May 30, 2012

a painted office

In between lounging in the sun, reading, grilling, and porch sitting over the long weekend, we managed to get two coats of paint up in the new office. Thanks to everyone for weighing in on your favorite neutrals! I love your suggestions and think that post along with your comments is a definite keeper for future rooms.

As it turned out though, so many of the beiges, tans, and taupes that I liked and were recommended were way too dark for this space that sees little natural light. In the end I went with something that in a room with normal sunlight is off-white but here reads like a dark linen. I used Benjamin Moore's Grant Beige, since I liked the tones (I've also already used it up here, in the tiny guest room), but in an effort to lighten it up, I cut it to 50%. It was the right decision—and actually came out even a bit deeper than I expected or wanted. If it was a client, I may have gone out and picked a new color. For me, though, I just want to make it work.

Sherwin Williams was having a paint sale so I had them color match the Grant Beige in their Harmony paint, which has zero VOCs, a must for pregnant women, infants, kids, elderly, or anyone with health issues, and actually probably a good idea for anyone and everyone these days. Why add those chemicals to the air and your house if you don't have to?

Just a reminder, this is what the room looked like before.

And again, now...

I am more than a little excited to finally be getting this space on its way to a new look. Next up, new carpet goes in a week from today. I seriously don't know if I can wait.

May 29, 2012

brick cleanup in the kitchen

Did you all have a wonderful long weekend? Ours was really awesome. Great weather, great times just hanging out and relaxing, and we even did a few projects. It was an amazing kickoff to summer, and it also seems to be the kickoff to a new kitchen! I could not be happier—on both counts. Our mason (most people have a tailor or butcher; we have a mason!) was recently here filling the holes in our chimney, which were where the coal stove had been and then sealed up with concrete. Then he worked his magic to make the brick look nice and clean and new(ish) again.

I had a tough time deciding how to fill these holes. We could have just stacked the bricks horizontally, but since they wouldn't have been staggered, like the other bricks in the chimney, that would have looked odd, and possibly like a mistake. Chuck suggested standing them up, and he was right, because though they stand out, at least it now appears purposeful and as a sort of design element instead of a random error.

And here it is finally finished and clean.

Anyway, it is so amazing now how open this space feels with nothing sitting in front of the chimney. And this is the way it'll stay in the new kitchen. The doorway will move all the way to the right to the edge the chimney, and that will allow us a bit of wall to the left of the doorway which we can run cabinets up to on the perpendicular wall.

Oh, and as of today, cabinets are ordered. YES!

Next up: the ceiling comes down and the electrician comes in. And I'll tell you all about our faucet and sink choices. Fascinated? Oh yeah, I knew you would be ;-)

May 25, 2012

pretty in pink

These pink peony beauties, cut from the front yard, are sitting on my bathroom vanity right now and are making me happy. Hope these spring days are happy for you too! Enjoy the looooong weekend, everyone!

P.S. I'm finally using Instagram and am hooked!

May 24, 2012

obsessing over a certain piece of furniture

In the midst of all the other stuff going on in our house, with the upstairs getting painted and recarpeted and the kitchen reno really getting started (more on that later!), I am skipping right ahead to baby's room and cannot get this console-turned-changing table spotted in Traditional Home out of my mind.

With a changing table topper set on the surface, this console is the perfect changing table in my opinion. Everything's open and accessible with baskets (no drawers or cabinets to bother with opening and closing). But it's also so, so pretty with the rustic washed grey finish and slightly antique feel, with not-too-ornate paneled drawer fronts and turned legs.

So now I'm on the hunt to try to find something similar. I say similar because the source guide in the mag says this is "adapted from" an Aiden Gray piece. Meaning I can't just go out and buy it as is. It's custom. And I'm sure it'd be more than a bit out of my price range anyway. (But don't worry, I've already scoured the Aiden Gray site anyway and didn't find it.) I might have some luck at flea markets/antique stores. Or maybe Michael feels like taking on another project? I could not do that to him! But seriously, this piece needs to be in baby's room. I'll be on the lookout all summer. Wish me luck.

May 23, 2012

office potential

It's been so long since I've decorated a room for myself, it's pretty exciting to think about what to do with my new upstairs office. I want it all! Of course, many of these inspirations are not feasible in the tiny third-floor room that will be my new home, but a girl can dream. Just some of what I'm wishing for...

elle decor

I've long dreamed of doing something like this entire wall of burlap trimmed in ribbon and nailheads.

Or even just separate boards, oversized. They look incredible too, especially against the dark wall here.

scout for the home

Great shelf styling, a comfortable chair, a standout pendant light.

amy meier design

So organized, it inspires me. The lamp makes the desk a bit more feminine and graceful, and the lighting over the bookcases is perfect too.

little green notebook

A splash of color couldn't hurt.


The planked wall is a great feature too. And while this totally contradicts the layered feel of the first pics, I am drawn to the cleanness and simplicity of this space too.

suzanne kasler

Black sets things off nicely, and I am envious of all the organization here.


And of course, bookshelves and a place to lounge and read would be lovely. What elements do you love for a home office? What inspires you?

