The Fat Hydrangea

Sara Michelle - Columbus, Ohio

Our Anna Maria Island Getaway!

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Just wanted to give a quick recap of our AMAZING trip to Florida! We had such a good time. It is incredible what sunshine, warm, and days on end of quality time can do your soul (and your body…. Finally said goodbye to the icky colds the boys and I had been fighting for weeks!)

We rented a house on Anna Maria Island in Florida (which is just south of Tampa) with my parents, my sister Amy and her boyfriend Aaron, and my brother Brian and his girlfriend Allison. We decided that instead of buying each other Christmas presents this past year, we would put the money towards a trip together. My sister lives in California and my brother lives in Chicago, so quality time is something we don’t get enough of these days! We all quickly agreed it was a good idea. (It most definitely was!)

The other awesome part of this trip is that my my Uncle Rich (my Dad’s brother) and Aunt Ruth, and my three cousins Katy, Karen, and Kristin and their families rented a house a block away at the same time. We had a BLAST swimming, kayaking, catching up, laughing, playing games, and eating together! It just made the trip all that more special.

Overall, I loved that our house was right on the inter-coastal waters and had spectacular sunrise views. We were walking distance to the ocean and the sandy beaches on the island were hands down the most beautiful ones I’ve been to! The island was quaint and low key and I just loved everything about it. It truly felt like vacation (except for the two days I had to jet off to Starbucks to get some work stuff done… but hey, at least there was a Starbucks?!!) The kids loved every second of it and didn’t want to leave. I’m right there with them! We were there for eight whole days but it still didn’t feel like enough.


Getting away charged my batteries so much. I think I’m on board for making this an annual February tradition!


Home Office Inspiration Board

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In my last post, I showed you my mudroom and my plans for the updating the space. The other room that needs a love in terms of design and organization is my home office. I am absolutely ITCHING to get this space in order, since I work from home a lot (and working in a disorganized space drives me bonkers!). Up until this point, I had kind of been leaning towards painting the room my favorite shade of navy blue - Benjamin Moore’s Polo Blue - that I used in the big boy’s room in our old house. But honestly, going dark wasn’t 100% sitting right with me. I’m just really feeling more bright and fun vibes for this house! (Except for the boys bedrooms… but that’s another story for another day.)

Anyway, I already have many of the elements for the room… Two leaning white ladder shelves from my old house, white floor lamp, a large white framed pinboard, and a million gray picture frames for a gallery wall. I basically need to choose the following three things to update the room: Desk, walls, and a rug (and maybe a few accessories to tie it all together!)

Serena and Lily just released some new items, and their new Owens Wallpaper caught my eye IMMEDIATELY! I just love the color and the pattern… It’s super fun, but there is also something classic and calming about it. Assuming I went that route, I think the Restoration Hardware French Paneled desk in Aged Oak would be a beautiful complement to all of the white. My dresser and nightstands are a similar wood tone, so it would be nice to bring more of that into the house as well.

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Eventually, I also want to add a built-in unit of some sort along the back wall that can hold (and HIDE) my printer, a small TV, and several file boxes with all of my important documents.

I’m not 100% sure I’m going to go this route, but I ordered wallpaper samples and wood swatch samples, and I plan to sleep on it for awhile! What do you think?

If you want to shop the products, here are the links to the sources:

And though I’m a LITTLE embarrassed to be showing you another extremely messy room in my house, here is a picture of the office as it currently stands… Can you see why I’m starting to get antsy to get these rooms functional and beautiful?


Mudroom Makeover Plans

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The next project I am tackling in the new house is the MUDROOM! This room has been a total dumping ground since we moved in, and I’m so excited to make it functional for me and the boys.

Here is a snapshot of the space right before we moved in:


And here is a glimpse of the space now, with us having lived here for four months now:


Scary, isn’t it? To give you a better idea of the space- since it is difficult to get a good wide angle picture of the room- here is a glimpse of the overall floorplan.

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The large desk and open nook just aren’t working for us. For reference, here’s the pictures from the builder’s website of what they view the space to be used for… Super beautiful! Just not really functional for our family.


That being said… My vision includes the following:

  • Rip out the large desk. In it’s place, put beadboard along the wall with a hefty piece of trim for numerous hooks. Plenty of space to hang coats and backpacks.

  • Install a bench seat w/cubbies underneath that would span the length of the current desk - along the back wall and under the window. Plenty of space for shoe storage underneath and places for the boys to sit while they are getting ready.

  • Add white shutters to the window for safety/privacy/decor.

  • Add a large bulletin board along the wall to the kitchen with our master family calendar.

  • In the nook by the coat closet, we are going to install a shorter length desk that I envision serving as a charging station for phones/ipads and a place to stash mail. (And in the future, maybe a computer for the boys!) I think I’ll get a chair from Serena and Lily that matches the stools in the kitchen to tie the rooms together a little more (my favorite chair ever).

  • Above the desk, we are going to add three shelves for storage of the microwave and tons of baskets that will house batteries, light bulbs, hats/gloves, and other odds and ends.

Overall, I think this will be SIGNIFICANTLY better use of the space! My general contractor (AKA my AMAZING Dad) has already started measuring and working on the shelves. We figured we’d start on this part of the mudroom, because once the shelves are done we can take all of the junk of the desk before we rip out that side of the room!


Now, in terms of inspiration and what I want this space to look like, I LOVE the shelving detail from Linen Flax Home’s gorgeous breakfast room. My shelves will be bigger and deeper, but I’m going to make some similar looking corbels on either end of the shelf to add some detail. I just LOVE it.


In terms of the beadboard and trim on the other side of the room… I’m kind of considering painting it navy blue… I know from our last house that our white built-in’s in the mudroom got incredibly beat up and dirty.. I was constantly touching up the paint because it drove me nuts! I think a navy might be more durable… I would leave the walls, desk, and shelves on the other side of the room all white so hopefully it would still remain super bright! I don’t know… still on the fence about that one! Might be game-time decision!

Here’s a few glimpses of things that are inspiring me for this room:

Stay tuned for more!


A Visit to McGee & Co.

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Sharing this is WAY overdue, but regardless, I’m so excited to share my trip to McGee & Co. from my last trip to California! My sister actually lives walking distance away from the shop, so we had a lovely morning strolling with the boys, grabbing Starbucks, and popping inside! It was ADORABLE! I bought far too many things and barely got them all to fit in my suitcase but it was worth it! (Yes, I could have just ordered the products online but there is something about actually buying things from a store, you know?)

From the exterior to the interior, it totally lived up to the hype!


Isn’t it adorable? I can’t wait to get back there in a few months! :)

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