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Road Trip: 2015 Southern Living Idea House part 2

southern living idea house master bedroomWelcome back road trip travelers!  For part 2 of our tour here, we are going to take a look at the bedrooms and baths that Bunny Williams did for the Southern Living Idea House near Charlottesville, Virginia. (If you missed part 1, just click here.)  We saw everything downstairs in the last post except for the master bedroom area.  I love that this room has a door out to its own porch. (But don’t hate me…I am saving all the porches for part 3 of the tour.)

southern living idea house master bedroom artThe blue and cream color scheme seems very restful, but it is livened up with large works of art.

southern living idea house master bedroom bedAnd of course, all dream master suites have a fireplace in the room.:)

southern living idea house master bedroom fireplaceOff the master bedroom is the master bath…again in blues and creamy whites.

southern living idea house master bath tubThat is my kind of soaking tub!

southern living idea house master bath bathtubThere is a lot of built in storage in this room.

southern living idea house master bath cabinetsAnd a gigantic walk in shower.

southern living idea house master showerOff the master bath is the even more gigantic master closet with so much storage space, I can’t imagine having it all filled.  But then again, there might have only been one piece of furniture in the bedroom itself that would hold any clothing, so all clothes would have to go in here…

southern living idea house master closetand shoes, and accessories, and jewelry.  But obviously it could handle it all.

southern living idea house master closet storage

southern living idea house master closet and dressing areaI love that there is a window in the closet!:)

southern living idea house master closet shelvingNow that we have finished everything in the master suite, let’s go back in the foyer and climb the stairs.

southern living idea house stairsHere is a view looking down at the foyer.

southern living idea house foyerThe upstairs is designed for the “children in the family.”  This big area is at the top of the stairs, and all the bedrooms come off of it.

southern living idea house pajama loungeIt is called the “pajama room” and is a general hang out area for watching tv, playing video games, putting puzzles together…you name it.

southern living idea house pajama lounge seatingI really liked the cabinet with the glass top area for the television, but do you see any way to open the “doors” at the top? Or is that just for looks?

southern living idea house entertainment areaIsn’t that a great vintage Coke sign?!

southern living idea house pajama lounge game tableOne of the hallways off the pajama room leads to a girl’s bedroom and bath.  You come to the bathroom first.

southern living idea house childrens bathA braided rug…what’s old is new again.:)

southern living idea house childrens bath sinkAnd this is the girl’s bedroom.  It seems a bit sophisticated to me for a teenage girl, but perhaps they would like it.

southern living idea house girls bedroomHave you noticed the use of silhouettes in the house?

southern living idea house girls bedroom desk

southern living idea house girls bedroom desk areaJPGThe window seats in this room are wonderful!
(Along with that bead board ceiling.)

southern living idea house girls bedroom window seatJPGNow let’s go back to the pajama room and off in a different direction.  You will enter the bunkroom with its great built in beds.  This one seems more kid-friendly to me.

southern living idea house bunkroomMore use of bead board.

southern living idea house built in bedAll the bedrooms upstairs have charming angled ceilings.  It makes for nice little nooks to fit in seating areas…

southern living idea house bunkroom seating areaand study spaces.

southern living idea house bunk room deskThere is another bathroom on the other side of the pajama room with more built in storage. (This house really has great space for storage!)

southern living idea house kids bathHere you will find a super large walk in shower with a built in bench.

southern living idea house kids bath showerAnd one last bedroom to see upstairs – my favorite of the bedroom spaces.:)

southern living idea house boys bedroomThis is the “boy’s room.”
That rattan bed is a beauty!

southern living idea house boys bedroom with window seat

southern living idea house boys bedroom window seat sideOn one side is the desk area with a cute vintage cowboy print above it…

southern living idea house boys bedroom deskand on the other – a dresser.  You can see from this photo that you have to go down a few steps to access this room.

southern living idea house boys bedroom dresserThere are window seats (with drawer storage) on both sides of the room.

southern living idea house boys bedroom right sideAnd that finishes our tour for today.  I have saved all the outdoor spaces to share with you in part 3.  They are absolutely my favorites of the house.  You are going to LOVE them (and there are a number of them!)  Plus there is one bonus room for you to tour as well.:)

southern living idea house porch fireplaceSo I hope to see you back here soon!

Until next time,


Design Chic - October 5, 2015 - 11:30 am

I am just in love with every single room. The mirrors and art are stunning and the closet…a dream! Happy Monday, Kelly ~
That closet was big enough to use for a room (and certainly big enough for some of my children’s college rooms! LOL)

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - October 5, 2015 - 11:33 am

Hate to bother you with a question, but is the sofa in the pajama room covered in denim? It looks like faded denim to me, but not sure. I have a large chair and -a-half I need to get recovered and was wondering if denim is still “cool.” I like the faded look so much.

I’m saving the photo of the chair in that amazing closet, because I’m also having my dining room chairs recovered at some point and they look similar to that one.

Such interesting details! Thanks for the tour, and can’t wait to see the outdoor areas!
I hate to disappoint you Leslie Anne, but that fabric was a blue linen (specifically Monk’s Cloth by Kravet in their Yangtze colorway.) But, obviously the house had many details that were “old” being used again…the handstitched samplers, the silhouettes, the braided rug, the wallpaper in the powder room. So I imagine you would be ahead of the trend with reusing denim again. :) It holds up so well to abuse and is comfortable on top of that! Use what YOU like. :)

Rebecca Dexter - October 5, 2015 - 12:01 pm

Oh to have a porch with a fireplace!! Heaven for sure.

In response to your comment about how great to have a window in a closet…no matter how great it sounds it will absolutely ruin your clothes. Take it from someone who has experienced it first hand. Even putting shades on the window (and it is a small one) has not protected my clothes from fading. I have bleached stripes on jackets, blouses etc. I suggested to a friend who was building a house with a wonderful closet filled with natural light that she should rethink it…she didn’t and now just built another house with no windows in the closet just recessed lights and a beautiful chandelier.
Gosh, I had not thought of that! What a great point, and certainly something to be mindful of. Thank you so much for sharing that with us Rebecca! My closet is dark with no windows, so no chance of fading anything in it. Love the idea of the chandelier that your friend included in her new one.

Shelley @ Calypso in the Country - October 5, 2015 - 12:06 pm

Perfection! The blue and white bedroom is my favorite too. And I definitely need a “pajama room” in my house…
Can you imagine being a kid and having that space to play?! As a mom, I would certainly want video communication in there to the kitchen while I cooked just to keep an eye on them 😉

Kathy - October 5, 2015 - 12:22 pm

Kelly, the bones of this house are outstanding/stellar even… but I would like to see how YOU would have decorated it. Some of the individual items are nice but for the most part, I am asking why they chose what they chose to accessorize/decorate. That closet and the bathrooms are awesome and I love all of the built-ins. I just think it needs a “Kelly touch”. (I love calling a room a pajama room. Just the name makes me want to curl up with a good book!) I am looking forward to seeing the outside spaces.
Gosh what a high compliment Kathy! I am so not of the caliber of Bunny Williams, but I do think the interior could be warmed up with some khaki tones and red…especially some red buffalo check in that kitchen and dining area. I am sure you can envision that. I wonder if designers in these idea houses have to use whatever accessories are donated to them from the sponsors. If that is the case, it would make sense why some of them just did not fit with the space. Or perhaps they have a limited amount from which to choose. That could also be a problem.
Loved the pajama room too! If we had a second floor, I would want one of those rooms in our house. :)

Dawn - October 5, 2015 - 1:12 pm


The master bedroom is serene and relaxing looking while the kids area looks really inviting and fun. I love window seats/reading nooks! Thanks for sharing this with us. I can’t wait to see the outside areas. Take care.

