Friday, June 21, 2013

Ahem....Recliners... :)

Large overstuffed recliners are not my favorite thing.  If you love them, please by all means go for it, but they are just not for me.  If it were up to me, nary a recliner would be found in the walls of my house.  My husband, however, feels a slightly different.  :)  So we may have spotted it in this picture...

Do you see it??  The recliner is leather with a traditional shape and nailhead details so at the very least I find it only slightly offensive, haha, but...I have to is VERY comfortable and the most used chair in the room.

We've had this chair almost as long as we've been married. (11 years tomorrow!!)  It. has. been. abused.  It's time to be replaced.  Seeing as this *is* the most used chair in the room, I had resigned myself to the fact that it's replacement would probably be pretty similar, but I may get to pick a slightly differently color leather this time.

Until....i found this....

I stopped by one of our local furniture retailers on a whim to get a feel for what my options were and I came across this chair.  Tufted back recliner???  Ummm...yes!!  I thought maybe even the color would be acceptable, but after comparing with my fabric swatches I decided it wasn't going to work.  It was all for the best was available to order in lots of other leather options and the only drawback was the wait for production.... 16 weeks. Yep, still waiting.  It *should* be here in about 2 weeks or so, hopefully, and I can't wait!!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Living Room: Time-Out Chairs

It's not too often I shop ebay for furniture....but in this case it totally paid off!  Most of the time shipping costs for furniture make any potential good deal a bust, but.....then these popped up...

$20.....for a pair.....and located near me.  Meant. To. Be.

Sure, the existing fabric was less than desirable, and there were broken springs and questionable foam (yuck!)....but the frame was in perfect condition and I was up for the challenge!  I should probably give a shout out to my husband for the demo process of the chairs.  There were *at least* 72 million staples holding that ugly fabric on.  *Someone* wanted to make sure it wasn't going to come off easy!! They succeeded.  My fingers were literally bleeding as a result of the staple removal process, so he offered to help! What a guy.... :)

On to the fun part....picking out new fabric! There were two criteria that had to be met for the fabric on this chair:

1) It had to coordinate with the crewel print already being used in the room.  (See ottoman below)

2) It had to be strong on it's own, but not overpowering.

The fabric I selected was Artissimo in Navy, manufactured by PKaufmann.

It's still available here!  Awhile back I spotted a similar fabric used here by one of my favorite designers...Sarah Richardson!  I knew I liked her... ;-)

One thing I love about this type of chair is the opportunity to use a contrast fabric on the back!  For these chairs I used Le Zebre from Brunschwig and Fils.

I love the way they turned out!!

As a sidenote....I'll also confess that these lovlies are the "time-out" chairs in our house....  Sometimes they are the most used chairs of the day!! Ha!  At least the kiddos get to sit and reflect on their actions in style?!?  :)  Maybe I'll put myself in time-out....


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Beautiful Lampshades

It's entirely possible I have a slight addiction to lamps....which ties right into my love of lampshades!  A quick and easy way to dress up nearly any lampshade is ribbon!  My personal favorites are grosgrain ribbon and twill tape, both of which are very inexpensive and fairly easy to find.  Grosgrain is fantastic because it comes in tons of colors!  While twill tape doesn't have quite the range of colors available, it does has a little more stretch which is better suited for rounder shades.

Grosgrain in action!

Sometimes a shade in a color other than plain white is just the ticket.  The shade on the right below is the shade that was sold with this lamp.  Not to mention the original shades proportion problems, I love the way the tan pleated shade transforms this lamp!
After                                                                                                  Before
Probably my favorite custom lampshades are those using patterned fabric.  In our bedroom I had purchased swing arm lamps that came with a standard white pleated shade.  The white felt pretty stark to me and I was looking for another surface in the room to repeat this blue stripe pattern from Carleton V.  The lampshades seemed to be a great place to accomplish that!

I started inspecting the construction of the shade a bit and decided to go for it!

