Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My House Goals for 2012

Wow! Two posts in one week!? This is UNHEARD OF. But, I have good reason. Following the lead of Centsational Girl (I just recently started following her sweet blog), I wanted to get my house goals for 2012 out there. The husband is not involved in these in any way, so he'd probably add or remove a few, but he's not here right now. So this list is all mine (cue wicked laugh). Maybe this list can hold us accountable to get 'em all done...and if I still feel like blogging by the end of the year we can recap and see how many actually got crossed off. And how about we get all cute and narrow them down to 12? Because let's face it, I could probably have a list of 94,898,349.

Without further ado:

1. Redo the fireplace in the family room, and add flanking built-in bookshelves.

Pre-paint on the walls

2. Paint all the closet doors and get them back in place so I don't have to look at everything in them every time I walk by.

3. Finish the master bedroom wall stencil before stencils go out of style. Oh I never blogged about that? Shocker. Maybe one day.

4. Carpet the dungeon, a.k.a. the new living room/den. Man, we need to just nail down a name for that room already! It's been painted, we're just figuring out where we want to buy the carpet from. I'd love to use a local mom-and-pop shop, but when they're 20 times more expensive than Lowe's that's a hard pill to swallow. We're already investing many pennies into this pad!

5. Renovate the master bathroom. Or for the love of God replace the toilet that never looks clean and uses 14 gallons of water every time it's flushed.

Don't judge my decorating skills—this was before we bought it thankyouverymuch

6. Renovate the kitchen. There, I said it.

Yikes! This is right after we moved in. Looks 7% better now.

7. Paint the exterior wood panelling, front door, garage door and trim. And replace the rotting soffits and add some more vents.

8. Fix up the disaster area that we call an "office". Not even going to show a current picture of the hideousness.
After carpet and curtain removal, before wallpaper and blind removal

9. Get our front yard garden going this spring! Not sure how the neighbors are going to feel about that, but it ain't yo' yard (snaps fingers and bobs head).

That giant pine tree is gone...we're feeling a bit exposed

10. Make the rest of the wallpaper in the house HISTORY!

Also before we moved in. Fun fact: that rug was pretty much
fused to the floor. Thanks Mom for scraping it off!

11. Turn the sun porch into a useable space by painting the walls, cleaning the windows, painting the floor, and getting some furniture.

Not a great shot of the porch, but you can kinda see it. And the
decal that is long gone.

12. Add a French door to the backyard in the dining room. And a patio for back there while we're at it.

I can think of many more things I want to have completed, but it already looks like it's shaping up to be a (very) busy year :)

Linking up to Nesting Place home goals party

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's been so long (again!) since my last post. From the looks of this blog, we haven't been working much on the ol' abode...but nothing could be farther from the truth! Between the holidays, travelling, and just life in general, I haven't quite gotten the knack of blogging in the free moments. But I'm hoping that will change this year. New Years resolution alert! I thought I'd share some decor and things I made this holiday season.

This is our mantle and tree loaded with gifts. The boughs on the mantle are real ones from the tree we cut down out front. That I haven't blogged about. I love the fresh pine smell but they drop so many needles! They especially spew a lot of needles when your cat yanks the entire thing onto the floor. Just sayin'. 

I actually made these trees last year and hid weights in the bottom to hold up our stockings. This year I just set them on the sofa table in the family room. I think they kind of look like Whoville trees.

I cut out some felt circles of different styles and sewed them together in one continuous stitch, and bing bam boom we have a garland. I think I'd like to make some with smaller circles close together for garland on the tree. Next year, next year.

I made this "snow globe" after seeing a few floating around the internet. It's an old relish jar, haha. I could probably spray paint the lid silver, but for this season it worked. I was pretty stoked when I saw something super similar at Anthropologie. Mine cost about $1. 

I saw an ornament like this on Pinterest and since I had a bag o' trees I decided to make one myself. It was hard getting the dang tree to stay in place! I ended up using a piece of paper clay and a dollop of glue.

Every year I like to make different gift tags. This year I went with felt ornaments slash tags that matched our cute wrapping paper from Target. I cut out simple triangles and decorated them in a similar way to the trees on the paper. I used a double layer of felt so you wouldn't see the embroidery thread through on the other side. It also gave them a little more heft so they could hang on the tree!

I hope you enjoyed seeing a little sneak peek of our Christmas decor! Another resolution: post more than 18 times this year. Happy 2012!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Back in the swing of things

It's been quite a while since my last post! I've been under the weather for a while, so I haven't been keeping up with projects like I normally would. We've done a lot in the last month though, so I will try to get it all posted soon.

