Author Archives: Abby Lawson

About Abby Lawson

Abby Lawson is the girl behind Just a Girl and Her Blog where she works to create a beautiful home, life, and business and helps others do the same. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Donnie and two sons, Connor and Caleb.

Just a Girl and Her Blog Kitchen Reveal

Hi there, readers of The Interior Collective! I'm Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog, and I'm so excited to be sharing our kitchen tour with you today! When we moved into our current house, the kitchen was a bit of a blank slate. It had good bones and we knew with a little TLC, we could really make it our own! Here's what it looked like when we moved in:



And here's what it looks like now:



One of the first things we did was replace the laminate countertops with beautiful quartz-- Caesarstone's London Grey. With two little boys running around our house, we love that the quartz is durable, low maintenance, and easy to clean. You can really see the gorgeous detail in the countertops in these overhead shots...





We replaced the builder-grade sink with a deep single bowl quartzstone sink and updated the faucet as well to make this area really shine. (Quick tip: I love to keep a cute cake stand next to the sink to corral our hand soap, a washcloth, and sometimes a sponge. It helps to keep the counters neat and tidy!)



The Carrara marble subway tile is also a new addition! I think it is beautiful and pretty timeless, so we should be able to enjoy it for years and years to come.



We updated the island area a bit too. Some of the decorating decisions were a little tricky due to the unique shape of the island, but I'm loving the final result. We added pendant lights and also beefed up the trim on the sides since it was a bit flimsy when we moved in. Since our home has a craftsman style exterior, we're bringing some of that same style into our interior spaces with the trim work.



The island has become such a natural gathering spot in our home. We end up eating a lot of our meals here rather than in the dining room, and since the kitchen and living room are in one big space, it's perfect for entertaining as well!

We are thrilled with the transformation of the space! I'm always amazed at how a few tweaks and changes can really make a room come alive. We are looking forward to making lots of memories in this space, cooking delicious meals, and spending time with family and friends here for years to come.

Thank you so much for joining me for our kitchen tour!

For more kitchen reveals: Kitchen of the Year 2017 Reveal | The Future Perfect Kitchen Reveal

How To Style Shelves In 5 Simple Steps

Hey there, Interior Collective readers! I'm Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog, and I'm so excited to be visiting today to talk about one of my very favorite decor topics: shelf styling! Now I have to be honest-- styling shelves used to intimidate me. It seemed like everyone else could just throw some cute decor items on their shelves and have them look perfect immediately, and I couldn't figure out how they did it. After some practice and trial and error though, I have my shelf styling technique down to a little system, and now I can create cute shelves in no time at all!

Here's how I do it:

1. Decide on a theme or color scheme.

I always want my shelves to look cohesive, so having a consistent theme or color scheme helps tie everything together. For the shelves in my new entertainment unit, for example, I chose a color scheme of aqua, white, and metallics with some natural elements sprinkled in throughout.



I always try to repeat each element of my theme or color scheme at least three times so that everything ties together well. On a larger set of shelves like these, I'll end up repeating much more than that!

2. Shop your house.

Once I have decided on my theme or color scheme, I shop my house and gather up every possible decor piece that could fit in with that scheme. I gather many more pieces than I'll actually need so that I can try out several different arrangements and possibilities. If I try many variations and still feel like there are holes I need to fill, then I will go out an buy a new little piece or two, but most of the time, I am able to use just what I have on hand.



3. I start with my "leaners."

Once I've gathered up a bunch of pieces that fit my desired theme color scheme, I start by adding my "leaners," or taller items in the back row that lean against the wall or the back of the shelving unit. One of the keys to styling beautiful shelves is having many different layers to give it a collected look, and leaners help to ground the arrangement and allow you the space to layer many different items in front of them. In the hutch photo above, I used plates, trays, books, and picture frames as my "leaners."



For these fall shelves, I used a large frame (filled with a piece of wrapping paper) and a simple wreath as my "leaners."

