3 charming upgrades for your new build

3 charming upgrades for your new build

Three charming must-have upgrades for your new build - Makel Gardner 

1. doorknobs

A good doorknob can completely transform a simple space. I wanted a vintage look to our home and I have a deep love for vintage hardware. I was thrilled to find this newer company, Ageless Iron, because not only are their doorknobs vintage-looking but they are even made from cast iron. Once installed, they transformed our home, especially since we went with simple white/creamy paint colors. I wanted the doorknobs the make a statement but also have a classic style that I never tire of. The cast iron gives them an incredible feel and texture. They are just so gorgeous and give me all the feels. We went with these styles for our home. 

Keep entry set

French door combo

Interior short knobs

Interior long knobs

While I also suggest sourcing your own cabinet hardware and light fixtures, I am not including them in this post because I don't believe you have to splurge on those. In fact you can find stylish cabinet hardware and fixtures for some pretty awesome prices on Amazon (a post on that later).


2. Windows 

UPGRADE THE DANG WINDOWS! You won't regret this decision. Do it in the beginning because you might say you'll upgrade windows later but you NEVER will. They last a long time! So get the grids, get the color you want, the extra insulation, all of it! We went with a classic and simple white grid. They have even more fancy and expensive options out there, including real wood and aluminum clad, but since this isn't our forever home we decided on a middle ground. Upgrading to a white grid throughout was an extra $3,000-$5,000 for our home. Worth every penny and will instantly make any home (even basic/builder grade) look custom. 

3. Custom Trim and Cabinets

Last but not least, custom trim. This is where things can add up quickly in cost. If you or anyone in your family is handy, you can save a lot by doing this yourself. However, timing it all can be tricky so that your move in date isn't pushed back. We were pretty anxious on getting in our new home and had a deadline with our rental. We knew we couldn't make the deadlines on time on our own so we did hire out. I had plans to do a few more custom trim accents in our home but due to cost we took out a few. I'd suggest starting with 3-5 most wanted accents. The ones that you could cut out, make sure it can easily be added later. Here was my list: 

hallway built in cabinets (so I could opt out of dressers for the boys)

dining room build in cabinets

mudroom bench and shelf

bedroom and living room ceiling beams

entryway and dining board and batten

bathroom shiplap

bedroom shiplap

master bedroom accent wall

We decided the last two accents in the bedrooms could be added later so we scrapped them. My favorite part about our built ins and accent trim is that I don't need a lot of decor to make our home look styled. Plus all the built in shelves make it easy to switch out decor without having to change holes in the walls! 

DUTCH LAUNDRY DOOR: And since I know you'll ask, our custom laundry door was a fun accent and was hand made locally. Jaron is in the cache valley UT area and was amazing to work with! You can find more of his work and contact info HERE. 

TRIM: our custom trim guy Andy was a dream to work with. Find his facebook page HERE. 


Additional FAQs

Paint Colors:

Main Trim: Extra white SW

Main walls: Alabaster SW

Boy's room walls: Extra White SW

Boy's Trim and doors: Whitetail SW

Mudroom built in bench/shelf: Agreeable Gray SW

Pine Bed: Antique find

All my Amazon favorites are linked here

Let me know if you have additional questions and pop on over to my Instagram for more home updates! 

Xo Makel

June 25, 2020 — Makel Gardner
minimalist shared nursery

minimalist shared nursery

 After our son was born, we wanted to create a space that would be functional. We never considered having an exclusive nursery as functional. I wanted a comfy place to rest my head on those sleepless nights of cluster feeding and a place where my toddler can rest her head in the late afternoons too. Being a stay at home mother means that most of your time is spent making sure your children are comfortable. If that's serving them lunch of their favorite plate or their drink their favorite sippy cup. For us, it's about our humble abode being inviting and warm.

My favorite part about having this room in our home is all the uses it receives. This room is a space everyone can appreciate, even guests! The dresser was a fun project that I did while nine months pregnant. I bought an old dresser on Craigslist and after three coats of paints and new handles it was perfect. Aside from loving the look of this room, I love the memories created here. It's a great reminder that every family has their own way of setting up rooms upon the arrival of their littles one.