I think window seats add so much charm to a room, and I agree with you about the master bedroom – very serene looking.

Gina - October 5, 2015 - 1:50 pm

Another great post showcasing the house. I can appreciate the design choices but I’m not sure I would have chosen many of them. 😉 I can always take away ideas though. I love the silhouettes. I wish I had made some when my children were young. The fabulous closet makes me want to add some lighting to mine. I loved the pajama room, the drawers in the window seats (wish we hadn’t wasted the space in our upstairs window seats) and the bunk room!! How darling. :) I’m not sure about those glass spaces above the tv either. Even though there may be a lot of storage in the master bath I think the counter space is seriously lacking. I think the outdoor spaces will be my favorite so I am looking forward to seeing them!
Thank you Gina! You like much of what I like. :) Your point about the lack of counter space in the bathroom is a good one. You really do need some of it when getting ready for your day.

Vicki - October 5, 2015 - 1:55 pm

The built in with the TV- the windows above it look more like a transom than boxes for storage, maybe?

Great tour! Will watch for part 3!
I think you are right about the glass boxes Vicki…just decorative then. Glad you enjoyed the tour!

mari1017 - October 5, 2015 - 2:02 pm

Nice tour – love your writing and photos – with your touch of humor :-) First thought – love that carpet going up the stairs – that is perfect! Next thought exactly echoes Rebecca’s – as soon as I saw the closet with a window, I thought “Oh, NO! – NO windows in closet – unfortunately I speak from experience :-( – gorgeous otherwise! I also would love to see this house decorated by you with your thoughts and results – wouldn’t that be a blast??? They really should turn you loose! My favorite part is the upstairs – love it, love it, love it. I can’t wait to get to the outside – thanks, Kelly!!! Maybe I can persuade my mom to go before it closes. She’s 88 and not likely to want to walk those stairs and property, but we’re not too far away being outside Richmond. hmmm… :-)
Oh dear…windows in your closet too. I never would have thought about the sunlight on clothing problem. Decorating that house would be fun, but since I am so slow it would definitely take a year to do it! LOL As far as your mom going, there are a lot of stairs, but there is still a lot to see on the first level. Perhaps she could go with you, tour the lower floor and porches, and wait in a chair while you run upstairs..a compromise of sorts. :)

DiAnne - October 5, 2015 - 2:13 pm

One of my favorite things about this tour is the “pajama room” and the “tavern room”. Love those names for spaces. The built in bunks and the window seats are beautiful. I am loving the upstairs with all the angled ceilings.
I, like Kathy, would like to see what you could do with this house.
Can’t wait to see the outside spaces.
The little built-ins really added some nice details to the rooms, and I am right there with you on loving those angled ceilings. Instant charm! I would like to see what Holly Mathis would do with an Idea House. She lives in Texas, so perhaps they will do a Texas one and put her in charge. :)

Donnamae - October 5, 2015 - 2:16 pm

Love that master! And that pajama room….great idea! 😉
Everyone should have a pajama room! :)

Caroline - October 5, 2015 - 4:21 pm

Love your blog and all of your posts! Thanks for sharing the Southern Living Idea House with us!!
You are welcome Caroline! Thank YOU so much for reading them and leaving your appreciative comment here. :)

Susan - October 5, 2015 - 4:52 pm

I liked the house plan better than the decorating and definitely loved the exterior. Your home is prettier than this and I agree with Dianne, Southern Living should let you decorate their next house! How exciting would that be!!
You are too kind Susan! I loved all that stonework on the Idea House. Wish we had added it least to the foundation supports. As far as decorating an Idea House, I know it is a ton of work. (We worked ourselves silly doing the Christmas Ideas article for BHG.) But it would be fun to decorate such a beautifully built place.

Garden, Home and Party - October 5, 2015 - 9:22 pm

If the architecture of the house didn’t already win my vote, the interior design certainly sealed the deal. How wonderful. Lucky you to get to see it up close and personal. Thank you for taking such great images for the armchair visitor. :-)
P.S. I hope your internet is back up and operating at full capacity.
Yes, we were very lucky that we were able to make it work in our road trip. Internet is up and running (at least for today it is…you can never tell with Windstream!)

Arlene@Nanaland - October 5, 2015 - 9:32 pm

The pajama room is my fav! Love that Coca Cola sign as art!
That Coca Cola sign really made that space!

Pat - October 5, 2015 - 10:35 pm

It’s a beautiful house but I love yours more!! I think the glass panel on the tv cabinet lifts up as a whole piece. Can’t wait to see the porches!
Gosh thanks Pat! That is really a nice compliment! Porches are the best thing about this house to me. :)

Gabrielle - October 6, 2015 - 4:37 am

Hi Kelly,

Thankyou again for the wonderful tour. My favourite room is definately the blue room. I love the rattan bed, and I also love the silhouettes around the house. I have a small collection myself. They give me such pleasure as I walk by…
We like much of the same Gabrielle. :) That rattan bed was GORGEOUS! I keep thinking of adding silhouettes here, but can’t quite figure out where to put them. I too really like them!

Julia - October 6, 2015 - 11:18 am

I’m with the others – this house could use the “Kelly” touch! It is beautiful! And I really like those red lamps in the foyer entering the house. Can’t wait to see the porches.
Too funny! Bunny Williams certainly doesn’t need my help with anything. You will love the porches Julia. :)

Terri - October 6, 2015 - 3:23 pm

I absolutely love the floors in the common areas…. gorgeous!!! and all the built in’s… Not to mention the base boards and window sills… I am in love with that look!!! thank you so much for sharing!!!! Perfect location …that area of the country is amazing !!
The floors were beautiful….REALLY beautiful. You are noticing all the details that people building homes look for when they visit an Idea House. :) And yes, that area has the most amazing views. Virginia is a gorgeous state!

Rosemary - October 7, 2015 - 1:53 pm

Hi Kelly, I just love all the rooms, the wooden floors .. All the storage in the bathrooms. I especially like the style of the bunkrooms I see in some American houses. We don’t really have them here and I always think they look such fun for children. Looking forward to seeing the porches!! Hope you’re having a good week and not too many problems with your internet and phone service.
Bunkrooms are great for siblings sharing spaces. They are just so cozy to me. We have all the internet and phone issues settled (for now at least.) Thank you for the good wishes for them. :)

Ann - October 7, 2015 - 2:42 pm


I’ve really enjoyed these posts on the Southern Living Idea House! The house reminds me in some ways of the house I grew up in. Especially the Tavern Room…we had a very miniaturized version of this we called The Den. Pine bookcases and built-in desk, with same trim on window. It was always the coziest room in the house!

Also, I liked seeing the bathrooms…we’re remodeling our master bath and I am overwhelmed with choices for shower, floor and vanity top. These baths were all lovely.

