HT|DWF0025Hello friends! We’ve been doing Home Tours for a while now & I can honestly say they are one of my favorite series of the site. It’s so fun to take a peek inside someones home, see how they decorate, learn about new spaces, and get to know someone better. Today is an extra fun Home Tour for me because today we are stepping inside our Chicago home!

If you’ve been following the site for a bit, you might remember our Phoenix home tour. From Austin to Phoenix to Chicago in a quick two years, we’ve gotten really good at moving! But, this January we moved downtown Chicago and plan on kicking it around the Windy City for a bit. So come on in and let me show you around!


We developed a love for weird, funky art while living in Austin & Arizona, so you can defiantly see the Southwestern influence throughout the house.HT|DWF0019 HT|DWF0016My parents live in Chicago, so since moving home, we’ve been able to…commandeer a few of their pieces. This red chair used to be my Grandfather’s and was a staple in my Dad’s house growing up. Whenever he comes over, he looks at it, smiles, and settles right in. HT|DWF0015 HT|DWF0013

Between Hendrick’s Gin (or Koval if you are local) and a good bottle of wine, I am a happy gal.HT|DWF0012I don’t care what anyone says, the Ugly Doll stuffed animals are hysterical. This guy always makes us smile when we walk upstairs.
HT|DWF0011 HT|DWF0010Oh, so this was a really fun project! I’ve always wanted to try my hand and an industrial rolling rack and this was the perfect excuse. This little guy was so fun and super easy to make!
HT|DWF0004 HT|DWF0003 HT|DWF0002et Voila! Our first spot in Chicago. There is lots of work to do, but we think the bones are pretty fun. You can’t beat 19 foot ceilings downtown!

Thanks so much for stopping by!



BREANN0008A few months ago, Lauren, Stancy and I headed out to a gorgeous Phoenix neighborhood to take a few photos of moi for the website. It was a warm Autumn evening, and the lighting was seriously dreamy. Having your photo taken can be a really awkward experience, but Stancy and Lauren gave me the best direction, and really helped me to feel confident and comfortable. Their work definitely resonates in the images Stancy captured, but there was one thing about the shoot they just couldn’t help me with.

You can’t see it in the photos, but there were about a MILLION mosquitos swarming my legs. (Okay, maybe a million is a bit dramatic, but there were definitely a lot.) I could feel several at a time biting at my shins and ankles. My face may seem cool and collected, but I was screaming inside. I had about a dozen large welts on each of my legs for about a week afterward – not pretty.

Since then, homemade insect repellent is one thing that always remains in my cosmetic bag. Sure, it’s kind of like medicine rather than a beauty product, but if you guys had seen my legs, you’d definitely consider it for vanity purposes too!

IMG_3908One thing I can’t stand about store-bought insect repellent is obviously the scent. Most repellents smell like poison to me, and to be honest, I don’t like using products with so many chemicals on my skin. All you long time subscribers of #LKbeauty know I love to take a natural approach to things, and this is no exception. After a little online research, I came up with my own blend of insect repellant!



– A small spray bottle – really any size will do.

– Witch Hazel (can be found at Walgreens and even Target)

– Lemon or Citronella Essential Oil

– Melaleuca Essential Oil


– Simply fill the bottle about 3/4 full of Witch Hazel.

– Next add 5 drops of each oil

– Shake the bottle vigorously before each use and apply liberally.

– It’s THAT simple!

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Since the weather has been warming up here in Arizona, we are starting to see little mosquitos re-populate. I’ve been using this blend for a few weeks now, and all the pests have steered clear of me. What I love most, is the citrus scent! It’s really perfect for this time of year, and I doubt anyone will tell you that your essential oils smell bad. I now look forward to a Summer of bite free legs, and more time spent outdoors!


Plan on making some of your own insect repellant? Snap a pic and tag us on Instagram/ Twitter with @laurenkelp and #LKbeauty.


breann bowman


MH20150327-109Candice here, and I’ve known for a while that I wanted to share Kate LeSueur’s home with you.  Mostly because she totally upended how I think about hosting, serving appetizers, and the like.  Mostly because she prepares food beautifully and casually.  Mostly because conversation with her is so easy.  Scroll through the beautiful photos below and be inspired by her inviting leather Chesterfield, marble top furniture that ushers in the spirit of New Orleans, and most of all, her hospitality.MH20150327-21

{Kate’s mismatched cane-bottom chairs and marble table takes me straight to a Louisiana bistro.}



{The photography above the couch are Kate’s originals.}



MH20150327-38{This afternoon, Kate served pickled carrots and made a batch of homemade potato chips for us to snack on with Campari Spritzers.}




{Here’s little peek of her latest work below and here:}





How did you find the space?

