Sunday, March 23, 2014

Living Room Progress | Decorating on a Tight Budget at a Snail's Pace

I am SO behind on posts on this blog, its unreal. I have so many projects finished and/or in the making that I could share. Or overshare? But as I say on a daily basis, there just isn't enough time in a day. I don't sleep much. But still, I could use about 8-12 more hours per day. But I'd have to drink 3 more cups of coffee per day and that's not good.  At this point in my life its hard to believe that a few years back I went three years without caffeine. And now I might as well have an IV. Oh well. Enough about that. Time to talk living room progress.
I have taken my sloooooooow, sweet time on our living room...and that is actually a really good thing. I had a totally different vision in my mind for our living room when we first moved I am pretty glad I took my time. This makeover is three years in the making and still not quite finished.

Let's take a look back. This is how this room looked when we first laid our eyes on this home. Not my thing, but it worked for them. And we bought the house so that worked for them too. Except we got a sweet deal. Yay for us.

Then here was the living room right after we moved in. EEK! No better than their version. We had no plans of it staying this way....this was just a temporary arrangement while we completed our family room makeover. Look at little Coop! I can't believe he was that little when we moved in.

Yikes. This is pretty bad too...but honestly....this was just where everything landed temporarily.

Here are a few shots of the then unappealing entryway. Eww. I have had plans to put a gallery wall here since we moved in and three years later it still hasn't happened. I may have changed my mind now.

One of the first things I did in that space was add this skinny little bench. I found it on craigslist for $20. It was dark wood and had giant feet that stuck out of the front and back but a friend I work with cut those off for me and I painted it white. Spray paint and Safecoat Acrylaq are my friends. You can also see here I got a new rug. I pulled the new wall color out of that rug...I actually don't think it will live there much longer though, because now I want something bold and bright!

In this next shot, you can see the light fixture. Brass. And crystal. Not my favorite. That will go sooner than later. I want something funky like this but smaller. You also have a view here of our old, dated front door and a tiny glimpse of another furniture steal scored through a cyber-friend who I met on craigslist. I know. Kinda weird. But in this day and age is it really that weird? Anyway...Kirsten is an uber-creative furniture painting gal. Check out her stuff on her blog. Unfortunately she doesn't live here anymore, but if you happen to be in or near Fargo, you could snag up one of her fabulous upcycled creations. 

Next is the view looking toward the entry and down the hall toward the bedrooms. Sandwiched by these two areas is one of my treasured family heirlooms: my great-grandmother's piano. 

After this dresser found a new home in my bedroom and the dresser from the master bedroom ended up in the girls' room...this old heirloom from my other grandma, affectionately named Gigi, by my kids, ended up in the entryway. A few years ago, I actually found a photo of an identical dresser in Lonny Mag, one of my favorite magazines to shop for design inspiration.  The dresser was being used as a bar in a dining room, which reassured me that repurposing this dresser as an entry console was a great design choice. On the right you can see our new and improved craftsman style front door. 

Last spring, I finally got around to changing the paint color in my living room, entry and hallway. I went with a grey, one shade darker than my dining room. Don't have the name right now but I will come back and update soon.  I can tell you its Olympic Brand from Lowe's because they have low VOC paint at a great price. It turns out to be a bluish gray, which wasn't necessarily what I was going for...but it works... and when I found this beauty staring back at me at one of my favorite consignment shops, I knew the bluish tone was meant to be. We also purchased a new rug from Joss and Main around that time which you can see here.

I found these cute metal tables at Target.  I tried out a few different lamps and shades from Target and Marshalls before deciding on the sleek, mod white lamps from Target and a plain white drum shade with teal stripes along the top and bottom edge.

I found the ikat storage bench on Joss and Main, which I loved because it pulled in the blue from the couch and offered so much storage for our sheet music and even a few blankets.

Then I found these curtains on overstock and I was thrilled, because I had originally planned to hunt down that material and make them myself.  When I came across them on overstock, I knew it had to be fate. Right? Now if you are a design blog stalker like me, you will start seeing this print everywhere, but that's okay. I love it anyway.

Next came these white chairs, that I scored on craigslist for a steal. Its all starting to come together, don't you think?

Here's the view down the hall, before I updated my hallway gallery wall. More on that later.

And here we have the view from the door, with a photo bomb by my baby and my fur baby.

The final touches in this living room makeover happened in the last two months, and although its not completely finished (am I ever really done?)  I finally feel like this is the livable living room that I've been dreaming of.  I found the marble coffee table on JCPenny online, of all places.  I also got it for a steal. Its originally $675 and on clearance for $299. I bought it when they were having a site wide sale, so I think I paid $219 and had free shipping too. Booyah.  The moroccan ottoman poofs are really popular right now and the real leather ones usually go from around $200 each on sites like One Kings Lane and Joss and Main or $275 on  I found them through a private seller in Morocco and got the pair for $80! They came unstuffed and smelled like an animal...I think they were seriously directly off the animals' back.  But a few weeks in the cold garage later, the smell was gone. I ordered the stuffing on Amazon prime and Voila... Just like their high-priced friends for less than a quarter the cost.

So there you have it. My living room makeover. Let's take one more look at the before and after to see how far we've come.





