We move in two weeks but are gradually moving things in. Meanwhile, we’re soaking up every moment in the backyard and splashing around in the pool. We spent our first night at the new house on air mattresses and enjoyed frozen chocolate croissants in the morning. Making memories! We’re thrilled that we don’t have too many projects ahead. If you’ve got any landscaping tips, send them our way—we’re all ears! We can’t wait to finally settle in and stop the back-and-forth.

Our prayers have been answered, and we’re so excited for this next chapter!

My swimsuit top // bottom

My cover up white dress and sandals

After announcing our move, I received many questions, so I thought I’d share the answers here in more detail. Who doesn’t love a good Q&A session? Let me know if I missed anything!

Thanks for your support. We are thrilled. Also read more about our new home in the SNEAK PEEK blog post.

xx shalice

How big is the house? Will the kids have to share rooms?

The house has 4 bedrooms. Given our family size, the boys will share one room and the girls will share another, which allows us to designate one room as a guest room and office space. It’s not perfect, but this setup balances our need for personal space and practicality. Our girls will miss having their own rooms.

How did you find it?

Reid was searching for cabins on Zillow when he decided to expand the search area by clicking “remove boundary.” That’s when this amazing house popped up. It was an unexpected find, but it immediately caught our interest with its unique features and potential.

What room are you most excited about?

It’s hard to choose just one room because the whole house is filled with features I love. The filtered light throughout the house is beautiful and creates a warm atmosphere. The stairway is perfect for photo shoots, which is great for our creative projects. The kitchen’s proximity to the patio and pool is ideal for both everyday living and entertaining. And the city views are simply breathtaking. Overall, it’s the combination of all these things that excites me the most about the house and reminds me of our Pasadena house.

What are you not looking forward to?

The biggest challenge will be changing schools for the kids. With five children, there’s a substantial amount of paperwork and applications required whenever we switch schools or make any significant changes. It’s a lot to handle, but we know it will be worth it once we find schools that are a good fit for our kids and our new lifestyle. Any tips to finding new schools, hit me up!

Will you do any renovations?

Yes, we have a few renovation plans. We need to build closets since the previous owner didn’t install any, as the house was primarily used for photo shoots and short-term rentals. The gym also needs a glass window and door for better functionality. In the kitchen, we plan to replace the peninsula with an island to improve the flow and usability of the space. However, this is part of our long-term plan. In the meantime, the space is great as it is, with tons of natural light and quartz countertops.

Why aren’t there any closets?

The previous owner used the house primarily for photo shoots and short-term rentals, so there wasn’t a need for traditional storage solutions like closets. This setup worked for their purposes, but we will need to adapt the space to fit our large family and everyday needs.

Are the kids excited?

Yes, the kids are very excited! They’re looking forward to settling into the new house and making it their own. The change is big, but their enthusiasm makes the transition easier for everyone.

What are some of your interior design inspirations?

I’ve been deeply inspired by the works of architect Tadao Ando, whose projects exemplify minimalism and brilliance. His use of space and light is something I aspire to replicate. Additionally, I love incorporating bold art pieces that stand out against concrete and neutral backgrounds. This combination creates a modern yet warm and inviting atmosphere in the home.

Did I miss anything? Add it to the comments below!

As a family, we joke that we’ve lived in a variety of unique homes: the Chicago Salt Box, the California Craftsman, the A-Frame, the James Bond House, a Beach House, a Modern Farmhouse, and a Mediterranean. Which one was your favorite? With such a diverse housing background, finding our next home was a challenging task to top our past experiences. In fact, it took us two long years of searching. After many lost offers and not finding anything we loved, we gave up last year and ended up renting.

Now, as our lease is about to expire, we are thrilled to announce that we have found our next home.

It’s spectacular.

This home has a character of its own, and we are currently deciding on a name. It’s between “DUNE HOUSE” and “Villa Brute.” Which one do you prefer? What do you think, does it remind you of our Pasadena house? It does to me.

Let me know in the comments.

