It seems that everyone around us is getting ready to either go back to school (all of our teacher friends) or send their kiddos off for a new school year. In fact, Lauren is currently preparing her daughter Ava for her first year of pre-school. What an exciting time! Although this may be a new experience for Lauren as a mom, school is definitely no stranger to us. Our mom has been a principal for over thirty years, and Tami just concluded her tenth year teaching elementary students. With all of this at the forefront of our minds, we thought what better way to kick off the new school year than with a school inspired post. We decided to create an event space to show off one of Side by Side Design’s services as well as our creativity in coming up with something truly unique.

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When designing an event space, we love to DIY one aspect to show our creativity. We created a handmade craft paper table cover with drawn on place settings and “nametags”. Who were you in school? Who are your kids? The Class Clown? Most Likely to Succeed? The Book Worm? A Best Friend to all of their peers?

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Before putting on our handmade creation, we covered the table with an over-sized and silky smooth red tablecloth. This made the space look extra special.

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A large orchid plant and a pomegranate brought a live feel to this space. We included popular school tools as well such as a yellow sticky note pad and a bud vase full of number 2 pencils.

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A wooden crate is filled with red and white striped fabric and embellished with a fun fabric ribbon.

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A stack of books, an open journal, a special teacher’s award, and some chalk finish off the decor. So many cute odes to the classroom while still looking put together and a bit fancy.

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This would be the perfect set up to serve your kids dinner in before their first day of school or to congratulate them with at the end of day number one. What a great way to show you care!

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Even Lauren’s little “Class Clown” got in on the action!

If you are interested in creating a back to school set up for your little ones, we are just a quick email away. We love to customize decor to your family and its needs as well as create dinner party set ups for any occasion. You have friends coming over that you want to impress? We are your girls! You need help setting the perfect scene for the upcoming holiday season. We would love to help! Contact us at info@sbsdesignla.com or fill out a contact inquiry form by following the link at the top of the screen. Happy Back to School to you and yours love Side by Side Design!


For the past three years, we have been working together with a very special family to create a Halloween scene like no other. We started somewhat small (seen on our post Haunted Graveyard) and have grown exponentially each year to include large rented props, sound, fog machines, loads of lights, and the scariest characters we can find (Our Haunted Circus and Hollywood decor can be seen here and here). Coming up on the Fall season, we are super excited to get the opportunity to work on this project again and even more excited for it to grow even more. This year, not only will we be creating a concept and bringing it to life in this family’s front yard for all to see, but we will also be planning a Halloween party in the same theme for their guests to enjoy.

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With this large of a project, we like to get started early to make sure all bases are covered, our clients are beyond happy, and each guest is wowed. We begin with coming up with a theme to make the decor at this particular house different from all of its surrounding neighbors. We like to create something original that people will come from all over the area to see. This year, we have come up with three equally awesome themes (in our opinion) and have brought them to the family to decide which they would like to be carried through. Although our clients have already made this tough decision, we would like to put it out to you as well. Check out these three concepts, and let us know which option you would choose.

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#1 Once Upon a Halloween: With shows like “Once Upon a Time” and all of the fairy tale remakes coming out in the cinema, this seems like the perfect time to create a haunted fairy tale scene. Although each story has their villain, creating an overall dark feel will make it all come together. Add moss and decadent items to an event space along with candy “poison apples” and your guests will believe they are actually in their own haunted fairy tale.

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#2 Haunted Pirates: Who doesn’t love a good pirates theme? Skeletons, barrels, and an extra large pirate ship will bring this scene to life. Meanwhile a familiar tune plays over and over again … “Yo ho, Yo ho, a pirate’s life for me”. Creating ambiance in the event space will be equally important. Red and white striped linens will set the tone and you must have an airbrush tattoo artist available while the kids search for buried treasure.

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#3 Halloween of Thrones: Anyone else hooked on this popular TV show? Large tents draped in fabric will give everyone the feeling of walking through a space right out of medieval times. References to the show “Game of Thrones” will be fun and unexpected details. The event space will be filled with beautiful gilded goblets and bejeweled centerpieces. The guests will truly enjoy their time spent drinking red wine and admiring or possibly even riding these majestic horses.

Vote below … Which of these three themes would you like for us to create this Halloween? Leave a comment on our blog or on one of our social media accounts (links at the top of the screen). We will be posting the results as well as the client’s decision this coming Friday.


This “Food Friday” we have a recipe that is fun for the whole family! One challenge Lauren finds when cooking for her family is finding new things her little one wants to eat. Lauren and her husband are pretty open to variety, but Ava is just the opposite. She likes what she likes, is not super open to trying new things, and will not touch meat of any kind. While Lauren and Scott believe that this is probably just a phase that she will outgrow, they are respectful of their daughter’s eating habits and just want to make her happy. However, it is extremely important to them to make sure Ava still gets the protein she needs. When Lauren came across this recipe for eggplant and tofu stir fry, she knew it was risky. Ava has never shown interest in tofu and there was a chance she might not like it, but it was worth a try. Not only did Ava enjoy her meal, but Lauren decided to include chicken for her and Scott and they both agreed that the tofu was actually the best part! To make your own eggplant and tofu stir fry (chicken is optional) just follow these easy steps:

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1. Cook 1 cup long grain white rice according to the directions on the package.

2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup hoisin sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch.

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3. Cook chicken in a large skillet (if desired). When fully cooked, set aside.

