A Modern Navy Boy Nursery

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

Alright folks, officially crown me as the worst interior blogger because here I am revealing a room 2 years late. 2 YEARS! My son Zano (pronounced “Z-on-o”, more about his name here in case you’re like ‘what kind of name is that’, lol) just turned 2 in May. Embarrassing delay, I tell you! in my defense, this was my first go with a nursery, and I barely had time to paint the walls before his arrival.  That being said, the evolution of this room happened slow and purposeful.

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

Now that we’re expecting kid no. 2, we need to make some changes to this space to accommodate both kids. Our home is only 2 bedrooms, but luckily the bedrooms are both a good size, fitting 2 kiddos in one room won’t be an issue.

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

The chairs were the score of a lifetime, sourced by my blog bud Shavonda. I went through three rugs before finding “the one”, which was a lucky score from Flea Market Fab’s bi-weekly insta sale. I swear, the essence of the entire room is captured in this rug! The wildebeest head was one of the first things I ever purchased as a blogger, back when the paper mâché heads were the trend.  He looks good there for now. The toy cubby was a Land of Nod hack I posted about last year. The crib is by Babyletto and sadly is no longer available, but this one is similar. And my favorite element – the 5 orb chandy! I worked with Sarah of LucentLightshop to design this chandelier when we were also designing the square orb chandelier for our kitchen (now also seen in Elsie Larson’s breakfast nook).

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

Sadly this room doesn’t get a lot of natural light. One of the changes I dream of making to this room is adding a second window to the crib’s wall, which faces the backyard. The window currently in this room is north facing and positioned in the small area between our house and our neighbor’s house. The north facing element greatly impacted what color we chose to paint the walls. We chose a dark color to embrace the drama that northern light usually places on a space. We tried white and grey, both looked too dingy. The navy on our walls is Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. I’ll be carrying the navy theme over as we welcome a baby girl into this room. I think I have some great ideas for this soon to be co-ed space!

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

The globes are vintage except for the chalkboard globe, the little boy painting was a $5 flea market find, I loved these narwhals too much when I saw them and had to have them. Sadly I don’t see them online any longer. The leather baseball was a gift from my Aunt during her travels to Havana, Cuba. The wool rhino is perhaps the most adorable piggy bank in the entire world. The woven cord basket was a Target find 2 years ago. We have a matching one on the dresser which we use to hold diapers and wipes.

Modern neutral navy boy nursery | brittanyMakes

My goal is to continue to be purposeful as I consider the changes we need to make in this room to accommodate another kid. The dresser (another CraigsList score) is huge, and has been too much for one kid but will be perfect to fit clothing for two – it will most likely stay. We will be adding a big kid bed for Zano, switching up a few of the art pieces, and replacing the curtains with wood shutters. The rug will also stay.

So anyway, that’s Zano’s room as we knew it about two weeks ago! His big boy bed has arrived, and we’ve already started to shift things around as we gear up for our December baby.

If you have any tips on co-ed room sharing, please share!

xo, Brittany

It’s a…

It's a girl balloon announcement // brittanyMakes

Baby no. 2 is a girl! Antonio and I are thrilled! I think Zano’s secretly excited too, although we’ve been telling him he’s having a baby sister and so far his response has been “no, mommy”.

We went to a 3D ultrasound place to find out the gender around 15 weeks. I couldn’t wait the full 18 weeks – I’m not the most patient person. When we found out Zano’s gender, our friends threw us a gender reveal party which was so fun but also a lot of pressure. It was nice to hear the news just the two of us this time around. We celebrated with lunch date at our local Pho place and with a big order of pink balloons to spread the news.

Now I’m off to brainstorm a co-ed kids room/nursery. Wish me luck!

