Elsie’s Wearing: Dress/Boohoo (comes in black too!), Over-the-knee boots/Jeffrey Campbell, Bag/Moorea Seal (comes in black too), Necklace/Madewell.
Let’s talk color!
I find that my go-to colors cycle every 1-2 years. I will passionately love a color (or combo of colors), and then get tired of it for a while. It’s a cycle.
Last October when we watched Rosemary’s Baby, it launched me into an INSANE inspiration reboot, and at the moment I am obsessing over 1970s colors… even sometimes 1980s… you guys—who AM I?
I love the changes, though. It’s fun to slowly evolve, reinvent and eventually… come around the same circle again!
What about you, Sis?
Maybe I should take this time to admit that probably around 70% of my wardrobe is black. I wear SO MUCH BLACK. It’s nuts. And honestly, I tend to incorporate black and white into my home decor choices pretty often too. I think I am drawn to contrast, and also I tend to pick “safer colors” when I’m shopping. Of course that’s not to say I don’t love color, I do! I just think I use it more often as an accent in my clothing.
Also, I will forever love glitter. I don’t care if that makes me basic. GLITTER FOR LIFE!
“Hi! We are Tristan + Lynne Knowlton, a mother/daughter team fueled by coffee and kindness. We love styling and cozying up home spaces and sharing on our blog, Design The Life You Want To Live. When we’re not doing that, we’re eating popcorn, making chunky wool blankets, hanging out in the treehouse + cabin retreat, or road trippin’ with the family in our vintage Airstream camper.
Let’s talk about tiny house living and style and all the things! There’s beauty in simplicity. We hope The Treehouse + Cabin Retreat will inspire you to create small spaces with big style.
We built our treehouse 10 years ago on our 100-acre property near a wee little town called Durham, in Ontario, Canada. Durham is so small, if you blink, you’ll miss it. With four kiddos and a sprawling countryside, a treehouse just made sense. We upcycled and recycled a friend’s 100-year-old barn (which had been damaged by a tornado). It inspired us to repurpose items, and use them in all kinds of new ways.
We love to give old things a new life. Years later, we added a cabin into the mix. The cabin is the sweet unsung hero of the Treehouse + Cabin Retreat. It’s located in the same forest alongside the treehouse and laTREEn (the little bathroom.) There’s an outhouse and a pool, too!
My husband Michael has terminal cancer, and throughout the years we have learned how important it is to design the live you want to live. Cancer has been a reminder to live every moment … in our home life, our travel life and our family life.
Originally, we tried to build our own treehouse, and it was a rickety disaster. We learned our lesson and hired a pro to build the treehouse that we have today. Our plans were simple: start with a treehouse platform in the trees, drink wine, eat popcorn, frame a basic outer structure, paint everything inside white (there’s no such thing as too much white), rake 436,493 pine needles and create a simply beautiful, relaxing space.
Like anything, not all went as planned, and I’m convinced we didn’t drink nearly enough wine. But we made it happen. It takes soooooo much work to make a magical treehouse + cabin retreat happen. And rules. And codes. And permits. GULP. We had to make a lot of changes over the years to dot all our i’s and cross all our t’s.
One of my fave rooms is the cabin loft bedroom. It’s peaceful, you can hear the birds singing and the rustle of the leaves in the trees. Oh, and hello, bed canopy. Swoon. And fireplace. And, I am reliably informed that the treehouse porch is the best one I’ve met, ever.
We were totally inspired by A Beautiful Mess DIY here and created this slat wood wall. When it was done, I believe I may have screamed. I definitely screamed.
We have lived here for 17 years. Strange, since I am only 27 years old (times two). We started with a house, barn, and 100 acres of weeds. After a lot of paint, sawdust and blisters, we built a pool within the reclaimed stone walls of an old burned down barn on our property. Next up was a treehouse. Followed by a cabin. Made with love.
Over the years, The Treehouse + Cabin Retreat has grown organically and is now a vacation rental over the summer months. We hope you come meet us over at the blog and download the free ABM printable we made! Come say hey on our Instagram, too.”
