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One Room Challenge Week 6: The Powder Bath REVEAL!

Six weeks have flown by I am beyond excited to finally show you my first completed One Room Challenge, which is also the first room that we have ‘finished’ so far in our new home! Note: finished is a relative term around here…

I’ve learned so much these past few weeks, including how to do some things I never thought I could do! Like installing wallpaper by myself, or working with a stone cutter to design my own sink. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone, in a good way. Overall I feel much more confident in my abilities, and I’m excited to continue making over more rooms in my house!

So before we get to the reveal, let’s take a quick peek at the before:

Now I know there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the original bathroom. It just didn’t have my personal stamp or the ‘wow’ factor that I wanted for my powder bath. Since it is such a small space, I thought it would be fun to make it really bold and playful. I think the hand painted Mitchell Black wallpaper accomplished that task very nicely.

The after:

The next biggest change we did was the install the custom sink. We swapped out the old pedestal sink for a vintage looking brass vanity. For the sink, I went to a local granite yard and searched through tons of remnants until I fell in love with this piece of quartzite. I worked with the team to express my vision for the sink, and they made it happen. Tip: don’t be scared to ask the professionals how to do things, in my experience experts LOVE talking about what they know best. Also, when they offer installation, do it. This sink needed to be sent back because of improper measurements (cough) and the backsplash was redone to accommodate for a small gap between the sink and wall. Since they were doing the installing, they did all of this without any extra charge. I honestly don’t know what we would have done if we tried to do this ourselves.

My favorite part of quartzite is that it has gorgeous veining like marble, but it is much more durable. (Side note, I also learned quartzite stone, despite the similar name, isn’t related to the very popular quartz, which is a man-made material).

Keeping function in mind, I really wanted to add something to store toilet paper, garbage bags, and extra hand soap and towels. My original plan was to put the trunk under the sink. Unfortunately, the one I found that I bought without measuring didn’t fit under the sink because of the new plumbing. By the time I realized that, I had lost the receipt because, well, I always lose receipts. Anyway, then I thought I’d just ditch the trunk and buy a cabinet, which turned out to be quite a difficult task. After searching high and low for the perfect small-but-not-too-small cabinet, I gave up. So I revisted using the trunk after all. The bathroom is a long and narrow space, so breaking it up with the trunk did not crowd the room at all. Plus it gave me a place to add a little greenery. (I need some green in every room, even if it is faux eucalyptus because this room gets zero natural light). I had wanted to put flowers in a vase, but in this house with kids using this room constantly, I needed a plant that could get knocked over and withstand a bit of bruising without breaking.

For lighting I wanted to keep the black, white, and brass color palette and also give a touch of an industrial vibe. The mirror, which is probably my favorite piece, is a vintage find that I have owned for almost a decade. For years I couldn’t decide where to put it, and it is so heavy I was hesitant to hang it. There it stayed in our basement storage gathering dust, and I even considered selling or donating it before we moved, but thankfully I didn’t!

Lastly, the art that inspired it all is up on the walls. They are photographs I bought from Gamal Sabla, a street artist I met in New Orleans. I loved how the photos are filled with bright color and unique scenes from the city.

Now that I’m done with this powder bath, I am already excited to get started on my next project, my attic walk-in-closet makeover. Follow me on instagram @zahra_sandberg and check out my ‘home’ highlights to see what I’ve done so far!

Powder Bathroom Source List:

Don’t forget to visit the ORC blog today to see all of the other amazing reveals! Thanks so much for visiting as always!

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One Room Challenge Week 4: We Have A Sink!

First off, if you came here last week looking for my One Room Challenge update and didn’t find it – I’m sorry! To be quite honest, life got in the way. Also, I hadn’t made any significant improvements so I didn’t have a whole lot of excitement to share. However, today is a different day – and what a wonderful day it is! After weeks of having to wash our hands in the kitchen, we now officially have a sink in our powder bath!

(Catch up on week 1 here and week 2 here!)

