Yes, We Live Here

In the 3 weeks since we moved into our Charlotte home, we've been concentrating mostly on the interior - trying to get everything unpacked, put away and organized. Now that we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we had a couple of moments to turn our attentions to the exterior front of the house. 
I mean nothing says, yes we live here, we take pride in our home and are excited to be new neighbors than a barren front stoop and an old pot filled with sad and neglected marigolds. Am I right?
Of course, my pineapple finials do look nice!

Some things to consider when you're outfitting your front stoop:
1. Lighting - shade or sun?
2. Maintenance - are you willing to be out there everyday watering, deadheading etc or do you want more of a "set it and forget it" situation?
3. Style - what style is your home: cottage, colonial, French, etc. This will aid in plant and container selection.
4. Weather conditions - can you have one type of plant all year long, or do you want to change your planting seasonally?

In our new house we are learning toward more of a French look, 
(I know, previously I said English cottage, but after living with it, we think the peach-y stucco is more of a French look than English), have part sun due to the awning and I am definitely a low maintenance gal.
We decided to go for a pair of Steeds Upright Holly in terra cotta acorn style pots, flanked by our pineapple finials.
These holly shrubs have a pyramidal shape, are evergreen and require very little maintenance. At $22 a piece, that's a lot of bang for my buck. 

Fortunately for us, the previous owner left a massive terra cotta pot on the front sidewalk as well. Being in full sun, it's the perfect spot to add a fun accent to the front of the house. Charlotte's milder climate allows for loads of color and texture options all year long. (No more frozen sticks in the dead of winter, like in Chicago!) So, I hit up our local nursery and checked out their crazy fabulous pots for cooler season inspiration.
You know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery...I just copied their ideas right into our little pot.

A good rule of thumb for pot filling: 
1. Something high: lavender.
2. Something as filler: pansies and rainbow kale
3. Something hanging: lemon thyme

Definitely no way I could have come up with this combo on my own. I love all the colors, textures, that it's edible and most importantly that the combination will last through to Spring. 

I over-estimated the size of our front planter (another good tip, measure your container before purchasing your plants) leaving me with enough to fill a couple little pots at our side entry. 
It's so important to love the everyday in your home - having a touch of color at the door I use daily makes me very happy! Sometimes the littlest changes make the biggest impact. 

Hope you had a great weekend and made some little changes in your world.

until next time,

Entryway Plans and Inspiration

Before I get into my plans and inspiration for our next project, I just want to take a moment to say how saddened I am by the events that took place at the Boston Marathon. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all that were effected. 

Thanks for all the sweet comments left about Katy's 'G' collection in her entryway. I knew you'd love it as much as I did. Everyone knows the entry is your first chance to set the tone for the whole house...that's why I love what Katy's says about her and her family. So much so, that it got me thinking about our entryway. 

Christmas 2012

Our entryway has undergone quite a few changes over the years. Just before our dining room remodel, I moved our large sideboard to the front hall - I loved it here, but the consensus was that it was too big for the space. After the remodel, we moved the harvest table (which had been our media stand) into the dining room, and the sideboard became the new media stand. 

Once again, I found myself scrambling to fill the empty space in the front hall. This is what I came up with....interesting, to say the least. A bench and a chair, a bit redundant don't you think? Plus, I was using the bench as a makeshift table because I couldn't bare the thought of not using a table lamp. I'm sure you know my feelings on overhead light - avoid at all costs!

Needless to say, it's time to give this space some attention. Naturally, it's off to Pinterest I went (you can check out my board here).
Because I'm always keeping budget in mind, my plan is to use a lot of the existing pieces in place - namely, the bench, rug and coat rack. The big changes will come in through placement, fabrics and patterns. 

I want my new space to say something about me, specifically, and what I am loving now. A great mix of unexpected patterns and colors. Working to bring a youthful edge to a lot of my existing, very traditional items.

source unknown

I have no idea how long this project will take because it comes down to finding just the right pieces. Wish me luck! I'm excited to get started and make this space my own. 

until next time, 

Christmas Entryway 2012

After sharing my statement arrangement earlier this week, I knew that my entryway needed more.  I decided to tackle the stairway banister. I've never done this before and always worried it would get in the way, look too fake, etc.

I mean, real garland would look AMAZING. For about 5 minutes. And the mess, yikes. No thank you. 
So, I headed out to my local Michael's to see what I could find. Real looking garland can be so expensive, so in the end I settled on two bundles of the cheap-y stuff. Hoping that with the addition of a few pretty-drying greens, I could make it look a lot better. 

