Bright Friday

I’m happy to be partnering with Glade® to turn Black Friday into Bright Friday! Together, we’re going to encourage people to spread moments of joy that can often be overlooked during the holiday season.

For some, the holidays can feel overwhelming. According to a survey conducted by Glade®, Chicagoans are 15% more likely than the average American to say the holiday season is busier than the rest of the year. This is the time to step back and think about what really matters, which is why I’m joining Glade® and four other bloggers around the country to find areas in our cities that could use an extra boost of joy this holiday season.

Lillstreet Art Center

As you probably know by now, I love all things that support the arts. I was recently in the Ravenswood neighborhood and stopped by Lillstreet Art Center. It’s a creative space with an incredible mission to cultivate and support the arts through its education program, artist residencies, gallery exhibitions and retail sales opportunities, studio rentals, and arts=based professional development.

Lillstreet Art Center offers classes in the arts for kids and adults. It holds workshops and courses on painting, drawing, ceramics, photography/digital art, bookmaking, and textiles. It even teaches metalsmithing and offers classes on working with glass! Lillstreet is also home to ArtReach, a sister nonprofit organization providing arts education to Chicago communities that don’t have a lot of resources for creative programs.

The Lillstreet Art Center Building

This is a fun space that draws a lot of people to the neighborhood, so I’ve worked with Glade® to bring a little joy to the Lillstreet Art Center this holiday season with a light installation that will turn Black Friday into “Bright Friday.” Sometimes the holidays can feel hectic and overwhelming, so Glade® is reminding people that joy is the greatest gift this holiday season. And everything always feels a bit magical when holiday lights go up, right? So what better way to bring joy?

Lillstreet Art Center at Night
Lillstreet Art Center
4401 N. Ravenswood
Chicago, IL 60640

I can’t wait to see the lighting display, which will be there from Friday, November 27 through the holiday season. I know Glade® will create something amazing — something to help us all spread and feel moments of joy this holiday season. I’ll be sharing it here soon! Check out and don’t forget to share your joyful moments, using the hashtag #FeelJoy.

IKEA Stockholm Sideboard Review

Somebody sent me a message recently because he was thinking about picking up the same IKEA Stockholm sideboard that I bought for our entryway. Questions about it come my way pretty often, actually. Do the doors stay even? Has it held up well? Would I recommend it? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s my favorite IKEA purchase to date (which is saying something because I’ve owned many a piece from IKEA over the years), so I thought I’d offer a review.

Making it Lovely's Victorian Entryway

I bought mine two years ago, shortly after moving in to our house, because I was looking for shoe storage in the entryway. I didn’t want “anything too precious since it’s going to be used on a daily basis by the whole family” and I deemed the style, scale, and price right. The sideboard comes in a painted beige finish for $389 or a walnut veneer for $449. I like the painted version for my house because it already has so much woodwork, but the walnut finish looks good too — much better than some IKEA wood tones of the past (I’m looking at you, orange beech).

IKEA Stockholm Sideboard in Beige and Walnut

We keep shoes inside, so I added cushioned shelf liners that can easily be removed for cleaning or replacement. The kids have the left half, and the adults have the right. Besides shoes and bags on the shelves, their drawer holds things like sunglasses and floppy hats during warmer months, and winter hats, mittens, and gloves when it’s cold. ‘Our side’ has things like a lint roller, comb and small brush, and reusable shopping bags in the drawer, the bottom shelf has a few pairs of shoes, and the other shelf is home to our baby wrap and diaper bag.

Entryway Shoe Storage Cabinet

I spent some time adjusting the doors so that they would hang evenly when I first assembled the sideboard, and I haven’t had to do anything to them since. There are push-open mechanisms inside, and in my house, they’ve held up to a fair amount of abuse from the kids! The doors can be left plain but I drilled holes in mine for knobs. If you want to do the same, remember to leave enough clearance for the drawers inside. I’d hate to see someone make the mistake of drilling right at the top and then having the back of the knobs keep the doors from closing. And another note on choosing knobs — if you have kids and they’re anything like mine, you might want to go with something that doesn’t need to be aligned in a certain direction. All three of my kids spin them around, either on purpose or by accident, so something round would have been a better choice.

The Stockholm sideboard is sturdy and surprisingly heavy, making it feel like a good solid piece of furniture that should hold up long-term. My only complaint is that two years in, the top has a few small scratches and dings in the painted finish. They aren’t noticeable enough to bother me, but they are there. I’ve always thought that it would be nice to find a remnant of marble or travertine to top the sideboard, so that’s an option if the scratches worsen over time or I just feel like updating the look.

