I feel refreshed and inspired after our trip! I even had the opportunity to visit South of Market! I’ll show you photos of their latest interior goodies tomorrow!

Little Details

I probably jumped the gun a bit when I showed you the built-in desk organization and master closet projects.  What can I say, I got a bit antsy and honestly was proud of my progress.  However, in both of those projects there were little things that I still wanted to complete.

In the closet – we added what I call “steel” (actually brushed nickel) closet rods instead of the wooden dowel rods.

Before Wooden Dowel After - Steel Dowel

Amazing the difference, huh?

OK – call me crazy but I love the simple update.  Not to mention the wooden rod was sagging a bit in the middle.  Perhaps it was all my clothes but I will blame it on the wood.

The next update is a bit more noticeable.

In Progress - Built-in Desk

Built-in After

Added a few more bins and found these fabulous chalkboard labels on Etsy.

Liam is obsessed with writing his name these days so he added his signature to the bottom two bins.

Side note: although I love the chalkboard look I sort of dislike how bleak real chalk appeared so I bought one of these pens.  The chalk “marker” wipes right off with water and it achieves the look I wanted.

Oh and I decided my color scheme on the outdoor furniture project.  But this time I will wait to share until the final project is completed.  And because the cushions I decided on won’t be here until JULY 1st!  I know, I can’t stand the wait but I think it will be worth it.  Stay tuned.

HAPPY MONDAY everyone.

Charleston Charm

Today, I’m traveling to Charleston, SC with my mom for a mother/daughter weekend trip! My mom asked for me to plan a trip just the two of us as her Christmas gift, and we picked Charleston because it’s one of my favorite cities in entire country.

My husband and I took a weekend trip to Charleston last year and had the best time just walking around looking at all the charming architecture and eating fabulous Southern food. This city just inspires me in a lot of ways, from decor to good eats. We had a great experience, and my mom has always wanted to visit, so we plan to have just as much fun – I’m just lucky I get to do it with her!

Of course, we’re going on a weekend when it’s raining because there’s a hurricane brewing in the Southeast, but we are not letting that dampen our spirits!

A few things I’m really looking forward to:

Checking out my one of my favorite home decor shops (just to browse not buy since it’s WAY out of my price range)

Eating here, here, and here

Visiting a historic plantation

And just walking around taking in the fabulousness of the city

Here are a few pics from my trip last year. I realize I’ve come a long way in the world of photography and plan to have better shots for you next week!

Charleston Charm -

Charleston Charm –


[caption id="attachment_861" align="alignleft" width="600"]Charleston Architecture Charleston Architecture


Southern Style

Southern Style

Hope you all have a great weekend as well!



Next Project – Outdoor Furniture

I hit the jackpot on this one…a bit Golden Girl-ish, but my hunt for outdoor furniture for our patio has spanned over the past two years.  Of course I wouldn’t settle for going to a normal store and buying something not beat up and needing a complete overhaul.  Instead, while outside we would literally sit on the ground on the patio.  Lets be honest, with two little ones sitting and relaxing isn’t what we do outside anyway.  But we still needed something and I wanted a find.  A project (sorry honey).  And I wanted something unique.

Drum roll please…

Here they are:

Outdoor - Before

Bare with me – I think, correction, I know they can be absolutely fabulous.

And best yet – we got the sofa and chair for $80.  Yep.  A steal!

Now to figure out color scheme.   Do I paint the base a bright color like so:

Or to paint them neutral and add fun cushions and pillows?

Outdoor Pillow Collage

Or splurge on these Trina Turk Pillows since I saved major on the actual furniture.  They are actually a fraction of the cost if you bought them at a retailer since these are found on Etsy.

Trina Turk Pillows - Gorgeous

Trina Turk Pillows – Gorgeous

Decisions, decisions.  Since the inside of our home is pretty neutral I want to infuse color.

What is your pick??

Stay tuned for an update next week – is it the weekend already?

Anthropologie Inspiration

The other day when having lunch with Jill, we were of course talking about our latest design projects. I was asking her opinion about the ideas I had for master bedroom color combos, and she suggested I look at Anthropologie for inspiration. I totally agree with her that while Anthropologie sometimes has home ideas that are a bit too feminine for family households, they just have an amazing way of pairing colors and styles.

So I took a look, and I’m so glad I did!! The furniture in my room is painted black and has brushed nickel hardware. I just painted them a couple years ago, so I’m definitely not doing it again any time soon. I mentioned before that I’m painting the walls a creamy white, so I wanted to figure out what accent colors to use that weren’t completely expected. I kept coming back to mint and corral, but I couldn’t figure out exactly how I wanted to incorporate them into the room. And I didn’t know if they were the right combo with black.

Check out this fabulous sheet set.

Anthropologie Sheet Set

Anthropologie Sheet Set


And I’m loving this neon corral throw pillow. I might have to get one or two.

Mint and Corral - Anthropologie

Mint and Corral – Anthropologie

Finally, how pretty is this (it’s photo #5 by the way if you want to look through all of them)??? I love how they pair the corral cover with black and white sheets. All of that in front of a corral wall with a mind accent is enough inspiration to solidify that color combo for me.

Mint, Corral, and Black Anthropologie Inspiration - www.middleredefined Mint, Corral, and Black Anthropologie Inspiration – http://www.middleredefined/caption

What do you think?

Closet = Jewelry Box

Nesting issue part II – (see part I here) – I decided to clean out our closet and add a little glitz along the way.

Aside from organizing and purging (which I think is necessary once a year minimum) I desperately needed to update the light fixture in our closet.  (I don’t want to talk about the popcorn ceiling.  I know it is awful but I deal with it).  Hence why beautiful lighting is a must in every room.

Closet Light Before

I have been holding on to a vintage chandelier that was gifted to me from a friend when I lived in California oh about 6 years ago.  I honestly had forgotten about it because it was stored away in a hat box.  A few fixes and my electrician (the mister) hung this beauty.

Closet Light After

Glitz + Glamour = exactly what the closet needed.

Five additional details of the closet now that the lighting was up to par to achieve the jewelry box effect:

  1. High Gloss Paint – I chose “Tiffany” robin egg blue
  2. Fun Fabric – to infuse funk
  3. Fabulous Flooring – I chose a zebra animal print
  4. Standard hangers – I used the Real Simple hangers in black – it is amazing the difference just using the same hangers through out a closet can do to instantly update your closet
  5. Beautiful organization boxes – for scarves, jewelry, hats, misc. items

Closet Collage

Closet Collage 2

Moral of the story – do not neglect your closet.  On an organizational front – purge items you have not worn in the last 6 months – year or if they just look tired.  Try color coding your clothes – this helps putting an outfit together quickly.  Think of your closet as your jewelry box – where you can use high gloss paint, animal print, crystals and funky fabrics all in ONE.

Settee Love

I have always loved settees. They just look so comfortable and almost romantic to me for some reason. And I’ve always wanted to get one for my house but haven’t had the right place for it – until now. In my master bedroom, I have a sitting room that right now just holds a desk, a dresser, and a side table. Sort of a jumble of furniture. As part of my bedroom and bathroom update, I’m adding this settee to one wall, putting my current small side tables on either side of it, setting some fun throw pillows on it, and covering the wall above it with art and family photos.

Settee for Master Bedroom Update - Settee for Master Bedroom Update –

I can’t wait to see how it turns out. And I’m so excited to finally be able to use a settee! I bought the one above from Overstock, and I got it during their Memorial Day Sale for $230 – a steal for a piece of furniture like this!

Do you love settees as much as I do?

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