Thanks for showing us this house….as always looking forward to more!
My husband’s childhood home had that paneling as well. Wood walls always seem to make a space feel warm. Yes, you are going to have to make a zillion decisions based on a zillion choices when doing your bathroom. Good luck with all of that! Just think about how many had to be made in constructing this Idea House. Blows my mind!
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment Ann! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. :)

Victoria - October 7, 2015 - 5:36 pm

Beautiful architecture love the elements of stone, siding, metal roof all fab. The interior design completely baffles me. The kitchen and butlers pantry have the most potential but to be honest I was disappointed. That said I appreciate the efforts you put forth to visit and share with us your readers. I too prefer your style
picked up a copy of Southern Cottage last week – your home is just charming Kelly.
I think we would all take the exterior in a heartbeat. It looks like a home that has age and character. That butler’s pantry appeals to a different type of homeowner I think. At my age, I need all the light I can get in order to see well! LOL
Thank you for getting a copy of Southern Cottage. We were shocked to see that one on the newsstand! It is a reprint/rework of an article from Cottages and Bungalows from FOUR years ago. I never would have known about it if a reader had not alerted me to it being in it. Thank you for the sweet compliment about our home Victoria.

Kaye Ann - October 9, 2015 - 9:56 am

I’m one that isn’t crazy about the decor, but I do love the house itself. I agree with a previous poster; How would Kelly have decorated this? I DO love the Master bath and closet. I love that soaker tub and have a wish for one in my bath. Awwww, but no room. Dream away. Thanks for the Part 2, Kelly.
Those soaking tubs do make you dream about them, don’t they? The ultimate in relaxation. :) I love my clawfoot tub and a looooong hot bath. In your next home, you need to be sure to put in a big bathtub Kaye Ann. It is fun to dream about what we could do to personalize a space for our own style. Lots of possibilities in that house!

Road Trip: The 2015 Southern Living Idea House

houseI bet many of you knew the house above in the teaser photo from the previous post; didn’t you?:) Yes, it is this year’s Southern Living Idea House located a few miles outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.  When we were planning our road trip, I knew we would have the perfect opportunity to see it, but we had to wait until we were on our way back home to make the best use of our time.

That area of Virginia is just gorgeous with rolling hills and farmland.  We followed the signs through the curvy country roads until we arrived here:

Bundoran Farm registration buildingThis is the Baldwin Center at Bundoran Farm where you park, purchase your tickets, and catch the shuttle up to the Idea House.  It is a place for field trips and workshops related to farming, and it was a pretty building in its own right!  The Idea House is open for tours up until December 20. (I bet they will be decorating it for Christmas!) Tickets are $15 per person.   The hours for Wed. – Sat. are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and for Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  It is closed on Tuesdays.

Bundoran farm ticket salesWe were there early on a Saturday and caught the second shuttle run of the morning (which meant there were no crowds at the house.:)) The ride up to the house went through some of the beautiful land on the farm’s 2,300 acres.

Bundoran Farm sign

Bundoran Farm

Bundoran Farm fenceWe even passed other lovely homes on the way up.

Bundoran FarmhouseAnd it was up a number of hills until we made the turn at the Idea House.

southern living idea house exteriorThe exterior was my favorite part of it.
I loved that mix of stone with horizontal siding and the metal roof!

southern living idea house frontWe walked up to the front door with those lush ferns on the steps…

southern living idea house front porch fernsand admired the topiaries on either side of the door.

southern living idea house topiariesAnd then we entered the foyer hallway.  The home was designed by Rosney Co. architectural firm, constructed by Summit Custom Homes from Charlottesville, with the interiors designed by Bunny Williams.  The antiques throughout the home really gave it a traditional “lived in” feel.

southern living idea house foyerThe first room off the hallway to the left was the warm and cozy “tavern room.”  It was what I would have called a library.  This was my husband’s favorite room with its heart pine beaded board paneling.  You will notice Bunny’s extensive use of art throughout the house.

southern living idea house tavern roomsouthern living idea house tavern room bookshelves

southern living idea house tavern room book shelvesThere are two doorways in the tavern.  We exited out the other door back into the entry hall,

southern living idea house tavern room exitand made a left into the fabulous kitchen.:) On the right side of the kitchen is the dining area with its wall of cheerful windows.

southern living idea house dining areaAnd just look at all that blue and white china!  It’s Bunny Williams’ line for Ballard Designs.southern living idea house breakfast area built in cabinetsouthern living idea house breakfast areasouthern living idea house breakfast area gallery wallOn the other side of that large room – opposite the dining area – you will see the kitchen.

Aren’t all those built-ins amazing?!

southern living idea house kitchensouthern living idea house kitchen from breakfast areaHere is a better look at the range with the pop-up vent behind it.
(They were working on it while we were there.)

southern living idea house rangeThe kitchen was obviously my favorite room in the house with all its many windows (and those sconces by Currey and Company were fantastic!)southern living idea house kitchen windowsNow, do you see that doorway in the back corner of the room?  Let’s go through it.  There are a couple of little rooms back there you need to see.

southern living idea house kitchen islandFirst is the pantry with its very very dark cabinetry. (Inkwell by Sherwin Williams.)
Quite a contrast to that light filled kitchen!

southern living idea house pantrysouthern living idea house pantry cabinetssouthern living idea house pantry sinkThere was old fashioned artwork in the hall outside the pantry.

southern living idea house hallway artA few steps away was the powder room wallpapered in a cute little print – Mikaela by Stark.

southern living idea house powder room wallpaper

 Continue on down the hall a bit further, and you will find a very well done mudroom…

southern living idea house mudroomsouthern living idea house mudroom storagewith space for a laundry room.

southern living idea house laundry roomA laundry room with some nice built in storage.:)

southern living idea house storage cabinetOkay, now turn around and go back down the hallway until we get to the “Family Hall.”  I was interested in seeing what Bunny did with that tall room since our family room has a 20ft. ceiling.

southern living idea house family hall roomShe filled the large expanse of wall space with a very tall mirror and art.

southern living idea house family hall fireplacesouthern living idea house family hall ottomanI’m afraid that is all the time we have for our tour today.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing part of the 2015 Southern Living Idea House and that you we will be back here for the next post from it – the bedrooms and bathrooms.

southern living idea house boys bedroomSee you soon!

Until next time…


Tricia - October 3, 2015 - 2:32 am

Hi Kelly. So lovely to view this house through your eyes, to be able to have a personal tour. How fortunate to have been able to include it on your travels. Each room has something that makes me think it’s my favourite, love the tavern room bookcases, the kitchen is stunning and the dear pantry is a gem. A mud room with laundry facilities would be a dream. Thank you!

At Rivercrest Cottage - October 3, 2015 - 3:42 am

Enjoyed touring with you. We had a Southern Roadtrip planned, but had to return home due to family issues. Hoping to get to see the house in person but, in the meantime, will be enjoying your pictures.

Rosemary - October 3, 2015 - 6:12 am

I hope you’re seeing some progress with your internet and phone problems .. Thanks for continuing to post when it must be difficult for you.
What a beautiful house … I could move in! Imagine waking up to those views each day and having breakfast in that kitchen … even doing laundry would be fun:) We visited Virginia as part of our holiday last year but unfortunately couldn’t fit in Charlottesville. Maybe one day … although we were lucky enough to stay in Williamsburg .. Initially due to our youngest who was keen to visit Busch Gardens!! So glad we did though it was a really special place although extremely hot!! Thanks also for including a link as being from England I really hadn’t heard of these houses that you feature. I’m so enjoying reading about them and then researching more! Take care,

Vicki - October 3, 2015 - 7:16 am

The entire house is beautiful but I too love the exterior best. In the family room all I can think of is how heavy that mirror must be and how in the world did they hang it? Can’t wait to se part two!
That is hilarious about the mirror! Now that you mention it, I do wonder how they hung such a large one. :)

Sandy Palmer - October 3, 2015 - 8:48 am

What a beautiful place! I am in love with that I love all of the artwork so far.
AND I must find out where that wooden Bundoran Farm sign came from. I NEED that! Off too research that.

