I’ve been bursting to share this project with you guys! This all began months ago, flipping through design books and swooning over incredible fireplaces. Staring at the decorative fireplace in our living room I couldn’t help feeling like it hadn’t quite reached its full potential. And so my little dream of a fireplace makeover began. And also where The Home Depot came in. I was thrilled to sign on to partner with them on this project since they’ve always been our go to source for home DIY projects throughout the years. For the complete play by play of how this whole thing miraculously came together (just $300, a few splinters and a swear word or two along the way…) – visit my full post on The Home Depot blog.
And just for fun – a few things we learned along the way. In case you’re inspired to tackle your own rental-friendly DIY fireplace makeover (or really any other home project your heart desires).
THINGS WE LEARNED:
When all else fails – search for a YouTube video or sand it down a bit more. Ha.
Measure twice (or three.. or four times), cut once. Something my Dad (the ultimate DIY-er) ingrained in me very early on. I can’t tell you how many times we checked measurements on trim for this and thankfully never made a mistake in cutting.
Working with brick (and old apartment floors!) is tricky since you’ll never get a perfectly level surface or straight edge. Instead of letting it drive you crazy – make friends with shims. There’s a couple of them hidden throughout this fireplace.
A lot of people find DIY home projects with their partner to be a recipe for disaster. We’ve found having a really clear plan (lots of lists and sketches), talking through each step before we begin and encouraging each other when the other starts to lose hope (somewhere in hour 35 I promise it will happen) goes a long way.
Most importantly – don’t let the fact that you’re a renter stop you from maximizing your home’s potential. Sure, we likely won’t live here forever so someday we’ll have to leave this fireplace behind and technically we invested time and money into someone else’s place. But in the meantime? It’s ours and I have a smile on my face every single time I walk in the door and see this fireplace. Totally worth it in my opinion. Same goes for bothering to paint the walls in a rental, switch out a light fixture or upgrade drawer pulls. The littlest changes can have the greatest impact and make your time (however fleeting) in a rental infinitely more enjoyable.
Thank you to The Home Depot for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
I didn’t plan on doing a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale post this year (I think it’s honestly fairly easy to find what stores are having sales and I really don’t want to encourage people buying a ton of things they don’t even need..) – but that being said I’m really in the market for things to keep furnishing the new apartment this year and there are some awesome home-related sales that I wanted to mention in case you’re looking to do the same thing. With 25% off my favorite source for rugs and 40% off one of my secret go-to spots for furniture, I thought it was worth posting about. Hope this helps you score a great discount on something you actually really need and will use/love this year.
I’ve been eyeing one of these mirrors for the bedroom for over a year now and 30% off is definitely the best price I’m going to get. I also love Anthro for stocking up on candles and vases and really special holiday decor.
This is my favorite source for beautiful, good quality rugs that don’t break the bank. I have this great faux cowhide rug that I love from them and am on the hunt for a pretty pattern for the living room. They’ve also got a really fun selection of wallpaper (this is a contender for the statement wall I want to do behind our bed).
WEST ELM: Buy more, save more sale up to 30% off with code SAVEMORE
This is a great time to grab bedding (like their belgian linen), lighting (this one is in our entryway) or big ticket furniture (this leather armchair has been on my apartment wish-list for easily like 4 years).
World Market has been a secret source of mine for super affordable furniture now for years. Our old dining room table came from there and my current desk chair (still available in this pink color that would be so pretty in a nursery or as a fun accent) and both held up really well for the price. I love their selection of couches, end tables and headboards if you are looking for a good IKEA alternative.
TARGET: Up to 40% off home + extra 15% off furniture & rugs with code TURKEY
Target is another great design resource if you’re on a budget – they’ve got things that honestly look just like West Elm for a fraction of the price. My favorite floor lamp is from there and I can never resist their home decor.
