Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cleaning the Cobwebs from my mind...

I had the best day.
I know I am about to paint myself as a veritable lunatic, but my happy day was all about cleaning. Cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. My fridge is suddenly empty after ridding it of all its spoils. I surprised my muscles by lugging and pushing beds over carpet to vacuum up long-lost popcorn seeds, cat hair, and foil wrappers from tiny Easter eggs. I did endless loads of laundry, washing all of our winter coats and mittens to pack up nicely for next winter. Speaking of winter, our cold weather wardrobes were finally purged, and tossed unceremoniously into plastic storage bins. I soon realized I have a pretty empty closet that requires a bit of shopping to add spring colour.
As I rotated load after freshly laundered load on my clothes line, I felt my mind actually clear of the kind of stress one can control. Because it's not just about having a clean house or "getting things done". It's about controlling the things we can in this crazy world. We can't control what's going on outside our own insular worlds, but we can take care of our families, ourselves, and create a home that makes us feel safe, warm and calm when we are tucked within. And that is where my satisfaction came from today. I cleared the cobwebs as I cleaned, both in my home and in my mind. Worries were pushed aside as I scrubbed, heaved furniture, and hung out clothes. My mind worked through what problems it could as I laboured, and the physical work quieted the rest.

And then I hung out with my family.
***************************************

photo credits:
second and third photo: Toast.uk

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Treehouse: Living Room Plans & Ideas

INSPIRATION: (Above Chaffee Braithwaite's living room AGAIN ;) I'm using it as inspiration... I'll be going with a bit more warmth & a little washed/ muted pattern. My goal is for the room to feel light airy, natural, raw, fresh with a classic modern feel and a hint of old-fashioned pretty. I want a fairly neutral backdrop for ever-changing accessories & shots of color. (In the image above, I love the jolts of green from the wheatgrass and views for Springtime!)

Below, here's what our living room looks like now: (Since the living space is on the second floor, you're way high up in the trees, hence the name "treehouse.") For now, I'm keeping it this shade of white & will get the perfect white on the walls once we're more settled. (we've got bigger fish to fry for starters!!)

For now I'm putting the sofa on the right wall facing into the room. Opposite it will be two chairs with a table in between and under the window i'd like to have a couple of chairs or possibly a settee. (My computer & scanner are still down so I'm not able to get you the floorplan) We're hanging drapes from the ceiling on simple iron rods. I'm going with simple white linen for an airy feel & a fresh, clean backdrop for changing up accessories, slicovers, pillows, etc: For the sofa, I knew exactly what I wanted: English arms with turned legs on casters. (Because- #1- I like to rearrange often & usually do it by myself while my husband's gone & the sofa is always the toughest thing to move, so casters = problem solved!! #2- I want the space to feel large, open & airy, and of course legs will help with this, and #3- I love the classic with a hint of old-fashioned lines of this sofa. It'll work perfectly with both traditional & modern pieces. So, below is what I was looking for ( I was hoping for 1 or 2 cusions instead of 3)

