Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas has arrived

I can't believe it's Christmas time already! My Christmas decor this year is similar to how it was last year, but I have made a few small changes that I thought you'd enjoy. In keeping with my simplistic style, I didn't go all out quite like I did last year, but the holiday spirit is still definitely present in our house! I thought I'd start by sharing with you guys our holiday living room.

If you'd like a recap on my holiday living room last year, click here

Now onto how it looks this year!
The biggest change in our holiday living room is the way I hung the garland on the stairs banisters. This year I went with the "swag" and I think it looks fancier this way :) 

 My little santa collection is displayed below the stairs :) 

I love the holiday season so much, and it is always so warm and welcoming to come into this room :) Have your trimmed your tree and decked your halls already?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Home Improvement Goals Progress Report

Last October I made a list of eight things I felt I could accomplish within the next year.  Read about that here.  I thought it might be useful to do a recap and see where I stand on these projects.  Here we go:

1. Finish framing the half bathroom mirror.  
This project is done! Read about it here.

2. Paint/stain the cabinets in the master and half bathrooms.
This is done too! The half bathroom cabinets are pictured here, but I still haven't shared  the master bathroom with you guys! 

3. Staircase remodel. 
Still haven't started on this one. The more I think about it, the more I want to hire a professional to replace the railings because they really aren't sturdy enough for my peace of mind.  I have visions of somebody leaning on the railing and then crashing down. :(

4.  Hang chandelier in master bedroom.
We'll we did hang the chandelier, just not in the master bathroom! It's new home is in the library!  

5. Paint the kitchen
Done! And I still love our color choice.  

6. Paint the master bathroom
This is sorta done. We did buy a new can of paint and were able to patch that one spot so that it matches the rest of the room, however I still really want to give the entire room a totally new color. We're working on that room right now and thinking of creative and inexpensive ways to spruce it up. I'm hoping to share it with you soon! 

7. Neutralize the gallery wall
Done! See more here

8. Fix the door frame in the upstairs bathroom
This hasn't been touched. It still looks like this:

I guess we got 5 1/2 out of 8 projects done, but it doesn't really feel like we made that much progress because the biggest project (the staircase remodel) is one of the projects we've yet to tackle. In all fairness to us, we did have to deal with the "little" problem of replacing all the plumbing in our home over the summer which put a big hold on all other projects. Suffice it to say, our house was in complete shambles for well over a month due to that project and we still haven't completely put it back together. Replacing all the plumbing in a house is a messy (and expensive) project.   Let's hope I can get the rest of this list checked off soon!

What about you? Did you accomplish all your home improvement goals this year? As always, thanks for stopping by!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescape

I love hosting parties and dinners in our home, and Thanksgiving is one my absolute favorite events every year.  It's the one time of year both mine and my husband's families get together, and  its the true start of the holiday season.  Obviously having a wonderful meal planned is key to any successful Thanksgiving gathering, but it is of equal importance to me to have my home look the part! I just love a welcoming home during the holidays! For that reason, I put a lot of thought and care into designing my tablescape this year.  I decided to keep my tablescape simple for a couple of reasons. 

Reason #1: If the centerpieces are too tall, you can't see the people sitting across from you, which just isn't practical for conversation. Like so:

As gorgeous as both of these tables are, they are really only for show. How could you ever carry on a conversation with somebody sitting across from you?

Reason #2: If the centerpiece is too long or too bulky, that doesn't leave any room to set the food. For practicality purposes, there needs to be space to set the gravy boat, rolls, and salt & pepper shakers even if you serve the majority of your food buffet style.

While these centerpieces are unarguably gorgeous, who wants to have to walk to the kitchen every time somebody needs some butter for their roll? Not me.

Which brings me to our Thanksgiving tablescape. It's practical but in my opinion still special. 

I like to stick with unscented candles at the table so the smell doesn't compete with the smells from the food :) 

I'm in love with my new table runner that was a custom made gift :) So simple and beautiful any time of the year.

I created these silverware holders out of spare construction paper I had and glued the edges together using mod podge. I created the labels using picmonkey. Here's an even closer view:

For my centerpiece, I set my candelabra into the blue, wooden, rectangular box I had and filled it with faux leaves and pine cones from my yard.  It's both compact and beautiful.  If you don't have a box like my wooden one, you could always wrap a shoe box in pretty wrapping paper and fill it with candles, pine cones, leaves or other pretty items.  Not only is it pretty, but it keeps the centerpiece small, leaving plenty of room for the food!

How are your Thanksgiving plans coming along? Can you believe its only a week and a half away?!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Evolution of our Loft Space

It is a truth universally known but rarely spoken that everybody has at least one room in their home that they desperately try to hide from any and all visitors due to its.. let's just call it "lack of appeal".  I try to keep that in mind when I'm drooling over the beautiful blogs out there with their gorgeously clean and decorated rooms.  Don't think we haven't noticed that you've never shared with us what is behind the door to the left of your living room.  

Or maybe I'm just hoping I'm not the only one who lives half her life in a decorated and clean space, 
and the other half in a hot mess express.

Anyway... In my case the forbidden room is the garage, master bathroom, man cave, loft space.  Let me take you through it's many glorious stages.

Here's what the room looked like when we first bought the house in 2011.  Just your average loft space, nothing fancy, but nothing particularly wrong with it either.

