Category Archives: Decor

Our Calming Blue Bedroom

It’s been a year and a half but I think it’s safe to say…we have finished our bedroom. When you move into a new house it feels like the work is never done; you’re always wanting to update new things, pick out final touches, et cetera. It took us a while with our bedroom. We had Ikea bedding and curtains and knew we wanted to upgrade, as well as adding tasteful yet minimal decor. We also updated the things you can’t see but make our bed our oasis. We upgraded to a new memory foam mattress topper with temperature techonology (to keep me warm and Z cool), as well as a new fluffy duvet, since we both had  had ours since our college days.

I think we’ve finally achieved a happy balance in our bedroom-for now! I still dream of updating the side tables but have a very specific design in mind, so those will take patience. But other than that, I LOVE our bedroom; I love our cloud bed and it’s truly the place of rest and relaxation in our home.

West Elm Velvet duvet & Shams (get them here!)
Throw pillow from Crate & Barrel
the fluffiest duvet found on Amazon (seriously, get it here)
Visco mattress topper (get yours here for under $100!)
West Elm curtains (get them here)(love these too)
Anthropologie finials (get them here)
“No Vacancy” Print c/o Oliver Gal Artist Co (see it here)

Paint colors:
light blue is Lookout Point by Benjamin Moore
dark blue is Adriatic Sea by Benjamin Moore

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Dining Banquet Storage Solution

in 2011 I was 21, living in Brooklyn with my roommate and friend at the time. Our apartment was a hodge podge of Ikea and street/craigslist finds, but we loved it and it was ours. My bedroom was pretty bare bones but my roommate had the full Ikea Malm bedset, including a headboard with sliding storage. I was so envious of that headboard; it kept clutter out of sight and added a shelf to a small New York apartment.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m living in my own home with my boyfriend. I still think about the Ikea Malm headboard, probably on a weekly basis, and it’s even worse because it’s been discontinued. And it’s even worse because I want it for my living room and Z isn’t seeing my vision. So what do I do?

I scour Craigslist. for months. Eventually, I find the right headboard, the right size, the wrong color, and I buy it. I haul it into my Jeep and trek the heavy piece back to my home.

I get home and set it up behind my couch, which was my plan to hide pet toys and our ever growing bitters collection while giving us space for another lamp and some odds and ends. Behind the couch, though, it throws off the symmetry of the room and I’m forced to remove it and place it in the dining room where- woah. it matches the dining room table. And fits snuggly against the wall. And I was planning to get a corner hutch for all of our extra kitchenware but this….this works.

I’ve filled it with extra glassware, antique kitchen pieces, and….coffee! We had a coffee bar in the corner of our dining room but it was nice to move it over here and get it to spread out a little. The old coffee corner is now a wine corner though, so there’s still plenty of drinks to go around!

Anyway, now I have a functional headboard in my dining room. It was $40 and possibly one of my best furniture buys of all time. All it took was the vision, patience, and a go-with-the-flow attitude.

What do you think of this repurposing? Do you have any favorite functional pieces like this in your home?

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Holiday Gifting with Framebridge

Custom Holiday Gifts with Framebridge
The Turkey (or Tofurkey) is eaten, along with the mashed potatoes, corn and cranberry sauce. As we settle into our holiday bods it’s officially time to start thinking gifts. This year I’ve teamed up with Framebridge to talk about super easy custom gifts to get for your loved ones!

Framebridge has recently launched and opened up a flagship in Washington, DC set to bring you the easiest way to custom frame anything and everything. You can either go to their website or their store with an image, pick out from a plethora of great frames, and wait for it to be custom built right in Maryland and then shipped to your door. The best part- you can frame straight from your InstaGram account! This includes images you’re tagged in or people you follow-how great is that!?

I love that you can browse frames by your personal style, whether that’s eclectic, classic, or clean. Normally I’d go eclectic, but my home décor has enough craziness so I tried to opt for classically clean.

Custom Holiday Gifts with Framebridge

I chose photos from my favorite trips of the year to print and surprise Z with. One of us from Chicago in Millenium Park, which is one of my favorites of the two of us. Due to the light colors in this I chose the Irvine white frame to house this photo. The other image I had printed from my InstaGram is of two elephants, trunks entwined, that I took during our trip to South Africa. I chose the Newport, an antiqued silver frame to go with the naturalness of the photo but with a little glam ofcourse. Two amazing photos commemorating some great times in my life; all easily printed and framed with a few clicks thanks to Framebridge!Custom Holiday Gifts with FramebridgeGoing in step with their whole “easy as that pumpkin pie you devoured” Framebridge includes everything you need to hang your new art or print! Each frame comes with a “care” card and nail specific to the size of your piece. All YOU have to do is grab a hammer or a stiletto, nail it in and hang it. SO EASY.Custom Holiday Gifts with Framebridge

Now, the fun part. Framebridge is offering Que Sera Sahra readers a special discount of 10% off their holiday order with code “QueSeraSahraFYF“. What are you waiting for!? Time to get framing those memories for your loved ones to gift away!