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - October 3, 2015 - 11:06 am

Very charming house full of character. There were some surprising “old fashioned” elements to it like the pine paneled walls and some of the wallpaper and artwork, but you know what they say . . . everything old is new again. That’s why I’m hanging on to my dining room set in the warehouse and not letting Annie Sloan near it!!!

Vicki - October 3, 2015 - 5:08 pm

Loving this. Told my husband we could do this next week on the way back through Charlottesville, but you have done such a good job- I feel like I have Ben there! Lol! Can’t wait for the next post.

Gina - October 3, 2015 - 6:17 pm

I thought the house from your last post looked like this house! :) I had viewed it on the website, etc. since it was in C’ville. It’s actually just a few miles from where my daughter and son-in-law are building. If we get up there before it closes I’d love to see it. Those Southern Living homes are always so beautiful. I loved the wood paneling and bookshelves in the first room. It would be hard to pull that off without plenty of natural light. I loved the built in right off the kitchen too. And those kitchen windows are spectacular! The architects definitely utilized the view. I’m looking forward to seeing the bedrooms now. :) I caught a glimpse of you in the mirror. 😉 - October 3, 2015 - 8:01 pm

I had not heard of the Southern Living Idea House before. Really interesting post and what a beautiful house! Thanks for sharing this part of your trip with us!

Debra - October 4, 2015 - 8:48 am

Love the exterior of the home and the kitchen, like you do Kelly. I really like the use of stone and the roofing. Oh, how I would love having a kitchen with all those windows and storage. Let’s add those black Windsor chairs and that laundry room too to the list! Drool. :)

Pat in Georgia - October 4, 2015 - 9:29 am

The Southern Living Idea House is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your trip and pictures with us. Charlottesville, VA is just a little to far for weekend wanderings when you are coming from GA. Love, love this beautiful home!

Kathy - October 4, 2015 - 10:33 am

I love, love, love the exterior and the kitchen. I am looking forward to seeing the bedrooms. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Donnamae - October 4, 2015 - 12:34 pm

Thanks for giving us a tour. The kitchen was my favorite…although that butler’s pantry was really dark. I think I would have kept it white…but then, I’m not a designer. The study looked so cozy with all that wood…I can understand why your hubby liked it! It’s always fun to see designer homes…and to see another person’s interpretation! 😉

mari1017 - October 4, 2015 - 3:10 pm

Thanks for this tour, Kelly – I also love the exterior best of this part of the tour! Gorgeous, especially the front door entry area – beautiful! The interior is very Bunny Williams/Ballard – love blue and white, nice ideas, but may I just say – I so much love your home better! Much more similar to my taste! Looking forward to the rest of the house – ciao!

DiAnne - October 4, 2015 - 7:07 pm

Thanks for taking us on this tour. It is always a treat to see how designers deal with a space. I love the wall of windows in the kitchen and that awesome gas cooktop but I am not sure I would have put the cooktop there. The kitchen has an interesting layout. Maybe I am just so used to a sink sink in front of a window.
I am looking forward to seeing the bedrooms.

Dawn - October 4, 2015 - 10:20 pm

This was so much fun! I am so glad you shared it with us. I love all of the green plants that freshen up the spaces and the well designed butlers pantry. It would be awesome to see it all decorated for Christmas! Take care.


Kaye Ann - October 5, 2015 - 10:04 am

What a fun tour…. thank you for taking us along. I am waiting “patiently” for the bedrooms and bathrooms. Thanks again.

Eileen - October 5, 2015 - 11:34 am

Could you give us some insight on how you plan your trips and find such interesting sights along the route?
In this case, we knew we had to head to New Haven, so we planned a route with that destination in mind. I then researched Trip Advisor for hotels and inns that were in a place close to where we could get to in a day. I do a ton of research…weeks! The hotel really determines my final destination in a lot of our trips. Whitehall is specifically why we ended up in Camden. And years ago, the Cottages at Cabot Cove are why we ended up in Kennebunkport. Then I use Tripadvisor for restaurants. Then I look at magazine sites for other recommendations. I guess just a lot of reading is how I plan.

Shelley @ Calypso in the Country - October 5, 2015 - 12:10 pm

Beautiful! I can see why you took so many pictures of the kitchen and dining area. Gorgeous!!!

Terry Cross - October 5, 2015 - 12:48 pm

Gosh,is it just me or does the artwork leave one a bit flat? The house is fabulous, really and truly, but some of the artwork doesn’t capture me. I don’t mean to be critical, but gosh such a gorgeous house and the artwork makes me a bit gloomy???
I am absolutely no judge of what makes something artistic. It really has to be personal in nature I think, so choosing it is hard. The only paintings I seem to ever be drawn to are landscapes of marshes in the low country. Strange, right? So what may appeal to one person, may turn off another person.

Arlene@Nanaland - October 5, 2015 - 9:29 pm

Oh Kelly the last area rug made this old nurse think of EKGs!!lol…love the exterior as well. And the blue and white plates. I use three blue and white plates as my back splash behind my cook top.
Too funny! Yes, I can see the similarity there. ::) There are so many blue and white things out there. It would be dangerous if I started to collect that…so I am staying away from it here. (I would get sucked into buying everything I see too easily!)

Road Trip: Our Son’s Apartment Before and After


A number of readers have asked me several times to explain the process I use in doing a room from start to finish, so today I want to do just that…take you shopping with us and explain my thinking on our choices. It literally took the entire road trip to furnish our son’s apartment. It is still not quite finished, but I can show you what we have done. It’s close.:)


When Jonathan informed us last winter that he had signed a lease on a 180 sq. ft. apartment a couple of blocks from law school, I had a hard time visualizing the space (especially since he did not take any photos of it!:( )  So I really did not know what to expect when we walked into that room on Chapel Street, but it actually had a number of good things going for it (if you could wrap your head around the diminutive space.) First, it was clean. Secondly, it had a decent sized closet with a bonus storage space built in above it and a sturdy large wooden step stool to reach it.  We jokingly called the extra storage his “attic.”:)

kitchen area before

It had beautiful wood floors (no nasty carpet!) It had interesting architectural trim, and the room had just been newly painted a nice neutral cream color.  I was dying to paint all that wonderful trim a contrasting glossy white though to make it stand out. (I didn’t.)

apartment floors

The previous tenant had left behind a bookshelf, (in the top photograph) an additional dorm refrigerator, and a metal floor lamp.  We had not packed a lot of things for the apartment.  Our little suv was filled mainly with books, (and more books!) kitchen supplies, a few lamps, two framed vintage fish prints (the only art of which he “approved”) all of our son’s clothing, a down comforter, and his camping gear.  (Doesn’t everyone take camping gear with them to law school?? 😉 )

apartment before

The first night there we simply unloaded everything, measured spaces and windows, and made shopping lists.  The next morning bright and early we did what every college family does….we headed to Ikea.  Thank goodness there was one a 15 minute drive from the apartment!

Ikea New Havensource

I took a couple of “extra” photos for you so that you could enjoy their model kitchens.:)

Ikea gray kitchen

Ikea black kitchen

Okay, the original plan had been to get a desk, a desk chair, a futon and a loft bed that the futon would sit under. The thinking on all of this was What would be the most functional items – yet still allow for comfort?  Unfortunately, the futon that was on sale was out of stock, so with budget in mind, Jonathan ended up choosing a more expensive one –  the Beddinge Lovas – and he did not get a loft bed.