Monday, February 17, 2014

Living Room Chairs {Furniture Refab}

So  after I bought my vintage sofa and new rug, I was looking for some side chairs for my living room. I knew I wanted two of the same chairs to add some balance and I also wanted a mixture of old and new.

I've been seeing rattan chairs all over design blogs and magazines and something has really been drawing me to them.

One day, I spotted this one on One King's Lane. I love the open 'airy' feeling of the rattan and the comfort of the big deep cushions.  But I also love the fact that this one is a wingback, so it feels a little more like it could shine in a formal living room rather than being sent off to hide in a sunroom. Unfortunately, the $999 price tag made this one WAY out of reach, especially since I needed two.

It was around that time that I spotted these two beauties fixer-uppers on craigslist and snatched them up for $80 for the pair. As you can see, they need some work, which really just amounted to a little paint and some new fabric.

I tossed out the upper cushions and removed the lower cushions from their covers and tossed them in the washing machine. I had this yellow chevron fabric that I purchased almost two years ago, not knowing exactly when and how I would use it.

This is where my mom came to the rescue...She made the cushion covers for me when I was home for Thanksgiving weekend. I had planned to do it myself, but its always faster when she does it. After all, she's the expert and the one with the awesome sewing machine. One day I will get one. Anyway, I helped. Here is the cording that we covered with the fabric.

And here is a completed cushion.

I added large grey down pillows that I found at TJMaxx for the back of the chairs and also these adorable, decorative handmade pillows, purchased on etsy from Caitlin of Bright July. I love, love, LOVE these pillows. We got one that says carpe diem and one that says besos. Both sayings have meaning for me, but besos has extra special meaning in our family. Yes, I am a Spanish teacher, so there is significance there...but also...all three of my children had besos as one of their first words. We always use the word besos instead of kisses, every night before bed. In fact, right now, I am certain Cecilia knows what besos are but not so sure if she knows what kisses are.  I love filling my home with things like this that have meaning for us, and also supporting artists on etsy in the process. If you don't know etsy, than you are living under a rock and you must drop everything and go check it out. NOW. 

So here you can see how my two completed craigslist beauties add some light and airy punch to my living room. I actually think they rival the One Kings Lane high-end version. In fact, I think I like mine better. And at less than 5% of the price, they are a home run for this 'almost there' living room. 

More to come...Stay tuned for a coffee table and some ottomans.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Best. Christmas. Ever. | Christmas Traditions and more

UGH. I am SO behind with this post. You'll forgive me, right? If you're reading. I know there is only like one or two of you. That's okay.

This Christmas season started with a trip to see Santa. No one cried so that was good. Ladybug told Santa she has a very loooong list for him. Santa could barely hear so he just nodded at whatever they said.

A day or two after we put up the tree, we were all downstairs and it came crashing down. I cried. For about two seconds until I realized all the little eyes were on me, and Ladybug proclaimed, " This is the worstest Christmas ever." I reminded her that it's not Christmas yet and Santa always comes, even if your tree fell over. They were cool with that.

Several hours later, we had the tree back up and looking quite nice. I have no idea why it fell but it's been fine ever since. On Christmas eve day, I snapped these of the girls before we headed over to Mark's sister's house.  The little ladybird was doing quite well considering she was up sick all night the night before. 

Her eyes melt my heart.

And her eyelashes kill me. 


Coop got some things he really wanted...

And so did ladybug...

On Christmas eve night the kids got to open their first present from us...Christmas PJs. A tradition we started a few years ago and plan to continue every year.

The kids wrote notes to Santa and left them out with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer. We put them all up on the mantel so Santa would see them and Marley wouldn't eat them.

I saw this idea on my favorite blog and I LOVE it! What a fantastic idea! This is a new tradition for us but I know we will continue it each year. The presents from Santa are numbered, instead of having the kids names on them. In the morning they find a letter from Santa and when they see their gifts, they have no idea which one belongs to who until they read the letter that Santa has left for them. 

Here you can see some more living room progress. More on that soon! And you can also see my DIY advent calendar. SO simple and I just LOVE it!

It was so cute to hear them running out and screaming, "He came! Santa came! Hey! There's no names on the presents!??"When we came out of our room, they were jumping up and down with excitement...Despite the numbering system, Cooper had figured out which box contained the Star Wars Legos he had been hoping for. Lucia was squealing. When we pointed out the letter on the mantel, their eyes lit up. They half listened to me read it. The anticipation was oozing out of them.

And this was the aftermath....I was almost a little sad when all the presents were open. The joy and excitement in their faces as they opened each gift was worth every second of planning and wrapping and preparing and more.
Ladybug screeched "Oh my gosh! Just what I've always wanted!" about each and every gift she opened, which won her the award of best gift recipient for the second year in a row!

Cece loved her new 'baby' and her xylophone.

It was a musical kind of Christmas. Lucia's fave had to be the ukulele from mom and dad.

Little tired baby. We had to wake her up for this when the other two woke up!


Twinkle toes.

And there you have it. It sure wasn't the worstest Christmas, as Ladybug feared. No, far from it. It was very likely my best Christmas ever. And with this crew, they just keep getting better.

What are your treasured Christmas traditions?