And the sofa below is the one we just bought on Craiglist!!! (Since we're on a budget & the similar sofas I was finding were all around the $2500- $3000 range, I decided the search on craiglist. After searching through listing after listing & saving a few possible options that were close to my dream sofa, I came across this one!!)
I couldn't believe my (exhausted) eyes!! it was exactly what I wanted!! It's a Lee Industries sofa that retails for around $3000! We picked the sofa up in our new (to us) pick-up truck (it's actually old- 250,000 miles) in Capitol Hill and the family couldn't have been nicer!! The owner of the sofa worked for the Kellog Collection for many years & was so sweet & her son arranged the whole deal & helped my husband load the sofa. (I'm sure I sounded like my usual nutcase-self, because I just couldn't stop telling them how excited I was to have "THE" sofa I was looking for!! haha) So, we're reupholstering it in this cotton velvet below:
As I mentioned in my previous post, this image doesn't do the fabric justice. It changes witht he angle and it looks creamy, golden or whitey-beige. It should look something like this chair (from Oly Studio) below when reupholstered:
I'm planning on pulling in some grays & whites in the pillows for "base" time (when the room's not decorated seasonally with other colors) with lots of different textures including this super-nubby linen (below) *** You can find a very similar fabric to this one at Calico Corners called "Slubby linen" ***
Now, here's where things become less settled-upon. I'm using the fabric below on the reverse to give the piece a more time-worn, muted look. (Darryl Carter's trick!!)
Now I'd like whichever piece the fabric goes on to be situated under the windows & facing into the room. So, this could possibly be couple of chairs or a settee (I was condsidering a gilding settee with a shirt, how fun would that be?! I don't love the shape of this one but did come across a pretty one & have now forgotten the source!)
The only thing is, I just came accross this driftwood chair from Oly Studios & I'm sort of in love... I really like balance & don't feel that a piece like this should have a matching partner & don't so much have a spot for a lone chair... (I might be able to squeeze it on somewhere though)
Now, across from the sofa will be two chairs with my fun metal vintage table in between:
I'm having so many different thoughts on the chairs. (In reality, I'll most likely thrift store/ flea market or craiglist them but here are some of my loves now. Also, any of the chairs pictured could possibly under the window as a pair or combined with the reversed toile or driftwood chair)

A pair of (washable!!) slipcovered wing chairs like the chair below would work really nicely because the shirts to the floor would stop the eye and that's sort of what I want because the dining area/ work area is on the other end & I like the separation. This is pretty budget-friendly because old wingchairs are really easy to find via thrift stores & craiglist and they could be easilty reupholstered!
I also can't help loving this modern wingchair from Oly Studio (below). It comes in other leathers but I really love this one... A pair of these with the silver table between would be amazing... I love the modern jolt in the room (I'd like to have at least 1 in each room becasue the house is so contemporary).. These could go across from the sofa or under the window. (Oh, and quick reality check here--- these would not be arriving for a VERY long time because of the unfortunate existence of a low budget.)
And here are some other chairs I like:
I like the thought of this one (below, Martha Stewart) upholsered in the toile... The only problem is the legs are a bit red for me & don't come in other colors... I'd hate to buy a new chair that I'd need to change...We love to entertain & of course kick up our feet so I love the idea of one of these 2 leather 0upholstered benches from Oly Studio:
I picture them moving around wherever needed & think they would look really pretty accross from the windows when you first walk in, so as to clsoe off the conversation area but not block the view. Here's the other:
I also have a cool camel saddle that looks similar to this one (image from here) but isn't in cow hide. (It's in a terrible brown vinyl right now & I'd reupholster it in a prettier one.)

I actually would love a cowhide rug... Here's the view of the dining area/ work area... Since we'll have an eat-in kitchen & island with stools I don't envision nightly meals in the dining area. We'll primarily use it for projects, reading, and entertaining. It'll be nice not to have to put projects away every night!


I love the idea of a trestle table piled high with books & 2 comfy chairs on one side and a bench on the other ... I'm having so many thoughts about tables, but it will have to be something rectangular & fairly narrow... (However, my square folding table will have to do for a while!)


But I love some of these options, like this zinc sawhorse table from Bobo Intriguing Objects: (I wonder if we could try to make something like this??--- I did look up some zinc countertop places & they seemed INSANELY expensive... does anyone have a cheap source for zinc sheets?)


I'd also love a trestle table similar to the one in Kirsten Hollister's (of Boho Belgian) dining room: (And look, she has the bench I want too!!! - I know Ikea used to make a bench like this, does anyone know if they still do? -- I couldn't find it online.)


