The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

For my third and final installment with the AVE Raw line from Ave Home, I really wanted to celebrate the beauty of the piece by leaving it in all it's Raw and beautiful glory. But... let's be real - I have two boys, dogs, a husband and a couple of frogs and all of them specialize in making messes and breaking things. Some sort of protective finish was a must, but many layers of wax and buffing or a true oil finish that would alter the color of the wood or give it an unnatural shine were quite the opposite of what I had in mind.

I am over the moon excited to share this project with you fine folks, because it is truly the first and only finish I have ever done that was actually clear and didn't alter the original look of the wood at all. No added sheen or shine, no hours of labor intensive applications of varnish or wax. Just pure and simple - a gorgeous oil based finish in the convenience of a spray.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

Let's talk about the piece for a minute, shall we? This fine piece of work is the Audrey Butler Tray + Brass Stand and it could be the poster child for all the beautiful things. It is much larger than I imagined it would be, which opens it up for more amazing uses that I hadn't even thought to use it for. I have been slowly attempting to add lighter tones of wood throughout my family room and kitchen area so this piece is now replacing a darker vintage piece I formerly had in this spot. It is a far better height and width and the brass stand is mighty handsome too, giving it just a bit of that something extra. It is perfect and it arrived in a perfect state with absolutely no need to sand or condition it prior to finishing. 

Wholesale online orders will be open through the end of the month, and beginning September 1st, you will be able to order the pieces in the Raw line through your local dealer. Of course if you don't have a dealer near you, you can contact the lovely folks at Ave Home for a special order!

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

An oil finish is timeless and durable. Most of the time an oil finish demands much more of you than this particular product did and all that beauty often comes at a price if altering the color is not your goal. An oil will soak down into the pores of the wood and will provide a marvelous water resistance and protective durability. This good looking oil I used here, could not be easier if it tried. I used a spray water proofing product that is clear and gave this piece two light coats and done. There really wasn't much else to it.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

The most difficult part of the application is that you actually need to spray a light coat. I hope that you can see above just how lightly this can be sprayed. If you are like me, this is the hardest thing ever because my perfectionist nature wants to have each and every coat have perfect coverage. Luckily it won't be the end of the world if you accidentally spray more on than you should have. It will pool and it may even drip or run, but it matters not, just use a brush or a smooth cloth rag and wipe away excess. Let it cure and dry for at least 24 hours before you bring your furniture inside and be sure to wear a respirator and eye protection. This is a product that should be applied outside, just be sure to protect your plants.


The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

Once you have addressed any excess and allowed for the finish to dry, you won't be able to tell you applied anything at all except that your wood will be happy and water will bead if it is spilled on the surface.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home // DIY In The Clear Oil Finish Butler Tray

The finish and this piece are truly dreamy and a clear oil based finish was perfect way to show off the natural beauty of this butler tray and the craftsmanship that went into it. It lives on a little wall that is a straight shot down a long hallway and can be seen almost instantly when you enter my home. It was an honor to put my mark on it and I love seeing this little vignette every time I walk in the front door.

This project was created in partnership with Ave Home. All crazy talk and opinions are 100% my own. 


I realize this complete list of sources and details has been a long time coming so I will get right into it and share all of the lovely things for my family room makeover. Of course since I was really only getting this space styled out and decorated for the first time since moving in, it was less of a makeover and more of a make? Or something like that... if you know what I mean. To browse the full reveal, click here, otherwise hang on to your socks folks... because all of the projects and purchases are listed out below in one handy spot for you to reference! Yahoo!


My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal + Gallery

Removable Marble Wallpaper

Easy + Inexpensive 5 Minute DIY Fabric Trim

My Houseplants Bring All The Boys To The Yard

NOTE // There are quite a few items listed for the sources below that I am still trying to find links for, so if something is listed and not linked, stay tuned because I shall find the proper link and update this list as I do!