As much as I want to show it to you now, i need to hold off for the reveal because it is my favorite part of the makeover (after the wallpaper of course). I can’t show you everything or it won’t be as fun, am I right? I feel extra proud of this sink because I personally went out to the granite yard, found this gorgeous stone remnant, and had it made exactly how I wanted it. For a seasoned designer I know that isn’t a huge task, but since it was my first time, it feels huge. Exploring granite yards for remnants, and spending way too much time in internet rabbit holes googling things like ‘apron front’ and ‘mitering’ was incredibly exciting and fun.

I found a really cute trunk that I will use for supplies like toilet paper and garbage bags, and I plan to have paper napkins and tissues, and also some type of faux floral on a tray on top of the trunk.

Now all that is left to do is hang the art and vanity mirror, and accessorize!

The hardest part of this whole project has been forcing myself not to do too much. At one point I considered adding trim and paneling the entire room, or adding tile to the bottom half of the wall for contrast. When I really thought about it, I was just trying to do more for the sake of doing more, not really keeping true to my design vision. The lesson I learned is – sometimes you need to add something, sometimes all you need is to edit.

Stay tuned for another update next week! I promise there will be pictures 😉 Feel free to peruse the ORC website for tons, I mean TONS, of design inspiration.

Thanks for visiting as always!

Client File: Mom on the go Fall Style Refresh

I was recently approached by a friend who was looking to refresh her wardrobe. She is a busy working mama and hasn’t put much effort into her style for years, as thirty something she admits she is still wearing clothes from her high school days. I’m all for making your clothing last, but it doesn’t hurt to change it up at least once every decade or so! Her goals were to elevate her basics, and add in a couple of skirts for work meetings. Modesty and comfort were also a top priority. I haven’t done any styling work in years, but the idea sounded like a fun challenge! I asked myself, If I were building a Fall wardrobe from scratch, what would I want in it?

I also thought some of you might be interested in doing a little closet update as well, so I put this little blog post together for you!

Here’s what I came up with:

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To start, I came up with some basic Fall Wardrobe Essentials. A great pair of denim, a cozy sweater, a cute everyday sweater, an ankle boot and a flat shoe, a trench coat, and a sweater coat. I added a cute necklace because I believe in wearing jewelry every day – currently layering coin necklaces is one of my favorite looks.

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I suggested a variety of tops that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits.
1. Simple black shirt with an unexpected neckline
2. Printed button down blouse
3. Special occasion/dressy blouse
4. Cozy sweater
5. Basic tee
6. Basic turtleneck

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Upgrading denim is the easiest way to make your wardrobe current. High waist denim is still my favorite and I think it always will be. A longer, looser straight leg fit is really hot right now, but a cropped style looks really great with all the fall booties. Priority would go to the blue jeans, then black, but I have a soft spot for a winter white denim look too.

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Midi and maxi skirts and dresses are a must-have for women on the go. They are also a modest dresser’s best friend. Just throw on a moto jacket, some boots, and you instantly look chic and put together.

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Loose, belted pants are not only comfy AF, but they automatically take any outfit up a notch. Dress up with heels or boots, or dress down with sneakers.

What do you think of my picks? Any other must-haves you recommend?

One Room Challenge Week 2: Making Progress

It is week 2 of the One Room Challenge (ORC) and I already know it is going to be a wild ride! If you don’t know about the ORC, check out Week 1 where I explain it all, and while you are there you can take a peek at my before pictures! Also be sure to check out all of the incredible design inspiration being shared, where 20 professional interior designers and hundreds of guests (like me!) are participating in this challenge. If you follow me on instagram, you can see all of my home updates in real time, or check out my ‘home’ highlight!

So, now on to the powder bathroom progress. I’m happy to say we officially have wallpaper! I’ve been wanting to try wallpaper for years, I mean YEARS now, but the fear of the installation process and the commitment always held me back. Enter: Mitchell Black peel and stick wallpaper. I partnered with Mitchell Black to try out an amazing bold original design that in my opinion, completely transformed the room. The best part about it is that the wallpaper is so heavy duty, you can stick it over and over again if you mess up, which I did a lot. Tip: watch the installation guide video before you begin, there is a little trick to how to smooth it out while peeling the back – it almost looks like you are doing a ‘wax on wax off’ motion. Once you get the hang of that, the install is actually really easy. One more tip, if you have any holes or dents in your walls from previous lighting or anything else that was removed, take the time to patch it. There are a few tiny areas where I can see the old light fixture screws were in the wall. It probably wont be noticeable to most, but if you are a perfectionist like me, it may haunt you for life.

