Our Local Holiday Shopping Guide

 Photo by  kelsey nelson

Photo by kelsey nelson

     Well everyone, it’s now holiday shopping season!  With the official Shop Small Saturday just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite local makers and locally owned stores to help you with your shopping this season! Let's show our local business owners some love! 


Local Makers We Love


Raleigh Calligraphy: While she specializes in calligraphy and invitation suites, she also has some beautiful prints that would make such sweet, meaningful gifts.

Good JuJu Herbal: You can shop online or if you’re local, you can find these gifts in a lot of nearby shops. These soaps are so good for your skin and make wonderful stocking stuffers. Have a dog lover in your life? They have amazing dog soap as well!

Shelby Dillon Studio: This amazing artist has turned her pieces of work into art for your couch, your bar cart, your ears, and more. Her online shop has fabulous gifts such as pillows and bags to stocking stuffers such as earrings and coasters.

Lo & Behold: I cannot say enough good things about these bath salts! But that’s not all they have. Lo & Behold has an entire line of natural small batch skin care. 

Wordsky Designs: Kyle's hand cut wood pieces are so cool and such a great way to show your love of local on the walls! While he got started with the Raleigh skyline, he's grown to make tons of custom designs. 



Local Stores We Adore

Port of Raleigh: This store is what modern dreams are made of. Lots of wonderful pieces for the home ranging from recyclable dining products to furnishings.

DECO: This is honestly one of my favorite spots for grabbing gifts real quickly. They have a little bit of everything! Lots of local love in there!

The Zen Succulent: If you aren’t traveling too far, this is a great spot to pick up succulents and other live plants for gifts. But that’s not all they have. They also carry beautiful books, locally made soaps, and trendy planters. 

The Flourish Market: They are stocked with some pretty cute home goods items but they are known for their ethically sourced clothing. It's a twofer! Locally owned and doing good in the world! 


We hope that this season, you consider shopping local. It means more to us entrepreneurs than you'll ever know! Happy Holidays everyone! 

Four Storage Solutions For Small Spaces


     One thing I hear often when going to staging and styling consultations is that the homeowner feels as though they don’t have enough space. They have things spread out on counters and stacked on floors because they can’t seem to find a better place for it. If you are reading this nodding your head in agreement with them, you are not alone! 

     Sometimes there truly isn’t enough space, but more often the space is just not being used as efficiently as it could be. If you suspect that may be the case for your home, here are some tips to improve your space utilization and de-clutter your rooms!


1) Bins 

     Y’all, I love bins! Especially the wicker ones. These can be found at Target or IKEA, fit most of those cube shelves, and look really pretty. I use them in most of my closets for things like shoes, dog supplies, and even in the laundry closet for small appliances I don’t use often (hello space heater). Aside from making the closets appear more organized, it helps you go up in the space. It’s pretty hard to stack shoes on top of one another without a container. They spread out as far as the space will allow. Same goes for space heaters, towels, etc. These small bins will help keep the clutter out of sight while giving you more space to work with in your closets.

 Photo: IKEA.com

Photo: IKEA.com


2) Storage Ottomans

      If you like the look of tufted ottomans, then this is a major storage solution for you! The come as small as eighteen inches wide and as large as four-five feet! These are great for tucking away remotes, blankets, dog toys, books, children’s toys. Basically anything that may end up in your living room (or even bedroom, at the foot of the bed), could be tucked away in here. For even better utilization, put small bins inside to keep remotes and other smaller items from getting lost in those blankets.

 Photo:  target.com


3) Shelves  

     This is key for those with smaller kitchens and pantries. The name of this game is "going up". IKEA is a great resource for finding various shelf racks. Some can be drilled into the wall, some can be attached to existing wire shelving. Whatever your need may be, I bet they have a shelf for it. If you have an open wall in a kitchen, embrace the open shelf tend! 

    Don't have space in your living room for a bookshelf after your couch is in there? Put shelves above the couch. Stagger books and framed photos/artwork on these shelves to keep the space beautiful and feeling intentional. 

 Great use of wall space in a laundry room. Photo:  Target.com

Great use of wall space in a laundry room. Photo: Target.com

4) Wall Racks

     They make these for all sorts of things now. You can hang brooms on the wall of the pantry. Get some for the back of the bathroom closet/linen closet for storing cleaning supplies or beauty products. IKEA has some that you can hang tins from, which can be used for utensil storage or growing herbs/succulents. We've used wall spice racks as a solution to our tiny pantry. 

 photo:  ikea.com

photo: ikea.com



Hopefully this can get you started on a more organized, less cluttered living space! 


