Swiss Coffee in the Nursery

I LIKE MY SUGAR with coffee and cream!

Especially on Mondays.  Except for the sugar and cream part.  I take my coffee with coconut oil and a few drops of maple syrup.  Yep.  I’m one of those.  It’s so good that way.

Did that give you enough time to shake The Beastie Boys out of your head?  No?  Okay, let me hit you with a little nursery update to cleanse the palate.  I recently wrote about my plans for baby number two’s nursery.  Here’s a real life pin board I put together with some catalog clippings and fabric swatches.

Embrace My Space: Nursery Pinboard

I’m set on this graphic, black and white pineapple print from Little Smilemakers and these darling rainbow confetti wall decals from The Lovely Wall Co.  Also, despite having four other contenders to grace the floor with their beauty, I ended up purchasing a completely different area rug when I was out shopping with my hubby two weeks ago.  This is the kind of crazy thing that happens when grandma comes to town and we have an afternoon without our son.  We even had a romantic lunch date at the café at Wegman’s.

Embrace My Space Nursery: Swiss Coffee

The rug came from The Dump, an overstock furniture outlet with locations all across the U.S.  I understand not everyone has The Dump close by, and I always enjoy the look on people’s faces when you tell them you got something fabulous at The Dump!  Priceless.

It is an 8(ish)x10(ish) Napa Zig Zag rug by designer Liora Manne.  As far as I can tell, the blue version of this rug isn’t available online in this size.  It is available in black and white on Wayfair and other websites where rugs are sold.  Although it’s an indoor/outdoor rug, it’s incredibly squishy underfoot.  I was immediately drawn to it because it has the look of Moroccan Berber rugs, which are really on trend right now.  I also thought the rug was equal parts sophisticated and playful, and I think it will transition seamlessly into another space in my home or to a big kid room when the time comes.

I hemmed and hawed about it in the store because I had the other four rugs dancing through my head.  I also was worried it wasn’t “gender neutral” (I’m not sure this is even a thing anymore) because of the color, but once we got it home I knew it was going to be so good once I pulled everything together.

A rug is one of the first things I pick when I’m starting a room from scratch.  I’m not sure why.  It might be because there are so many to choose from (have you been shopping for rugs lately?) that my soul is put to rest once I’ve knocked out one of the more tedious design decisions.  It also might be because the rug takes up so much surface in a space that I like to have that particular element selected first so the other details can fall into place around the rug.

The other big design decision I like to make early in the process is the paint color.  Mostly because it’s much easier to paint an empty room.  Because I had so much color and pattern swimming in my head, I stuck with the most neutral of all neutral colors: off-white.

I picked Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore, a warm white that makes for a clean slate without being too stark.  It’s a great white to have in your arsenal.

Embrace My Space Nursery: Swiss Coffee

The lighting in this room is a real challenge for me, so hopefully these images do the creamy, dreamy paint job justice.  As it turns out, my camera does not like to photograph an empty white room when I’m shooting in automatic.  After supervising the painting,  I was too tired to take out my tripod to shoot in manual.  I think you still get the idea.

Embrace My Space Nursery: Swiss Coffee

Ah, now I can breath easy.  Another four beige walls bite the dust!  Seriously, almost every room in this house was some shade of fleshy beige when we moved in almost three years ago.  We learned from our former selves to live in our home for a while before taking roller to wall.  This is also a more budget-friendly method of decorating.

Embrace My Space Nursery: Swiss Coffee

To give you some perspective, the trim and ceiling are painted straight-outta-the-can white.  My painter used an eggshell finish on the walls for durability and a semi-gloss on the trim and ceiling for a bit of shine.

I’m starting to pull together the smaller elements of the space, but I don’t have anything to show for it yet.  This fan, the Westinghouse Comet, is going to replace the outdated fan that’s currently in the room.  My hubby almost hits his head on it, so when the new fan goes up it will be flush mounted.  If the manufacturer’s details are accurate, this fan should only come down from the ceiling about 12 inches.