XO, Britt

The End of the Bedding Struggle

Navy & black bedroom // brittanyMakes

I’ve always been very indecisive about our bedding. Should I go neutral? Or maybe a bold pattern? All white? Switch things up seasonally? How many throw pillows is really needed, because honestly we only use the pillows we sleep on and my husband doesn’t exactly help in keeping our bed made, so the throw pillows just end up on the floor. All the anxiety around keeping a presentable bed has left me sorta brain dead.. that is, until recently. Maybe it took the 12 different bedding combos over the last few years to finally land on something I love. Whatever it is, I think I am finally very content with our bedding situation.

Navy & black bedroom // brittanyMakes

It all started with these striped sheets (which are percale, by the way, kind of a stiff material but keep our warm bodies very cool at night and we love them!) and the striped blanket (all links at the bottom of this post). I bought both on a casual trip to Target – my husband loves it when I come home with more than just toothpaste #opposite Then, as I was starting to get anxious over the throw pillow situation, I realized all our bed really needed was a pair of perfect striped pillows. I like that the small stripes of the sheets act as the small pattern, while the larger stripes in the throw pillows act as the bolder pattern, but still keeping the whole situation calm and stress free.

Navy & black bedroom // brittanyMakes

Right after I bought the blanket and sheets, Emily released this exceptional video on how to style the perfect bed.   It’s a great video, and totally taught me how to tuck things in haha.

Emily’s use of the navy blue shams sold me, and I went on the hunt for a pair and of course, found some at Target (link at the bottom of this post). The color scheme of her styled bed and mine are basically the same – black, white, and blue – but the individual pieces are all different. I’ve had our black bed for a couple years now (which I’m still on the fence over) but otherwise, I’m pretty satisfied about this whole setup.  Here’s a ‘get-the-look’ for ya!

Calm Californian black & navy bedroom // brittanyMakes

striped sheets // navy linen shams (check in-store, I’ve seen them!)// white flannel duvet // perfect stripe pillows // white mudcloth lumbar pillow (more coming soon!) // striped over-sized blanket // table lamp // bedside tables (no longer available, similar here and here) // mirror // bed from Home Decorators (discontinued, similar here) // lucky brass elephant

XO, Britt

Baby Bump Update #1

16 Week Bump // brittanyMakes

I announced a couple weeks ago, we’re preggo with baby #2! I hit the 16 week mark this weekend, and thought I’d share what I’m currently experiencing so far with this pregnancy.

While I was pregnant with Zano, I never felt one ounce of morning sickness. This time around, I experienced more nausea in the beginning mainly in the morning if I don’t eat something fast enough. The nausea has waned, but I still feel it now and again.

I had an extremely tough time, emotionally and mentally, with the weight gain in my first pregnancy. After having lost it all (it took about a year to fit comfortably back into pre-pregnancy clothes), I’m more confident in my abilities to do it again after this pregnancy. I’m less fixated on the weight gain, and more fixated on doing things that make me feel great – like continuing to go on runs, and wearing dresses instead of pants! I swear my butt grows the same rate as my belly, and jeans just make me feel bad about myself, but wearing a dress not only makes me feel cute and put together, I’m overall less stressed about my appearance and celebrating more that I’m carrying a little bitty baby.

I hated nearly every minute of being pregnant the first time, mainly because of the weight thing I just mentioned, and didn’t really stop to enjoy or appreciate the special moments. This time, I really want to appreciate every moment. We don’t know if we’ll have more kids after two, so if this is the last time I’m pregnant, I want to appreciate it as much as I can.

I’ve been experiencing more food related things this pregnancy. I’m adverse to ANYTHING I ever ate before being pregnant. I would much rather make a mango smoothie or eat a bowl of kimchi. My poor husband, there have been a few times he’s had to fend for himself because all I wanted to eat was a big bowl of spicy pho.

Anyone else experience vastly different pregnancies? I’d love to hear your stories!