Moving on! The vanity I chose is brass and the company also sells a marble sink to go with it. You can see it here in my design concept.

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the sink that they sell with the vanity. I wanted it to be a little more luxurious. So, I took a trip to the granite shop, and picked out an absolutely stunning piece of Quartzite slab. It was a remnant which saved the budget a lot. Quartzite is also a lot more durable than marble, and for a main floor bath in a home with kids, I need durable. I asked to make it a 4″ apron front sink, and miter the edges together. I also added a curved shape to the backsplash, to counter the straight lines in the wallpaper.

Installation of the sink was supposed to have happened already, but we had a couple of issues that caused a delay. Most important lesson, and if you get this particular vanity do listen up – be absolutely sure to measure for your vanity after you have installed it. I took my vanity measurements from the website, ordered the sink, and realized after that it was completely off. I had to saw (well actually my dear husband had to saw) several inches off of the brass in order to have the sink flush to the wall. When they came back to install, we still had a small gap between the wall and backsplash that would need to use epoxy to secure. So now our sink install will happen towards the end of the month. You live you learn I guess!

Other than that, I am sourcing a trunk that I will use for supplies like toilet paper and garbage bags. I am also debating on whether I want a small shelving unit where I can add some decorative objects and floral. Since it is a long and narrow space, I think I could add this functional design feature without making it too cramped.

Stay tuned for my weekly updates and be sure to head over the the ORC website to view all of the other entries!

One Room Challenge Week 1: Powder Bathroom Plans

Hello! Today I am excited to share I will be joining in as a guest designer for my very first One Room Challenge! If you haven’t heard of the ORC, it is a bi-annual event showcasing 20 designers and guest participants as they transform one room of their home. Starting today, every week for the next six weeks, everyone will share their progress and updates on the room!

If you are here from the One Room Challenge site, welcome! I’m Zahra, and I am so excited to be joining in as a guest this season. My design philosophy is that every great room should consist of four things: Something old, something new, something vintage, and something uniquely you.

I first learned of this challenge from one of my favorite interior design bloggers, Alisa Bovino – I followed along as she did one of her rooms and it was so much fun to see the process, that I thought I would try to do it too!

The room I chose to makeover is our powder bathroom. A little background: our home was built in 1916, and even though it has been renovated, details like the brick chimney and original hardwood floors have (thankfully) been preserved.

Here is the before:

First, what I love about the room is that it has the gorgeous brick from the original fireplace, it is pretty spacious (albeit narrow) for a powder bath, and I appreciate the original doors and hardwood floors and trim.

My vision for this space is to make it a bold statement. A few years ago I visited New Orleans and I fell so deep in love – the art, music, food! Most of all, I fell in love with their style – the mix of traditional and whimsical, old and new, glamorous and eclectic. I want my entire home to feel like that (one day!) but for now we will focus on the powder bath.

My first step will be to swap out the pedestal sink for a vanity with more of a vintage vibe. I want there to be a mix of metals, including brass. I will also change the wallpaper to something with a little more of a bold story. In the end I hope it will be a little masculine, a little feminine, and overall a lot more interesting.

Here is mood board I created with the actual wallpaper and mirror I plan to use. The framed pictures I picked up from a street artist during my visit to New Orleans.

I’m excited to share more of this room makeover with you!

XO,

Zahra

Fall Neutrals

Even though it doesn’t feel like Fall, at least we can dress like it.

At first glance wearing neutrals may seem a little boring or (god forbid) even basic, but the trick to elevate your look is to pick and pair interesting shapes and textures together.

Scroll down to read my outfit formulas for three anything-but-basic neutral looks for transitioning into Fall.