We found the space by just driving around the neighborhood.  We knew what part of town we wanted to be in, so we just persisted.  This old complex of 6 apartment units was built in the 50s.  They were being refurbished at the time, so we left our names and phone numbers on other tenants’ cars and doors with hopes of a call back.  We got super lucky.

What do you love about your space?

I love how quiet it is.  Walking in this neighborhood has yet to get old.  And it’s really a privilege to be able to so easily and quickly walk or bike to run errands or go grab a drink.  And, I love that it is where we are now, in so many ways.  It’s far from done, which can be difficult at times since we’re constantly over stimulated with social media and the internet — seeing everyone’s perfect nook, wall, room.It’s exhausting, frankly — the sense of urgency to have everything perfect now, how it’s hard to find originality, and largely, that it’s rare to see something that feels honest.  I’m guilty of it, trying to make things look perfect knowing it will be photographed – running around town trying to find new furniture, etc etc.  I quickly had to can that feeling not only because I had no luck in finding anything, but also remembered that a beautiful, personal space is collected slowly, created over much time.   I think a challenge also lies in that when one does creative work, there is sort of an expectation that every part of their life is perfectly curated.

Pretty please share that Campari Spritzer recipe!

We were outside of Venice once with a big group of friends and missed a train we hustled to catch.  So at the tiny station, we ordered Campari spritzers.  They served them with a big salty green Cerignola olive.  It was everything.  A favorite food memory for sure.  It’s just Campari and sparkling water.  And that green olive.

Give us your top entertaining tip.

People love potato chips.  And warmed olives.  They are the perfect easy bite with a good drink.  Both are great with a sprinkle of dried herbs de provence.  The more approachable you keep things (including yourself and your home), your guests are more comfortable and everyone is happier.

Stay on the look out for more of Kate’s work here on the blog – it’s coming soon!  And finally, thank you so much Kate for sharing your home, such an intimate space, with us.

Stunning house tour photographs by Minette Hand.

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cd79cb92f6ef8b8e2462ce67f5b5e93eYou could say that running an entertaining website makes you somewhat of an “expert” on all things dinner party. Putting yourself and your mission out on the internet will do that to you. Daily we received emails from concerned party throwers asking how to find the perfect place card, how to save an outdoor party if it rains, and other seemingly deserving concerns about mastering the perfect get-together. While these questions are par for the course, the biggest statement we get here at LK HQ is “I could never throw a party, my home is just too messy.”


FotorCreatedWe all have storage closets that have bowing shelves from to much stuff. There isn’t a person I’ve met that isn’t embarrassed by at least one part of their home. Maybe it’s the funky carpet you just haven’t had time to rip up. Maybe it’s the shades from the 80’s. Or maybe it’s the slightly pink paint job you have in your living room because you are renting and don’t want to invest the money in a permanent space.

This excuse of the “messy home” is totally that – an excuse. It’s a cop-out. No one cares if your plates don’t match, they are just happy to come over and catch up. You are not being judged on the sheen of your floors or the color of your walls. Inviting people into your home is an act of friendship, it’s a case for community, and place to feel known. So you’ve got dog hair on your sofa – so what? We’ve got shelves propped up by bricks and we think it’s charming!

If you are one of these “I can’t have friends over because..” types of people, I want to call your bluff. I want to challenge you to invite someone over this weekend. Your mom, best friend, co-worker, the couple that’s new to the neighborhood, whomever – it really doesn’t matter. Invite them over and see if they give a hoot about the un-perfectness of your life. Chances are, they will be refreshed because their space isn’t perfect either.

wjd6PMtFOFDmeAcyMBtS1vIZYAldZf5NxUD2FAhfA24,ynEDL2F_ypwpFUBaf76pE1RIp6MerFN6MNZQKzNL1EE,EfvltWiQSgO9NU9M74FLgypGl52l9DjOr9iilS8NsCYPS – These images were taken at our home in Phoenix the day before our house got robbed. Our house was prepped for a photo shoot, otherwise it would not be this clean. Many of the items in the images have been stolen or are broken due to the invasion.



