The First Before

I’m really excited about this post. It’s kind of a dream come true for me. I told you about my dream on my first post. My dream to help others create their own one-of-a-kind living environments that they love. Well, this is step one towards that dream.

I had the pleasure of joining D&R Concepts the other day at their demo site. They’re renovating a duplex for a client, and I asked if I could tag along to do a feature, as well as help out. The place had been trashed by the previous owners, and they’d already done a lot of cleanup, but the place still needs work. That said, it is a cute little duplex with LOTS of potential. Let’s start with unit B.

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The kitchen is in need of an update, both in terms of the cabinetry as well as the appliances. But with the natural light that streams in, as well as the close-knit feel of the connection to the dining area, this space could look really quaint.

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The carpeting in the living area had to be removed, and you can see the staining on the floor. Thankfully there was no mold present, so refinishing this area should be easy. D&R Concepts is planning on putting wood flooring throughout the house, and I can’t wait to see the result (that post should be up sometime in the next week or two).

Duplex 7The entry actually faces the stairs, and I am excited to see how this area can shine once we put the wood flooring in, and put the railing back up. There’s something about a staircase in the entry that is so charming.

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And what’s not to love about a laundry room a) on the second floor, and b) flooding with natural light? This will be such a cute little room with a little bit of paint and updating.

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The upstairs bedrooms all have great natural light, and were definitely in better shape than the downstairs. Although the space is not fancy, it has a great layout.

Unit A was the more beat up of the two, although since the flooring downstairs was wood laminate, it was able to be salvaged.

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The window by the front door had been broken, and the walls had graffiti on them. ‘Cause we all still have that childhood urge to color on the walls, right?

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Although it’s not in terrible shape, the outside is in need of some landscaping as well. They told me that they have plans to put more grass in, and I’m hoping there’s budget for some plants as well.

But not everything is in shambles, and there are some definite “diamonds in the rough” as well.

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This simple vanity is actually quite charming, and a great fixture in the small half bath under the stairs. I’m excited to see how it turns out. There was also some beautiful tile work in the kitchen in unit A (which I woefully neglected to photograph, a mistake I won’t make next time).

So there you have it: my first Before post. Be sure to come back and check out the After!

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DIY Fall Wreath

Wreaths are such an obvious sign that fall has arrived. It seems that no sooner than the leaves start to change color that you start to see wreaths magically pop up on all of your neighbors front doors.

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I’ve never been one to participate in this activity, the only reason being that I didn’t have a wreath hook for my door. That is no longer the case. This year, I took “the plunge” and purchased a wreath hook for our new home. Of course, I still needed a wreath to hang on it, so that was today’s project.

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Here are the supplies I used:

  • 12in wreath form
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (I ended up using about 3 sticks)
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Acorns
  • Pinecones
  • Leaves
  • A couple wheat stalks
If you want to make the wreath even more fragrant, buy those scented pinecones and use that. I already had a bunch that I’d picked up on walks with the kids, so I used those. As for the leaves, I borrowed some from the neighbors yard. Hopefully that was ok with them.
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First I glued all the pinecones, acorns, and the cinnamon sticks to the wreath form. Be sure to secure them well with the glue. If you want to make them extra sturdy, you can use twist ties or florist wire to secure them. Flip the pinecones in all directions to make it look even.
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After that, I filled in the crevices with the leaves. If you’re door is particularly exposed, gets a lot of wind, or you simply have a habit of slamming doors and want to ensure they don’t all end up on the floor, then I recommend you gluing the leaves on as well.
That’s it! You’re all done. Go hang it up on the door and enjoy the beautiful creation you just made.
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DIY Bed Skirt

I’ve always had a thing for bed skirts. They’re just so, well, pretty! Our bed has remained bed-skirt-less up until now, simply because I haven’t found one that I liked enough to put on, but it may not be for much longer, after seeing this easy DIY by A Beautiful Mess:

easy and inexpensive velcro bedskirt tutorial

How darling is that? And it seems as though fringe is having it’s moment again. But you know what? I’m perfectly fine with that.

Find the whole how-to here.

 

P.S. I love the rug and headboard in this room too.

Room Reveal – Small Space Statement

Like many downstairs half baths, our main floor bath is a small bath tucked underneath the stairs. This can make them dark, dreary, and difficult to decorate.

