Living With Less

You may be wondering what a post titled “Living With Less” is doing on Goss House, a design blog.

Let me explain…

I started Goss House as a way to document our renovation and decoration of the 1990’s ranch we bought three years ago in Raleigh, NC. I documented the painting of walls, buying of furniture and decorative objects, outfitting the children’s bedroom, procuring educational toys, beautiful clothes and so much more. After all I’m a designer. It’s what I do. I fill houses with beautiful objects and make living spaces comfortable, inspiring and memorable. Right?

Well, recently, as I prepared to relaunch this blog I looked around and realized something; my design sensibilities have changed in these last three years but my home hasn’t caught up to my heart.

Today our beautiful home often feels weighed down by stuff. I struggle to keep things tidy and clean and I don’t see or appreciate most of the objects I at one point so lovingly selected because they are lost among the sea of filler stuff I’ve acquired. So here I am with a post entitled “Living With Less” because I’ve launched myself and my family on a new path. We are committed to living life simply beautifully with less stuff.

So what can you expect to find here on Goss House? I plan to go room by room, category by category and pare down what we own in the hopes of making our home and our life simpler and ultimately more beautiful. I’m also hoping I’ll inspire other families who are feeling the weight of owning so much stuff to join our journey!

Whether you are single, live surrounded by a big bunch of kids, and pets, live in a city or in the country, let’s do it together! Are you in?

“We are committed to living life simply beautifully with less stuff.”
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Choosing Your Kid's Room Wallpaper

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I’m so happy that wallpaper has made a comeback, especially because there are so many beautiful options out there for kid’s rooms. The days of teddy bear borders, pastel decals and fussy patterns are long gone. Today’s wallpaper options for kid’s rooms are modern, understated and make a room feel decorated without the need for a lot of additional stuff.

When I was looking for a wallpaper for Helen’s room, I wanted something graphic but whimsical. I gravitated toward this beautiful one called Little Village by Chasing Paper mostly because it reminded me of drawings I did when I was in architecture school! With a peel and stick installation I did it all myself while six months pregnant (this little funny film proves it) and it has grown with Helen and now Von over the last few years without loosing it’s charm.

Today I m sharing my current favorites for Kid’s rooms. I’d go with any of these option each for different reasons. However, they are all timeless and wont feel dated in a few years while still being fun and young.

“Every plain wall deserves a piece of work, so why not cover it with a smile?”
— Shawn Lukas
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1. MONOCHROMATIC GRAPHICS

A simple black and white or gray graphic wallpaper adds instant interest and texture to a room. It’s not overly fussy and childish so it will easily transition from a baby room all the way into the teenage years. It can even go from being a kid’s room to a guestroom if you happen to want to switch things up.

I love this herringbone graphic pattern by Livette’s Wallpaper It feels current without being trendy. It works well with neutrals as well and with pops of color. It all can work as just a single accent wall or go for the entire room!

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2. MONOCHROMATIC ANIMALS

Kids love animals so what better way to indulge them than by adding a wall of cute foxes (or deer!) to their room? A monochromatic choice is understated and become almost graphic in nature instead of too cutesy.

I love this Mr. Fox wallpaper by Kathy Kuo Home. The drawings are so beautiful and detailed. As you get closer it goes from abstract to figurative and the detail comes into focus.

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3. ABSTRACT BOLD ANIMALS

Again animals, but this time with color! Stick to two colors that compliment an otherwise neutral room. Let the wallpaper be the star here. In general, a single small wall of a more bold design is best so the room doesn’t feel crowded.

I love this modern fox print by John Lewis. The drawings are so cute as well as the color combination of blue and orange. It works well for a boy’s or girl’s room so don’t hesitate to go for it. Work just a few pieced of white furniture for nice contrast and I’d love to do a matching blue ceiling for an unexpected element.

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4. NATURE INSPIRED MURAL

A bold nature inspired mural is a great way to add life to a kid’s room while still keeping it clean. If you live in a rural area it can bring the outdoors in and if urban life is your thing, it reminds you of what may be around in short supply.

I love bold, graphic nature murals like the mountain scene by Flora Wallpaper. It’s both graphic and natural and the perfect backdrop for daydreaming. The more whimsical tree mural still fells like a forest, but a friendly, playful one. The detail of the leaves come into focus as you get closer and this mural invites kids to make their own additions to the scene.

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5. WHIMSICAL NATURE

Whimsy isn’t always something to be avoided especially if it’s graphic instead of figurative. With a more playful pattern keep color combinations simple or monochromatic. Patterns inspired by nature are a great way to not make it feel to sweet.

This clouds wallpaper adds instant whimsy to a room while still being modern and clean. Do a single wall or the whole room. Either way, it’s a great choice.

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5. ARCHITECTURAL

Look at how little Helen is in this picture. And my big belly with Von growing in there. I absolutely love a great architecture themed design. It’s both youthful and infinitely interesting to look at.

This paper is my favorite, of course. I love the drawing style and how it gets more detailed the closer you get to it. Helen loves to lay in her bed and make up stories about what’s happening in the little village houses.

I hope you are inspired to go for wallpaper in your kid’s room! It’s such a great starting point for any room really, so go for it!

Happy Wallpapering!

How to Invest in Quality Furniture

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We all have at least one piece of furniture we have loved for years and years, never goes out of style and gets used so often yet still stands the test of time.

