Our business is home staging, but we get to wear many hats in our work and personal lives.  We are boss babes, moms, and home decor enthusiasts.  On this blog you'll get to read a little bit about all of the above! 

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We have lived in my current house for about 4 years and for approximately 3 ½ of those years I have been talking about painting my fireplace. When we first moved in, the fireplace was covered in a very dark and modern slate tile, which we immediately tore down and replaced with a traditional brick overlay. I loved the feel of the brick but given the position of the fireplace in our living room, it just felt dark to me. So while I wanted to paint the brick immediately, my husband was vehemently against painting and it took me years to finally wear him down.

I can tackle a DIY project here and there, but typically we outsource many of our home projects for fear of screwing something up so badly that cannot be undone. But I did my fair share of online research for painting brick and figured that I was capable of the project. I found an awesome “how-to” article posted by Sherwin Williams (found here) and followed the instructions to a T. I stopped by my local Sherwin Williams store and picked up every single item on their checklist and got to work to recreate this inspirational picture.

Like any projects that involve paint, the longest and most tedious part of the process was the preparation. I scraped and scrubbed and taped for what seemed like hours (probably 30 minutes max) and the fireplace was ready to go. While some online tutorials omit a primer coat, I went ahead and coated the fireplace in a concrete and masonry primer coat, which allegedly protects the brick and produces better results. The primer stage took some time as it requires that you paint the grout lines individually with a 1” brush. Start to finish the primer phase only took a few hours, but with our hectic summer schedule, unfortunately this step spanned over the course of a few weeks. I will say, I was a little worried after the initial primer coat. It just didn’t look quite right and I feared that perhaps I had made that irreversible mistake.

I finally got my act together and finished with the second coat of acrylic latex paint and over the span of two evenings, declared the project complete. The acrylic paint went on so much faster and easier than the primer and I was so pleased with the results. The only item left to complete is to tidy up the edges where the mantle meets the walls. I’m not sure yet if I will try to put up crown modeling or if I will simply use caulk to line the edges.

Clearly after making such a big change to the mantle it was only natural that I was eager to update the styling on my mantle. My pre-painted fireplace had a few simple black frames but just missed the mark - aka, BORING. So I did a quick tour around my house and pulled a few pieces that were in need of a new home. The simple Moroccan gold mirror is from Nordstrom and is a great anchor on the mantle. I flanked the mirror with some great HomeGoods finds and tried to make the décor feel neutral and natural.

I can’t believe how much the white paint transforms the room. My living room feels so much lighter and brighter. I totally wish I would have done it sooner. Tell me, what's the next DIY on your list?!



A good friend is planning to list her home any day now and asked that I take a spin through her house to provide suggestions prior to photos. The house is darling and very well maintained, so let's just say it was an easy afternoon (think more chatting, less notetaking)! One message that I kept coming back to was to "lighten and brighten" her rooms. And this can be accomplished fairly easily and without much investment. Here are my 6 tips to lighten and brighten your house as you prepare to sell:

#1 - PAINT WALLS A NEUTRAL COLOR

This is probably the biggest ask on my list - both in time and energy - but it really makes a huge difference. You may love and bold, dark accent wall but that look might not be for everyone. And the last thing you want for a potential buyer is for them to leave your house with a laundry list of to-do's. Pick a light, neutral color and carry it throughout your house. I would even suggest outsourcing to a professional painter. It may cost a little more, but you'll achieve a better result and it will be done WAY faster if your painting skills are anything like mine. I take that back - if you taping and prepping skills are anything like mine!

#2 - SWAP BEDSPREADS

If you take a look at our Insta feed you'll notice that every bed we stage has light neutral bedding - most of the time white! I get that in day-to-day life it may not be practical to have white bedding, particularly with young kids and pets, but when staging your home, it's really a good idea to swap out bedspreads for light and airy bedding. A white bedspread can help both to lighten up your room but also serves to keep the room free of distractions.

#3 - REMOVE HEAVY CURTAINS

Removing your heavy curtains is a really easy tip to help brighten a room. And note that I did not suggest that you replace all heavy curtains with new, lighter versions. Unless a window in your home has serious privacy concern, I don't think it's mandatory to replace all the curtains in your house. Simply taking down dark and distracting curtains opens your house to the natural light - just remember to clean your windows!

