5 Ideas for Creating Custom Features in your Home

5 Ideas for Creating Custom Features in your Home

Have you ever looked around your home and wondered, “How can I make this space feel a little more like mine?” Well, I’m right there with you, friend. If you’re anything like me, you’d like to avoid the cookie cutter, builder-grade, straight-out-of-the-showroom feel. You want unique … custom. 

I’m hosting the kick-off of November’s new topic, “Customizing your Home” for the House to Home Haven Blog Link Up!

Organized by an amazing group of bloggers from the Haven Conference, this link-up’s purpose is to connect and share amazing design and renovation ideas to make the most of your biggest investment: your home! 

If you haven’t met my friends, you’re missing out: meet Danielle and Michael at Clark & Aldine, Sarah and Nick – owners of Nestrs, Lindsey at Building Bluebird, and Morgan and Jamie from Construction2Style

We want to see your ideas too! To get in on the blog link action, drop a link your your IG post, blog post or video at the bottom of this post!

Here are the House to Home Haven Blog Linkup Rules:

  • Link to relevant content
  • Link to a specific post, image, or video
  • Share the love!

5 Interior Design Ideas to Customize your Home

Book Storage – Make a DIY Book Rail

You can easily (and inexpensively) create storage for displaying in your kid’s bedroom or playroom. I particularly love the style of shelves where the covers are forward facing, like the ones we made for our Girl’s Bedroom Makeover.

This was a super simple project and cost a total of $64 and 3 hours total time. Definitely worth it for this space. 


Installing trim moulding is a moderately easy customization project you can use to customize your space. There are many different types ways to use them.

Crown moulding, for example, can be used to bulk up or accentuate the look of otherwise bland cabinets. Just look at the difference a little paint and trim made in our office upfit! 

The Progression
Painted the cabinets in Chantilly Lace by BM & installed a custom trim up to increase the fancy factor – a moderately easy DIY project

Another idea is adding a strip of trim above your basic base molding (or skirting, as the Europeans say) – a simple project that will make your home feel custom.

For more trim ideas on how to go from builder-basic to custom, I suggest following this guy, Phillip on IG – his ideas and work are super educational and impressive.

Paint Selections

You simply can’t beat the impact a few cans of paint can make, even if it is just white on white. There’s something about walls with generous moulding all painted in the same color. 

Image background by @leclairdecor

Seriously, paint selections make a BIG difference. Although I must admit that I am in the neutral paint fan club, we shouldn’t be afraid of color either. A tasteful paint selection will give you a custom look.


Built-ins are one of those custom features that make high-end homes feel like high end homes. Fortunately, there are tons of tutorials out there for how-to build them in all different styles. 

Take some inspiration from this week’s #housetohomehaven winner over on Instagram – Simply Aligned Home

Make a Unique Return Vent Cover 

I know HVAC returns are necessary, but goodness gracious, they are hideous. Thankfully, there’s this super cute tutorial by Simplicity in the South that will help you get a custom look and improve your HVAC vent situation.

What are your home’s unique or custom features that you just can’t live without? 

Drop a link to your Instagram post, blog post, or video below and don’t forget to use #housetohomehaven in all your inspiring spaces!

Until next time, Inspiring friends

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

5 Ideas to Make a Statement with a Feature wall in your Home

5 Ideas to Make a Statement with a Feature wall in your Home

EEEKK!! I’m so excited to be hosting this week’s blog link up with a stellar group of people I met at Haven – all husband & wife teams who have similar interests in home renovation, design, real estate – just like Uriah and I! We’re working together to pool ideas on a different topic each month and take turns hosting the House to Home Haven Blog Linkup every week.

It’s now week 5 AND a whole new month, which means a whole new theme, which means a TON of home design inspiration for you! October’s topic is Statement Designs! Think accent walls, feature walls, entry vignettes, a wallpaper focal point or other inspiring design. The possibilities are endless!

To get in on the fun, simply drop your link at the end of this post (or any of this other host’s posts), that way anyone else who stops by can see your ideas and projects, too!