Pleated pants + Crop Top + Sandals + Blazer

I like to juxtapose masculine pleated dad-pants with a fitted crop knit top and some dainty footwear. Catch a breeze in this not quite Fall weather in some kitten heeled sandals and a crop knit top, but keep a blazer on hand for when the sun goes down. If you aren’t a crop type of gal, just tuck in your top and you are set.

Turtleneck + Black Denim (on Sale!) + Boots (on Sale!) + Leather Jacket

I always feel instantly cooler in a ‘model off duty’ type of way when I wear nearly all black, combat boots, and a leather jacket.

Feminine Top + High Waist Jeans (similar under $100) + Slide Pumps

A pretty blouse and high waist denim is timeless and chic. These nude pumps are actually slides with a twist detail that adds interest – (and also makes them easier to kick off at the end of a long day)

Thank you for visiting!

XO,

Zahra

Video: Get Ready With Me ~ Home Decor Plans + Summer Makeup

My favorite summer makeup look and the city that is the inspiration for ALL of my future home decor

Hey guys! After a brief hiatus, I’m back on YouTube! I’m a little rusty though it seems, because in this video I forgot to turn on my microphone – whoops! Anyone who shoots video with a DLSR knows how terrible the camera audio can be. I freak out a little bit at the end of the video when I realized it, but after watching the whole thing, I realized it wasn’t all that bad! (I didn’t edit out my freak out, so I hope you can at least get a laugh out of my pain.)

In this video I’m sharing my summer makeup favorites, including the foundation that I get asked about constantly, a new blush that gives the perfect pop of orangey pink to the apples of your cheeks, and my pick for best summer lipstick.

I hope you enjoy! If you do, don’t forget to hit that like button, and subscribe to my channel so you never miss a new video.

Some of the products used:

12 Easy Outfit Ideas To Copy Now + Introducing the #shoppedmycloset challenge

About a month ago while unpacking yet another box of clothes that I haven’t worn in years but also can’t seem to part with, I realized I had been wearing the same yoga pants for days on end while letting so many of my gorgeous real clothes stay folded away, untouched and unloved. I read somewhere that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe – and for me and my yoga pant addiction, that even sounds a little generous. I think it stems from childhood, when my mom used to save our ‘nice clothes’ for special occasions, and we wore only our crappy play clothes every day. Sometimes, we would outgrow the nice clothes before even getting a chance to wear them!

As a style enthusiast, I enjoy getting dressed and wearing nice clothing. I also feel much better when I’ve taken the time to put on a nice outfit on, and do a little hair and makeup. I’m right there with Tom Ford when he said ‘dressing well is a form of good manners’.

The Challenge

To solve my dilemma of feeling blah in my everyday yoga pants, while simultaneously feeling guilty for not wearing my real clothes – I challenged myself to shop my closet and wear a new outfit every single day. For anyone who doesn’t work in an office, you know how difficult this challenge can be. The outfits aren’t at all fancy, my only rule is: no workout clothes. Check out the slideshow below to see a few of my recent outfits, and read the caption for details on the look and styling tips.

The Result

Overall I *loved* doing this challenge and I am going to keep it up as long as I can. It’s sort of like working out, there were some days I wasn’t in the mood at all, but once I did it I was glad that I did. If you want to join me and shop your own closet, do it! If you decide to post it, use the #shoppedmycloset hashtag too – I’ll be looking out for it!

(To catch up on all of my daily #shoppedmycloset outfits, follow me on Instagram and check out the ‘Style’ highlight.)

Thanks so much for visiting as always! Be sure to subscribe so that you never miss a post

xx – Z

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    Five Simple Ways To Practice Self-Care

    Today’s post was inspired by mental health awareness month back in may, which is when this post would have been extremely relevant and timely, but as goes my life motto these days, its better late than never!

    We live in this world full of people and circumstances that are out of our control, and we can’t exactly isolate ourselves from every thing or person that gets us down, right? So that is why its critical we need to make time for self-care. Self-care may be a trendy word at the moment, but it has always been a basic human need, and it always will be.

