rental keeping room redo: part two

Whenever I work on a room, no matter the budget, I always go through a selection process.  It can take a little time and is especially challenging when it’s your own space – mainly because you lose objectivity.  My struggle with this room was choosing the pillows and art.  I like too many fabrics.  It’s really a problem.  Our walls and main upholstered pieces were so neutral that I knew the pillows and art would bring in some much needed punch.  I also had to take into account how much the pillows would be totally abused enjoyed by our kids and pets.

Budget was slim, but I knew we needed big, squishy pillows in magical fabrics.  So I went shopping at Tracery.  Oh man, there were so many good ones – choosing was difficult.  I narrowed it down to three main styles:  zebra, navy, or zig zag.

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LOOK ONE:  Navy zig zag pillows with collage wall.   I took out the cream side chair so you could see the art wall better.

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I loved the richness of the navy.  But I was concerned about the velvet showing disasters from the kids – and I do mean disasters.  It can get a little nuts around here.  I also liked the eclectic feel of hanging my favorite art pieces in a grouping.  They’re all sentimental paintings – from the abstract small piece by our youngest when he was five, to the beautiful horse painting that was Peter’s first piece of art he bought on his own.  It was before I entered his life- ironic it was a horse.

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LOOK TWO:  Zebra with acid green accents and bird prints.  Both of my daughters liked this look best.

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Loved this grey ottoman from Tracery, it adds a wonderful layer of texture and is super practical.  The owl vase is from T.J. Maxx and the turquoise throw is from Target, both from a while ago.  Sorry, this pic seems a little blurry…either that or my eyes are just really tired.  

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These prints are taken from a Cavallini calendar - soooo easy to pop them in frames and hang.  I love the classic look and how comforting an organized grouping like this is.  It really directs the eye toward the focal point, which is the view.  Best of all it’s super affordable if you’re on a slim budget.

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Design note: When decorating a rental, try to keep your investment in staple items you can take with you to your next space (a well made sofa, rug, lamps, custom window treatment panels that can be hemmed or taken out), versus investing in upgrades that stay with the rental.  It’s very tempting to upgrade moulding, doors, hardware, lighting fixtures, etc. in a rental property, but keep in mind you will not get your money back in those investments.

I thought carefully about the different looks.  As you might expect, I went with a combo of these looks which was the final result I posted here.  Zebra with pale blue accents and the gallery wall.  What can I say, I love any accent piece that has a wild flair.  As far as art goes, I couldn’t resist seeing our sentimental pieces every morning and night –  I spend the most time in the kitchen.  I ended up transferring the Cavallini prints to our family room above a sectional.

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Thanks to my two little helpers that day.  They assisted in moving things around and offered their (sometimes quirky) opinions, although they tended to like all the looks.  You can see we worked until dark ; )  Herringbone throw on the back of our sofa from Pizitz - my favorite.  

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Share which look you liked best – or feel free ask any rental design questions in the comments below in case I missed something.  I’ll do my best to answer back in the comments.

Room sources are listed in this previous post.

Additional sources:  Floor lamp and pillows- Tracery; small bench under pictures – Scott’s ; frames – IKEA; bird prints - Cavallini calendar; white trophies and metal side table – oldies from Target; picnic basket – vintage.

By Seleta | 5 Comments

rental keeping room redo: part one

A while ago I told you about our “bay house” rental – a home we live in during the busy tourist season.  I’d like to share with you one of my room redos in this house, the keeping room.  **Let me emphasize this is only a rental – not our forever home – so keeping all changes simple and budget friendly was top priority.** I know many folks rent, so I thought this post would be helpful since it can be tricky knowing what to change or not change in a rental situation.

