Life’s a Beach

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Hello there :-)  What have you been up to?  It’s been one doozy of a year and I realize it’s been a while since I posted.  With a busy work schedule, far too many projects to keep track of and the ease of other platforms like Instagram to satisfy a creative/content craving in a pinch, I’ve found myself moving away from my little home blog base and catch myself missing it often.  I think I psych myself into thinking every post needs to be an elaborate tutorial, an over-the-top shoot that took weeks to curate or something crazy, but sometimes simple is better.  In the words of Don Draper himself, “make it simple, but significant.”  See you next week for a little catch up.  Until then, I hope you find a little down time for some summer breeze and a good book at the beach.

Cheers!

Meg

{photo via Gray Malin}

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Fall Entertaining

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Hip hip hooray!  It’s October 1st and I’m so excited to finally get to share the shoot I styled for ONEHOPE’s 2014 Fall Entertaining Guide perfectly captured by Brian Tropiano Photography. At work, I feel like we’re always flying by the seat of our pants and putting together content like this ahead of time has been a struggle.  This year, however, we managed to stay ahead of the game and shot everything in July to use for the remainder of the year.  Trying to determine what is going to be “in” before anything holiday related is even advertised or released in store is tough so instead I just decided to stick with my gut and curate items and elements that I really, truly love.  I wanted the room to feel like a forest so I incorporated a lot of wood textures, ferns, (faux) antlers, geodes and quartz tea lights down the center of the table.  On the wood backdrop behind the wine, was a wreath with an antler to tie the look together with an additional leather fern garland with bistro lights strung above the table.  We brainstormed for days on what to do instead of traditional place cards before we finally decided on stones – gold calligraphy on stones – to keep with the forest theme while adding a touch of elegance to each setting.  The overall messaging behind the day was “Hope, Thanks and Dreams” so Beth hand crafted an amazing dream catcher where guests’ thanks, hopes for the future and dreams were shared and attached with tiny clothes pins.  Menus were printed on archival matte paper with hope, dream or thanks hand inscribed on the top and florals were kept to a minimum with wooden vessels and a casual/handpicked mixture of dahlias, garden roses, viburnum berries, artichokes and greens.

Since the entire purpose of the shoot was to show how to integrate wine into your fall, Thanksgiving or holiday gathering, the day wouldn’t have been complete without some absolutely delicious and gorgeous fare crafted by 24 Carrots Catering.  24 Carrots is one of the biggest catering companies in the business and their food has never, ever disappointed at any event I’ve ever attended.  I was so impressed that they took our direction (a classic Thanksgiving meal) and creatively modernized it a bit while still staying in theme.  For example, I loved the juxtaposition of a modern beet dish served on a raw wood platter that you’ll see below.  Lastly, each of their dishes paired perfectly with one or more of our wines so find pairing suggestions and a few wonderful recipes below!  CHEERS!

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DECOR TIP:  Chairs can make or break a look.  This shoot took place in our conference room and it’s usually filled with white task chairs that are functional for work, but we opted to replace them for this shoot and I’m so happy we did.  Using these metal industrial chairs from Found Rentals kept the look casual, but also uniform, which I loved.

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DECOR TIP:  When designing a table on a budget, not only are garlands beautiful and always on trend, but they’re also the best bang for your buck. Seeded eucalyptus, lemon leaf, leather fern and bay leaf are all great options to consider.  Contact a flower mart or district in your area for bids, but depending on the greens you go with, garlands can run as little as $2.50-$7.00 per foot!

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DECOR TIP:  Menus aren’t always necessary, but they really add to a place setting and are so simple to create.  We whipped this one up Illustrator (but can easily be replicated in MS Word), printed it on nice paper and applied it to a piece of recycled kraft/corrugate paper that we picked up at Michael’s to tie in with the rest of the theme.  Menus are not only great for making pairing suggestions, but they are also the perfect place to tie in your theme or messaging of the evening.  Beth hand wrote thanks, hope or dream at the top of each menu to reiterate why we were all gathered that day.