Can you believe the holiday season is here?!? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it honestly, but choosing to embrace it regardless. Especially holiday party season. Our old apartment was not at all conducive to having friends or family over, but now that we’re in a different space that really lends itself to entertaining, I knew I wanted to get my act together enough to host a little holiday cocktail hour this season! This time of year always sneaks up on me, so I was thrilled when Basic Invite (an online resource with over 500 Christmas card and holiday party invitation options) reached out to give me the nudge to print my invites early.
What a week! I always forget how incredibly hectic November feels (it’s the busiest month of my year at my job) plus lots of holiday prep in this corner of the internet and some exciting home projects. All good things in the end, but busy nonetheless. Amidst the madness I wanted to pop on here and share a few things on my mind.
First things first, I hope you all exercised your right to vote this past week. I for one am excited to see that there were a lot of “firsts” this mid-term (first Native American women in Congress, first openly gay man elected as Governor in Colorado, Tennessee’s first female Governor and South Dakota’s first female Senator – the list goes on here). Representation matters and this is a step in the right direction.
I’ve been using Elemis skincare for a couple of years now and stand-by my opinion that they offer some of the very best moisturizers and serums on the market. Their Friends & Family sale starts tomorrow (20% off with code: FF2018 at checkout) and I’m going to be scooping up their Superfood Day Cream and Superfood Night Cream.
As I mentioned, I’ve got a couple of really exciting home updates in the works (follow #steelemaidenathome to see more). I’ve been busy pinning inspiration on Pinterest and swooning over everything at Anthropologie. They’ve got a 20% off sale on their home section this weekend and I’m eyeing these:
My friend Jen of Skirt the Rules wore this same floral skirt and a similar over the knee boot situation on her blog here – but her Fall foliage totally tops mine!
A couple of you asked for the Apple Cider Margarita recipe that I’ve been whipping up lately. Super easy. Shake 2 oz. of tequila, 1 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. agave syrup and 8 oz. apple cider. Serve over ice and (if you’re feeling fancy!) garnish with an apple wedge or line your glass with a cinnamon sugar rim. Cheers!
If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that my hair magician here in New York is Sarah Rappoltand beyond giving me the perfect haircut every time – she also indulges me from time to time in some of her killer hair styling (see what we did last Fall here). This time around we wanted to update the basic ‘hair scarf in ponytail’ look that everyone (including myself) sported all Summer. I’m absolutely thrilled with the results – all taking no more than 5 minutes each and honestly, easy enough that even an amateur like myself can do it. Below – 3 new ways to wear a hair scarf this Fall. Hope you try!
And if you’re in the NYC area and are in need of a hair cut/style yourself – Sarah is generously offering my readers 15% off. Just mention ‘The Steele Maiden.’
SHOP THE STORY:
“THAT 70’S BRAID” – Start with a low ponytail, being careful to leave some volume at the sides and crown of your head. Fold/roll your scarf diagonally to form a long, thin rectangle shape. Tie around your ponytail securing underneath in a single knot. Then divide your hair into three sections and add the ends of the scarf into two sections. Braid the strands and secure at bottom with a clear elastic, leaving several inches of hair and the scarf ends out.
“THE BRUNCH BUN” – Sarah and I kept calling this the new ‘messy bun’ because it feels just as simple but somehow way more chic. Perfect for a low-key weekend brunch with friends. Start with textured hair (Sarah used this spray and added a few waves with a 1″ curling wand) and secure in a mid-height ponytail. Fold/roll the scarf horizontally into a long, rectangle shape and secure the end around your ponytail – leave one small ‘tail’ and one very long side. Using the long side, twist your ponytail and the scarf together then loop around into a bun shape. Pin in place and adjust the scarf, pinning where needed to further secure. Leave both small scarf ends out at the bottom as a finishing touch.
“RIVIERA ROMANCE” – this simple updo feels very ‘I’m going to a moonlit dinner on the Italian coast’ to me. Although I like to think it will work just as well for a date night here in New York. Start with a low ponytail, divide in half and braid each section tightly. Then wrap the braids into a bun and pin in place. Fold the scarf diagonally to form a long, skinny shape and wrap around the crown of your head, tying firmly in place at the nape of your neck. Pin in place if it feels like it might slip.