Thankfully for us, our half bath was already painted a fun, bright color that we loved. All it needed was the quirk that made it a fun “escape”.

Yes, that's me. Kind of hard to avoid taking a photo of yourself when you're aiming the camera right at a mirror.

Yes, that’s me. Kind of hard to avoid taking a photo of yourself when you’re aiming the camera right at a mirror.

I stuck with the blue color scheme here, which makes it feel unified (something that can be really important when working in a small space).

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For several years now, my wonderful Mother-in-law had been passing along vintage pins to me, but since I don’t wear much jewelry, they just sat, neglected. I couldn’t bear to throw them away though, since they had so much personality! I pondered how to use them for several months, and then I had the aha moment where I thought of pinning them onto a padded memo board, and using them as art. This is the result. I love how they add color and character to the room.

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I also put up another great work of art by another gifted family member: my sister. She painted this back when we lived together (that was a fun year!) and I’ve held onto it since. She didn’t like it much at the time, but I think it’s great, and it fits perfectly in this room.

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The last thing I want to show you is my rug. I found this at Ross (a great place to find bargain interior items), and couldn’t pass it up. I love how the crocheted edges add a feminine dimension to this “powder room” (does anybody call it that any more? I vote we bring the phrase back).

A New Adventure

I don’t have any interior pictures to share with you in this post (I hope to do one later today of our half bath). But I do have an excited venture I’m starting. At least, I’m excited about it. I’ve always wanted to pursue interior design more fully, beyond my own four walls, and now I’m finally doing it.

I signed up for an online course through TrendiMi for an Interior Design certificate, and hope to complete it soon. I’m super excited!

I have no idea where this will lead, but I’m hoping that eventually I might be able to help other people realize their hopes and dreams of creating a space they can truly call home, that has their own signature touch; a place that is unique to them, one of a kind.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for being a part of this adventure.

Room Reveal – A Place to Cook

I baked five loaves of banana bread today, and that led me to two conclusions. The first is that I either need to buy less bananas or I need to eat them more often. The second is that I have yet to share with you a room that showed my husband’s style more than my own. As in, the Modern part of Where Modern met Chic.

So after all five loaves came out of the oven, and I’d tidied up the kitchen some (cause who wants to see dirty kitchens, much less show them?), I broke out the camera and did some work.

Kitchen 1

Now, before you start wondering how this is modern, I want you to remember that I’ve done my best to mix our styles. So while it’s the most modernist room in the house, it will still be somewhat chic. I’ve done my best to keep it simple though, since I realized fighting the basic style of this room simply wasn’t an option. Attempting to make this room more French chic simply led it to feel cluttered. And so the purging of countertops ensued.

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But, again, this is the room I practically live in, so I’ve created areas that are more feminine. The corner behind the sink is one of them.

Kitchen 2

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I love this corner, because it overlooks the garden boxes, as well as the neighbors beautiful tree, which is filled with gold and red leaves right now. It’s pretty breathtaking.

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The other fun corner is the candy corner. Why line up the candies? Why not? Candies are beautiful, colorful, and fun. And if you have them, then you might as well showcase them.

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Isn’t that pretty?

I do have dreams to make this space even more modernist than it is, because I still feel like I’m fighting embracing it’s form. And I also have dreams of redoing the island. But both of those things will have to wait for a future post.

Ok, time for another poll: which room would you like to see next, Abigail’s room, or the half bath downstairs?

The Great Outdoors

I thought I’d take you all on a little excursion to our backyard today. The weather has been so nice here lately, and we’ve been enjoying being outside.

Our yard isn’t quite your typical backyard, because it has a lot of fruit bearing trees, as well as a fenced off garden space, but it isn’t your grandma’s garden, or an old orchard that has been sitting idle for a century. It’s stuck in the middle of a suburb, a little oasis of green that has been such a blessing to us.

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I grew up on a farm with a large vegetable garden and chickens. We even had a goat for a while. Gathering eggs morning and evening was a daily habit, as well as weeding and gathering the beans during the Summer, and I didn’t think much of it at the time (except, of course, that I didn’t want to do it). Now as an adult, I see the beauty of that lifestyle, and I am so happy that I can replicate that life for my kids, at least to an extent.

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Of course, the vegetable garden has already run its course this year, and now it’s a pretty sad looking shell of the beautiful salad patch it was, so I’ll omit pictures of it for now. Maybe in the Spring I’ll post about it again. For this post, I mostly wanted to share the beautiful autumn we’ve begun to experience.