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DELICIOUS Sauvignon Blanc can be found here.

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Fall-Entertaining-Turkey-2PAIRING NOTES:  Pinot Noir and Turkey are a natural pairing.  The savory herbs and spices on the roasted turkey are complimented by the spice-infused influences of the French oak in our Pinot Noir.

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DECOR TIP:  Since turkey is usually the main food element during Thanksgiving meals, I love that 24 Carrots used this legged platter to give it some height.  Pieces like this are readily available at Cost Plus, Pottery Barn or can be rented for the day from Found Rentals.Fall-Entertaining-Dream-Catcher

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PAIRING NOTES:  The creamy texture and toasted oak notes of our Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay pair perfectly with the rich butter and cheddar cheese of this twice baked potato.

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PAIRING NOTES:  Eggs and Pinot Noir are a guilty pleasure not to be missed and Pinot is the perfect partner in crime for ham.

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PAIRING NOTES (recipe below): The rich fruit and lively spice of our Pinot Noir adds some brightness to the earthy quality of these savory vegetables.

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Thyme Infused Roasted Root Vegetables by 24 Carrots Catering

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 lbs mixed root vegetables (we use baby carrots, the smallest parsnips you can find and a mix of yellow and red beets)
Olive oil, to taste
Salt + pepper, to taste

Balsamic Thyme Vinaigrette Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons thyme minced
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons miso paste

Directions

Gently peel the carrots and parsnips. Leave them whole if they are all the same size – if not, chop the larger veggies to equal the size of the smaller ones. Peel and chop the beets into rough cubes, about 1-inch all around.

Place all the vegetables onto a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place in a 400°F degree oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, shaking them periodically for even cooking. Remove from oven when soft, slightly brown and caramelized.

Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic thyme vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients aside from the oil in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in the oil while whisking to combine. Season to taste.

Drizzle dressing all over the vegetables to coat, return to the oven and caramelize for five more minutes.

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PAIRING NOTES: The savory, meaty essence of the sausage pairs perfectly with spicy and herbal characteristics of our Zinfandel.

Apple Sage Cornbread Stuffing by 24 Carrots Catering

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

Cornbread, recipe follows
10 slices oven-dried country white bread
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 granny smith apples ¼ inch, diced
1 lb apple sausage
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup Heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon thyme
5 eggs, beaten

Cornbread Ingredients

1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown, then add the celery, onions and apples and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock and cream, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and thyme.

Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.

Cornbread Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

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Cranberry Lemon Herb Butter by 24 Carrots Catering

Ingredients

1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1 teaspoon cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions

Chop cranberries then add herbs on a work surface. Add butter cranberry sauce and lemon zest. Finely chop together until well combined. Season with salt.

Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper, placing on edge closest to you. Fold paper over and roll into a cylinder, twisting the ends; wrap airtight in foil. Chill until solid.

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DECOR TIP:  Use as many potted plants as possible to achieve your look.  Mixing in small potted ferns, rosemary plants or succulents to your tablescape will keep the look interesting and will also make great favors to your guests.  While fresh cut flowers are always beautiful, they’ll also perish a few days later while a potted plant will flourish and will serve as a happy reminder of your gathering with loved ones.  While not for everyone, trees also make a huge statement.  The cedar tree pictured behind me in the photo below was purchased from a local nursery for $20!  Fall-Entertaining-Beets-3

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PAIRING NOTES: The earthy tones of the beets and the tartness of the goat cheese are complemented by the lush, dark berry fruit of our Cabernet Sauvignon.

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PAIRING NOTES: The candied red fruit characteristics and the bright acidity of our Merlot help cut through some of the richness of this luxurious pie.  The bright acidity and zesty citrus notes of our Sparkling Brut would be a fantastic match for the rich, sweet character of the pie.

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DECOR TIP:  To keep your look interesting and “collected” opt for pieces that still fit your aesthetic, but aren’t too “matchy matchy”.  I love this vintage galvanized pie/cake stand 24 Carrots used for their Pecan Pie.  That tiny hint of metal tied in perfectly with the iron chairs we selected from Found Rentals.