Investing in quality furniture that lasts is always a good idea but it isn’t always easy knowing what to pick when you are dishing out a bunch of money for one item. I’m sharing my six tried and true rules on how to pick the right pieces every time.

1. Always pick something you truly love. This is the #1 rule I always follow whether it’s an investment piece or one that’s a little more temporary. The hard part is being honest with yourself. I can talk myself into anything, but I know when I love something right away I don’t have to think too much about it. The Womb Chair I bought in early 2000 and it is still a favorite piece in our home. As soon as I saw a Womb Chair in person I fell in love with it immediately and new I wanted to invest to get one.

2. Go for a classic. It’s not called a classic for nothing! Mid Century Modern made a comeback a while back, but those pieces where considered classics before it became a trend again. There are classic pieces from every genre and time period, so do your research and find furniture that maintains it’s beauty long after it’s day in the limelight has passed.

“The details are not the details, the details make the product.”
— Charles Eames

3. Find furniture that serve multiple functions. If a piece of furniture can transform from one thing into another it is more likely to still work as you redecorate or move. A console table that transforms into a dining table is an amazingly versatile piece, for example. Consider a side table that can function as a nightstand, a dresser that will work in an entry hall or an armoire that can go from bedroom to bathroom. The list goes on. I often use furniture in ways other than they were intended so investing in these pieces makes sense because as I redo a room I can reach for items I already own that have lived in other rooms.

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4. Have it custom made. This may seem like the opposite of #3, but with custom made pieces the quality if everything. You can get your exact measurements as well as craftsmanship that is exceptional. I love custom work because it also carries with it the story of the relationship I had with the craftsperson. Our dining table was made by our friends at Structure Design and Build. Every time I sit at it, I remember our time in Boston and the story of that table being made.

5. Find quirky, unexpected pieces. I love pieces that make a statement, have a great story behind them, and are conversation starters. But don’t forget about quality. Often unusual pieces are trendy which I tend to avoid, but if it’s well made and just a little bit unusual I always go for it. The card catalog in our home library is this kind of piece. It’s solid and virtually indestructible but makes a huge statement in our home. Everyone who comes to our house asks me about it and I tell the story of how I purchased it from a library in Rhode Island many years ago when libraries where going to fully computerized systems. The best part of the story is when myself and two petite librarians managed to carry this giant piece of furniture and load it into my car!

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6. Finally, if it feels like something is too good a deal to be true it probably is. There are exceptions to this, of course, but inexpensive furniture is usually of poorer quality and won’t last. I have lots of inexpensive furniture in our home because I love mixing in pieces that are on-trend. But when I want something that will last, I am willing to investing in it. I have never regretted spending that money because all of those pieces are still the most loved in our home today.

I’d love to know what pieces you own that have been with you forever and you still love. Post them on Instagram and tag me @susanagoss with the hashtag #investinqualityfurniture

A Day at Goss House

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We are back and ready to share all the design that’s going on at Goss House!

I hope you will join me here every Tuesday and Friday for new posts that will inspire you to make design a part of your everyday life! I can’t wait to share it all with you and to get your feedback and input.

To start the relaunch below is a short film of what family life at Goss House is like these days. I hope you enjoy it!

A Birthday Party in Portugal!

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Hey, Friends! It’s been a while. We’ve been in Portugal for the past 5 months, but we are back home in North Carolina.

I thought it would be appropriate that our first post since returning home is a film I made of Von’s 2nd Birthday Celebration. It all happened a month ago in Portugal at one of our favorite places. Just click the play button to see the full video. And…I’ll see you back here soon where I plan to share so much more of life at Goss House!

Yay! We re back!!!!

Easy Child's Birthday Tent

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Helen is 3! If feels like just yesterday I was holding our tiny newborn and already three years have gone by. It all happens so quickly. I'm trying to hold on to every single moment for as long as possible. 

To celebrate we spent the afternoon outside in a tent with cake, presents and  balloons. We all loved every minute.

I had this idea to make a tent a while ago and the execution was surprisingly simple. I tied a string between two trees, threw a piece of linen fabric over the top and secured the edges on the ground with rocks. Done!

Here are a few photos of our celebration and little video too!

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Get the Look: The Pit BBQ, Durham

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Everyone is very serious about BBQ here in the south and we have quickly become huge fans of the vinegar based Eastern North Carolina BBQ sauce that is ubiquitous around here. But our absolute favorite place to get whole hog bbq is The Pit in Durham NC. Besides serving up the best food, the location hits all the right notes with it's industrial vibe.

I think the combination of industrial/modern would be perfect for a dining room. Here's how to get the look:

-Painted brick (or concrete block) is awesome with most of the paint scraped off giving it a lived in feel. 

-Pair bright orange upholstered dining chairs with an industrial table to hit the perfect industrial/modern note.

-A simple walnut sideboard is perfect for serving the whole hog on and has plenty of storage for plates, glassware, napkins and silverware.

-I love a good accent wallpaper that isn't too fussy and boasts a great pattern.

-Lighting should be clean and unfussy. String up some outdoor bare-bulb lights for a nod to the back yard bbq.

-Loads of pig and butcher themed accessories are a must to get The Pit feel. Keeping them simple and modern removes the kitsch.

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SHOP THE LOOK

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