Thank you soooo much for sharing your dreamy spaces with us! We hope to stay there someday 🙂 And, if you’re curious about all of the gorgeous items inside their treehouse + cabin, you can shop them here. xo.
Credits // Author: Lynne Knowlton. Photography: Suech and Beck and Lynne Knowlton.
The other night I was hanging out with a few friends, and the conversation turned to what we would pick if we had to make a list of top five perfect albums. We ended up having quite the varied list, and it was so fun! Plus it reminded me of so much good music I haven’t taken the time to listen to in a while. So I thought it might be fun to share what I said, and hear what you think, Sister. The pressure is on!
Emma’s Top Five: The Suburbs by Arcade Fire The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel The Blue Album by Weezer The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
You guys should try listing your top five in the comments—it’s really hard! If you get too stressed out, just add a few honorable mentions. 😉
Emma’s Wearing: Dress/Oui Fresh (sold out but we have other great stuff avail), Boots/ModCloth, Purse/Rebecca Minkoff (similar here), ‘E’ Charm c/o Fossil, Choker c/o Bauble Bar, Tights/Target (similar) + hat/Target, Jacket/Levi’s, Pins/Big Bud Press and Frank Norton, Eye patches/M&J Trimming.
Take it away, Sister!
OK, this is a fun idea, but it’s also REALLY tough. Jeremy and I are always talking about how Spotify (which we love and use daily) has kind of made us listen to full albums less and less. When we were growing up (in the 90s) and CDs were the thing, I would often buy a CD where I only knew one song, and in those days I feel like I really got to know albums in a deeper way. I miss those days of knowing every word of every song.
Thank God for Vinyl, because this is a great way to still listen to albums start to finish. So I’ll do a few of my most-listened-to vinyl.
Elsie’s Top Five: Back To Black by Amy Winehouse Fly By Wire by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin FutureSex/LoveSounds by Justin Timberlake Where Did Our Love Go by The Supremes Nevermind by Nirvana
Happy Halloween, everyone! We’re going to give you a little tour of our haunted house we created for our neighborhood to enjoy this year. If you live in Springfield, Missouri and want to walk through with your family, the house is located at 630 South Weller Street and will be open from around 5:30-9 p.m. or earlier if it seems like no one is coming through after awhile.
How does the haunted house work? You walk through the front door and exit through the back door. There are arrows on the floor throughout the house to guide you (not all of the house is open, like you cannot go upstairs). The house is a series of spooky vignettes. It was designed with young children in mind, but it still could be too scary for some (parents know their kids best so you can be the judge on that). It is NOT interactive, like nothing jumps out at you and please do not touch anything (this is for you and your family’s safety). Once you exit through the back door, there is a photo backdrop in the backyard you can take a photo at if you like. We also have candy for trick-or-treating as well as over 50 copies of Goosebumps books if your child is an age where they can enjoy that. Then you leave by the back gate. Please note no bathroom is available and strollers will not fit in the house. Also, hopefully this is obvious but just in case, this is FREE and not at all a commercial event. It’s just meant to be a fun childhood memory for our neighborhood, but anyone is welcome if you’re in the area.
Our haunted house this year is inspired by the Goosebumps book series. There are some nods to various books throughout, but you don’t have to be a Goosebumps fan to enjoy the house.
Here is the front living area, and what you will see when you walk through the front door. As you can see, people have moved out and now the space is haunted by ghosts and our Slappy-inspired dummy. You can kind of see this in the photo, but there are arrows on the ground that lead you around the furniture toward the dining room. But before you get there …
Peek through the arched doors to see some spooky cat eyes looking back at you! (Note: We took these tour photos during the day, but the house will be a little darker in the evening … of course.)
Then you can walk around the dining room table and see a skeleton family having a food fight! They are throwing carrots! And bagels! And cheese! The horror! (Imagine my voice like a Disney-spooky tour guide).
You can also kind of see the window faces I created from these photos. But at night you’ll really only be able to see these after you exit the backyard to leave.
