While our dining tables are likely to get all the decorating attention over the next couple of weeks (yesterday’s post being a prime example!), I would argue you can also make a major moment out your mantel for Thanksgiving. But instead of piling it high with stuff that collects dust, this year I’m going to use my fireplace as my spot for displaying showstopper florals. The best part of this idea? You don’t have to move anything off your table to make way for the turkey at meal time.

I partnered with Marigold, one of my favorite San Francisco florists (with one of the cutest shops you’ve ever seen in the Mission!), to share three inspirational floral arrangements to inspire you to make the most of your mantel with florals for Thanksgiving. Let the pumpkin tchotchkes gather some dust this year.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

I’m calling our first arrangement Refined Wabi-Sabi. It is a light, bright and slightly off-kilter creation. It reminds me of fall – things bursting forth in their final glory, but also starting to wither before winter arrives. The look is a little bit wild but still refined.  I love how this arrangement has an architectural feel, arching both up and arching down, drawing your eye across the entire fireplace. The color palette is both seasonal and fresh. You don’t tend to see a lot of white for Thanksgiving but I for one am really feeling it. The pops of orange and the seasonal branches place it within the current season.

The arrangement contains dendrobium orchids, bittersweet, honeysuckle vine, narcissus and flannel flower. The wild piece trailing to the right is dried viburnum greens and its branches are balanced by persimmons still on their branch.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with FlowersHow to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

But the true star of this show is the white Lotus flowers. They come in tight little balls and you have to peel back the petals to create their star like shape. Aren’t they stunning?!

Replicating an arrangement like at home does require a few florist tricks of the trade. To create a similar arrangement, start with a low bowl and use a flower frog and floral putty to anchor your stems. Begin by using your wild-reaching pieces to create a high and low shape. Then fill in the middle with your larger bulbs. To keep flowers alive longer, check water levels each day, and top off the vase when it gets low.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

I’ve curated a tabletop look to go with each floral arrangement. A minimal, timeless and clean style pairs perfectly with this arrangement. You can shop the look below.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

Our second arrangement is a lush, earthy, slightly rugged yet also feminine beauty. I’ve deemed our Forest Fairy. This is the harvest season embodied, but without a cliched vegetable in sight. I’m in love. Set lower and built to spread horizontally, this is a perfect arrangement for smaller rooms or spaces with lower ceilings.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

I love the terra cotta, burnt sienna and warm brown tones in this arrangement. It looks like you scooped up bits and bobs you found in the forest but also happened to pick a garden rose or two on the way home. The arrangement sits in a stone planter adding an additional earthy feel.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

This arrangement contains euonymus pink variegated, rainpod tree, plumosa fern and is punctuated with peach garden roses, french marigolds and chrysanthemums,

To recreate this look use a long low vase filling it with chicken wire and taped off with bull tape to create th structure you need for your arrangements shape. Choose foliage with natural arching shapes and use seasonal fall flowers like chrysanthemums and marigolds which are also long-lasting. Add in dried elements like the rainpod tree or bunny tail to create texture.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

Our final look is for all you minimalists out there. It is simple, timeless and classic. I’ve deemed her the Modern Fall Classic. It also wonderfully highlights high ceilings if you’re blessed with such things – as This Old Victorian is.

But the best part about this arrangement? There are literally no floral skills required to recreate this yourself. You don’t have to have a flower market nearby. You don’t even need to go to a store. Simply head out into your backyard, take a stroll through your neighborhood or maybe walk through local wild area with your clippers in hand! You can forage whatever catches your eye.

How to Dress Up Your Mantel for Thanksgiving with Flowers

With my well-documented love for wine country, it seemed only fitting to create this minimalist look with grapevine, accented by the orange berries of bittersweet. They offer a classic color palette and lovely autumnal feel.

To replicate this kind of simple yet impactful fireplace display, use glass cylinder vases and fill with fall foliage or reaching branches. Change the water daily so your vases stay looking fresh and your branches live longer.

I so hope you have found a little inspiration for your own holiday decorating with these ideas. It can be so easy to stress out about making everything picture perfect this time of year, but I like to flip the stress on its head and instead embrace the opportunity to get creative and simply have fun.

Because that’s what this time of year should truly be about.