When I am doing a room, I normally find something that gives me a direction.  It might be a fabric or some unique accessory or a favorite color.  At this point, we were starting totally from scratch with our son’s apartment, but because he/we chose the gray cover for the futon, our color scheme finally had a starting point from which we could build.


Our son did not think he had room for a table and a desk, so the desk won out on that purchase.  He chose the dark gray Alex desk with space to manage the cords.


Because he would be spending a lot of time working at his desk, (and eating there) and he has a shoulder that gives him trouble, he wanted to find a desk chair that was well built and provided good support.  After playing Goldilocks in every chair in the store, he settled on the  Markus swivel chair….in gray.

ikea desk

At this point I said that he needed an end table of some sort beside the futon so that he would have a place to sit snacks or a tv remote or books, and we both agreed that it did not need to be gray.  Because the knobs on the kitchen cabinets were red, I suggested red, and we began to search for a red end table or cabinet of some kind.  We were having no luck finding one in our price range when I remembered seeing a child’s play table set in red in the Atlanta Ikea, so we headed to the children’s play furniture and found one for $25.  Perfect!

Ikea red kritter

Because I was afraid that there would not be enough room in the car, I told my husband and son to just leave me at the store for more shopping and for them to take the large furniture items back to the apartment.  They did just that, and while they were gone, I searched for a rug, drapes, throw pillows, and a duvet cover in either gray or red. (All the fun stuff.:))  When they returned, we agreed upon this rug…


I showed our son this duvet cover for the comforter his grandmother had purchased for him,

ikea duvet

and he said, “No way. That looks like I’m at home.”
(So true!)
We did agree on this one:

ikea stripe duvet

I then told him that he had to add more red, so we picked up a red throw and a couple of red throw pillows.  As we were wandering around the store, we came upon this oversized floor lamp, and we both immediately LOVED it.  It was quite impressive.

ikea floor

It reminded me of this one at Restoration Hardware
(at a much better price!)

restoration hardware enrico

This was a splurge but soooo much better than the little metal one that had been left in his room.  We also found a table lamp and a desk lamp that were vast improvements over the ones we had brought from home, so we got them as well.  The lamps from home came back to the house with us. I am sure our daughter will use them when she moves to another apartment next year. (We also brought home the fish prints.  You’ll see why in a minute.)


Our son does not like drapes, but he really liked the Roman shades at Oakhurst Inn.  Unfortunately, you can’t exactly find custom made Roman shades at Ikea for a 40” x 72” window.:(So we decided to wait on that. We took all our purchases back to the apartment, got some lunch, and then made a run to Target for a vacuum cleaner and a zillion other utilitarian things.  The rest of the day was spent with my patient saint of a husband doing this….



He and our son had to assemble all of the furniture plus all of the lamps.  Not their favorite thing to do.  I unpacked all the kitchen items, got them into the few cabinets there, and set up the bathroom things.  Late that night, everything was finished and in its place. Functional, but not decorated.

The next day we left New Haven and headed to Maine to start the vacation part of the journey.  If you have been following along on our road trip this month, you are going to see how it helped to finish our son’s apartment.:) First stop?  L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine.

I found this pillow in the L.L. Bean Home Store, and knowing how our son loves dogs, and the fact that it was red, I crossed my fingers that he would like it. He was over in the flagship store, so I called him to come take a look.  Hallelujah he liked it!  I then had a direction for accessories. Yes! 

bassett hound pillow(L.L.Bean does not sell it online, but you can order it here.)

After Freeport, we headed to Whitehall in Camden, Maine with a day spent driving through Bar Harbor and Acadia.  On the way to Acadia, do you remember we stopped at that fabulous Rooster Brother kitchen shop?  Their outlet room was where I found this cute jar for his kitchen (to put the cookies in that we mail him.:) )  I also decided that he needed to replace the hanging dish drain in that apartment with a metal shelf for more storage space… more on that later.

cookie jar

A day exploring the shops in Camden led me to these goodies at the wonderful Jo Ellen Designs.  They were going on that red end table.

After Camden, we traveled to Stowe, Vermont.  Remember Juniper…that precious paper and gift shop?  Our son bought postcards there…not “dog related,” but they had red in them.  Here is what I did with them for his apartment. (Sorry for the very blurry photo.)

art from Juniper

And after Stowe and Waterbury we returned to New Haven, and that brings us back to where we are in this post now…full circle.  I had been thinking about the lack of storage space for food in our son’s apartment while we were traveling.  So we made another run to Ikea that night for a piece of furniture to handle that and a metal shelf for the kitchen.  While there, I found another piece of art – perfect for the space. (Another fuzzy photo.:()
dog print

The next day we made another run to Target for picture frames and a few office type supplies. The Ikea storage piece was assembled, the artwork framed and hung, the shelf hung and put to work, and we called it a day.  Would you like to see the almost-finished-functional-but-not-decorated-tiny-apartment?:)

Apartment from the door

Behind the door is this kitchen cabinet.

kitchen shelf

Here is the entire kitchen. I really wish I had hung a piece of stainless steel above the stove for ease of cleaning.  (But who knows how much actual cleaning a student in law school really does?) Yes, the microwave is high, but there is no counter space for it, and his step stool is wide and works fine for it.

kitchen after

Our son put the bookshelf inside the closet to hold all of his books. The storage cabinet for food took its place in the room. If I could really decorate the space, I would hang art over that television. (All the red things are really red, not orange like the light plus camera makes it look here.)

ikea cabinet

Here is the desk area:

desk area after

apartment after

The small red end table…

end table with dog accessories

And now the only “decorated” wall in the apartment.  The striped pillows are actually our son’s bed pillows in the pillow cases that go with the duvet set.  You can see how the road trip provided the accessories for the space. As our son gets bogged down in school work, I hope his apartment will be a reminder of our fun vacation (and of more good times to come.:) )

room sources

If you have read all 1600+ words here you deserve an A+.:) I hope this written thought-process has helped to explain how I go from a color and an idea to a room.  Obviously, it helped to have a blank slate to begin with, but I have tweaked rooms in the same manner starting with colors and objects that are loved…think about the function of the room and go from there.

one room apartment after

Our son’s apartment still needs a window treatment.  As I mentioned, he really admired the Roman shades at both Oakhurst Inn and at Whitehall, so I am going to make some for him out of a gray print or stripe (although a red print might be good…still thinking on it.)  Hopefully, this will work for the space.  (The bathroom window is teeny-tiny!)

I have a couple more road trip posts that are really really house related.  You are definitely going to want to be here for this.  After we told our son good-bye in New Haven, my husband and I traveled here the next day:


This one will have to be a two-part post with the 500+ photos I took there. 😉

Until next time…


Andrea - September 29, 2015 - 10:19 pm

Wow, just wow…..I kept thinking how in the world is Kelley going to make this space look good….and wow…did you ever. I am sorry that I doubted you, ever! What a great space (now).
It actually looks better in person. I just couldn’t get the light right that late in the afternoon, and lamps do not give off good “natural” light. I also wish I had taken photos of the inside of the kitchen cabinets so that you all could see how little space there was. The one and only drawer had Saran wrap, zip lock bags, and etc. So his flatware had to stand up in glasses on that metal shelf. That shelf really came in handy!
Thank you for the compliments on the space. I believe it is functional for our son, and that was his goal all along.