As you leave the dining room you will enter the kitchen. In here there is a very tall, evil witch! And also tubes of Monster Blood behind her. Was it the witch’s magic or the Monster Blood that has brought some of the kitchen items to life?! We’ll never know. But there is now an evil sponge, dish soap, and paper towel floating nearby!
I have always loved crafting with googly-eyes, but this may be my crowning achievement. 🙂
As you exit the kitchen, you’ll find yourself in the back living room, which is now a giant spider’s den complete with past victims! You have to exit through a spider’s legs to leave, but before you do make sure to peek into the open bathroom that is located by the back door because …
There you will find these two skeletons in the bathroom.
We already shared what the Full Moon + Werewolf photo backdrop looks like in the backyard and if you’re coming IRL, be sure to say hi to Gary (Jeremy’s dad) on the back porch, who will be passing out candy and books. Hope you have a fun and safe Halloween! xo. Emma
Decor Details: Werewolf, Swamp Witch, Cat Eye Projector / The Home Depot, Skeletons + Bones / JOANN, Corner Ghosts / Target, lots of random stuff like spider webs, wall decals, and green slime was bought at Walmart. And the dummy is from eBay—I added a kid’s red bow tie and faux carnation.
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop. Project Assistance: Ethan Randolph. And thank you to all our friends and family who helped with the event!
I try to wear every single thing in my closet (see this post), but I have to admit that more often than not you will find me in the same two pairs of shoes—these Converse tennis shoes and the Vans I’m wearing in this post. Is it a coincidence that they are both flats? Probably not. 😉
Mainly I consider these two pairs of shoes my “work shoes” as I can wear them to do pretty much any work-related activity (sit at a desk, cook, craft, supply shop, photograph, etc.). I guess I’d have to also admit that I have some house slippers that might make it into the “work shoe” category now and again. Insert emoji of the monkey covering his face. Ha!
Emma’s Wearing: Jeans and cardigan/F21 (my grandma got me the cardigan for Christmas!), Purse/Rebecca Minkoff (similar), Shoes/Converse, Hat c/o Ruche.
What about you, Sister? Any favorite items or pieces you wear over and over again?
For me, lately, easy dresses with tights are my go-to. I kind of hate wearing jeans right now, and when I get home, I IMMEDIATELY take them off. Haha! I’m not sure what it is, but I’m really in a dress phase. Mostly shift dresses or skater dresses, bonus points if they have some stretch like this one.
Do you remember our Project Restyle series from back in the day? Many of the posts were clothing related (like how to restyle a vintage top) and we even gave an old chandelier a shiny, new life. Lately, we’ve added a lot of furniture hacks to the mix, and wanted to share a roundup of our favorites with you today!
Can you believe this used to be a rectangular table? Most tulip tables are either smaller than the one above (or pricey), so Laura made her own with a little help from IKEA.
There was nothing wrong with this wooden bench, but it looks so much better with woven leather on the top—and more comfy to sit on.
If you have a piece of vintage furniture that needs a fresh coat of paint (but you don’t want to cover up its original character), follow this super easy tutorial.Grab your favorite fabric and a staple gun to give your bed frame a makeover (there’s a no-sew option in the post, too.)
Give your dresser a new look using an engineer print (of any photo) and decoupage away …
Having trouble finding the perfect TV console to fit the vibe of your living room? Use this hack to make a midcentury version.
A lot of readers commented that they wanted a kitchen that looked JUST like this kiddo version, and we can’t disagree. 🙂 Get the full tutorial here and customize it however you like (the really fun part!).
Customize a glass-top entryway table (or any table, really) using marbled contact paper.
Mandi needed a solution for toy storage and other items in her living room, so she put this amazing credenza together using wall cabinets.
Add some color to inside and outside of your dresser drawers using fabric.
The most dramatic (and amazing) hack on our list? Mandi’s built-in bookshelves made out of these.
Add some extra greenery to your space with a faux plant coffee table. Here are some of our favorite fake plants that look like the real thing.
