ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK SIX – THE FINAL REVEAL

And so we’ve finally reached the finish line of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge  … after six weeks of designing and doing, our little powder room is ready for her big debut!

Just to recap, this half-bathroom is a tiny, 5 x 5 ft space which previously found itself in this very crude state:

powder room before 2

My vision was to create a bold and dramatic jewel box of a room, fusing both traditional and global aesthetics in a way which felt fresh, chic and unique. I’ve always had a penchant for statement-making powder rooms, and I truly believe that the smaller the space, the more liberties you can take with your design choices! In essence, make it memorable. This powder room came together thanks to some amazing Craigslist finds, material from Home Depot and Lowe’s, some last-minute Amazon purchases, my amazing husband’s carpentry and masonry skills, and my own personal artistry on the walls. (You can check out previous posts to see the evolution.) And here she is now!

bathroom 12

bathroom 17

bathroom 14

bathroom 18

bathroom 13

bathroom 16

bathroom 15

bathroom 06

bathroom 05

bathroom 04

bathroom 03

bathroom 01

bathroom 10

bathroom 11

bathroom 09

We are so very happy with how it came together … thanks so much for following along and accompanying our design journey these past several weeks! Don’t forget to check out all of the other participants to see their transformations as well. A huge thanks to the One Room Challenge and House Beautiful for organizing and hosting this incredibly fun event!

 

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 3

Three weeks into the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge, and fortunately we’ve been able to make consistent progress at a comfortable pace, and get things steadily crossed off the list!

So let me show you what’s been happening around here since the last post. The powder room finally got a door, which we purchased at Lowe’s.

DOOR 01

Random but pertinent disclaimer: Please ignore the atrocious quality of some/most of these WIP shots, as Brian and I usually work on our home renovation projects at night (hence the horrific lighting) in our downtime. Haphazardly strung task lighting doesn’t exactly make for professional quality visuals…haha!

Where were we?

Oh, then the floor threshold went down and door trims were installed.

DOOR 02

As you can see, there’s some patching, sanding, and painting going on at this stage.

I was so incredibly lucky to score two vital elements for the powder room – the mirror and a dresser to be customized into the sink vanity – that were EXACTLY what I had in mind for this space, on Craigslist. For nearly next to nothing, too; the mirror was $30 dollars and the dresser a mere $20. Seriously unbelievable…some finds are truly fortuitous!

The mirror I had long envisioned for this little half-bath had to be opulent and statement-making, with a nod to the antiquities. I had come across this particular image of a mirror which perfectly illustrated what I had in mind, being sold for an exorbitant amount on 1stdibs, and used it as a reference in my mood board for this room:

ornate mirror

And after some exhaustive online searching, this is what I was able to miraculously locate on my local Craigslist:

MIRROR

Totally worth the two hour drive to the seller’s house! I am SO absolutely in love with it! It’s crafted of hand-carved wood with a beautifully aged gilt finish, and is in amazing condition given that it’s nearly seventy years old. The only thing that it needed was a bit of gluing and reinforcing on one corner, and it was ready to go!

I deeply wanted an art deco, waterfall style dresser to customize into the vanity for the sink, and Craigslist came to the rescue, again! Unfortunately, in my zeal for getting things done, I completely forgot to photograph the original piece before we started modifying it for our needs (you’ll see what I mean in a bit). But it is extremely similar to the dresser in this reference photo (taken from another Craigslist listing) that I used in my mood board:

art deco waterfall dresser vanity

So the dresser obviously has drawers, but our plan for converting it into a vanity for the sink involved repurposing said drawers into two large cabinet doors (so as to access the plumbing and increase interior storage), as well as removing the wooden top to eventually receive a marble top and vessel sink. And here’s how we did it:

SINK VANITY 07

Drawers removed. Time to cut away and remove the wooden top, using a cordless circular saw:

SINK VANITY 08

SINK VANITY 09

Here, you can see that the top is now off, and we’re reinforcing the “floor” of the dresser for stability.