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Photography: Brian Tropiano Photography
Calligraphy & Dream Catcher: Beth Phillips
Rentals: Found Rentals
Linen: La Tavola
Styling, Florals & Decor: Yours truly :-)

Inspiring Image

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I’ve been super into color lately and I’m trying to do a better job of infusing it into my every day life – particularly my work space.  I’m such a neutrals gal to the core, but there’s something about a pop of color on a pillow or photograph that just brings life to a space.  I found this image floating around the web and was able to track down the photographer.  It just makes me want to travel and explore the world!  Anyway, just thought I’d pass it along in case anyone was looking for a Thursday pick-me-up.  What inspires you?  Xo

Hawaii Blues

Hawaii Blues

{View of the Hanalei Bay from our hotel room in Princeville, Kauai}

Aloha :-) I’ve been the absolutely worst about posting!  Jake and I unplugged a few weeks ago as we left for Hawaii and our return was full of major catchup at work, prep for some exciting events and gearing up for a few product launches in March/April.  There wasn’t even time to think about the fact that I was so sad to be home and that my much anticipated time on the beach sipping on Mai Tais while listening to ukeleles had passed.  Looking back at these pictures of some of my favorite moments was really was bittersweet…. (read more below)… IMG_2842

{Searching for coral and playing on the rocks on the beach.  Hanalei Bay – Princeville, Kauai}IMG_2839

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{Palms soaking in the sun on the walk to our favorite little spot on Oahu}

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{The quiet street to our favorite little beach}

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{Into the blue!  Whale watching near China Walls, Oahu}

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{This one makes my heart burst :-) Happiest and most relaxed I’ve seen Jake in a long time}

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{A glimpse of sun rays over Hanalei Bay from the 7th hole at Makai. Princeville, Kauai}

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{Teeny tiny specks (surfers) riding some HUGE waves.  It’s hard to tell the scale, but with the storm rolling in, they were pretty big!}

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{Storm clouds rolling in over the Hanalei Bay}

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{Straight out of my camera, completely unedited.  Kauai truly is the Garden Island.  How lush, vibrant and amazing… Nature is *effing* awesome}

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{This might need to become a Sunday staple in our household… Belgian waffles + mango + banana + whipped cream + coconut shavings + coconut syrup.  Holy moly. Best waffles at Hanalei Coffee Roasters}

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{On our last day in Hawaii, we rented a car and drove around Oahu to the North Shore. We discovered Shrimp Shack along the way… and thank god we did ;-) Details below…}

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{Half coconut shrimp, half garlic shrimp.  I can still taste this and my mouth is watering just looking at it. Absolutely incredible.}

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{Finally made it to the North Shore}

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{These kids (probably ages 6-10) were THROWING themselves into these waves – getting completely blasted over and over again and having the time of their lives.  Just thinking about their little laughs (I would have been terrified) still makes me chuckle :-) }

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{Being swallowed up…}

IMG_2955{And running back in for more…}

Jake surprised me with my first trip to Hawaii for Christmas.  In fact, Hawaii was our first real vacation alone together in almost five years since we started dating.  We traveled to Costa Rica with his family three years ago (which was amazing) and we’ve taken long weekend trips and traveled back to my hometown in Michigan, but we’d never been somewhere new, just the two of us, for more than 2-3 days.  And we are by no means starving, but our five years together haven’t been a walk in the park either.  With him running a startup turned mid-sized company in one of the hardest, capital sucking industries to make it in (alcohol) and with me now working there, our lives consist of work and very little else most days.  From a financial and emotional perspective, starting and running a business is so ridiculously draining.  I have no idea how he does it, but his drive, tenacity and seemingly endless motivation inspires me every single morning.  However…. we really needed a vacation :-)