This 1970s architectural icon has left us in awe. When we tell people it’s a brutalist design, they are often shocked – and we love the shock factor. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter, blog, and follow us on Instagram for updates.

Chat soon,


Fall Home Decor

by Shalice Noel

1 Arch brass floor lamp / 2 Modular sofa / 3 Art / 4 Throw blanket / 5 Bouclé Pillow Balls / 6 Swivel Chair / 7 Scented Candle / 8 Ceramic Vase / 9 Faux Florals / 10 Chesterfield Sofa

It’s like it switched to pumpkin and scented candle season overnight! Here are some of my favorite home fall decor finds like my modular couch that surprisingly works in our California spanish, classic arch lamp and faux florals to warm up a space. Which is your favorite?

Home is a Place

by Shalice Noel

Since moving last week, I realized home is a physical place. Read about that post here. I agree, home is where your immediate family is, but it is also a physical place that feels like home. Being back at our old stomping grounds in Los Angeles feels familiar with many good memories. We are thrilled to be back, including our kids who are begging to go to Lido and Laguna Beach.

We also learned that a place can bring our your worst and best. For us, California brings out our best. Maybe it’s the perennial sun, the business parters, or the friends we left here? All reasons that make this location feel more familiar. Despite the tax implications of this move, home brings out our best.

Are you home? Do you agree, home is a physical place and some places just feel more like home?

Chat soon,


Sneak peek of our home

by Shalice Noel

Many of you asked to see our new home. Here are some snapshots of our favorite spaces from the large closet to moody primary bedroom. I linked the exact items below that you find in our rooms. How cool is this paint color? I know many of you will ask, the color is SW “Iron Ore” 25% less. The primary bedroom is one of my favorites. Which is your favorite room?

Happy Friday!

Table Lamp // Modular Sofa // Stack Art // Chandelier // Medallion // Round Vase only $35! // Clay vase // Duvet cover // Sheets // Euro pillows // Bolster pillow

My Speed Queen Review

by Shalice Noel

I absolutely adore my washer, and let me tell you why.

Over the years, I’ve tried various brands and several front loaders, which often ended up with unpleasant odors after prolonged use and forgetting to leave the doors open. When my family and I moved into our first house in Georgia two years ago, I found myself in need of a new washer and dryer. Despite hearing recommendations for different brands, I was repeatedly advised to consider a Speed Queen. Unfortunately, they were in high demand, and many distributors were sold out with lengthy waiting lists. As a busy mom of five, waiting six months for a washer and dryer simply wasn’t feasible. So, I reluctantly opted for an LG front loader, which never quite met my expectations in terms of cleaning effectiveness. Needless to say, I was thrilled to replace it.

Then came the TC5 top loader from Speed Queen. With its 30-minute wash option, heavy-duty performance, absence of odors, and even earning praise from Levi for getting out tough stains, I became an instant fan.

I did encounter one hiccup the week we moved in when I overloaded the washer with my duvet cover, causing water to spill all over the floor and tripping the electrical line. After Reid fixed the issue and we reset the wires in the basement, my Speed Queen was back to running smoothly.

Established in 1908 in Ripon, WI, Speed Queen, owned by Alliance Laundry Systems LLC, won me over with its claim that their washers last 25 years. Renowned for their durability, the brand attributes this to “ergonomic motors, suspension systems, and the use of only the best materials designed to withstand wear, tear, and abuse.”

More about our semi-custom home that we built in Georgia HERE.

Which one did you get?

Speed Queen TC5 Classic top load



Does the lid lock?

No, the lid doesn’t lock.


One significant advantage is the quick turnaround time for clean clothes, typically around 30 minutes! Many of my readers have praised the quality of these commercial washers and dryers. Some even mentioned that they work for warranty companies and seldom receive calls regarding Speed Queens, highlighting their reliability.


It can get quite loud during operation, so I make sure to close the laundry room door.

What do you think, have you tried a Speed Queen?