For all our Thanksgiving inspiration, CLICK HERE.

floral design marigold sf / photography by spottedsf

While I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year (both relieved and slightly disappointed by that), I’m always banking ideas for beautiful Thanksgiving tables. I often vacillate between two distinct table setting styles; simple and minimal or an over the top maximal look. So this year I thought I’d see which style you’re feeling.

Thanksgiving Table Debate: Minimal or Maximal? Thanksgiving Table Debate: Minimal or Maximal? Thanksgiving Table Debate: Minimal or Maximal?

Let’s take our minimalist look first. A minimal Thanksgiving table does often attract me. I love the simplicity of a good linen tablecloth. A mix of vintage candlesticks, mix & match glassware and antique silver offer a timeless look. Maybe you’ll use some hearty ceramic dishware. The complete look can feel both collected but also rather modern.

When you keep your table simple your food will actually become the star of the show!

An added bonus of the minimal look? No need for a major centerpiece. Think simple branches, a collection of greenery or a small bundle of herbs set atop each plate. The name of the game here is sophsiticated ease.



Conversely, can also take your Thanksgiving table rather big. Think layers upon layer, large floral arrangements, and a cacophony of color, texture, and accessories. From candles galore to serving boards, chargers and salad plates – the more you pile in the marrier. This is also the opportunity to play with color. Whether you do dramatic black and gold tones or embrace blues, pinks, even aubergines, the maximal look certainly ups the initial wow factor.

I will admit that the maximalist Thanksgiving table feels more exuberant. But it can also be less refined. I particularly love this style for Friendsgiving or a large family gathering that you want to feel more relaxed, laissez-faire, but energized.

So what say you? Do you find yourself on Team Minimalist or Team Maximalist for this year’s Thanksgiving? Looking at all these options is making want to set a table just so I can share in the fun. Can you guess which style I’m leaning toward??

PS: Be sure to back tomorrow because I have a very fun Thanksgiving decor tutorial for you! I think it’ll help you off the style fence if you remain undecided.

Need more Thanksgiving decorating ideas? CLICK HERE.

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Apartment 34 on Instagram

I’m going to preface this post by saying right off the bat that no, I am not pregnant. However, that does not mean I don’t continue to peruse the latest in nursery decor as I like to see where the trends are going. And then be envious of all you mamas who are having your babes now because I swear, every year, the options for babies just keep getting better and better and better.

Case in point, the newly redesigned nursery collection from one of my long-time faves, Serena & Lily, is simply gorge. When Serena & Lily approached me to pick my favorite looks from their new collection I was so excited. It’s always fun to design dream spaces and I figured some of you must be planning a nursery too!

How to Create a Cozy Modern Nursery on apartment 34

Serena & Lily has always had stand-out style. They are known for their use of color and pattern and for their really beautifully crafted pieces. With their new nursery collection, they’ve added modern twists, clean-lined options, and unique pieces. So, I thought I might as well design a little dream nursery….you know, just in case.

To start, I love the idea of creating a gender-neutral, global nursery that isn’t based on gray. Gray has just gotten so, so tired. Been there, done that! In contrast, this look is filled with layers of different shades of brown, giving it much warmer, richer, and inviting feel.

The key with this look is texture, texture, texture. All kinds of natural materials from oak to rattan to leather and wool mix with subtle print and pattern in softer, creamier hues. While there are playful elements, I love that this look doesn’t feel saccharin. A kid’s space should still feel like it belongs with the rest of your house.

How to Create a Cozy Modern Nursery on apartment 34How to Create a Cozy Modern Nursery on apartment 34How to Create a Cozy Modern Nursery on apartment 34How to Create a Cozy Modern Nursery on apartment 34

I also love the idea of mixing up materials and the look and feel of different pieces in a nursery. I’m obsessed with Serena & Lily’s new modern Nash Convertible Crib and coordinating changing table. It is SO hard to find good-looking changing tables. I particularly love that this one has that open bottom, making it feel less bulky. It still has the drawers you need to store changing supplies, but then you can add baskets or books or toys on that bottom shelf. By simply removing the changing tray, the table transitions nicely into a console after you’re no longer changing diapers, too! You always want to think about how much you you will get out of pieces that go into your nursery.

That’s why I’m also obsessed with their rattan wing chair. Disgusting-looking gliders just need to be banished at this point. There is truly no need for them! The rattan trend is still going strong and it looks so good in a kid’s space. A footrest and a couple throw pillows are all you need for a cozy spot to read, comfort, or nurse. This chair could then easily transition into another room in your house.