Embrace My Space Nursery: Swiss Coffee

Fan Purchased via Amazon

I like the modern look of this fan and, at under $100, the price was right.  I went with white because, in truth, I hate ceiling fans and I wanted this to blend into the background as much as possible.  If I lived in the perfect climate, I’d have gorgeous chandeliers in every room.  As it stands, it still gets oppressively hot in Pennsylvania in the summer, and I can’t argue with the functionality of a ceiling fan during those few months.

Embrace My Space Nursery: Swiss Coffee

I hope you’ll continue to follow along as I mold this blank slate into a sleep-inducing nursery for my new baby due in January!  Have a fabulous week!




Taking It Outside for a Fake Picnic

SUMMER IS COMING to a close.  Which, of course, means that I haven’t shown you photos of the project that was going on outside my house since JANUARY!  Yes, the landscaper broke ground on our patio project in January.  Here I am, eight months later, showing you the (somewhat) final project.  I can’t take all the blame here considering the glacial pace of construction, but that’s how it goes when you have one brave soul hand-cutting bricks in the dead of winter.

Here’s a looksee at the before:

Embrace My Space Patio

We had a red, chippy deck that was about to cave in and a whole lotta mulch.  Random bricks lined the beds, which had zero greenery or flowers.  I don’t think the prior owners spent much time back here.  If they did, it was just cleaning up dog poop with that industrial strength pooper-scooper you see sitting next to the staircase in the photo above.  And, yes, we left it there until this project started despite living here for two years.  Clearly, we weren’t spending much time back here either.

Embrace My Space Patio

But now that has all changed!  Take a look at the finished hardscape:

Embrace My Space Patio

It’s a bit arid out here with all of the sandy-colored pavers.  We still don’t have any plants, but I’d say the improvement is significant.  There are a few major details that need to be addressed like removing the tattered fold-out sunshade from the side of the house and finding a more modern solution for shade.  I’d also like to get some rocking chairs or Adirondack chairs for around the fire pit.  And plants.  Did I mention we still don’t have any stinkin PLANTS?!?

Anyway, the above photo is how the patio looks on a typical day.  The sofa cushions are usually hidden inside because of the torrential downpour from the day before and my son’s toys are always scattered all over the place.  But some days I like to play make believe and set the patio up like we’re having people over for a rockin party with exquisite grilled meats a la Bobby Flay.  This past weekend I did just that, snapping some strategically-framed photos along the way.

Embrace My Space Patio

The best thing about a fake picnic is the absence of a bubbling anxiety over anticipated red sangria spills on the upholstery or re-fluffing the pillows! Speaking of upholstery, our outdoor sofas are from the Pier 1 Echo Beach collection.  The finish on the all-weather rattan frame is called Latte and the cushions are covered in Turquoise outdoor fabric.  I topped off the sofas with coordinating ikat pillows from Bed, Bath & Beyond, flamingo and striped pillows from Pier 1 and Turkish towels from Cuttalossa.

Embrace My Space Patio

We played around with the configuration of the sofas before getting it right.  Currently, we have two three-cushion sofas that face one another and two outdoor wingback chairs between them on the side closest to the house.  This set up seemed to be the best to promote conversation and still allow people to enjoy the view of our backyard from the patio.

The wingbacks are one of those random HomeGoods finds that we couldn’t pass up.  These chairs are by Cynthia Rowley, which I see all the time at HomeGoods and TJ Maxx but never anywhere else.

Accent tables and some type of shade (probably a really large umbrella) are next on the agenda for this space.  I haven’t spent much time looking for these accessories, but if the right thing comes along I will know it.

Embrace My Space Patio

Two outdoor area rugs divide the patio into designated lounging and dining areas.  Large area rugs are great for dividing up any open floor plan because they create an anchor point for furnishings and create defined pathways in your space.

My rugs are from Frontgate.  Although the price was right, I have to say I’m disappointed with how much the rugs, particularly the one by the sofas, have faded since we’ve purchased them.  The rugs have been outside for less than two months, and the one by the sofas, which was a vibrant orange at first, has now faded into a light peach color.  I specifically got the orange rug to tie in with my bright coral dining chairs so this is a “womp womp” moment for me.