The easiest way to make give a plain dresser a makeover (seriously, anyone can do this one and it look sooo good!). Here’s another option that only requires a few steps, and it’s midcentury-inspired.
We’re pretty sure you won’t find a bar cart that looks like this anywhere else. Another IKEA hack for the win. 😉
I guess maybe it’s the glasses I’m wearing in these photos, but I started thinking about how when I was a kid, I had a phase where I really wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. I know a lot of people had tons of different occupations they thought about being when they were kids, but I really probably only had two or three. But librarian was one of them. I actually had a really hard time reading in school at first. I struggled and thankfully had some pretty great teachers along the way. Not to mention a very patient mom who worked with me at home as well. But once it all finally clicked, I found that I LOVED reading. Around that time is when the first Harry Potter book came out, and I was hooked from then on out. (HP forever!)
Other than loving to read, I also just loved how quiet libraries were. I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, and I think libraries are about the closest to being alone you can be in public. 🙂 I also love putting things in order, so having to file books away all day sounded pretty great to me.
It’s kind of fun thinking about what you wanted to be as a kid. I don’t have any regrets about not becoming a librarian, but if my path had gone that way, I still think it sounds pretty cool.
Emma’s Wearing: The Babe with the Power tee/Oui Fresh, Glasses/ABM for BonLook, Skirt/F21, Coat/SheIn, Purse/Zara (similar), Tights/Nasty Gal (similar here), Boots/ModCloth.
Elsie, what did you want to be as a kid? I’m guessing some kind of artist?
Elsie’s Wearing: Dress/Dillard’s (similar here and here), Sunnies/Crap Eyewear, Bag/Madewell, Tights/ASOS (sold out, but here’s another pair), Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens.
Haha, you’re not wrong, sister.
I did dream of being an artist when I was growing up. And a fashion designer. And I wanted to own my own daycare. And I spent weeks drawing out my own theme park after I found out about Disney World. Haha. I was, and am, and always will be a MIND CHANGER. Recently I learned about my enneagram type. I’m a 7, which is “The Enthusiast”. It says I am “spontaneous, versatile, distractible and scattered”… and that could not be more true. If you’re curious what you are, you can take a test here.
Four years ago, we purchased our 1970s fixer-upper and began a several-years-long renovation. I learned SO much during this renovation—it was the learning experience of a lifetime. It was my first very large renovation. It took longer and cost more than I expected (as almost all renovations do). What I wasn’t expecting, though, was how much I truly enjoyed the entire process. Once I realized we were finally done, I was missing the process almost instantly and wishing I could back and do certain rooms more slowly.
Anyway! Here is a before/after tour of all our living spaces! I hope you enjoy seeing the transformations (keep in mind the before and after videos are FOUR YEARS apart). Oh! And by the way, I say, “This is my favorite room in the whole house” in two different rooms of this video—haha. Forgive me.
Entry Sources: Sources: Paper/Sisters Of The Sun by Juju Papers, Table/Modern Buffet by West Elm (should I swap out the hardware or leave it?), Bench/Transit Bench by Gus Modern, Rug/Anthropologie (old), Pink Paint/Baby Blush by Valspar.
Den Sources: Sofa/Article, Yellow Car Print/Arielle Vey, Gold Hexagon Hardware/Schoolhouse Electric, Hand Chair/Wayfair (similar), two white poufs, the shroom coffee table, Lighting/Lucent Lightshop, Curtains/Anthropologie, I got the area rug on sale from Anthropologie (years back) but here’s a similar style.
Record table sources: Console Table/West Elm, Palm Tree Print by Moonlight Magpie on Etsy, U-Turn Audio/Orbit Basic Turntable, Speakers/Audioengine. I did a post about our record player set up here.
DIY links: Read about how we paint brick and stone here. Read about our projector set up here. If you’re curious about our DIY shiplap wall, read here. Here’s a link to when The Home Edit organized our kitchen (a bunch of the setup they created is still going strong!).
