What happens when I come over?

Want to know what happens when you invite a home design blogger into your house for a week? My sister-in-law can probably tell you a story or two. But, I'll just share my version. 

{living room before. minus the loveseat that we had already moved.}

She may have made a passing remark a couple of visits ago about wanting to re-arrange her living room. I, of course, could think of nothing more every time we visited after. But like most visits, they were always too short and went too fast. Not this time. We were house crashing for a full week....so when she mentioned it again, I jumped on it. Literally.

{living room after}

The big girls were playing nicely together and the little kids were napping, it was time to get to work. With the whole house at our disposal, we started re-arranging.  

{mantel wall before}

Out went a small loveseat (which, of course, I forgot to get before pictures of ) and in came a chair from their office. Some of the storage pieces were re-arranged and a corner cabinet moved in.   

{mantel wall after}

Other changes were just accessories, pillows, and artwork. Nothing new. Just re-worked. Obviously, they have good taste to begin with so I had a lot to work with. Always a plus.

{before}

Some of the things that had bothered her were how the room felt closed off and like they weren't using all the space available. By removing the loveseat and adding the two big chairs to the far end of the room, it felt much more open. 

{after}

She also felt like the window covering were a bit skimpy on the big picture window. When we moved the tall dresser in front of the  back windows, we were able to remove two of the four window panels. We then added the extra panels to picture window, giving it a much more balanced feel. 

{after}

Ideally, she'd like the room to have a blue and white scheme. While new furnishings aren't in her near future (she does have two little kids after all), we tried to achieve the look by placing her existing blue and white items throughout the room. As well as pulling other blue items from around the house. 

{after}

The final change was in the artwork. The arrangement above the mantel, which I loved, really set the tone for the whole room. Mostly gold framed watercolors with a nature theme. We simply swapped out some paintings for others that were more appropriate to the theme. 

{after}

I have to say, the finished room exceeded even my expectations. It was so fun to work on this project and I thank my brother and his family for allowing me to play around in their house. (Did I mention that I also made changes in the office, dining room and kitchen - yeah, I'm that girl.) I'm not sure my sister-in-law knew what she was getting into when she gave me carte blanche, but I certainly enjoyed myself. 

Want me to come to your house? All you have do is ask :)

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until next time, 

Reader Renovation: Living Room Rearrangement

While I continue to work in the guest room, I thought I'd change directions for a bit and share another installment of my new series, Reader Renovations


We're back at my sister-in-law's house, this time working in the living room. Taking a look at this room, you'd probably think it looks great and doesn't need much work. I'd say the same thing, but its not my opinion that matters.

My sister-in-law has never been thrilled with the layout and struggles placing her accessories. Fortunately, she has great taste - so there is plenty to work with here.


One of the biggest obstacles is this little alcove behind the sofa. It's almost like wasted space with this layout. In a room that isn't overly large, using all the space available is key.


This is the view from the front hall. The side of the couch isn't exactly welcoming. 
Time for a new layout.


First things first, we switched the couch to the long wall. Truth be told, she had tried this layout previously, but again, that little alcove across the room made achieving a cozy feel difficult. Everything just seemed too far apart - not exactly conversation friendly.


To solve this issue, we placed her pre-existing round occasional table in the alcove and her chairs flanking the table, but more toward the center of the room. 

One of the biggest mistakes people make is putting their furniture against the wall. Move it away from the wall and you immediately form a cozier space.


One either side of the fireplace we created vignettes with a bit of height to balance the mantel. The bench was repurposed from their bedroom. The artwork was hung just below eye level to add that layered look.

Always hang your artwork at eye level, give or take a bit, of course. It's another common mistake I see time and time again. 


We moved her bombe chest to a previously empty wall and accessorized with family photos.


The butlers tray/bar found a new home in an empty alcove next to the fireplace. We accessorized her coffee table simply with vintage cigar boxes, a tray and candle. 

Like I said, she made it easy on me by having great stuff. It just needed a little tweaking. Thanks, Linda, for letting me play in your living room.

until next time,

Reader Renovation: Happy Husband

You've heard the expression: happy wife, happy life? Well, this reader and good friend, Sara, brainstormed and completed a little project to make a happy husband. What a great wife! But more importantly, a great project that I just had to share on... 

{Reader Renovations}

Every single time my husband walked through our living room to our front door, he shook his head and grumbled. They violated style, yes, they did, but even more than that, they violated order. Yet there they were: the cords, the cords, everywhere the cords. A tangled mess of wires and cables and cords of the phone, lamp, DSL, you-name-it-variety lay on the floor behind the desk that was ousted from the office to make room for a crib for the third bundle of joy. 
You know how you start to get used to something that used to bother you in your own home? Well, that didn't happen to my husband. While it kind of did to me, I decided to devise a plan to hide the cords and restore order to my home (or at least to the floor by the desk). I thought that if I somehow made a back to the open desk, the cords could be hidden and life could be neater. And my husband, happier.