Next, the drawers were completely dismantled and broken down into individual panels so that we could use the faces for the cabinet door fronts. The back part of the new cabinet doors required some additional sheathing, so we just used the sides of the old drawers. Like so:

SINK VANITY 06

SINK VANITY 02

Then, we installed the dresser/vanity in situ, in the powder room:

SINK VANITY 10

And these are the new cabinet doors, which we have not yet installed as we are waiting for special hinges to be delivered. Hopefully tomorrow! We will be (re)using the old drawer pulls on the new cabinet doors, but haven’t installed those yet either.

SINK VANITY 04

We also dry fitted a cultured marble counter top (ordered from Home Depot) and it was a perfect fit!

SINK VANITY 03

SINK VANITY 01

And currently that’s where we’re at! Check in next week to see more of our progress as we start tackling the wall treatment in here!

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 2

So we’re onto the second week of the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge and things are solidly underway around here!

The first order of business involved priming and painting the walls of the powder room a flat white (we used Valspar Ultra-White as a base because these walls will be receiving a painted “treatment” of sorts in the coming weeks), and installing the cement board on the floor. Like so:

TILING CEMENT BOARD

And with the cement board installed, we were ready for tiling. As I had mentioned in the previous post, we had bought black and white marble tile from Home Depot and decided to configure them in a traditional, harlequin pattern. We initially made a rendering of the tile layout to give us some visual orientation before we started, to ensure that we sourced enough material and to serve as reference during the application if needed. With the mortar mixed, we were ready to go and the installation went fairly quickly and smoothly, given the small scale of the room. Nothing like immediate and gratifying results, right?

TILING 01

Because the bathroom is so tiny and only one person could comfortably spread out in it to do the job properly, Brian did the laying while I assisted from the outside, bringing him the tile, making sure the mortar stayed wet as well as keeping the wet tile saw “hydrated”, and, of course, documenting the process.

TILING 02

(My husband is going to absolutely hate me for using these photos because his underwear is showing in tragically cliche, contractor fashion, but these are the only shots I have…haha!)

TILING 04

Masonry, in any of its forms, is clearly not a clean affair…haha! Also, here you can see the printout of the layout we created and used for reference. As well as one of the multiple cans of La Croix that was consumed while finishing the job. Keeping it classy, guys…

TILING 03

Lots of measuring and cutting involved on the border tiles. But overall, it went quickly and we have now crossed wall prep and floor tiling off the list! And voila!

TILING 05

I chose black marble tiles that were heavily veined because I find them infinitely more beautiful and dramatic than the more uniform variety. They look more organic to me, and especially in this arrangement, they make the floors look classic and elegant as opposed to diner-y. No disrespect to the latter visual, of course, it just wasn’t the look I was going for in this space!

We also just ordered the toilet online from Lowe’s, which should be delivered soon as well. Because the powder room is rather diminutive, we opted for one of the smaller models out there, with a rounded seat, and ended up having to pay a bit more than what one would pay for a standard toilet, but such is life. A standard-size toilet with a larger footprint would simply take up too much space and overwhelm the room. We went with the Kohler San Souci 1-piece 1.28 GPF Single Flush Round Toilet and here it is:

TOILET

So that’s the status quo around here so far! I’ve just found THE absolute perfect mirror and art deco dresser to be customized into the bathroom vanity – both on Craigslist for a steal – and will be showing you those next time!

Stay tuned for more next week!

 

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE – WEEK 1

So I’ve recently decided to join up as a guest participant in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge, hosted by Lisa of Calling it Home and House Beautiful as their media partner! I’ve always watched from the virtual periphery as legions of talented designers (including both the featured and guest participants) embarked on this six week-long adventure, twice a year, working their unique magic in a single room of their choice. Since my husband, Brian, and I are in the midst of an endless remodel of our property – having initially renovated both the interior and exterior of our A-frame ourselves, and subsequently adding on a rather substantial addition which we are currently in the throes of doing the finish work on – I figured it would be fun to enlist in this collective design challenge and document the transformation, from beginning to end, of one of the rooms in the addition. We’re currently working on several areas in the downstairs, simultaneously, but for the One Room Challenge, we will be focusing on the teeny tiny powder room on that level.

