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Styled Events: A Bavarian Birthday

We had a big Bavarian blowout last Saturday for my husband’s 30th birthday.  The colors of Bavaria are blue and white, so I carried those colors throughout the even, reinforcing the theme.  There was a big blue and white ‘biergarten’ tent, plenty of beer from a retro looking beer truck, and a german-inspired menu complete with wursts, kraut and pretzels.  A polka band created a festive atmosphere for mingling and lounging.

I wanted to have a laid-back, social gathering where people could relax while they grazed on goodies and cooled down with a frosty draft.  Custom steins with ‘ein prosit’ (a toast) to Matt were perfect for an afternoon of beer drinking, and made cute favors for friends to take home.  The pretzels were sleeved in glassine bags that I printed off my home computer, which is such an easy way to personalize the small details.

Earlier in the evening, people relaxed under the tent, or congregated near the beer truck.  Later in the evening a big bonfire lit the way for more drinking and some more rowdy events!

All in all it was a ton of fun, and not too much work, so I could really enjoy myself! It’s wonderful atmosphere for a big party, birthday or not!



Textures of India


Guys, I cannot even begin to describe my trip to India.  It was much different from I’d imagined, but in a good way.  I had visions of ‘Slumdog millionaire’ with kids clamoring to the car windows on each outing from the hotel.  I was informed by a colleague that had I been in Mumbai, that might have been the case.

In Delhi, there was a distinct flair for beauty and culture, a little european influence, and lots and lots of traffic.  Since I was there for work, I didn’t get to tour around or see a lot of the spots most would probably want to visit, but I did get to see a fair amount more than I usually do on business trips.

As you can see from the snippets above, I was just overtaken by all of the amazing color, texture, and materials that surrounded everyday life in Delhi.  I do have a ton more photos, but thought these beautiful examples of the culture through color and texture were a great display of my visit for you all!

Have a BEAUTIFUL Monday!



Friday Faves 7.20

ONE traditional block printing in India is still huge, especially with the resurgence of the trend in apparel and home goods here stateside.  I picked up a couple pretty carved blocks for my own projects, $2.  TWO water buffalo run ramped in that part of the world, and are highly revered.  Their horns are used, just as every part of the animal is used after it dies naturally. I picked up these salad servers for their beautiful striations and natural coloring, $3. THREE bottle dye and tye dye techniques are all the rage right now, and with the importance that India plays in the garment industry, they’re keeping up with trend, $1. FOUR inlaid precious stone in white marble is what part of the Taj Mahal facade is adorned with.  A little trinket box using the same technique is the perfect memento, $18. FIVE I really just love elephants, and had to pick up a unique one to go on my bedroom shelves.  This guy was just $8 from a beautiful new home store called The Wishing Chair www.wishingchair.in coming soon!


Well guys, I’m back in action.  I was able to work a full day yesterday and today I’m on the party planning train for my husbands big  Bavarian themed 30th birthday party tomorrow.  I’m so excited to show you guys pictures next week of all the festivities, and boy, will it be festive.  We have everything from a traditional biergarten tent to a polka band to pretzels and wursts.  We’ll all be singing ‘ein prosit’ and clinking beer mugs in no time!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend lined up!  See you next week!



R29 SHOPS + I’m Back!

I’m back!  I (knock on wood) don’t have jet lag, slept a full night last night and am ready to get back into action.  The trip to India was wonderfully productive from a work standpoint and I got to see a few fun things for myself along the way.

I was eager to get into my normal rotation of shops and blogs, and I come home to discover that Refinery 29, a lifestyle site that I love to meddle through, has launched a new shopping platform called R29 SHOPS!

Although my favorite part of both the blog and shops is the home and entertaining advice and articles (like this guide to summer hostess gifts) there are also products and deals ranging from accessories, to fashion, and beauty.  What’s more is that the site also offers vouchers (which are my favorite part).  The vouchers work like a coupon you’d buy from a local sale site and offer double dollars on store credit to other online shops.

