There’s something about a minimal home that always calls to me. Maybe it’s because baby toys continue to multiple in my house at a rapid pace these days. Or maybe it is because a minimalist look just feels simpler, calmer – like if you can accomplish it you must have your sh** together. Regardless, this minimalist home tour out of Melbourne is calling to me. I think it’ll call to you too.


Architect Michael Ellis created this modern, minimal home with an open floor plan that accommodates a family of five. The mostly all white space contrasts with the accents of charcoal gray and slate blue, but is warmed by use of honey toned wood throughout.


The streamlined finishes create an easy relaxed flow throughout the home. The clean lines of the mid-century furniture are equally easy on the eye. Every decor piece was chosen with intention and for a purpose, creating a clean, almost zen-like aesthetic that translates from room to room. One of our favorite details of this space is the way the flatscreen tv blends into the charcoal gray wall in the living room, because who really wants to have their TV as a statement anyways? I also love how many of the cabinets do not have hardware, or the ones that do keep it very minimal, with small brass pulls for an of-the-moment touch (should the trend fade, hardware is one of the easiest things to swap out to update your look).


There are three things that make this home so easy on the eyes. A cohesive color palette that flows from room to room, a light hand with accessories – a simple stack of books, a well-placed family photo and touches of greenery give life to each space – and all that closed storage. This is house likely not devoid of stuff – they’ve just done an excellent job of keeping it all out of sight!

This space is the perfect example of how you can have a minimal and modern space while still adding personality and warmth with beautiful pieces, rich texture & saturated accent colors.

Here’s how to recreate the look in your house!apt-34_mid-century-minimal

SHOP THE POST  Paulistano Armchair in Leather 2. Desert Print 3. Cork Stool 4. White Pendant 5. Jazz Throw 6. Mid Century Oval Dining Table 7. Vintage Lantern Floor Lamp 8. Maker Collection 9. Salt Cellar 10. Clutch Dining Chair

photography by christine francis for pipkorn & kilpatrick 

Confession, I have am a jeans addict. They are my uniform. This has been well documented around here over the years. I can count on one hand the number of days per month I wear something other than denim (and those are the days I typically stay in yoga pants!). And at 18-months old, my little guy is also already living in jeans, because let’s be honest, baby denim is the cutest thing ever.

But jeans are a finicky clothing item. Finding a favorite pair is the ultimate fashion treasure hunt. And let me tell you, post-baby with an ever changing body, jeans shopping is even more difficult. And it’s all made more frustrating by the fact that a good pair is not cheap these days. I don’t like to think about the small nation I could probably finance with the denim collection I’ve amassed over the years.


That’s why I’ve slowed way down on adding to my denim wardrobe and am instead intentionally making a point of properly caring for the ones already in my closet.


A sneak peek of my denim collection. Whenever I try to edit down I just can’t seem to let them go. There might be a pair I bought in college still lurking in that stack. But I digress.

Making your jeans last – especially your prized pair that just make you feel sooooo good when you wear them – is very important. Because there’s nothing worse then when they fade, stretch or the worst of the worst, shrink so they’re no longer that perfect length to snugness ratio. But we do have to wash our jeans, particularly the pairs with a bit of stretch because they can get the dreaded sag at the waist, butt or knee. You know the one I’m talking about. Washing your denim can help it get its shape back. And even raw denim, especially lighter washes start to show dirt after awhile and will benefit from a good cleaning.

Thankfully, if you take just a little time and a little extra care, you can keep your jeans looking like new for a long long time. Below are the five steps I take to keep my denim in tip top shape.

1. Wash on cold. Always always wash your jeans on cold and turned inside out. That’ll help keep the color lasting longer.

2. Use a color safe detergent. There are even some great denim washes out there.

3. Color Boost. Jeans do fade, which is particularly sad when you’ve got a black or indigo pair that you really love. That’s why something like Clorox 2 Darks & Denim Color Protector and Stain Remover is genius. You add it directly to your washing machine along with your favorite detergent to protect and brighten your colors 2x more than using detergent alone. It will literally add years to your denim.

4. Pretreat. If you do have stains, pour the Clorox 2 Darks & Denim directly onto your jeans. Let them sit (but not dry) for 5-10 minutes before you put them in the wash with your regular detergent and more Clorox 2 Darks & Denim.

5. Hang Dry. Yes your jeans will be stiff the first wear, even the ones with a ton of stretch, but a little discomfort is worth it in the long run! Never ever dry your jeans in the dryer. They will shrink. They will fade. It will degrade the fabric leading to holes and worn spots faster.

I’ve been using this denim care regime for the past year and I’ve actually only purchased one (well maybe two) new pairs of jeans since then. Now I satisfy my shopping habit by buying cute denim for my kid! I’m making sure to keep his jeans looking good with the same care technique.

Any more laundry care tips out there?? I’m also trying to add to my domestic-goddess abilities.

For more of my favorite denim looks CLICK HERE.

This post is in partnership with Clorox. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations we’re excited about and that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open.  

