Thursday, July 24, 2014

Banquette Inspiration

With all of our living room projects going on, our big organizing project has had to take a back seat for a while. But, we've recently picked up some steam, which I'll update you on soon!

There are a couple trouble spots in our house that we are trying to find creative solutions to organize. One of those trouble spots is our breakfast nook. We come in and out of the house through this room all the time, so it becomes the drop zone. I so wish we had a mud room to go through before you hit the breakfast nook, but no such luck. Tools, shoes, mail, returns, library books all end up in here. We hardly ever eat at this table, but we do use the table frequently to paint, play board games, play with play-dough, color, etc. So, we are working on ways to help our breakfast nook serve dual purposes and act as a combined mudroom and eating area. Here's a reminder of how the room looks now. Excuse the bad, old picture. ;)
Jeremy had a great idea to put in banquette seating with lids that flipped up and have built in storage underneath. We could use it to store our shoes, frequently used tools, kids bags, and even board games! We've been discussing how we would build it and have been planning it all out. Mad props to my hubby for coming up with a great storage solution!

I've been scouring the web for some inspiration, specifically looking for banquettes that do not have a back, instead have low windows behind them like ours will have. Enjoy a few of my favorites!
Images via Cococozy
Can't wait to get to work on this project! But, gotta save up the cash first! :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Living Room Makeover: A Change and a New Plan

Tell me this happens to you... You start one project and it rolls into another one before you finish the original project? Anyone?!

We had tackled the new furniture, new rug, new drum stool, new pillows and end table, new curtains, and had finally finished the last thing--painting. We should be done with the living room, right? Insert maniacal laughter here. ;)
As we were clearing our living room out to paint, Jeremy mentioned wanting to move the TV over the fireplace. He's mentioned this for years, but I'm not a huge fan of the idea. We had a giant TV cut out over our fireplace in our last home and always hated it. It drove me bonkers, especially when we still had an old TV. Even with a newer TV, it was still a big dust and cord pit. If we stayed there, we would have built some doors or something because it drove me nuts. Here's an old picture of Jeremy and I back at our old house. You can kind of see the TV pit in the background. Arg. On a random note, I'm not a huge fan of my hair in this picture, but it really gives me the itch to chop all my hair off!
Every time Jeremy mentioned moving the TV above the fireplace in this house, I cringed because all I could visualize was our previous TV pit. However, as we were moving furniture out of the living room, we were really enjoying how spacious the living room was looking. He convinced me to try moving the TV so we could put our new chair in the corner where the TV was. It would open up an entire wall! After we painted, I agreed to give it a test run and I'm sold. He wins! ;) I love all the open space we have now!
It didn't come without compromise, though. I wasn't sold on the look of the TV above the fireplace. It looked really dark up there and kind of got lost. But after some brainstorming, I thought some bright white planking would brighten things up and make the TV look more intentional up there. Here was some of my inspiration that I've loved over the years.
Jeremy liked that idea, so that's where we're headed next! Here's how it's looking right now. Basically, it's a giant, undecorated, tangled up mess. 
Gorgeous, right? Ha! I have no idea why the coloring is so weird in these pictures! Gray walls are tricky to photograph!
Because this is an unexpected project that we haven't saved for yet and we do all of our projects with cash, it will need to happen in two phases to give us time to save up.

Phase 1: We'll add planking from the mantle to the ceiling and replace our black cords with white cords to make them a teeny bit easier on the eyes. 

Phase 2: We'll replace our TV with a larger TV that is easier to see from the couch. We'll wall mount it and have it wired so there will be no cords showing. Yay!

Can't wait to get started on the planking this weekend!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Living Room Makeover: Paint

Well, all that you've been hearing on the blog the past week have been crickets, huh? We've been on vacation mode and it has been wonderful!

Jeremy had an entire week off which was amazing! We had planned to go to the beach and do some fun stuff around town, but a hurricane squashed our beach plans, then Jeremy came down with a nasty summer cold...on vacation. Poor guy! But, we thoroughly enjoyed all the family time and just hanging out around the house together! He's totally the family favorite. :)

Then, this past weekend, I went on a retreat with the women from my community group.  It was so relaxing and wonderful! I mean, look at this place!
While Jeremy was off--before he got sick--he was so sweet and painted the living room for me! I was really struggling to pick out a paint color. I wanted a gray that had blue/green undertones. Some grays were too blue, some too green, some too gray, too dark, too light, AHHHH! It about drove me crazy! 8 paint tests later...we finally found the perfect shade!
The gray we picked is called Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore. I first saw it on The Lettered Cottage and about 6 paint samples in, decided to give it a try. I originally tried it lightened 50%, but it was a bit too light and didn't provide enough contrast with the couch. We ended up getting it in full strength and it's just right! I really love it 50% lightened, too, and am planning to use that to paint our bathrooms! We had it mixed at Sherwin Williams. We love their Harmony paint! It has great coverage and hardly any fumes!
We tested the paint on each wall to see how the sun hit it, but I was still struggling to visualize it on an entire wall. I found this inspiration picture from West Elm and it gave me the confidence to finally commit to the color. I loved that they used a beige couch like we have, so it was easy to picture how the gray would look with beige.
Here it is in our living room! It's was really hard to get an accurate picture of the paint color, but you can get the idea!
We did some spur of the moment rearranging when we were putting the living room back together. More on that soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Five on Friday

Except it's Wednesday. I'm two days early. :) Jeremy has the week off and we are busy enjoying family time, so this is probably the only time I'll blog this week. Here's my five things!

