Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nightly Musings...

photo: Square America.com

I love evenings. I always have. I love the process of readying my home for the evening - closing blinds, turning down my children's beds (which, yes, I still do!), putting that last load of clothes in the dryer, and pouring myself a cup of tea...my version of a nightcap. I also enjoy turning on the "night lights" scattered throughout my home - the star light that hangs in my foyer and subtly illuminates through the window of my porch, the simple candle lights in my living room window, and Sophie's chandelier, that hangs above her window seat in her bedroom. I love the coziness of such lighting, and resent bright lights intruding upon the relaxation which I so covet by the end of each day.

The only thing I will miss about the winter and its shorter, colder evenings is the way it draws our family together by default. We gather in front of the fire - the boys stretched out before it like cats - watch a bit of television and wind down as a unit...coming together after a busy day spent juggling our collective pursuits and responsibilities. The summer, in comparison, sees us scatter after dinner, and we have to drag the kids inside and ourselves away from outside jobs. The days are longer in every way, and you can always find me watering flowers, tidying up the yard, winding up hoses, basically all of the things that my kids should also be doing. It seems that they take the carefree days of summer literally and tidying the exterior is not high on their list of priorities. I am the family "crazy lady" who needs to relax and let sleeping bikes lie. Guilty as charged...


Hectic evenings or not, I am so looking forward to flopping onto my porch swing, glass of wine in hand (to replace my cup of tea!), and watching my kids squeeze every last minute of daylight from a summer's day. Flickering lanterns and dancing flames from our copper fire bowl become my new nightlights, and gazing at the stars replaces our favourite television shows...because we all know there is no good t.v. in the summertime.

And so I am ready...ready for a new kind of nightlife. Bring it on!

The Search for Home: CONTRACT SIGNED!!!

I KNOW how scary this place looks right now... and I need help!!


We finally got the contract back signed today and are scheduled to close in a month if all inspections go well. (!!!! craziness!!!) :)



If anyone has ideas for me on the front of this house, I'd LOVE them. (please! please!!) Here are some details: the siding is vertical cedar, the window screens/ storms you see in the top windows are dark brown vinyl. (I'm not very happy with that but know we won't have it in our budget to get new ones.-- is painting an option??) The cable cord you see will be going. yuck.

The windows themselves are aluminum & I actually like them.

We'll be painting (haven't decided upon colors yet so I'm up for suggestions) and I'm thinking about pulling out a dark rich gray from the stones and going white with the trim. (Now, you KNOW how much I want a white house- but do you think that would be totally weird with the stone??) My husband is planning on adding a pergola along the front right side sort of as a porch but with a patio underfoot. Basically like what you see below (similar color too! :) but extending along the whole front right side of the house:
Kind of like this (below) but in all-white:



Eventually I'd like to add some more Craftsman elements to it and it would definitely need some more rooflines but that is SOOOOOO far in the future it's not even funny. (And a tin roof!!)

Anyway, we're SO excited but I'm staying a but grounded because things have been so strange with this whole deal and I won't be able to totally relax about it until we close. I know how talented & creative you all are & I'm really in need of your ideas so please send them on!!!!
xoxo,
lauren

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Evolution of a Room: The Extra Bedroom

I was looking through some old pictures on my computer & I came across some before & afters of the extra bedroom in our old townhome. It was just so interesting to see the progression of the room over the 3 and a half years we lived there. [Warning: these come from my pre-design-obsessed days so please bear with me!!! ;) ] Here is what it looked like when we first moved in. (I painted it white because it was a terrible brown-beige):

It was my office and also the room we cared about least. At the time I was working for my family business (a company that manufactures locomotive components) doing PR. I put the chaise lounge we already had in there and we purchased a little black desk with a hutch on top from Luckett's for around $270. The rest of the things were trash-picked, garage-sale items or thrift store finds that we just sort of would come accross. The mirror below, was given to me by a friend of my grandmother's, an award-winning teen author (Bebe Faas Rice) and I painted over the blue wood for white. It was inset with black glass. (That now too is painted)



Here's the black desk & hutch we found. I wasn't in love with it but was in dire need of a desk & it was sturdy & I liked the lines (and price!!). I filled it with moss balls (leftover from our wedding) and other accessories to be switched in & out on a whim.



I used 1 iron rod with white panels to save on not having to buy 2 panels & because it also saved space. (The chair seriously KILLS me now but I found it to be taken out for trash & didn't have one so I quickly brought it in & painted it white :) ... I LOVE trash-picking.


After living there for a bit... and not being happy with the room, I decided it was time to actually do something with it. I chose this gray-beige and used blue accents with greenery. It was an odd color-combo but it worked. I loved the jolts of blue and it gave me some place to put the blue items I owned that didn't work anywhere else. I actually found a lot of comfort in the room as it was in this stage. It had an earthy quality & was sunny enough to handle such a thick color.