At a whopping five by five feet in dimension, this little half-bathroom truly deserves to be bold and beautiful! Personally, I adore striking, statement-making bathrooms and have always envisioned this powder bath to be a jewel-box of sorts, fusing elements of the traditional and global with an eclectic and glamorous touch. Sounds slightly insane, perhaps, but that’s how I like my interiors. To be a bit unconventional and surprising in terms of their aesthetic overlaps.

So here is the space in question, in all of its crude and basic glory, with absolutely nothing to boast of other than unpainted drywall, sub-flooring, and its electrical and plumbing rough-ins:

powder room before 1

powder room before 2

powder room before 4

This is what needs to happen in here over the course of the next several weeks:

  • install cement board and marble floor tiles
  • prime and paint walls, as well as decide upon and execute finished wall treatment
  • source and install customized cabinet as vanity
  • install baseboard, trim, door and marble threshold
  • install cultured marble slab atop vanity
  • install sink, faucet, toilet and tie up any and all plumbing issues
  • source and install mirror
  • source and install two wall sconces and flush mount ceiling light
  • source and install towel rod and toilet paper holder/rod

I’m sure I’m missing something, and it’s possible that other considerations will arise as the project progresses, but that is the gist of the work involved. Admittedly, this is such a tiny room that I don’t foresee any serious and/or unexpectedly difficult issues emerging, and am just really looking forward to seeing this space unravel into something special!

Here’s a quickly thrown-together mood board which illustrates a bit of the “look and feel” I’ve long envisioned for this powder room. I actually don’t ever create concept boards when designing rooms in my own home (the ideas have usually been marinating for eternity in my decor-obsessed brain…haha!), but for the sake of documenting this process properly, I’ll show you what I have in mind:

moodboard 2

So let me break this down a bit…

  1. Gray and White Cultured Marble Slab from Home Depot. For the vanity top. Already ordered, not yet delivered.
  2.  I’m looking for two, dramatic wall sconces which incorporate both metal and chunky wooden beads. And I intend to customize these elusive and impossible to find lights with additional beading in striking hues to add a bit of global intrigue.
  3. (see 2. above)
  4.  The floor will be tiled in classic black and white marble, in a traditional harlequin pattern. Tile from Home Depot has already been ordered, delivered and is ready to go.
  5. Seeking an ornate, gilded mirror of baroque or neoclassical persuasion. This particular example came from 1stdibs and is apparently worth more than the GDP of several countries on this planet.
  6. The Queen of Spain wallpaper from Schumacher has long been a favorite of mine because I absolutely adore its graphic, high-contrast motif. My plan is to actually paint or block-print a bold pattern myself on the walls, so I am merely including this beloved wallpaper as a source of visual inspiration.
  7. Been scouring my local Craigslist (where I found this beauty) for an art deco, waterfall style cabinet to customize into the vanity for the sink. Fingers crossed it’ll be the one!

 

And the projected basic layout of the 5′ x 5′ room:

bathroom floor layout

 

As for the particular sink (it’s a black vessel sink featuring concentric tribal etchings around the circumference…it’s really unique!) and faucet (gilded and bamboo-like) that we’ll be using, both were sourced YEARS ago for this very purpose. And are currently packed away, somewhere deep in the recesses of the twenty foot shipping container/eyesore which is parked in our driveway as we finish all of the construction work on our property. But we’ll be unearthing them soon enough! And also, we have to source a toilet with a small footprint, as well as a flush mount ceiling fixture. Preferably sooner than later.

That’s pretty much the lowdown of what the plan is for this space…stay tuned for more next week! And be sure to check out the other participants on the official One Room Challenge page!