I'm obsessed with the way they turned out!! There is something about patterned lampshades that adds just a little extra punch!  I've done this a few times now...and good's such an easy and inexpensive diy project!!  Even for a pleated shade, if you can measure, fold, and glue you're in business!

The shades on the lamps flanking the sofa in the living room are really begging for some love, so there may even be a tutorial in the future.  :)

Are you inspired to go embellish all your lampshades?!?!  ;-)

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Future Fireplace?

A few weeks ago, I decided a change was in order for the arrangement of our living room.  The room really doesn't have a ton of options for different furniture placements given the many traffic flows through the space, but the wall where the secretary currently resides was really troubling me!

This wall is one of the first views from the entry hall.  It previously housed the kids toy table with a shelf above.  I don't mind that the kids have and keep toys in the living room...that's just a sign of our current reality ;) ...but I don't love that chaos is the first impression when you walk in the front door!  Anyway, I've been on a quest to find a solution to this problem once and for all!

I really never photographed it in its prior state, at least without mess and toys...haha, except for this one shot from the blue and white post.  You can kind of see how the secretary looked on the paneled wall previously.

Here is the wall today...

Not too exciting.....And very bare.  I miss the secretary being a focal point on that wall, but I really like its new location better overall.  What's a girl to do??

Well...actually there has been a plan all along!  When we first put up the paneled wall, in the back of my mind I had plans for a future fireplace on this wall.  I love fireplaces...who doesn't??...and it would be a great focal point for the room!  A fireplace wasn't really a priority back then because we had *A LOT* of other large projects that needed our attention/$$ first and it's still not at the top of the list, but I could see it happening in the somewhat near future...???  I did a little mock-up to get an idea of how the proportions might work out...

Painters many uses!! :)  It's a rough layout, but it definitely helps me see what adjustments need to be made so my proportions are correct!

I'm not sure when/if this is going to for now this space remains dedicated to the kids play table where they still have easy access to their toy closet hidden behind that little door (topic for another day).  And I like that the table is kind of hidden behind the chairs in the current layout instead of in plain view from our front door like before.  It kind of bothers me that the wallspace is so empty, but I'm not sure I want to put much effort into changing that if a fireplace is in the near future.  Fingers crossed!!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Living Room

As promised here are the progress pictures from the living room!  Let's start with some before pictures...

View from kitchen doorway

View also from kitchen doorway.  Door on the left leads to the bedroom and door on the right is the entrance to the closet under the stairs. 
One of the first things we did in this room was add crown molding, wainscoting, and the paneling on the west wall to this space.  My husband has become quite the skilled trim carpenter over the years!!  We also changed out the existing window and door casings for one with a slightly larger profile.  I probably should have taken some pictures of that process, but at the time we were so focused on getting through it the thought didn't cross my mind!  Trimwork takes some time and patience, but it is my favorite way to add character and life to a space.

Piles of trim! Oh my!

On to the current pictures..

View from kitchen doorway facing east window

View into entry hall.

View from entry hall.

View from kitchen doorway towards bedroom and stair closet doors. 

View of the tv the left of the kitchen doorway.

One of my favorite things...Grandma Hazel's diary.
View of east facing window.

Another major change in this room involved the windows.  We replaced the old casement window with a series of taller double hung windows that match the height of the existing double hung window.  Not only does it unify the look of the windows, but it's also amazing how much more light filters in from the just slightly taller windows.

The color of the room is called Mexican Feather Grass from Ralph Lauren.

This is the perfect color for someone like myself who doesn't like to commit because it changes colors throughout the day!  Sometimes it's a grey, sometimes it takes on a grey-green hue, and in the glow of incandensant lighting it almost reads like a sage-y green.  It looks a little bit different in each of the pictures above and that is a pretty good representation of the way it changes in real life too!

Our living room is definitely the most used room in the house.  We don't have a separate family room so this space takes a lot of abuse!  And while the closet under the stairs does a good job at storing the toys out of sight when not in use, this is also where most of the "play" happens.  As a result, the living room often looks like this...

barbies, and tractors, and blankies....oh my!