MH-20150327-27Candice here, and I’ve got a total knock out home tour to share with you today.  Thanks to beauty Alexia Brown, the Owner & Curator behind Byron & Blue, who was so gracious to have me and Minette come spend an afternoon talking about life and drinking cold beer, today’s post will inspire you to be you.  From the way she styled her shelves to the way she organizes pots and pans, Alexia’s comfortability in her own skin is a true breath of fresh air. Scroll through my favorite photos from the shoot and find words of decorating and entertaining wisdom from Alexia below.

MH-20150327-33{Personal details on a vintage record cabinet greet guests.}


{Using hooks and a mirror she transforms this potentially tricky space into a foyer.}


living room details{Don’t you love the way Alexia layers rugs and uses vintage textiles to color her couch and living space?}


MH-20150327-11shelving details


{This shelving unit helps divide the long living space and is filled with sentimental treasures.}




{Utilizing another vintage staple, she created an open space – perfect for storage and conversation.}



MH-20150327-37{Simple open shelving and hanging pots make getting around the kitchen easy.}






MH-20150327-41 MH-20150327-40

{Just up the ladder is Alexia’s bedroom loft.  With no storage options, she’s built in creative, functional shelving.}



{Alexia also transformed a tiny space behind her bathroom door into a makeshift closet for extra storage!}

What do you love about your space?

I love the lofted bedroom and high ceilings. It makes the space feel airy and un-cramped, even though there isn’t a lot of square footage.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

The lack of a proper closet! I have a lot of clothing hanging in the bathroom, but what’s great about lack of storage is that it’s forced me to get rid of unnecessary belongings, which is a great feeling.

You took a long, open area and were able to break it up into spaces that made sense.  Tell us how you visualized and executed that.

I think the rugs help break up the space and the former tenant left these great shelves behind that helped create a separation, so it feels like I have a proper living room. And putting a dresser and some chairs and plants in the corner made it a little nook and separated it from the rest of the area.

Describe your interior style and maybe a little story about who influenced it. 

I make it a point to never over think my style. I feel that if you fill your home with what you love, it will just come together. It’s important to me that my home be unfussy and lived-in and comfortable.

My dad has always influenced my style – we did a lot of thrifting together when I was young and he was always bringing home great vintage finds.  It’s such a thrill when you find something that you can’t wait to take home.  He taught me that you should never put anything in your house you’re not excited about.

Give us your top entertaining tip.    

Always have Cards Against Humanity and lots of wine on hand.

Thank you thank you, one million times thank you, Alexia, for sharing your space with us.  If you want to get your hands on Alexia’s style check out Byron & Blue, her online shop.

Dreamy photos by Minette Hand 

Love Alexia’s style? Follow her Instagram!

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MH-20150224-38Candice here, and if you’ve been following the living column, you know that I’ve been planning a few home and space tours. And today, I’m launching the first original home tour with Emily Waldmann!  Emily is the special events director at the most gorgeous Hotel St. Cecilia, and though she hails from the Pacific Northwest, she’s called herself an Austinite for a few years now.

I met Emily through business, and from the beginning she was so warm but also focused on her work.  I love that balance in someone, especially in this field where insecurity and pride are rampant yet almost always out-of-place.  Emily is always that refreshing change – confident but so, so real.  Over the past year, we’ve become friends and one lucky day last summer, she invited me over for a clothing swap.  From the minute I stepped into her home, I was mesmerized by her magic interior design capabilities and killer aesthetic.  Equal parts bohemian and modern, found and new, Emily’s home is a place you can totally stop in for a drink or just chill and put your feet up.

She invited me over one morning last week to take some photos over breakfast and coffee and I was inspired by every moment.  To be honest, I couldn’t launch this series without someone as hospitable, fun to be around, and so so keen on design.