How to Create a Cozy Modern Nursery on apartment 34

Lighting options offer another great opportunity to mix in more texture and another material. Serena & Lily has some awesome woven options that create that collected, eclectic feel. I love the look of both the rattan Cayman Pendant and the Headlands Pendant. Either would be awesome in a nursery, and I’d repurpose it really anywhere in the house.

Mix in playful details like a hanging chair, darling crib sheets, and maybe cute cuddly friend or two and you have a thoroughly sophisticated but wonderfully playful space for baby. It’s enough to almost make me want another one. Almost.

For more nursery and kids’ decor ideas, CLICK HERE.

This post in a paid partnership with Serena & Lily & contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations I’m excited about and that have kept Apt34’s doors open.

photography c/o Serena & Lily

There are few things that stop me in my tracks these days. You can find a lot of crazy good design out there. But when I stumbled across the tour of artist McKenzie Dove’s studio, I was floored. I officially want live in McKenzie’s world! I think you’re going to to want to too.

Tour: An Elevated Artist Studio

Tour: An Elevated Artist Studio

Originally from a 2,500 person town in Texas, 29-year old Dove is a painter and sculptor based in Alabama. Entirely self-taught (she began to live on her own at 17) she works in oil paints applied only with palette knives, alla the Impressionist greats. But she works in stark, minimal palates – namely black or white – and on a dramatically large scale. Many of her canvases are 9 feet or bigger. And I’m obsessed. The depth and texture to her work is just stunning.

And so is the space in which it resides.

Tour: An Elevated Artist Studio  Tour: An Elevated Artist StudioTour: An Elevated Artist Studio

Her sketches are part of her process of developing larger scale painters but now she finds clients want to purchase them as well. I do too!

Tour: An Elevated Artist Studio

She also works in plaster, making 3-dimensional objects and busts.

Tour: An Elevated Artist Studio Tour: An Elevated Artist Studio

But what drew me to this work is also the space in which it resides. Dove surrounds herself with beautiful objects, classic vintage pieces, antiques found at estate sales all in a pitch perfect way that makes you almost feel you’re peeking into a sophisticated, art-filled home, not a working art studio.

But that’s her intention. She wants her pieces to feel at home surrounded by inspiring things. I for one certainly think she’s succeeded.

Tour: An Elevated Artist StudioTour: An Elevated Artist StudioTour: An Elevated Artist StudioTour: An Elevated Artist Studio

But I can’t take credit for discovering McKenzie Dove. She fell on my radar thanks to the new site Maryn, the latest creation from Michelle Adams – the former Editor in Chief of Domino Magazine. Her eye for the unique and hard to find is uncanny. I know I am going to be going to Maryn for inspiration on the regular. And I am officially trying to figure out where a McKenzie Dove Piece can live in This Old Victorian!

For more inspiring tours, CLICK HERE.

images via mckenzie dove and by marta xochilt perez for maryn

I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach. Not because it’s November 1 and the official start of nesting season (my fave). Not because I will enter the final year of my 30’s next week (eek!). Not even because the holidays will be here in blink. I feel anxiously excited this morning because in six days we have the opportunity to make major changes in our country.

While I know most don’t come here for politics – though I’ve touched on it here more than a time or two – I cannot have a platform such as this and not say something. For those less interested, there’s a beaut of a home tour in today’s images if you continue to scroll. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the pretty. And I hope you might appreciate my perspective too.

It's Time to Nest, But Not Time to RestIt's Time to Nest, But Not Time to RestIt's Time to Nest, But Not Time to RestIt's Time to Nest, But Not Time to Rest

While I’m confident you, dear readers, are from many different backgrounds and embrace different faiths, varied belief systems and even values, I think we can all agree on one thing – the discourse coming from the very pinnacles of power in America is an embarrasment. It is disgraceful. It is not the world I want to raise my son in. And it must stop. The amazing thing about it all? We have the power to stop it.

It's Time to Nest, But Not Time to Rest It's Time to Nest, But Not Time to Rest

Voting on November 6 is the ONLY way to show elected officials that we reject fear. We rejrect bigotry. We reject anitsemitism. We reject racism. We reject predjuidice of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

My grandmother left Europe in the late 1930’s to escape Nazis. My parents lived through the divison, assinations and amazing hope and change that was the 1960s. I never thought that we would retreat back and suffer humanity’s ills in similar ways in my lifetime. I never thought that the growth and progress would be yanked backwards. I never thought I’d be brought to my knees in sadness and disgust as babies are ripped from parents at the border, as worshippers are gunned down in their synagoge abd as a couple is shot while grocery shopping, simply because the shooter didn’t like the color of their skin. In 2018.

