Category: Decor

HotelBrandingBeforeAndAfterAs many of you may have noticed after yesterday’s announcement, I launched a new With Intention site!

It’s pretty, easy to use, and very mobile friendly – which is important as things keep moving in that direction.

Anyways, I’ve also been working on another website redesign that I haven’t shared yet, the hotel!

As you may have seen over the course of last year, I have been the Creative Director for a local boutique hotel in Andersonville called The Guesthouse Hotel.

Last year I guided their brand redesign and website and this year I’ll be designing their new hotel lobby.

Here’s a quick look at the before and after at the logo and website (because there’s something so satisfying about a good before and after, right?).


Logo Before

GuesthouseLogoBeforeThough not bad, this logo was not quite hitting the right tone for the hotel.

It was clean and simple, but felt more “commercial real estate” than “boutique hotel.”


Website Before



The same goes for the website. Clean and simple… but not extremely inviting.


Logo After



To set the right tone, we selected Alex Yeske to design the logo and business cards.

Her eye for style was exactly the right tone for the new direction.

What I love about this logo is how relatively timeless it is. We considered some other more popular font styles, but stuck with this classic design that won’t look dated in a few years.


Website After



I personally designed the website and had Mr. Lively programmed it to life.

It’s easy to use and sets a much nicer tone.


New Photos


GuesthouseHotelPhotoI also encouraged the hotel to get new photos taken of the gorgeous units (they are actual condo-quality units with full gourmet kitchens, living rooms, etc.).

For this job, I recommended Daniel Peter, a Chicago-based photographer who I’ve worked with over the years for my own business.


Lobby Design


Because the lobby is actually still being built from the ground up (literally!), there is a lot to consider. But what was once an open hole last summer….




Will soon look like this!

photoAbove is a quick snapshot I took of the mood board I created for the lobby.

As things come together over the next six months I’ll be sure to check in with some updates — if that’s something you’d like to see!



PS – Thinking about signing up for a Life with Intention Online class? Each one is already almost 50% filled, so sign up soon to grab your spot.


armchair before & after

December 12th, 2013   |   Decor


It’s finished! After months of finding the right armchair, finding the right fabric, saving for the reupholstery, and actually getting it recovered and painted, the coral armchair is now finally in the living room.

It all started last year, when I went super neutral in the living room.


photo by 

Very, very neutral.

As you can see from the text on that image, I figured out that there was enough room in the back corner to fit an armchair.

After scouring Craigslist, I bought this guy for $75.


The wood was in decent shape, but not great. And the upholstery was pretty worn, though not in such bad shape that we couldn’t live with the chair in its original condition for a few months while we saved for the makeover.

Then, I asked you what color you thought it should be (neutral, navy, or coral). The resounding majority confirmed the idea to go coral.

Here was the coral inspiration.



And here’s how it turned out.


Finding the right shade of coral fabric was a little tricky. After doing a lot of searching online and at Fishman’s in Chicago, I found that there aren’t that many shades of coral upholstery fabric in the perfect shade. Many were too rusty, red, pink, orange, or expensive.

Eventually, I spotted a Sunbrella fabric that was the Goldilocks of corals – not too pink, not too orange, not too pricey. Juuust right.

The fact that the fabric is designed for outdoor use is kind of a nice surprise. The quality is great (it doesn’t feel too stiff or outdoorsy) and I don’t have to be super stressed out about wear and tear.

For the painting and upholstery, I called on my friend Meg of Meg Made (her boutique just opened, by the way).

I’m also loving the new cream and grey striped throw from Nine Space. The neutral pattern ties in really well with the rest of the living room.

NineSpaceStripedBlanketMeg loved the blanket so much that she practically stole it from me when she dropped off the chair.

(Joe, if you are looking for any Christmas present ideas… hint, hint.)

CoralArmchair2Overall, I’m super happy with how it turned out. It was totally worth the 5-6 month process.

I’m also quite thankful that I am married to a Mister who doesn’t mind the color coral.


This post is sponsored by Nine Space (c/o the super comfy striped throw). 


My mom has a tradition of putting up her Christmas decor up at Thanksgiving and I’ve decided to follow suit. Which meant the day before our parents came into town last week, Mr. Lively, Mike (my youngest brother), and I hustled to get everything done.

Living in an apartment without a storage unit means we have limited space for holiday decor. But a tree, wreath, garland, and flower boxes help bring a little cheer to the Lively home.