Sofa with Chaise / Room + Board

Leather Loveseat / Vintage from Craigslist

White Leather Club Chair / Wayfair

Mid Century Dresser / Vintage from Denio's

Large Black Trunks / Vintage from Denio's

Low Black Trunk / Vintage Inherited

Deco Glam Coffee Table / Vintage from Craigslist

Deco Glam Console Table / Vintage from Craigslist

Expedit Shelving as Console Table / IKEA

White Media Cabinet / IKEA

Navy Ceramic Stool / HomeGoods


Hanging Wood + Brass Light Fixture / Vintage from Snowline Hospice Folsom

Floor Lamp / Target

Oversized Yellow Ceramic Table Lamps / Vintage from Craigslist

Himalayan Salt Lamp / Target

Curtain Rods / Industrial Plumbing DIY with Parts from Home Depot

Switch Plates / Adorne by Legrand


Rug / Rugs USA

Curtains / Nate Berkus for Target

Large Ceramic Pot in Mint / HomeGoods

Small Ceramic Pot in Blue / HomeGoods

Small Ceramic Pot in White / HomeGoods

Large Brass Pot / Vintage from Snowline Hospice Folsom

Small Brass Pot / Vintage from Snowline Hospice Folsom

Medium Copper Pot / Smith + Hawken for Target

Large Baskets Various / Target / HomeGoods / Vintage from Snowline Hospice

Moroccan Pouf / Nate Berkus for Target

Teal Trunk / Vintage Inherited

White Deco Round Vase / Vintage from Snowline Hospice Folsom

Small Black Cat / Vintage Perfume Bottle from Snowline Hospice Cameron Park

Brass Elephant / Vintage from Denio's

Brass Birds / Vintage from Denio's

Cholla Skeleton / Denio's

Acacia Wood Tray / Target

Mint Photo Box / Martha Stewart for Avery

Acacia Wood Vases / Target

Black Sculptural Fruit Bowl / Dot + Bo


Graphic Black and White Print / Society 6

Black and White Print Water and Rocks / HomeGoods

Black and White Print of Stormy Ocean Waves / Vintage from Snowline Hospice

Fiber Art / Vintage from Snowline Hospice


Kilim Pillow / One Kings Lane

Moroccan Pillow / Nate Berkus for Target

Tie Dye Pillow / Threshold for Target

Red White Embroidered Pillow / HomeGoods

Gray Yellow Embroidered Pillow / Target

Geometric Pattern Pillows / HomeGoods

Faux Fur Throw / H&M

The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal

It has been many many moons since I gave you this teaser and now I suppose it is high time I finally share my family room overhaul with you, especially since I have already started changing things up (yes ridiculous, I know). There are a few fab DIY projects in this space, a great many budget scores and a lot of gorgeous goods that are vintage and were also extremely kind on the wallet. All told, this room was a bit tricky to pull together given it's size, and without having much in the way of funding to dedicate to this space I had to be creative, to be sure. 

I shall stop talking and let you browse. Then we can all dish on the details later... yahoo.

Of course if you would like to check out other spaces I have recently finished, visit my Home Tour page and for some of my recent styling work you can check out my recent work page (it's new and will be getting a makeover soon).

Now where were we...

The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal

Many of you remember the ever popular DIY removable wallpaper wall of 2013, it looks so very different to me, in this space with all new decor and shows just how far this room has come since we moved in. As a room wrapped in windows that all sit lower than most furniture stands, the layout of this space was quite a task. I think the current arrangement will be around for a while, but I am dying to try a totally new arrangement just for the hell of it. Trying something unexpected is always where I find my happy place in a space.

The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal
The Design Confidential Home Tour // My Vintage Vixen Family Room Reveal

I will follow up with a full list of sources and projects for this space this week! There is one in particular that involves an inexpensive version of fabric trim and I can't wait to share it. It's just spectacular and I have now used this little styling secret 3 more times since originally doing it for this space. *Squeal* because seriously specialty trim is crazy stuupid expensive and truly not affordable for most of us, and so we go without... but not anymore - stay tuned for that project! 