Having never been to Hawaii, we decided to spend our first few days on Oahu where we hiked, played in the ocean, went whale watching and laid for hours on the beach.  We went to bed at literally 10pm every night (a rarity in our lives) and got up early every morning to walk along the beach and grab coffee.  We got up to watch the sunrise on our last day there on our favorite little spot on the island before hopping over to Kauai for our remaining three nights and four days.  Ohhh Kauai… Kauai was a little bit of a splurge for us to say the least.  We stayed in Princeville, which we’ve been told is the most beautiful spot on the island overlooking the Hanalei Bay.  The water there is one of the most beautiful shades of blue juxtaposed against a wall of lush green mountains with countless waterfalls cascading down the hills and cliffs.  Kauai was truly the most beautiful place I’ve been in my life.  Unfortunately, we were cursed with rain for almost our entire time there which meant no sun (obviously), no “real” beach time, no hikes that we were looking forward to (they were all too dangerous with rain and flash flood warnings), no helicopter tours…  We attempted kayaking on Valentine’s Day in the Hanalei Bay and made it just in time for a storm to roll in.  We inevitably flipped, I thought I was dying, Jake thought knew I was ridiculous and we eventually made it back to the hotel in one piece.  One really positive part of the rain scenario is that it forced us to relax.  We slept SO much during those few days with the sound of the waves crashing outside our window and we enjoyed every second together talking about so much more than work (who knew?!), drinking wine, reading and making each other laugh… which really is the important part of vacationing with your love… am I right?!

By our third day of rainy laziness, we decided to brave the weather and walked along the cliffs in Princeville to the Makai Golf Club and out to the 7th hole (the most photographed place in Hawaii, apparently).  We were determined to hike to Queen’s Bath, but were warned that it was WAY too dangerous with the rain and high surf so we wanted at least an aerial view from the golf course.  That walk was one of the most crazy, out of body experiences I’ve ever had.  With the storm clouds rolling in over the bay and the warm rain shower that we just finally had to embrace together, while standing on the edge of the earth… I’ll never forget it.  We were soaked to the bone by the time we got back to our room, but it was worth every second and every drop to get out of the hotel and experience the unexplainable beauty that is Kauai.  Pictures really can not do it justice and it makes me sad, but I’ll carry those views and those moments with me forever.

With an even worse storm threatening to possibly delay or cancel our flight out of Lihue the following day, we decided to jump on an earlier flight back to Oahu to hopefully somewhere dry.  Unfortunately, the rain came with us, albeit much lighter rain, so after a little bit of cranky back and forth, we rented a car where at least we could stay dry and headed to the North Shore.  We had until 9:00pm to explore before we needed to be at the airport so we set out for some fish tacos and to see the record breaking waves making local news on the other side of the island.  I’m SO happy we decided to get out of Honolulu that day.  We had such wonderful memories there from the first three days of our trip, but by the time we were on our last day with perpetually wet clothes and tired from our early morning flight with no room to change in, it was time to bid farewell to the Moana Surfrider and explore Oahu beyond the big city.  On our drive, there was a sign for “Shrimp Shack” inscribed on a surfboard and I knew I’d found what we were looking for.  We pulled off the road for the best shrimp I’ve ever had in my life… fried in a food truck across from the ocean, eaten off floral print paper plates while sitting on plastic lawn chairs outside of a funky grocery story in Punaluu.  This was the real Hawaii I’d dreamed of.  An hour later, we were on the North Shore watching scads of what seemed like tiny kids launch themselves into a churning Pacific that pummeled them to the sand over and over again.  We watched partially in awe that people ever become comfortable watching their children get swallowed up by waves 2-3 times their height and partially with sheer joy and entertainment as the kids screeched and squealed with complete hilarity every time the ocean spit them back out.

We drove around for the next few hours, stopping occasionally to get out of the car and breath it all in.  We stopped for dinner at an awesome little Mexican restaurant (I wanted more fish tacos – don’t judge!) on our way to the airport and said goodbye to paradise.  I kept reminding myself while we were there throughout our trip to enjoy every single second because it would all be just a memory in the blink of an eye.  I can’t believe that it’s already just a memory.  But… if there’s anything major we learned while we were there, it’s to not wait another three years before taking a vacation.  I have a feeling we’ll be planning something again soon :-)

Until next time, Hawaii… Mahalo!