XO, Britt

How our Backyard was Made

Modern California Backyard Patio Reveal | brittanyMakes

You long time readers out there know, this back yard didn’t start off this way. It was a deserted, lifeless plot of dirt. Legend has it the tenants renting the home from the original owners before we bought it used to frequently light bon fires and burn garbage. Super classy stuff it sounds. Here she looks on the day we bought the house:

Backyard before 1

We lived for a year with our backyard like this. Imagine having a yard twice the size of your house, and just pretending it didn’t exist. Last spring we just decided to go for it, called a recommended landscaper and got to work almost immediately.

Backyard before 3

The landscaper, who is actually more of a hardscape kinda guy, came over and we got to brainstorming, drawing in the dirt helped get the scale of the spaces we would need. We tried our best to turn our dream backyard into something that we could afford, I whipped up this super classy professional CAD drawing (haha yeah right, graph paper and colored pencil it was!) and transferred our ideas to paper.

Backyard sketch

You might think the bocce court was a splurge, but actually it’s drainage in disguise! Our backyard sloped downward and to an angle pretty significantly. We needed to level it all out to accommodate our own drainage, otherwise we would drain right into our neighbors yards. Digging a rock filled trench was the answer, which we topped with compacted decomposed granite and framed out with 2″x12″s, therefore creating the perfect bocce court! Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from day one.

Backyard-Construction-8

Day one, the team arrived and started framing out the patio benches and the 2’x2′ pathway.  They then poured rough concrete over rebar and into the frames. While the concrete set, half the team spent the following couple days jackhammering out the old concrete, while the other half started leveling out the yard, framing the patios & pathway, and digging out the bocce.

Backyard-Construction-7

Backyard-Construction-5

Backyard-Construction-1

A couple days later after the patios & pathway were completely framed, the cement truck arrived (which I missed and didn’t get a photo of) and the finish concrete was poured in place and over the top of the rough framed out bench walls.

Backyard-Construction-10

Backyard-Construction-2

I originally wanted the bocce court to be framed out in concrete as well, but pouring concrete is EXPENSIVE and wasn’t in our budget. The bocce was framed out with treated lumber.

Backyard-Construction-9

A few guys started on the floating benches. There were only a few things that didn’t go according to plan, the floating benches were one of them. I was super meticulous about in the design, and having the benches 100% “floating” was a must. What you see below was not the final design. I came home to find those 4″x4″ chunks of lumber sitting under the bench seats – not pretty!

Backyard-Construction-12

To some, it may not look bad, but this wasn’t in the original plan. We discussed metal brackets, and felt the landscaper was skimping because we were behind schedule. We called our contractor who worked on our floors & bathroom, and asked if he could help find a solution before the situation got worse. Luckily, he had a buddy who specializes in welding and metal work.

Backyard-Construction-13

Gah, it still pains me to see that bench!

Backyard-Construction-16

While our contractor’s metalsmith friend was making the floating brackets and supports for the benches, the landscaper’s team moved forward with the rest of the yard. Base rock was laid in preparation of turf, then a layer of decomposed granite, then the turf was laid and nailed in place with these giant railroad looking nails (sorry, no picture!). One piece of advice – if you’re thinking to lay turf, make sure the grain of the turf is all facing the same direction! Our landscapers overlooked this when cutting the turf, and now we can see the seams in some sections of the yard because the turf grain isn’t facing the same direction. It’s a small nuance, but you’ll notice it even if your friends and guests don’t.

laying turf

Things moved really quickly after that, I didn’t get very many photos taken. Let me explain how we fixed the floating benches. Our contractor’s metalsmith friend fabricated these brackets to lift the backless floating bench, and support all 5 pieces of lumber. The supports are so thin you can hardly notice them – this is exactly what you want for a true “floating” bench.

Floating-benches-backyard

The benches against the concrete walls got a slightly different treatment. Our contractor chiseled out small holes in the concrete walls and slid an L shaped bracket through the backside and out through the front and drilled into the lumber from beneath. (Don’t mind the mess, I took this photo this morning!).

Floating-benches-backyard2

The finish concrete on the walls had to be touched up after installing these brackets. But let me tell you, it looks a thousand times better without that lumber!