With all the variety of tile choices nowadays, there is no surprise that picking one is overwhelming. I mean, where do you start? First, make a list of what you want.  For example, I knew that I wanted black and white checkerboard in a diamond pattern, herringbone, and a master bath inspired by Alys Beach. Keeping these images in mind, we scoured the internet for tile.  Read on for our tips and tricks to make it easier for you!

What’s the style you are looking for? How much do you spend?

Black and white tile is no easy find.

Like I mentioned, I’ve been envious of all black and white checkerboard spaces for some time now.  It’s a classic look when done right, but finding the right tile is harder than it looks.  Be cautious.  Some blogs make it look simple, but they end up laboriously custom cutting each tile or using fake peal and stick (that looks great in photos but awful in real life).  Our limitation was our tile had to be a certain thickness to avoid a silly floor transition.  This voided the options for marble and other natural stone tile.  We finally found this black and white tile from Floor and Décor.  Boom!  The triangle cut tile wasn’t my first choice, but using grey grout tied it all together and I absolutely love it, and it wasn’t a budget killer.  It reminds me of The Great Gatsby!

For the master bathroom, we loved the interior design of homes in Alys Beach, Florida.  We wanted neutral and natural looking tile.  The tile we found has specks of white fossils embedded in the surface much like the Alys Beach homes showcase.  The tiles come in large sizes and this makes for easier installation.  We liked the design potential to offset the large-scale tile with an accent wall of mosaic tile.  As for budget, the mosaic white marble tile was a budget buster, so we limited it and paired it with the large scale on budget tile to balance out the cost.  I joke that I like to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” This is Reid and my favorite room in the house.

The powder room is tiny so I splurged on a wall mounted custom marble sink, I found on Etsy.  The sink came and we were inspired by the multi tones of the natural marble.  We happened upon a tile called Country Beige Tumbled Travertine Tile and it was on clearance at Floor and Décor.  I was hesitant because the name “country” threw me off, but we bought a sample to bring home anyway.  The beige tone matched the sink perfectly.  The tile edges are tumbled so we juxtaposed the irregular edge with a modern vertical stack pattern on the shower walls and an old-world herringbone pattern on the floor.  I love it!

The kid’s bathrooms were a simple strategy.  Go way under budget yet timeless style.  Subway tile is the way to go.  We splurged with marble hexagon on the shower floor, but did a basic white hexagon on the bathroom floor.  It was all fun and fresh!

The boy’s bathroom is small so we used black hexagon flooring and white subway tile shower walls.  We used remnant vanity counters in both bathrooms to reduce cost.

The laundry room, aka the hardest working room in the house, has the tile same checkerboard pattern as the foyer for a lux look. Lots of modern splash for what could’ve been a very utilitarian space. We ended up using the same countertop as the girl’s bathroom.  I love that it has a window to the street and lots of natural light. This is a major upgrade from my last house which had a tiny dark room to do 7 people’s laundry.

Here are some tips below that we learned in the process of picking tile.

#1 Tip:  Do play with tile patterns in unexpected ways.

#2 Tip:  We played it safe with grout choices and went with what the retailer recommended.  Also, when mixing different tiles in a room, use the same grout color throughout.

#3 Tip:  Budget buy doesn’t mean short on style. Use subway tile in a vertical pattern, or better yet, use a pearl liner trim! (images via Pinterest)

#4 Tip:  Don’t overspend on tile.  You can get very stylish tiles between $5-$10 SF. 

Tile we chose

White hexagon tile

Foyer Black and white tile

Boys bathroom hexagon floor tile

Boys subway tile for the wall

Girls bathroom shower floor marble hexagon

Girls bathroom white hexagon floor

Master bathroom floor tile in running board

Master bathroom shower floor

Laundry room tile

Advice on paint colors

by Shalice Noel
Dover white and Iron Ore

We went with “Dover White”

When building a new house, it is exciting to be able to pick the exterior colors.  But the pressure is on.  We will guide you through our exterior paint and finish selections. 

