Author: Molly Miller (Left)
Location: Dallas, TX
A little bit: Owner of white lab pups blue moonbeam and Rosebud, Molly's primary job is running the blog and keeping up with her collection of white shirts. She tends to be the more tomboy + edgy sister and she's crazy about pizza and ripped jeans.
Toast: Butter + Strawberry jelly, or avocado + red pepper
Author: Sally Miller Walker (Right)
Location: Dallas, TX
A little bit: Sally's passion and career is as an early childhood education teacher. she has a weakness for sweets and shopping on line and plays more with pinks, pattern, and color than Molly. Currently listening to: vampire weekend.
Toast: Butter + Cinnamon + Sugar, or peanut butter
I got this "coat" (it's more of a long oversized sweater in my mind) from Cuyana back in the fall and it's been a daily staple ever since. AMAZING for this weird cold-in-the-morning-and-night but warm-in-the-afternoon weather Dallas has been having. Highly suggest scooping one up! It also comes in another cute color way (blush and camel!).
Fun Fact: my diaper bag is a State of Escape tote. This Escape Carryall. One of the best pre-baby purchases I made and get asked about all the time. If you don't know about SoE, the Australian brand makes bags with neoprene fabric supported and performance sailing rope. They're soft but super durable, light weight and can be hand washed. Win, win, win, win - especially for kid-use. I just got this Guise bag from the latest Premium Guise Collection. Obsessed with the denim tones in the Guise collection. Molly actually stole it and has been using it for awhile now...I get it. They're too good to resist.
Some of you may be thinking, "Where ya been?" And the answer I have is, "Here! I've been right here!" After ringing in the new year, Sally and I decided to take a little hiatus and recharge our creative batteries. And I'm speaking for both of us when I say that it was a great decision. We've gotten organized, have been able to take care of some personal things that kept getting pushed off, and brainstormed some of the content we want to share now that 2018 is off and running.
The personal things that have been getting all my excitement and focus: getting my pups trained, putting some design attention into my living room, and doing a few creative side projects. My two white labs Blue Moonbeam and Rosebud are the loves of my life...but they've really done a number on my living room. My slip-covered couch is a sloppy stained disaster, my sea grass rug had several square feet completely shredded (I coped by covering the areas with duct-tape which Rosie then promptly ripped off), and I had basically thrown up my hands on even trying to make the overall situation look good. But I am so sensitive to my living environment (my brain hurts if I haven't made my bed or if there's stuff on my dining room table) and the living room vibe was slowly crushing my spirit.
Before the holidays I told myself that I was giving myself two big gifts: calm dog (i.e., obedience) training for the pups and a full living room update. I missed my babies while they were away (we were reunited last Friday!) but in the time they were gone I got to collaborate with Annie Selke and fluff up the living room with newness that has made the space SO much brighter and made for the best decor jump-start to the new year!
A few months ago, in my quest to pull myself out of my living room rut, I was talking to my friend Kelsey (from The Loveliest!) and asking her advice on rugs and an overall feel for the room. She told me to look at Annie Selke, that she loves their rugs and they have lots of durable options for dogs. Since I didn’t have a real vision for the room – aside from wanting to keep several of my existing future pieces and create a lighter, brighter feel – beginning the refresh process with a rug choice felt like an ideal starting point.
Off to Annie Selke I went. And I scrolled through the options of rugs for hours. Days. I liked so many of them I told myself that I’d get back to making a decision after the holidays (because gifts for others and all that). Imagine my surprise when the cool, creative people at Annie Selke reached out to me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on a design project with them in the new year. Who, me? It’s like all the visualization I had been doing on the living room had literally manifested into a fairy godmother (appropriately named Annie). I said “omgyesisthisadream?!” pinched myself and then we got to the fun stuff…picking pieces that would update the room while blending with the things I already had.
