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How to Add a Personalized Touch to Your Dream Nursery

From a London print that gives a nod to his British roots to adventure wallpaper inspired by his parents travels and all the special moments in between, Hudson’s nursery is the perfect example of beautifully designed and totally personalized. Plus it mixes neutrals and really cool prints like a boss. Tour the full space crafted by mom and designer, Jennifer Swadling of Amy + Jen, along with sweet photographs by AMBphoto.

We had dreamed for so long of becoming parents that when it became a reality I already had an idea of the look and feel of the room I wanted for our babe. Our little one’s gender was always going to be a surprise which made the design process that much more fun!

Our home is a fixer upper and not the lovely kind with gorgeous doorways and exposed brick, we are talking putrid green tones and essentially a lot of work. In saying all this I am a self described procrastinator and with two months to go I told my husband we had loads of time to get everything together.

 My pregnancy however took a downturn and I was hospitalized with severe preeclampsia at 32 weeks. Bed rest, amazing chats (and cries) with my fellow warrior soon to be mommy’s was super helpful in pushing me to press purchase on all my outstanding’s (crib included). Creating a room from a hospital bed makes you realize how very wonderful the people you work with are.

In the end we lowered windows, added wainscoting, wallpapered, and gave the room a lovely and fresh coat of Benjamin Moore’s Dove White & Simply White Paint.

My incredible vendors were wonderful in keeping up to speed with facetime chats, texts & emails and even without me physically there they took the time to understand what I wanted and made it happen.

 There are so many things I love about Hudson’s room and each and every piece is intentional. The London Rifle Paper Co Print is a salute to his British Heritage, the Safari Wallpaper speaks to adventure and is an ode to how my husband and I met in Australia on our very own adventures.

We have lots of stuffed animals in the hopes that his love for them will match mine. His rocking chair is Canadian made just like him. His room is bright and beautiful and it is most definitely our favorite in the house. It makes me smile each and every time I walk in. (well maybe not during the night feeds)

10 Sweet Storage Solutions for Baby's Nursery
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10 Sweet Storage Solutions for Baby's Nursery
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Photography: AMBphoto | Design and Styling: Amy & Jen | Florals: Vintage from Presh Floral | Makeup: One Fine Beauty | Hair: Showpony Hair | Calligraphy: A Fabulous Fete | Blanket: Baby Mori UK | Crib, Dresser, Bookcase, Wooly Rocking & Elephant Toy: Restoration Hardware | Hudson's Outfit: Le Carrousel Paris | Jen's overalls: Anthropologie | Jen's white dress: Aritzia | Pennant: This Paper Book | Print: Rifle Paper Co. | Rocking Chair: Fab Baby Gear | Rug: Urban Outfitters | Toy Stacker: Sarah and Bendrix

Six Questions to ask an Interior Designer Before Signing the Contract

Thinking of taking the plunge with a mastermind of interiors? Before you get all good and cozy with your favorite designer, be sure you’ve navigated these six questions from James Wheeler of J. Wheeler Designs that will ensure you’ve found just the right match. Covering everything from the design process to glowing references, here are your need-to-know items to tackle before signing the contract.

Finding the perfect interior designer to bring your vision to life might seem simple while scrolling through their eye-catching Instagram feeds and curated portfolios. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty details of project management, timelines and budgets, there’s so much more to the vetting process. That’s why Atlanta based interior designer James Wheeler of J. Wheeler Designs is sharing six questions to ask during the exploration process to help ensure an ideal fit, smooth execution and dream result.

What is your process for designing a space?

This question is critical to ask of a designer at the beginning of the vetting process to ensure expectations are set before the project begins. You might already have an idea of how the design process works, but can easily find yourself frustrated after the work begins simply because your expectations are not aligned with those of the designer. Posing this question at the start of the project will not only help to determine if the designer has a work style that will meld with yours, but it will also ensure that there is a transparent process and communication strategy that will yield a smooth process throughout.

Do you infuse any of your personal style into your designs and how do you work around this if it differs from your clients wants or needs?

Designers are known for their unique, individual styles, which are conveyed throughout each of their projects. It may be something as simple as the art they choose or as encompassing as the overall aesthetic. Ask the designer about the process they would use to get a feel for your style and how they will apply that knowledge to create a design that works for you. It’s important that you have an open and honest dialogue with constant feedback throughout the process. But be open to suggestions. This helps to produce an end result that is meaningful to you; one that reflects your own personal style with a touch of the unexpected that a designer can provide.

