Den Before and After

Over the weekend I took some current pictures of our den for a before and after piece that will appear in a local marketing mailer and I thought I would share them here, too.

When we first saw this house we immediately loved the wood burning fireplace, but knew the surround needed a little help. 

Den- Before

Never underestimate the power of paint and well thought out space planning. 

We decided to buck the trend and apply a dark, rich color to the walls in an already small and dark space. I love the cozy effect it created. I say why try to be something you aren't…if it's already a cozy space, embrace it and play it up. 

You may also have noted that we finally got rid of that outdated fan. We gave it a whole summer and never once used the fan - time to go! This fixture came from our dining room. You know what that means, someone got an update … more details on that later.

The den has been one of the biggest "works in progress" in the house - chairs that needed recovering, new lighting, rug issues, new furnishingslayout changes. You name it, this room seems to have seen it all. It's been a process, but I love to watch the evolution of design unfold and this room has been a great example of that.


Here's another shot of the den "before". We had a similar set up when we first moved in - I think we assumed this was the best layout because the previous owner had it that way. After about a year, we decided to change the location of the sofa and the room has felt so much better since. You never know until you try...

Despite all the changes, it's a cozy room that we've loved hanging out in through it all - and I'm thrilled to say that it's finally reached it's end goal. Notice I didn't say anything about it being done.

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until next time, 

Open the Door to Symmetry

So, did anyone notice anything odd about that last picture I posted of our new outdoor deck space?
Ok, well, let me spell it out for you. After all, I do realize you might not be quite as obsessed invested in this project as I am.

Can someone please tell me why this house was built with a super short door next to a super tall window? I mean, it just doesn't make sense to me. Does it bug you as much as it bugs me?

My original thought was to have a transom window installed over the door to provide that much needed sense of symmetry.

Then I saw this picture from Country Living. And I thought, I'd love to have more access to our new porch and really open the whole back of the house.

In other words, replace that super sized window with another set of french doors.

Obviously, it's not that easy. There is a lot to think about. How will it affect the layout of both the porch furniture and the den furniture? Can both spaces truly function well when they have essentially lost a wall?

Step 1: rearrange the den. 
Clearly, nothing has been staged/arranged/edited here. All I did was move the couch out from under the window and flank the fireplace with our existing chairs.

Guess what. I don't hate it. And neither does John. In fact, we kind of like how it gives the den it's own identity instead of feeling like a weird extension of the living room. 

The previous owner had their couch under the window and so did we. We never even tried it any other way until we had a reason. Now we are so happy we did. 

The real take away from this: try all the possibilities to find what works best. Even if it's always been that way. After all, your biggest loss is only the time is took to move it.

As for the doors, we are still deciding, so definitely let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. 

until next time, 


Ya'll my search for perfect lighting continues. I've seen a lot of options, at a lot of price points. But, the more I search, the more I come back to this light.

It's dramatic, that's for sure.
Most wouldn't consider hanging a pendant in the middle of a den - a safer option would be a flush mount or semi flush at the most. But not this girl. This girl loves her drama. Have you seen my foyer paper? Plus, there's little risk of bumping into a fixture with the 3' square coffee table below it. 

I think it would look stunning in the den. At 24" in circumference, the oversized style will only help to make the room feel more cozy. And against those dark walls? Love.
Of course, it would mean a new mirror over the mantel, but I think I could handle that.

Framed by the built-ins in the living room, the capiz shell pendant would really draw your eye through to the den. 
Of course, with heavy afternoon sun streaming through the den windows, maybe there's a reason the previous owner had an overhead fan. Only time will tell on that one, I'm afraid. 

Yes, it seems to have everything I am looking for. But, one question remains. Is it timeless? Will I love it in the many years to come? 
Tell me your thoughts - persuade me in the comments below.

until next time, 

Finally! A Bit of Inspiration for a Spring Mantel

I got back from my weekend in Chicago just in time to catch our cherry tree come into bloom. What a lovely surprise, especially walking home from the 7am school bus run after a boozy busy weekend.

Anywho, this beautiful sign of Spring provided just enough inspiration to finally tackle an update on our den mantel. Honestly, I've been in such a creative slump lately - this was just the kickstart I needed. 

Simple white cut-out containers, found at HomeGoods, stuffed full of Spring branches. The white blossoms I borrowed from our cherry tree, the twigs are a couple week old purchase from the grocery store. I didn't have much luck "forcing" them, but I love them just the same.

Tip: I filled standard glass vases with warm water and placed them into the HomeGoods containers, then added the twigs and finally accented with the blossoms. 

Why is it that every time I go to make two identical arrangements for the mantel, they never look the same? Nature's imperfect and so are my arrangements. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

Happy Spring, y'all. 

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until next time, 

A Proper Foundation

One of the little delights awaiting us upon our return from Florida was the new rug we ordered for the den. You see, I never really felt like our den had the proper foundation because the rug was too small. 

Sure there is an argument for allowing the beautiful hardwood floors to shine, but there's also an argument saying a room needs to be an anchored by an appropriately sized rug. 
See how all the furniture was floating around the edges of our existing rug? The rug felt like an island in the middle of the room, not like it was part of a cohesive design for the space. 

Thanks to an email coupon from Overstock, no more island. 
Hello, room foundation. 
All the furniture is touching the rug, the room size is appropriately defined and I finally feel like we have a good starting point to kick off a design plan.

Natural fiber rugs are a great option to affordably cover a lot of space. They look great layered with accent rugs making them extremely versatile and flexible to almost any style. I have both sisal and seagrass rugs in my home, but choose to go with jute in the den because it is a much more plush option and has more of a beige tone (whereas sisal can be more yellowish).

I'm loving this rug, although it is shedding like a beast!
Soft, plush, great texture, very warm in color tone - it has transformed this space - so much so that I almost don't notice that fan. Or the chair in desperate need of recovering. 

until next time,