Outdoor Round Up

As promised here are a few of my favorite outdoor items available right now. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 

 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8* | 9

*Number 8 is technically not an outdoor pillow but it is making its way to my screened porch anyway. 

What are your favorite outdoor items this year?


Outside Progress


One of the best things about our current house is the outside space . Although I'm an "interior" designer, when we were house hunting the outdoor space was almost as important to me as the inside space . I love spending as much time as possible outside during the spring, summer and fall . And I LOVE a good outdoor party (I guess it is a good thing both of my girls have summer birthdays !) 

In the past few weeks, in addition to planting our first garden, we have also had our yard cleaned up a bit . Between the crazy derecho storm that moved through our area last summer followed by a couple of heavy snows, our trees have taken a beating . There were lots of broken limbs, a couple of small trees that had fallen over and quite a bit of debris spread all over our yard . Now that we've had everything trimmed, edged, mulched and mowed, the yard looks amazing . 

The girls were super excited about the mulch delivery .

Another great thing about the house is that I can cook dinner in the kitchen while the girls play outside . Our kitchen has several windows so I can keep a close eye on them while they are out in the yard or on the porch . They get along so much better when I'm not around and I love watching their interactions when they don't know I am there . 

And speaking of the porch - the screening in process has started ! They are finishing the frame this week . Next week everything will be painted and then the screens will be installed .

I am beyond excited .  Check back next week for a round up of my favorite outdoor furniture . Some of the items will be making their way to our porch soon . Have a great weekend !


Checking In

Sorry for the radio silence on the blog lately . Last week was crazy . While preparing for a weekend of travel to NC so I could host a baby shower for my sister and a retirement dinner for my mom , I came down with a horrific stomach bug that lasted FIVE DAYS . Aren't stomach bugs supposed to last 24 hrs ? ? ? Not this one . Thankfully while I was in the ER getting IVs of zofran and saline, the other hostesses picked up my slack and created a really fun and beautiful shower for my sister . And although I arrived a little late I was able to attend and had a wonderful time celebrating my soon-to-be neice . Mom's retirement dinner was with a really fun crowd and from what I've heard, amazing food . (Unfortunately I wasn't able to really eat much of it .) I am so happy for both my mom and my sister so missing their celebrations just wasn't an option . Hopefully I didn't infect anyone else in attendance at either event - I honestly wouldn't wish that virus on my worst enemy ! We had a ton of flowers left over from the shower so now that I am feeling better I have been spreading them around the house . 

Between the flowers and having our windows thrown open it officially feels like spring around here .  I love this time of year !  


Rachel Bishop Designs is now on Facebook


I'm not sure how most of you follow my blog - through Google Reader, a bookmark in your browser, randomly checking in? I personally use Google Reader to follow all of my favorite blogs and I am pretty bummed to hear that they are doing away with it this summer . I haven't decided which feed reader I am going to switch over to because, to be honest, I am really only familiar with Google Reader . Do any of you use one of the other options out there to follow blogs ? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments !

To make it easier to keep up with me and my posts, I finally created a Facebook page for Rachel Bishop Designs. If you are on Facebook, just "like" my page and you will be notified when I update the blog . 


Powder bath makeover, round 2

You may recall a few months ago I did a little makeover on my powder bath . Mostly it involved paint and framed agates .

I liked the agates and Chelsea Gray is one of my favorite paint colors but something about the bathroom still felt a little boring to me . I wanted something bolder and more fun .

Something like this Hinson & Co. wallpaper .

So I painted my bathroom white again and then I let the paint fly . Literally . 


Achieveing this look was actually a lot harder than I thought . I didn't want thick globs of paint on the wall because if I change my mind again I don't want to have to sand everything down to get a flat surface . To get the look without the thickness, I decided to use watercolors for the splatter paint . The colors are beautiful but because the paints are thinner they tend to drip on vertical surfaces . I had to get just enough water on my brush to make the paint flick on to the wall but not too much or else it would run . 