Modern Backyard with Floating Benches

You might be curious about the fire pit too. We ran a gas line to the fire pit, and filled it with lava rock. It was an added cost to run the line, but the convenience of turning on the pit with essentially the flip of a switch, over burning wood, was totally worth it.

This was a huge project completed in a very short amount of time (roughly 3 weeks) and we definitely learned a lot along the way. PS I’m hoping to dedicate a post specifically to our turf research and selection (we looked at over 15 samples!), but if there’s anything else I missed, leave your question in the comments below and I’ll answer them!

xo, Britt

Modern California Backyard Reveal

Modern California Backyard Patio Reveal | brittanyMakes

Happy Blogger Stylin’ Home Tours week! It’s the summer edition, hosted by my friend Lindsay of The White Buffalo Styling Co. Welcome everyone from Hi Sugarplum! I’m SO excited to be sharing the reveal of our backyard patio! It’s been over a year coming, and the timing couldn’t be better to give you a little tour before summer hits hard in your neck of the woods.

Modern California Backyard Patio Reveal | brittanyMakes

This is a big post full of lots of photos, click below to read more!

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The Bathroom is Finished!

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

I’m thrilled to report, our main bath is officially complete. I can’t say the same for other spaces in our house (living room, I’m looking at you), but this little section of our home is done. Horray! All that was missing before was a little shelf above the toilet. I tried out a few in this spot, a floating shelf, a shelf with brass brackets, and nothing was as perfect as this A Frame shelf.

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

I could have styled this shelf a dozen different ways, but chose memorable trinkets that mean something. Antonio, my husband, used to travel to India for work. He brought an elephant back from each of his trips. The little jewel box is made from marble from the Taj Mahal.

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

Matte black Jason Wu Brizo shower head & faucet | brittanyMakes

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

Black White & Walnut bathroom | brittanyMakes

 

Sources: | Matte back hex tile | Matte black wall mount faucet | brass wall sconces | brass knobs | white vessel sink | white subway tile | gold dipped light bulbs | mirror: IKEA hack | stool (coming soon) | brass wall hooksrug | bath tub | ocean print | toilet

Catch up on the remodel!

XO, Britt

Over the Weekend

Vintage Summer Camp Themed Party // brittanyMakes

We’ve been spending the last couple weeks prepping for Zano’s 2nd birthday party. His birthday falls over Memorial Day weekend, which is great! Perfect for bbq’s and family gatherings. We enjoy hosting and putting our backyard to good use, but don’t do it nearly as much as we should. Those bocce balls aren’t going to throw themselves! Zano’s birthday makes for a great excuse to have our giant family over for the afternoon.

simple #2 birthday smash cake

No birthday party is complete without a theme, I searched trusty Amazon for some party ideas and when I stumbled on this VW Bus play tent I knew a vintage summer camp theme was the way to go. Amidst all the planning and entertaining, I did not take any photos for the blog, doh! Can someone tell me how I can get a photographer attached to my hip? That must be the best kept secret with all those fashion bloggers. My husband refuses haha, no wonder I’m never in any photos. Anyway, I’ll post more about the theme later with more sources, because that’s the fun part 🙂

hot wheels matching cars

My husband and I aren’t the type of gift givers that go hog wild. We might do one big thing, a trip or vacation, but all of Zano’s gifts from us were PJ’s and summer clothes. We’re going to Disneyland later this summer and getting Zano a big kid bed, which we kind of dubbed as his birthday gifts.  My brother, on the other hand, bought Zano a Hot Wheels car that matches mommy’s car. My god it’s adorable! Who knew this would be one of the cutest things ever? Too bad Zano drives like a drunk person lol, still working on how to use the steering wheel.  My other brother gave Zano a Hot Wheels Lightening McQueen car. Between his uncles and our extended family, this kid has it made.