 

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YOU’RE INVITED – DINING ROOM REVEAL WITH RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

When we were deciding how to configure the new spaces in our addition, we knew we didn’t want to expand our kitchen in any way, despite it being miniscule. Some people find a big kitchen indispensable, but what we really lacked in our a-frame was more ample room for living, in general, and entertaining. I absolutely adore cooking and gathering around a table sharing food and wine with loved ones, so it was a priority to squeeze a dining space into the floor plan however we could! The downstairs level of our addition is essentially a large, open space, with a half-bathroom, guest/laundry room and media room off of the “grand room”. I’ve already shown you the living room portion of the open space, and today I’ll be sharing the dining area, which is contiguous to the kitchen. Admittedly, it is a bit of an unusual space because it is where the addition meets the original structure, so there was a rather awkward, angled wall to contend with. Let me show you what I  mean:

DINING ROOM BEFORE 01

The wooden paneling you see in the background is actually the roof of the a-frame, stripped of its shingles. Also, we had a new HVAC system installed to service both the old and new structure, and as a result, unsightly duct work was also something else we had to contend with in that already odd space.  Because the dining room is actually a bit on the small side, we decided to construct huge built-ins (using builder grade bi-fold doors) to plumb out the wall, which would ultimately be super functional for housing all of our dishware and related dining accoutrements. So this is how the process went:

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 02

First, we framed out the built-ins. The opening between the a-frame and the dining room is on the left; we were only able to demolish the wall after the photo shoot for this post, but for purposes of understanding the layout of the space, that is actually the passageway into the kitchen.

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 00

So much geometry involved in framing these out! But it allows for so much shelving and storage space for the embarrassing amount of glasses, transferware and tabletop accessories I’ve collected/horded over the years…haha! Oh, and the duct work was enclosed in a cabinet, out of sight but accessible if the need arises.

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 03

Bi-fold doors in place. Now, time to customize with our own design! Lots of trim work at play here, especially because we didn’t want to incorporate hardware for opening the doors.

 

DINING ROOM BUILT-IN 04

And then, lots of patching, sanding, priming and painting ensued.

DINING ROOM BEFORE 04

An ornate ceiling medallion was installed as well. I wanted the space to feel both eclectic and elegant with a few special touches via the lighting choices, and ultimately let the furniture make its impact and serve its function. Personally, I prefer dining rooms which breathe a bit given that there is always so much animation and energy contributed by the people who gather in it!

DINING ROOM BEFORE 03

Fully painted and ready for illumination!

DINING ROOM BEFORE 05

And then the real fun began! As I had mentioned, I wanted to create a chic and airy dining room that wasn’t cluttered with the unnecessary. I chose a bold, Moroccan tribal rug from my collection to provide a bit of visual interest and comfort underfoot, and found the PERFECT assemblage of chairs, table and sideboard from my friends at Raymour & Flanigan to pull our little dining room together. There are SO many things I seriously love about this company, one of them being the sheer magnitude of variety they offer in terms of furniture styles. It’s truly such an asset to their brand! I’m the kind of person who generally appreciates a mix and match approach when it comes to decorating, and this is especially the case in a dining room setting. Meaning, I tend to steer clear of “sets” of any kind. I find that it always feels more unique, personalized and surprising to design a room with a looser and more imaginative approach…because I’m a believer that beauty is always found in the unexpected!

DINING ROOM 00

Like I said, I chose pieces which were essentially from four different sets. I wanted a robust, wooden table with unfussy lines and the option of a leaf (for when I’m entertaining bigger groups) and the Sutton Place Dining Table was exactly what I had in mind. It’s seriously perfect, with such a gorgeous patina!

I really wanted to mix up the seating not only in terms of their design, but also material. The masculine solidity of the Prato Dining Armchair, with its striking curvature and incredible craftsmanship, juxtaposed against the wiry, mid-century lines of the brass Penelope Chair provide the perfect contrast I was seeking for this grouping.

DINING ROOM 02

DINING ROOM 03

I fell in love with the Echo Park Buffet because of its incredibly handsome carvings and felt that its Brutalist style meshed beautifully with the rest of the chosen pieces. It’s a rather substantial sideboard/buffet offering lots of interior storage and was from an entirely different set, of course, but all of the elements interact so well with each other.

SIDEBOARD AND CHAIR

I had painted a canvas specifically to hang over it, which I then flanked with some vintage table lamps from my stash.