Apparel: Fin & Vince

Rug: RugsUSA

Dresser: Craigslist find

Bed frame: AllModern

Bedding: The Company Store

Floor Cushion: Land of Nod

Chalkboards: Chalk Full of Design

Bassinet: Design Dua

Throw Pillows: Target

Bead Toy: Ikea




December 29, 2017 — Courtney Cooper
farmhouse tour - morgan ford

farmhouse tour - morgan ford

We bought my husband's grandparents farmhouse 5 years ago. I remember when we were dating he talked about wanting to buy their home and I looked at him and laughed.  I put my foot down and said "nooo wayyyy," but it's funny how your heart can change, and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. You see, I married my next door neighbor and his grandparents farmhouse is smack dab between the two farms.  His father is a cattle farmer and so are mine.  I still remember the moment I reconsidered the thought of raising a family here. My grandfather gave me "a talk."  He explained how wonderful it will be to have family close when raising your own.  He loved the old farmhouse and the potential it had.  Shortly there after he passed away just as we started moving forward in buying it.  I remember wishing so badly he could have been there and have been so proud.  But I know he was there in spirit.  Shortly after that and we began our endless endeavors remodeling, my husband's grandmother passed suddenly in the thick of it all.  She loved this home more than anyone.  This was her heart and pride for 60+ years and it showed.  She lite up every time we embarked on anything as small as a new light fixture hanging.

We've almost finished remodeling the home years later and are now slowly building fences and getting our own critters to start a small farm while raising two boys Auburn and Woodrow.

To see more of Morgan's beautiful home head to her Instagram page @thewhitefarmhouseblog

November 05, 2017 — Makel Gardner
Tags: house decor
Minimalism & The Playroom by Autumn from @autumnsjoys

Minimalism & The Playroom by Autumn from @autumnsjoys

Fewer, better toys are actually better for our children. Let me explain why.

Minimalism, defined as a style or technique that is characterized by sparseness or simplicity. Between two kids, birthdays, holidays and four sets of grandparents, my playroom was anything but simple. In fact, it was so full of clutter and toys that my children simply wouldn’t play with anything. They would dump things out of baskets, but not take the time to play with what they’d just scattered on the floor! Something had to change.

I began doing some research, with the aim to bring the concept of minimalism to my children’s play space. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Kids are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work,” so the space in which they learn and play needed to evoke creativity and innovation. A great resource I found was Denaye (simplefamilies.com) who shares in my passion for minimalism with kids. In her words, “Fewer toys and possessions means you must imagine it, create it, or innovate with what you have.” So, how can I do my best to give them the right tools? Simply put, quality over quantity.

My quest began with storage bins - four of them to be exact. I brought out every basket of toys we had around our house, and I asked my almost four-year-old to help me in the decluttering process. To my surprise, including him in this empowered him. He helped chose the toys we kept out selectively and, to my surprise, he actually plays with the toys that remain. Additionally, I noticed the fewer, better toys we have to choose from, the more my children SHARE. They actually have to engage each other, using their imaginations and the concept of inclusion. It’s music to a mother’s ears.

A few tips and tricks to “toy minimalism:”

  1. Include your children in this process, ask them what they’d like to keep out, and tell them the other toys will “go away for awhile, but that they can see them again soon.”
  2. Start by organizing all the toys and putting pieces back together – make sure puzzle pieces are in the right puzzles, the train tracks together, etc., etc.
  3. Get out your four storage bins: the first is for giveaway – things that your kids don’t ever play with, never played with, or you don’t deem an addition to their lives. The second, third and fourth bins are for rotation. Be sure that as you put toys away, vary the types of items you put in each one, so that when you go to swap out bins, your children have each type of toy with which to play. (i.e. Don’t put all 12 firetrucks into the same bin.)
  4. Do NOT feel guilty about throwing some toys away. Some toys bring my stress levels through the roof: the toys with 475 pieces that get no more than 3 minutes of their attention and take 39 minutes to clean up? Let that stuff go.

Some things to consider while choosing what to keep in your bins: do my children actually play with this? Is this toy made out of natural, raw materials? Does this toy add to unnecessary noise or does it promote creativity and learning?

A few other tips:

1) Keep toys within reach of your children. Allowing access promotes independence and learning.

2) Be intentional about “open toys,” or toys without an “end.” (i.e. building blocks or a dollhouse are open, whereas puzzles or most games are “closed,” once they’re finished they are no longer of interest.)

  1. Be sure that hazardous plastics are removed, and toys made of natural, raw materials are the majority. (However, if your daughter’s favorite thing is Toy Story’s Woody…keep him out.)

As Denaye suggests, there will be a detox period. By giving our children the space to create, innovate and use their imaginations, they may experience boredom…and that’s okay. Boredom is just as much a learning tool as any, perhaps more so than any toy, as it causes our children to look around and invent their next move. My conclusion? Fewer toys are actually better for our children, and everything we bring into our home and into the hands of our children should add value to their lives.