    I often get messages asking me how I balance it all and how do I always seem so happy and relaxed. My answer to that is, I don’t balance it all, and I’m not always happy and relaxed – but I do my best! 

    So here are some of the things I do:

    1. Go for a walk. I love getting outside and breathing fresh air, it instantly improves my mood. I go in the mornings with my dog, before the kids wake up. It is like a meditation for me to be outside when it is so quiet all I hear are the birds chirping.
    2. Journaling – Writing down my feelings, especially the difficult ones, at the very least helps me figure out how to handle whatever it is I’m going through. It has given me major insight into my own self, what motivates me and what fears I have. One particularly rough day, I wrote down all of the thoughts I had about myself that moment, and some of them were such harsh criticisms that when I read it again I actually felt bad for me. Journaling helps me look at myself from the outside in, giving me a whole different perspective to consider.
    3. Exercise – Sweating and pushing myself is the best way to get out of my own head and clear my mind. Most of this year I’ve been slacking in the workout area, getting back into it now feels amazing. I honestly forgot how good I feel after. I wake up early before the kids and do about 30-45 minute workout. Per week I aim for 2-3 days of resistance training using body weight and dumbells. If I am able to, I like to add two days of yoga, dance, or any other movement I enjoy. I found I am able to stay motivated after I joined a few girlfriends together in an instagram group dedicated to wellness – we message each other every time we do something good for ourselves – like a workout, a walk, or meditation. Even when I wasn’t adding to their conversation, just reading their notes made me want to be a part of it!
    4. Grooming – Taking care of my outward appearance is important for my self-image. Getting my hair done, nails done, facials, all of it is important to me.  As women we aren’t supposed to act like we care about our looks, or else we are considered shallow and self-centered by society.  However, we are also just supposed to look like we magically woke up like Beyonce in a snapchat filter. Taking out some time to feel like a princess is something I do for me regularly, without any guilt or shame attached.
    5. Date Night – Making time for dates and romance. It is so easy to let life, kids, work get in the way of your relationship – especially when you’ve been with the same person for a while. Making time for you and your significant other a real priority is such an important way to care for yourself – we all need to feel loved right?! Every time Tom and I make time to go out to dinner alone, or go to a concert or movie, we remember how much we actually enjoy each other’s company.

    My Favorite Dainty Gold Earrings

    My love of fine jewelry was genetically inherited from my mother. As a kid I remember going to visit her safe deposit box every time there was an event that called for jewelry, (and there were many!). I would drool over all of the shiny gold and sparkly baubles she owned. Each piece in her collection of vintage and new jewelry had a story behind it, each one special and unique. I even got my ears pierced as a baby and wore the same dainty gold hoop earrings for most of my childhood. That was the first piece in my growing collection that I hope to share with my Sophia one day.

    The newest addition to my jewelry collection are these gorgeous gold earrings by New York based sustainable jewelry line AU-Rate. They are sophisticated, elegant, and truly unique. I love that you can style them a few ways by pulling the earring shorter or longer, creating multiple looks. The entire line is absolutely stunning, and if that weren’t enough, they are also ethically sourced and sustainably produced, with a strong emphasis put on both the quality and design.

    I took my new bling out for a spin on a date night a few nights ago, and I think it really elevated my otherwise simple outfit – even Tom admired them and asked me how they keep from falling out of my ears! I think no outfit is truly complete without a little jewelry. It’s like the icing on the proverbial cake – which also just so happens to be my favorite part of cake!

    Let me know in the comments below if you are more of a clothes, bags, shoes, or jewelry person (like me!)

    Links to everything else I’m wearing can be found below the images.

    Thank you for stopping by, as always! If you like this post, consider subscribing so you can receive updates every time a new post is live. (I’ll never spam you, promise!)You can also follow me on instagram for more!

    Note: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Nakturnal 

    Necklace | Pants: Iro (thrifted from Material World but here is a similar style) | Cami: Rebecca Taylor (Similar Style) | Shoes

    More similar styles:

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    all images and content, unless otherwise noted, are property of zahra sandberg. Please request permission prior to use of any of my images. if you have further questions, email me at zahra{at}lovezahra{dot}com.