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Archive for the ‘Decor’ Category

May I just go on the record and say that I love the selection of home accessories currently at Target? Lots of gray and white, and lots of brass accents. The gray and the white completely fit in with pretty much every room in our house; the brass… not so much. At some point, with no real discussion, Andrew and I reached the consensus that we preferred silver-toned finishes over gold-toned. I was cool with it. I haven’t touched base with Andrew on this recently, but I’m pretty sure he’s cool with it (-slash doesn’t give it a second thought). We’re pale people, and silver is a better complement to our skin tone. But sometimes I see some brass accessories that are seriously the bomb (entryway light fixture not being one of them). Brass reminds me of Emily Henderson. Love her!

Oh, brass horse. You complete me.

So, yeah. Time to loosen the no-brass-allowed rule. But how? HOW? Some people are really good at mixing metals, but that’s way too advanced for me. Life is so difficult! (#firstworldproblems)

Here’s the compromise I came up with: instead of completely scrapping all the chrome-y/silver-y/brushed-nickel-y accents in our house, and instead of swearing off all brass no matter how bangin’, I’ve designated the office/guest room as our brass-and-gold-toned-metallics mecca. That room is pretty much a clean slate, decor-wise, so it can go any direction. The solution is so simple, but when I came up with it, I felt liberated.

Back to Target. I was there on Monday, and I stumbled across this mirror:

You know I loved it if I was inspired enough to take a picture with my phone. I didn’t buy it though. I’m practicing restraint, which is a gamble with Target goods – I still get wistful over these plastic tumblers I saw there in June. When I went back to buy them, they were gone. Sniffle. Moment of silence for what could have been…

Anyway. Restraint. I wanted Andrew’s opinion on the mirror, and I wanted to make room in our budget (we’re talking $40-plus-tax, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but we’re watching our funds closely around here… it’s called “operation: pay off the car early”). Andrew was all “of course you can buy that,” which I knew he would be, and Tuesday was our wedding anniversary, so after a celebratory dinner out, we stopped by Target to grab my mirror (it was still there – phew!).  Oh, we grabbed a few other things while we were there. I’ll have to share those soon, too.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to hang the mirror in the office/guest room. If you can’t make it out in the photo, the finish is more of an “antiqued” brass, not shiny-shiny. This mirror might even jump-start the office/guest room makeover, which has been a looooong time coming. Also, looking at that brass horse, I feel like I could DIY something really similar. Did anyone else have Breyer horses? I have about a million of them at my parents’ house – add some gold paint and attach a base, and boom! Instant Emily-Henderson-inspired style.

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STUFF. Blech. Stuff stresses me out. In my perfect world, our house would look like this:

Monochromatic and uncluttered to the extreme. Unfortunately, it’s not really a realistic ideal since Andrew and I sometimes like to do things like watch TV or read or surf the Internet. And we have a dog that requires stuff. And life in general just takes stuff.

I’m not exactly Type A, so organization is a constant struggle. Luckily, I was recently in the land of stuff: my parents’ house, where stuff goes to die. Normally, all that stuff just makes me anxious, but a stack of six baskets – abandoned by my sister – struck me as a possible solution for an empty… hole?… in our TV stand.

I put a few books and a decorative bowl in the bottom left quadrant, but the fourth and final one sat empty for the past two months. I wanted something white or light-colored to put in there, to lessen the black-hole qualities of the unit. And then those white baskets winked at me, and here we are today:

Light and bright? Yes. Clutter control? Oh heck yes. Widget’s toys have a new home.

And of course, that basket had friends.

These couldn’t be a better fit; I think this is what they call “fate.” There’s good stuff in these two baskets. Junk food for Widget:

Junk food for my brain:

How about those Twilight kids, eh? So scandalous.

So that’s three of the six. The other three moved into the multi-purpose closet in our living room. It’s our coat closet/pantry/catch-all storage space.

Those doors need a makeover, and that trim needs painting. At least the inside has begun it’s transformation from a jumbled mess to a semi-sensical…mess.

Reusable shopping bags shoved in there, then that pink bag is full of cleaning rags and there’s some other cleaning supplies shoved back there. Next shelf up is for games and my yoga mat and light weights. Here’s where one of the baskets came in handy to wrangle cards and Catch Phrase.

The other shelves are taken by our toaster oven and random foods, spices and oils.

Then I used the remaining two baskets to corral our hats and gloves: one’s for Andrew, and one’s for me. At some point, I’ll get around to making little labels or something for them so it’s easy to grab the right one.

While we’re talking about contained storage, check out this little box I picked up from Marshall’s for about three bucks

It’s kind of Hermes-esque, right? Ha! I wish. I use it to store my hair ties.

