Sunroom BEFOREHappy Friday friends!! 

Today I wanted to share the before photos of our sunroom. The first time we looked at this house this was one of the rooms that really stood out to us and drew us to the house. It's a great space, big and open with a really pretty view of the backyards. The natural light appealed to the blogger in me, but imagining sitting out there at night sipping wine with twinkle lights appealed to my family side. 

You may not know this about me, but I LOVE porches. They're a really big deal to me. And since this home didn't come with any outdoor porches (something I want to potentially change in the future) I knew this would be a peaceful and chill place to hang out. 

Unlike most of the other rooms, I had an INSTANT sense of what I wanted to do with this space. Lots of white, lots of plants, twinkle lights, a vintage wicker chair set and a fun pop of color. 

Sunroom BEFORE You can see here how the sunroom connects to the breakfast nook. There are four french door sets in the room. One goes to the breakfast nook, two go to the dining room and one goes to the living room. 

Originally I wanted to do herringbone wood in the sunroom, but after a couple contractors warned us about the extreme heat and cool that the room is exposed to AND some water that got into the room one day when a contractor left a window open, we realized that tile was a better choice. Since we couldn't match the wood we decided to match the tile from the kitchen and breakfast nook and carry it into the sunroom. As much as I love variety we felt like cohesion was a bigger priority. 

Sunroom BEFORE  Can you imagine this at night lit up with twinkle lights? 

Sunroom BEFORE   Here lies old carpet. May it rest in peace. 

I don't hate carpet as much as you probably think I do. But I just couldn't imagine it in any of these spaces, especially the sunroom. I really wanted it to feel a little bit more indoor/outdoor since we plan to leave the windows open anytime the weather is nice. 

Sunroom BEFORE    This view shows the dining room and living room entrances. 

We've made a lot of progress since these photos were taken in May. You can see a little sneak peek here. The brick is now white and the marble tile is installed. I'm still on the fence about whether or not we are keeping the trim color or going with something more subtle. I love the color, but since we did the dark turquoise floors in the next room I worry that it's a little much with the two blues together. But basically 100% of people tell me to keep it the way it is. Augh! If anything, I might do a lighter, softer seafoam green. 

I'll share more with you soon! Thanks so much for following my renovation progress. I'm having SO much fun!

Tell me what you would do if this was your space! I love hearing. xx- Elsie 

Happy thanksgivingHappy thanksgiving, friends!! We are taking the day off to be with family! We hope you have a wonderful day. Love, Elsie + Emma and the ABM team 

Ice Cream Pie with a Sugar Cookie Crust (via Ice Cream Pie with a Sugar Cookie Crust (via  I figured with all the holiday food you're probably making and consuming this month, you could use a few more ideas for health foods... jk. This is not that. This is a very dangerous thing to have in your freezer unless you are hosting a celebration soon. Actually I could see this being a really fun alternative to a birthday cake. Just add candles! 

Ice Cream Pie with a Sugar Cookie Crust (via's really fun about this is there is hardly any baking/cooking required. We're going to make sugar cookie dough (which is a very old recipe from a family cookbook I have, handwritten notes style) and then bake it in a pie pan. Then we top it with all sorts of good things, mostly ice cream.

I had you at pie, right? Me too. Let's make something fun!

Sugar cookie recipeIce Cream Pie With a Sugar Cookie Crust, makes one pie crust or a dozen large sugar cookies.

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream together the softened butter and sugar. Then stir in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the baking powder, salt, and flour until a dough ball forms. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes and up to three days. This will make it easier to roll out. 

Sugar cookie crustCover the bottom of your baking dish with parchment paper. Then generously butter the sides and parchment paper covered bottom of the pan. Roll out your sugar cookie into a large disc and gently place in your prepared pie pan. You can dust the edges with sanding sugar if you're feeling fancy. 

Bake at 375°F for 8-9 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Allow to cool. 

Fill pie crust with ice cream scoopsFill the sugar cookie crust with ice cream scoops. I used three different flavors just to make it pretty. :) Freeze for an hour or overnight so it's nice and firm before serving. Be sure to cover the entire pie loosely with plastic wrap before freezing so it won't dry out or get freezer burn. 

Ice Cream Pie with a Sugar Cookie Crust (via    You may need to allow your pie to soften a little before slicing, depending how long you froze it for. Top with whipped cream, cherries, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, crushed peppermint sticks, etc!!!!! Enjoy. xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Tips on choosing a floor stain (click through for more!)  There are a lot of house renovation decisions that are honestly kind of fun to make (like choosing pillows and rugs or decorative objects), but there are also a lot of choices you have to make that are a bit more agonizing. It’s especially difficult if the decision is expensive or a big undertaking and not so easy to go back on if you decide you actually don’t like it when it’s completed. Choosing a floor stain can totally be one of those nail-biting dilemmas that you really don’t want to get wrong due to the time and expense it takes. Elsie and I both had to choose floor stains for our new houses since we were refinishing the floors, and we know how important it is to take your time and answer a couple of different questions first so you can make sure you get what you want out of your flooring.