Mixing faux with real really is a no brainer. I did it on my mantel and in my statement arrangement. Magnolia leaves and boxwood dry beautifully and don't shed, which is the big bonus. Not sure what I was so afraid of, really. 

And now, I'm so happy that I added in the banister garland. It really finish off the space, ties in nicely with my reindeer arrangement and just feels so holiday-ish!
What more can a girl ask for? 

I wasn't a 100% sure on adding the bows. I like the natural look, as you know. But, I pulled this ribbon from my stash and think it looks lovely. It's slightly raffia-ish, but with a nice gold tone. Casual, but still elegant.

Of course, our Santa hats are here as well. As is this little holiday toned teddy bear and our jingle bells. Yes, it's definitely feeling festive now. 

Check out my Christmas Entry from 2010 and 2011.

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until next time,

The Entryway, aka: Your Calling Card

"Your entry is your calling card to the world", Susanna Salk.

You've heard me say it before, the entry sets the tone for the whole house. Which is why I decided to give mine a bit of a spruce this year.

In keeping with my love affair for the constant switcher-oo, I moved the cedar chest out of this space around Christmas time. The idea came to me while brainstorming ideas to create a less formal and more family friendly dining room {more on that later}. Plus, the addition of more workable surface space in the entry was an added bonus! 
Two birds, one stone, you know?

Decorating for the holidays was great with all my new surface space, but when the decorations came down I was left with a lot of space and not a lot of ideas. That's when I remembered the quote from Susanna Salk. 

I knew casual elegance was the look I was going for. But what next? Must I really define my style and highlight it in my entryway? That seems pretty daunting. 

So I started simply: a collected look, with nothing too matchy-matchy; mostly well-worn English traditional with some Asian influences. Something that has come together over many years.

Yup, that about sums it up - in a sentence. At least for today.

Let me break it down for you: 
trunk - thrifted, junk shop, England - relocated from the office
lamp - hand me down from my parents, has been sitting in the attic for 2+ years
mirror - Graham & Green, London - relocated from the powder room
bird cage/bird print - HomeGoods
brass ginger jar - Etsy

I'd say that's collected. Not to mention random. But there's a method to my madness. You see, there's not much natural light in here...placing the mirrors opposite each other helps to bounce around what little light there is. But obviously, you can't just have a hall of mirrors {Cincy shout out for any of my hometown readers!}, hence the bird print leaning against the mirror. Birds are a common theme around the house, so a cage only seemed fitting. And the lamp, well, I need something pretty sizable, and with the addition of the new shade, it went from back porch to front hall, if you know what I mean. Plus, I thought it worked well with the floral mirror...takes the mirror from country to slightly Asian influenced. The brass ginger jar ties in with the metallics in the mirror on the opposite wall. And the gigantic, leather trunk - well, why not?!?! It fills the space, adds that vintage collected vibe and reminds us of our time in London. Win-win. And there you have it, a look inside my mind when it comes to creating a curated look. 

Have you updated your entry lately?

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Until next time,

Mod Podge Mirror

Thanks to all for bearing with me last week while I recovered from our crazy weekend/week. Feeling slightly more with it now and ready to share a couple more projects I've tackled recently. Starting with this cute little mod podge mirror that I hung in our entryway.

I'd been looking for yet another mirror to hang in this space for quite some time. Mr. DD suggested this little guy that has been taking up space in the attic since we moved in. I decided to give it a go...

But after looking at it for about a week, I decided it really need a little makeover. I wasn't digging the flower or the metallic frame. What to do, what to do?

First, I applied a thin layer of 'brass' spray paint, but immediately realized this was far too shiny and fake looking.

I toned it down with a 'bronze' colored, gold leaf, craft paint. But, unfortunately, the paint didn't do anything to cover the flower. And that's the part that bothered me the most.

So I weighed out my options and decided to go old school with some Mod Podge glue and left over fabric from the new living room cushions. One coat as adhesive and 4 coats as sealer later, we're looking at a fully customizable mirror for the space. 

Check out the reflection - it's the same fabric. I mean, come on! How cool is that? 
{fyi, I did cover the top layer of sealer with a very light layer of the bronze craft paint, just to tone down the bright, newness of the fabric.}

I'm loving how this side of the entry is looking much cozier, warmer and brighter at the same time. 

I'll be back later in the week to share the other side of the entryway. Careful inspection of the last couple of posts probably reveals quite a bit already...

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Until next time,