The best present of the day was for everyone who attended! We sang happy birthday to Zano, then took the cake away immediately and gave him his first present to open – a “big brother” shirt and an ultrasound photo! (Then we gave him his cake back, which he dove in face first) Zano is going to be a big brother! Everyone was so surprised! (PS don’t ask what my husband is wearing or why his face is shaved like that, he was dressed for the party theme hahaha).

Zano turns two

Zano turns two

Big Brother Shirt

Pretty exciting news! Zano doesn’t quite get it yet that he’s going to be a big brother. Any tips on prepping the first kiddo for the arrival of a second? I’ll definitely be obsessing over this for the next few months…

XO, Britt

12 Best Bathroom Shelves

 

12 Best Bathroom Shelves // brittanyMakes

I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit searching for the perfect shelf for our bathroom.  It’s the last element it needs to officially be “complete”. I wanted something simple, with quirk. Something that would stand out just a little bit, but also coordinate perfectly with the other elements in the space. I ordered a handful of different options, but returned them as they weren’t right for one reason or another. Turns out it’s a lot easier to pick the wrong thing than it is choosing the right one. Why is that?

Sources: one – marble shelf // two – wood & copper hanging shelf // three – copper floating shelf // four – brass geometric shelf // five – brass & glass shelf // six – Mid Century shelf // seven – A-Frame shelf // eight – hanging shelf // nine – wood diamond shelf // ten – floating wood shelf // eleven – brass L shelf // twelve – wood L shelf

xo, Britt

How to be a Successful Blogger with a Full Time job

brittanyMakes

Warning: this is a wordy post!

Having a career apart from the blog is something I don’t like to mention here often, as I feel it comes across as a complaint or an excuse that I can’t produce content at the same rate as other bloggers that don’t have careers or full time jobs. While that is my reality, what I realized very recently is you can still be successful as a blogger, or have a successful online voice, even if you’re unable to produce content on the daily. I’ve been blogging for nearly 5 years now, and I figured I have a little nugget of encouragement I can share with folks who are thinking about starting a blog while balancing a day job.

eclectic seating | brittanyMakes

These are the 5 things I believe have been key contributors to the successes this blog has achieved:

Be authentic – Readers will be interested in reading about you, your personality, your spin on projects, your voice – not you pretending to be Martha Stewart or faking your way like you’re a design professional when you don’t have a client to call your own. I am really sensitive to authenticity, most readers (most other bloggers, honestly) can see right through a fake voice. Sure, some bloggers become success by the numbers while not being purely authentic, but honestly, it doesn’t last. I’ve seen some bloggers flame out because they couldn’t keep the charade going any longer. Basically, be you, and be proud to be you.

Be nice – This is totally the golden rule, treat others as you would want to be treated.  Folks don’t comment much on blog posts anymore, which is totally OK but as a blogger I know just how great it makes me feel when I receive a comment. I read each and every one, which leads me to believe that all other bloggers do too! If you want to grow your online presence and network, start by commenting on your favorite blogger’s posts. Interact with them on social media. Ask them questions that make them feel good, soon they will learn your name and click over to your blog, and hopefully find a friend in you. Most bloggers live, & love, to support each other. This is definitely a sure way to grow your network. Otherwise, how would other bloggers know who you are?

A hard and tragic lesson I learned his year is not everyone is capable of accepting someone’s kindness. I recently experienced this with a blogger I highly admire. I was always positive and encouraging in my comments. I connected with her style and even thought maybe one day we could be friends!  I look back now and laugh at how that sounds, but I still love her content and appreciate the way she paves a path in this space. Unfortunately she took me being nice as a threat, actually accused me of not being authentic and original, and even went to the extent to infer I must not know what I’m doing and needed to be taught a lesson.  Ridiculous, I know.

I still believe that being nice to others opens doors and generates friendships. I will continue to comment encouragingly, and work to build a network of bloggers that I can call my friends, and tell others that it’s one of the best pathways to growth.

