A Hallway Update

Life has been very very full over here. Ask anyone with a newborn and they’ll probably say the same. The last few months of pregnancy put this momma in hibernation mode, and then the consequent early months as a mom of three 5 and under kept me pretty busy and out of the realm of home renovation.

But now that my littlest is 6 months old (how quickly that came!), my husband and I are picking up the slack on home maintenance around here. We have a partial kitchen remodel in the works, and have been updating the home with more smart home devices like this one:

It’s been pretty fun to be able to turn our lights on and off by voice as we’ve installed smart bulbs, and he just installed a smart dimmer switch in our bedroom which is so cool.

Anyway, the project I tackled last night was our hallway overhead lights.

Here’s the before/after:

Sorry for the dark photo; like many household projects done by young families, this one had to wait until Daddy came home (I’m not so savvy when it comes to wires). Anyway, the hallway lights were fine as far as the shape went (I rather like the cream glass globe), but neither of us were fond of the gold (sorry to any of you who like gold accents). We talked about replacing them, but when I looked around for ones I liked, I realized that they really were no different in shape; it was just the color that was different.

Enter spray paint (seriously, whoever came up with the idea deserves some kind of an award).

This can has seen a lot of use in the last few months at this house (I’ve been repurposing the baby food jars to create a matching spice cabinet). It is currently my favorite color. Anyway, once Daddy came home, we took down those lights and went to work.

I spray painted those lights and made them a lovely bronze.

I’m so happy with how these turned out, and better yet? Since I already had the spray paint from a different project, it was totally free!

As I said earlier, we have a couple other projects in the works, so stay tuned for updates on those. I’m super excited for our kitchen update!

What projects have you all been working on this Summer?

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Room Reveal – Family Room (and tips on room layout)

The pictures for this post were ready last week. But then last week happened. I think it has something to do with the fact that the Christmas season is here. And for us, December also includes 4 birthdays within our extended family. So, suffice it to say, I didn’t make it to the blog last week. But I’m back now.

This room is our Grand Central Station; practically EVERYTHING happens here. And why wouldn’t it? I mean, this is the room with the fireplace. And during this season especially, I don’t gravitate far from it.

The family room was also the trickiest room to arrange, since every wall has some kind of structural item, be it a doorway, the fireplace, or the angled entryway to our office. And since it was the room we wanted the TV in, this room was the one I spent the most time contemplating layout before the move.

Room Reveal - Family Room 5

The original owners had their TV against the far wall, where it would be visible from the kitchen, but I really didn’t want the TV to be the focal point. Plus, I can’t do ANYTHING if the TV is on. So my first choice was to put the TV against the left wall. To help fill that large space on the far wall, I put up the biggest (and probably most favorite) painting we own.

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Since the couch that faces the TV would need to be the one that seats the most, I put our three-seater against the right wall, which then dictated the rest of the placement. Originally my plan was to get two arm chairs to put at the open end of the room, but I actually like how the two-seater ended up creating a “zone”; it practically functions as a wall, without breaking up the room.

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This, in essence, is what interior designers do: they take the space they’re working on, contemplate what purpose the user (that’s you) wants to use it for, and then lays it out as fits that function best. It really isn’t rocket science; it’s all about thinking about traffic flow and placement.

Since I wanted this room to function truly as a Family room, a place where we could watch TV, read by the fire, play games, etc., I wanted there to be plentiful seating, and have a large coffee table. So while it is by far the most crowded room in the house, it works well because everything in it fulfills the purpose this room was intended for.

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Room Reveal - Family Room 1

 

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One final thing: one of my favorite things to do (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this) is to preserve my bouquets by drying them. It just seems like such a shame to toss them. So I hang them upside down, and let ’em dry (is that where the phrase, high and dry comes from?).

Anyway, that’s all for this room folks. Tomorrow, I’ll be writing about how to style a coffee table, so check back in then.

Room Reveal - Family room

That’s Grandma, reading a story to the kiddos.

 

Room Reveal – A Daughter’s Room

There are many things that my daughter and I share. We have near identical hair color, for one. We are both very, shall we say, vocal. Trust me, she has quite the set of lungs. We both have a tendency to live in our own little world. The line that divides reality and dream is not a very distinct one for us.

We also share a love of animals. I shared with you how I struggled to discover the main theme I wanted to work with in our living room, but deciding to pursue animals as a theme for Abigail’s room was no struggle at all. That girl has always loved stuffed animals, and presumably always will (if she continues to be anything like her mother).

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The “tricky” part in designing her room for me was in the attempt to keep it mature. Although my daughter is only 2, I wanted to make the space as mature as possible, since I knew that I wanted to enjoy the room as well, and this was another way that my modern, clean-line loving husband would be able to enjoy the space as well.

