Whether you’re snowed in or not, this time of year it’s only normal to develop a serious case of cabin fever after logging several month’s worth of major “inside time.”

One of the best fixes for this? Spruce up your living space! But that doesn’t have to mean a trip to Ikea or splurging on expensive designer-made home goods. You can do this room refresh for free, with things you already have lying around. But you’ll need a little creativity, and some expert styling advice from Refinery 29. We gave one of their suggestions a try, and created a “color story” shelf using items we had around the Househappy office in shades of turquoise and brown (image above). Did we pull it off?

See more tips below, and click through for a slideshow of simple yet brilliant ideas.

Move furniture away from walls to create intimate seating areas that look intentional.

Frame an old letter or a page from a magazine, and arrange it artfully with other items from your home, and from outdoors.

Use twine to give an old chair a new look. You can wrap the arms, legs, and even weave it to create a new back.

Pull pages from a damaged book to create a no-cost wall hanging.

When in doubt, slap on a coat of bright paint to give you and your old furniture a new lease on life!

Here’s their take on a color story shelf featuring metalics and black.

Source: Refinery 29

Home sales in Househappy’s hometown of Portland have remained steady over the past few years, even as they lagged elsewhere. Northeast Portland is a particularly hot market, and droves of people are moving from other parts of town (and even other parts of the country) just to live there.

This English-style house on Househappy is a prime example of what people love about living in NE Portland. The house itself has gorgeous period details but has been updated with modern conveniences, and is located on a charming street near the Beaumont neighborhood’s trendy shops and restaurants, as well as great schools. To learn more about this house, check out its listing on Househappy.

Source: Househappy

We are currently coveting this chic little wall-mounted shelf, not only for its gorgeous and minimalist design, but for its hidden multiple uses.

In one mode the console has an angled edge meant to easily hold hangers, which makes it possible to feature beautiful garments alongside trinkets and art pieces. The shelf’s slim surface area encourages the owner to edit down the pieces displayed to only the very favorites from their personal collection, which is definitely a good thing when going for a less-is-more aesthetic.

The Cohabitation Console from Dot and Bo  comes in a choice of Walnut, White Oak, or Ash wood.

Source: Better Living Through Design

We love everything about these artisan-made Australian brass pulls and hooks by Rowan & Saan, a design team based near Melbourne. The two use old-fashioned metalsmithing techniques and hand forge their hardware with hammers and anvils, which explains the gorgeous handmade look of their pieces.

We’ve written about our love for brass fixtures before, and this collection makes us fall in love all over again. The golden sheen is understated yet adds a touch of elegance to every day, and the design is a perfect blend of modern and timeless. We pretty much want them all! Join us in some fantasy shopping by looking through the beautiful pictures below, or click through to Remodelista to purchase their wares.

 Source: Remodelista

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File this away for future inspiration when buying or remodeling a home. When Becca and her husband started work on the kitchen in their 1926 Dutch Colonial home in Kansas City, MO, it looked like this:

What a difference three months (and enlisting the help of a professional) can make. The new kitchen looks like an entirely different house!

According to Apartment Therapy, a combination of poor quality materials and years as a rental had left the old house looking rough, especially the kitchen. After living with it for awhile, they decided it was time for a change and hired a professional contractor to help them remodel the room. They tried to select styles and materials for the remodel that matched the era of their home, and went with classic choices like subway tile, marble countertops, and a farmhouse sink.

The remarkable “after” on this foreclosure kitchen remodel reminds us not to overlook a home that may look dated or need some work. With a little time, professional help, and a bit of an investment, you can come out on the other side with a room that will suit your taste and stand the test of time, not to mention greatly increase the value of your home. Many people would not have been up for the challenge, but this couple stepped up and made the house their own, and will be rewarded for their efforts for years to come.

Source: Apartment Therapy

What do you really need? That’s what Japan’s leading home-organization expert wants you to ask yourself. Actually, it’s even simpler than that. Look around your home, and if you see something that makes you happy, or in her words “sparks joy,” keep it. If not, let it go.

Marie Kondo feels that by following her methods, dubbed the “KonMari method” in Japan, even the biggest packrat can be happy in their home, and reduce their daily time spent tidying to next-to-nothing. For most people, this feels like a tantalizing yet unattainable prospect, so it’s no wonder her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which just came out in the US, is already a sensation in Asia and Europe, according to The New York Times.

It’s a smart-looking and straightforward little book, and Marie’s pared-down writing is refreshing and easy to follow. Beyond her rule about keeping only what sparks joy, her guidelines boil down to two other main concepts: organize by category/type, not by location, i.e., go through all clothes no matter where in your home they are currently located vs. organize the bedroom, and do not purchase any dedicated organizing equipment. Oh, and she says you must follow her methods faithfully, or you will not succeed. Seems simple enough! No wonder she’s become a celebrity in Japan.

In keeping with our new years resolutions, we’re going to give the KonMari tidying method a try. Anything that makes home a more peaceful place to be is a very good thing, and this is the perfect time of year to get started. Below, see examples from The New York Times of Marie at work, and a client’s room before and after.

Source: The New York Times

 

We are once again at the end of one year and on the cusp of a new one. While this is a time for friends, family, and fun, we also find ourselves seeking peace, reflection, and renewal. And we can’t think of a place we’d rather pass that introspective time than in this exquisite sauna overlooking Canada’s Georgian Bay. The 800 square foot Grotto Sauna is a marvel of both natural beauty and interior design, and blends in perfectly with the rocky cliffs that surround it. It was thoughtfully designed by PARTISANS as a commission for an Ontario private residence.

While we certainly can’t all be so fortunate to have a place like this of our own, we hope that at some point during this hectic time of year you are able to find a peaceful place, and take a moment for yourself.

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Source: Freshome