It made a HUGE mess but I am in love with the result . It's exactly what I wanted . It's completely unexpected and random . From afar the it looks surprisingly subtle, but up close there is a great mix of shape, color and pattern . 

I can't wait to hear people's reactions when they use the restroom . I know this look is a little crazy so it won't be for everyone . Maybe most of you actually prefer the before pic? Ha. It's ok if you do  : ) Even my 4 year old thought I was nuts . 


Sending out an S.O.S


We are going on day 3 without power and it is starting to be quite a struggle . You see, when you live in the county if you don't have power, you don't have water . So not only do we not have internet, TV, lights, or HEAT, but we also can't take a shower or flush the toilets . (OK so technically we can bring in snow, let it melt and then use that water to flush the toilets but that is certainly not convenient.) And we can't just pick up and go to a hotel because we have two crazy dogs that would NOT be welcome in any sort of hotel . So, we are filling our time by playing in the snow that brought on this disaster,

(Some were happier than others about playing in the snow)

reading books,

eating our meals by the gas logs, 

and seriously bundling up inside the house . At this point I think it may actually be warmer outside of our house than it is inside our house . 

The good news is that most of the roads are completely clear so we can go out and about if we get too bored during the day . And in case there was any doubt, after 48 hrs without power, everyone is bored . Thankfully the kids' schools have power so they are warm and entertained today . In the meantime, I think I am going to the gym to workout just so I can take a hot shower afterwards .  Hopefully the power will be back soon or else it is going to be a very long weekend . . .


A Casual Gallery Wall

As I mentioned last week,  I've finally unpacked all of our photos and artwork from the old house .  I've been itching to get things up on the walls but I've had a hard time deciding on where to hang what . I knew I wanted a gallery wall in our bedroom of some sort but there were so many options - family photos ? Artwork? A mix of the two ? A structured grid ? Matching frames or mixed ? 

I started by hanging one of Riley's paintings.*

I didn't have a frame that fit and since I am nothing if not impatient, I just used thumbtacks to attach the painting the the wall and hung a thrifted wooden frame around the painting . I figured I would eventually get a "real" frame but if I'm being honest that will probably never happen . 

The picture sat by itself for a few days and then I just randomly started adding to it .

I decided to only hang art (not family photos) on this wall and mixed and matched whatever frames and mats I could find .  I've never hung a gallery wall so haphazardly before . Usually I have some sort of layout in mind before I start punching holes in the wall . 

It ended up taking most of the day to get it all worked out and I had to move a few things around to get it right but I am really liking the end result . The random arrangement feels casual and like it's been added to over time . 

It adds so much color and brightness to the room . And I love that every piece is made by one of us or thrifted . 

There is plenty of space left so I can add more later . I especially want to add another landscape painting of some sort . 

I was feeling so impressed and thought it made such an impact on the room until my husband came home and went in and out of this room no less than 8 times without even noticing the gallery wall ! Oh, well . 

* A commenter asked me about painting with my kids and if I give them any guidance, etc. I have found that the more I stay out of it the better the outcome . When Hayes is painting the most challenging part is getting her to put the paint brush on the paper instead of in her mouth . With Riley I make sure to keep her water clean so the colors don't get too muddy and I turn the paper every so often so that she covers the whole page instead of just the corner that is sitting directly in front of her . Other than that, I let them do whatever they want . Sometimes it is hard to bite my tongue but honestly most of the time I am amazed at what they create. 


Dry Spell

I have been in a bit of a dry spell when it comes to antiquing recently . Last weekend Hayes and I spent Saturday afternoon at one of my local spots and I was so relieved to find lots of inspiration . I only purchased a couple of items but I saw plenty of things that have my mind spinning with ideas . 

One of the first items I found was another trophy for my collection . 

Trophies are a popular item amongst collectors so I always feel lucky when I find one . 

I also picked up this laundry hamper .

Since I recently gave my laundry room a makeover I actually didn't need a hamper but I always need storage . It is perfect for holding toys in our living room . And I couldn't resist the tumbling blocks pattern .  