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So, while covering the walls with animal paintings and loading up the toy bin with stuffed animals was a must for my daughter, I really wanted to leave the colors more muted and sophisticated.

My favorite part of Abigail’s room, however, is this:

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Someone had given my husband these cute food storage houses when he first moved in, and I immediately loved them. However, it really wasn’t the theme I wanted in my kitchen, and so they were placed upstairs in our old house, on a windowsill along our stairwell. When we moved here, however, I came up with this fun idea. Maybe someday she’ll take them with her into her home and actually use them in her kitchen. Until then, I like them here.

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Abigail's room 1

Another fun thing that we’ve done for both of our children is to commission our very talented sister-in-law to paint their favorite childhood toys. These stuffed animals were by far Abigail’s favorite, and I am so glad that they are immortalized in these paintings.

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I also put in some blocks and books for her in her room, and created a cozy area for her  to be able to peruse her collection of board books (you can see it tucked into the corner in the first photo). I believe encouraging children to love books from a young age is one of the best things you can do for them. Hopefully, this has done that for her. And who says that blocks are only for boys? I think Abigail plays with them more than my son. But maybe that’s just because most of them are in his room…

If you have children, what things have you done to create a special space for them?

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).

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?

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.

Room Reveal – All Set for Living

I hope you’ll forgive me for the lack of posts the last few days. While I am good at most forms of technology, photo editing is something I have yet to dive into. All of the gorgeous photos you’ve seen so far have been graciously edited by my amazing husband, and with a few other major events going on this week, it took him a few days to get around to editing the most recent set of photos. Eventually I hope to have him teach me some of his tricks in regards to editing the perfect photo.

Anyway, I hope you’ve been anticipating this post as much as I’ve been anticipating posting it! I’m so excited to share our newly set up living room. It has been such a joy to finally be able to use this space! Our past home had one living space, so when we moved into this house, we only have enough furniture to fill, you guessed it, ONE living space. We decided the family room was more important to fill and utilize, so it all went there. For about 5 months, the living room sat empty. Then, slowly, gradually, we started adding pieces: first an end table we got at an auction for $25, then the coffee table ($5 at a thrift store), then the splurge on the couch from some friends ($150), a couple of lamps from my parents ($10), and finally, those thrift store finds I told you about in my last post, a rocking chair for $15 and an arm chair for $10. All in all, combined with the piano and floor lamp we already owned, we outfitted this living room for the wonderful price of $215. Not bad, in my estimation.

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We’re still looking for a few more pieces to add (a few more end tables, as well as a bench seat along the window), but I am SO pleased with how this space is looking! I’ve always wanted a formal living space that was dignified but relaxed, and I feel like I’ve managed to do that.

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It took me forever to figure out what theme I wanted to go with in the living space. Most of my husband’s furniture and décor that he’d purchased had that modern feel to it, which was fine, since he tempered it with the one theme/style we both love: the Tuscany feel. He had a BEAUTIFUL painting of a landscape on the wall that was great (it’s gracing the family room now), but it wasn’t the regal, old fashioned living space I’d envisioned. As I pondered on how to recreate the space in our past home, I bought items slowly, and only the things that I fell in love with. If it wasn’t unique and something I absolutely loved, it didn’t come home with me.

Finally, towards the end of our time there (which was 5 years), it dawned on me as I was looking around the space. I had filled it with paintings, plates, and statuettes of different kinds of animals, mostly birds. I had my theme: nature.

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So, as you can see, when we moved in here, it was easy for me to think about items and styles that I wanted to look for in new items for this space. Furniture pieces that would exemplify my love of nature, all while embodying the traditional living room. The couch was perfect, since it had a leafy pattern that was visible, but subtle enough to blend with everything else. The lamps were also perfect (although I ended up splitting them up with another pair of lamps I already owned). In an attempt to unify them, I swapped the lampshades so that they matched: the living room has the more rounded lampshades, to go with the round shade on the floor lamp, while the family room ended up with the square shades, to go with the rectangular shade on the floor lamp in there. This is an easy way to unify pieces in a room, but still have some differences.

 

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It also helps to have talented family members. Two of the paintings in here were done by two of my very talented and artistic sisters-in-law, and the photo on the coffee table was a picture of my wedding bouquet by one of the same aforementioned sister-in-law. And what’s easier than throwing all the leaves and pinecones that your kids pick up on walks into a bowl? Instant centerpiece. The doily was made by me, myself, using a pattern my mother-in-law loaned me. I love doilies, and I LOVE making them even more.

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Anyway, I think I’ve talked enough about this space. It’s still a work in progress, and I have dreams of putting wood flooring in here, so that it’s even more formal, but even as it is, I love it. It’s probably my favorite space in the house (although I also love the dining room, and the kitchen, and the master bath, and Abigail’s room, and….you get the picture).

What would you like to see next?