There you have it; that’s how we’re trying to deal with all the stuff life necessitates. As mentioned, organization is ever a work-in-progress for me, so any tips are more than welcome! Send ’em my way. Oh, and Stephanie – if you’re reading this, can I have these baskets? Thanks! Love you!

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I know, I know. It’s been awhile since we’ve posted, but we haven’t done much lately on the home front. Instead we’ve been relaxing some, cooking and grilling some, entertaining some, reading some, chillaxing in general.

Get this – I did get some iron-on hem tape for the living room curtains, so that’s a work-in-progress. One panel down, three to go!

Also, my little tomato plant has a fruit:

I tweaked our dining room arrangement a tad, and Andrew painted THE REST OF THE TRIM in there. Woot! The amount of untouched trim in this house is dwindling.

Little tweaks in here aside from the trim-painting include: hanging the blue painting of the couple in the field (a homemade gift from Tricia circa 2004), moving the bar cabinet over, and pulling two of the six chairs away from the table to make it feel less squanched (that’s a made-up word, btw). Oh, and putting into use some bottle stoppers we’ve had sitting in a drawer for the past two years.

I had about a week there were I went through some cleaning-out-junk-drawer insanity, and these stoppers either had to earn their keep or git. So that’s the story of how we became fancy people who use bottle stoppers.

Still to come in this room: gotta paint the walls (we are going to use the spare gallon of paint we already have, which matches the color in our bedroom and my “dressing room”) and gotta hang an actual curtain rod. Holy moly. It’s been almost two years. We really need to do that.

Sorry for the lighting in the photo above. I’m playing around with the settings on my camera; maybe one day photos on this blog will be of a consistent quality.

Aside from the two immediate (and by “immediate” I mean “at top of the list… whenever we happen to get to the list”) projects concerning paint and curtain hardware, I want to reupholster the chair seats and paint the hutch. We also are considering rotating the table 90 degrees (an idea my mom had), but don’t think that orientation will work until after we run hardwoods all the way into the adjoining kitchen.

Wow, I was looking for a picture to demonstrate the transition from hardwood to linoleum between the dining room and kitchen, and I came across this never-before-seen beaut:

So many things wrong with this picture! Hardwoods not yet refinished, permanent doormat mark along with the huge grate in the floor (um, neither of these issues have been addressed yet…), lacy curtains still on the door, yellow trim along the floor, black (broken) dishwasher not yet replaced, eagle-adorned switchplate over the counter… This is the type of picture I post that embarrasses Andrew.

Another recent development around here is that I have a self-imposed glow-box (TV, computer, iPad, cell phone) shut off time of 9:30, and I’m 15 minutes late for that, so I really gotta go now. The curfew doesn’t apply to talking on the phone though. Call me.

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Before Andrew and I were suburban starters, we were downtown dwellers. Baltimore has a bad rap – mostly deserved – but we enjoyed our time in Charm City. It was the first place we lived together, where we worked together, and where we got engaged. When we moved there, my aunt gave us her old street maps from when she and my uncle lived there.

I haven’t had much use for it because I always use the GPS on my phone, plus the maps are out-of-date, but when I pulled it out of a drawer I was cleaning out, I had a flash of inspiration. We’ve had an empty frame hanging on a wall in the office (Andrew’s “brag wall,” which I inflicted on him). So I pulled the map of downtown Baltimore, trimmed it to fit, and here we are:

Here it is amongst Andrew’s awards, etc:

The brag wall is kind of turning into “Andrew Cannarsa, this is your life…”

By the way, I don’t think I’ve shared my little office set up. I’m working from home now, so I had to rearrange this room and nix a lot of clutter to make it more functional.

This room also serves as our guest room. It was largely ignored for a very long time after we moved in, but we’re slowly working on it and coming up with plans to improve it. We 100% plan to paint it and get different curtains (and hang a real curtain rod over the desk). We’d also like to add an area rug. Beyond that, we’re still toying with ideas, like maybe replacing the twin-sized bed with a pullout couch and adding a TV. Who knows? Maybe I’ll clean out another drawer and get another stroke of genius.

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I know we’re keeping you guys in suspense with the bathroom reveal, but we’re still putting the finishing touches in the room. Soon!

In the meantime, our birthdays bookended the big bath project. Mine was the Wednesday before we demo’d, and Andrew’s was Sunday – the day after we were able to shower in our own house again (that’s a good birthday present, right?).

Even though the bathroom has been commanding 98% of our attention (and funds), we both managed to gift the other with something decor-related.

First up, Andrew gave me this decorative ampersand, which I’ve been coveting since at least the fall:

Ampersands are so hot right now (right, Nora?). This one’s from Restoration Hardware – otherwise known as Mecca – but there are a lot of options on Etsy, too (like these and this). I put it on top of our little china hutch for now; it’ll probably move around the house from time to time. It can also be mounted on the wall.