Jackie Layton - September 29, 2015 - 10:21 pm

I loved this post. My son will soon be moving into his own apartment, and you’ve given me a lot of great ideas! Thanks!
Well I am so glad you could find some ideas here Jackie. I hope there is an Ikea near your son if he is on a budget. Many of their pieces work well for small spaces.
Thank you for reading and leaving a comment! :)

Arlene@Nanaland - September 29, 2015 - 10:41 pm

I just finished reading The Night Circus for the second time(Love it) and the colors used in the circus are black, white, gray and the people who were circus groupies wore red to identify themselves….so your decorating of your son’s apartment reminded me of the book!! I love a pop of red. It is my favorite color. In fact my sweet husband bought me a pretty cherry red purse at Coach at the Tanger Outlet at the beach!!
Hmm…I guess it was a circus to get this room done?! LOL You are one lucky lady to get a red Coach handbag!! My daughter and I would both LOVE that. :)

Robin - September 29, 2015 - 10:42 pm

It looks fantastic Kelly! You’re a great mom to help your son decorate. I bet he’s so grateful to have wonderful parents!

Can’t wait to see all your other pics from the next adventure!
Thank you so much for your sweet comment Robin. Our son did say that the apartment turned out great, but I think he was more appreciative that we stocked that red cabinet in it full of food before we left! LOL
The next adventure was one that everyone here should love. :)

Barb - September 29, 2015 - 10:58 pm

What a great space! I love it.
Thank you Barb! The best thing about it is that it is walkable to campus, and he does not have to have a car there. :)

Leslie Anne @ Fairhope Supply Co. - September 29, 2015 - 11:03 pm

I love that it was such a family affair to decorate his space and give it a touch of “home.” Good luck to your son at law school. We can always use more good honest leaders in the legal system, and everywhere else, for that matter!
It was a family affair alright! (As was the road trip. :) ) Thank you for the well wishes for our son. He had said from the start that he actually wanted to go into the academic side of law…teaching it, but he may of course change his mind through all of this. Lots of schoolwork ahead for him!

Vickie White - September 29, 2015 - 11:37 pm

You did a wonderful job on this tiny space! I am impressed, as usual. :)
You are too kind Vickie. I think we made the best use of the space we had (and the budget we had! :) )

Merri Jo - September 29, 2015 - 11:47 pm

The apartment looks great, Kelly! As soon as I saw the red cabinet knobs, I thought, oh, yay, Kelly’s signature red’! 😉 The pieces that you found on your trip & at IKEA came together perfectly with your loving touches &
your son’s approval–mission accomplished!
Mission most definitely accomplished. :) I really wish he could have gotten the loft bed as well so that he would have had room for overnight guests (other than the floor.) Thank you for your words of approval Merri Jo. I am very glad to have that project checked off our list. Now on to exterior painting here at the house. (So not a fun project.)

Renee Cook - September 29, 2015 - 11:57 pm

It looks great, Kelly! And, I love all the memories you made while doing it! Your son’s apartment will feel warm and welcoming this winter.
Thank you Renee. I really liked that the art all had a connection to parts of our trip. Hopefully this will make it a “home away from home” when he is stressed with school work.

Tricia - September 30, 2015 - 12:21 am

Wow, what a beautiful apartment. Really appreciate you showing us step-by-step, the process of creating a room. Very impressive.
You are too kind Tricia. I hoped everyone would not think I was crazy in the process of getting our son’s apartment done. LOL
Thank you for reading all the post and leaving your sweet comment.

Dawn@Petals.Paper.SimpleThymes - September 30, 2015 - 1:18 am

Just wonderful, Kelly! Thanks for sharing the entire process with us. Love the gray with pops of red! It’s so great that you worked together as a team, making happy vacation memories along the way! I know he will always feel the love of family all through his new apartment What a perfect start! Wishing your son an amazing year ahead! Love your posts, Kelly! ♡
Thank you so much for all your sweet compliments and well wishes here Dawn. :) I love gray with red too, so the color scheme worked really well.

Rosemary - September 30, 2015 - 3:09 am

Really great post Kelly! I’m sure it ll be a great help to others with family heading off to University or moving away from home into small apartments. I just love the dog cushion from LL Bean! From past experience the fact it was clean and recently decorated as well as having wooden flooring must have been a great relief!!! Perfect too that he’s only a short walk from campus. He chose well! I also think it’s wonderful that the three of you did it together and incorporated such an awesome holiday as well! Storing up happy memories for you all. I hope he’s settling in ok. Really looking forward to your next posts!
Wasn’t that the cutest pillow?! When I saw it, it was an Ah-Ha moment for sure! So glad our son liked it too. He most definitely did his research in choosing his apartment. The big selling points for him were not only that it was within walking distance, but that the landlord had an amazingly good reputation for years and years of renting to Yale law students. That is also reassuring to us as parents. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. It has been very hard to get blogging done lately since we have had NO internet now for 11 days!!! I am using a hotspot from a phone at night. And starting today, we have had no phone service. Hope they can figure out how to solve their problem VERY soon.

Gabrielle - September 30, 2015 - 6:22 am

Wow Kelly. It looks fantastic. A great functional attractive space. I really believe, no matter how humble, everyone can have an welcoming home.
Thank you for your compliments Gabrielle. :) I agree with you that no matter how small, you can have a welcoming home. It all comes down to choosing what works for the space and thinking about how all your choices work together.

Nan, Odessa, DE - September 30, 2015 - 8:00 am

OH, Mom and Dad you are the best!
Read it all more than once.
I can see that to a young man this apt is decorated.
Interesting how your style (and red) shines here.
Please give us a tutorial shades when you make the roman shades. I have a sun porch that has 4 windows (too expensive to buy) that need these shades. Give me a lesson!
Wishing your son a great year and waiting for your next post!

PS Has the first batch of cookies been mailed?
Thank you thank you thank you Nan! When I do those shades, I will document it for you, but I have never made them before so it will be a trial-and-error thing for sure. Yes, the first batch was mailed (chocolate chip) along with some post cards we picked up in a state park on the trip home. The second batch was candy (not cookies) and copies of the two holiday magazines that feature our home. (I knew he wouldn’t go out and buy copies. :) )
Guess I will need to get another batch out next week!

Garden, Home and Party - September 30, 2015 - 8:58 am

This turned out great. I cracked up when your son said “no” to the check…:-) I love the check, but my sons would have said the same. The stripe has a masculine vibe and is so clean with the other accents. You did a great job and I think the apartment seems larger than its tiny square footage would have us believe.
Oh my, what is that beautiful house(?) image at the end of the post? Is that an inn? Can’t wait for the next installment.
I’m glad you like how the apartment turned out Karen. My overdose on checks has probably ruined ALL of our children from ever having them in their home in the future! 😉 The house is a house. With our internet out going on 11 days now, blogging has been a problem. I wanted the post out tomorrow – might have to be tomorrow evening at the rate I am going (and will have to use a phone’s hotspot like now – unless a miracle occurs with our provider.)
Thank you for reading the incredibly loooooong post.