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This post is sponsored by Framebridge.
All images and opinions expressed are my own.

One Year Home Updates

It’s hard to believe we have already been in our home for over a year. We’ve done so so much in what feels like so little time, but there’s still so much to do. Good thing we’re here for the long haul. Due to all the changes, I figured I’d give you an update! The last time I shared my home with you we had just moved in. Curtains were missing, the guest room was a mismash and the back door was a literal wood slab. Over the course of the year, though, things have come together.

In the living room we swapped out the Ikea oriental rug for an imported Colombian heffer hide. I love the mix of natural textures and classic western mixed with my victorian couch and our other cozy tufted couches. We’ve also added more art and greens in the form of a Zulu shield from our South Africa trip and some table succulents. Due to the impending colder weather we’ve added more pillows like the balsam pillow from Izola and sheepskin pillows from Ikea.

In the pantry we’ve done what we can to make it more aesthetically pleasing. We added some wicker bins we found at Home Goods, but we’re still trying to figure out how to hide the shelves of spices and dog food in an aesthetically pleasing way; anyone have any suggestions!? Seriously, spice organization will be the death of me. Or, just my pantry.

The guest room has probably had the biggest changes yet. Curtains have been added, as well as more DC themed prints and a bookshelf of travel themed readings and knock knacks. We’ve created a welcome basket of towels, global magazines from our travels, fresh Swedish sea salt soap…anything you could need for your stay at Von Brandt Haus, which has been really helpful since we started hosting on AirBnB (more on that later)!

We had our deck built last fall, grass put in this spring, then added the lattices and porch furniture. This update has been one of my favorites, especially durging the warm weather. Weekends are spent with mimosas and the pets lounging in the sun for hours on end, and our Sunday evening tradition of grilling out with friends has been one of my favorites.

The Basement…oh, that basement. I never initially shared photos of it with you it was that bad. In the past few months it’s become our main project. A Bo Concepts sectional couch really brought the mancave/media room together. With the addition of (almost weekly) pillows and finally hanging some wall art it’s become a place we no longer vampantly avoid. Instead it’s the place we retire after dinner for a little Netflix & Chill, or more commonly, where Sahra falls asleep 5 minutes into an episode of 30Rock.

The other side of our basement is…the basement part. Our laundry room/half bathroom was a definite sore sight. We’ve done our best to clean it up and make it pretty, but there’s still PLENTY of room for improvement.

What do you think of our home updates?

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Spring Home Wishlist

Notting Hill is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in central London. It is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Road Market.This past winter we decided to forego any home improvements. It was cold, we’d already spent 4+ months working HARD on our new home and wanted to give ourselves (and our wallets) a break. After leaving for South Africa in snow and coming back to full-on spring complete with cherry blossoms in bloom, we realized we were ready to dive in headfirst to the home stuff again!

If you follow me on Twitter or InstaGram you’ll have already seen that we’ve been hard at work. In a mission to beat JetLag we wandered Ikea until closing time, sleepily indulging ourselves into anything green and “easy to care for”, and that was just the beginning. Our deck that was built last fall is barren, so we’re hunting for the perfect outdoor furnishings. We want to bring some of the in-home color outdoors, starting with red adirondack chairs and bringing in some toning neutral with a classic lattice outdoor rug. Next up, I’m ready to get my green thumb on; fresh herbs and veggies need to get in my cooking! I saw The Home Depot currently has starter trees to grow on your patio in the nice season that can be brought inside when the weather gets cold; perfect for our four seasoned home!

Spring Things

As for the yard (holy toledo this city girl has a yard!?) Z is hellbent on getting a classic picnic table, while I’m drawn to string lights for setting the ambiance for many backyard barbecues and margarita parties to come. To round out the yard I’m loving some fresh outdoor table settings; a fruity or veggie table runner is kitschy, while modern plating pulls it in for a more youthful flair. I have this vision of white plates dipped in gold, and I’m thinking they’ll have to be a DIY project similar to this one by Sarah Hearts.

Lastly, our welcome mat from when we first bought our home did not weather the winter well. I’m wanting something fun for spring, and lucky for me my girl Chela Mitchell has some great ones available, including this “My Other House is a Yacht”!

what are you doing to prepare for spring? What are you favorite picks for outdoor entertaining!? Seriously, share with me, inspire me! And be sure to follow me as I’ll be posting more home updates soon (after more South Africa snaps!)