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4. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 pound firm tofu (drained, patted dry, and cut into 1 inch cubes). Turn occasionally until browned (about 8 – 10 minutes).

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5. Set the tofu aside as well.

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6. Add 3 tablespoons canola oil to the same skillet along with 1 small eggplant cut into 1/2 inch pieces, 4 sliced scallions (only the whites, keep the greens for later use), 2 cloves chopped garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, mixing frequently, until the eggplant is tender (about 8 – 10 minutes).

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7. Add the hoisin mixture, tofu, chicken, and scallion greens. Cook, tossing gently, until the sauce has thickened (about 1 – 2 minutes).

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8. Serve with rice, sprinkle with fresh basil (adding something spicy comes highly recommended), and enjoy!

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of our weekly Food Fridays post. Sharing these recipes helps us to be innovative in creating our own recipes (especially when trying to meet the needs of a family), and more likely borrowing them from others who know best (aka Pinterest). Do you have a new favorite recipe to share? We would love to hear from you. Send us an email at info@sbsdesignla.com or leave a comment below by clicking on the speech bubble icon.


One of our clients is working on a home renovation project for a house they are flipping. We are so excited that we were given the opportunity to help out with this special project. Since this particular client is no stranger to renovation projects (they built their own home from ground up), they were really just looking for an outside perspective with a fresh eye on how the overall design should look. Lauren put together presentation boards for the main rooms in this house to use as sort of a guide for them to follow in the materials selection process.

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This Tudor style house is very traditional in look and layout but we wanted to include a clean and updated color palette and overall feeling. Something that would appeal to the masses.

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Entry – New dark wood flooring, fresh paint, and staining the iron railing and entry door are all in the plans for this entry space.

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Living Room – We plan to continue the dark wood flooring throughout the common areas, and a crisp shade of white on the walls in this space is really all it needs.

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Dining Room – It’s really a bummer that the original parquet flooring in this room was damaged beyond repair, but this room features lots of natural light and a fun niche that the homeowners can really do something interesting with.

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Kitchen – All white cabinetry with dark wood floors and gorgeous marble counter tops. What more could you ask for?

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Family Room – This space lends itself to a cozy design. A darker colored wall or a dark stain on the existing bar would give this room a traditional men’s smoking room feel.

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Theater –  The green carpet in this theater has definitely got to go, but it has a lot of potential otherwise. The plan is to stain all of the moldings dark and give the resident a clean slate to make their own.

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Powder Bathroom – This large laundry room is being remodeled, and part of the space will be used for a guest powder bathroom. Lauren envisions this space to have dark walls and a dramatic, moody atmosphere.

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Office – The office is a cool space located off of the main stairwell. We love the idea of keeping it very masculine and tailored.

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Master Bedroom – The master bedroom features a beautiful sitting room as well as large sleeping quarters. Crisp white paint and soft details would make this space even more beautiful.

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Master Bathroom – Classic finishes, gray and white marble, and over-sized mirrors makes this space fit for a king.

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Master Gym- The master bedroom suite also features its own dedicated gym space. We love the finishes they used in this inspiration shot.

This home also features children’s rooms and a large play / game room upstairs. It really is a gorgeous home, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out. Stay tuned for updates on this special project. For more information regarding our design services please contact us at info@sbsdesignla.com.


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A first birthday is a celebration of a year of learning, laughing, and lots of love. Of course, no first birthday is complete without a party. As we happened to have attended (and helped out with) a really special celebration of this nature this past weekend, we definitely have this topic on the brain. However, it got us really thinking about sticking to a budget and how to make the most of simple decorations. So we decided to write a post with a couple of tips to help guide those of you who have a bit of party planning in your future and don’t want to break the bank. After all it is just a first birthday and meant mostly for the adults to celebrate a year of milestones.

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The first thing to consider when planning your child’s first birthday party is the theme. What is your one year old particularly drawn to? What makes them smile most? Or as we all know, this could be the time for you to choose a theme / colors that you like for your child since soon it will be all about Disney princesses and super heroes. For this particular party an under the sea theme was chosen, and we went with a blue and lime green color scheme.

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As the party was not during a meal time, snacks and sweets were provided for all of the party guests. In setting up the food table, we focused on all of the little details; a cute tablecloth, matching plates and napkins, and tulle bows in the party’s colors.

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Using decorative items you have handy in the party’s theme will add a special touch as well. The host happened to have this adorable fish toothpick holder. If it goes with the theme, why wouldn’t you use it?

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Festive tissue paper poms can be created with just a few supplies found at any party or craft store. We hung twelve pictures of the birthday boy from each pom to represent the twelve months he has been making his family smile. Don’t forget to pre-set a highchair or other space for your one year old to enjoy their first piece of birthday cake!

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Confetti is always festive and fun!

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You can’t go wrong with fruit, mint, and other infused waters on a hot day. These glass dispensers are a great purchase and can be used over and over again for each event you throw …

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… and of course, a party is not a party without a cake! Make sure to stick with the look and feel of your party’s theme in ordering (or making if you are feeling ambitious) your party cake. If you are having trouble deciding between a sheet cake and individual cupcakes, this is a great option. It may look like a cake, but is actually cupcakes frosted as one cohesive under the sea scene.

Have your own DIY first birthday ideas to share? Please post a comment below or send us an email at info@sbsdesignla.com. Need help planning a party of your own? We are here to help! You can contact us by filling out a contact inquiry form found on our contact page (link here).