I’ll be catching up on my life at home today, but you can do a little shopping and check on some of the wonderful new things at the R29 Shops!

Have a SPLENDID Thursday out there, friends!


Reader Favorites: Our Kitchen – Before and After

I always get requests and emails about my kitchen, from where my farmhouse sink was purchased (Ikea) to what color my walls are (custom creation). I wanted to share the renovation again with some of you who are new to House of Earnest, so that when I show brief snippets, you’ll understand the whole a little better!

This house is a 110-120 year old farm house that was built by my husband’s great-great grandfather. It was a rental property for a long time before he moved here in 2006. It was my husband’s bachelor pad for a few years. Then in 2009, I moved in and my husband and I began renovating and remodeling what we could. Our goal was to bring the kitchen back from 80’s rental reno to an early 1900s inspired chic modern space.

Those of you who live in an old house would know; they are a blessing and a curse. Windows and doors aren’t level (shoot – floors and ceilings aren’t even level), they never look clean even when they’re spotless, things break everyday, and they are constantly a work in progress. But on the other hand, these houses feel like homes – with so much history and character.

*In the above ‘before’ photo, the cabinets were a light, honey oak, the floor was peel n stick linoleum tiles, countertops old formica, and appliances just plain old.

*In the above ‘after’ photo, cabinets are painted ‘cottage black’ from Behr, floors are Jacobean Walnut stained pine, walls are “green tea ice cream” (color was my creation, but mixed by the wonderful people at Home Depot).  Kitchen island was from target – similar island HERE

We did all of the work ourselves, refinished all the cabinets, installed the tile and apron front sink in the pantry (wet room) area, and refinished the floors to expose the original wood. 

I love my kitchen and cooking in it is what I do as a weeknight relaxation ritual.  Of course there are things that I would want in a newer home, but I just love where we landed on this kitchen!

Have a FAB Wednesday!


Reader Favorites: Graphic Print Laquered Trays

These graphic laquered wooden trays are another favorite that I’m sad to say I haven’t necessarily acted upon the responses.  I’ve been asked a few times to post a tutorial on these trays, but unfortunately, I cannot find another set of trays that I like enough to showcase the whole ‘how-to’!

I used these trays from Muji, and loved them, but they went out of stock quite quickly.  If I ever find anything similar again, I’ll post a tutotial.  I didn’t think it was really fair to post a DIY when the materials weren’t readily available for you all! Back to the trays…

I used patterned tea towels (which I love to collect, but hate to use on dishes) to create these lacquered beauties.  The long and the short of it, is that I applied a spray adhesive to the tray surface, very carefully smoothed on the tea towel, cut the edges away with an x-acto knife then covered the whole things in about 4 layers of decoupodge allowing each layer to dry for 48 hours before applying the next.  I finished it off with a layer of spray polyurethane to give it a very shiny, hard surface.

I think it’s a pretty way to use up those tea towels which are just too cute to dirty!

What are your thoughts?  The full tutorial is here if you’d like to try your hand!

Have a BEAUTIFUL Tuesday!


p.s. on the travel front, I am exhausted, and leave first thing tomorrow morning to return to the US after a wonderful week in Delhi, India.  I am very eager to show you all the photos and my friday faves this week will be a special India edition!  Get excited!!



Reader Favorites: Industrial Orbit Chandelier

You might have seen my orb chandelier in the office tour last week, or you might have been following House of Earnest since the chandelier made its debut last August.

Either way, this chandelier has definitely been in the top five viewed tutorials and posts for the past year.  It was a fun project to make, and costs way less than purchasing a similar one from any of the many retailers who are selling similar styles. I was pinning rooms with these chandeliers for a few months, and doing some general investigating before I decided that they were all just a little too ornate for me, and I’d be better off to take the plunge and just make one.