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Designer Spotlight: Carl Hansen & Son

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One of the things I’ve absolutely loved about becoming a homeowner is the extra creative outlet. I sometimes swear I’ve developed adult ADD with how I always like to get my fingers wet in a bunch of projects, always looking for that next idea to follow through with and make something beautiful of. In buying our first home and having to move and decorate such a large space I’ve really fallen in love with (or rather rediscovered my love for) interior design.
On my last trip to NYC I stopped into the Carl Hansen & Son showroom in SoHo to get a taste for some classic and historic Scandinavian designs. While Z and I have always been partial to the eclectic modern styles, what I saw that day blew me away. Upon walking in, I was greeted with a wall of to-die-for smooth wishbone chairs in every color combination one could fathom, flanked around the room by ideal set ups of a cozy modern home. Most of the pieces are from the noggin of one Hans Wegner, a before-his-time genius designer. His attention to quality and detail has made his works some of the most coveted, and timeless, pieces in the world. From the backdrop of magazines to the swankiest doctors office lounges, there’s a decorative legend around us, if we’re lucky enough to have an eye for his style.
All pieces are imported from Denmark and while many are the direct designs from the late Wegner, there are a handful of designs inspired by him (like the leather day bed in the first image, by Ole Wanscher) or in collaboration with his namesake. Recently, Carl Hansen & Son celebrated Hans Wegner’s would-be 100th birthday, in which Paul Smith got involved, designing a new line of fabrics for pieces to come in, for a limited time.
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Now, these are all well and pretty, with buttery leather and those custom Paul Smith fabrics, but let’s bring it back down to reality. The price for pretty doesn’t come cheap, but if you can afford the price tag then I hope you go for Danish quality, or have the patience to wait until sample sales!
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Home Updates!

 photo updates_zpsefba8a02.jpg6 weeks ago (that long already!?) Z and I signed on our first house. 3 weeks were spent renovating before we moved in, and now we’ve been here for 3 weeks (including that week we spent on a beach!). Z and I, both having come from long lists of small apartments, were a little overwhelmed with the task of unpacking and decorating an entire house, to say the least. We definitely under estimated it, but we’ve put in plenty of time and the pieces are starting to come together.  The bookshelves are set up (and still, somehow, overflowing), and the gallery wall is on display (complete with Buffalo Taxidermy c/o Near and Deer, Society6 prints, and custom artwork from family and friends). Our main floor is basically done, except for minor tweaking which many of our elders suggest may take up to a year until it feels set. I thought it’d take a week, tops, but seriously, no one tells you just how hard it is to acquire furnishings for a full house and to decorate between two variant aesthetics.

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The dining room is a godsend for us, a wonderful luxury. We eat there nightly, instead of parked in front of the TV, and have already enjoyed hosting family and friends for meals.
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The Bathroom is set in a mermaid-meets-shipwreck theme, and is definitely still a slow and steady project as we piece it together perfectly.

The rest of the house? A struggle. We thought we had our bedroom prepared, but as it’s come together we’ve realized that we want to do things differently. Currently boasting greyscale bedding against oceanic blue walls with the most amazing “No Vacancy” print (c/o Oliver Gal Artists, get it here!), we’ve concluded that we want to add more bright orange to tie things together! Sheets or a throw, and…a dog bed! It’s been difficult to find the perfect orange hue at an affordable price in a fabric we love, but we’re getting there.
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The guest room and the office are the slowest projects of them all; with technical difficulties (read: a boxspring not fitting up the stairs, having two sets of mattress and neither fitting the bed frame), losing pieces in boxes, and being picky about furniture, we’re making do with that we can for now. Hope fully, though, these spaces can come together and I can share with you a dreamy blogger workspace and an AirBnB worthy guest quarters.

Let me know your thoughts as of present! If anyone wants to offer some design advice, my HGTV saturated mind could use it!

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It’s Official! #SandZBuyAHouse