Clockwise from top left: deer head, chandelier unknown, mirror banner, table unknown,
damask fabric, rug, dresser, lamp unknown, pillow, steel chair, placemat, dishes, napkin,
wood chair unknown, candleholders (old Bed Bath and Beyond)
I know the "guideline" about using warm colors in your dining spaces so food appears more appetizing, blah blah blah...I'm going to respectfully decline to participate in that one. I'm just going to do what I want to do. As usual.

I want to bridge the decor from the living room to the dining room by using similar colors, but taking them in a little bit different direction since the rooms are connected. The dining room is smaller, so I think the palette can be taken up a few notches on the boldness scale. For starters, I want to use that deep turquoise from the new lampshades as the color on the (top half of the) walls. Since there is a chair rail in the room, the bottom half is going to be painted white and will help tone down the intensity. I'm a little nervous about the room feeling like it's under water, so I think the key is making sure the color has enough yellow in it to negate some of the blue.

A few years ago B and I went to our first auction...and walked away with our dining room table. The auction was lots of fun, and even better we got a great deal on a unique piece. The table is an old lab table from a local college, and when we got it it was complete with carvings (still there) and gum (I scraped it all off...not fun). Its solid oak and absolutely awesome. It took many many hours of sanding and refinishing to get it back to its former glory, but its a piece we are going to have for years and nowhere could we buy the same amount of character.

Right now we have four oak chairs from my in-laws. They have great lines and work well with our aesthetic, and coincidentally enough they're also vintage university, or so says the little metal tags on the underside. We do occasionally have a need for more seating, so to counterbalance all the wood I want to bring in four metal chairs on the long sides of the tables and use a wood chair on either short end. The metal will tie in with the metal table lamp in the adjoining room. Woot!

I do have to say the Ikea rug looks way better in person...its not so contrasty and the texture is smaller scale so it doesn't compete with the black and white chevron rug in the living room. Aaand, its marled coloring would help to camouflage crumbs and dirt between vacuumings. I mean, I totally vacuum everyday but just in case.

Since there is a lot of contrast and bright colors going on in this room, I'd like to make some roman shades in a low contrast grey damask fabric. It helps to bring some sophistication to the room. And when the sun goes down, we've got a could-be-great chandelier already in the room. With a good cleaning, a rewire, a repair and some spray paint, it's going to look good as new—or at least I hope it will. I'm going back and forth between a bold color like a red or yellow or just a matte white. We'll have to see once the walls are painted what we're feeling at the time, and the great thing about spray paint is it can be easily changed.

The rest of the accessories I'd like to bring into the room are casual and fun, but I'd like to think somewhat sophisticated. The table linens can tie in the red from the accents in the living room, and using yellow pillows on some of the chairs ties into the yellow in the living room curtains, making the two rooms feel more like one big cohesive room. I love the playfulness of the mirror bunting, but I also love the functionality...putting it on the wall across from the window would help to bounce some extra light into the room (remember our deep overhangs?). And to offset all of the industrial, I'd like to use an ornate vintage credenza of some sort. Probably painted a sophisticated white (what B wants), but I might fight for something funkier like yellow. We'll see who wins ;)

Just like the rest of the house we want the dining room to be eclectic and bright and feel collected over time. We want a good mix of old and new, ornate and modern. We want it to feel fun and welcoming and be a place that people want to sit and talk and eat and have a good time. Right now we have a totally blank slate in there, so I hope to start cracking open some paint cans in the next couple of weeks and get this thing rolling!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I love lamp

Such an obvious post title, but I had to do it. Ten points for you if you can name the movie.

We needed new lighting for the new family room, so a pair of lights was in order since we don't have any overheads. I wanted something with some color, like in my inspiration board. Since I am a total cheap-o through and through, I just cannot bring myself to pay full price for anything. But shopping at discount stores and in clearance sections means you usually have to visit a few times before you find what you're looking for...if you find it at all. Sometimes I just go with the flow, and even if I had a "vision" for something else in my head, I'll edit it to fit my new really cool find. And really, it usually ends up being even better than what I wanted in the first place. Cue the lamps!

Cute, no? One week while on our way to the close-proximity grocery store, B and I stopped into HomeGoods, which if you live under a rock is the home-centric version of TJ Maxx. I guess you could call me a Maxxinista, haha. We saw these bad boys (or girls?) in the lighting section, and they immediately caught our eyes. 

They kind of have a faceted jewel-like thing going on, which I lurve. And which happens to be kind of popular right now. I just saw a similar lamp at West Elm for $199. Ouch. The shades are turquoise with silver insides, and the white bases have a clear lucite plastic bottom. I wasn't crazy about the clear lucite plastic bases (and finials) at first, but they're growing on me. B probably still hates them. 