SIDEBOARD 04

SIDEBOARD 07

And there you have it…the makings of our little dining room which I cannot wait to put to good use and make endless memories in!

DINING ROOM 04

DINING ROOM 01

 

  • I have partnered with Raymour & Flanigan and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

 

 

 

 

 

COMING TO LIFE – LIVING ROOM REVEAL WITH RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted any updates here, but I’m incredibly excited to share the latest progress on our home front! After some unexpected delays involving our tradesmen which began last spring and unfortunately stretched into late autumn, we only managed to sort out the utilities and insulation in the addition by the end of 2017. But as soon as the drywall went up and my husband, Brian, and I were finally free to work on our own without being hampered by the presence of crews (since we always do the interior finish work ourselves, crazy people that we are), we’ve been on an absolute rampage to get things done around here. We work on our house in our downtime, and admittedly, every spare moment we’ve had since 2018 kicked in has been obsessively dedicated to making headway in the addition. And headway has been made! The downstairs level of the addition is essentially an open-plan “grand room” of sorts, with a dining room and living room. Today I’ll be showing you the living room, and a visual story of how this space evolved!

before 11

Here is the space during the drywall phase. We had already framed out the fireplace and were waiting (im)patiently for the drywallers to mud up the walls and be done.

before 13

Once the crews left, we got down to business. First step, finalizing the fireplace.

before 8

Once the fireplace was finished, we started with the built-ins. And the moldings.

before 7

Just a little unadulterated peek at the daily reality of construction chaos. There is nothing remotely glamorous or peaceful about living in a construction site, let me tell you…haha!

before 4

But then, suddenly there is an almost epiphanal shift in the mayhem. When the finish carpentry is done, when the walls are freshly painted and you can finally install those beloved lights you’ve had stored away for an obscenely long time, you can finally see the once disastrously unsightly space looking more polished and coming together.

And let us not forget the drama of actually installing the floors!

before 5

I had the pleasure of partnering with my friends at Raymour & Flanigan again to choose some furnishings for our new living room, and as always, was beyond impressed with their spectacular array of inventory and always professional delivery; I truly cannot say enough positive things about this company! Aesthetically, I wanted to create a very serene and elegant living room which had subtle undercurrents of the ethnic touches I adore. All I could envision during the endless trauma of sawdust and soul-piercing sounds of compressors was a chic and cozy space which would organically evolve over time. And so once all of the furniture was sourced, once I pulled decorative accents, tables and a long-cherished rug from my own personal horde, and finally began to style up our newly completed space, our living room finally came to life…

SECTIONAL DRESSED 1

I chose the u-shaped Penelope Sectional (which I actually broke up, as you can see above) because it has such gorgeous lines and is a perfect solution for amplified seating options for living rooms which aren’t too large in scale, like ours. It is such a stunning, statement-making piece and yet doesn’t dominate the footprint of a room…it really is perfect in so many ways!

SECTIONAL DRESSED 2

LIVING ROOM DETAILS 4

LIVING ROOM DETAILS 1

FIREPLACE

It’s the magical kind of sectional which even looks good naked…haha!

SECTIONAL UNDRESSED 2

For an accent chair, I chose the Fitz Accent Chair because I appreciate its clean, mid-century lines and thought it would be a beautiful, low-slung seat to position between the fireplace and the built-in shelving.

LIVING ROOM DETAILS 3

MCM CHAIR 2

MCM CHAIR 1

And last but not least, there’s a little foyer/vestibule area when you enter the addition which I thought would benefit from a little love in the form of this sexy, leather beast which my husband has already claimed as his. I honestly doubt there is a more comfortable chair on the planet! It’s called the Magna Accent Chair and it is truly magnificent. And already causing slight familial unrest…haha!

MAGNA ACCENT 2

And there’s a quick look at our new living room in the addition. Next week I’ll be revealing the dining room area which adjoins this space! Stay tuned!