House to Home Haven Blog Link Up Rules:

  • You must link to a relevant topic
  • Must link to a specific blog post, not a homepage
  • Share the love! (Pin, IG, FB)

Oh and by the way – you should join the party over on Instagram, too! Use #HousetoHomeHaven and win a chance to be featured on all our accounts AND co-host the following week!

Speaking of hosts, let’s meet the other hosts, shall we?

Allow me to introduce Morgan and Jaime from Construction2Style, Lindsey over at Building Bluebird, Danielle & Micheal from Clark & Aldine, and Sarah and Nick from Nestrs!

Here are 5 Unique Design Statements to Help Make your House a Home

Make a Statement with Wallpaper

If I’m being honest, each time we walk into a potential flip with floor to ceiling wallpaper we kind of cringe. But, can we all agree wallpaper has come a long way?? This fad that used to be reserved for grandma’s house is very much on trend! You know I’m all about neutrals, but when applying the idea of wallpaper to a feature wall or focal point in a design?? Now, I can get on board with that! (Like, I’ve got about 3 other room projects rollin’ around in my head right now. Guess what they all have in them? Wallpaper.)

Let’s see if I can convince you.

Exhibit 1: my girl’s bedroom makeover – before and after. 

This wallpaper design is grown up, but maintains a playful feel and, I believe, pivotal in accomplishing my goal of creating a room they won’t grow out of any time soon.

If you own an Airbnb, you might consider taking some measures to make your space Instagram friendly. This can be done easily using wallpaper feature wall. Your guests will post and share – hey – it’s free marketing! My friend, Sara, an Airbnb expert, used a local artist’s design to create her own wallpaper and it’s now the feature wall in the living room of her Airbnb! Read about how you can make your Airbnb Instagrammable. #myairbnb 

Make a statement with a Geometric Wood Wall

You may have noticed that a few years ago, the trend was barnwood walls, then white ship-lap walls. Now, we’re seeing geometric painted wood wall designs with unique patterns and bold colors… L-O-V-I-N-G it!

Photo Credit: A House We Built

This wood feature wall is particularly is stunning:

Photo Credit: Simplicite

… I’m picturing a version of this idea on the back wall of our guest bedroom. Hmmm…

Make a Statement with Tile 

My girl Morgan and her husband Jamie at Construction2style. are amazing with unique tile designs. They work closely with Mercury Mosaics to create stunning works of art. Like this post on kitchen backsplashes and how to set your kitchen apart. (and you should also check out this amazing feature wall in their basement bar area!)


Make a Statement with Color Blocking

Have you noticed this trend with color blocking? I first saw this trend with color blocking from a friend and designer I follow on Instagram. At first I wasn’t sure, but I have to say it’s growing on me! Color blocking proves design doesn’t always have to be expensive! It’s just paint and tape!

Make a Statement: A Command Center 

Who says function can’t be pretty? And who doesn’t need more function in their life? Always remember to incorporate the must haves in a command center design:

  • A calendar
  • Storage for school papers or bills
  • A place for keys and other necessities 
  • Something pretty – a picture or a verse or quote
  • Goals: post family goals / workout goals / the year’s bucket list 

Missed the last 4 weeks on organization? No worries, I’ve got you. You can start with last week’s host, Lindsey at Building Bluebird, read her post on organizing a new home. You’ll find a link to week 3’s host and go from there. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
7 Tips to help you Organize & Design your Home Office

7 Tips to help you Organize & Design your Home Office

If you are anything like me, no space is complete unless it is both functional AND easy on the eyes – and that includes a home office. Recently on Instagram, we shared a part of our Office Upfit Project and the process of taking our wood-toned, dated home office – located smack in the middle of our home – into a light, organized and inspiring space for our small team to gather. 

I wrestled through the ENTIRE design and organization process with decisions for this space – so much it was painful! After taking input from our team and a strong collaborative effort with my Inspiring Intern, Kelly, the project is finally coming together.

*** I’ll be sharing before after’s of this project soon! Stay in the loop

Given the challenges I faced with the organization and design of our home office, I thought I’d share what I learned along the way. Regardless of whether you are a mom running your household, work from home by yourself or have a team at your side… your home office should be the central hub of functionality and this post is for you!