I hope you like this space as much as I do! It is so very comfortable for my little family and a snap to keep clutter free - crucial for my sanity! 

Essentials from Target for The Design Confidential Feeling Fall // Essentials for Creating a Cozy Mantel

We had a brief moment last week, where the temperatures dropped slightly and it was rainy and overcast. It was glorious and just a taste of what is to come. It left me wanting nothing more than to sit by the fire and snuggle in with my boys. So naturally, my mantel is the first area of my home to get a seasonal update.

My favorite way to usher in any new season is to add a few easy pieces to my fireplace mantel that have the feel and color palette I am craving.  No major sweeping changes, just a smattering of new details to create the perfect ambiance. Target is my first stop when I need change in my home, and I never leave empty handed, or without an overflowing cart full of gorgeous décor. My recent field trip there to find some fabulous fall accessories for a seasonal update was no exception. I found so many amazing pieces to help me set the mood for the coming months.

This fall I am coveting simple and pared back decor with natural elements and warm subdued brassy touches. I always adore a timeless black and white look, and this season I am giving this classic a fresh take by adding neutral and natural decor, graphic geometric lines, and warm brassy metallic accessories.

Light Sparkle and Natural Elements from Target for The Design Confidential Feeling Fall // Essentials for Creating a Cozy Mantel

Must Have Essentials for bringing a warm and cozy feel to your Mantel //

Light / As the days begin to grow shorter and a the temperatures begin to drop, having more light and warmth in your home is necessary. I add a bit of both by lighting a fire in my fireplace. When a fire isn’t possible, I love to add an extra light fixture or two to my space. Since I love to do something unexpected, adding a lamp or pair of lamps to my mantel is one of my favorite ways to spice things up and add a bit more functionality to my room.

Subdued Sparkle / Since the Winter Holidays tend to require an overabundance of sparkle, by nature, I like to get my feet wet by adding a bit of warm subdued sparkle to my home during fall. Muted gold and brass is a great way to amp up that cozy feeling I am craving this time of year. The beautiful and unassuming ceramic bowl on the mantel provides just a hint of what's inside with it's gorgeous gold rimmed edge. 

Natural Elements / Nothing says fall to me like changing leaves and sparse branches so I love to add natural elements to my mantle, and bring a bit of the outdoors in. This creates the perfect textural layer to my decor.

Comfort and Simplicity from Target for The Design Confidential Feeling Fall // Essentials for Creating a Cozy Mantel

Comfort / As a family, we spend quite a bit of time on the floor. I suppose that comes with the territory when you have young children, especially boys. The boys are mesmerized by a nice fire in the fireplace, so adding a plush rug in front of the hearth and having a soft chunky cable-knit throw and several throw pillows within reach is the ideal way to entice the adults to join in and gather around to spend some quality time unplugged and enjoying each other.

Simplicity / With the chaos that is typical during the summer months, the Fall is when I want nothing more than simple uncluttered décor and life to move a slower pace. This time of year is my calm before the storm of the winter months, so unfussy surroundings that are easy to maintain and enjoy, bring me great pleasure.

Taste of Fall from Target for The Design Confidential Feeling Fall // Essentials for Creating a Cozy Mantel

Taste / We are a home filled entirely with boys, with the exception of me, so naturally food is something of a large focus here. The fall just happens to bring all of the flavors that I love most, from apple to pumpkin spice to every fall-inspired drink and baked good in between. These things provide a taste of the season that is so very welcome after the blistering summer months here. I always have healthy and easy to prepare food in my home, but during the fall this is one area where I love to do away with convenience and take the time to make and bake from scratch. It’s actually the only time of year I tend to do this so I try to keep these flavors close at hand and a cute accent table near the hearth is ideal for this. A well placed pitcher and ice bucket take an otherwise standard daily ritual to the next level and make it a bit more special. There is something magical about picking apples and choosing pumpkins as a family, and then making those fall fresh things into a sweet treat. It forces me to slow down and focus on nothing more than the task at hand and that is nearly impossible to do otherwise.