I used this folding table (below) as an extra workspace for projects. I recovered the seat of the file cabinet bench (ikea) in a blue & white stripe because I was in a serious nautical mood. (Notice the striped pillow on the chaise too--- I couldn't find large enough stripes in a fabric I liked so I cut strips of blue fabric & sewed it together with a natural twill.) I had plans of replacing the handles on the closet door to a nickel but we never got there. :)


Below are some of the blue bottles I'd accumulated. I like pretty little things in window sills in the warmer months. It just reminds me of simpler times for some reason. My grandmother often has a little vase of flowers on the window sill in her kitchen.. maybe that's why???


And here's the chaise lounge with (a much skinnier!!!) Ashby:


Below is one of my mushrooms prints ($1!!) scored from Goodwill. (I lost them over this Christmas when I hid them away to put up my feather wreath & have now forgotten where I stashed them!! arg!!) hahaha I love the white against the walls and also the little glass knobs on the drapery tiebacks.
And finally, when the little addition came to our family, the room was once again transformed. By this time I had my business up and running and had a much clearer vision for the room:
I won't go into much detail about the nursery since I've posted on it before & if you're interested you can read all about it here. But as you can see, the chaise stayed, as did my striped pillow. I stuck with coastal (STILL not over it ;) and the baby got a ship painting & a porthole mirror.

One thing I want you to check out is the carpeting change. We originially ripped out the old carpeting (it was yuck!!) an attempted to sand down the plywood & stained it with an ebony stain. I know how crazy that sounds but I saw it in a resturant & it totally worked. (And we were really trying not to spend!!!) Well, it didn't work for my house. Our dog is white & the floors never looked clean!!! Anyway, we recarpeted and I LOVE this carpet. (Shaw's "sisal touch" in fawn) It looks very much like sisal but is a fairly soft burber.

Anyway, I just thought it was so interesting (and funny!! :) to see how rooms evolve and how we evolve as decorators/ homeowners. I think it's really important for people to be okay with not having it all completed at once. In the real world we often have tight budgets & can't have it all right away so it's vital that we learn to work with what we've got. It's also important to spend wisely & really get to know yourself and your style before you start spending. Fortunately I didn't have a budget for decorating when I first started out or I could have done some serious damage!! eeeeek

I hope everyone had a great weekend & just a quick update on the house--- they have verbally said they will accept our offer but haven't signed the papers yet. (what is going on?!!)

xoxo,

lauren

Do Something That Makes You Smile

I am a firm believer that every day you should do a little something that makes you smile. If I am happy there is more of me to give to my family and others. But, sometimes, in an effort to do things that make me smile I fall into a rut. Am I the only person who does this? Let me give you a personal example. I find it very easy to decorate the more public areas of my home. That makes me smile. But, every morning I wake up in a bland and cluttered bedroom. In my rut I think nothing of this---my thoughts are, "I spend most of my time in that room with my eyes closed, so it doesn't matter." But in reality it DOES matter. This is something in my life that isn't consistent with what I desire for myself and my family. And because of that, my life feels out of balance. So, this weekend I tackled the task of finding balance, as well as doing something that makes me smile. In the midst of organizing my office closet, I began another task (can you say, "Attention Deficit"?). I decided to take one corner of my bedroom and do just a little something that would make me smile. I didn't run out and buy a lot of stuff. I used what I had. I used my trusty black spray paint to update the two shelves. And I treated myself and my hubby to some inexpensive fresh flowers. Now I have something that makes me smile every time I walk by.What little thing can you do today to get you out of a rut and make you smile? It doesn't have to be decorating your house, maybe it's just adding a little something extra to your recipe for dinner tonight. Or lighting that beautiful candle you've been saving all these months. Or how about wearing fancy earrings while you're cleaning the toilet? Go ahead! Do something that makes you smile!

OH! another thing that makes me smile....reading all the comments you left on my giveaway post. You are all so sweet!
And now I'm really smiling because I get to announce the winners....
PRIZE A- the burlap monogram goes to Tammy at Tinsel & Co.
PRIZE B- the chalkboard was won by Carlie at The Bird Nest
PRIZE C- CJ's Mommy*Kimberly gets her choice of two prizes
Ladies, send me an email at joysofhome@gmail.com. I need your color choices and addresses.

I really wish I could have made a prize for each and every one of you! My hubby says that's because I'm Obsessive Compulsive. Oh my! I'm ADD and OCD---no wonder I have to find something to make me smile every day!

Do Something That Makes You Smile

I am a firm believer that every day you should do a little something that makes you smile. If I am happy there is more of me to give to my family and others. But, sometimes, in an effort to do things that make me smile I fall into a rut. Am I the only person who does this? Let me give you a personal example. I find it very easy to decorate the more public areas of my home. That makes me smile. But, every morning I wake up in a bland and cluttered bedroom. In my rut I think nothing of this---my thoughts are, "I spend most of my time in that room with my eyes closed, so it doesn't matter." But in reality it DOES matter. This is something in my life that isn't consistent with what I desire for myself and my family. And because of that, my life feels out of balance. So, this weekend I tackled the task of finding balance, as well as doing something that makes me smile. In the midst of organizing my office closet, I began another task (can you say, "Attention Deficit"?). I decided to take one corner of my bedroom and do just a little something that would make me smile. I didn't run out and buy a lot of stuff. I used what I had. I used my trusty black spray paint to update the two shelves. And I treated myself and my hubby to some inexpensive fresh flowers. Now I have something that makes me smile every time I walk by.What little thing can you do today to get you out of a rut and make you smile? It doesn't have to be decorating your house, maybe it's just adding a little something extra to your recipe for dinner tonight. Or lighting that beautiful candle you've been saving all these months. Or how about wearing fancy earrings while you're cleaning the toilet? Go ahead! Do something that makes you smile!