This year’s Christmas tree has oversized “Charlie Brown” lights with an assortment of childhood ornaments. The tree skirt is actually an old Anthro tablecloth wrapped around the base.


The fireplace garland is a simple strand of pine we picked up at Home Depot when we got the front door wreath.

FireplaceWinterGarlandI layered our year-round white branches, some pine cones, and a handful of gold ornaments.

After the holidays, I’ll remove the gold balls for a winter look.

WinterGarlandFireplace(With Franklin’s affection for pulling down the hand towels hanging in the kitchen, we skipped the stockings this year.)

Outside, we dressed the patio for Christmas starting with the window boxes.

These guys were pretty tricky at first. With the frozen soil, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of pouring gallons of hot water on them or waiting three days for the soil to thaw inside in order to dress the boxes.

Just before I gave up on them altogether, I tried laying an old faux indoor garland on top of the frozen soil as window box filler.

And voila!

WinterChristmasWindowboxSo pretty. The middle layer is fake greens and berries. I anchored the garland into the soil by using gold pinecones attached to sticks. Just four pinecone stakes per box keeps things in place. No pots of boiling water required!

Then, I layered extra branches from the fireplace mantel and some branches from the Christmas tree at the bottom. Mixing the real branches with the fake ones really helps to make the whole thing feel more complete and authentic.

So besides the gold pine cone stakes I snagged at Home Depot, these boxes ended up being pretty much free.

In between the patio chairs we added a little pine tree, too.

PatioChristmasTreeJust in case you are interested, here are a few snapshots from the Thanksgiving week with our families in town.

Me, my mom, and Mr. Lively’s mom.


Dinner with my parents, Mike, myself, and Mr. Lively at Hugo’s Frog Bar.

photo3Franklin watching The West Wing. (No joke.)


And proof that I do cook… once a year.



super easy holiday wreath

November 22nd, 2013   |   DecorWineday Friday


This weekend Mr. Lively and I are getting a Christmas tree and pulling out the holiday decor! Picking a Christmas tree is one of the top five most exciting moments for me every year, so to say I am excited is an understatement.

And though there is much to do before our families arrive for Thanksgiving next week, one item is already checked off the decor list: the wreath.

This year’s wreath was so quick and easy to make that I have to share it in case anyone else is looking for a simple look that takes about two minutes to assemble.

HolidayEasyWreathLast weekend Mr. Lively and I spotted this boxwood wreath, complete with a fuzzy red bow, at Home Depot for about $15-$20.

I simply removed the bow that came with the wreath and added a glitter “L” ornament from Pottery Barn Kids.


After doing a quick search on their online shop, I couldn’t find these exact letters. However, they were sitting by the cash wrap last week… so I’d suggest calling a local Pottery Barn Kids store to see if they have them in stock.

Or, you could choose a glitter peace sign, skis, or sled, instead.

Or, you could pick a favorite (sturdy) ornament from your collection at home!

The options are endless. I would just make sure whatever ornament you choose is weather appropriate. Since our wreath is inside a hallway, I don’t have to worry about the L getting beat up by the elements.

After Christmas, I’ll simply remove the ornament and leave it up through the winter.

Now, it’s time to get a tree!


Thank you so much for reading and have a great weekend, guys!

a simpler look for the bedroom

November 19th, 2013   |   Decor


A few months ago, I shared a new gray rug for the bedroom that I considered returning. As many of you wisely suggested, it was a bit much for the room when paired with the bright blue curtains and metallic wallpaper.


RugInBedroomAnd though did I plan to return it, I got so busy that I never took the time to send the rug back and find a suitable replacement.

One day I may sell it or move it to another space, but thanks to some simple bedding updates the rug doesn’t look quite as overbearing anymore.



Removing the faded striped sheets and discolored gold trimmed throw pillows means that the rug and wallpaper are the only patterns now — which makes the room feel much calmer overall.

To maintain interest with the solid bedding, I added texture via the throw pillows.


Enter: Emily and Meritt gold sequin pillows (tip: The covers are pretty reasonably priced and you can get inexpensive pillow inserts for these pillow covers at Jo-Ann).

Don’t they look eerily similar to my beloved gold shoes?


As for the duvet cover, I simply swapped the duvet in the guest room with the master duvet to add more texture at the foot of the bed. WhiteTuftedDuvetThen there are the sheets. I would qualify these bamboo viscose sheets from Nine Space as my first ‘fancy sheet set’ that I’ve ever owned.


And I’m hooked.