I picture the table with wingchairs & I could possibly go with the white slipcovered ones if I don't go with them in the Living room: (Again, they'd be nice on casters so I could always have options)The wingchair below is one of my favorite wingchairs, by Martha Stewart. It's got nailhead detailing & is of a really manageable size for smaller spaces. (Some are so huge!!) Now, for the chandelier... Here are some I love from Bobo Intriguing Objects: The wine barrel chandelier:


And also the "planet" wine barrel: (I think this would be kind of cool with all the books!)

And this one I'm CRAZY over, but it's way too big for my house!!! (Over 4 feet high!! JEESH) The drfitwood chandelier: (I really wanted it in my entryway & it would still be too big!! arg)

And here's a chandelier I really love that's so much more in my price range. I saw it at On a Whim & need to go and see if they have anything like it or if it could still be there: (Please don't go buy this!!! heehee ;) Part of me thinks I need to stay natural & rough & quirly like the others but it's just so hard to resist this pretty vintage crystal!!!

And for the back wall behind the table, I want some type of storage. It's really important to me that I have surfaces that I can change up accessories on & also some hidden storage for my son's toys. (I like to keep toys in all the living areas as long as they can be hidden away so that every room's kid-friendly.) I'd use big baskets for toys on the bottom shelves & put pretty things & books on the upper shelves of this pharmacy rack from Bobo Intriguing Objects:



(It's highly unlikely we'll buy that exact piece but we'll be looking for similar items.) I'd also like some type of dresser or cabinet in the living room for more toy storage.

Well, we move tomorrow & over the weekend & I am having a bit of blogging withdrawal from not having my computer!! Also, I just did another post right before this one as a follow up on my kitchen decisions(2 posts in 1 day, I know! haha) so check it out below.

miss you guys,

lauren

Change Is Good

I've been working on a little project for my office closet. Let me rephrase that...I've been getting incredibly frustrated with a project that I thought would be little, but is turning out to be a gigantic pain. At first I wasn't going to post about it, but then I figured that there is a lesson to be shared.
Do you see these pretty red boxes I found at the thrift store?
For some strange reason I decided that I wanted them to color coordinate with the other storage boxes in my closet. So I painted the lid of one using craft paint. Fortunately, I stopped at just the lid because after it dried, all it took was the scratch of my fingernail to take off all of the paint.
Then I got another great idea. I tore up pieces of craft paper and scrunched them. Then I applied the craft paper to the box using watered down mod podge. The result looks great, kind of like leather. But it took almost two hours. TWO HOURS for one little box and I still have two boxes to do! I just don't think this is worth my time. I mean really, it's not like my closet is going to be featured on the cover of some nation wide magazine.So the lesson to be learned?
Give yourself permission
to change your mind!
If something isn't turning out exactly as you planned, it's okay to reevaluate and make some changes.As I was taking this picture my youngest son asked if I was going to decorate the other two boxes. I told him no because it took too long. He asked, "So do you regret doing it?" My answer, "No, because I learned something. There are no regrets when you learn a lesson." I tried something that I've wanted to do. I will probably try this technique again, on something bigger like an old trunk.
This lesson can be applied to almost ANYTHING in decorating. If you're half way through painting a room and you absolutely hate the color, it's okay to change your mind. It's just paint. If you loved your couch five years ago when you bought it, but now you think it's an eyesore. It's okay, make or buy a slipcover for it, or sell it and use the money to buy another one that you love (new or used). If you thought you'd love a house with a country feel, but find yourself not feeling at home in your own home, then change the decor.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with going in a different direction than you first intended as long as the end result is a home that you love and feel comfortable in. Because really, shouldn't that be the main goal all along?