May 21, 2012

a very unglamorous house project weekend

How was everyone's weekend? We had a very busy one doing lots of the unfun and unpretty stuff that we'd been needing to check off our list for a long time. And now, we're flat-out exhausted. And totally ready for another weekend. Here's what's been going on around here.

The backyard plantings are all coming in so well. Lots of mulch went down. And I added a few more plants to fill in some bare spots. I still need to get a good edge on the the beds: one thing I've never been good at, but that would make it all look so much nicer.

I ripped out a few plants that weren't doing well out front. It looks better now with a simpler scheme and black mulch to set everything off. Window boxes are still empty. Maybe by next weekend I can find time to fill them...

Michael replaced the rotting lattice on the side of the house. And while he was at it, discovered there was no insulation under this crawlspace, which is under the front part of my living room, so he added some. No project is simple, is it?! But it'll be great in the long run. The lattice obviously still needs paint. That is my job for some other day.

Speaking of not simple, it was not easy adding lattice to my side stairs, seeing as they were so crooked. Maybe that's why no one ever attempted it. That said, I think Michael did a pretty good job trying to make everything level and look good. And of course, this needs to be painted too, along with the stairs. Someday. Not today! Oh, and yes, there is a missing baluster. Again, another project for another day. I would not be surprised if our project list is longer now than it was when we started. How does that always happen?

I told you our weekend was unglamorous. The wainscoting was pulling a bit away from the wall in the bathroom so M siliconed it up and has it braced for 48 hours to cure. Should be good as new by tomorrow, but it makes getting into this room a challenge to say the least.

I scrubbed a winter's worth of dirt and grime from the front porch. Can't wait to pretty this space up and start using it now that the warm weather seems like it's really here to stay.

At some point, who knows how, I actually managed to get a pedicure (so that is kind of glamorous) and put my feet up. Oh, but that porch railing needs painting. Add it to the list. Actually, we may just tear the whole thing down and replace it next year. So I'm in no hurry to make this spot look better. It does its job just fine as a footrest though at the end of a long, tiring weekend.

May 16, 2012

paints for upstairs

Currently deciding on paint colors for the office upstairs. This is the carpet sample. I'm staying all neutral, seeing as this is not our house forever, and as it's my office and I want some calm base colors that won't compete with any other fabrics I'm going to be working with up there.

I'm leaning towards SW Stucco, the large chip on the left. But any favorite linen/cream/beige paint color suggestions welcome!

May 15, 2012

the belly

Yup, this is what I look like about now. At about the halfway mark, and growing fast! Or as my neighbor so kindly says, growing like a weed. Okay, I get it. And I get the comments about how I must be having twins or triplets. Nope. Just one baby in there. Just one healthy baby. Anyway, my belly is a good daily reminder that my deadline for getting lots of stuff done around here is not far away!

May 14, 2012

making room

I've been away for far too long! And now that I'm finished with the freelance editing project from hell, I'm back and ready to focus on design stuff. So happy. Finally! And house stuff. Things are happening around here! And it's all about making room for baby.

So here's how the musical rooms are going to work: Office moves upstairs, kitchen stuff (while we're renovating) moves to office, then when kitchen is done, newly empty office becomes baby's room.

So, I knew for a while I had to start with the upstairs. I moved the guest room up to the tiniest space up there. I figure all you need in there is a bed, right?

So that leaves this bigger but bland space for my office.

As you can see, it is the junk/exercise/coat closet/linen closet room right now.

And the first thing to go is the hideous blue carpet. I picked up some samples at Home Depot (their carpet and install prices really are pretty great) and picked the carpet at the bottom of the pic. A. it's the cheapest (bonus!), and B. the color works best with the runner in the stairs leading up to this space. I liked the diamond patterned broadloom a lot, but I didn't want it to compete with what's going on on the stairs.

Remember the stair runner? The new carpet's going to look great with it. The guys have been out to measure, and now we just have to paint the room and remove the carpet and then we can book them to come back and install. I'm giving us two weeks.

By the way, here are what the stairs look like today.

They are now our pantry, since our kitchen is torn apart and looking like this.

By the way, speaking of making room, Michael's mom had a yard sale over the weekend and invited us to bring some stuff over to sell. I jumped at the chance and cleared a bunch of stuff out of the house, including our kitchen chairs (a bit rickety and totally uncomfortable, and the kitchen rug which had seen better days and I figure will not have a place in the new kitchen). I now can stand looking at this space even less than before, which should be good incentive for us to get this reno going!

Anyway, I am so happy to be back on the blog. I missed you all and am so excited to now have my time back so that I can keep you updated on all the craziness going on around here!

May 2, 2012

lilac season

Last fall, I planted our first lilac in backyard, and with this being its first year I was not expecting much. But this little shrub came out with just enough blooms to look full, and more importantly, enough to cut and bring indoors.

My arrangement didn't look quite like this.

I've always loved the scent of lilacs. And I am partial to the soft purple color versus the white or the dark plum. It must be lilac nostalgia that makes me feel this way. They remind me of my childhood. This time of year I can't get enough of them. I found some pretty pictures on Pinterest, of course. Which spring flower do you love the most?

By the bedside is my preferred spot for an arrangement.

How amazing do these colors look together?

Someday I want to have as many lilac blooms as Martha.
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