Enjoy the amazing house tour, with Emily’s candid interview mixed in.


entryway details

MH-20150224-17living room details

{She transformed what could have been an awkward space or foyer, into the perfect chatting and reading nook.  Don’t you love how her gallery wall progresses horizontally to bring the space together?}



kitchen detials



{The flow of her home moves straight into the kitchen, where she created a jaw dropping centerpiece with her dining area as well as her bright, clean kitchen design.  I love how Emily mixes in thrifted metal pieces with her personal bottles and books.}



{Sweet Lu (short for Cholula!) was excited to have guests.}



{The guest bath and another furry friend.}




MH-20150224-114 {Emily’s simply gorgeous bedroom (isn’t that light stunning?) and her genius bathroom design.}

nook detailsTell us a little bit about your home. 

It was built in 1967, and I am still learning a lot about it.  This is the first home I’ve owned, and it is such an adventure. Before I bought, I was renting an amazing place in the same neighborhood; so, I was comfortable with the area and really liked living here. After about two weeks of house hunting, I saw this house driving home from a friend’s. I probably drove by it four more times before I could get inside to see it. I had seen so many houses in such a short time span that when I walked in I was just excited about it. Terrified, but excited. It had a LOT of work to be done to it immediately. Some structural changes with beams, knocking down walls, ripping out cabinets etc. I never took a “before” photo, because I was too nervous that I would never get to an “after”! Realizing that there is no landlord…that you are in fact the landlord…is both empowering and terrifying.

MH-20150224-60What’s your favorite part of the house?

Definitely the kitchen and dining room. I loved an open kitchen and growing up; that’s where everyone always hangs out. I just hosted our Family Christmas here for the first time and it was so relaxing spending time together in my own place. Very adult-like!  That’s why it was so important to me to open the house up and make it feel spacious, especially since it is a galley kitchen.

The kitchen was also my first major project when tackling everything in the house, and I made a lot of decisions that I was unsure of but ended up being really happy with, like the open shelving. I love cooking and entertaining, having people over to relax and enjoy themselves–which I think is also why I love my job! It was also a really big lesson on where to source furniture and decor. I spent a lot of time collecting images, and then figuring out what the common elements were. The dining room is a perfect example of my favorite things—the dining table was made by my good friend Jaime Lovell, and having the OH! Fox rug there – it brought the space together, and I love that it came from a friend. Then there is the Tom Dixon light which some of my friends had very strong opinions about, and I always love a good “I told you so” moment.

MH-20150224-95It can be so overwhelming to remodel.  How did you make selections and remain to true to one vision?

YES! A thousand times yes it can be overwhelming.  I don’t think I had a concise vision when I started, but I think a recurring element of the whole process was trusting my  gut and finding common themes. Honestly, when my roommate Amber moved in, she helped so much.  She really gave the house the life it has today. In fact, I had just finished the bathroom remodel during the last SXSW festival in order to get the house ready for her April 1st move in, and I was completely exhausted by the entire process and felt defeated. She definitely carried the house the last 10 yards to make it a home. Our styles are distinctly different but super complimentary.

metal detailsWhat are you still unsatisfied with?

It’s always a work in progress, and I am so curious to see what the next chapter will be. If I were to do it again, I definitely would’ve made some different calls in the master bath. So many of those choices were time sensitive and coming home after putting on SXSW events at the hotel and then tracking down 3 boxes of penny tile didn’t put me in the best head space to make calm decisions.

My next goal is to really tackle the landscaping. I love hanging out outside and there is so much space out there to do so many interesting things.

MH-20150224-107Give us your top entertaining tip. 

Give people food and drinks and they are usually happy. Don’t be scared of something going “wrong.” If you are inviting people into your home, you’re inviting them to get to know a little part of you, so be comfortable. The worst case scenarios are usually never that bad, and if they are, it is a great story to tell at your NEXT party (just kidding I am a horrible storyteller).

MH-20150224-31Thank you again, Emily, for sharing your space and journey with us!

Gorgeous photos by Minette Hand.

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7904 Lenape Tr. exterior by Ryan Hand-1Candice here and we’re headed to the Austin Modern Home Tour this weekend.  I’ve been scrolling through the site daily – seriously, I’m that excited –  and the home on Lenape Trail caught my eye.  So when friends at the tour offered me a chance to get a sneak peek and interview a builder, I had to share it with y’all!