Change Is Good

I've been working on a little project for my office closet. Let me rephrase that...I've been getting incredibly frustrated with a project that I thought would be little, but is turning out to be a gigantic pain. At first I wasn't going to post about it, but then I figured that there is a lesson to be shared.
Do you see these pretty red boxes I found at the thrift store?
For some strange reason I decided that I wanted them to color coordinate with the other storage boxes in my closet. So I painted the lid of one using craft paint. Fortunately, I stopped at just the lid because after it dried, all it took was the scratch of my fingernail to take off all of the paint.
Then I got another great idea. I tore up pieces of craft paper and scrunched them. Then I applied the craft paper to the box using watered down mod podge. The result looks great, kind of like leather. But it took almost two hours. TWO HOURS for one little box and I still have two boxes to do! I just don't think this is worth my time. I mean really, it's not like my closet is going to be featured on the cover of some nation wide magazine.So the lesson to be learned?
Give yourself permission
to change your mind!
If something isn't turning out exactly as you planned, it's okay to reevaluate and make some changes.As I was taking this picture my youngest son asked if I was going to decorate the other two boxes. I told him no because it took too long. He asked, "So do you regret doing it?" My answer, "No, because I learned something. There are no regrets when you learn a lesson." I tried something that I've wanted to do. I will probably try this technique again, on something bigger like an old trunk.
This lesson can be applied to almost ANYTHING in decorating. If you're half way through painting a room and you absolutely hate the color, it's okay to change your mind. It's just paint. If you loved your couch five years ago when you bought it, but now you think it's an eyesore. It's okay, make or buy a slipcover for it, or sell it and use the money to buy another one that you love (new or used). If you thought you'd love a house with a country feel, but find yourself not feeling at home in your own home, then change the decor.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with going in a different direction than you first intended as long as the end result is a home that you love and feel comfortable in. Because really, shouldn't that be the main goal all along?

The Treehouse: Kitchen Decisions

First, I just want to thank everyone so much for your feedback & ideas!!

I'm still undecided about the wallpaper as I got about the same amount of votes for "pineapples" and "sunflowers" from you all in comments or emails.


I'm still waiting to receive the actual samples, so I'm hoping once I see them both, I'll know which one to choose.

Also, I do design boards for all my rooms, I just don't have any way to post them as I'm SO computer unsavvy ;) ;) and actually don't even have one right now to scan in!! -- so I think of these posts as my boards :) When I'm back on my compuer with my programs, I'll try to load them in!

I think I've also about decided to go with the saarinen-type table, but am leaning towards formica because I don't want any worries with kids (ok, honestly, I can be super-messy too when hungry!!) & found a steal!! I won't be getting the real thing & do really appreciate all the advice about that. I truly wish we could afford the real thing, but as it's just not in the budget. I'll be going for a vintage knock-off so I can have the look & functionality of that super-skinny leg that won't get in the way of chairs and little kicking feet. Maybe one day we'll reaplace with the real thing if we get the urge...


I've also decided we're definitely going with open shelving.

I'm a super-freak & even like the insides of my cabinets to look pretty & organized so I figure, why not show it off? (haha, plus we have no budget for new doors & I can't stand the arched doors with the rest of the house's architecture!!)
I am also now thinking we're going to completely rip off the uppers and do vertical beadboard all the way up to the ceiling with shelves running accross like in the photo below: (Peri Wolfman & Charles Gold's NY loft as seen in the NY Times)

I wish the photo were better but I orginally came accross the image in Atlanta Bartlett's At Home With White on page 90-91 if you have it ;) I'm hoping to attack the kitchen on Friday... I want to be able to put dishes away this weekend so I'll let you know which way I go!!




I haven't decided about countertops... A reader mentioned a black granite & sent me pics which I love... Of course there are so many pros & cons with both marble & soapstone being so soft & porous... I've also gotten great feedback about both... One thing about soapstone that I do like is its price compared to the others... But, I have a long time to make this decision since countertops are definitely not in the immediate future ;)


And my island didn't make it to Virginia this weekend like I'd planned( My husband drove out to Chicago to pick up my dad's old truck & was planning on bringing back some goodies but it poured rain & he couldn't. So, I haev a big ikea worktable that'll stand in until the island arrives.

Anyway, thank you so much for all your input & ideas!! keep it coming!!!

xoxo,

lauren