DiAnne - September 30, 2015 - 9:47 am

I read your post more than once. I love the story the photos tell. Your son is never going to forget you taking him to school with such a wonderful trip wrapped around it. He is never going to forget shopping for the things you chose for his apartment and making it his home away from home. I only have a daughter but I think all of those things can be sentimental memories for boys too. The apartment is warm and functional. He is a lucky boy. There are a lot of things I like in his room but three of my favorite things are the red cabinet, the framed menu and the cookie jar. The futon is really nice too and the gray with red is a great combo.
Love iIkEA and one of my favorite things @ IKEA is the Raskog cart.
Great post!
Then you deserve an A++ (bonus points!) Thank you for all your very kind comments here DiAnne. I hope our son finds enjoyment in his space there – even it it is the size of our kitchen! Ha. I loved that red cabinet too. He really did need a “pantry” since there was absolutely no space left in the kitchen cabinets once you put in the dishes, the paper goods, the cookware, the blender, and the trashcan. I think the red cabinet worked out well for food storage and as a tv stand. Love that Raskog cart too, and we did look at it, but just could not find the right spot to use it there. My favorite thing at Ikea is the Fabrikor cabinet. It came in gray, but again we could not figure out a place to use it. So many cute things in that store!! (It can be dangerous. LOL)

Debra - September 30, 2015 - 9:52 am

Thanks for the morning giggle, after seeing your choice for the duvet cover. So “Kelly”. Ha! :) I too love that gray check, but that stripe was an excellent choice. You did a great job without getting too carried away. The room is simple and clean. Love Ikea. It came to be handy for us as well when my oldest daughter moved to Los Angeles in 2009. She had a small apartment. You can’t beat Ikea’s furniture at such a great price point. Job well done!
I thought all of you would find the rejection of the check duvet funny. :) (I knew he would say no when he saw it.) You are right that you can’t beat Ikea’s prices – especially when setting up a complete space. Thank you for reading that long post and taking the time to leave your kind compliments Debra. Hope you have a good Friday!

Jackie - September 30, 2015 - 10:40 am

I don’t know many people that can manage to visit all the wonderful places you went, move a son into an apartment, shop, assemble and decorate the apartment and still come away with fun memories. When we took our daughter to law school (Tulane), we felt lucky to drive her to New Orleans, move her into her apartment and see and enjoy what we could of the city before turning around to go back home. You better watch out, people are going to want to hire you out! Enjoyed seeing all your posts related to taking your son to law school. Best wishes to him as he begins law school.
There were just so many beautiful places up in New England to see that we had never visited before. I hated to miss an opportunity like that. You never know if you will be able to make that kind of a trip again, so we jumped on it. Plus moving a daughter in is often more work than a son…it normally takes a looooong time to get everything “just right” when we have moved our daughter in dorms…and it took several trips to finish her apartment (and she still needs art over her tv now.) Thank you for your comment here and your well wishes for our son at law school.

Nancy - September 30, 2015 - 10:42 am

Fantastic! My daughter has her first post-college apt. this year and she’s working with not one but two freebie sofas that don’t match each other … next year I’m going to push her even harder to go to Ikea to start off with stuff that’s cohesive. Do you think you came in with a total price much under a thousand dollars? I’m sure your son will really appreciate your efforts making his tiny place so beautiful when he has the very first young lady there who comments on how great it looks!
Our daughter’s apartment has a sofa from Ikea and a mismatched love seat that the girls covered with a mostly matching slipcover that helped to coordinate the two pieces. All of the furniture, duvet cover, and lighting things from Ikea for our son’s apartment totaled right at $1200. The art was probably around $70 more for the frames and such. Then you throw in the throw pillows, a throw, shower curtain, sheets, closet hanging bags, kitchen ware, extension cords, and cleaning things and you add another $250. So it would be more like $1550 (without the cost of the television.)
The landlord was the first to comment on how good it looked. :) He said that we were “hired” from now on. LOL

Cindy - September 30, 2015 - 11:54 am

Good job Kelly! It is functional and attractive. The red worked out so well plus, it has to make him feel like home. (without the checks) With the added bonus of memories from your trip.
I wish him well in law school.
You did an amazing job posting on your trip, what’s next!
Cindy, thank you for your sweet comment. I think we did a good job making it functional for him as he asked. (Yes, I was quite happy to add a bit of red to it. :) )And thank you for the well wishes for our son. He can use all the help he can get!
Next is a fun post on a gorgeous house. Hope to have it out tomorrow…if our internet gets restored. If not, I will have to wait until the weekend.

classic•casual•home - September 30, 2015 - 12:10 pm

I LOVE WHAT YOU DID! Such a cosy, happy spot for your boy!
Thank you so much Mary Ann! I am happy you like it. :) It turned out much better than I was afraid it would with the directive “functional not decorated.” Ha!

Dana - September 30, 2015 - 12:41 pm

Looks great! I am a dog lover too so am excited to see the dog themed accessories. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Dana! There are soooo many good dog accessories out on the market right now. It was hard not to scoop up everything we saw. (There are some gorgeous dog things in Pottery Barn this fall!)

Julie @ Creating This Life - September 30, 2015 - 1:02 pm

Such a fun post. You guys did a great job. You’re right…that apartment had great bones.
So glad you enjoyed the super long post Julie. It helped tremendously that it had wood floors. That makes a MAJOR difference to me.

Gina - September 30, 2015 - 2:59 pm

What a fabulous job on such a small space! I love the color scheme and feel of the apartment. How fun to pull everything together from all the different stores and places you traveled to. It even has that “collected” look designers strive for. :) I love the pops of Red, the dog accessories and how ingenious to buy the child’s table. When our daughter moved in her first apartment after college we shopped for several pieces at Ikea. They held up well, because she just sold several pieces of her’s and her husband’s stuff on Craig’s List before their big move to Charlottesville on Friday!! 😀 The house at the end of your post looks like a Southern Living show house. :) Can’t wait to see.
I’m happy to know your daughter’s pieces held up well to use. You always worry about that – especially with Ikea when you know their low price. Dog accessories seem to be everywhere – or maybe I am just noticing them more lately. :) Thank you for the compliment on the “collected look.” We certainly did “collect” everything on the road trip! And yes, you are right…the house is this year’s Southern Living Idea House that we toured on the way home. Good eye Gina!
Happy Weekend. :)

Sherry Myers - September 30, 2015 - 6:18 pm

Tiny apartment, yes, but decorated by a big-hearted mom and dad. Everything looks really good. I love the special touches. He will have great memories to last a lifetime. My son still remembers his first college apartment. I smile every time he has mentioned it. Back to your empty nest! Can’t wait for the next post.
I would give more credit to the patient dad for assembling soooo many Ikea pieces with their crazy “pictures only” assembly directions. Enough to make anyone crazy! Thank you for your super sweet comment Sherry. I hope our son has fond memories of this place (and that it keeps him warm through the winter there!)
Happy Weekend!

Dawn - September 30, 2015 - 6:25 pm


I really like how functional your son’s apartment is but it has such personal touches. My favorites are the cookies jar and the doggie pillow. I love dogs (especially boxers)! The idea of using the kids table an in table is genius. Thanks for sharing. Take care.
Thanks Dawn! Functional and decorated a little. :) A filled cookie jar is a good thing. (Now I sound like Martha- LOL) The futon was low enough that the kid’s table worked out perfectly in that location. Thank you for your always encouraging comments!!!

Mary Rosellini - September 30, 2015 - 7:04 pm

Just ONE question: Will you adopt me??? You are so amazing.
Oh you gave me a good giggle with that one Mary! :)
Happy Weekend girl! :)

Kathy - September 30, 2015 - 7:56 pm

Kelly, you did an amazing job! My favorite things are the dog accessories. I just finished helping my son with his very similar apartment. It was challenging but fun. My son has wood floors but not nearly in as good of condition as your son’s. I love Ikea. Unfortunately we don’t have an Ikea nearby. TJ Maxx was my source for help. Your son is going to love his space. And, as DiAnne (my dear friend) says….he will always remember the time and the love you put into this apartment. Great job, Kelly! (Who wouldn’t read every word of this post!)
Thanks Kathy! Another dog lover! Yay! TJMaxx is great help for decorating on a budget. I wish we had ventured to a Homegoods, but I don’t even know if one was close. I am glad your son had wood floors in his apartment – even if they weren’t in great shape. Dirty old carpet just really creeps me out! (I’ll take messed up wood over that any day. :) )
Happy Saturday!