From his creative process to making a modern home warm, Ryan Hand generously offered the back story of his home exclusively with us.  If you’re in Central Texas, pick up a ticket here – such a small cost for so much inspiration.  Enjoy the pics and his process; I hope this home tour inspires you to give your home a little love this weekend!


7904 Lenape Tr. side by Ryan Hand-4

{Green, local grasses soften the modern outdoor space.  The lines welcome visitors toward the heart of the home.}

You were able to balance a modern design with such a warm interior – tell us more about that.

First of all, THANK YOU! It was our goal to balance the hard and soft delicately.  Driving or walking up to the house, you instantly get a feeling of the design. To us, it tells whether you like “modern” or not; after all, this Scandinavian Rooted Modern design is rarely seen in Texas. The harder exterior is built to provide the homeowner with a strikingly unique home that requires zero maintenance. When you enter the living space, we’ve warmed up the areas with beautiful wood accents including sustainable bamboo cabinets and a douglas fir feature wall. The placement of the windows brings in so much natural light, there is a warmth in the house that never requires a flick of a light switch. It’s built to capture the maximum amount of daylight. We used a combination natural tile to keep the bathrooms bright, warm, and luxurious. The house really has that appeal of living in a modern home, with great use of space, and a soft livability. It begs you to track a little dirt in and really make it your own.

7904 Lenape Tr. living by Ryan Hand-9{I love how the rug mirrors the concrete pattern on the floor, and the separating wall makes for a small gallery.}

7904 Lenape Tr. kitchen by Ryan Hand-38

{The way the wood color warms up this space caught my eye.}

For our readers that are looking to bring an old apartment or home into the modern-day, what would you tell them to consider changing first? 

I think it’s most important to carefully assess what’s already there and determine what you would consider keeping first. Generally speaking, if you’re looking for change, choose areas where the eye is drawn and places that will have the most impact. Think about the first two steps in the house: Is it warm, inviting, and welcoming? Think about where people will spend time: Do the living spaces invite you to kick off your shoes, sit on the couch, and really “live” in them? My other recommendation is to consider where you can bring the outdoors inside. Whether that’s a courtyard, a large picture window, or a private patio, try to incorporate that fresh air everyone needs.
7904 Lenape Tr. kitchen2 by Ryan Hand-39

{This kitchen brings a whole new meaning to the term built-ins.  Don’t you love how all of the drawers and cabinet lines are so clean yet functional?}

Tell us a little bit about your design process – what inspires you and where do you begin with a project?

When we start a new project, we first make sure we understand the goals we are attempting to accomplish whether it’s our client’s or our own. We start huddled around a computer looking at different images of elements we’ve collected, drawn, or found online. Then we decide what’s a “must have” and what’s a “nice to have”. We remain huddled around the computer and start sketching the plans. The process is typically driven by an exterior design element that we’ve decided “makes” the project. It’s so important for us to check the surroundings of the house carefully and decide that it makes the most sense for placement of the actual structure, windows, and living areas. From there, it’s a round of drafts and making sure we all feel great about the initial design. Simple right?

7904 Lenape Tr. bedroom by Ryan Hand-20

{This view.  Holy smokes.}

What’s your personal favorite space or piece of the Lenape Trail home?

Our inspiration for this project was: how the Scandinavian Rooted Modern Design interacted with the natural surroundings. The home sits on a 1.1 acre lot with undisturbed Greenbelt views. We wanted to create something unique and powerful yet private and livable. My personal favorite aspect of the house is: When you are standing in the house in any room, you feel like you are on your own private hill country retreat surrounded by a beautiful natural setting. This design accomplished our goals, and we hope it’s admired by anyone who is able to see it.

7904 Lenape Tr. bath by Ryan Hand-30

{Did you catch that white shag rug on the floor?  It partners with the warmth of the wood to make this modern bathroom feel cozy.}

Anything else you’d like to add for the everyday home owner?

First and foremost, if you love design or home ideas, check out houzz.com. It’s a great resource and super cool ideabook of inspiration. A fun watch is the documentary “Coast Modern,” which focuses on the design movement along the West Coast and speaks to audiences about the great interactions you can have between nature and your home.
Ryan, thanks so much for making time to share your story and your gorgeous space with us!

Incredibly beautiful photos:  Ryan Hand
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