Are you excited to celebrate the cooler months? Do you have any family traditions that you are excited to rekindle once the fall season begins? How will you add a taste of fall to your home this season? I am a summertime loving gal, but it never fails that the soft metallics and natural elements of fall always pull me in. Bring on the gorgeous hues of changing leaves and a fire in the fireplace… I am finally ready.

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Bowl / Applique Pillow / Fur Pillow / Gold Wire and Wood Table / Spotted Ceramic Vase / Chunky Cable-Knit Throw / Stainless Steel Pitcher

The Design Confidential in Collaboration with Joss and Main for a Curators Collection Sale with Story and Interview

It is official and my collaboration with Joss and Main is live! They created such a lovely sale using my spaces as inspiration and crafted a fabulous write-up about The Design Confidential. It is such an honor to partner with them in this way, especially since I shop there often, in real life. You know mama loves a good deal and they a filled to the brim with items drastically marked down and curated into gorgeous sales to help inspire you!

If you would like to check out the sale and the feature you can sign up right here. It is a member only site, but of course they will not abuse your membership information so have no fear. You simply create a password using your email and you are in like Flynn (I think that is how the saying goes?)!

Since they used my family room design as part of the inspiration they drew from, I suppose it is high time I share a little sneak peek of that space with you guys... It is my current fave, but honestly I think I feel this way each and every time I design and style a space. I leave a little part of myself in it, and so naturally it steals my heart a bit!

More to come on that space and a roundup of a few of my faves from the sale! Stay tuned...


I kinda love that I am posting a reveal on a project you didn't even know was happening! Ya, that's how we roll here at TDC. Everything is strictly confidential these days... and it's definitely been a tad silent around the old blog lately between the new site overhaul and all of the behind the scenes work happening on that front (thank you John!) and some other gorgeous projects going on at the TDC homestead (I post occasional sneak peeks on my Instagram, if you are interested)! So I am excited to show you the first of those major projects and check this baby off the list! I should give you a bit of background on what you are looking at, because it's entirely more spectacular than it might appear at first glance. Promise...

You see, we are currently renting our home. I think we will likely buy it at some point if we are given the choice, but for the time being we are living within the confines of renting. That means no major construction, remodeling, or permanent decor decisions can actually transpire. Ugh. This ridiculous little niche is one of those spaces that doesn't want to play nicely with anything other than custom built-ins. And truthfully it actually did have a built in shelf... and in fact on it's own it was decent looking, but it was located about a third of the way down from the top and definitely not conducive to my current electronical arrangements and my need to decorate stuff. 

Down that shelf came, very carefully.... I will need to store it until we either buy this baby or relocate. Since built-ins can easily be secured to the wall and removed later, that would definitely have been an option but I am just not feeling the built-in vibe these days. I much prefer the look of freestanding furniture pieces at the moment (for a hot minute at least). With such a large space to fill, and the general unattractiveness of TV's and all the jazz that comes along with, I needed some sort of fabulous wall treatment offset the ugly. I fell in love with this space and decided I could easily recreate the look in a non-permanent way, so I made my own removable wallpaper! Yep you heard me correctly! Removable, non-permanent yet completely stable and not falling down or coming up at the seams whatsoever (it was definitely questionable until I found the right method). And let me tell you... this installation was a snap compared to what installing actual wallpaper much be like, eek. 

I will be posting the full tutorial this week (now posted and found here) along with all of the other juicy details in this room, that are coming together as we speak! I will also share some of the resources for this space since a few of them became clever little 'fixes' for some unexpected issues that came up during this overhaul. If we all get lucky, I might post the 'before' picture of this space. If I can track it down, that is... no guarantees on that front. eek. Someone got a little carried away with the backing up of the photos and clearing some space on the computer the other day. I won't name names, but it might have been me. 



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