DIY links: Gallery wall with gold hardware frames. Here’s a post about my rainbow glassware collection.
Dining Room Sources: Wallpaper/Juju Papers, Chandelier/Shop Candelabra, Rug/Marrakesh Shag Rug from Rugs USA, Mirror/Rejuvenation, White Chairs/Amazon, Teak Wood Chair/Lulu & Georgia, Table/DIY (I have painted it since then, but it’s the same table going strong since 2012!), Macrame/The Northern Needle, Wine Cabinet/DIY (we didn’t write a tutorial for it, but just so you know where it came from), Wood Console/West Elm.
Sunroom Sources: Chairs/Wayfair, Coffee Table/Amazon, Outdoor Rug/Target, Spun Brass Planters, Tiered Planter, Brass lights/Schoolhouse Electric. If you want to learn more about painting brick, see here.
Living Room Sources: Sven Charme Tan Sofa from Article, Coffee Table/Anthropologie (it sold out shortly after I bought it), Mirror/CB2, Rug/Wayfair—they also sell it here.
DIY sources: Here’s a post about my rainbow bookshelves, our paneled ceiling DIY and our color washed floors.
Thank you so much for your love and support surrounding our renovations and home projects. If I’ve learned anything from this home, it’s that the process is just as magical as the end result and that I want a lot more renovation projects in my future! xx- Elsie
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these past ten years—blogging, friendships, relationships, trends, all of it. I like looking back and seeing the looping trends. It’s kind of funny. I also love being embarrassed by my younger self. And every once in a while, even inspired to pick something back up that I’d forgotten about—like my daily photography challenges back in the days of Flickr.
I feel like I am finally at an age where I really know myself. I know my style. I can predict how I’ll feel in a couple years, rather than jumping from extreme to extreme. Not that I’m not still open to change, but I think that my sense of self is MUCH stronger in my thirties than it was in my twenties. I know what I love. I’ve found my keepers.
There’s a lot in that category including music I love, hobbies that are FOREVER (including my roller skating grandma goals) and a style that I can really put my name on.
And fashion is a huge thing. This past year I FINALLY understand how to shop smarter and hunt for clothes I will wear over and over. A big part of it was this life changing book and the rest was just putting in more effort to try things on, return/return/return, and be much more picky about what I add to my closet.
Anyway! I am rambling, aren’t I? This dress/tights/clogs combo is one of my main uniforms that I wear probably five times a week! The best part is, it’s EASY, because I like to be able to get out the door within 20 minutes. No time to waste trying on 10 different pants and top combinations. Haha!
Elsie’s Wearing: Dress/Oui Fresh, Tights/ASOS (sold out, but here’s another pair), Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens, Necklace/Madewell (similar).
Your turn, sister!
Speaking of being in your 30s, so I recently turned 31. And I think maybe there should be something you get when you turn 31—I mean, when you turn 21 (in the US, where I live), you are finally allowed to buy and drink alcohol. But you turn 31 and NOTHING happens. Can we all put our heads together and come up with something for this? K, thanks.
But yeah, I certainly have my go-to fashion (and other life stuff) staples. I still love to try new things, learn to do new things, and generally don’t ever want to close myself off as I age. But, that being said, I do feel a lot more confident now than I did at 21. And when it comes to fashion, I certainly feel like I know more what looks good on me and what I will love over time.
For example, I think I’m always going to be a big fan of metallics (bet you thought I was going to say black clothes there, well, you’d be right about that too). The purse I’m wearing here I had with me when I walked in to meet my parents for a birthday dinner recently at a favorite restaurant of mine. My dad immediately says something about how my purse reminds him of my great Aunt Ina. She’s currently in her 90s, and as long as I can remember, she too has been rocking the metallic purses, shoes, etc. I think I’m on the same path. Turns out, Aunt Ina knows what’s up.
Emma’s Wearing: Dress/F21 (similar), Leggings + shoes/H&M (similar shoes here), Vest/I.N. San Fransisco (similar), Glasses/ABM for BonLook Jack & Norma frames, “E” charm c/o Fossil, and Purse/Rebecca Minkoff (similar here).