4. I add tall items on the ends.

In all of my shelf arrangements, I tend to lean toward putting taller items on the ends. This helps to frame in the look as a whole and gives it balance. Vases of flowers or other natural elements are great for this. For the shelves above I also used a lantern and a crate turned on its end to define the space.



I used similar items in this Christmas display and simply changed the contents of the vase and the lantern to reflect the season. The mini trees also were an easy addition to add some height to the ends of the shelves and define the space.

5. Finally, I fill in the rest of my shelves with smaller items of various heights.

If everything on my shelves is the same height, it will look more flat and boring, but if I vary the heights of the items I choose, it gives the arrangement more interest. Along with varying the heights, I also try to place items in groups of three or five. The eye tends to be drawn to odd numbered groupings, so placing items of different heights in threes will give the shelves a more polished look.



So that's my method! Styled shelves are a great way to add some seasonal decor and switch up the look of your home without making over an entire room. By following these five steps, you'll be on your way to gorgeous shelf decor in no time!

Thanks so much for joining me today! Have a wonderful week!

For more home decorating tips: A Log Holder for Every Fireplace | DIY Chicken Wire Mason Jar Candle Holder

5 Steps To An Organized Kitchen

Hi there, Caesarstone readers! I'm Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog, where I write about creating a beautiful and organized home. I'm delighted to be featured on the Caesarstone blog today to talk about one of my very favorite things-- kitchen organization!

Since the kitchen tends to be the heart of the home, it has always been important to me for it to be uncluttered and organized in order to create a welcoming environment for family and guests. (And so I can always find what I'm looking for!)

As I've organized different kitchens over the years, I've come up with five steps that I always go through to make sure my spaces are as functional as possible.

1. Streamline Your Supplies

This is the most important step by far. If I'm feeling like my kitchen is becoming cluttered and full, it's often because I'm trying to cram too many items into my cabinets and drawers. I try to purge often, clearing out any small appliances I may have doubles of or gadgets that I rarely use.



It's tempting to hold on to things I might use "someday," but the reality is, I'll probably never actually need that item. I honestly can't think of one thing that I've purged and regretted later!

2. Determine Item Placement by Activity

Once my kitchen supplies are streamlined, I try put each item close to where my family members and I will use it most. Oven mitts go in a drawer next to the range. Kids' plates and cups go down low so my boys can reach them without assistance. I'm not very tall, so items I use often go on lower shelves, while less-used items go higher up, etc.



Everyone's preferences will vary based on their individual needs, but when items are in a convenient location, they're easier to grab AND we're more likely to put them back where they go so we can keep our kitchen neat and tidy.

3. Corral Like Items

Another thing that helps me keep the kitchen organized is to corral like items in a bin or container. This helps to keep everything in its place and helps shelves and drawers to stay more organized in the long run.

I also like to use trays to corral items on the kitchen countertops. This helps keep the counters looking neat and tidy, and if I ever want to clear the counters completely, it's easy to just pick up the tray and tuck it out of sight.



4. Make the Most of Pantry Space

An organized pantry can play a huge role in the overall organization of the kitchen. Like I mentioned above, I like to corral like items in bins or baskets to keep them together. I use items like risers or lazy susans to maximize shelf space, and I label as much as possible. This helps everyone in the family to easily see where everything goes so they can put items back in the correct spot.



5. Get Creative

Finally, sometimes you have to get creative! Our last house was a small townhouse, and no matter how much I purged and reorganized, I couldn't seem to make our teeny tiny pantry work the way we needed it to. I finally had the idea to convert a nearby closet into a pantry instead, and we instantly gained a ton of extra space.

In that same townhouse, I brought a small desk into the kitchen to provide more prep space. In the past, I've used rolling carts to add some extra storage when space was limited. There are many different ways to think outside the box to create a more functional kitchen space.



Kitchens can certainly be a challenge to keep organized, but they're not impossible! By taking the time to follow these simple steps, a kitchen can be made much more functional without a ton of effort.

For more kitchen ideas: Unique Kitchenware to Display on Open Shelves | Kitchen Trends for 2017