Archives For family room/office

It’s so funny how you can get so adjusted to the layout of a room that you don’t even consider how things could be different. That’s how I was with my office, until someone pointed out to me that the green sewing desk looked kind of dinky in front of the big window. I wasn’t really too worried about it since this room is extremely functional for us and has come a long way from the pile of clutter that it was two years ago, but it did prompt me to start thinking about whether there was a better way.

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The truth is that I don’t sew that much, so I really didn’t need my sewing machine to be right there next to my desk. Just as long as it was somewhere convenient enough that would work. And as Jack gets older and more mobile it’s more important to have a space that is functional for him to entertain himself while I work. So moving his little play table (formerly my nightstand) from the cramped spot where it used to reside to this place of honor in front of the window and right next to me was a much better solution. While I was at it, I switched out my black desk chair for a much more comfortable wood and faux-leather chair that I already had.

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I’m going to live with it for a few days, but so far I’m a fan. I’m just itching to change the color of the play table but I’m not sure where I want to go with it–suggestions welcome! I’m thinking of adding casters to the desk chair, too. Could be fun. As for the sewing machine, I found the perfect spot for it at the other end of the sofa. That corner has seemed kind of lonely for some time now and this little desk fits right in. There’s not a plug over there, so I’ll have to run an extension cord behind the couch if I decide to keep it, but that’s no biggie. I used some double-sided tape to hang this card on the wall, just for kicks.

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These photos are kind of tight and dark since I took them this morning and there are baby toys everywhere, so maybe this week I’ll get around to tidying things up and taking some wider shots. It’s only been a day and I really like to live with decisions for a while before committing, but I’m feeling pretty good about this one. Isn’t it so funny how something as simple as rearranging the furniture can make a big difference in the feel and function of a room? Regardless of where it ends up I will definitely be painting that table–I don’t like the way it looks with our wood floors in its current state. What color should I paint it? Maybe black? A muted, dusty yellow (like this)?

I’m a little bit obsessed with hiding ugly things (examples: litter box, tv wires). A modem and wireless router is one of those setups that is so amazingly convenient–wireless internet!–but also so amazingly ugly. So years ago, before this blog was even a twinkle in my eye, I put them in a box.

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I took a large scrapbooking box, notched a space for the cords out of the back, and popped my modem and router in there. This setup has been working beautifully for at least the past 3-4 years. I can’t believe I’m only just now blogging about it!

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The only thing I’d do differently if I could would be to use a white box, seeing as this one has faded from the green you see near the top to the pale blue on the rest of the front. The sides and top are not so directly exposed to the sun and so they’ve faded less evenly. It looks fine the way we have it, though, inside a cubby and with a basket on top, so the fading is really no big deal. If you’d like to try this at home, this is the kind of box I used, but I’m sure you could find something similar at any craft store or maybe around your house. You could even just take a regular ‘ol cardboard box and paint it or cover it with fabric after cutting a notch out of the back for the wires, then just sit it on a shelf to look pretty and hide your gadgets.

My home has really started to come into its own over the past year. It feels like everything is filling out and settling in and the effect is really delightful. There’s still work to be done, for sure, but as things come together I’m trying to stop and look around and take stock of what works and what doesn’t. One thing I’ve noticed is that nearly every room has at least one special thing–an element that’s a little odd and unexpected and seems to speak directly to my heart.

In the bedroom, it’s the birdcage. I feel like I’m struggling with this room overall (more on that later this week maybe), but this corner is perfection.

birdcage

The item I get the most comments on when people visit in person is the book page wreath in our living room. I made it before I started my blog so sadly I cannot link to a tutorial for how I made mine, but I was inspired by this. And in case you’re a bibliophile whose heart is breaking at the thought of book destruction, perhaps it will bring you some comfort to know that it was constructed entirely from airport paperbacks. No classic literature was destroyed in the making of this wreath. Most of it is a Nicholas Sparks novel.

book page wreath

If I were buying it today, I might be too scared to pick chartreuse for an investment item like a stand mixer. But when I was pooling all the Target gift cards we got from our wedding to put towards one it didn’t seem like such a bad idea. I’m glad I went for it, because four years later I’m still happy (and if I do get tired of it someday I can try painting it with epoxy).

chartreuse mixer

I first spotted this peacock in my friend Cassie’s apartment years ago and I wanted it instantly. When she was ready to say goodbye he came to live with me! It’s a fun touch for a very classic-looking fireplace.

peacock

The mannequin leg is another one I’ve had for a long time, but it didn’t reach its full potential until I filled it with flowers I’d made from book pages and wire (more literary destruction! I like reading, I promise!). I bought the leg from ebay when I was still in college after I’d seen a leg lamp (a la A Christmas Story) in a friend’s apartment and decided I had to have one. I never made the lamp, but the leg is fun all on its own.

leg vase

Even though it’s an architectural element and not something I brought in, the original-to-the-house fireplace is maybe my favorite part of the nursery. It’s just so unexpected and, in my opinion, endlessly charming. It’s inoperable so the summer cover stays on year round.

fireplace

And the most recent addition to my list of true loves is this skirted counter in the laundry room. For three and a half years that corner was the ugliest spot in our house, and now it’s quite possibly the most charming. I’m planning on adding more plants and other pretties in the coming months.