  • I have partnered with Raymour & Flanigan and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme

 

 

 

 

ALL DECKED OUT WITH RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

After the excessively brutal winter we experienced here in New Hampshire, there was no prospect more exciting than preparing for outdoor living as the days began to lengthen and the temperatures slowly but surely rose. Well, the planning actually began in the form of desperate fantasizing about lounging in the sun and nighttime cocktails on the deck as we were pummeled with blizzard after blizzard…haha! We live in a wooded area by a lake and because nature plays such an integral role in our day-to-day backdrop, we’ve made it a point during the renovation of our property to maximize the potential for enjoying our surroundings during those very short months when the weather actually permits it. And here in New England, that essentially translates to deck living.  After the framework to our addition was completed last spring, we built decks in the front and back of our modified A-frame and constructed an attached pergola on the back deck. Although we have a sizeable yard in the back (which is now seeded, thankfully, and no longer a lunar-like wasteland of of weeds, rocky soil and construction debris), our intention was to create one long, expansive space where all of the entertaining/lounging areas would be concentrated. We managed to have all of the structures built and stained/painted before last winter, but we didn’t have the opportunity to actually “deck” it out and properly enjoy it. Until now. I’ve styled it up in partnership with the amazing people at Raymour & Flanigan and it is ready for the season!

So for the sake of visualizing the evolution of this project, I’ll share some before shots:

DECK MAKEOVER BUILD

This was taken last summer as the back deck was being built. Yes, we’ve been living in a perpetual construction site. Check out that luscious lawn!

DECK MAKEOVER PERGOLA

At this point, the attached pergola had just been built and we were about to embark on the always fun stage of endless painting and staining. Irony intended.

Fast forward to over a month ago, when the outdoor furniture from Raymour & Flanigan was delivered! I chose the Tilley Outdoor Sofa and the Tilley Outdoor Chair (I got a pair) to create an outdoor living room beneath the pergola. I was so incredibly excited to see these gorgeous pieces in place, with their incredibly clean, modern lines and deep seating, that I couldn’t help but temporarily set it up, even though there was still quite a bit of prep work needing to be addressed before the install.

BEFORE DECK MAKEOVER

As soon as the weather was warm enough to actually start working outside, we started with retouching all of the white paint on the pergola and restaining the entire back deck because unfortunately, even treated wood takes quite a beating from the harsh elements here in New England.

DECK MAKEOVER BEFORE 1

We also installed waterproof, bamboo blinds on the three (exposed) sides of the pergola so that we’d have the option of sun filtering on those super bright days. And for ambient lighting in the evenings, we hung string lights and a cluster of solar pendant lights which were an easy DIY hack we fashioned using five rattan-style baskets (they’re actually resin-coated, because as you can imagine, everything stays out and needs to be weatherproof around here!).

DECK MAKEOVER BEFORE 2

Now the decorating fun begins. Notice the mammoth pillow pile in the back…those are the Sunbrella cushions for the sofa and chair set.  I have never seen or sat on cushier things in my life! I am strangely obsessed with them.

DECK MAKEOVER BEFORE 3

And so with the outdoor rug down and the seating intact, I brought in greenery and items from my personal hoard (decorative pillows, textiles and tables, etc.) to pull this outdoor space together. Ultimately, I wanted it to be comfortable and inviting; after all, this is where we are going to do some serious lounging, whether chilling out as a family or entertaining. It is where we will have lazy coffees in the morning and unwind after a grilled meal in the evening with drinks. And of course, I wanted it to feel like a bit of an escape. A sensorial retreat from reality…like a vacation, but conveniently, at home. Everything is weatherproof and can be left out in the rain, except for my kilim pillows which I just toss into one of our sheds when the weather promises to be inclement. And voila…

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 5

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 9

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 10

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 13

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 8

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 3

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 15

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 6

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 7

Can’t get over the stunning, modern design and roominess of these pieces! I also fell in love with their black Coil Solar Outdoor Lantern and got a few for scattering around on the floor and on tabletops.

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 12

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 14

AFTER DECK MAKEOVER 4

And there you have it! It took a while, but this deck is finally transformed and more than ready for what is guaranteed to be much use until the cold weather kicks in again! Cheers to spring and summer on the horizon!

  • I have partnered with Raymour & Flanigan and received product in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.

*Images and text by Astrid Insieme