One thing I've found since purchasing our no-overhead-lighting house is that lamps are so. expensive. Or maybe I'm just used to estate sale prices. TJ Maxx usually has some great prices on their merch, but I still felt most pieces in the lighting department were a little pricey. If you can't tell from the photo, those lamps were originally $70 each. Each! I would never have paid that, and even at 50% off I was a little hesitant. In real life they feel just a little small to light the entire room on their we left the lamps to live at HomeGoods for another week while we contemplated. 

It sounds silly, but I couldn't get my mind off those lamps! I stopped at a few other stores to compare the wares, and I just kept going back to those lamps. I originally wanted to paint the bases and go with white shades, but for now these are staying just how they are. You can kind of tell in the photo above, but the bottom of the shade was starting to come apart on the inside. I tried to get a little discount, but the girl at the register wasn't having it. She said they don't give a discount when the damage came to them that way. Umm, did you personally unpack the box and see the shade like that? I bet you didn't you liar!! I didn't fight back because I knew it was a battle I wasn't going to win. I was pleasantly surprised when B pointed out how the faceted shapes of the lamp base mimic the chevron pattern of the rug. I mean, I know he's a designer too but he's also a dude. And he was right, which made me love the lamps even more.

To remedy the lamps feeling slightly too small, I stacked some books underneath them to give them a little more height on the back of the sofa table. Helps distribute the light a little more and brings some more color into the room. Win win!

Two weeks later do you think I've cut the tags off yet? 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Black and white and pretty all over

Our new rug is here! I'm a few weeks late on this, but our rug for the living room arrived and I couldn't be more excited about it! I comparison shopped the rug around at multiple different sites, and was by far the best price. And with free shipping to boot!

It's pretty loud and bold, but I think it really anchors the room. Even though it's high contrast, it still acts as a neutral for the rest of the bright colors I have planned.

We debated over the sizes quite a bit, going between the 5x7 and the 8x10. There was a pretty big price difference between the two. To better help us visualize the sizes, we taped off both rugs on the floor (just the corners) to get an idea of how they would fit in the room. Ultimately we ended up with the smaller, and I'm glad we did. The larger one would just be too large for the setup we have going on.

The rug is definitely pretty thin and not the greatest quality, but for the price I knew what we were getting into. And since it was relatively cheap, it won't be the end of the world if something gets spilled on it or we decide we don't like chevrons anymore. I'm planning on getting a rug pad for it to make it feel a little more plush and slow the wear on the backing, but it suits us perfectly for now just as it is! 

Note: RugsUSA did not sponsor this post...I just really like my rug!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So many swatches, so little time

I was just itching to get the living-turned-family room painted, so a couple weeks ago I canvased every paint store in the area to pick up the best specimens of light aqua they carry. Is it just me, or do you feel like you're stealing when you walk out with a fistful of swatches too?

Pardon the lighting, but the first two photos are all of the swatches taped up to the walls. We knew some immediately were out, but others it took us a while.

We hemmed and hawed over them for a couple days, and narrowed our choices down to four.

They all look the same in the above photo, but trust me when I say they were very different. Thank goodness for the little sample cans...those colors can look so different from what they look like on a tiny little swatch! The two colors on the ends were too neon, so it was really between the two in the middle. Which were pretty drastically different. In the end we went with (drumroll...) the second from the left, called Mint Whisper by Valspar. It's light but not too light, and not too green or too blue. And not too neon.

After an entire long weekend (thanks, Labor Day!) we had the primer and two coats of Mint Whisper on the walls. As soon as I tidy up the room enough I'll get full shots with the new color AND the other new additions to the room.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A warm welcome

Before we moved in our front porch was a pretty underutilized space. There was a lonely faux fern in a styrofoam container, and nothing else. Tasteful! 

What's made the biggest difference so far has been removing the shutter next to the door. Why anyone would cover a window in an already dark house is beyond me, but I don't understand a lot of the things that we going on in this house before we got here. It opens up the foyer a ton and has a nice retro look to it.



We polished the kick plate on the door (which is going to stay brass for now until the door gets painted), added a new rug, a wreath I made, and a plant stand my dad made out of a branch from our backyard. For now our patio set has a home here until the sun porch is done being our painting room.

We've got other plans for the front porch and front of the house including:

- painting the front door bright red
- refinishing the door hardware from brass to brushed nickel
- painting all the trim
- painting the brown wood panelling
- putting together the bench we purchased
- putting a cushion/pillows on the bench
- planting the big white pots we bought with herbs and flowers
- installing and planting hanging baskets
- buying and installing new lighting

That should be enough to keep us busy for a while!