I’ve had people over who have commented on how nice the sideboard was, and they’re always surprised when I say that it was from IKEA. I highly recommend it.

So Close, Chandelier

My taste in lighting runs toward the OMG-how-much!?, so finding new fixtures for the double parlor was not a pressing issue. Oh, there are plenty of lights I like — finding those is no problem! Finding lights that I’m crazy about and can afford? Not as easy. I love these…

Orb Lighting

  • Roll & Hill’s Modo Chandelier, 3-Sided, 10 globes, milk glass and brass finish, $5850.
    This one has been on my mind for years. (It’s in the huge lighting roundup I did a few years back.) There are knockoffs for less, and other more affordable options that took pretty liberal inspiration from this design, but it doesn’t feel right to go for those.

  • Caviar 8 Light Cluster Pendant, Large, Rose Gold, $4032 (or a mere $3780 for the non-adjustable version). Pink! Rose gold! I can’t spend that much on a light (times two)!

  • Pretty Much Every vintage Stilnovo light on 1st Dibs. Beautiful! Perfect! Price upon request! (Never a good sign.)

  • There are certain things that I think are worth the splurge, and lighting is one of them. It’s not in my budget to splurge quite that much when we have rewiring and repairs and other more pressing needs in the house though, so I’ve held off. I’m always watching the new collections in stores, waiting for a light to come out in my price range that I loved enough to buy times two for a matching set, and I figured that maybe my lights-to-be weren’t out there yet.

    Then the Gooseneck Pelle Chandelier came along from West Elm. Whoohoo! I thought we may have had a winner! $799, but it was on sale for a while at $639. I love the shape. I prefer polished, unlacquered brass over brushed or satin, but I liked the finish enough to go for it. And no bare bulbs! I’d been hoping to find something with milk glass, but the frosted glass was pretty close.

    Pelle Chandelier - Gooseneck (West Elm)

    Then when I saw the fixture in person, I didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped I would. There is a texture to the glass that I’m not into (and that I suspect would collect dust), and they had a cool white cast vs. the warm ivory I prefer. So now I’m on the lookout again. I don’t want to put a light in just because it’s better — I want to find something that’s going to be amazing.

    And then I went and spent all my extra dollars on a pair of sconces instead anyway! (I bought them with a trade discount, but still.) They should arrive this week, along with some hardware for the doors along the base of the bookshelves.

    The Library Bookshelves' Jewelry

    We’re putting so much into this house — time, effort, money — that I’m trying to step back and really think the more permanent things over before I bring in anything else that I’m not completely in love with. Carved wooden tassels, painted pink? They’re probably not for everyone, but I’m so ridiculously excited about them. They’re going to be the awesome necklace to the unadorned outfit that is my oak-oak-oak library.

    Now if I could just figure out the chandelier/pendant/whatever situation. Want some mockups? Ahoy! (Ignore the weirdness along the base of the bookshelves. I Photoshopped out four chairs.)

    Library Lighting Photoshop Mockups
    Modern Brass Chandeliers

    1. Roll & Hill’s Modo Chandelier, The Future Perfect ($5850)
      So perfect, but I can’t.

    2. Pelle Chandelier – Gooseneck, West Elm ($799)
      Am I being too picky? It is the best option under $1000.

    3. Bistro Globe Milk Glass Burst Chandelier, RH Modern ($1765)
      Very cool. Slightly too fifties for my liking. A little too expensive too, but can be had on sale.

    4. Voyage, Cedar and Moss ($225!)
      Brandon doesn’t care for it.

    5. Modern Globe Pendant, Circa Lighting ($2100)
      More classic than I was initially considering, but isn’t it lovely? Not in the budget right now, but I could stretch and save for it. Except it doesn’t play as nicely with the dining room fixture as the others, so then that would need replacing too.

    6. Medium Glass Balloon Chandelier, Shades of Light ($1590)
      I like it a lot but I don’t think I love it. And for that much, I need to love it.

    Well, there we go. That’s the vision. Eventually the room will match what I see in my head for it, whether something else comes along or I save up for one of the options above. What do you think? Have a preference? Or better yet, a recommendation for something else that I haven’t seen?

    p.s. Here’s the rug in the mockup. Sold out in the larger sizes, but on clearance if you’re looking for a cute small rug.

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