I'll be honest and admit that the mess drives the neat freak in me a little nutso at times... but I wouldn't trade one minute of having my kiddos around for a perfectly kept house!  After all, that's what all this decorating stuff is about right??


PS...did you notice the rug?? :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Caution: Life In Progress

One of the main reasons I began this blog was to document the many projects we have completed over the last decade in our home.  I have come to realize lately, however, that...oops!...there are no finished rooms in this house!! How can that be?? We have been chipping away at projects for almost 11 years and nothing is completed?  I've taken some time to really analyze how this could be possible and I think I *kinda* figured it out.

Our house is constantly evolving....

Hard hats required :)

There is always a room undergoing some sort of project in order to serve our family better....currently it's the laundry room (although you wouldn't know it because there has been zero visible progress, haha).  As our family grows and changes, how we live and what we need from this house is under constant revision.  I was given the book "A Good House Is Never Done" as a gift.  I instantly adopted the title as my motto, haha.  The changes which take place aren't always huge and sometimes they're not noticeable to anyone but us, but change is always happening. 

The challenge in blogging about our ever-changing house is that I really don't love showing my half-finished work....I'm a perfectionist...remember? :)

For almost as long as I've known blogs exist, I've been reading posts from The Nester on Nesting Place.  Her mantra is "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful"...just the kind of encouragement a crazy perfectionist like myself needs to hear!  She is a fantastic example of using whatever resources you may have efficiently and creatively to make not only your home beautiful...but your life as well...all while not stressing out about the nitty gritty!  I recently came across a post Nester wrote for (in)Courage called "The During".  She says...

"I'm learning that the biggest, best, and most informative part of the story happens in the during."

It was exactly the motivation I needed to proceed in showing all of our unfinished"ness"!  The more and more I think about this statement the more it's truth resonates with me.  Realistically the during is a *much* bigger part of our lives than the finished project...especially if you consider "finished" to be a relative term as I do.  Those who visit here frequently don't even find it odd anymore to see a color sample painted on the wall or a piece of fabric draped over the curtain rod, haha!  Or maybe they still do and they just gave up trying to understand my craziness? ;-)   While finished rooms really *are* the goal...the how and the why are a pretty large part of their I guess that makes them pretty important too!

I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that if I wait to document only our finished projects, I may have nothing to write about...ever...  And since I've already mustered up the courage to show current pics of the kitchen, bedroom, and entry...what better time than to venture into the living room.  This room sees probably the most frequent changes of any room in the of during. :)  Because it gets *a lot* of use, things are always coming and going!  Sneak peak?

Come back tomorrow to see the rest of the room!  We've got oodles of "during" going on all over this brace yourself...I know I am! :)


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A New Season: The Rug Layer

Something I've noticed in this 10+ year journey to creating our home, is best described as "seasons" in design.  Unlike trends which tire quickly, seasons are like layers that build on what is already there...changing very little...but adding a new element which creates a new impact.  I really don't have an explanation for why a new "season" starts, but usually for me there is something nagging me in the back of my mind that something is missing or not working like I would like it to.  (None of that is technical information, by the way, it's just the best way I can think to describe my process! :) )

My latest season was all about rugs and the introduction of red as a subtle accent color.  While I love the color red, I've learned to steer clear of red for myself because it is such an intense color.  I need soothing, green, grey, tan...and lots of white.  These colors keep me calm and help me breathe....seriously....  That may sounded really weird, haha, but it's true.  There really are a lot of different ways these colors can be layered together to keep it interesting, but sometimes it still feels a little limiting.  I really wanted to break it up a bit and be able to include some of my hidden favorite accessories that didn't fit into my "calm colors only" rule.

What prompted all of this you ask?? Well....for a long time now, I've been in a search (albeit not aggressively) for a new rug in the entry.  The rug we are currently using is one I acquired at an antique auction.  The people at the auction had used it to wrap up some dishes I purchased, haha, and I must have seen more value in it than they did because I decided to put it to use rather than put it in the trash.  :)

This rug is on the right track as far as the persian-esque style goes, but it really needs to be a bit larger to be functional in this space.   More recently, I've added a runner for the kitchen to my list of rugs to hunt for...also in a similar style.  The space by the kitchen sink is begging for some patterned rug love.