Barbara P from Ma - September 30, 2015 - 9:05 pm

Great job Kelly! It looks fabulous- cozy and very functional! I’ve enjoyed all of your vacation posts. Loved this armchair travel through New England!
Thank you for all the compliments Barbara! I am glad you have enjoyed the virtual vacation with us. :)
More to come. :)

Susan - October 1, 2015 - 1:45 am

Beautifully done! I was curious, what is in the bottom of the window? an a/c or an air purifier? it wasn’t there at first but in the last pictures it is and it looks perfect for the size of the apartment.

Thanks for sharing this great adventure!

It is an air conditioner, Susan – a very much appreciated one! They don’t normally have real high temps there in Connecticut, but we happened to be there at a time when there were high temps with high humidity, and the window fan didn’t really help a lot. I asked the landlord if he “happened to have an a/c unit lying around somewhere” not thinking he really would, and he had us one in and running in 30 minutes! Now that is service! Great landlords for that building! (A big part of why our son chose it.) You really notice the details to catch the window unit! LOL

Pat in Georgia - October 1, 2015 - 9:18 am

Yes, I get an A+ for reading all the post. Your son’s apartment turned out beautifully. Thank you for this inspirational piece. Have you thought about a Roman shade in a red and gray stripe combined. Although, God did not bless me with a decorating eye and talent like you. You are wonderfully blessed. I have been away from the blog for a little while and have thoroughly enjoyed getting caught up.
Yes, you DO get an A+! :) And I think your suggestion of a red and gray stripe for his window treatment is an excellent one! I will be on the lookout for a fabric like that – especially since it would pull in the red along with the predominant gray. I’ve missed your comments around here. So glad to have you back. :)
Hope you are enjoying this weekend.

mari1017 - October 1, 2015 - 10:05 am

This is just such a wonderful post, Kelly! To share your thought process, each step and the finished result was just fabulous to read – and lots of photos and info :-) LOVE the framed menu 😉 and how you used not-made-for-framing items to frame and create artwork and a sense of your son’s tastes and experience in the room. The dog pillow is fabulous – still thinking about the one with the stars at L.L. Bean and on the site you shared. So great for so tiny a space – you really have an eye!!! I miss IKEA here as the closest one now is up in D.C. So glad to be along for your trip and decorating!!! What comes next??? Happy October and Happy Trails!
I’m so glad you liked the lengthy post Mari! A small space really forces you to look at how you are using all the pieces in it – sometimes having them do double duty. Our Ikea in Georgia is over an hour from here, so we do not get there very often (normally when I am in need of fabric.)
Happy Fall!

Susie in MO - October 1, 2015 - 10:57 am

Beautiful and inspiring! I may have to go home and clean my house and run to the NEW IKEA in St. Louis to see what goodies I can find. Are you enjoying retirement? Some day…
Thank you Susie! I hope you have been to the new Ikea to see what all they have. It can be overwhelming! (especially our Atlanta one.) Retirement is busy busy busy. I have no idea how I fit in a real job before! LOL

Charissa - October 1, 2015 - 5:05 pm

I bet your son is so thankful to have your decorating skills. I can’t think of another college place that looks so good. You did a good job letting him keep it manly but stil decorated. It looks great :)
I wouldn’t say our son is thankful for decorating skills….He more like “tolerates” it, but he did really like how the apartment turned out. So that was the important thing. I think it turned out about as well as it could with his “restrictions” on me. LOL

Anita - October 2, 2015 - 10:36 am

Your son’s room looks great! I love all the red accents too! Amazing job as usual! Looking forward to reading your next post and all the pictures that will accompany. Lots of greenery surrounding that house! (we are getting snow tomorrow)!!!
Did you get snow? When my husband was out west a couple of weeks ago backpacking with our other son, he visited Banff and some other places and they had to be mindful of snow. Seems crazy when our temps here are mid-eighties! Thank you for your sweet compliments on our son’s room. You can’t go wrong with red, right? :)

Julia - October 2, 2015 - 10:49 am

Wow! You did a great job of decorating your son’s apartment! My son did not go to law school but he did take his camping gear to college (must be a guy thing). Also, I love that that ‘vintage’ corded phone on the wall!
Thank you Julia! I am glad to know that our son is not the only one who takes camping gear to college. :) It MUST be a guy thing. :) That was a very old phone on the wall and used for buzzing in guests to the building.

Rebecca - October 2, 2015 - 1:08 pm

your son’s apartment is adorable (not that he would like to hear it described that way)! The grey and red is perfect “guy” colors.
You were lucky to have an Ikea close by, we have to go all the way to Atlanta if we want to visit one. I’ve helped my daughter and son decorate both their houses when they moved in, mostly from yard sales and things I’ve gotten on sale. They have formed a new appreciation for my “junk” as they were used to calling it,
especially since all their friends have told them how much they like what’s been done!
I’m glad you liked the apartment Rebecca. The gray and red worked out really well together. Ikea certainly came in handy! At home, we have to go all the way to Atlanta too for our store. “Junk” is often good when furnishing places. Mary Kay Andrews is the queen of putting great junk to use in her houses. Love what she does with it!

Rebecca - October 2, 2015 - 1:41 pm

PS. just finished browsing thru you trip posts, I just did a post on the trip my sister and I took to Bar Harbor a year ago last May, (I’m a bit behind in my posting) and we stayed at the Bar Harbor Inn, it was fantastic! We had the best time there, so beautiful! We flew into Boston and traveled up to there stopping in so really fun places. It was always my dream trip to go to New England. We started in Hanover, New Hampshire, where her daughter went to Dartmouth. It’s one of my favorite places, the town looks like a village from a movie! If you get a chance to visit there, it’s worth it!
You stayed at a lovely place! I will have to add Hanover to our stops on our next trip to New England. Sounds like our kind of place!

cindy hattersley - October 2, 2015 - 8:18 pm

Oh my you trained your son well. My son’s apartment looked like the recycling bin met the dump when he was in college. He will make some lovely lady a great husband!! And she will love you for training him so well! Mind did come around by the way…just not so quickly…hats off to you!!
Oh..our son is not trained well. He would never ever make up a bed if allowed to live that way. His argument is you are going to have to un-make it to sleep in it at night, so why bother? I think being able to pick out his pieces with a color scheme in mind helped to make it all work. Glad to know your son “came around.” I think living in an organized and clean environment actually makes you accomplish more…makes it easier to find things more quickly. Maybe our son will come around to that line of thinking one day. :)

JenniferfromVA - October 3, 2015 - 12:51 pm

Well done Kelly!!! I have to admit, I am not sure I would have even known where to begin with the space. Making it function well FOR EVERYTHING was not easy I know. It looks SO AWESOME! I love the color choices…..and his comments about his place being functional NOT DECORATED cracks me up!!! Sounds like my son! But I know when he takes a look at his place he JUST HAS to thrilled his mama helped because it looks trendy and amazing! Hugs to you!
We had to start with “function” first because with a space that small, every single item really counts. We knew a desk and bed of some sort had to be the first items chosen. We started looking online for those items before we even left. I really wish I had had photos to see it before we got there…and window measurements. I could have made a window treatment for him, and we could have chosen furniture from colors in that. Oh well, it all worked out in the end. Thank you so very much for the compliments on the room! It was a lot of work, but well worth it. :)

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