Embrace My Space Patio

I’m in love with the dining table we chose, which is also from Frontgate.  I had no idea when I started this journey that it would be darn near impossible to find an outdoor dining table that seats more than six people for under $1500.  Seriously.  Unless you want to drop even bigger bucks at Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn, it’s slim pickins out there.  Most tables this large are sold as a set with the chairs.  Silly me, but I’d already bought my Threshold by Target metal outdoor dining chairs using a great coupon and my RedCard.  I was stuck.

Needless to say, I was excited when I finally found this teak outdoor extension table for a pretty decent price.  I went to the Frontgate website for the product link, but it appears that this table is no longer available.  I’m glad I found it when I did!

Embrace My Space Patio

The green bar stools are probably my favorite part of the outdoor decor, and I didn’t even pick them out.  My husband made it his mission to find bar stools.  When he showed me these, I wasn’t sure I wanted to introduce ANOTHER color out here.  He really liked them though, so I told him they could work.

Once I set everything up, I discovered that these juicy green stools made perfect sense with the space!  Our hand-me-down-from-the-in-laws umbrella has a lime stripe that picks up the color nicely, and my accent pillows over in the lounge area tie into the lime theme as well.  These chairs are made from a light-weight plastic so they are easy to move, and they are also really comfortable.


The outdoor plates at the bar and table are from Target, and the leafy tropical placemats were a Bed, Bath & Beyond find.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw them because they look almost identical to the curtains my mom made for my son’s playroom.

Embrace My Space Patio

I had to have them!  I also think the placemats help weave the lime and navy color stories together.  The margaritas also help with that!  I used turquoise doilies I bought at Michael’s craft store as coasters for my margaritas, which are water mixed with lime juice and Apple Pucker (yuk!).  Another benefit to throwing a fake picnic is you don’t have to cook, wash dishes or mix real drinks.  This makes being pregnant during high-margarita season much, much more tolerable.

Embrace My Space Patio

Although there are still a few things to be done out here, I’d say we’ve come a long way from the pile of rotting wood and mulch that previously occupied the space.

Embrace My Space Patio

The only regret I have with the patio so far is we didn’t have more picnics this summer!  Although I must say, without any shade structures out here the heat has been brutal this summer.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m looking forward to fall this year.

I’m sure that’s pregnancy hormones talking, but cool weather and fireside s’mores and mountain pies would be amazing right now.  With our crazy toddler and 9pm bedtime (party animals) we haven’t used the fire pit once.  Shorter days and cooler nights will change that in the next few weeks!

I hope everyone is having a great week, and I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the progress we’ve made out back.  I’ll be back soon with an update on the new nursery.  Things are looking quite fresh and creamy in there right now!


A (tiny) Announcement

IT’S BEEN ONE WEEK since my handyman installed the rainbow book ledges in my son’s room.  I’m pleased to report we are seven days without a climbing incident, and I’ve somehow restrained myself from buying ALL THE BOOKS from my Amazon wish list.  Even more impressive is that my wallet somehow survived a visit to a charming independent bookshop last week.  I walked out with just one book: a gorgeous book of world maps that I will give to my son in a few years when he wont destroy the paper pages.

Embrace My Space: DIY Rainbow Book Ledges

I did, however, make one tiny addition to the cobalt blue shelf at the bottom.  This is a very special book, and I can’t get through it without weeping!

Embrace My Space: Tiny AnnouncementIn case this photo is even more subtle than the announcement I made to my Facebook friends last week, I will spell it out: I’m having another baby!! In January! That’s right.  In five short months we will be adding another little Bates to our family of three, and my son will be a big brother at just about two and a half years old.

I used this book to announce our pregnancy to the family.  I asked my son to have his grandmothers read him his new favorite book.  Of course, both grandmas were very surprised when they saw the cover!

Since discovering the news I feel like I’ve been hanging from the center of a wobbly rope bridge, with sheer joy and excitement calling me from one end and complete anxiety and fear taunting me from the other.  Parenting one child is very challenging and quite exhausting to me, so doubling my workload is a bit scary!  Also, my first birth experience wasn’t ideal, so delivery is also something I have on my mind quite often.

I also have concerns about my son being jealous because I’m not able to respond to his needs when I’m caring for the new baby.  At the same time, I’m thrilled to be adding another child to our family and, especially, for my son to have a sibling, playmate and, hopefully, lifelong friend!  I’d appreciate any advice anyone has for preparing an older sibling for a new baby and hearing your positive experiences with adding a new child to the family!

