Archives For Living Room

Remember these craIgslist chairs that I reupholstered with dyed canvas drop cloths?

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I still love the color and the lines, and in fact felt totally validated when I saw this photo from BHG recently, but my first major upholstery project left quite a bit to be desired and they are, literally, coming apart art the seams. Also I never finished the backside of one of them.

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My mother in law, Alden, loves history and is very sentimental. Almost every piece of furniture in her home was built to last and passed down through the family. Her father recently moved out of his home and several family pieces have migrated to her house. While rearranging things to make room she asked me if I’d like to take a chair that had once belonged to a wonderful friend of the family that everyone called Aunt Kathleen. All the kids adored her, maybe because from what I hear she brought over homemade sugar cookies all the time! As much as I liked the gray canvas wing chairs no way could I pass up a chair that was much higher quality and had sentimental value. I suppose I could have kept the gray chairs and put this new/old chair elsewhere in the house, but honestly I think it’s beautiful and fits really well in here. The gray chairs will go to craigslist for someone else to reupholster properly.

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With only one chair here there’s now room for a wider table or maybe even a credenza below the window. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for something solid wood so as not to embarrass the stately chair.

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Someday when we no longer have small children and naughty cats in our midst I’ll pay to have it professionally upholstered. For now I actually kind of love the floral print. It’s totally granny chic.

I’ve been moving some things around lately. You see that green floor lamp in this photo? I never thought it looked quite right there. In fact, it felt a little like it belonged in a dorm room.

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Then we have this floor lamp in the dining room. If you were sitting beneath it on the sofa while it was on it felt very much like an interrogation. And many folks bumped their heads on it while getting up.

But hark! Look how nice it fits in right here in the living room. And because the chaise lounge is specifically designed for one-direction seating the lamp is safely positioned over the knees, rather than the head. I’ve been sitting here reading in the evenings and the light is just perfect.

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That whole dining room situation is getting switched up. Just you wait and see! It looks like a hot mess right now but I’m cool with it. Isn’t it fun how sometimes you can get that same thrill of finding something great just by shopping your house? I mean, this feels like a brand new lamp to me. We rarely used it before but now it’s my favorite.

I hope you all had a great weekend! I did some studying, some craigslisting, some estate sale shopping, some baby snuggling, some burrito eating, some neighborhood walking, some porch swinging, and some beer drinking. Can’t beat that with a stick.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!