They are so soft that they make getting into bed a pleasure… and getting out of it just a little more difficult.


So what do you think? Is the room looking more balanced now that the bedding is simplified?


This post is sponsored by Nine Space (c/o the incredibly soft white sheets) – and they are giving 20% off their entire store to JessLively readers until 11/26! Use the code LIVELY20 to get the discount on their (beautiful) home goods. 

finally! a campaign dresser

October 24th, 2013   |   Decor

FinallyACampaignDresserThe writing room (now known as the never-quite-finished-writing-room) got a new update.

For the first time ever, I have a legitimate campaign dresser (okay, chest)! I’ve been wanting one for years, but never found the right one. So instead, I have just collected campaign-like pieces.

SemiLikeCampaignFurnitureThe nightstand on the other side of the bed was originally a burgundy stain with bad hardware sitting on the street corner with a “free” sign taped to the front. After few coats of white glossy paint and some gold spray paint, he had a whole new look. But this piece lacks the traditional campaign metal hardware on the corners and the recessed drawer pulls.

Just to the right of the nightstand you can see a bit of the writing room desk. This desk was a Craigslist find and got a similar makeover with coats of white paint and again, gold painted drawer pulls. Though similar to the campaign chest, it was not quite there either.

Meanwhile the nightstand below, discovered in the dumpster, was found exactly as you see it here. It had a rubbed gold finish and a cream marble top.

OriginalNightstandThough it was nice, I was delighted to swap it for this new pretty chest.


Hello, lovely.

This is a piece from Meg Made (now my second piece from Meg’s shop).

Since buying my first dresser from Meg and Joe, Mr. Lively and I have become friends with them. Which is wonderful. But it also makes it hard to not want to buy every single piece that they sell. Which means their new store in Chicago is both thrilling and dangerous for me personally.

Though I’d like to say that the writing room is “complete,” there is another project I have up my sleeve which will really finish it off… at least until I think of something new to do.

the easiest way to hang a gallery wall… ever

October 14th, 2013   |   Decor

TheEasiestWayToMakeAGalleryWallEverI’m sure it’s not surprising that the gallery wall in the writing room (aka guest bedroom) is continuing to grow.

If you look all the way over to the right, you’ll see a new Just Keep Going print (the third JKG print in the gallery) above the lamp.

The design might look familiar since it is the same awesome design that Jen Serafini hand illustrated for the Workshop At Home tote bags.


Now, it’s time to talk about the frame and how insanely easy it was to hang. It took less than 30 seconds to hang thanks to Mary Ann, the awesome entrepreneur and inventor behind Change of Art.

I first met Mary Ann as a business consulting client, and since then she has come to Business in the City. At our last meet up she generously gave me one of her amazing frames to try out for myself.

To see her hard work in action was a real treat. These frames are eco-friendly, made in the US, contribute to a good cause, and are insanely good-looking.

But better than all of that are the mechanics.

When you open the box, you find everything you need to hang the frames (well, except the hammer).


She even includes the nail!

On the back of the frame you don’t even have to remove the backing to insert the pictures. You just slide the photo you want to use in the top slot and your extra photos rest in the lower pocket. How cool is that?


Next, you simply take the template and the blue painters tape and apply it to the wall where you’d like your frame to hang. ChangeofArtGalleryWallPaperTemplate

Then, you hammer the nail on the white space indicated on the paper.


Mary Ann includes a circle piece with the nail. This circle piece fits into a groove in the frame so it’s also self-leveling(!).


It. Is. So. Easy. Though I only have one of her frames, her system is also sold in sets so that you can hang an entire wall of frames quickly.

Though I might sound a bit intense about this product, that is because I genuinely love this system and I am honored to know such a kind and innovative entrepreneur.


new home tour on pretty fluffy

September 23rd, 2013   |   DecorLifeStyle

NewHomeTouronPrettyFluffyLast week Franklin (and the apartment) got a feature over on the go-to site for stylish pet owners, Pretty Fluffy.

The home tour was shot by Kim – which really just meant it was a fun day of photography, home-working, and trying to get Franklin to stay still.


I always love Kim’s work, and it was awesome to see her home tour photos compared to images from the Design*Sponge home tour a while back.

There are new views of the apartment that weren’t shown before, and there are design updates around the apartment, like the guest room, which look so much better now.


Click to see the home tour.

Enjoy the new shots of the home – and the tricks I use to stash all of Franklin’s stuff around the house while keeping things clean and cute at the same time.

Click to see the home tour.


