Design Challenge: The Florida Room


Posted by Abby Branham

The loss of daylight has me thinking of sunnier places.  When I was younger, I had the opportunity to travel throughout Florida – from the Panhandle, down the West coast, all the way through the Keys and around to the East coast.  For many years, I considered moving there.  On cold, dark days like today – Florida is on my mind. Miami and the West Coast of Florida, home to white sandy beaches and warm Gulf water, hold a special place in my heart.   I highly recommend exploring either area if you are looking to move to a warmer climate.  And if you need a realtor, a good place to start is Douglas Elliman Real Estate.  The good folks at Douglas Elliman Real Estate recently contacted us here at Button Jar to decorate our very own Florida room!  We are, of course, honored, and are happy to share with you our plans for a Florida room that anyone would want to call home no matter where you live.

I have a sun room in my home, which is a Florida room of sorts.  Florida rooms are typically characterized as an additional all weather room with many windows, which creates a space with a lot of natural light and fresh air.  Here are some examples of Florida rooms just so we are on the same page.




Beautiful, bright and sunny, right?.  A Florida room is a great place to gather, relax, and unwind.  Sounds lovely, and the good news is you don’t need to live near the ocean to create this oasis. Here is my design board for how I would decorate my “Florida room.”



Seating is a critical element of pulling together a comfortable and inviting Florida room. I love the modern, comfortable look of the Peggy Mid-Century Terminal Chaise Sectional by West Elm.  The blue gray color is light enough to brighten a room and neutral enough to pair with brighter, bolder accessory colors.


Because Florida rooms are full of big beautiful windows, I would add some additional seating with window benches.  They are great for extra storage and creating a comfy place to read or just to look out the window and enjoy nature. It is very easy to create customized window benches, and for a DIY tutorial visit my earlier post here. You start with a base, like this IKEA Besta bookcase in a Walnut effect light gray finish.


And then you add a seat cushion. To brighten up the space, this Maritime Modern Red Knotty Plaid fabric that I found on Etsy would be perfect for the window bench cushion.


For additional seating and a spot to place your favorite beverage in between sips, I picked this jute and hemp rope pouf ottoman from Overstock.  I love the natural color and it looks pretty great with the knotted pattern in the fabric that I picked for the window bench seats.



In my opinion, you can never have enough pillows or throw blankets.  They are an easy way to change and/or spruce things up without overhauling a room, which is another reason I love neutral colored furniture.

I wanted to choose a sea creature for my Florida room, because what is more nautical than a sea creature?  I am in love with this Navy Octopus Pillow cover and this linen cotton blend pillow cover both from Etsy.  Both will pair nicely on either the couch or window benches.


Because I anticipate many naps are taken in Florida rooms, I would also add this large curved basket by West Elm, to hold plenty of warm and soft throw blankets for guests to grab.



For a statement piece, I would incorporate this awesome DIY 6 panel Octopus canvas by Heather from Southern State of Mind.  It is so cool and is a fantastic compliment to the octopus throw pillow.


Natural Elements

And finally, I’m a lover of all things green, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t add an organic pop of green to my Florida room.  This faux broad leaf palm from Pottery Barn is exactly what I was looking for.   It look tropical and helps to bring the outdoors inside.


So that’s my start on designing a Florida room that I would enjoy.  Other elements that would be terrific to incorporate are some window coverings in case you need privacy and a nice indoor/outdoor rug to help ground your seating arrangement.

I hope that my design inspires you hat you don’t  need to live in Florida to incorporate this type of all-weather space in your own home.


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Dining Room Dilemma: Mixing Antiques and Modern Style


Posted by Alicia Sell

Wow – can you believe it is already November?!  In only a few short weeks we will be gathering around the table to chow down on yummy turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie.  This is the one major holiday when the dining room becomes such an important gathering space, so today I thought I would share with you a question from one of our readers about her dining room. Today’s question comes from a high school friend and fellow field hockey player, Jen Okupniarek Barker. She asked if we could suggest some ideas for her dining room walls and figure out a way to modernize the hutch that her grandmother gave her:



First, thanks for your question, Jen.  We love questions from our readers, so keep them coming!

Now to the question.  Dining rooms can be tricky.  How do you make antiques and modern style work together so it looks planned and cohesive?  Well, we did a little research and we put together some suggestions.  We hope you like some of these ideas!

Mixing Styles and Modernizing the Hutch

Jen’s space is beautiful.  She recently painted and did some molding around the room and it looks really great.


You can see from the curtains, furniture and beautiful light that her style is what I would classify as fairly modern with a hint of traditional.  The lines are simple and clean with bold shapes. I really love the light fixture she picked out.



The hutch from her Grandma is very rich and bold looking.  It is beautiful, but it does feel a bit like an odd man out in the room at first glance.