1) Target Clearance- I really liked these poufs when I saw them a couple months ago, but $40 seemed too steep of a price to me. But, waiting paid off because these babies were 50% off in store (looks like they're still regular price online)! I picked one up for some much needed seating in the playroom! 
2) This View- This was my view yesterday. My man wielding a paint roller. We (well, mostly Jeremy), finally got the living room painted yesterday! More on that soon!
3) Calla Lilies- I LOVE when my flowers bloom out front! The crepe myrtle is blooming and so are my calla lilies! Too bad the crazy spring freezing killed my hydrangea buds. I'm so sad they didn't bloom much this year. Thankfully, they are healthy, so I'm hoping they'll do better next year!
4) Foaming Soap- I never used to like foaming soap, but I've discovered that it's the best for kids! It's much easier for them to rinse than traditional soap! Now, I'm hooked! Oh, and word of advice, don't get the Thomas and Friends foaming soap. It's dyed red so you'll have red soap drips all over your sink! 
5) This Song- I really like the song God is Able by Hillsong! Check it out!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Good Enough

With all the home blogs out there, featuring gorgeous, perfectly styled homes, it's very easy to think that everyone has it all together and their houses are clean and tidy all.the.time. I always straighten up before taking pictures for my blog posts. I do it, because if the post is about a rug, for example, I want you to be able to actually see the rug without the distraction of a dozen toys on it. But, in reality, my house always has toys sitting around, laundry waiting to be folded, and dishes waiting to be washed or put away.

I'm learning to be ok with the "good enough". I strive to keep our house tidy and clean, however, I realize we actually live here. I'm learning to re-adjust my expectations and be ok with the neat and relatively clean, but lived in look. I'm a perfectionist by nature, so it's not easy! The funny thing is, I'm greatly bothered when our house is messy, but I almost always choose time with my family and/or friends over cleaning. Because of this, adjusting my expectations to be ok with the "good enough" house is more freeing for my mind than my schedule. I can spend time with my family without the guilty, nagging feelings that I should be cleaning.

My friend Cary has been posting pictures of her home on facebook in their everyday look. Organized, neat, but lived in. And you know what? It's comfortable and beautiful! It's been so refreshing to see her pictures! I've been to her house a million times and it's always so welcoming. That is what I'm striving for--welcoming and comfortable.

So, today I'm posting photos of my house in its everyday state. Not trashed because that's not welcoming and comfortable either, but not perfectly styled. This is what I'm learning to be ok with. If I can maintain this, then I'll consider my house clean. This is the everyday.

There's usually always dishes drying and bills on the counter in the kitchen, but otherwise, I try to keep the kitchen clean. Nothing makes me more grumpy in the morning than a messy kitchen. Or no coffee. Ha!
Shoes, shoes, shoes, everywhere. And this is a good day! They're actually all in one spot!
Toys, toys, toys. I trip on toys approximately 572 times a day. :)
I reorganized the play room a couple days ago and Little Man has managed to keep his playroom relatively clean. Legos, trains, and stamps are out, but he plays with them constantly! This room is small and get get trashed so easily!
The dining room is one of the rooms that stays the neatest. But, it always has baby gear in it and frequently holds the remnants of our late night board games. :)
And the dreaded laundry... Always piles of laundry to fold. Always. In addition to this pile, there's currently two baskets of folded laundry upstairs waiting to be put away.
I hope it encourages you to embrace a balanced approach to your home, where toys and laundry are welcome and life is lived and enjoyed. The next time I trip over a toy or get frustrated that I haven't gotten to scrub my shower yet, someone call me and remind me of this post, ok? ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Living Room Makeover: The Rug Saga

I titled this "The Rug Saga" because nothing is ever simple! Ha!

As you know, we recently purchased new living room furniture and are in the middle of giving the room a makeover (more details here and here). Our previous rug was way too busy paired with our new chair and ottoman, so we sold it to our friends and former fabulous neighbors and it is looking wonderful in their living room!

I tend to gravitate toward coastal colors and textures and have been wanting a natural fiber rug for a couple years now. In fact, we tried one out a couple years ago, but ended up returning it because it shed worse than Chewbacca. Isn't it pretty, though? I really loved how it looked!
We love the neutral color and texture of natural fiber rugs, so decided to try our luck with another natural fiber rug. This time, we did lots of researched and invested more money into a quality rug. We went with the Jute Boucle Rug from West Elm in the Flax color. I LOVE the texture it brought to our living room! Don't get too attached, though...and definitely excuse the phone pictures.
Look at that beautiful, chunky texture!
The one thing that bugged me was how the color made our wood floors look really orange. But, I was willing to get over it because it was beautiful and exactly the look I wanted. 
BUT...you knew that was coming, didn't you?! That wonderful, chunky texture that I loved also caused some troubles. The first three days, my feet ached and felt tired. Granted, we hadn't gotten a rug pad for it yet, so it slid around a bit. But, the chunky texture took some getting used to and that's coming from a barefoot girl with tough feet. About day four, I was used to it, though, and ready to throw away the receipt and keep it forever. Jeremy thought it was comfortable from the beginning, though, and loved the way it looked, too!