Sparkle and Hearts

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I’m so excited about a big project I just wrapped up for work!  Our limited edition All You Need is Love (and Wine) gift set is available exclusively for Valentine’s Day!  The bottle of reserve North Coast Pinot Noir is covered in ruby red glitter and is paired with hands down the best dark chocolate toffee on the planet, B.Toffee.  To keep things romantic, a 3 wick Goji Tarocco Orange scented candle by Voluspa is also included and smells SO good, you guys!  Plus, how pretty is this all put together?!  I absolutely love it!

Being that we’re supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign during the month of February, we’ve committed to donating enough per package to educate 50 women on heart disease prevention.  Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths, killing approximately one woman every minute.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!  1 in 31 women dies of breast cancer, while 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.  As a woman with heart disease in my family, I was floored when I heard those statistics and I’m thrilled to be working with such an amazing organization.  Today is the last day for east coasters to order and guarantee delivery by Valentine’s Day so be sure to head on over here to check  it out (and enter GORED at checkout for 30% off).  I’m swooning over the rest of the gorgeous images from this shoot with Lisa from L Marie Photography, but can’t share any more until they’re published.  I’ll be sure to post some more as soon as I can and just wanted to pass along some sneak peeks!

With love (and glitter),

Meg

Lately / Seeing Pink

In case you don’t follow my work Instagram, here’s a little peek into my life lately… Valentines Day Insta 7

{Product samples and shoot inspiration on my desk}

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{A little nail art and summery sangria during last week’s heatwave in LA}

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{Ban.do Mini Hearts arrive at the office – OBSESSED!}

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{Valentine’s shoot day!  All set up and ready to go!}

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{ONEHOPE ladies decorating heart sugar cookies and enjoying some Friday afternoon vino}

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{Arrangements that I put together – pink and red ranunculus with red anemones in white vessels. PS: How rad is that chevron runner from La Tavola?}

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{Bird’s eye view}

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{It’s all in the details}

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{View of our pallet wall, chocolate fountain and lots of pink/red goodies!}

I’ve always been such a neutrals girl… until this year.  I’m currently so in love with Valentine’s Day and all things pink, red and sparkles and my desk at work is like an explosion of all things girly.  Thankfully, I got to take out some of my fem aggression on our VDay shoot for work (introducing our ruby red wine bottle) and couldn’t have had more fun.  We’re awaiting the professional photography, but had to share a few of my favorite iPhone pics in the meantime :-)

Happy Monday! xoxo

Style At Home

Paul Katie Hackworth Rue

People ask me all of the time to define my style and I have a really hard time putting it into words.  Some days I’m really into mid century modern while on others, I’m craving a transitional home fit for a vineyard in Napa.  Beach chic?  Vintage chic?  Eclectic?  Those all seem so broad and non-descriptive.  When I came across this image in the November edition of Rue, I could not stop staring at it.  It’s the dining room of Paul and Katie Hackworth and is everything I love about design all in one space: bright, airy, crisp, neutral, white exposed beam ceilings, a farmhouse table with amazing patina, wingback upholstered end chairs with nailhead detail juxtaposed against the chic and timeless Philippe Stark Louis Ghost Chair… and of course a little splash of life in fresh greenery clippings throughout.  Their “modern farmhouse” is completely and utterly perfect.  The home’s comfort-meets-clean-lines aesthetic left me speechless and I find myself repeatedly pulling up the images whenever I’m suffering a design block and need to push the restart button.  It truly is simplicity at its finest with a real soul and a perfectly imperfect lived-in feel.  I can’t wait to have a house of my own one of these days and theirs leaves me truly optimistic and excited for the future.

Check out their Rue feature here and prepare to fall in love.