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The thing about each of these elements is that none (except for the mixer) were pricey “investment” pieces. In fact, I paid very little out of pocket for each of them! I used gift cards for the mixer, built the wood counter myself and skirted it with fabric I found on sale, made the book page wreath from materials I already had. The mannequin leg was an ebay find and the peacock and bird cage were gifts (thought I think both came to the gift-givers secondhand, and in the case of the birdcage my mother-in-law found it at a thrift store). My point is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money at Anthropologie or wherever to find fun, unique decor that speaks to you. You just have to be patient and open your mind to new ideas!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Ours went by way too fast but was oh so wonderful. Back to real life!

The last time I remember updating most of the pictures on our House Tour page is over a year and a half ago! That is way too long! So much has changed since then and I was kind of embarrassed to have all those old pictures on display for new visitors checking out my blog. So, since I had the house and yard looking nice for the baby shower I hosted recently, I thought I’d take the opportunity to get some fresh photos of this little place we call home. Behold: the view from the street.

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The front porch. Somebody needs to sweep that floor! It’s not gonna be me. I want to paint the floor gray but I’ll probably never get it clean enough to paint.

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Nick and I can be found sharing a beer out here at least a couple evenings each week. He listens to LSU baseball on the vintage radio and I read a magazine or play around on my phone. There’s a ceiling fan to combat the heat and that sweet olive planted just on the other side of the railing perfumes the whole area in late summer. I’d like to plant a whole row of them eventually to create an open screen between us and the neighbors.

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The front door opens right into the living room. I created an entryway of sorts using an upholstered storage bench and a shelf with hooks.

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The living room opens into the dining room, which I’ve divided into two spaces for eating and sitting. To be honest, we rarely use that seating area and I’d love to someday replace it with an upright piano and a cushy rug for Jack to play on while I work in the kitchen.

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I love the dining area. We have a portable high chair that we strap onto one of the dining chairs for Jack.

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The kitchen is pretty much exactly the same as the day we bought the house. I changed the window treatment and added the stemware rack under the cabinet, but that’s it.

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I’d love to someday replace the tile backsplash with beadboard and install upper cabinets or open shelves on either side of the stove vent.

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If I had a million dollars I’d also look into opening up that pass-through to expand up and to the right, creating a bar that we can pull up stools to on the other side. It’s hard to put into words but I can envision exactly what I want.

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The laundry room is at the way back of the house behind the kitchen. There’s a door just to the right of this photo that leads to the backyard. The washer and dryer are ancient and dying but we’re making them work as long as possible.

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On the other end of the laundry room, I built that skirted counter to hide the cats’ litter box and a bunch of other random crap. It’s really one of my favorite projects. The dog and cat food are in glass canisters on top of the dresser and the trashcans on the right are labeled with chalkboard paint for trash and recycling.

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I didn’t bother with an updated photo of the guest bath as it really hasn’t changed much, but here’s the old one for continuity’s sake. I recently ditched the cork bathmat and am still on the hunt for the perfect replacement.

Jack’s room. The only thing I’ve changed since he was born is adding more art and accessories we received as gifts.

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Our bedroom is upstairs. It’s sort of a loft setup. I think it was added after the house was built, but long enough ago to have the same style windows. It’s a large room and difficult to capture on camera without a wide-angle lens.

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Back downstairs at the very front of the house is the office slash playroom. I’m trying to simplify things by just calling it a den but I can’t get my mouth to say it. I always just call it the office. This room and the laundry room are definitely the ones that have changed the most in recent months. It’s come a looooooong way from this.

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This is where I sit blogging at this very moment. I use those shelves to store office and craft supplies as well as items I have listed for sale in my etsy shop.

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The rug is usually covered in baby toys.

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And last but not least, the backyard. The deck has become a much nicer place to spend time lately thanks to the fresh coat of paint and colorful umbrella I added to the table and chairs.

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We have a vegetable garden, clothesline, two compost bins, and I’m working on putting in an herb garden (the grass is cleared, I just need to rent a tiller to get the rest of the roots and then build a raised bed. I learned from my veggie garden that just laying down some cardboard under the bed will not kill my grass.). That galvanized pail near the deck steps collects rainwater for me to water the garden with. I’d love to get chickens someday, but I’m worried about keeping them out of my veggies and herbs. And also predators. We live in a densely populated area with the standard assortment of stray cats plus a surprising number of possums, raccoons, and even a family of hawks. I’d like the chickens to be able to free range if I can figure out the logistics.

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So there’s our place! Not pictured are the guest bedroom and master bath, which still leave quite a bit to be desired, but if you’re just dying to see what they look like you can check them out in this post and this post. I’ll be working on getting all these new photos up on the house tour page today, so if you click over before I’m finished you can see what’s changed (and what hasn’t!) since the last tour. I fell in love with the house the first time I saw it and it’s so cheesy but I love it a little more every time I do something else to make it more beautiful, functional, and livable. And if you’ve made it to the end of this super long post then I love you too! Thanks for reading!