However, it actually has some beautiful lines and detailing in the glass that work well with modern furniture.  The problem is that you don’t really notice the designs because they are hidden by the dark interior of the cabinet.  An easy way to lighten it up and add some interest is to paint the inside of the cabinet white.  This will allow you to really see the beautiful geometric shapes in the glass.


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You can also paint the outside of the cabinet black to enhance the contrast, but you can just leave the outside as-is since the wood is so beautiful.  You can do it either way.

One thing we noticed too was that the mirror on the wall opposite the cabinet is really pretty, but very small in scale compared to the cabinet and the amount of wall space.  To really play off the geometry of the cabinet glass, we recommend adding a very bold and geometric wall layout where the mirror currently sits.  You can even have it cover the entire wall above the chair rail for a very dramatic effect like the image below.


We were thinking antique looking black and white images would be nice, or even black and white family photos.  This scale and geometric layout would complement the cabinet nicely. This idea may look expensive, but can be done really inexpensively with frames from Ikea.  The key here is large scale frames with simple thin frames – nothing fancy.

Alternatively, you can do geometric color images if you wanted some color in the space.


We also thought that if you did the black and white images and cabinet paint, then you could add color in a bright rug.  Kilim rugs seem to be really popular right now and come in lots of great color combinations.


Alternatively, a nice natural sisal rug with texture that is easy to clean up with little kids would be a great option.


Finally, we wanted to present one more idea that is a little out there.  If you really wanted to punch up the drama in the room, you could paint the walls above the wainscoting black.  I know – that sounds dramatic but it can really create an elegant and inviting space.  Jen’s space has nice big windows and the white wainscoting, so the the black would be a nice contrast.  Black & white wall art could still be used to break up some of the black walls.  Here are a couple of examples we found that were lovely.




Well those are our ideas!  We hope you liked them. You can make sure you get all of Button Jar’s posts by subscribing to our email list by clicking here, or by following us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Also, sharing is caring! If you like this post, please share it on your social media networks. Thanks!


You Design it Part II – Mudroom/ Laundry Room Results are in!


Posted by Alicia Sell

It has been a long two weeks for the Sell family but I can finally say we have moved out of our old house.   I don’t know how it is possible that something can take forever and manage to still be a whirlwind experience, but we made it!  I am so glad phase 1 of our move is over and we look forward to getting ready for phase 2, which I will tell you more about at the end of this post.  The point is, I can’t wait to start designing and decorating the new house!

Mudroom /Laundry Room Survey Results

Two weeks ago I invited our readers to help design my mudroom/laundry area by giving feedback in a brief survey.  I have been pleasantly surprised at how many people participated!  I love all of the ideas you chose.  A lot of your ideas confirmed exactly what I was thinking, so you obviously have excellent taste. Some of your ideas also have me rethinking parts of the plan, which is a good thing!  Today I am sharing with you the results of your design choices.

If you want to see all of the options presented in the original survey, you can see them here.  There is no time limit on participating, so feel free to check it out and share your ideas.

But for now, here are the results.  

Which washer/dryer setup do you prefer?

61% preferred top load washer vs. the front load washer.  I have had both, and I can say without hesitation that I prefer the top load over the front load.  Done deal!


Which of these below is your favorite washer and dryer brand?

This was a fairly even split on what was your favorite appliance brand, but Maytag won out as the favorite with 26% of the vote.  Since there wasn’t an obvious brand favorite, I plan on doing a little research in Consumer Reports, since, you know, research is my thing (I’m a librarian by trade).


How important is it to have a sink in your laundry room?


I thought this would be a top priority, but you collectively rated it a 3.70 out of 5 with 5 being “very important.” I have never been fortunate enough to have one in my laundry room, but we decided to include one in our design plans.

Which overall laundry room look below do you like the best?

There were two options that you all seemed to prefer.  35% liked the design in the first photo below with the beautiful tiles and 35% liked the second picture, with the more simple sight lines.  Obviously you have good taste, because those were my two favorite looks.  If I had to only pick one, I think I would lean towards the the second photo with the simple sight lines, but I am also a big fan on the gorgeous tiles in the first picture!



Would you have the laundry room closed off from the mudroom (ie would you have them as separate rooms?

This was the big shocker – 57% of you said you would keep the mudroom and the laundry room in the same room.  Randall feels pretty strongly that they should be separate so that you don’t see the laundry room mess. Having said that, he isn’t the lead on doing the laundry, so we may have to think about this a little bit more….

Which cubby setup do you prefer?

62% of you decided that you preferred a mix of open and closed cubby space.  I completely agree with this one.


Which flooring do you like the best?

35% of you said you preferred the natural color tile in a herringbone pattern.  I had personally been leaning towards the black tile, but the natural tile is starting to grow on me.  We will keep it in mind.



Which entry door style do you like the best?