First things first, drive around your area.  Take note of what appeals to you.  Snap a picture of inspirational homes you see while driving or walking the neighborhoods.  We recommend seeing these paint colors in person verses online images.  Daylight and shadows can make a huge difference in paint colors only visible in person. Also, if the house is north or south facing can affect the color. When investigating paint colors, make a spreadsheet of everything that would need a color.  See below for a template.

Home Color Inspiration
  Window TrimWindow SashDoorsSidingGarageGutters / Downspouts
House AddressColor      
House AddressColor      
House AddressColor      
House AddressColor      

As you record what you see in detail, keep in mind the rule of three.  Aesthetically, the exterior should only have 2 – 3 colors.  The white farmhouse has dominated Georgia neighborhoods, so we decided to veer towards a creamier pallet.  We were also inspired on a modern take on the white and black look.  You’ll see what I mean by the photos.

With the rule of 3 colors or less, decide which are your favorite combinations.  Also consider the undertones of each color.  We also chose antique copper, exterior light fixtures, and the Dover White and Iron Ore is the perfect colors to compliment. Here is a list of our paint selections:

Our Home Selections
  Window TrimWindow SashDoorsSidingGarageGutters / Downspouts
House AddressColorDover WhiteDover WhiteIron OreDover WhiteDover WhiteDover White

As for interiors, we went with Snowbound for the trim and Pure White for the walls. More on the interior later!

Read more about our move to Georgia HERE.

Read more about the realities of a semi custom build and our house selections HERE.

What do you think? Are you bold enough to go with a black and white combination?

Looking for a new home can be both a stressful ordeal and an opportunity to express your creativity. Over the past decade, we’ve bought and sold many homes, but this will be our first time embarking on a semi-custom new build.

Here are some tips for navigating the process of finding a new build:

  1. Research: Begin by scouring online listings daily. Location is key for us—we desired a property with a couple of acres, no HOA fees, and low property taxes. Filtering our searches based on these criteria was essential. Make sure to research property taxes in your state to find the best rates. As artists, we opted against an HOA to avoid extra costs.
  2. Utilize Filters: Use search engine filters to narrow down your options to include only new builds. In our experience, these homes are often overlooked by the public, resulting in less competition and rarely paying over asking price.
  3. Timing Matters: Look for homes that show pictures of the property fully framed or recently sheet rocked. This indicates that the builder will likely finish the home within a few months. Timing is crucial—aim to get in before the builder finalizes finishes. We were fortunate to customize our home’s kitchen, tile selections, counters, laundry room layout, school room loft details, and lighting, providing our personal design touches without a long wait.
  4. Research the Builder: Before falling in love with a home, research the builder. Look for references and reviews to ensure quality craftsmanship. Trust is essential when choosing a builder—consider it akin to a blind date. We trusted our builder because they lived nearby, allowing us to closely monitor progress and communication.
  5. Collaborate with the Builder: Learning to work with the builder as a team is crucial. Communicate openly and keep a record of all decisions and receipts. Discuss any desired upgrades or adjustments with the builder, ensuring they align with their vision and are feasible. Any significant changes should be added to the contract before finalizing the offer.

As we near completion of our semi-custom build, we’ve experienced both pros and cons. Quick turnarounds on requested changes have been a highlight, but the uncertainty of the process has been challenging. Nonetheless, we’re excited to share our real experiences—both the ups and downs—with our audience. We welcome your thoughts and comments as we continue on this journey together.

Here’s a sneak peek of our faucet, lighting and tile we chose:

Lighting we chose

The Jacqueline chandelier is on sale!

Faucets we chose

Tile we chose

White hexagon tile

Foyer Black and white tile

Boys bathroom hexagon floor tile

Boys subway tile for the wall

Girls bathroom shower floor marble hexagon

Girls bathroom white hexagon floor

Master bathroom floor tile in running board

Master bathroom shower floor

Laundry room tile

Similar vegan shorts // Shopshalicenoel tee // 327 New Balance sneakers tts //

Want to see more?

Let me know in the comments

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