BUT...yup, another but. But not butt. Geesh. ;) Little Man started sitting on a folded blanket so "his hynie wouldn't hurt." And when Little Girl's head rubbed the rug, she cried. My goals for how I want our home to feel are light, airy, and comfortable. As wonderful as the rug was, it didn't meet the comfortable criteria for the littles, so back it went. I may or may not have told the cashier who was refunding my money that I'd be back in a few years when my babies are older to buy the rug again. Haha!

If you are looking for a great quality, thick, chunky, soft to the touch jute rug and don't have tiny babies, I'd definitely recommend the West Elm Jute Boucle rug

Back to the drawing board for us, though. I considered a solid ivory rug, but that option didn't excite me. It felt too boring. I also considered a comfy shag rug, but they don't seem like they would get matted down easily and would collect a lot of crumbs. I did a lot more research on soft, comfortable natural fiber rugs and read that a jute/chenille blended rug is the softest. I tested the Heathered Chenille Jute Rug out at Pottery Barn after reading great reviews, but it was rougher than the West Elm one I returned. Boo. The Chunky Wool and Jute Rug at Pottery Barn was so soft and had great texture, but it was out of our price range, even with the 15% off sale they had going on. 

I finally found the Bordered Jute Chenille Rug at Pottery Barn in the Honey color and knew it was perfect for our family. (It's not online, but here's a similar one.) It has a great woven herringbone pattern. The texture is much more subtle than what I was originally going for, but it's soft, durable, and comfortable and has more texture than a plain ivory rug. For this phase of life with two small kids, it's the perfect compromise!
Everything is about to be much less beige! We are in the process of painting the living room! Hooray! 
I love how durable it is and how light and airy it feels. Little Man accidentally got crayon on it, and I was able to get it off easily with a damp Magic Eraser! 

The texture is hard to see in the pictures, so here's a couple close ups for your viewing pleasure. :)
The ultimate test, though? The kids love it! No more tears or sitting on blankets! Hooray!

And as proof that our living room is usually full of toys, I had to include this picture. Look who I found hiding under the ottoman even after I picked up all the toys? Love!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Green + Blue Living Room Inspiration

Darcie, one of my favorite friends ever, texted me a picture of her couch the other day and asked for my advice on how to decorate her living room. I'm a decorating nerd and thrive on this stuff, so decided to make her a mood board of inspiration. I'm also very indecisive, so just had to give her options. 

She's starting off with beige walls and is planning to slipcover the couch. We originally could only find affordable dark colored slipcovers, so the color scheme was intended to brighten everything up. However, last night, I found an inexpensive beige slip cover! I was super excited, as the beige slipcover will really help keep things bright and cheery!

For the hard furniture, I was thinking something on the darker side, like this media console or this ladder bookshelf. I like how they contrast with the light colored couch. 
My main inspiration for colors came from the green and blue ikat pillow on the left. I love how bright and cheery it is! I shopped around and found a few other pillow options that Darcie could mix and match with the ikat pillow. Pillows are so fun and make such an impact! 
For curtains, I found a teal/blue fabric and a green fabric that could easily be made into curtain panels with straight stitches or hemming tape and hung using drapery clips. The option on the far right are ready made curtains that incorporated both the green and blue from the ikat pillow. 
 These rugs all coordinate well with the ikat pillow and can be mixed and matched with the curtain choices. I love that they are patterned, but won't compete with the ikat pillows.
I pulled together a few accent pieces that would work well in the room. I LOVE the painting and really like how it incorporates the blue, but also introduces a pretty coral color to the mix. The big, blue vase is so pretty! It is on my own list of things I'm saving for at the moment. I've been wanting to DIY a version of the grass container. I like how it is a mix of modern and rustic! The wooden lamp and dark basket add some depth to the colors and keeps things from being too pastel. The basket would be great for toys!
Here's a few of the items all pulled together!
I hope that this inspires you, Darcie! The full source list is below in case you like any of the items!

Rugs-
Light Blue Trellis Rug
Spa Blue Trellis Rug
Ocean Trellis Rug

Pillows-
Blue Empire Toss Pillow
Teal Basketweave Pillow
Green and Blue Ikat Pillow
Green Fergano Toss Pillow
Green Dot Pillow

Curtains-
Turquoise Waverly Strands Fabric
HGTV Curl Up Citrine Fabric
Kirklands Grand Manor Curtains

Furniture-
Beige Sofa Slipcover
Media Stand
Ladder Bookshelf

Accents-
Faux Grass
Blue Vase
Blossom Painting
Ava Tote Basket
Turned Lamp