We shoved our college furniture left overs up there (No home is complete without a collapsible pink chair, a wobbly desk and orange curtains, amirite?..Luckily I don't have any pictures from this stage, so you're spared the damage to your eyes)  and pretty much ignored the space for a year or so because we were too busy tackling other rooms in our house.  Meanwhile, our dog Ruby decided this was her bathroom, and proceeded to *ahem* "use the facilities" while we were gone to work.  Since we couldn't afford new carpeting, we forked over $200 to have the carpets professionally cleaned and used a gift card that we got as a wedding present to buy a rug from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Then my wonderful husband had the grand idea to buy me a chair from Ikea for my birthday last year, which brought my lovely loft space to this:

I remember being REALLY proud at this stage, even though this was the only thing in there (besides my old ottoman and, of course, the orange curtains).  That tells you something about how bad it must have been before. 

Christmas 2013 rolled around and I managed for the first time to fill it with enough stuff to make it feel like a finished (albeit mismatched) room.  Read more about that here.  I'll wait.

Once the Christmas decorations were put away and my blue chair was back downstairs in its usual spot, this room went back to being not only mismatched, but also mostly empty (although my hubs did get me the second matching chair for Christmas!).  Despite it's unfinished nature, I found myself sitting in that nearly empty room for hours on end curled up with a book. I found the space oddly peaceful and really enjoyed the light that comes through the window at sunset.  This led me to the idea of using the room as a library. Seeing as no library is complete without bookshelves, I began hunting.  It wasn't long and I'd scored these (for free!): 

Aren't they gorgeous in all their 1980's fake wood glory?  

Seriously though, they really are gorgeous now and I'm in love with them:

I just gave them a good sanding and painted them with a semi gloss white paint.  Then I applied gift wrap to the back of them with modge podge because I'm too cheap to invest in actual wall paper. Total cost for these was about $30! One of my favorite furniture redo's to date, although I still really love my secretary. (Side note: If any of you are interested in a post about how I did the wrapping paper backing, let me know!)

After we got these monsters upstairs, I spent a few days rearranging the furniture until I found the best layout.  Then I dug through my closets and came up with some accessories and artwork I could use in the space.  Next I used a gift card to buy some lovely curtains from Target.  Keeping with the library theme, I chose my favorite book quotes and  created my own artwork using picmonkey:

I bought the frame from Goodwill for 99 cents. I'm thinking about spray painting it... wait for it... 
white!  I know your shocked.

Anyway, all this fun stuff brought me to this point:

At this point, I finally began to feel like this room was actually going to work out, but I knew I wasn't quite there yet.  The curtain rod needed to be raised, and that builder grade flush mount light fixture had to go.  I also felt like the ottoman looked too big and bulky, but thought setting a tray and some nice accessories on it would make it feel less imposing and make the entire room feel more finished.  

So we hung this bad boy! You may recall from this list that we purchased this light fixture forever ago with the intention of hanging it above my husband's night stand. After years (yes, you read that right, years) of indecision I decided it wasn't right for that space, but after much deliberation I thought it would work well in my library! 

Here is the finished space! It's amazing what a difference it makes raising the curtain rod 6 inches! You may also noticed that I pulled the chair in the corner out just a few inches. I think it makes the layout flow much better :) 

All in all, I couldn't be happier with the way this space has turned out. I never thought I'd actually get to have a library in my home because it seemed like such a luxury. Here's the cost breakdown and location of where items were purchased:

Curtains: Used a gift card (Target)
Curtain rod: It's really old and I don't remember
Rug: Used a gift card (Bed, Bath and Beyond)
White chairs: Both were gifts (Ikea)
Book shelves: free from a friend (wrapping paper to line the backs and paint approx. $30)
Round side table: free from a friend
Lamp: was a gift (Kirkland's)
Shutters: one from a garage sale, one from an antique store in Houston - total $46
Artwork: It's a Thomas Kincaid, and was a gift 
Light fixture: $149 (Lowe's)
Ottoman: $70 about 4 years ago (Homegoods)
Tray/books/candle on top of ottoman: Total $50 (Homegoods)
Items on bookshelves: most were things I already owned, but the few items I purchased were about $8 from Goodwill and TJ Maxx.
Brown pillows: came with my couch about 5 years ago (Star furniture)
Burlap pillows: $12 each (boutique shop called HeartWorks in College Station, TX)

The total cost for this room was about $365, but since I purchased the light fixture, shutters and ottoman years ago, I only spent about $100 recently to pull it all together! I hope you enjoyed touring my little library, and I hope you come back soon!

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Affordable Flooring Upgrade

When we purchased our home, all the flooring had been tastefully redone, with the exception of the laundry room and the upstairs bathroom. Those two rooms still had the original 1980's linoleum. They were pretty damn ugly. Behold...

The laundry room even had brown stains that I couldn't get off for the life of me. 

As hideous as the linoleum was, I couldn't bring myself to do anything expensive in the laundry room because, after all it was just a laundry room. I consider painting the floors but was afraid that as soon as I tried to bring the washer and dryer back into the room I'd scratch and ruin my newly painted floors.

Then a couple weeks ago my mother in law suggested peel and stick tile and I thought it was the perfect solution for our laundry room. When I went to Lowe's and found tile that almost perfectly matched the existing tile in both our downstairs bathrooms, I figured it was meant to be.

See what I mean? It blends in perfectly with the tile we already had!

This really was such an easy and affordable project. Here's the breakdown:

1. Clean floors thoroughly and allow them to dry.
2. Find center point of room and begin laying tile from there.
3. When you get to the edges/corners, trim the tile to the size needed using scissors or a razor blade.
4. For tricky edges (around door trim, etc) create a template out of paper and trace it onto the back of the tile before cutting it out.

At 88 cents per tile, this project cost us a grand total of $38, and took less than 4 hours! Not bad for a brand new floor. 

Do you have any creative ideas for updating your floors on a budget? As always, thanks for stopping by!