What Not To Do When Creating A Gallery Wall

 I didn't realize some of these frames were crooked until I was editing. The perfectionist in me is literally twitching, haha

I didn't realize some of these frames were crooked until I was editing. The perfectionist in me is literally twitching, haha


     I had every intention when we started this gallery wall that I was going to write this fabulous "How-To" for big gallery walls. Um, three days and roughly eight collective hours later, I realized I was so naive. So just like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, I'm reverse how-to(ing) this. 

    I started this process quite awhile before we purchased anything for it. I'd like to think I did the first few steps correctly. I picked a frame that was simple and would be uniform across the entire wall. I picked a few big pieces that we would work around. Finally, waited for wedding photos before beginning because I knew I wanted it to be all about us. 

    Then, Michaels had a HUGE sale on the frames I wanted. We went to two separate stores and still ended up with two different colored frames. A dark wood and a white. I decided to come to terms with this, even though I knew I will eventually want all the same shade. Luckily, the Belmont frame from Michael's doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. 

    So, now that we've cleaned out both of the Michael's of their remaining white and dark wood frames, we headed home happy. Ok, I was happy. Alvin was agitated that he went to decor stores after a work day. As soon as we got home, the high of the deals had me instantly moving our coffee table to make room on the floor to start creating the layout. 


 Creating the layour was messy work. 

Creating the layour was messy work. 


    After creating a beautiful layout that I adored while it was on the floor, I measured the width and height to give us some parameters on the wall. We used painters tape to mark the height parameters but I decided pretty quickly that I wanted the gallery to be a bit wider than it was on the floor. In my excitement/Friday night exhaustion, I didn't think through the problems widening it might cause. This is mistake #1




    So we put them all up, roughly where they were on the floor. I say roughly because mistake #2: we didn't measure between the frames as they were on the floor. Not that it would have mattered since I widened the space anyway. Are you following this domino effect of mistakes?  


 All the frames at the bottom were driving me nuts! 

All the frames at the bottom were driving me nuts! 


    Frustrated and tired, we call it a night. In the morning, it becomes obvious that there are weird gaps that weren't there before. That afternoon, I try rearranging it a bit. Just moving frames a bit to the left here, a bit to the right there. But overall keeping the same design as had been on the floor. Mistake #3. I should have realized that the shape on the floor only looked that good because of the width parameters. The only thing we accomplished on day two was creating lots and lots of little holes in our wall. Seriously, it looks like someone took a machine nail gun to it.  


 End of day 2, contemplating my life decisions. JK, I was trying to solve the puzzle.

End of day 2, contemplating my life decisions. JK, I was trying to solve the puzzle.


    So on day three, I decided I still loved the height. And I picked two edge frames that I wanted to be the furthest points. Then we moved nearly everything else around. We ended up with two fewer frames than originally intended because once it was on the wall, I liked having the negative space. Here's the final product! 




So what can you learn from this post? 

1) Don't take shortcuts. We were so tired we thought we'd just hang them up "roughly" where they were on the floors (Actually this was Alvin but he was doing the hanging so I didn't want to fight him on it). Taking this "shortcut" ended up costing hours in rearranging times.

2) Use tape to mark parameters or even the shapes of each individual frame. It would have taken quite a bit of time to use tape to mark each individual frame (we have sixteen on this wall) but it's also going to take quite a bit of time to fill in all those holes from us moving the frames around.

3) Do your style research. I had a hard time finding a similar gallery wall to mine, in that we used clean modern style frames but did a large asymmetrical layout. However, if you're interested in a mismatched farmhouse wall or a super clean uniform wall, there are a lot of examples out there that you can browse through. Find what you do and don't like before starting to hang things. 

4) Don't be afraid to rearrange it. Sure, you may end up with a few holes. But those can be patched up! Accept that you made a mistake the first (or fourth) time around and just tweak it until you're satisfied. 

5) Know when to stop. This is especially tricky for perfectionists like me working on an asymmetrical gallery wall. Just know, that it's probably never going to be "perfect". But once it looks pretty to you, stop. Then just enjoy your beautiful work and photos! 