7 Tips for How to Organize and Design your Home Office

#1 Organize a Bills & Mail Station

Create a System

We developed a little system to organize our bills, documents, and random notes that collect on our desk. 

First when the mail comes in, we go through and purge the junk mail. Random notes are separated from bills and project related documents and placed in a separate folder. The rest go in the top bin. Uriah doesn’t open the mail until he’s ready to spend a few hours paying bills. 

After bills are paid, they go into the “to-be-scanned” bin. Either Uriah or our assistant will then scan the papers into a cloud based system, according to our digital organization process

Then, if it is a document where the original needs to be kept in our records, such as a HUD, it goes in the “to be filed” bin. At that point, documents are ready to be filed in our Project File Drawers by our assistant.

wire file drawer for home office

#2 Choose a Desk with Storage to Help you Organize

Hopefully your desk has at least two file drawers so you can organize important personal business documents. If not, no worries! You can always purchase file boxes like these at Target and store them on open shelving. You can even use file storage as a part of your styling, like this idea from The Organized Home:

picture of a wooden crate being used to store files in a home office and styled on a shelf with pretty books this design tip also helps you stay organize

#3 Organization is all about labeling EVERYTHING

When I say label everything – I mean everything: your shelving, your bins, your folders, your cubbies and baskets. After all – you’ve spend all this time on organization so everything has a place. Labeling (in conjunction with self-discipline) is the way to keep it that way! It will also help your husband, wife, assistant, or children know exactly where things go. 

We bought cabinet hardware that doubled as a label!

this picture is of file drawers with hardware that doubles as a label - found on amazon
Drawer hardware that doubles as a label. Ignore the fact that I haven’t actually labeled them yet 🙂 This project is still in progress.

#4 Organize and Look Good Doing It – Put Your Processes and Operating Procedures in Pretty, Easily Accessible Binders  

I found floral 3-ring binders like the ones you see above at target – making sure they compliment our brand colors. (The ones linked are similar but not the exact same as mine.)

The binders hold our Office Manual, Company Handbook and Order & Inventory Lists for Open Projects. Notebooks and manuals such as this need to be readily accessible for you or your employees to reference when needed. Because counter space is plentiful in The Inspiring Investment office, we display them in a black mesh rack on the counter.

#5 Design: Home Office

This concept could also be applied for a homemaking office! Have a notebook for meal planning, home or craft projects, or you could even have a Household Manual – a tool you can provide a nanny or babysitters who come into your home. (Would you believe I do this one? #nerdalert)

office picture with blog post title pinterest graphic
Pin this to an organization board on Pinterest! Go ahead and follow us while you’re there.

Start with Neutrals

White space is essential to a visually appealing space – I’m convinced! That’s not to say there isn’t a place for color – or – that walls always have to be white – by no means! Color makes our world interesting and dynamic! But in order for that color to be seen and not overwhelmed by other “noise”, a neutral backdrop is a solid foundation for building a well-designed, balanced space. That is why we chose to paint our cabinets AND walls white. It will be the perfect canvas to put our brand on display.

#6 Design: Home Office Artwork and Decor

Use Artwork and Decor that tells a story 

The story you tell through the decor in your home office should be dictated by the reason you use it. I run a small business, so for the purposes of this post I will speak for business owners and branding, but your brand could also be interpreted as your style or values and therefore applicable to a homemaker’s office. 

Brand colors, your logo, imagery, meaningful art related to your business, or company benchmarks –  all of these things are a part of branding your office. They re-affirm the values of your company and communicate a cohesive message to your employees and even yourself. 

#7 – Design: Seating

Use Stylish, but Comfortable Chairs

Ergonomic design is an important factor in furnishing your home office with comfy, stylish seating.

heathered grey stool with pecan modern legs an example of home office seating
I love this stool from West Elm

(We are actually incorporating a standing desk option for one of the three work stations in our home office, which is why I’m showing a stool option.)