But here we are.

It's Time to Nest, But Not Time to Rest


This is isn’t a reality show. This isn’t a game. This isn’t entertainment.

My son is now three. I can only shield him from the disgraceful chaos for so long. And we brought this on ourselves.

But we can change it.

It's Time to Nest, But Not Time to Rest

There is one way to push back. To stem the tide. To create a balance of power. To shove the hate, intolerance and bigotry back to the dark cave from whence it came.

I am asking you to vote.

Vote today if you can. VOTE ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6 because we must.

Vote with your heart. Vote with your concious. Vote because our children deserve to have us be responsible stewards of their future. Vote because we’re lucky enough to have institutions that hold our government accountable. So many other nations do not.

This weekend I plan to be knocking on doors of my fellow citizens, asking them to pledge to vote Tuesday. Have you ever done it? It’s a bit nervewracking yes, but also really fun. Especially when you’re excerisizing your responsibility as a citizen and doing something you truly believe in. If you have a couple of spare hours this weekend I highly recommend you try it. You can find out how to knock on doors right here.

No time? Then simply talk to your friends. Text your sister. Chat with your coworkers. This isn’t the time to pretend politics doesn’t exist. This is the time to ask everyone and anyone if they plan to vote. Ask for details. Where will you go? What time? Offer to give them a ride. Go as a group. Make an outing out of it. Take your kids so they see what voting is like. I still remember going to the high school gym to vote with my mom. I think it’s why I care so much about voting to this day.

Thousands upon thousands of people have died to give Americans the rights we most often take advantage of – and many Americans still do not enjoy – today.

Vote to honor their memory.

Vote to honor yourself.

Come November 7, then we can nest.


Don’t take my advice on why you should vote, take Oprah’s.

Need help figuring out who is running for office where you vote? CLICK HERE.

Do you think we’d be in this position if women ran the world? Me neither. Check out this article to learn about all the amazing women – many who have never held office before – running to represenst you right now. Maybe you can vote for one!

One good vote deserves another. Learn how to help get your friends and neighbors to the polls on November 6 RIGHT HERE.


To go back to fall nesting inspiration, CLICK HERE.


home designed by kate davison / photography for dwell by leslie santarina / styling by rosy fridman / additional images via the everygirl

In kitchen design’s recent history, the Magnolia Home-ification of the dominant kitchen trend has led to a swath of all white behemoths. Are they pretty? Sure. Will you still probably like them in 20 years? Highly likely. Am I SO sick of looking at all white kitchens? Abso-freakin-lutely.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m just obsessed with the new kitchen trend I’ve caught percolating up through design magazines and on Pinterest – the return of warm wood cabinetry to a modern kitchen.

Is the All White Kitchen Trend Finally Over on apartment 34

Now to be clear – this is not the dark wood cabinetry of the 80’s. There’s not a shaker or builder grade cabinet to be found here. Rather, this new kitchen trend showcases beautifully warm, rich solid walnut cabinets. The look is flat front with minimalist hardware, but amazing craftsmanship. Think highly skilled joinery and refined detail. These are not rustic nor traditional. The look offers a truly modern, yet timeless style.

Is the All White Kitchen Trend Finally Over on apartment 34

To keep the look from being too overbearing and heavy you’ll notice there are few if no uppers used in these designs. That is what further modernizes these kitchens. In each of the looks, the gorgeous walnut anchors the room, while things are kept light and air up above. Perhaps you have a shelf for a bit of display or storage space. Or maybe there’s nothing at all, accentuating a minimal more Scandinavian style.

Some designs have stone or stainless steel counters and others continue with wood. Some designs feature a backsplash, some showcase a clean, naked wall.

Here’s an example of how you can in fact pair color with warm walnut cabinetry (gasp!).

While this look is more popular in a European context, I’m strongly advocating for American designers to adopt this style. It’s fresh, it’s warm and reminds that the kitchen is not a sterile showroom but instead the working heart of the home.

i’m not quite ready to gut my kitchen and start over to get this look…but I’m certainly tempted. Are you? Are you feeling this look??


For our latest favorite kitchen design ideas, CLICK HERE.

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