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New Des Moines West Elm + My Favorites for Fall 2017

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Just over a week ago, Des Moines enthusiastically welcomed its newest retail destination. The Des Moines West Elm opened its first Iowa store on Grand Avenue in the East Village. I didn’t make it to the grand opening party, but I did stop in a few days later, and the place was packed. People in Des Moines are definitely hungry for stylish, on-trend alternatives to our limited options for home decor and furniture. As a designer, I’m thrilled that I can finally sit on upholstery and check out the scale and finishes of the items I’ve been coveting online for both clients and myself.

I only snapped a few photos on my first tour of the new location because there were just way too many people around. But, I wanted to share some of the newish pieces that caught my eye for Fall and have me wishing for a bigger home decor budget.


I’m still dreaming about the day when we can finally decorate our new master bedroom properly. It’s way down on the priority list below everything baby. But, when we do get around to it, I think this low mid-century style bed would be just perfect. I like the mix of materials, the upholstered headboard, and clean lines.

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Modern Show Wood Bed – Wheat

Do you switch our your bedding based on the seasons? I never do, but this flannel pin dot bedding looks incredibly cozy and would look fabulous styled with the plaid throw below.

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Flannel Dot Coverlet

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Soft Touch Throws

I love the soft, painterly quality of this abstract wool rug. The understated color palette would pair beautifully with white oak, light leather, copper, and marble.

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Flame Rug

This teal settee has a distinctly 80s vibe. I think it would be perfect in an office for guest seating or in a formal living space. It has a pretty small footprint so it could also be a nice option in an apartment or tight living space as extra seating.

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Vero Settee

I spotted these graphic vases at the Uptown West Elm in Minneapolis and was immediately drawn to their playful shapes and the elongated dot pattern. I fully intended to bring the larger black and white version home from my first visit to our West Elm, but I didn’t see them there.

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Matthew Ward Chulucanas Vases

I love this black leather chair for a man’s office or a bachelor pad living room. I’m a little short to find it entirely comfortable, but that’s nothing a good throw pillow couldn’t fix. I think the proportions would fit a taller person better.

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Swoop Leather Chair

West Elm has a strong planter game going on right now, and I thought this little, spotted dog was just adorable. Don’t worry, there’s also a cat version.

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Ceramic Dog Planter

I love a good swivel chair, especially a smaller one like this super cool velvet design by Roar+Rabbit for West Elm. At only 30″ high, they provide extra seating without blocking the view. The pleating detail and brass bass elevate the overall design.

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Roar +Rabbit Swivel Chair

Never underestimate the power of a sculptural table lamp to inject interest and style into an otherwise lonely corner. This piece would work perfectly on my vintage mid-century credenza to provide a little mood lighting.

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Framed Sphere Table Lamp

Simple in form, the mix of materials on this little side table drew my eye. At 20″ round, it’s large enough to be functional, but the glass top keeps it from feeling too dark or heavy.

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Colorwash Side Table

Is it just me or is it really hard to find a decent bar stool at a good price point? After an almost ludicrously extensive search, I ended purchasing a brass and leather version from CB2 for our kitchen peninsula. These gorgeous mid-century style stools hadn’t been released at the time, or they would have been a strong contender. They could only be better if they a. swiveled, and b. came in multiple fabric options (although they would be easy and fairly inexpensive to re-upholster).

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Mid-Century Backless Stools

Who wouldn’t love a petite footed planter with polka dots? I’m partial to the blue and think it would look adorable on the shelves I’m planning to install in the nursery. I’m not great with succulents though, so maybe a tiny tropical plant instead? And, don’t even get me started on ferns. They die so quickly you can actually see it happening.

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Dotty Cachepots

I was immediately drawn to these throws in our new store. They are so much more impressive in person with a thick chunky weave. The blue is going to look amazing in the nursery and could easily work in our living room as well.

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Marled Basketweave Throw

Do you live in Des Moines? If so, have you visited the new store yet? I’m hopeful that this shop will lead to more retailers opening locations in the downtown and East Village. Both areas have undergone major transformations over the past several years and already feel so much more dynamic than when I first moved here in 2008.

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Amber Interiors

My Favorite Round Mirrors

Round mirrors are having a bit of a moment. They work beautifully over a dresser in the bedroom, in combination with a great console in the entry, or in lieu of art anywhere throughout the home. They function equally well as an unexpected element in bathrooms of all shapes and styles, from masters to kids’ bathrooms to powder rooms.

Homey Oh My

Homey Oh My

Vanessa Francis Design

Vanessa Francis Design

Anne Sage

Anne Sage via West Elm

RH Round Mirror Convex

Restoration Hardware

Auhaus Architecture

Auhaus Architecture

House of Jade

House of Jade

Amber Interiors

Amber Interiors

Sarah Sherman Samuel

Sarah Sherman Samuel

I’ve “rounded” up some of my favorites in a wide variety of styles and price points. I would particularly love to incorporate the brass pendant mirror from RH Modern into a master bathroom design.

