Suki loves the new sofa!I'm really excited to share the progress we've made in our living room today. This room has been a puzzle for me. I'm STILL in the process of imagining what I want it to be... but it's also one of my favorite spaces for so many reasons. 

It's the first room you see (beyond the entryway) when you walk into the house. It has turquoise color washed floors, beautiful vaulted ceilings and a giant window. Until this past week, it had zero furniture (except for the piano). I would stand in there often and just try to imagine all the different layouts we could do. But I knew that ultimately, the only way to REALLY imagine it was to get a few of the big pieces of furniture in there and build from there. 

But first, a little time travel! Last May, our living room looked like this... 

Before(See the full BEFORE post here.) I wish I could show you how it looked when we viewed it the first time (fully furnished) because the previous owners fit a LOT of furniture into the space. I'm glad we experienced it in that way because when we came in on closing day to an empty room, it felt much smaller. 

It's weird how furniture can make a room feel bigger OR smaller. 

We lived with it empty for about four months, and I'm glad we did because now we have a much better idea of how we'll use the space and what the flow of our daily lives is vs. having guests and entertaining... and we can design the room for both! 

Living room progress reportFirst let's talk about those floors

I have ZERO regrets about this choice. It makes the room so custom and special, and now we get to decorate with all neutrals, which I LOVE. I envision a lot of layered neutrals, whites and texture. I want it to feel super comfortable and cozy, but also bold and unique. 

I feel like this house really is a fun way to explore different parts of my style. A lot of rooms are mid-century and Palm Springs inspired... lots of white, brass, marble, fluffy blankets, plants... I'd say that's like 75% of the house. But then in a few rooms I get to explore different sides. The dining room is so much more Hollywood Regency and BOLDER than the rest of the house... a style that I love in small doses, but if every room were that style, it would be way too much. In this living room I feel like I can explore my more rustic side, which is inspired by my grandmother Corina. She loves Wyoming, farm life, and the southwest. One of her most prized possessions is a ranch oak sofa set that was inspired by something she saw in one of the Kennedy's houses. She's definitely my muse for this room, and I am excited to incorporate some elements with that inspiration. 

Living room progress report OK, let's talk about these sofas! 

I knew I wanted light tan leather sofas. They are the perfect color to compliment the turquoise and really the only natural color of leather that I feel fits our vibe. We looked at lots of options and ended up choosing the Sven Charm Sofa from Bryght

I first heard about Bryght because my friend Katie had just bought the same sofa (in black) for her home. I got to test it out at her house, and it was super comfy, so I was sold. I'm not totally against buying things online without seeing them in person (I've done a lot of that), but it's always a BONUS when you can try it out in person. 

I love that they are comfy (I will totally be taking a random Sunday afternoon nap there) and look worn in and a little aged. I like that because I feel like they will age well over time because that's how they are supposed to look.

Living room progress report  Something I noticed after stalking the Bryght Insta is that this sofa seemed to photograph as different colors in different lighting. And it's TOTALLY true. I've already noticed that it can look much darker or lighter depending on the angles. As someone who is DAILY taking photos at home, I kind of love that.

Living room progress report    From this angle, I still feel like the room looks awkward. This is what you see from the entryway. I want to put a cute table behind that sofa. On the hunt for something super light wood and a great shape! 

Oh—and you can see the big window from here. We had it replaced, and it's so pretty, fresh and OPEN now. Plus it doesn't leak anymore—woohoo! 

Living room progress report     Over here there are a lot of to-dos on my list. Above this sofa I think I want to do some kind of large scale art piece or maybe a group of juju hats. 

I'm not sure why, but I've been avoiding gallery walls so far. And the one I have is all black and white. I think I just did SO many in our last home I kind of want to try other things this time?

What would you do above the sofa here? 

Other things—we'll be shopping for a neutral rug, a coffee table and some other small pieces. Not in a huge rush, though. I also need to find a BIG, awesome pot for our cactus. 

Living room progress report      Last angle, over on this wall I am thinking a skinny side table and big round mirror are in order. 

Whew! What a process! This is a FUN room to work on. I'm glad we have the chance to decorate it slowly. 

By the way, I'm about to start sharing ROOM TOURS! I made a schedule for all of 2016, and I'll be sharing about one room a month. There are quite a few that are already very close to being ready. I'm glad I have my sharing schedule to keep me motivated throughout the year... thanks to YOU guys! Haha!

Have a great day! xx- Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions.  

5 Easy Watercolor Techniques (via abeautifulmess.com)With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share five cute and super easy homemade card designs I came up with. Some of these are loosely based on a few Happy Mail designs I worked on this past year. Each card showcases a different watercolor technique, all of which ANYONE can do. You ready? 