Why red??  We had some wonderful family pictures taken last fall and for some reason I used red as one of the colors in our outfits.  Did I not realize that I had NO red in my house and that it would bug me to display these pictures when they clashed with everything I had going on?  Obviously...if you are a normal person, you now realize that I am completely unhinged.  Yes, I know.  There is clearly something wrong with me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not all about the matchy, matchy, but colors in a room have to play nice together and adding a random photograph with a red dress wasn't working for me.  I don't know what I was thinking when I dressed our family in those colors, but it turned out to be one of those happy mistakes.  (Made a ton more work for myself...but happy nonetheless)

So, to sum that up.... Need rug + Need place to introduce subtle red = Search for rug with red accents.  

One of my favorite resources for persian-type rugs is  I went on a search and picked out a few of my favorites.  I find it to be a bit tricky to pick out rugs online with the variance of colors, but because they have such an easy shipping and return policy I decided to take a chance on a few and try them out!  I was so pleasantly surprised when they arrived!  The colors were great...even better than expected!  

Exhibit No. 1...

This rug was a game changer for me.  I rolled it out in the living room, simply because that's where I had the most space, and it never left!  The "red" is a rust red/brown and not at all bright, but just red enough that I feel like a few red accessories/art can be pulled in and not look out of place! (once again...hard to tell in the picture!!) And with it's blue and brown accent colors, everything ties together nicely.  

Wait...wasn't I looking for an entry rug??? Oh yeah....  Isn't that always how it is? You find the item you're not looking for first?  And it's perfect...but you still haven't reached the goal that you set out to accomplish in the first place??  Story of my life :)  

As it turns out, I still have not found that perfect rug for my entry, but I did find a rug for the the kitchen (pics to come!) and the bedroom. (you may have noticed it here!)


Monday, June 10, 2013

The Entry

Remember this picture from here?

There was a bit of a sneak peak into the entry in the blue and white post! :)

Here are a few before pictures...

This picture was taken from the living room looking into the entry hall and closet beyond.  Although not visible, the actual exterior door is located immediately to the right as you pass through this doorway.

Another view into the entry from the living room.  This is the wall immediately seen when you enter the house.

At one time the entry was separated from the living room with french doors.  (You may be able to tell something is missing from the hinge cut-outs in the door jamb above :) )  While I loved the look of the doors, we use our front door frequently and it just wasn't functionally working for us, so we removed them.  At the time we were just "trying it out" and intended to repair the trim when we had come to a decision.  I think it's safe to say...after 10ish years or so...we have made that decision, but that chore just got added to the very long and boring "to do" list.  You know, the one full of things that really need to be done, but aren't fun to all...?  Someday...

One of the first things we did to all of the existing flat panel doors was add trim to dress them up a bit.  This is the best picture I have of that process.  It was taken from the door way of the bedroom, looking through the living room and into the entry.  You can see that one of the closet doors has been re-hung with the new trim (but not yet painted!) in this picture.  I think...that is actually the bedroom door in progress on the floor....oy vey...what a mess... It's a good thing that the kiddos weren't around yet for this part of the process! Ha!

Now on to some current pictures!

Separate entry spaces seem so luxurious to me as a place to greet guests.  While our entry may not be grand and expansive, I'm thankful to have this little space that is somewhat separated from our living room...(which is usually overflowing with toys if the kids are in the near vicinity!)  

Coincidently, there are a couple other items on that boring "to do" list in this room besides fixing old hinge spaces...and a few more *may* have been added after looking at the current pictures!  It's interesting to me how looking at a space through the lens of a camera can pinpoint things that are missing!  ...and... possibly some other things too like the child lock on the closet door that didn't get removed before the picture...oops!  I was too lazy to re-take it sans lock...sorry!...but that truly is an indication of the current season of our lives! Lots of locks to keep kids in and out of places around here, haha :)

Hope you had a great weekend!