OH! another thing that makes me smile....reading all the comments you left on my giveaway post. You are all so sweet!
And now I'm really smiling because I get to announce the winners....
PRIZE A- the burlap monogram goes to Tammy at Tinsel & Co.
PRIZE B- the chalkboard was won by Carlie at The Bird Nest
PRIZE C- CJ's Mommy*Kimberly gets her choice of two prizes
Ladies, send me an email at joysofhome@gmail.com. I need your color choices and addresses.

I really wish I could have made a prize for each and every one of you! My hubby says that's because I'm Obsessive Compulsive. Oh my! I'm ADD and OCD---no wonder I have to find something to make me smile every day!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Easterly Winds Blowing Through...

After the stop/start of our spring this year, I have been less than inspired to decorate for spring this year. While the softer colours throughout my home supports the pastels of Easter, I have found myself to be quite resistant to bringing out my decorations when snow still carpets the landscape around me. In fact, it feels a bit silly to think flowers and chicks when nothing is there to support their survival...
Enter my eight year old daughter. She cares not about my seasonal reservations; in fact, she fairly insists on scattering eggs and displaying bunnies throughout the corners of our home. Who am I to argue? So, on Friday I half-heartedly decorated for Easter, and I must admit - a little Easter goes a long way to inspire feelings of spring. Now, let's hope it is enough good karma to keep the persistent snow at bay...!!!

What about you? Do you decorate for Easter??

A Winner!!


It turns out a whole lot of you love a good chandelier! Without further adieu (because it is a seriously beautiful day here and I'm going out in it!).............. the winner of the chandelier decal is......Gina, from An Unpink Life.


Don't forget: if anyone else wants a chandelier decal, check out Wilson Graphics and treat yourself to one!!


Hope everyone's having a great weekend!!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nest Eggs

This year I'm on a quest to change up my existing decorations for little to no money. I've had these little egg candle holders for years. They're sweet, but I thought with the help of some styrofoam, moss and a hot glue gun they could become spectacular.I just glued the moss around the foam to make it look like a little nest.Then I took it one step further and plopped them on top of a candle holder.My little nested eggs now get the attention they deserve among my other Easter decor.

Nest Eggs

This year I'm on a quest to change up my existing decorations for little to no money. I've had these little egg candle holders for years. They're sweet, but I thought with the help of some styrofoam, moss and a hot glue gun they could become spectacular.I just glued the moss around the foam to make it look like a little nest.Then I took it one step further and plopped them on top of a candle holder.My little nested eggs now get the attention they deserve among my other Easter decor.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Style Today: In a Picture

Alek of the new & super-stylish blog From the Right Bank to the Left Coast tagged me and a few other bloggers to do a post feauring 1 photo (only 1!!!) that sums up our style. [WARNING: I will use the word "love" way too much in this post!!!]



I chose this image of Chaffee Braithwaite's living room (featured in Cottage Living- I've posted on it before). But I love everything about it: It's light & airy, natural, textural, there's lots of white , gray & an ethereal quality to it... The room is focused on the outdoors & nature. The coffee table (not sure of the material) has a beautiful texture & I love its strong clean lines. Of course I love all the slipcovered white upholstery & my sofa at home is almost exactly like the sofa pictured. (LOVE shelter sofas for hanging. lounging & cuddling!)


The wheatgrass on the coffee table along with the branches on the desk over looking the window probably make this space for me. I'm working on some wheat grass for a client right now.

I also can't think of a place I've ever seen a ghost chair where it made more sense than this: You can see that beautiful view straight on through the chair. (My opinion on ghost chairs is that there should be a reason for using them, like in this case.)


I also love the casual vibe in the room: The books piled next to the chair, the throw "tossed" on the chair... I like that the throw on the chair could be replaced with virtually any color and it could change the feel of the room. (I'd probably have some pillows on the sofa too)

I also love the draperies right up there under the crown molding with the small rings on a white rod. They blend right into the walls [color: Benjamin Moore "Revere Pewter"] and it works perfectly here because the focus is on the gardens outside, not the draperies. The lamp is prefection to me & reminds me of my own glass lamps. And finally, I love the sisal carpet. [Fiberworks Island's Color Collection from Jobson's Carpet ] It brings in more of that natural feeling I love.

SO- now I'm tagging YOU to choose just 1 picture that sums up your style. You can either put a link to it in the comments section or you can put a link to your post. Can't wait to see what you come up with!! :)

I'm off to one of my best friend's wedding in NY this weekend so I'll be back Monday!!! Have a great weekend & I also wanted to let you know that the house people came back & might be considering our offer now!!! So we'll see!!! :)

xoxo,

lauren