Round Mirrors

  1. Anthr0pologie Helios Mirror
  2. RH Iron and Rope Mirror
  3. Worlds Away Porthole Mirror
  4. RH Lombard Prism Mirror
  5. Anthropologie Hoop Mirror
  6. Urban Outfitters Industrial Wall Mirror
  7. RH Palazzo Mirror
  8. West Elm Upholstered Mirror
  9. Jute Rope Mirror
  10. Leather Hanging Mirror
  11. CB2 Victor Leather Mirror (A good inexpensive option)
  12. CB2 Tork Mirror (Possibly in the Anne Sage photo above)
  13. RH Convex Large Mirror (Shown Above)
  14. Jamie Young Jute Sunburst Mirror
  15. RH Modern Pendant Mirror
  16. CB 2 Umbra Mirror (Good price for the size!)
Hanging Planter Roundup

Hanging Planter Roundup

Hanging Planter Roundup

Since moving into our house five years ago, I’ve become a little bit of a plant lady.  I started collecting vintage planters, so I needed plants to put in them. Then I wanted a fiddle leaf fig, which now commands an entire corner of our living room (it’s huge!). The plants started outgrowing their planters, so I transplanted them and repotted the smaller plants with new plants. Now I have quite the collection, but I don’t have a hanging planter anywhere in the house. With all of these great options out there, I think it’s about time to expand my indoor garden to the ceiling.

  1. Structured Hanging Planter
  2. Macrame Flower Pot Holder
  3. Hanging Planter with Light Blue Thread
  4. Large Copper Planter
  5. Cove Hanging Planter
  6. Crystal Cut Hanging Planter
  7. Small Concrete Planter
  8. Jungalow Hanging Planter
  9. Magical Thinking Crescent Hanging Planter

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Seven Favorites from West Elm’s Summer Collection

The latest West Elm catalog arrived in my mailbox yesterday, and I was really excited by their new collaboration with Source Furniture from Johannesburg as well as the other pieces in their South African collection. Ever since West Elm began its artist collaborations, I’ve looked forward to receiving my catalog as much as I do my subscription magazines like House Beautiful and Elle Decor. I am constantly inspired by their use of color, artwork and mix of vintage with new. Inevitably, the piece I love most on the page isn’t even for sale, but that didn’t stop me from choosing several favorites from their most recent collection.

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The Source Bench is from the new South African collection. When I first saw this photo, I immediately thought front porch. Though I don’t think it’s meant to be used outdoors, I really like the mix of materials and finishes and the bright red glossy paint. It would be adorable in an entryway (I wish ours was big enough) or even in a child’s room.

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I think the scale of this pendant light is why I find so attractive. Before I saw it in a room setting, I thought it was much smaller and wasn’t very excited about it. I think this is a nice way of interpreting the industrial lighting trend without having to go all the way there.

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I’m always on the lookout for interesting hooks. I’ve probably mentioned this here before, but I’m a huge fan of using hooks in the bathroom vs. towel bars. Hooks let the towels dry out nicely, and they don’t have to be folded perfectly to look nice (and, I don’t know many men who can properly fold a towel so that it looks nice on the bar). These Pedersen Hooks are playing perfectly to my current obsession with mixing paint and wood finishes. They’re clean looking, minimal and unobtrusive.

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More red! I could never do a full on red room, but I do love red accents. I think these pillows are a great way to incorporate chevron into a room for a small dose with great impact.

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The Ceramic Matters Branch Vases are perfect in so many ways. I have a fairly difficult time keeping even succulents alive for extended periods of time, so I love the aloe plants growing out of the branches. I also really like the texture of the bark rendered in the matte white of the ceramic. They feel like art and nature all at the same time. Think how gorgeous they would be displaying a loose arrangement of colorful flowers, a gathering of fern fronds, or even branches and berries in the Fall months.

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 The Kuba Bench is another great entryway piece and would also be perfect for the foot of the bed.  Each covering is one-of-a-kind, which, coupled with the mid-century styling of the wood base, gives this bench the air of a high-end vintage collectible.

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Finally, the Source Console has curvy, sculptural legs and otherwise minimalist lines for an updated version of traditional form. In addition to using it as a sofa table, you could also use it as a laptop desk or a vanity table. Imagine it paired with a stool upholstered in a fun print and a Venetian glass mirror. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in more colors.

Have you explored the new collection yet? What do you think about the designer collaborations West Elm has been focused on lately?

West Elm November 2011 Favorites

West Elm New Favorites

Finding a new West Elm catalog in my mailbox (like I did yesterday) is quite nearly as good as receiving the latest issue of my favorite design magazines (House Beautiful, Elle Decor), and yesterday’s was no exception. After reading Holly’s list of her 14 favorites over on Decor8, I decided to do a small roundup of the pieces I’m most excited about (there are many more I haven’t pictured).
I’ve been stalking that little red lamp for weeks, and the dresser with the tiled wood front is so understated and pretty. For some reason, it reminds me of the beach. But, the Paul Loebach media credenza is hands down my favorite. I really like the combination of the glossy gray finish with the natural wood, and the slightly nostalgic mid-century lines.

West Elm November 2011 Favorites

1. Mia Table Lamp 2. Wood Tiled Dresser 3. Distressed Wood Shelving Unit 4. Paul Loebach Media Console 5. Marquis Rug 6. Dipped Side Table 7. Ryder Rocking Chair

Are you a fan of the direction West Elm has taken over the past year? I used to think that many of their designs were too modern and cold for my taste, but lately, I am really drawn to their use of clean lines, interesting textures, and pops of color.