Shoutout to our wedding photographer Erin, of Luxe & Pine! We adore our photos so much we spent hours working on a gallery wall because we couldn't narrow down any further which ones we wanted framed and up on the wall! 

What's Up Wednesday: Style With Confidence

     Boy have we been busy! I haven’t had the time to devote to this blog as I would like. So I don’t have any well researched piece for you today. Instead, I thought I would give you a glimpse into what I’m working on and give you tips on how to do it yourself.

     I have a super fun home styling project I’ve been working on this past month. This family is practically starting from scratch and hired me to help them make the few pieces they do have match the look that they want to end up with. Their old pieces are pretty traditional while they want to steer towards a modern boho feel. I swoon!

Step 1: Create A Mood Board On Pinterest

     Luckily, this client had already started the first step, which is to create a Pinterest board for each room. This helps you find patterns in the things you’re drawn to. Hopefully this will help you and/or your stylist know which direction to go once it comes time to purchase new pieces. 


 For privacy reasons, I did not share the client's board. This is a board I quickly created as an example.

For privacy reasons, I did not share the client's board. This is a board I quickly created as an example.

       In my example, you'll probably notice some recurring themes and colors. Obviously grey sectionals have my heart. Other common pieces are white faux fur pillows, ivory rugs, and minimalism. Three out of four shown inspiration photos have plants. Three out of four have modern coffee tables. Three out of four have simple gallery walls. These are the types of patterns you can use when creating your room idea boards.

Step 2: Create A Room Idea Board

     After thoroughly studying the client's Pinterest boards, I created some room idea boards on Polyvore. It’s not a perfect format but I find it easy to use and I love that if they love something you have on the board, it includes links on where to buy it. I’m sharing the sunroom board because A) I just adore the feel of it and B) They did too and ended up buying nearly everything in it.


     These idea boards are also great for referencing when you’re out and about and stumble upon something you love! If you aren’t sure how it would fit into the space you’re working on, you can simply pull up the board and compare it to the pieces/feel you have going. It seriously cuts back on the impulse buying and helps those who are unsure how something in the store will suit their room.

Step Three: Search For The Pieces

     Final step: Shopping! And lots of it! These boards are a reference point, but you may not love everything in them. For the dining room, the client loved the feel of the board but we ended up purchasing different chairs for seat comfort. You'll also probably want a bit more than what's in the board. These are reference points, not final rooms. 

    Here's a list of the places I suggest this client shop in order to create the modern boho feel in her space. She doesn't like a "matchy matchy" look, which makes bargain hunting perfect! But it still allows for a few splurges. 

Stores I recommended to achieve this style:

Port of Raleigh




Facebook Marketplace



     Hopefully by following these three steps, you can confidently revamp any space! Or if you’re not the DIYer when it comes to revamping your space, you could always hire a stylist to help you!

Shop Small Saturday: Minted Spaces

     That's right! This week I'm featuring my own company. The reasoning is two-fold. First off, it's wedding week for us. I simply lost track of time and didn't line anyone else up. Hint hint wink wink, if you want to be featured, please contact me! Secondly, something pretty cool happened last week and it was a testament to why you should be hiring local small companies when trying to sell your house. 



      We staged a home in North Raleigh a couple of weeks ago. It had been vacant while on the market for 55 days before the realtor and home owner decided to invest in home staging. It is a seller's market here in the Triangle! At least that's what all the realtors are shouting from the rooftops. And it is true! So then why should a house sit on the market for 55 days? 



     The answer? Without furnishings, it can be difficult for a viewer to tell which room is what. Even I as a home stager had the blue prints of this particular home sent to me because I could not tell from the listing which was the living room and which was the dining room. That's a problem! Most potential buyers are not going to go through that much trouble. Especially if the next home they look at online is beautifully laid out and furnished.



     Ok, so it's day 55 and we come in and stage it. Keep in mind that I typically do minimal staging as I largely work with those on a budget. It really is a sellers market and homes don't need too much. Mostly viewers just need to be able to tell what a room is used for and how their furniture may fit in a space.



   On day 60 I get an email stating that they are under contract! I'm sure the homeowner is glad they decided to invest in staging for a couple of weeks rather than a price cut! Moral of the story? Home staging works and can still be necessary even in a sellers market. I absolutely love stories like these, almost as much as I love saving my clients from a price cut!  


    We have more projects on the docks! I'm excited to see some more great results!