Annie Selke is a real person and she’s basically a decor badass. Her acclaimed companies Pine Cone Hill, Dash & Albert, Luxe, and Annie Selke Outlet produce bedding, rugs, home furnishings and accessories for everyone to love and are all contained under the Annie Selke name – everything is easily shopable via one website. For someone like me who often needs a curated selection to choose from (endless pages of options can scare me off) pulling inspiration and a wish list items from one place made it really easy for me to hone in on what look and feel I was gravitating toward.
Here’s what I KNEW I needed to replace: destroyed sea grass rug and sectional sofa. I knew I would keep: a huge woven armchair with cow-hide cushions, an antique ottoman from my grandparents that I wanted to reupholster (love the leopard but I couldn’t deal with two animal prints in one area), matching white side tables, a skinny console table, and a simple tray table that serves as my bar cart. And there were a few things I thought I needed: some pillows and some statement decor pieces to fill in empty spaces.
Annie Selke has some beautiful furniture pieces – and I almost kicked all my existing stuff to the curb to start from scratch but I’m way too sentimental and very much against waste, so I had to bypass most of their awesome selection (the sofas are awesome but I had my heart set on a certain sofa situation and knew nothing could change my mind – more on that in an upcoming post). So I went back to Annie Selke’s the selection of rugs and revisited some of the styles I had digitally dog-eared a couple months earlier.
Um, picking a rug is not easy…especially when you’re a “go big or go home” rug person like I am and you know that whatever you pick will make a big visual impact. What helped me narrow down the selection process was looking at the indoor/outdoor category. I’m not a messy/dirty person but my living room is a high-traffic area and my dogs are not dainty and I 100% need something durable to stand up to standard pup wear and tear…and very frequent vacuuming. Lucky for me, Annie Selke’s indoor/outdoor rug options are vast. I sorted by the size I was needing (10′ x 14′) then bothered every person I knew asking what they thought I should get. I was stuck between doing a tan-hued neutral (similar to the seagrass vibe I currently had), being bold and going with something blue, or trying to find something on the lighter side that wouldn’t be a nightmare to keep looking clean. The more I looked at my brown seagrass situation the more I realized how dark it make the room…I don’t get a ton of natural light in my living room so the hardwood floors + brown rug + heavy stone fireplace made for a drab feeling that I wanted to break free from. So even though I really liked this and this, I crossed all brown/tan options off my list. I loooooved the idea of bringing in blue (my fave color) into the room with a rug – and Kelsey suggested this or this – but ultimately, I chickened out on account that I was worried a colored rug would just be something I’d get sick of. My process of elimination made me feel confident that light but durable was what I needed.
Perfect. Rug. Found. Annie Selke’s Dunes Bleached Oak Rug had what I wanted and needed: ultra-durable braided construction, richly textured, ideal for high-traffic areas, good with regular vacuuming, and a neutral color that was light but not “white.” I should probably note now that nearly all Annie Selke rugs are eco-friendly, made with sustainable materials and/or recycled materials. If you’re conscious about having non-toxic pieces in your home this is a great plus. I was slightly concerned that the Dunes Bleached Oak Rug would be a little too light just based on the available image online but the 95% Jute/5% Cotton is a perfect off/white natural hue that has great color variation (from the natural jute) ideal for high traffic. As soon as I unrolled it with the help of Sally I was SHOCKED by how much of an immediate difference it made in the room. It’s like someone finally turned on the lights and the room finally got the brightness I had been craving. I’ve lived with the rug for a full week now and have nothing but love…no shedding, it’s great with the dogs, vacuums like dream, and I adore the light color but don’t worry about walking on it with shoes because of the durable materials.