Thank goodness you like the dutch door! 43% of you chose it, and that is enough to confirm that my strange obsession with it is valid.  I really, really, really, REALLY hope we can fit it in the budget!


Which organization setup do you think would work best in the laundry room?

52% of you said you preferred hampers hidden in drawers.  I personally love the idea of hiding the dirty clothes away, but my only dilemma is that it assumes the kids will open the drawers to throw the clothes in the hamper.  My 15+ years of personal scientific research says that it won’t happen. I was leaning towards the rolling bins, but  I am keeping an open mind….



If you had a dog, which feature(s) would be a must in your dream mudroom?

Dog features.  Let me tell you Button Jar friends, we clearly have some dog lovers out there because you all had very strong opinions about this topic.  The dog feeding station was picked by 50% of you and the dog bath came in second with 45% of votes.  I think the dog bath is genius and I am trying to figure out to make it happen.  Not only is it a great spot to hose down the dogs, it would also be great for wiping down muddy shoes before storing them in the cubby.



Do you have a favorite feature in your mudroom/laundry room? Any advice for designing the space?

Wow, did you guys provide some helpful feedback!  I wish I could include all of them, but I have picked out the top 5 that best summarize your ideas.

“Bins for recycling material is a must for us.”


“Definitely have a hanging area for delicates that you want to hang dry (or shirts that you’re hiding from your husband so he doesn’t wear the same ones every week).”

“Lots of shoe storage! Even when I think I have enough places to store shoes, I run out of room.  How do 3 kids have so many pairs of shoes?”


“Tall, one door cabinet for storage of brooms, mops, cleaning supplies.  Shelf and hooks inside, as well.  Love lots of heavy duty decorative hooks for bookbags, activity bags, coats, dog leashes, etc.”

“Accessorize it attractively, so you enjoy being there. I also say make sure there is plenty of task lighting.”


Well that is it!  Thank you again to everyone who participated – I appreciate your feedback and ideas!  We are keeping them in mind for the design.  I can’t wait till we get to put these ideas into action, which leads me right into where we are today with the house. Our next step while we wait to close on the new house is to work with the builders on the blueprints and final drawings – eek!  We should be in the house in early November and break ground in December, but I know that is a highly optimistic schedule.  I will keep you updated.    I am hoping I can share the preliminary drawings with you next week, so stay tuned!


You can make sure you get all of Button Jar’s posts by subscribing to our email list by clicking here, or by following us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  Also, sharing is caring!  If you like this post, please share it on your social media networks. Thanks!


DIY Decor: Boxwood Wreath Meets Chalkboard


Posted by  Abby Branham

Back in September I posted 10 DIY Fall Wreaths to Decorate Your Front Door.  I made one of the wreaths for our front door, the Felt Leaf Wreath for Fall by Lia Griffith, and shared it in my Fall Home Tour (check it out!).  Since that turned out so well, I decided to try the Simple DIY Boxwood Wreath by My Fabuless Life too, because I have always loved boxwood.  It’s simple, classic, and green – a perfect pop of clean, natural color.  Because my front door is already set for the Fall, I decided to hang my simple boxwood wreath over a chalkboard as an inside decoration.  Looking at it now, it is also kind of perfect for the Christmas holiday.  I hope you like it, I was happy with the way it turned out.


  • Boxwood Garland (I bought fake garland from Hobby Lobby (50% off, $10!)
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Green Wire Pipe Cleaners to match the color of the garland

constructing the wreath

For whatever reason, I never went back to reread the original tutorial by My Fabuless Life before I started constructing this wreath.  I knew it was a fairly straight forward tutorial, but I think in my mind I combined some of the tutorials I had been reading for various DIY Boxwood Wreathes that  I included in my September post.   So, here’s what I did, which worked just fine and was really easy.

First, I wrapped the entire Embroidery Hoop with the green wire pipe cleaner.


Next, I pulled “clippings” from the Boxwood Garland, placed them on the wreath, and wrapped them into place with the green pipe cleaners.


displaying the wreath

I bought an interesting shaped chalkboard from Hobby Lobby (again, I got it on sale – love that place!).  I attached my Simple DIY Boxwood Wreath to the chalkboard, and the only thing left to do was to think of something to write on the chalkboard.  This chalkboard and wreath are displayed as you walk down a flight of stairs to exit our home.   Because this is displayed so that people see it on their way out, I wanted to write something to brighten all of our days. I went with “You are loved!”, because knowing that gives me the strength and courage to face everyday.  I will update this with a lovely message for the holidays in a few weeks. Did I just write weeks? Eek!  I can’t believe it is coming so quickly!



You can make sure you get all of Button Jar’s posts by subscribing to our email list by clicking here, or by following us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  Also, sharing is caring!  If you like this post, please share it on your social media networks. Thanks!