Apartment 34 on Instagram

One thing I’ve been looking forward to about moving back into a house after years of apartment life is having the space to entertain again. Sure, I crammed people into our loft, but we never had a table that sat more than four. Having a formal dining space dedicated entirely to entertaining feels like the ultimate luxury! And I plan to make damn good use of it. While my dining room is still very much a work in progress, I believe you don’t have to have every detail pulled together perfectly to play hostess. Spoiler alert – this is a major sneak peek of the space!


The whole point of having friends over for dinner is to make everyone feel at ease – and that includes you. A few simple tips and tricks make hosting a fall gathering quick, easy and most importantly fun.


Setting a chic table makes an evening feel a little special, but creating it doesn’t have be complicated. I like to stick to two to three colors to keep things from getting overwhelming. A simple white tablecloth – this one is vintage that I snagged from my favorite Bay Area shop Elsie Green – offers a nice blank slate on your table. A few wrinkles are no big deal. It gives everything a more rustic vibe.  This table features a palette of blue, creams, and greens with just a touch of gold. Everything on the table, from the flowers to the flatware play off each other.


Place settings don’t have to be complicated either. I added color to the table with some gorgeous gray-blue plates. I simply stacked my dinner and salad plates to create bit of layering. Mismatched white cloth napkins with an off-center fold adds an interesting geometric angle to the plate. And I do love me some gold flatware. It quickly makes any table feel a bit more festive. If you haven’t already added a set to your collection, get these. They’re cute and crazy affordable. A touch of greenery and a little leaf charm on each setting helps make guests feel extra special.


Adding flowers to your table also shouldn’t be stressful. You can let your creative juices flow, combining whatever fits your color palette. This arrangement mixes all kinds of greenery – everything from Lambs Ear and grasses, to cuts of fresh hops and leaves. A few white blooms give you that plucked straight from your garden look. But if creating your own center piece feels overwhelming, head to your local flower mart or corner florist. There’s no shame in putting a pretty arrangement into your own vase. You gotta do what you gotta do.


If you’re not an expert chef, no big deal. Save the fancy cooking for the big Turkey-day. There’s really no need for a multiple course meal. A generous spread with a good crusty bread, charcuterie, samplings of cheese and a bunch of little bites let your guests sit back and snack at will. This gives everyone the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Because ultimately, the most important thing about throwing a dinner party is to give yourself permission to sit back, relax and enjoy the evening too. Let go of any expectation that things will be perfect – instead plan for the opposite and simply enjoy the process.

For more of my favorite entertaining ideas CLICK HERE.

For my favorite Halloween tabletop, CLICK HERE.

For the best fall recipes, CLICK HERE.

photography for apartment 34 by Alanna Hale, florals by the wild ones

I have another fun reveal of our new house for you today! I’ve been working with the online interior design service Decorist to complete our guest room. I’m so excited to finally get to share the entire process with you.

I wanted to design our guest room to be both a respite for visiting family and friends, as well as a space I love to be in on the daily because the room also doubles as my home office. I worked with Decorist designer Ashley Redmond to achieve both of these goals. She helped me hone in the final vision for the space and pull together a look that makes me smile everyday. Here are the moodboards I initially created to get our process started.


I focused on three key things for this room: A warm, welcoming color palette with a mix of neutrals, natural wood and touches cool tones that would create serene space. Secondly, I wanted to make sure the room had a comfortable and inviting guest bed and thirdly, I wanted the space to feature both a relaxing seating area as well as accommodate a small office area I could escape to during the day (working on our dining room table has just not been cutting it!). I threw a few more things onto the wishlist at the last minute: a bit of storage (because even with my dream closet, there’s always overflow) as well as wanting to be sure the room felt like it was decorated with a minimal hand. I didn’t want the space to feel overwrought.

Ashley immediately got my vibe. I loved the room concepts Ashley provided. Decorist uses this cool 3-D imaging that really helps you visual what the final space could look like. Here’s how the plan for the guest room looked.


With the moodboards and initial room concept in hand, I was able to turn Ashley free to hone a sourcing list of pieces certain to make my vision come to life. That was amazing help for someone with a completely overpacked schedule such as myself. Ashely and I were able to bounce ideas back and forth until we found what we both loved.

Here’s how the room’s final shopping list turned out.


SHOP THE LOOK: satsuki shibuya art print / pendant light / occasional chair / st. frank throw / west elm wall sconce / throw pillows / log side table / wool rug / side table / desk lamp / desk / chair / leather catch all / icelandic sheepskin / nate berkus tray

And here is the before pic of what the guest room looked prior to any renovations (eek!).


To see the after, head over to Architectural Digest – they’re featuring our guest room reveal today (cue happy dance).

To catch up on our entire renovation process and all the reveals to date CLICK HERE.