First, like any good wife, I gave my husband a few jobs: measure the space behind the desk, buy plywood (the thinnest he could get), and cut it to the measurements. Meanwhile, I went to the local fabric store and searched for fabric to wrap around the plywood. Now, I must pause for a moment and say that I get TOTALLY overwhelmed at fabric stores. Like, I really need my mom next to me to tell me what to buy. Either that, or I need one of my kids with me as an excuse to leave the store empty-handed, because, well, I am too distracted to make a decision. However, since I didn't have my mom or my kids with me, I circled the upholstery section and forced myself to narrow it down to a couple fabrics, trying to decide if I wanted something that would stand out (a pattern perhaps? a complementary color?) or if I wanted something to blend in. In the end, I decided to go the blended route and chose a textured gold fabric (on sale too!). 
I ironed the fabric, grabbed the cut plywood and a heavy-duty stapler. I enlisted the help (supervision?) of my oldest child while the younger two napped and got to work. I basically wrapped the board like a present, stapling the middle of all four sides before doing the corners and edges so that it was even. I only covered one side since I knew the desk was always going to be against a wall.
Once the fabric was stapled to the board, my husband got a hammer and used brass brad nails and began pounding the board to the back of the desk. A few in each side worked out just fine. 


We were able to hide all of the cords behind the board, but one problem remained: the DSL modem and wifi router. The modem needed to be plugged into the phone jack located behind the desk, but because of obvious dimensions, it could not hide behind the board. I wanted to hide the modem/router in something, and after a shopping trip to Homegoods, I found a canvas box to do the trick.


And that’s where this story ends, with hidden cords and a happy husband. Life is good.

Thanks so much Sara for sharing this project. Such a great idea and one I might very well be taking on to hide all the TV cords in our living room.

Remember, I'm looking to feature at least one reader a month, so if you have a design dilemma or a project you're particularly proud of, please get in touch.

Until next time, 

Reader Renovations: Working with a Sectional


Today I'm posting a little something different, which I hope you'll enjoy. 

I'm loosely titling this series 'reader renovations'. I'm sure you can guess what it's all about, seems pretty self explanatory to me. But in case you want more details - let me enlighten you...

It's all about featuring you - my amazing readers!

If you have a project you are particularly proud of or a design dilemma you'd like help with - contact me and you could be chosen to be featured.

So without further ado, let's kick off this new series!


{Reader Renovations}

Recently my sister-in-law purchased a new custom sectional for her family room. Unfortunately, when it arrived, it wasn't exactly what she had in mind. From a size and comfort perspective, it's perfect; from a color and style perspective, not so much.

So she decided to remove almost everything from the room and start over. This is how the room looks at the moment.




The couch, media stand and lamps are the only items that need to stay. 

This is like my dream come true, the chance to decorate a room from scratch. But to some, this kind of task can be pretty overwhelming, so I thought it'd be fun to throw in my two cents and create a mood board for the room.  


As you can see, I chose a color pallet featuring yellows, grays, and creams.  The colors were chosen to tie in with her existing decor in the living and dining room. You know how important I feel room to room flow is!

Also, she was feeling like the room was too dark and too brown; the hits of yellow will serve to lighten and brighten the space, while the cream will balance out all the dark brown.

{via}

Lighting in the room is a bit of a problem, so I've been sure to incorporate several task lighting options. I'd like to see her existing pole lamps flanking the couch, with a contrasting table lamp (in a lighter color to break up the brown on brown) on the media console.

{via}

The accent chair would be placed opposite the sectional with the accompanying pharmacy-style floor lamp, for a cozy reading corner.

{via}
The sectional is already accessorized with a variety of neutral linen pillows. Adding a couple of accent pillows featuring yellow and gray will help to tie the whole room into one cohesive space.  


Other notable highlights are the felted wool pebble poufs that act as both ottomans and floor pillows. Love these and imagine the kids would too! Every room needs a bit of whimsy or something unexpected - and these would definitely provide just that.
To check them out for yourself, click here.


I'm also loving this eclectic wooden box made from schoolhouse rulers. 
Click here to find out more.

Look for me on Pinterest for more details on this mood board and other upcoming boards/projects.

And not to worry, I'll keep you updated on the progress of this room as it unfolds. I can't wait to see what she does with it.

Until next time,