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Before I sign off, I wanted to share one fun thing that I’ve done in our yard. When I married my husband and moved into his home with him, I overhauled the yard, and in the process discovered this darling birdbath. It’s so small though, that it didn’t really work as a birdbath; it simply didn’t hold enough water. I used it for decorative purposes, but when we moved into this home, I really wanted to utilize it (particularly since the previous owners of this home left a bigger birdbath behind for us). That’s when I had the aha moment: I could fill it with birdseed instead! I love seeing birds flock to this birdbath for food. Granted, I get squirrels too, but I don’t mind. They need to eat too, right?

Is Fall in full swing where you live too?

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Room Reveal – A Dining Experience

The formal dining room was another lifelong dream. I didn’t really care if it was the only eating space I ended up with or not. I simply wanted a place to eat that was separate from the kitchen; ’cause who wants to eat next to the dirty dishes?

What is it about the dining room that garners so much attention? It’s the one space that most people don’t use any more, so they remodel them into offices and craft rooms. Which, you know, is brilliant if you don’t actually use the space. I’d do it too. But I think all of us have something in us that long for a dining room that’s actually used. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one that drools over beautiful tablescapes: those gorgeously decorated tables that scream sophistication (can sophistication scream? If it didn’t, it does now).

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So when we were looking for a home, this room was a must have for me; a place where I can finally entertain without having to see the pots on the stove and the counter I didn’t get a chance to wipe down before the guests arrived. And man, do I love using this room.

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Tablescapes seem scary, but the reality is that they’re quite simple. It’s all about proportion. Don’t just toss a bunch of stuff on the table and hope that it all comes together. Sometimes that happens, but more often than not it just looks cluttered. Think about height and width; pair tall items with short, long things, and NEVER underestimate the power of light. Candles and lamps are some of the best things you can put out.

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Flowers are a pretty obvious candidate for decorating, but they aren’t always necessary. I love putting flowers out, but usually end up having to put them aside, because they block the view. Keep them for the coffee table. This time of year, pile on the gourds and pumpkins. As you can see, I’m still adding to my collection.

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And don’t forget the walls. Create something warm and welcoming, while still maintaining a sense of adventure. You want dinner to be exciting. We found this lovely painting at Target, and I feel like it’s the perfect thing for us. It combines my love of chic things with our mutual love of everything European, and is a perfect transition piece from the chic living room to our family room that has paintings of European scenery.

Another fun thing I started in this house is my collection of trivets. I’ve always loved trivets, and I’ve always wanted a collection. The day I connected the two was so much fun. I decided that I wanted to display the fun trivets I’d found, and what’s more practical than hanging them next to the table where you’ll end up using them? I know I’m not the only one who’s thought of this: Martha Stewart Living just recently put it out in their magazine. I got pretty excited when I saw that. This collection is SO MUCH FUN, and I’d recommend it to anyone. You can see my collection in the first photo above. I’ll no doubt post occasional updates as I find more of these.

Do you have a dining room? What kinds of things do you put out on your table? I’d love to hear from you, whether it’s questions or comments. And while we’re on that note, I wanted to let you know that I finally enabled the subscribe by email option; you’ll see it on the top right. If you would like to get updates by email whenever I make a new post, just sign up there!

I hope this post has encouraged you to use that empty dining room. Ultimately it’s meant to have people in it, even if the table setting isn’t perfect. So go invite some people! And let me know how it goes.

Adorn Your Walls

Periodically I will be sharing other websites and blogs that inspire me or have resources that I find fascinating. Usually that means that they will be pretty and most likely free. ‘Cause who doesn’t like free stuff?

50 Free Wall Art Printables

I stumbled across this one on Pinterest today while looking for a chevron blanket pattern to crochet. It caught my eye with the pretty images lining the wall, and then I saw the title: 50 free wall printables! Jackpot!

Look at those pretty prints! Aren’t they beautiful? And all for free, courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

50 Favorite Free Instant Art Printables  //  The Graphics Fairy

50 Favorite Free Instant Art Printables  //  The Graphics Fairy50 Favorite Free Instant Art Printables  //  The Graphics Fairy

Those are just a few of all that’s available there. Now granted, you still have to print it, so there will be a cost in the end, but what fun.

Have fun printing!