Who is your ideal client and why?

Whether or not they want to admit it, every designer has an ideal client. Asking this question will help you gauge if you will be a good fit for the designer. Many designers say their favorite client is one with an unlimited budget that will give them carte blanche to do whatever they want to do! And while this may be the perfect answer for you, others might not be willing to hand over the reigns. Learn who they prefer to work with and why. Then after you have your answer, really ask yourself if you could be a good fit.

How will the timeline be determined and carried out?

This is important as it sets a level of expectation on the front end. When going over the timeline, keep in mind designers have multiple clients and each project takes time to execute properly. Understand the timeline, but stay flexible. Not only does it take time for a designer to pull everything together, but other parties are often involved – manufacturers, electricians, plumbers, etc. – each with their own timeframes. As with everything in the design process, having an open line of communication and setting clear expectations ahead of time are critical to ensuring a smooth process.

Do you have a specific contract that details the terms of your payment for services rendered and each phase of my project?

All projects need to have a formal contract to govern the work and expectations of both parties during their time working together. Ask for a sample contract and payment schedule and protect yourself from the get-go. The designer will be spending your money for a project, so it is important to have this outlined in a legal contract. Additionally, the designer needs to ensure that they will be paid for time and work, too.

Do you have references I can contact?

References are a great way to learn about a designer while understanding their process and what they can deliver for your project. The best way to do this is to talk to a current or former client who has already gone through the process, so ask for a list of clients that are willing to be contacted. Most designers are happy to share references for their clients.

Photography: Rustic White Photography | Interior Design: James Wheeler / J. Wheeler Designs

How To Be the Best At-Home Barista

For most of us, starting the day means having that oh-so-necessary cup of coffee in hand, stat. Wouldn’t it be nice if our local barista was in the kitchen waiting with said cup of jo? Well, that’s totally impossible (unless you’re dating or married to one), but the next best thing? Becoming the ultimate at-home barista. With the help of OXO, you can easily learn how to make the best-ever cup of coffee with these bean to brew steps.

Bean Selection

First things first, find your perfect bean. For the ultimate cup of coffee (and to be the ultimate at-home barista), you’re going to be grinding your own beans. But you might be wondering, where do I start? Think of beans to coffee like grapes to wine. Everything from the region and variety to the season and roast duration all play a part in the final flavor of your brew. Educate yourself on each of these factors and you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to select the beans that suit your palette.

Freshness Factor

Once you’ve made your bean selection—keep them fresh and happy. The journey to a flavorful cup of coffee includes bean storage and fighting their worst enemies: air, moisture, heat, and light. That’s where an OXO’s Coffee POP Container comes in handy. A unique one-touch push-button guarantees an airtight seal and ultimate freshness, while it’s UV-blocking technology battles light. Not to mention, they’re also stackable for those of us who have a little obsession with pantry organization.

The Grind

Now that you’ve got a way to keep your beans fresh until you’re ready, it’s time to learn the grind. Why not just buy your beans ground already? If you really want to be a kick-butt at-home barista, get your own grind on, folks. Coffee beans contain oils that, when ground release an aroma and can interact with moisture in the environment. Basically, the longer coffee grounds sit around, the less flavorful your cup of jo becomes.

Investing in a grinder like OXO’s Conical Burr Grinder brings you one step closer to the perfect brew every time. Its built-in scale allows it to grind by weight instead of time and gives you the ability to custom measure grounds to create your own coffee ratio, or to use precise, pre-set grams-to-cup ratios. So, whether your perfect cup means give me all the jitters OR I just need a little jumpstart to get going, this is your grinder.

A Tasty Temperature

Now that you’ve mastered the art of keeping your beans fresh and finding your perfect grind, it’s time to get your brew down to a science. It means combining brew time, water temperature and water volume in just the right way. Taking the guess work out of the process is easy with the OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker, which brews at the optimal temperature for coffee as certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The intelligent Barista Brain microprocessor monitors time, water volume and temperature from start to finish, giving you the precision of expertly hand-crafted coffee. In other words, you’ll feel like you just placed an order at your favorite local coffee shop.

Voila! You’re now armed with the steps to becoming the best at-home barista. Get ready for happier mornings, wowed guests and a coffee experience like no other.