Pentel watercolorsI'm working with our longtime supporters at Pentel for this post. I used their awesome watercolor set for each of these cards. I loved having so many colors to choose from as I tried to dream up some fun designs. :)

Moon phases card Moon phases insideThis first card is probably my favorite. I just love how it turned out! I decided to make a square card featuring phases of the moon on the front (to go with my inside message). My moon phases probably aren't perfectly scientific, as I simply cut them out based on an image from Google and altered it slightly as I felt it worked better with my overall design. 

It's not a science project, it's a Valentine's card. And that's that. :)

Salt and nail polish techniqueTo give my moons some texture and the appearance of craters, I simply used table salt and nail polish remover. Just add while the paint is still very wet. Once dry, gently rub the salt away before cutting out the phases and adhering to your card. Easy!

Crayon resist card Crayon resist card insideThis graphic card has a few fun things going on. First I used a crayon resist technique with my watercolor paint. Then I cut out and added the "XO" from glitter paper. I also stitched some vellum to the outside so the card kind of has two layers. I did this with a sewing machine, but you could easily do it by hand or even use a stapler instead. 

If you make Valentine's cards this year and don't use any glitter, you're doing it wrong! 

:)

Crayon resist techniqueHere's how the crayon resist works: just draw your design in white crayon, then watercolor over the top. I tried out three different designs, but in the end I liked the black and white stripes the most. 

Ombre cardYou can use water to thin out just one color and create and ombre effect to the front of a card. I then added some big, gold adhesive stickers to the front. You could also print over the top or add letters using stamps once the card is dry. 

Polka dot card Polka dot techniqueThis one is probably my second favorite, but I'm a sucker for polka dots. :) I just used a Q-tip to add the watercolor polka dots, and once dry I added a big, glitter paper heart. You could use all sorts of different objects to stamp with here and the watercolor gives it a messy, imperfect effect. 

Splatter card Splatter techniqueAnd last I got really messy with my paints and splattered around the edges of a card. I did this in my sink so it was easier to clean up. Once the card dried, I removed the paper from the center and added a short message. 

Color wheel card Color wheel insideBonus Card! This one doesn't really use a specific "technique" as I simply painted eight different triangles solid colors to create a color wheel. I could have done this with construction paper or some other kind of paint, but I do kind of love how the watercolors give it more texture. I feel like the message in this one is perfect for that fun friend in your life. :) 

Are you guys making cards this season? Any fun designs you've dreamed up? xo. Emma

P.S. If watercolor just isn't your thing, you should check out this awesome hand lettering tutorial Elsie shared last year.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Messy BoxHey friends! Happy unboxing day! We're excited to share this month's Messy Box and Happy Mail packages with you! They're really fun. 

If you love surprises, LOOK AWAY! And if you've been thinking of subscribing but want to get an idea of what to expect first, watch the video to see all the items in this month's kits- 

 

Messy Box  Subscribe to Messy Box here.

Happy MailSubscribe to Happy Mail here.

Happy February 10th friends!! We hope you LOVE your boxes this month. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments! xx- Elsie + Emma 

Sour Cream Waffles with Caramlized Bananas (via abeautifulmess.com) Sour Cream Waffles with Caramlized Bananas (via abeautifulmess.com)   There's quite a bit going on with these waffles. The batter has sour cream that's balanced with the addition of dark chocolate chips. Then I topped them with half a caramelized banana a big sprinkle of coarse sea salt. So, to recap, we've got: sour, sweet, creamy, salty, and then some delicious flavors like chocolate, banana, and maple syrup. 

It's a lot. But I promise, it's not too much. :)

Chocolate chip sour cream wafflesSour Cream Waffles with Caramelized Bananas, makes four.

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup oil (I like olive oil but canola or vegetable is good here too.)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate chips

For the caramelized bananas:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 ripe bananas

In a medium to large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to blend and remove any clumps. Then stir in the sour cream, milk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until just combined. Then stir in the chopped chocolate. 

Heat up your waffle iron and cook waffles according to the manufacturer's directions. 

Best waffle recipeFor the caramelized bananas, first remove the peels and cut each banana lengthwise (long way). Then cut in half. You should have eight pieces from the two bananas. In a medium size saucepan, heat the butter over medium/high heat. As soon as it's melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and add the banana slices over this. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, moving the bananas a little bit with a spatula, or giving the pan a quick shake every now and again just to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom. Flip them after a minute or two so each side gets coated in the caramel. 

Sour Cream Waffles with Caramlized Bananas (via abeautifulmess.com)  Serve two banana pieces over the top of each waffle and sprinkle with a little coarse grain sea salt just before serving. Happy breakfasting! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Shop

Check out our new product line,
Photoshop Actions and E-Courses!


Back to Top