Do you guys have colors, styles, or other things you KNOW you’re gonna love for years to come? We wanna hear what you have fallen for this decade. xo. Elsie + Emma
Credits // Author: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.
Is everyone starting to plan their Thanksgiving menu yet? We just hosted our first Friendsgiving in the holiday house and it was awesome! This is our 8th Friendsgiving and we rotate between Springfield and Nashville for the event. We kept it small this year with just us three siblings (myself, Elsie, and our brother Doren), our significant others, and our kiddos. With Elsie living in Nashville and our brother moving to St. Louis by the end of the year, it was really special to keep things small this year and spend some time together.
This year, we are working with ALDI for our Friendsgiving. I bought basically all my groceries (including wine!) for our meal from ALDI and I love the great selection, high-quality options, (including a lot of organic items), and affordable prices. I have been a big fan of ALDI for years (always keep a quarter in my car that I call my “ALDI quarter” for the carts) and it was super easy to get our Friendsgiving meal groceries from them this year. You can find your local ALDI at this link!
In addition to just showing you how we decorated and what our meal looked like this year, I am also (as always!) sharing a few new recipes in case you are still planning your menu. Today, I’ll share the turkey brine we used and later next week we have a green bean and macaroni casserole (my favorite dish this year!) as well as a pumpkin swirl slab pie I’ll be posting.
For our turkey this year, I pretty much stuck to my foolproof turkey and gravy method, but I changed up the brine. I’m calling this one spiced wine turkey brine because that’s exactly what it is (see the recipe card at the end for the full recipe).
I used a 10-14 pound frozen Butterball turkey, and loved that they had thawing instructions on the side of the packaging. I don’t always use a frozen turkey, so this was helpful! ALDI has a lot of other sizes available too, all at affordable prices, just in case you need a different amount for your event. The brine is a mix of Simply Nature Organic Vegetable Broth, spices, fresh fruit and citrus rinds, and a whole bottle of Crystal Creek Cellars Riesling. I sampled some of the Riesling before adding to the brine and it was delicious! We ended up serving the William Wright Chardonnay with our meal and everyone kept commenting on how good it was (plus it was super affordable—my favorite kind of wine. Ha!).
Along with the turkey and side dishes I already mentioned, I also served Caesar salad, mashed sweet potatoes, and then I bought brioche rolls and a box of stuffing mix too. My secret to any big meal like this is I don’t make everything from scratch, just most of it. 🙂
Elsie and our niece, Penny, set the table and made everything extra pretty. We were excited to host our Friendsgiving at the holiday house this year as this is basically the first big meal that has been served in this dining room. So we kept the decor pretty minimal since it was already an extra special spot.
We had a kiddo table this year, using the picnic table from the playroom. I am normally a big fan of kids eating at the same table with adults, but we just didn’t have enough chairs/space. I think a kiddo table worked out though as the cousins had a lot of fun sitting together.
Oh, in case you’re curious, the turkey was the biggest hit with the kids. Go figure!
I am immensely grateful for my family this season and I’m so happy we all got to get together already this year and spend some time together. Wishing you all the best whatever you are celebrating this season! xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
Spiced Wine Turkey Brine
32 ounces Simply Nature Organic Vegetable Broth
1 bottle Crystal Creek Cellars Riesling
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Ground Cayenne
1 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Simply Nature Organic Thyme Leaves
2 pears chopped
2 oranges rinds only
4-6 cups water
In a large pot over medium heat, stir together the broth, sugar, salt, and spices until the sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the wine as well as the chopped fruit and citrus rinds.
In a brining bag or container that fits your turkey, add the brining liquid plus enough water to fully (or as close as possible) submerge the turkey. Brine overnight in the refrigerator. Remove liquid before roasting the turkey.
The turkey should already be thawed before brining. Also, make sure to remove any extra pieces, like if your turkey came with the innards or the neck left inside.
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