For more insights on minimalism and children, visit simplefamilies.com

November 02, 2017 — Makel Gardner
Tags: house decor
nursery - brentwood home mattress giveaway

nursery - brentwood home mattress giveaway

We're doing an amazing giveaway with Brentwood homes! Winner will receive a Wildfern 2-sided crib mattress plus a $200 shopping spree at Fin & Vince. Here's a little information about their natural crib mattresses!
"For the discerning parent who wants a natural mattress for their child, the Wildfern is filled with a firm organic coconut-husk layer for infants, with a plush organic latex layer on the other side for your growing toddler. Latex helps control temperature, so your child will always stay cool. And don’t worry about a mess, because the waterproof cover is easy to clean. Best of all, our Brentwood Home crib mattresses are free of any chemical fire retardants." They are also made in Los Angeles!
We love supporting US-made brands that are eco friendly. We all want the best for our babies, and mattresses don't get any better than this! My favorite feature is the built in water-proof cover!
Here's few other nursery photos and details! Keeping things pretty neutral and simple for this baby boy coming in May, but wanted to share a few awesome small shops with you all!
          Pom hamper and pom basket: Pehr Design
          Moses basket and small market basket: Plum and Sparrow
          Crochet baby booties: Cardiff Baby Co
          Swaddle blankets: Max and Moose, Mebie Baby and Solly Baby
          Crib stripe linen/minky blanket: Petite Lou Co
          8 Layer muslin blanket: Willaby Shop
          Braided area rug: Lorena Canals
          Canvas map: The Land of Nod
          Shelf, dresser and nightstand: vintage finds 
          Crib: Jenny Lind
          Crib mattress: Brentwood Home
          Embroidered floral hoop: Under a Tin Roof
          Knit Bunny and Play mat: Bla Bla Kids




March 15, 2017 — Makel Gardner
lucid memory foam mattress review

lucid memory foam mattress review

We've had a huge, soft pillow top mattress ever since we've been married. After I started looking into the memory foam mattress-craze, I wondered if our mattress had been contributing to my husband and I's back problems. After a lot of research I came across Lucid Mattresses.

My favorite part about this company (besides the prices) is that they make it super easy to choose the right one. It's stressful choosing a mattress online without testing it out first. My husband is a back sleeper so, in theory, he needs a firmer mattress compared to me (a stomach and side sleeper). The Lucid website categorizes mattresses by your sleep positions. We decided to go with the 12" gel memory foam mattress since it's recommended for all types of sleep positions and 4 on the plush scale. 

At first it was a little strange since it's so much different than our previous pillow topper mattress. It only took about 3 nights for us to get used to it. And I'm not kidding, guys, our backs and bodies feel SOOO much better. I feel so well rested in the morning and my back problems have improved tremendously. I'm kind of kicking myself for not doing this years ago. It's so comfy, firm but very plush at the same time if that makes sense. I never want to get out of bed haha (might be a downside?). Side note: why didn't we get a king size bed years ago? We have a 4 year old ninja who joins us in the middle of the night haha and a king size mattress has SO much more room!

Awesome news is I'm giving a mattress away on my personal Instagram along with a Linen Spa comforter and some Cariloha bamboo resort sheets (the best sheets in the world and I'm a total sheet snob). 


Bed frame is from Wayfair

February 09, 2017 — Makel Gardner
FRAMEBRIDGE - The simple way to custom frame everything you love

FRAMEBRIDGE - The simple way to custom frame everything you love

When we came across Framebridge a few months ago, we totally fell in love with their concept. They're 100% made in the USA - every single Framebridge frame is custom built by their team of experts in Maryland and Kentucky. 

Let me take you to their order process. If you have a digital photo or a photo on Instagram you want to be framed, you upload it to their website, and it saves the photo on your order. Then you pick what color mat and frame you want. They have 40 different frames to choose from, and let me tell you they're all absolutely beautiful. And voila, they do the rest. It really is as simple as that. They print and frame it for you. All in one place. It really can't get any easier than this. 

When I received my order in the mail I was absolutely amazed by 1- how fast it shipped and 2- the quality of the materials used. It's amazing! "Every material is cut just for your art; nothing is off the shelf." and that's what sets them apart and makes them so unique. 

I also often struggle when Christmas' season comes and I have to shop for our families. I'm always looking for that special gift with a sentiment behind it that both me and the person I'm gifting will always cherish and remember. Framebridge is that gift everyone will love. Either a photo of a trip you've done with your family, or a frame of your kids gifted to your parents (because let's be honest, what grandparents wouldn't want a photo of their grandchildren hung up on their walls?). It's the perfect gift. 

So If you would like to get your hands on these beautifully crafted frames I have a special coupon code for you. They're giving 15% off on your first Framebridge purchase with code FINANDVINCE15. 

here's the link FRAMEBRIDGE.

Enjoy turning memories into frames.



ps- you can find the plaid romper Vincent's wearing here.


October 26, 2016 — Makel Gardner