*above photos: first from Z Gallerie $499, forth from Currey&Company $1310, all other from Solaria $1035-$3355

Difficulty-wise, it’s about a six on a one to ten scale based on the fact that it uses a riveting tool, which isn’t so common in most households, but only costs around $19 in case you’re interested in one.  If you’re newer to House of Earnest, and are not familiar with this project, you can keep reading below for the full tutorial!  The entire project costs around $50 to make (which includes the cost of the rivet tool), but it turns out so wonderfully, it’s worth it!

Continue Reading…


Reader Favorites: Friday Fave Cheese Plate

* all food items from Trader Joe’s no. 1 multiseed corn crackers, no. 2 grassfed sheepsmilk gouda, no. 3 rosemary and olive oil parmesan cheese, no. 4 feta stuffed spanish olives, no. 5 deluxe salted mixed nuts, no. 6 sliced gala apple, no. 7 maytag blue cheese, no. 8 mini chevre (goat cheese) medallions, no. 9 honey mixed with dried apricots and cranberries. **Cheese Markers from Pottery Barn, Platter from Crate and Barrel


It’s Friday!  Do you have plans for the weekend? If you haven’t been following a long this week, I’m in India for work and am sharing some of my past posts which get the most feedback from readers.  I get a lot of questions about creating a casual, thrown-together weekend gathering with friends, and this is something I do quite often!  I just LOVE when friends drop in on a quiet summer evening and I always make sure to keep a few things on hand for just such an occasion. There are just a few tips I have for arranging a flavorful and diverse cheese plate for house guests. 

Use a variety of hard, semi-soft, and soft; aged and young.  Choose four – a semi-soft grass-fed cow’s milk cheese like gouda or cheddar, a hard italian cheese like parmesan or asiago, a pungent aged cheese like blue or roquefort, then a soft creamy cheese like chevre or brie.  Alongside the cheeses, serve a variety of textures and flavors from crisp fruit like apple or pear to soft tangy olives and everything in between.  I like offering my guests the opportunity to create many varied flavors to create a long and leisurely snacking evening.

Have a FLAVORFUL Friday and Weekend!


P.S. Things are going well here in India!  If you’re following a long on Instagram or Twitter ( both @houseofearnest) you’re seeing little snippets of my India adventures!  Be sure to follow – tomorrow I head to Agra to see the Taj!


Reader Favorites: Neon Pink Love

We’re back again for another reader favorite!  I posted last June about the emergence of neons (specifically pink) and how to incorporate them into everyday life.  The original post incorporated neon upholstery, art, and more, but this tray is what got the most buzz. 

This stenciled tray was so easy – just cut any desired shape out of contact paper and place in a pattern onto your surface, then use an acrylic paint to cover the area around and over the stencils! Peel off the contact paper once dry and enjoy!

It’s an awesome way to get some neon into life without making a big commitment – and a bonus – it was cheap, easy, and home-made!  Throw in some serene blue, nautical elements, and you’ve got yourself the perfect little mix.  Not too over the top, but still perfectly on trend.

oh yeah, and I love hot pink nails, but this isn’t a beauty or fashion blog, so I’ll leave it at that.

Have a BRIGHT Thursday!


Reader Favorites: All White Office Renovation

Today’s reader favorite is my all-white office renovation that was completed last August.  The before is certainly different, although the overall changes were minimal.  I put up some decorative molding about six inches from the ceiling for a little architectural detail, painted all of the walls white, and replaced most of the furnishings.  Floor to ceiling white drapes soften the starkness of so much white and keep it breezy.

It’s my place that I go to feel inspired, efficient, and creative.  Coming off of the Etsy blog post I wrote about putting together a space to create, I definitely felt it was fitting to show you all my space!

I think there is just enough color and bold elements to offset the white walls, shelves, and chair!

Have a WONDERFUL Wednesday!


p.s. today is my first working day in Delhi!  I’m looking forward to seeing it in the daylight, trying the food, and being open for new experiences that come my way!