Once I settled on a rug I had no problem selecting a few other Annie Selke things. I’d heard such great things about their WOUFs (dog beds) and decided it was time for me to swap out Blue’s dark blue dog bed for something more neutral and clean. I picked out the Trimaran Stripe Platinum/Ivory Indoor/Outdoor Wouf and it’s perfect with the rug. I think I clicked on every single category to make sure I was seeing everything Annie had to offer – and that’s how I found the poufs in the outdoor furniture category. When I see “outdoor furniture” I don’t think patio, I think durable. Maybe it’s the dog mom in me, but if I’m going to have furniture I want it to be things I don’t mind my dogs interacting with. A square poof seemed like an ideal extra seating option and the perfect thing for a small empty wall in my living room. Since I love blue and chicken out on bringing it into the room with the rug, I opted for the Mingled Denim Indoor/Outdoor Pouf. I use this thing so much – perfect for perching on to put on shoes – and I love the texture and how it makes a cozy visual impact.
To bring in some additional texture I went for pillows. I wanted a mixed look and picked the Lexington White/Platinum Indoor/Outdoor Pillow and Concord Swedish Blue indoor/Outdoor Pillow to layer on my sofa with some pink velvet pillows I’ve had and some new vintage kilim pillows. I’m obsessed with how the the scale works with the smaller pillows and that they don’t “match” but look great together. I’m also addicted to having a blanket on my lap when sitting on my sofa (who isn’t?!) and the Boyfriend White Matelasse Throw is like the ultimate blanket upgrade to my collection of tired throws. It’s so cozy and I’m fully dedicated to keeping it white and clean!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Pinterest and Instagram it’s that coffee table books are always a good idea. I mean, duh. After moving 7 times in 7 years I had stopped letting myself buy pretty statement tombs because they’re hella heavy to move. But I was so craving some new covers to use on my sofa side tables. My tables are pretty small and low – and I plan on hanging sconces above them once I replace the sofa – and anything I had previously tried to style on them just looked silly. I thought that If I could stand up some coffee table books with the covers facing out that it might bring some color and vill the void without feeling like color. Annie Selke has a nice little selection of coffee table books in the decor and pillows category and I scooped up “Mr Architecture + Decor,”“The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Sunnylands: American Midcentury Masterpiece.” My tip for picking coffee table books: don’t just buy to buy, get ones that actually speak to your interests; and, Google the books to see if you can find pictures of them without the jacket covers…you’d be surprised how many hardbound books look even cooler without the jackets (case and point with “Sunnylands” and its awesome quilted and sunflower printed hardcover).
The final touches of flair that brought the whole room tougher for me are a Concrete Pebble Pot that holds whatever orchid I’ve managed not to kill and Cyril the Sloth. What? You didn’t think I would skip over checking out the stuffed animal offerings, did you? Cyril makes me unbelievably happy. As does the gorgeous pebbled pot on my console table – it brings the perfect texture and scale to the sleek stacks of books and simple mirror.
There are a few more things I need/want to do to the living room…painting it white to make it even brighter, hanging sconces that were in the bedroom at my last place above the sofa side tables, putting some art on the wall where my pouf sits, and have my ottoman reupholstered (so the vintage indigo mud cloth on it is attached and not sitting tablecloth style). But I’ll admit, I’m not in a huge rush to kick the extra to-do’s off my list. I’m SO crazy happy about the impact all the Annie Selke goodness made that I’m just enjoying the transformation.
What’s really fun is that I’m just the first of 12 people Annie Selke will be working with this year on room transformations. Each month there will be another blogger participating in the “Annie by the Dozen” room project! 12 months, 12 bloggers, 12 rooms showcasing our individual styles and favorites from the breath of Annie Selke offerings. I have a feeling that all the other Annie adorned rooms to come will blow mine out of the water but I couldn’t be happier about how my cozy little living room turned out. Everything stands out without stealing the show, feels stylish but also comfortable (my general life vibe) and most importantly, will stand the test of time.
Don’t worry…I’ll definitely give another room update after I get to painting and hanging stuff! They say that all interior projects should be a work in progress. That it’s better to make changes and bring in newness over a period time. I’m all about that philosophy. And I know I’ll be trolling Annie Selke frequently for inspiration and additions to complete my living room look and finish off the other rooms in my place!