PS – There is “Kim photo inception” going on in the first picture. The photo on the nightstand is from our wedding, which Kim also shot. I wonder if that happens a lot and I just never noticed it… 

photos by, via

bringing the patio into fall

September 19th, 2013   |   DecorStyle

BringingThePatioIntoTheFallNow that the weather is getting chillier, it’s time to do more than just break out the booties.

It’s time to “autumn-ize” the patio.

(It may not be not a real word, but it seems like something Mr. Autumn Man would say.)

To do this, we swapped the regular flowers which were slowly dying…

WideShotPatioFor very inexpensive yellow mums from Home Depot.

YellowMumsCute. Simple. And Mr. Lively’s favorite color.


We’re also using our plaid stadium blankets to stay warm. You can find great some deals on these vintage guys on Etsy.

Franklin also seems to prefer the fall, too.

FranklinFallPatioDoesn’t he look good with plaid?

franklin meets the pet shop

September 9th, 2013   |   DecorLife

FranklinMeetsThePetShopWhen we got married, we got a special IOU gift from our wedding photographer and officiant, Kim and Scott.

For those who don’t know, Kim is a pet portrait artist with a studio called The Pet Shop.

Which meant three months before we got Mr. Ben Franklin, we had a portrait of him waiting to happen.

We decided to hold off on our Franklin art until he was full-grown. So this summer, we sent Kim a few photos of the little guy in his signature “puppy sit” position.

For the background, I picked a bright blue that matched my my wedding shoes and bedroom drapes.

I think he turned out pretty darn cute.


If you stopped by last week, you might have spotted him on the wall with the new dresser in the writing room.


I only wish that Franklin appreciated his portrait a bit more. Most of the time, he’s just sleeping in front of his masterpiece.


Pups these days. Don’t even know what they got.

Last but not least, if you are thinking about ordering Kim’s work for the holidays, I will share a word of warning – she fills up early, so you better hurry to place your order if you want it by December 25th.

Thanks, Kim!

photo one by

TheWritingRoomGetsANewDresserFor the past few months, I’ve been scouring Craigslist for a new writing room dresser.

Up until now, I’ve been using an old Ikea bookshelf for storage and it was just looking rather blah and unorganized most of the time.

Though he looks pretty snazzy in the photo below, I can promise you it wasn’t always looking that neat day-to-day.


My quest for the perfect white and gold campaign dresser was unending.

I found a few options on Craigslist in the right style, but each one was either the wrong color (freshly painted lime green), or too short for the space.

But then one day a different lovely caught my eye…


Totally not a campaign dresser. But isn’t she pretty? (Feel free to ignore Franklin’s ear in the pic.)

She is from a local wife and husband duo called Meg Made who are pros at refinishing great pieces for a fraction of what it would cost to get a comparable dresser from the (awesome) White Attic.

We not only loved the dresser, we also loved Meg and her husband, Joe. We immediately hit it off and hung out three times within 48 hours of meeting each other.

The details on this dresser are amazing. Here’s a closer look at some of the pretty.

I’ve never seen corner detail like this before on one of these puppies.


And the hardware, delicate drawer moldings, and key hole detail are sweet.

(I have a feeling this may one day be one of the coolest changing tables ever.)


While I do realize this new dresser kinda tones down the whole “super prep” vibe I had going in the desk area…


… I’m kinda okay with that.

Yes, it’s a bit more eclectic in the writing room now. But really, I love every single piece in that room. So I’ve come to terms that it might look less “designed” than if there was more cohesion.

Whatevs. This room is a perfect reflection of my taste and I’m the one that has to sit in it most days, anyways.

Oh, and Franklin, too.

FranklinApprovedDresserLuckily, he approves.

Photo two and six by.

the soda stream

August 14th, 2013   |   Decor


A few weeks ago our friend, Sophie, came to dinner. While we fed her copious amounts of Blue Apron, we talked about our La Croix addiction.

We drink so much sparkling water that we have been buying three crates every time we go to Cost Co. After hearing this, Sophie told us about a little thing called the Soda Stream.

It makes soda water in 11 seconds flat.  

Sound too good to be true? I made this video to show how insanely fast it is.

And fortunately, it doesn’t take up a lot of counter space, either.

SodaStreamOnCounterBy doing just a little bit of math, we realized that we will be saving money, and dozens of aluminum cans, with this purchase by November.

So for anyone else out there who has trouble keeping La Croix stocked in their fridge, this might be a good alternative to consider!

Reach Out

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