#4 - ADD LIGHT COLORED THROWS TO DARK FURNITURE

Just like your existing bedding, I understand that not all the furniture in your house will be white and pristine - not even remotely possible at my house. So an easy way to lighten up old, dark or dingy furniture, is to invest in some light blankets and throws to strategically cover parts of your existing furniture. Remember, this is not an attempt to hide your furniture - let's not get big white sheets out - but some well placed throw accessories can help to distract from dark furniture.

#5 - SWAP RUGS

Area rugs are a great way to define a space and we use them in most rooms for staging; however, a dark and heavy rug can make your room feel smaller and closed in. If it's in your budget, we suggest that you swap in light, neutral colored area rugs to open up a space. Huge area rugs can get a little pricey, but there are wonderful, inexpensive options at places like Target, HomeGoods and Rugsusa.com.

#6 - REPLACE LIGHTBULBS AND ADD LAMPS

Nothing is better than natural light when selling your house, but sometimes you need to add a little light to supplement. One quick and easy tip is to make a lap around your house and swap out lightbulbs for any that are dull or have burned out. Also consider adding a lamp or swapping light fixtures when a room still feels dark.

Some of these tips are easier to implement than others, but if you keep the mindset of light and bright as you prepare your house for sale you are moving in the right direction!



Having the right artwork can really make or break a room, especially when it comes to the scale of the art. And honestly, sourcing art can be pretty tricky. While several name brand retailers have made it easier to find cool pieces (and thanks!), there is something special about having original art in your home. I love scouring through Etsy to find new artists and shops that catch my eye. And thankfully my sister has the BEST EYE EVER for art and sends me some of her faves as well. Some larger, original pieces can come with a hefty price tag, but oftentimes it can be pretty inexpensive to buy a decent size print and frame it yourself either through services like Framebridge or even with white oversized frames from Target, Ikea and Pottery Barn.

If you’re in the market for some new, "never to be seen in your friends’ homes" art, look no further. Here are some of my current favorite Etsy shops and my very not-an-art-critic reasons why I love them:

Tush Tush

I love the bright and colorful paintings and drawings at Tush Tush. Such a perfect addition to any gallery wall for a pop of color and visual interest. Just beautiful.

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Kiki and Polly

The prints and original pieces at Kiki and Polly feel so light and dreamy. I love the beachy vibes in many of Lisa Golightly's creations and feel like her work can work with any and all décor styles.

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Feheri

The minimal prints and original pieces at Feheri are spectacular. The artist, Zsofia Feheri, makes unbelievable creations using one continuous line and the results are so amazing.

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The Invisible Fountain

The motto at the Invisible Fountain is "art for all" and boy do they hold up their end of the bargain. Luke Cavagnac creates bright and bold paintings with fun and whimsy. I have my eye on a few of his prints to hang in my kids' playroom.

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Hiroshi Matsumoto

The abstract oil paintings by Hiroshi Matsumoto are absolutely beautiful. Most of the original paintings are offered in a 4x4in size, but there are a few options for larger sizes as well. How special to have an original abstract oil painting - I'm dying to get my hands on one!

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Richard Kaye Art

Who knew that cranes and scaffolding could be so beautiful? Richard Kaye, that's who. The industrial and urban prints at his shop are amazing - masculine and intriguing. A perfect addition to an office or study.

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The Age Old Trade

The prints at The Age Old Trade are amazing – I have a huge one in my office and we’ve sourced a number of Erik Linton's prints for our clients. The tree ring prints are handmade using real trees and they are just beautiful. Obsessed. The prints are available in all different sizes and often sold in sets.

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So those are some of my current favorites on Etsy. Where do you like to find original art?


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OLIVE + OPAL INTERIORS, LLC

1-314-254-5086

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Home staging and styling for the St. Louis area. Serving Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Warson Woods, Glendale, Ladue, Des Peres, Olivette, Sunset Hills, Clayton, University City, Central West End, South City, Lafayette Square, & Soulard. 

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