It’s been a little while since we’ve had some mom talk around here. But the Real Talk, Real Mom series is still going strong. As a first-time mom, I’ve loved participating in these posts because I learn so much from all the other women involved – and from everyone who comments! I’m sure this time around will be no different. This edition’s topic is all about family traditions. With the holidays quickly creeping up we felt it timely. How do you create your own family traditions? How do you navigate that extended network of kin? What do you want your child to associate with the holiday season? Not exactly the easiest of things to figure out!


The pic above, though not necessarily holiday-season related, does speak to the formation of family tradition. We’re currently on our first official family vacation in Hawaii – a family narrative I would love to continue!

But I have also started to think a lot about the holidays as this is the first year some of it will actually register for our little guy. From Halloween (do you trick or treat with an 18-month old?!) to Thanksgiving and the rest of the entire holiday season it’s now on me to create the sense of wonder, excitement, joy and celebration I so remember enjoying as a child. Having gotten relatively lazy about holiday traditions in the last few years sans baby (I think pizza was eaten on Christmas eve one year), I’m ready to fully invest this time around.

It helps that we have our new house to ground the creation of our own holiday traditions. I’ve always been very clear that Christmas is spent at home – our home. With blended families everywhere the eye can see, trying to visit all the extended relatives during the holiday season means you’re spending more time on the road then in anybody’s presence. That isn’t fun for anyone. Standing firm on that decision has certainly simplified the holiday equation.

So with negotiating the immediate needs of extended families off the table, the question becomes how do you create your own rituals? In my short time as a mom I have already discovered the power of storytelling. Our little guy loves to hear things recounted over and over. Books also help. I’m thinking this will be the first year we read The Polar Express.

But I’d love to hear from other, more seasoned parents. How did you go about creating holiday traditions with and for your littles? Will an 20 month old get the whole concept of Santa Claus? This is where I turn to you, experienced parents. I would so appreciate any and all advice you have for helping create a wondrous experience for our tiny human.

I’ll certainly be turning to the rest of the awesome moms in this series to get their advice. Check on their posts on this topic below.

A Daily Something / Ave Styles /  FreutcakeParker EtcThe Effortless Chic / Sacramento Street /

And if you haven’t checked out the Real Talk, Real Mom series yet, we’ve talked Sleep, Feeding,Travel, Career, Self-CareCo-Parenting and Growing Your Family #realmomseries

Imagine having a successful corporate career and walking away from it all to become an artist. It’s something many of us dream about, but few actually ever take that leap. But artist Windy Chien was able to muster the strength to do exactly that. Discovering talents like Windy is probably my favorite thing about Apt34. Women like Windy – with vision, passion, creativity and drive constantly leave me in awe. I recently had the pleasure of touring Windy’s San Francisco studio where she is twisting the art world into knots – quiet literally.


Windy is making art out of knots and it is absolutely stunning. It all started in January of this year, when The Year of Knots was born. Windy is teaching herself and creating one unique knot each day and assembling  them all into a gorgeous installation in her studio. They are sometimes based off traditional knots, sometimes explorations. Windy starts every day in the studio with a knot, noting that it helps her achieve her creative flow for the day. It’s become an important ritual in her daily life. And the result is just so cool. Some of her knots incorporate a piece of brass hardware, some lay flat, some are multi-dimensional. She has created a handful in a beautiful black cord – a truly modern take on an ancient skill. Color me obsessed.


But what’s even more remarkable is that rope as a medium wasn’t Windy’s initial goal. As she explained during my visit, she simply wanted to flex her creative muscle, actually exploring multiple art forms before discovering knots. Upon her departure from corporate American, Windy tried out all kinds of creative avenues; pottery, painting, wood carving (her hand carved spoons have also garnered a cult following. Whenever one goes up for sale, it’s gone immediately.) But then Windy discovered knots – yes with rope – like what is often used on a boat – and she was hooked. Upon researching the history behind knot-making, Windy began to see knots as their own form of language. Each knot conveys a purpose, a meaning and tells a story. I totally love that. It’s as if her studio wall is an entire novel with hidden secrets about human history. The knots also just look really really amazing.

But the Year of Knots isn’t Windy’s only project. She is also creating gorgeous knotted lighting and wall-hangings. Each one is unique – many are bespoke commissions created specifically for their recipient. While the wall hangings are certainly reminiscent of 70’s macramé we’re seeing everywhere these days, I love how modern, clean and updated Windy’s pieces feel.


Most recently, Windy has taken her work to even greater heights by doing large scale installations in hotels, office buildings and public spaces. I for one would love to be able to walk beneath a Windy Chien piece every day. For now, I will continue to follow her on Instagram and drop into her Mission-based studio for a little creative pick-me-up. If you’ve been looking for an example to inspire you to chase that seemingly crazy dream – Windy is your woman. She’s proof positive that if you put all your energy into doing what you love, you just might be surprised by what falls into place.

Thank you Windy for letting me spend a truly inspiring morning with you!

If you’re looking for even more inspirational women doing super cool stuff check out this post, this post and this post.

And if you like these kinds of posts please let me know in the comments below. If you’re down, I’d really love to get out there to bring you more stories like this one.

original photography by michelle drewes


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