Posts Tagged ‘living room’

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 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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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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That Guy

We have a split foyer. When you walk in our front door, you’re met with two options: stairs down to the basement or up to the living areas. Because of this configuration, our entryway light is our constant companion.

He’s like that annoying guy at work that “just so happens” to take his lunch at the same time as you. No one’s a fan of “that guy” – the one who always seems to be hanging around. (See what I did there? “Hanging” around?)

I’m no fan of this guy, either. He’s big and brassy and obnoxious.

Of course, the replacement pendant that I drool over from Restoration Hardware…

…costs $1395. Sad face. Why must everything be so expensive and lovely?

I originally saved that picture to my “entryway” inspiration folder on July 23, 2011.

Fast-forward to this past Sunday. Scene: Katie wandering through the Lowe’s lighting department. I found not one, but TWO pendants that could potentially snap me out of my six-month-long, expensive-lighting-induced melancholy.

Introducing allen + roth’s Edison pendant light:

and their boringly-named “bronze pendant light”:

Edison’s $119, and Bronze is $169. Looking at them now, I’m thinking Edison might be best suited to a kitchen island or something, and at 12 inches, it also might not be big enough for our entryway, but this is my fantasy here, so I’m keeping it in the running as a contender.

No purchases yet, so if you happen across that RH pendant above for around 90% off, give me a holler. Otherwise, I’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any entryway lighting decisions as they happen.

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I previously mentioned that I was hanging new curtains in the living room. I finally got around to taking some pictures, so I’m giving you a peek. First though, let’s see what the window looked like when we bought the house:

And now:

This time, I took into account how far from each other I’d be mounting the brackets so I wouldn’t have a sad, saggy curtain rod like last time, and I’m happy with the way it all turned out. From a different angle:

Close-up of the panels (from Ikea, as previously seen here):

They’re a light greige with big, shiny white polka dots.

Just like most projects once they’re done, I can’t believe it took me so long to hang these bad boys! Next up, we’ll be painting the adjoining wall in the living room a greige that matches these curtain panels and painting all the trim semi-gloss white. Maybe someday soon after that we’ll be painting the brick fireplace, finally figuring out what to hang above the mantel, buying an area rug, and replacing our TV stand (which is starting to bow from the weight of the TV). Stay tuned!

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It’s Friday, so I wanted to share a couple of photos from our jaunt to Cali.

Venice at dusk:

Last weekend involved no travel; not for me, anyway. Andrew went to Philly for a while on Saturday while I bought some more spray paint at Home Depot, then worked on some curtain hardware. I may actually be getting the hang of it! It went better than my last attempt (here). While at the Deepe, I also picked up some paint chips. I’m working on the living room, y’all. …guess I just gave away the plans for this weekend.

Who’s doing something more glamorous than hanging curtains and buying paint? Anyone? Happy Friday!

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How Sad…

…is this?

That’s the living room wall you see FIRST when you come into our home. Inviting, no?

No, it’s not inviting! That picture is no exaggeration. Aside from the horrendous lighting and the lack of a side table (because we did/do have a table there), the above picture is true to life. Nothing on the wall, nothing cozy or friendly or homey about it. And the longer it looked like that, the sadder it seemed. You’d think that after a year of living here, we’d settle in a bit. I’m saying “we,” but of course, it’s mostly my fault. Andrew’s more of a that-looks-awful-here’s-a-picture-let’s-nail-it-to-the-wall type of person, and I’m more of a oh-I’m-not-sure-what-if-we-find-something-better-just-wait-for-me-to-explore-all-our-options-slash-find-a-REALLY-good-sale type of person. Or, as I like to think, I’m more of a “master plan” type of person.

Not really. But I’d like to be. I’d like to be a “master plan” type of person. So, I set out looking for my MP. Fortunately, my three-pound Restoration Hardware catalog arrived around this time, so I flipped through that, looking for inspiration pictures of expanses of wall the stylists had made, um, stylish.

Idea the first: many pictures.

I like the look of a bunch of frames arranged tightly and geometrically like this. Plus, horses are cool. However, the problems with this arrangement are that 1) I would have to buy nine frames, and 2) I would have to find nine images that would still sort of seem cohesive.

Idea the second: one big picture.

Uncluttered and statement-making. Too bad the image above costs $5,000 and the most similar image from Ikea reminds me too much of the one hanging in the break room at work. I’d rather my home not remind me of being at work.

Idea the third: mirror plus art.

Liking the combo of square and round shapes. And it’s not too complicated. And a mirror would be great in our spot because it’s across from a window. AND there’s an Ikea mirror I bought as a possibility for our bathroom, we decided was too small and returned, but still spoke to me when I was there shopping for curtains.

So, here’s our progress:

Comparing our arrangement to the RH one, I am thinking I may have hung the trio a little too high – always a problem with me.  I know the art is supposed to be eye level, but then I think to myself, “Andrew’s eye level is about eight or nine inches higher than mine, so I’ll nudge everything up just a little bit.”  And then it ends up being too high.  But practice some patience with me here because we want to find a console table or something to go along that wall, behind the chair-and-a-half, and then put lamps or whatever on it, so there’s got to be some breathing room.  Or at that point, I’ll rehang the stuff lower.

You may also be trying to figure out what’s in those frames.

That’s the piece of paper that came in the frame over there on your left. And in the right frame, a picture of some flowers in a pitcher of… milk? I don’t know, it doesn’t really make sense, I just liked it for some reason. I keep telling Andrew we should get a picture of cookies to put in the other one. Milk and cookies? Get it? Yes? No? I’ll keep you posted on what ends up in that frame. You’ll probably be waiting another year though.

P.S. The two frames, mirror, and milk-drinking flowers are all from Ikea.

P.P.S. You may have noticed the dog crate in the wide shot and be wondering where Widget is.

He’s snoring while I type.

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