More ideas to design your home office: 

  • Hang inspiring wall art (support local artists if possible)
  • Use meaningful objects to your brand or values to decorate
  • Post your vision & mission statement
  • Display a vision board 
  • Provide a gratitude jar
  • Sprinkle a bit of greenery into your styling, using faux plants if necessary (more tips on styling here)

Ideas for branding your home office:

We plan on putting a vinyl sticker of our logo at the top of our office whiteboard, because no one can reach up there anyway. 

Additionally, we will be using light blue push pins on a black and white maps of Raleigh, Cary, and Durham to mark all flips we’ve completed in our market, kind of like the one you see pictured above.

In Conclusion …

Working from home is certainly a blessing, but I think we all know it can also have it’s challenges. Investing the extra effort into the design and organization of your office can improve functionality, your personal productivity and communicate your brand’s message, unifying your whole team! It’s time to treat your home office like an actual workplace, don’t you think?

Coming Next …

I’m posting all the design choices we actually implemented to tell our brand’s story in our Office Upfit. 

The Secret To Modern Interiors: Lighting

This is a Sponsored Post. 

You want a space that is clean, modern, yet comfortable and unique. You aren’t in a place to build a house from scratch nor bent on the idea of hiring an “expert”.

Maybe you are flipping a house or about to renovate yours and want to know where to prioritize your $$$.

In any case, you want to make a mark of your own; to create a space that feels like this:

I’m here for you friend.

Don’t you love unique spaces that feel styled without trying too hard, where all the furniture isn’t just one look, yet it works?! What if I told you that, along with your furniture choices, mixing metals with fixtures is a way you can accomplish this feeling?

The Secret Is In The Lighting

Whether you are going for modern, bohemian, mid-century, or traditional …

Lighting has to be THE BEST part about interiors. Perhaps because of the power they hold. (See what I did there?)

The right light fixtures can take your home from builder-grade basic to jaw dropping. They can either blend into their surrounding or leave your friends drooling.

Today’s post is sponsored by Modern Brass – who happens to be one of my favorite lighting companies.

At our recent Flip Project in Cary, coined the #redneckpoolhouse, we mixed metals with gunmetal knobs on the cabinet doors, matte black door hardware, and antique brass and fixtures in the main living space. It all worked together cohesively to make a powerful statement.

So, you better believe I was over-the moon when Modern Brass reached out to me for this collaboration, because I’m in love with their brand, not to mention ALL their products. I feel like I’m spilling one of my best kept secret resources, today!


When opening this beautiful fixture I noticed the quality of the product. And the design? Seriously, it’s like art.

When paired in a well-balanced space, it’s crazy how the right light simply transforms a room!!

(Which, by the way, is an agrument for why you should focus a healthy portion of your design budget in the lighting department.)

But, do you wanna know the best part about it? You only need a few fixtures to accomplish the feeling you want, so in the scheme of things, totally worth the investment.

My suggestion is to splurge on a few choice light fixtures to get the most bang for your buck:

  • The Entry
  • The Kitchen
  • Dining Room

The Install: Modern Brass Beauty

We chose to install this beauty right in the entry, because it’s the first thing people see!

It’s a good thing I have this hot handyman around to install … Because the boys and I were basically useless.


The fixture came with all the parts you see here, so you have two options for height. This particular house had 8 ft. ceilings, so we opted for the shorter rod.



The edison bulbs, the brass, the clean lines! So, so yummy.

… and just look at this Before and After!


Images by Smith Hardy Photography

But Lights are Expensive! Worth it?

Coming from a real estate investor, yes! If you bought your house at the right price and aren’t over improving for the neighborhood, I think you will. Simple updates like switching out fixtures are one of the easiest chages you can make, and when done in combination with other home updates, will increase demand! If you are renting, you can always take your fixture with you at the end of your lease.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: light fixtures are like art, you shouldn’t skimp on them. They are certainly worth the investment.