#SandZBuyAHouseWell, we did it. We’ve adulted. We bought a house (officially). We have the keys and have started renovating. You’ve already seen the plans for most of the rooms, now it’s on to the layout of the house.
We’ve been using RoomSketcher to plan out our house. The team over there gave us a VIP package that allows us to create our ideal home using coveted products from Ikea and Crate and Barrel, and more.
You already saw some room inspirations and plans, but now you can see the home as a whole! Using the 3D floor plans, you can see our plans for the whole house below:
Main Floor
Top Floor
As you can see, our first floor will have our formal living room, dining room, and kitchen. The second floor has our bedroom, a guest bedroom (future AirBnB!), the  closet/office (QSS Headquarters), and the one and only full bathroom. Our basement will be our TV Rec room; I hope to add a ping pong table or something else fun to fill the [ginormous] space and our TV will go mounted on top of an existing fireplace there. There’s a little nook that we are considering turning into a bar or a “Cat corner”, right next to a HUGE walk-in closet that we’ll use as seasonal storage (currently housing fur coats galore). As you may notice, the downstairs bathroom has just a toilet. No, that’s not a mistake, and no there’s not a sink; the previous owners were total DIY-ers and this was their idea of a bathroom. This’ll do for a bit, but eventually, this little lady and her handsome handy boyfriend are going to make a full on basement bathroom retreat. Jacuzzi tub, where are you!?

A little more about RoomSketcher: First off, it’s easy to use. I just pick a floor plan shape, add some walls, doors, and stairs, and then start adding furniture! You can alter the floors and walls of every room, pick from thousands of furnishings and utilities, and truly make it as close to your home as possible!
There are three versions of RoomSketcher you can get; There’s a FREE version which allows you to create 2D floor plans, 3D views and images, and a 360 panoramic view. The second version is VIP, which RoomSketcher alotted me to trial out! With this package you get 2D and 3D floor plans (like mine above) as well as 2D and 3D images, a 360 view, a 3D walk through, on-the-go access, and other project perks. Now, if you’re really getting into the design process you can sign up for RoomSketcher Pro. This is what you see all the folks on HGTV using to design the homes of their clients. Pros get all that’s included in Free and VIP as well as the opportunity to create custom floor plans (instead of picking a shape like I’ve done), project features that allow you to showcase the changes you’ll make (think the sliding wood floors and dropping in of furniture you see Drew doing on Property Brothers), sharing capabilities, and more special perks.

RoomSketcher may seem intimidating to use, but with constant support and easy to follow how-to videos, it’s a service that can turn any curious creative into a design pro. The best part? You can try out the Free service, and if you want to upgrade, VIP is only $49 a year and Pro is just $99 a year!

What do you think of the plans for my house? Be sure to check out RoomSketcher and follow me to keep updated about how the house comes together!

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Decor Inspo: The Office

A home office-slash-closet has been something I’ve dreamed about for years. As a fashionista who’s always required more space than I have for my ever growing wardrobe and my blogging work having me craving a secluded room of my own, it was natural to have the desire. When we started looking for houses our requirement was 2+ bedrooms specifically for an office; I was a total diva about it. I had drawings of rooms I’d dreamt of, with garment racks color coded along 3 walls, a desk in the middle, and a couch with coffee table to anchor it all. Clearly, I dreamt of a studio apartment as an office, but reality claimed it’s stake.  Now that we bought a home with 3 official bedrooms (and a basement bedroom with a walk-in cedar closet) my closet/office dreams are about to become a reality, though not on the grande scale I may have imagined. The room to be is a mere 7’x9′, but it’ll work, and beggars can’t be choosers. My Pinterest home board has always been littered with images of stark white offices boasting flecks of pink and gold; the classic blogger/girly office. Now, as you know I’m not that girly and Z is requesting there’s enough comfort in there so he can work from home on occasion as well. So, I’ve compiled a finalized mood board of inspirations. Still plenty of white, but also some moody blue/violets and my favored teal.
A Blogger's Lair Office Inspiration

I’m really drawn to a narrow but wide desk, similar to this from Ikea, so as to put against the wall/window but also not be so wide that it encrouches on the rest of the room. I almost coveting an iconic Expedit, for shoes, bags, and magazine storage. I want high backed chairS, armless but comfy. All White Err’thang, know what I mean? Well, except my rug. I have the quintessential gray and white Gislev Ikea rug. Another thing that’s always been in my dream vision for my office? A dress form. Additionally, I’ll have my garment rack in there with the “current” favorites that are being cycled and new apparel to be worn. I’ve always used garment racks instead of closets because I like being able to see my wardrobe and piece it together in my mind.

As for decor, I already have a ton of jewelry storage, and will space it out so the area does not look cluttered. I’ll hang some fashion-y art work around the room as well, from my Bob Mackie print to a Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster, as well as shadow box-ing my vintage magazines. I’m even thinking of hanging a cute “Que Sera Sera” print in there to remind me of what my blog is all about! Let’s not forget about desk essentials; I LOVE this mug as it’s what my life is all about. And ofcourse, it’s me, so let’s add a skull and see if I can’t revive the blue orchid Z got me for Valentine’s Day.Blogger Office Lair
While so much of this room is set in stone, I feel like the decor will be a constant work in progress.

Do you have an office space? What are your office essentials that you think I should add to my wishlist!?

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