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HOME TOUR WITH ALEXIA BROWN

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.}

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

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

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MH-20150327-11shelving details

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

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

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

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

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{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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5 WAYS TO MASTER THE ART OF GOOD CONVERSATION

9wijhGeuBMYyG1zmlSWMgG_ooxIQ6RuQipogf49NHuE,-WpjpARIbaQdgRMh8D0rFo_GWyfOKNv_J0SV6UwcvRc,cm0lbjno9kBQugmFU6rwmAkCkPeYTAM6Q_FfxrP3NIEWe’ve all been there – sitting around a dinner table, things are going well at first, and then it happens…the awkward silence. The painful silence and everyone can hear the host panic, searching their brain for some scrap of an interesting topic. No one wants the conversation lag to make an appearance at their party & lucky for you, we won’t let that happen. Think of us here at LaurenKelp.com as your Entertaining Fairy Godmothers and this post as step one in how to achieve entertaining mojo. Don’t worry, we will cover cooking for guests with dietary restrictions, the perfect playlist, and other pro-tips, but first things first – How to battle conversation lag.

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1. Create a conducive environment for conversation

Talking is out of the question, let alone good conversation, if the music is too loud. Do everyone a favor and set the volume before your guests come over. Keep the volume low enough so it won’t interfere with conversation.

2. Ask open-ended questions

This is the proverbial slam-dunk for table talk. Asking a creative, open-ended question will not only get the person you posed the question to talking, but will engage the entire table. Here are some of my favorites:

  • How did you meet your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband?
  • What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
  • What are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow lately?

3. Ask a follow-up question!

Yep, I know! It sounds zainy (eye roll), but asking a follow-up question creates a space for your guests to elaborate, expand, maybe even tell a personal anecdote. Asking, “how did that make you feel?” or “what was that like?” work in almost any situation. Get creative! Ask a question you are genuinely curious to know. You might just learn something fun about an old friend.

4. Pay attention to your guests physical needs

Look around, see who needs a re-fill or a second helping. Don’t let your guests worry about interrupting this great conversation flow we’ve worked hard to achieve. Anticipate their needs and jump in to serve/re-fill when necessary.

5. Do more listening than talking

One of the duties of a good host is to help maintain the flow of conversation. An easy way to do this, is listen more than you talk. Be mindful of how much you are talking. These are all your friends, so be careful not to dominate the conversation. Help guide the flow by asking questions (steps 1 & 2), bringing up topics all your guests might have in common (save the taboo ones), or by paying attention to your guests physical needs (step 4).

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There you have it. Five super easy steps to maintain good conversation flow without the awkward lag. Above all, remember you are the host, so pay attention to all of your guests, engage them, and anticipate their needs. Entertaining is an absolute blast, but when you’ve got a new group of people or guests that don’t know each other, there is some leg work involved. Have no fear, your Entertaining Fairy Godmothers are here!


lauren