Tips on choosing a floor stain (click through for more!)      Is room contrast or brightness more important?

I am the type of person that loves a beautiful, dark floor just as much as a light colored floor, but I know that both have pros and cons. Especially if you are planning on doing light colored walls, a dark floor can really add contrast to a space and create a dramatic delineation between the walls and flooring. Dark floors (especially wide board floors) can modernize a space and make light colored area rugs really pop. The negative to dark floors is that they do suck up more light in a room rather than reflect the light the way a light colored stain will. Especially if you photograph your house a lot, it’s so much easier to get a light and airy photo in a room with light floors (like Elsie's above) that naturally bounce the light than darker options that absorb more light.

Tips on choosing a floor stain (click through for more!)       Do you care if it’s “seller friendly”?

Like any home decision, you can choose to go a “safe” route or a “unique/fun” route instead. Do you do a stain color that’s classic and generally loved by a large audience to make your house most appealing if you sell it in the future, or do you do something different and unique that makes your space stand out from all the others? Elsie’s teal floor is a good example of a decision that gave her an amazingly fun and photogenic living room even though it may not be every potential buyer’s taste if they decide to sell their house someday. The good news is, that if you are choosing a fun or colored technique when staining solid hardwood floors, the next buyer can always refinish it again if they really love the house but would have chosen something different than you did. Go for it!

Do you have pets or kids to consider?

Do you have five white cats or several long-haired black dogs? Shedding pet hair is definitely something to consider when picking a floor stain. Choosing a light floor will hide light colored hairs and vice versa for dark floors. Light floors also hide dust and food crumbs better than dark floors, so if you’re a total clean freak, just know that you’ll be sweeping dark floors more often than you probably would with a lighter option. I definitely had to clean more to keep up with the dark floors in our previous house, but I loved the look so much that we chose a dark stain again because I think it’s worth it (although we did go a little lighter for just that reason).

Tips on choosing a floor stain (click through for more!)What color is the wood you are staining?

It’s important to know that the same wood stain can look totally different on different types of floors. If you love the floor stain you saw on a Pinterest photo, it’s good to realize that it may have been applied to a maple floor and it will look different on your red oak floor. Especially with light colored stains, any color that’s in the original wood will come through and mix with the stain. So if you have a really red or orange hue in the wood, your light stain will probably also have a pink or orange hue to it (especially if you are trying to do a whitewash floor). If you really want to minimize a red or orange tint, a cooler, darker stain will help hide those warm hues. You can see the natural color of my wood floors in the before photo above (it didn't have any stain on it, just polyurethane) before we tinted them darker.

Can you do a sample area?

This is probably the best way to gauge how a stain will look in your space. You can either test the stains on the actual floor once any existing stain has been sanded off (you can sand over your test area again before you stain the floor for real), or you can buy a few boards of wood that are the same wood as your flooring and test on those. Since I had to pick our floor stain before we moved into our house in another state, I asked our floor refinisher what kind of wood it was, bought some boards, and did a bunch of testing in my backyard to determine what I liked on that kind of wood. I kept my top three favorite stain mixes in little jars and then had them tested on the actual floor when we drove down there to close on the house. It made the process so much faster to choose a final color since I had done so much prep work on the similar boards beforehand.

Tips on choosing a floor stain (click through for more!)     What if you can’t find a stain that you really love?

Your best-case scenario is that you open a jar of stain to test it, wipe it on the wood, wipe off the excess and it looks perfect once it dries. Easy peasy. If you don’t have that experience though (as I did not), then it’s really helpful to know that you can custom mix your own color like you can with paint! I would only mix colors from the same stain line that are all the same base (like all oil or all water based), but you really can have like six jars of stain and just add a little more of this brown, a touch more of that black, until you get the hue you were really looking for. I desperately wanted a dark floor with a grey undertone and couldn’t find a premixed stain to suit the bill. So I  just tried different ratios of different browns, blacks, and greys, until I got the color I wanted. Just make sure to use a measuring device of some kind (like a tablespoon you can throw away) and mark on each stain what the ratio was (mine was Minwax 3 parts classic grey, 1 part Jacobean, and 1 part Ebony).

Tips on choosing a floor stain (click through for more!)   It's amazing how choosing the right wood color can dramatically update the look of a space. Our new home felt so different after the floors were refinished and going through the process helped me feel confident that I would love the end result. While it can seem like an overwhelming decision at first to choose a floor stain, following these steps can really help clarify a direction that will not only help your home look its best, but suit your unique needs as well! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions


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