The pattern adds so much texture and interest to this corner of the room and I love the leather handles . 

I also found a really great old wooden bench .

It needs to be cleaned up a bit and I am still figuring out where and how I am going to make it work . It is 9 feet long ! For now it is sitting at our kitchen table but it may end up on our porch when the weather warms up . Once I figure it all out I'll be sure to post another picture . 

 Some items I didn't get but that are still on my mind include a 4 ft tall abacus, a vintage iron gate and an industrial rolling cart . They all have lots of potential and are still under consideration . Even if I don't go back for them I am so glad to finally see some good stuff out there again ! Dry spells are the worst ! 


Easy Update

I picked up this watercolor at a thrift store a few weeks ago .

I really didn't like the hunter green mat but I loved the texture and colors in the painting . 

Originally I planned to just replace the green mat with a white one but the painting is an unusual size and a standard mat didn't fit . I was going to have to cut one myself or buy a custom one . I was debating which direction to go in when it occured to me that I could just mount it directly on a piece of mat board and leave the edges exposed . 

Once I took the frame apart and saw the raw edges of the painting I knew it was the way to go . I have no idea how old this painting actually is but the uneven brittle edges imply that its been around for a while which immediately makes it more interesting . 

I love the quirky shape and it was much less work than cutting a new mat . It took under 5 minutes to mount it and put the frame back together and now it is ready to hang . I'm on a mission to finally get our art / photos on the walls . I just unpacked three boxes of artwork over the weekend and I've been slowly making progress .


Laundry Room - After


So I'm not sure where last week went but before I knew it the whole week was gone without a single post from me . Oops .  While I wasn't writing posts I was busy working on my laundry room . I finished it up over the weekend . The pictures aren't great because it is a pretty small room with no windows but hopefully you can see the improvements . Here is the laundry room before we moved in :

Blah , beige and boring . 

And here it is now :

We switched the washer and dryer out with the ones from our old house . Next we removed the corian countertop and replaced it with a wood countertop that we painted white .  We also added another shelf . 

I made a very poorly sewn skirt for the sink . We store the extra bags of pet food underneath this area . 

The rest of the pet food is stored in labeled jars on top of the washer and dryer .

I painted the existing cabinet and changed the hardware .  Before, the cabinets were a dingy antique white with a decorative glaze and brushed nickel knobs . 

I primed and painted them in two coats of Valspar's Royal Navy in semi-gloss . I also added these pulls I found recently at a local store . I love them and bought all that they had in this brushed gold and a polished nickel . 

I hung some of Riley's watercolor paintings along the top of the wall .

The boxes and baskets hold light bulbs, cleaning rags, and clothes that need to be ironed .

I found the big vintage laundry basket at an antique mall . It holds old towels that we use for the dogs and to clean up spills around the house . 

This house has a laundry shoot which Riley loves . At first we just kept the vintage laundry basket on the floor to catch the clothes but our dog kept chewing at the basket and half of the time the clothes wouldn't land in there anyway . I found this old hay feeder in the barn when we were renovating it . 

I cleaned it up and decided to hang it on the wall to catch the clothes .

It works great and I like having something unique on the wall . 

I thought about lining it because I was worried that the clothes would fall through to the floor but they actually don't . I can't believe I am literally showing you our dirty laundry, but this is what it looks like when it is filled up with clothes :

It's a little messy looking I guess but their clothes are so colorful that I actually kind of like it . I also added some wall hooks behind the door to hold our mops, brooms, etc . 

I decided to just leave the old linoleum and added a Dash and Albert rug to cover up as much of it as possible . 

The little rolling cart between the washer and dryer is literally wedged in there . It's so tightfitting that it doesn't actually roll in and out, but I love having that extra bit of storage for the laundry supplies . 


So there it is . I am so much happier going in this room now and I don't mind if the door is left open . I don't even mind doing the laundry as much - which is a good thing because that is on my list of things to do today :)