Link Parties

This post was shared on Inspiration Monday on I Should Be Mopping The Floor, on Making Merry Link Party on My Pinventures, on DIY Link Party on DIY Showoff, on the Over The Moon Link Party on Marilyn’s Treats, and on the Dishing It and Digging It Link Party on Life and Linda.



Fall Home Tour 2016: Abby’s Home


Posted by Abby Branham

Welcome to the final day of the Button Jar Fall Home Tour!  Earlier this week we showed you how Katie and Alicia decorate for the season.  Today I am happy to show you my own house that was specially cleaned just for your visit.  Make sure you read to the end, where I am sharing a bonus recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip, which is by far my favorite Fall treat.  In fact, after the girls went to bed I ate the entire thing by myself!  So I will just have to make some more.  But for now, let’s get started on the tour.

Welcome to the Branham’s

Welcome to the Branham Bunch household, where twin two-year-old girls (Meika and Harper), a dog (Sherlock), and a cat (Smokey), keep a Mom (me) and a Dad (Drew) very busy.   I strive to be a minimalist, which is fairly difficult to accomplish with all the members in our family, but a work in progress.  Fall decorating served as the perfect excuse to de-clutter and spruce things up!


I made one of the “10 DIY Fall Wreaths to Decorate Your Front Door“,  from my post earlier this month, for the Fall season.  Drew and I decided on the Felt Leaf Wreath for Fall by Lia Griffith.  It was an easy wreath to create, and I smile each time I pull in our driveway, so mission accomplished.  If you decide to give this wreath a try, be sure you have sharp scissors to cut out the leaves!


I tend to decorate with things that  easily transition from one season to the next because I don’t enjoy putting things away at the end of a season or, worse yet, finding a place to store them.  I love items that I can easily change or add to, offering the chance for creativity and a fresh start.


I have had this bell jar for a long time.  It is easy to add a seasonal touch to.  The fake moss covered stones remain inside throughout the year and I find little items to add that speak to the season.  Hopefully, you notice the wooden acorns.  The tin tray on top of the console table is easily transitioned from season to season as well. The girls love the pumpkins and gourds!

As a side note:  I have to tell you that the pumpkins on our front step and the minis and gourds on the tin tray cost me a total of $14!  Unbelievable, right?  I found a little Amish Stand on the edge of a corn field, and they were selling these beauties for very reasonable prices.  I told the young boys that helped me I’d give them a shout out.  So if anyone lives in my area, I’d be happy to tell you how to find them.



We live in a townhouse, which has beautiful, open space, but there is never enough storage.  I am always looking for creative, and aesthetically pleasing ways to store things throughout our living space.  I love baskets and boxes.  I also love my new 3-tier decorative stand, which I am currently using for fruit.  My girls love seeing the fruit out for them to choose. I added a chalkboard decal to the decorative box in the center of our table, which will make it easy to change the message.




As you can see I have eclectic taste.  I enjoy decorating with natural and industrial farmhouse items.


The simple box in front of the Buddha head statue  gets updated seasonally.  Right now it has pine cones, which I think are an easy and natural way to decorate at this time of year.   The serene, peaceful look on the Buddha head statue just serves as a gentle reminder for me to keep it Zen, and be as present and mindful as possible.


This final space is our “sun room”, it connects openly with the kitchen and our living room.  You may remember our DIY Reading Nook Bench, which has been a practical way to store the girls growing library of books.  It was important to me that their books weren’t “stored away” because I wanted the girls to be able to see the books and have access to them.  Atop our richly patterned ottoman is a large woven tray. I enjoy displaying seasonal and current favorite books for the girls on this tray.  You will probably notice that Smokey, our cat, is enjoying a good book too.



So that is a quick whirlwind tour of our home.  Before I let you go,  I also wanted to share with you a quick, easy, and totally addictive fall appetizer.  Check out this Creamy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip from Clean Eating Chelsey.  It is ridiculously good, and my new favorite go-to treat. Enjoy!

Creamy Pumpkin Peanut butter dip


1 c pumpkin puree
1/3 c peanut butter (I used chunky organic)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c almond milk (I used a coconut/almond milk blend)
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg



Put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, and stir.  When the ingredients come to a slow boil, turn the burner down low and let it cook for 5-10 minutes.  Stir occasionally while on low to avoid scorching.  Serve hot or chilled with your favorite fall fruit, baked goods, or crackers!  Honestly, you could eat this as pudding, it is just that awesome, in my opinion.





You can make sure you get all of Button Jar’s posts by subscribing to our email list by clicking here, or by following us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  Also, sharing is caring!  If you like this post, please share it on your social media networks. Thanks!

Link Parties

This post was shared on Link Party Palooza on I Heart Naptime and the Sweet Inspiration Link Party on Kreativk.

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