It would be an understatement to tell you this home was in dire need of a color and style intervention (ie:  a raging  pink dining room with 12 ft ceilings).  I redid the keeping room on a minimal budget.  This room was important because it’s part of our command central, the kitchen, and has one of the best water views in the house.  The house was offered to us furnished (pictured below) but we chose to bring in our own furnishings.  Here’s how the keeping room looked on our first walk through:  lemon yellow walls, red accents, blinds, plaid, dated tile floor.

simply seleta bay house before

And the AFTER.

simply seleta bay house after

A simple wall color change and new furniture arrangement were a HUGE help to this space.  Suddenly the room felt  much more grand, yet still cozy.  And we could finally enjoy the water view!  Note:  the rug should be bigger, but I grabbed the size that was in stock at the time for the sake of pictures.

As I was shooting the “after,” my youngest instantly appeared with his favorite cars in hand and found a spot to play…he loved the soft, chunky feel of the jute rug I picked up from Tracery Interiors.  Who says kids don’t appreciate design?!

simply seleta keeping room after4

The natural light flooding into the room adds to the warmth of the room’s whole aesthetic.

simply seleta bay house after2

I had to plan this room redo carefully.  There were three main factors to consider:

1.  The budget.  It was basically vapors, so I knew I needed to work with existing pieces then add in accent pieces with interest and texture.

2.  The view.  The windows overlook the beautiful blue bay, which you can’t really see because the of light coming in and the fact that I’m not a professional photographer).  In the case where your room overlooks a view with great dimension and color (garden, big yard, pool, etc.), you have to consider that feature as existing pattern and texture in the whole room’s design –  it’s a key part of the room’s aesthetic.  If I brought in all kinds of patterns and bright colors, it would overshadow the prettiest feature in the room, which is the view.  So I decided to keep things soft and neutral to give the water view center stage.

3.  The owner.  This is always a primary consideration when  working on a rental home.  Before implementing any changes, I sent all colors to the owner for approval – knowing that they would probably say yes if I kept it neutral and classic.  I also requested to have the oak-stained kitchen cabinets professionally painted a beautiful cream, but the owner preferred to keep them stained (insert shocked face here).

A little design trick:  If you need more seating in a room, but don’t want to obstruct a view, or the room is tight on space, try using a Ghost chair for accent seating.  I bought my Ghost chair from Joss & Main a few years ago, love it.  I’ve used it in so many settings, including one year as my desk chair.  

simply seleta bayhouse after3

The big changes I made here were paint color, removal of blinds (folded and boxed them neatly so we can put them back up when we move out), new furniture arrangement, and task lighting addition (lamps).

Wall color: Benjamin Moore’s “Creamy.”  I had never worked with this color before and ended up really loving it.  I discussed  our rental house paint color palette in this previous post.




1.  Rug, floor lamp, zebra pillows, inlay tray on ottoman:  Tracery Interiors.

2.  Sofa and arm chairs:  Pizitz  Home and Cottage.

3.  Ghost Chair:  Joss & Main.

4.  Storage ottoman and slipcover on side chair:  Ballard Designs (Ottoman here – bought it forever ago at the outlet; slipcover also from outlet, more here).

5.  Linen window treatments:  custom  made (had these many moons).

6.  Turquoise lamp, horse on table, light blue tray, and basket:  Homegoods

7.  Metal side tables and turquoise throw:  Target (from last year, but this similar side table is so mod and cute).

8.  Wooden rods, rings, and finials:  I bought an inexpensive white wood set and spray painted them bronze.  All from Home Depot.

9.  Leopard Pillows – Caroline Cole from 12 years ago – they are actually STILL available! Over here.

10.  Round table in between chairs:  so old I can’t remember.

.      .      .      .

Next post is PART TWO of the keeping room.  You’ll see a few different looks in this room – yes I had a hard time making up my mind on a few accessory items.  I’ll share with you all the fun I had selecting the pillows from Tracery, and two different styles of hanging art on the wall behind the sofa.

By Seleta | 13 Comments

expectation reset

Let’s sit for a moment and chat.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee.


How’s your week going?  More importantly, how are you treating yourself these days?  You know, the messages you send yourself every day.  I don’t mean texts, tweets, or emails.  I mean those inner thoughts that no one else hears.  Found this amazing quote and had to share.  Man, I LOVE this.  Read it several times to yourself.  Soak. It. Up.