Okay, so now that all the lifey stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about the best distraction from labor and delivery I know – nursery planning!! Here’s the honest-to-goodness-real-life pinboard I put together with magazine clippings and fabric swatches.

Embrace My Space: Nursery Pinboard

After declaring my infatuation with The Land of Nod last week, it probably isn’t too surprising that a few pages from the recent catalog made the board.  These are just a few things I’m tossing around for Baby Bates number two’s room.

1.  Book Ledges.  Yes, I want more!  Truthfully, the rainbow installation in my son’s room was really a practice run for the mammoth library idea I have in mind for this new nursery.  Think big.

Nursery Inspiration

This nursery featured on Made By Girl was one I had my eye on when I was planning my son’s room.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right wall to do this kind of massive installation.  Not the case in this space.  I think it’s time for more books.  Mwahahaha.

I want to get a bean bag chair or other little chair to put at the bottom of the shelves so my son and his new brother or sister can read together on the floor.

2.  Fruity Accents.  As with our son, we won’t find out the gender of our baby in advance.  In my son’s room, I used animals and rainbow colors to keep it “neutral.”  Yeah, I know, describing my son’s rainbow nursery as neutral is probably pretty funny to some of you.  For me, color is like pizza.  Just keep it coming.  I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough :)

In the new nursery, I’m using the deliciously gorgeous yellows and greens of one of my favorite fruits for color inspiration: pineapple!  This also goes with the overall coastal vibe I try to infuse throughout our home.  Even though I don’t live near the sea, I like to surround myself with the casual furnishings and colors one might find in a beach house.

Nursery Inspiration

3.  Graphic Wall Decals.  After shedding tears and congratulating me on baby #2, one of the first things my dear friend, Ashley, asked me was what I would put on the ceiling in the new nursery.  After spending weeks stenciling polka dots onto the ceiling in my son’s room, Ashley, a second-child herself, is of the opinion that baby #2 needs just as much attention to be paid to the ceiling in his or her room.  Otherwise, he or she will obviously be damaged for life and think I love my son more.

This time I’m thinking about using wall decals, like these adorable rainbow triangles, instead of paint.  Other than that, I will keep you guessing as to the final plan.  I’m really excited about this one!

Nursery Inspiration

4.  Bold Rug.  I love a bold look on floors and windows.  At this point I’ve narrowed it down to two rugs from Rugs Direct that I really like.  I asked my friends on the Embrace My Space Facebook page which is their favorite and it’s essentially a tie at this point.  I’m leaning toward #2 but my husband likes #1.  He’s not crazy about the yellow, which I like because it speaks to my pineapple inspiration.  Both are great options, with #2 being a thicker pile and less expensive (both positives in my estimation).  I might order both, see which I like better, and send back the other.rugs

Tell me, do you like one better than the other?  I reserve the right to completely change my mind on this so don’t be surprised if neither shows up in the new nursery.  I’m a fickle, hormonal, overly emotional pregnant lady, remember?

5.  Lots of DIY.  No space in my home would be complete without a bit of DIY, but with a nursery my DIY inspiration cup runneth over.  I have ideas for a custom changing table, pillows, artwork and a mobile for above the crib!

Whew.  That’s alotta work.  Since the new baby’s room currently is serving as a guest room, I should probably get started.  I love the planning process so much I could probably keep planning up until a week before my due date.  But, despite the fact that we will probably co-sleep for several months, I’d still like to have the space basically complete before he or she makes her appearance.  I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have to paint when I have the sleep schedule of TWO children ruining running my life!

For those of you who are curious, here’s the subtle pregnancy announcement I made on Facebook last week.  This photo was accompanied by a note that my son can’t wait for his new playing partner because he needs someone on his level to read the greens when he putts.  His daddy is just a bit too tall!

Baby Bates #2 Announcement

I think this might be the first picture of my sweetie on the blog.  Just look at that little hockey grip he’s got on his putter.  He’s going to be a great athlete and an even better big brother!  I know it!

Happy Monday everyone!  I will keep you posted with my progress.