DIY Copper Laptop Table | brittanyMakes

Be original – I’ll be the first to admit, my early days of blogging were testing out projects that I saw other folks do. Paint a piece of furniture with chalk paint? You got it! Refinish a table and blog about the steps as if you’re the only one on the planet who knows how to do it? You got it! I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning, and learned from others and shared what I did without a thought of originality. It didn’t take much time to realize in order to stand out amongst the crowd, I had to develop original projects and tutorials that folks hadn’t seen anywhere else. It still took me a LOT of time to grow into my personal aesthetic, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what that is from go.

Authenticity and originality go hand in hand. You can’t be authentic if you’re not sharing original ideas and projects.

Don’t apologize – This one is tough. I used to be the type to overly apologize for things that I shouldn’t apologize for, for an error someone else made, for an awkward conversation, for my house being untidy. I realized in my late 20’s that I was beginning to not be perceived as an expert in my line of work, or being taken seriously. Sadly, being overly apologetic is actually known for being a female trait. I think it’s important not to apologize for things that you shouldn’t apologize for.

When it comes to the blog, if you haven’t posted for a week, don’t apologize! You don’t need to say sorry if you’re life prevents you from posting on your blog. Just pick up where you left off! If someone asks you why you haven’t posted, be confident and tell them the truth – sometimes life gets in the way. If you have a career, like I do, you’re providing for your family and that shit takes precedence. Trust me, your readers will understand without any explanation.

I like to think of apologizing and confidence as having an inverse relationship. The less you apologize, the more confident you become, and the more confident you are, the more people will trust you and look to you for guidance and expertise. Success is built on confidence, not apologies.

Know your limits & your boundaries – In the beginning of my blogging career, I thought success meant sponsored content. Of course it feels amazing when a brand you love wants to sponsor a post on your blog, and if you get big shot brands it makes you look wildly successful in the eyes of your peers and readers. But honestly, having purely sponsored content isn’t the end all for success anymore. Nowadays, many brands, even well known ones, take complete advantage of bloggers and ask them to essentially work for free. We could dedicate a weeks worth of posts on this topic, but bottom line don’t work for free if you feel you should receive compensation for your work. Placing a dollar value on your time is a line you’ll have to draw at one point or another.

For the longest time I was also terrified of declining a proposal for a sponsored post, thinking I should never say no. Once I started receiving requests from random companies to blog on topics completely irrelevant to the blog, I knew I had to start saying “no thanks”.  I started setting more boundaries and limits to what kind of content I wrote about here on the blog. I was already battling the challenge of carving out enough time in the week to generate content for the blog, why would I waste it on content that doesn’t represent me or my voice or my style? I don’t remember exactly when it was, but there was a distinct moment I decided that from that point forward everything I post on my blog and on social media, sponsored or not, was going to be content I generated myself, rooms I made over myself, photos I took myself, DIY projects I created myself, etc. If the sponsor fit my design aesthetic, my project pipeline, my values, I would engage with them. I would rather not post for a day than post something irrelevant to the blog. This is perhaps the biggest limit or boundary I’ve set for myself and this blog, but at the end of the day I want my blog to be 100% me.

brittanyMakes

What I found over years of reading hundreds of blogs is, my most favorite bloggers to follow are 100% authentic, true to themselves, don’t pretend to be someone they’re not. They’re nice to others and supportive in this community. They create & share original content. Best of all, they don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s characteristics like these that make a blogger wildly successful.

I’m fast approaching my 5 year blogging anniversary, which is just a month away. Maybe it’s this milestone number, but I had started feeling insecure or doubtful about my online presence, like I hadn’t grown enough during these 5 years. It’s actually really stupid to feel that way, because earlier this year the blog was named by Domino as one of the top design blogs to follow. Also, our kitchen made it into print for the first time, April’s publication of Good Housekeeping! I might not have a husband who knows how to frame houses and reroute plumbing, or a studio space to house all my inventory (I store all my inventory in my garage! It totally pleases my husband, #not), but I think I am successful in my own way, and honestly that’s something to be proud of.

LoveB

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