Meanwhile, Andrew’s been complaining about our TV stand in the living room for some time. You can see it here:

It doesn’t look so bad, but the middle was starting to sag under the weight of the TV, and the back was open, which did nothing to hide the tangle of wires back there. Also, we’re starting to move away from the blond-colored finish toward darker finishes, like the frame for our wedding photo above the mantel and the Goodwill side table by our chair-and-a-half.

The old TV stand was starting to get under Andrew’s skin. Hence, this secret little project:

Yup, I bought it, hid it, and assembled it on the down-low and swapped it in for the blond one when Andrew wasn’t looking.

So the blond TV stand now lives in the basement, along with all our other semi-homeless home goods. We are plotting to find one big ottoman to replace both the beige microfiber ottoman and the blond Ikea Lack table, a pair of stools to go under the big window (which can serve as foot stools or extra seating in a pinch), and an area rug. Down the line, we’re thinking we want a smaller armchair in place of the chair-and-a-half too. And once we’ve misplaced all this living room furniture, we’ll be well on our way to furnishing our basement and turning it into a second, bigger, casual living/TV space. After we eradicate the snakes, of course. Yikes. Snakes.

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Little changes make me enormously happy. Our linen closet door (in our “hallway”) used to look like this:

In contrast to our bedroom door:

But after painting the door, the trim and the door knob, it looks like this:

Yes, the whole-house trim painting project continues (notice that strip to the left of the linen closet above – it’s still yellow and the quarter-round is still natural wood). We’ll get there.

I decided to take a gamble and spray paint the doorknob rather than buy a new one. I’m happy with the look, but I didn’t bother prepping it very much, and there is already a little wear on it. You can see it on the plate in this picture:

I can live with it for now, and I can always touch it up if it gets worse. Besides that, I’m in love with my “new” linen closet door.

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People have been asking me about the bathroom – sadly, there’s not much to report, but there is a tiny bit of progress, so I will need to write a post about that (soon, promise).

Instead, I’ll share the little projects we did this weekend. Gotta keep the state of this shack moving forward in some way. That reminds me of my mantra, which I don’t think I’ve shared: “petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nit.” “Little by little, the bird feathers its nest.” Sometimes I repeat it over and over to myself, and it makes me feel better that our house isn’t 100% perfectly put together 18 months later.

So, we now have a few visitors scheduled in the upcoming weekends – one of my cousins plus her friend, Andrew’s parents, and Andrew’s brother. Nothing like visitors to motivate some nest-feathering. Andrew painted some more trim work (that job seems to never end), this time around the door to the third bedroom and some other small pieces in the “hallway” that never got done for whatever reason. Hmm, I don’t seem to have a picture to illustrate why I used quotation marks around “hallway,” but it’s really just a small area that includes the doors to all three bedrooms, the bathroom, and the linen closet. Here’s a picture of Widget to make up for it:

I decided to finally hang some stuff that’s been gathering dust for a few weeks/months. First up, a mirror I got from Goodwill for $25. It’s pretty heavy, so I was nervous about hanging it, but I successfully located at least one stud. It’s been about nine hours, and it hasn’t fallen off the wall… yet… I’m still nervous.

I’d like to paint the frame, but I haven’t landed on a color yet, and I really wanted it on the wall already.

While I was at it, I decided to put up a picture I’ve been meaning to hang in the dining room also. It took me about 10 seconds to hang it. I don’t know why I didn’t until this point.

It’s a picture of cheese and honey that I took out of an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. If you know me, you know I love cheese, and I hung it over our “bar,” where we keep our wine rack. Get it? Wine and cheese.

Anyone else have trouble keeping wine in the house? We had a good stock going, but now all that’s left is that bottle of ice wine.

Since I had such good momentum going, I decided to hang one last thing over the fireplace. Yes! We now have something over the fireplace (18 months later)! And to be a total letdown, I didn’t take a picture! But I have a picture of the next best thing, which is the picture sitting on the mantel. It’s basically the same thing, the picture’s just three inches higher now.

It’s a photo of us from our wedding. A late Christmas surprise from my parents. Close up:

Andrew said, “Does it make us vain to have a big picture of ourselves in the living room?” And I said, “It’s our house, we can do whatever we want.” Plus, I look so happy in it (because I was).

The black frame brings a new direction to our living room: now we need to incorporate black. Easy. Our living room had no direction anyway! Maybe I’ll paint the mirror frame black to tie it in.

Back to the dining room for a minute. I found an old pic for a little before and after. Here’s the before:

Please note the hand-me-down table & chairs, the window valances and light fixture left behind by the previous owner, and my sad attempt to spruce things up with some sunflowers. Also, look! Our wine rack has some wine in it!

Here’s the now (not really an “after” since I wouldn’t consider any room of our house to be an “after” yet):

So that’s our weekend update. Back to you, Seth Myers.

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