Such a great way to think about yourself.  And SO TRUE.  I love that we are each given unique gifts which truly make us original “works of art.”

As great and true as this message is, it’s not always easy to recognize our authenitic value.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve occasionally gotten sucked into the misconception that you’re not as good as the expectations you’ve assigned to a certain area or season of your life.  This trap can happen at any season.  It’s like a negative-themed surprise party and you’re the guest of honor.  I’ve certainly had my share of those moments.  When it hits, it zings you like a torpedo.  Maybe it’s an idea about some area of your life where you think you could be better – financial, academic, career, health, or something as silly as the expectation of how you think you should look in certain clothes…or a swimsuit.  I’ve found that this expectation crash usually happens when we’re at a pivotal point of working toward a goal, usually in the throws of the “drudgery” stage.  Maybe that something isn’t happening fast enough, or on the timeline you had originally planned.  And you’re getting tired, annoyed, or discouraged.  Or all of the above (once again – been there!).  It’s soooo easy to feel like giving up.  Or even worse, to direct negative thoughts toward yourself.  It’s overall a negative pit to fall into.

I’m here to tell you there are ways out of that pit and those thoughts.  It first starts with understanding and embracing the great parts about YOU, because there are many.


If you’re struggling with a personal expectation disappointment, pause for just a moment.  Think about where you ultimately want to be, but don’t dwell on the timeline of it at all.  And don’t judge your progress, or lack thereof.  Here are a few ideas to ditch expectation judgements and help you discover your best self now.


by Seleta

1.  Sit down somewhere quiet with no distractions, and make a list of FIVE unique and positive things about yourself.  Then make a list of FIVE things you’re grateful for in your life right now.  Stick both lists on the mirror of your bathroom, or somewhere else visible to you.  Read these two lists aloud to yourself once a day for two weeks.


2.  Ask yourself “are my daily actions leading me toward a quality goal that will add joy to my life?”  If the answer is yes, then have patience and continue with your actions.  If no, then stop and reevaluate.  Make a list of simple actions which help you work toward a quality goal.

3.  Do something nice for someone who needs an emotional “lift” or help.  Do this without any expectation of a certain outcome.  One of the greatest ways to get out of negative thinking is to focus on helping someone else and stop thinking about…yourself!  Did you know that when you help and/or serve another, it lowers your cortisol levels and creates a positive change in your brain chemistry?  Your brain releases endorphins when you engage in an act of helping another.

4.  Do something nurturing for yourself.  This doesn’t mean inhale a huge plate of brownies as a “treat” or buy yourself that new cashmere scarf you’ve been eyeing.  This must be an action which completely disengages you from ego-based, judging, or material thinking.  For example, one of my current challenges is limited personal time.  Since selling my horse, I no longer have that “unwind” barn time where I can go connect with my own equine and exercise weekly.  So I’ve had to make a few adjustments.  I have carved out one certain night a week where I take a ballet class that I love – it’s challenging as well as a creative outlet.  I’ve set a few personal ballet goals and have enjoyed working toward them.  This break once a week is a perfect way to nurture myself and set a few reasonable goals that help me feel like I’m adding to the quality of my life.


My tired pins after a great class ; )

5.  Exercise.  There are millions of articles stating all the benefits of exercise, so I won’t bore you with those stats.  Bottom line:  when you exercise, you increase your brain’s “happy chemicals” and blow off stress.  Consequently, this makes you feel happier and think more clearly.  Even if you can incorporate a brisk 30 minute walk in your neighborhood three times a week, it will help you feel better and plan out the steps to hit your “expectation reset” button!

Hopefully this post will add a little lift to your week.  Remember, I’ve been there myself and can testify that the best gift you can give yourself is kindness….and encouragement!

By Seleta | 12 Comments
  • Simply Me

    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my husband, fabulous four offspring, happy horses and frisky fur babies. A former TV personality turned Designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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