Psst… If this style of light is right up your alley, be sure to follow us on Instagram and watch for a giveway with this light fixture:

…from the VERY generous Modern Brass! The giveaway item is similiar to the product above, except the lights point down, which I personally like better!

female real estate investor raleigh flipping houses renovation diy home inspiration

Inspirations and Selections for the Yucko Stucco

When deterimining a design direction for the Yucko Stucco, per my usual, I scoured Pinterest for inspiration. Then I created a visual board using Power Point to help me see it all come together. Here is what I came up with:
sherwin williams benjamin moore light french gray storm
gun metal hardware square sink herringbone tile grey subway tile industrial faucet quartz countertops
Modern Chrome Fixtures Herringbone Tile grey cabinet marble floor frameless glass shower
Chrome Modern Clean Faucets
Grey themed tile subway slate marble and herringbone
This Yucko Stucco isn’t going to be Yucko for long…
Until Next Time…

Inspiring Interior Paint Colors & Painting Tips

So Many Choices!

If the thought of walking into Lowes or Home Depot‘s paint department makes you want to curl up in the fetal position and put a blanket over your head, you are not alone. Picking out the perfect paint color for a space can be stressful, I mean – so many paint swabs!! How is one to make the right choice?!? Not only that, there are so many brands and finishes!

Eggshell. Flat. Semi-gloss. Latex. Oil-based.

Then you have to think about lighting, the particular shade of the color you want, and complimenting colors. Since the purchase of our first “flip”, almost 8 years ago, I have had a lot of opportunites to stress over paint. I am going to share a few painting tips – somethings I have learned – and some of the colors we love and have used in our flips.

Favorite Colors

  1. Perfect Taupe by Behr – This color is the perfect combination of grey and tan. Most of the interior of my house is some form of this color…
    owners of inspiring investment's living room perfect taupe and bleached linen

    My Living Room

  2. Sea Port by Valspar Signature – Nautical looking blue that hugs the grey side of things. This is the color I have in my dining room.
    dining room color sea port blue

    My Dining Room

  3. La Paloma by Benjamin Moore – This true grey color is what I used to paint the lower set of cabinets in my kitchen.. which is still a work in progress…
    white and grey cabinets black hardware kitchen

    My Kitchen

  4. French Gray by Sherwin Williams – We used this modern gray color in the master bedroom and master bathroom of the House on Drewy Hill. It looks best with crisp white trim and lots of windows.
    Master Bedroom

    Master Bedrm of a flip in Raleigh – The House on Drewy Hill

  5. Light French Gray by Sherwin Williams – This was the complimenting color of French Gray. I loved this color. It was also used in the House on Drewy Hill for all the other main living areas. I can thank my good friend Hannah Smith for this gorgeous color choice. Hannah owns and runs a design business in Raleigh called Hannah Smith Design. We hired her for the Drewy House project to help us with selections… because it was a massive project. She did a fabulous job. Read more about that project here.
    Downstairs Living Room

    Downstairs Living of our flip in Raleigh

  6. Bleached Linen by Behr- As a trim color, Bleached Linen compliments Perfect Taupe very well. It’s a soft off-white that is not too yellow.
    Living room paint Cary

    Our Fireplace painted in Bleached Linen in our Living room

  7. Whythe Blue by Benjamin Moore – This is a similar color to the one I chose for my front door and I am in love with it! It complements dark hardware so well.
    Wythe Blue front door

    Our Front Door

Painting Tips

  1. Olympic One interior paint is the best brand to cover dark colors.
  2. A flat finish paint will minimize drywall imperfections. An eggshell finish is also completely appropriate.
  3. Ceilings should almost always be painted in a flat finish.
  4. Semi-gloss finish goes best on trim.
  5. Bathrooms should not be painted in a flat finish paint. If your drywall looks good, do a semi-gloss. If its not the best, do an eggshell finish.
  6. Latex paint is the way to go for painting interior walls. Oil-based paints are best used on items that will take more wear and tear – like wood furniture.
  7. A consistent color on your walls makes for a more cohesive look throughout your home.
  8. Be sparing with darker shades of color – use them as accents. (see my living room as an example)
  9. Use different shades of the same neutral color throughout your home – A little trick my mom taught me

** For example: I used Perfect Taupe above the chair rail in my living room. I went to Lowes and asked them for another can of Perfect Taupe at 50% and painted all the bedrooms in that color. Then I did this again, but asked them to only put 25% of Perfect Taupe in it and painted all the hallways with it.
Hope this helps as you choose a paint color for your space.
Until Next Time…