I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I really love Thanksgiving and think it is such a needed holiday. Everyone needs to be reminded of all they have to be thankful for and I’m happy that Thanksgiving gives us a chance to focus on our blessings from God.
Isn’t that table gorgeous? I love it! My dad just put it into the kitchen of my childhood home and it is over 100 years old! It is the old meeting table of our local Moose lodge that my great-grandpa Wallace was a part of. I love the imperfection and character of it.
As I get older, it seems our Thanksgiving traditions seem to flux and change with different family needs. I really love tradition though, so I’m happy that it seems I’m still able to cherish traditions while also making way for new ones as well.
My younger sisters, my husband and I made Thanksgiving for our family. I love cooking and we had a great time getting everything together. We made most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods, but the majority of everything we made was gluten-free. Mashed potatoes, homemade turkey gravy, baked sweet potatoes, roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese, caramelized broccoli with garlic, GF cornbread, baked ham, deep fried turkey, sweet tea, and my Mamaw’s apple salad. Kelsey and Jill also made crescent rolls, apple dumplings, and pies that weren’t gluten-free. I was traveling there the day before or else I would have made GF pies (I just didn’t eat any, I ate apple salad for dessert instead).
My younger sisters and I with my grandpa (above) and my dad (below).
It was also nice to get to visit and chat with one of my best friends, Tonya, and her mom while I was in town.
I also made a leftover turkey pot-pie complete with a homemade GF pie crust, rolled out with a can of tomatoes. I also got to visit Fergus, my little sister, Jill’s, goat, who has packed on a little winter weight since I saw him this summer.
That weekend we also had a wedding celebration to help out with and attend for Drew’s brother, Wes, and his wife, Trang.
Drew made (and hauled all the way from New Orleans) two different home-brewed beers and a homemade Root Beer.
It was a lovely and fun evening with friends and family under glowing twinkly lights.
Since we live in New Orleans, ten hours away from the rest of our families, it is always such cherished time when we are back in our familiar hometown, back in the country where you can see all the stars at night. I’m so thankful for my family and I’m so happy I got to spend much-needed time with them. I only wish it was longer! Christmas will be here soon though!
How was your Thanksgiving?
Of all the rooms in our apartment, our bedroom is the space that I’ve always been the most unhappy with. With small updates here and there, it has increasingly gotten better over time, but it’s never been my favorite space in the house. Recently, I’ve done a few updates that I’m hoping will spark some others to help shape up this little room.
To start off, here is what the room looked like the last time I showed it to you (nearly a year ago, in my November 2012 House Tour):
So dark, right? This room has four large windows, covered in dark, wooden blinds. The previous tenant of this apartment bought those blinds and then left them for us when we moved in. They are really nice quality and real wood, but they make the room feel so closed in. For the entire first two years we lived here, I left them closed all the time. Mostly for privacy and the fact that lights from the neighboring houses shine into our bedroom windows at night if they are open.
But last week, when I was making the shower curtain for our bathroom, I was in here ironing and it was so dark, I just had to open the blinds up. I fell in love with the bright, airy, open feel of our room with them open!
So much better, right? It just makes the room feel much more balanced. I love that you can see the beautiful original windows, and I can also finally have plants in this room as well! I can’t believe it took us two years to open the blinds! (Not that we hadn’t ever opened them, we just never left them open) It is so nice outside in New Orleans at this time of the year, we also have several windows open as well. I just love having the breeze blowing through the open windows. My favorite time of the year!
We’ve lived with them open for a few weeks now, and while we might have a slight bit less privacy in there (there are several houses close by), it isn’t really that big of a deal. We do have to close one of them at night, since a light shines right in our faces, but opening and closing one of them daily isn’t so bad.
You might notice that this corner has gotten a little makeover as well. Several months ago, when I was doing updates to my office, I moved that chair and table out of my office and into the bedroom. I love this little reading corner in here! I use it so much more than I did when it was in my office.
It makes the room so much cozier and a lot more functional. The two landscape paintings are vintage paint-by-numbers that I bought off Etsy for a great price a long time ago and painted the frames white. I really like the paintings, but Drew doesn’t really like them, and I wasn’t in love with the colors in this room (I feel like the colors are too dark/orange/70′s-ish and kind-of clash with the other things going on in here). So I took them down (I’ll use them elsewhere, don’t worry), and put up a Lulie Wallace painting instead.
Lulie Wallace is one of my absolute favorite artists and I just adore her work (not to mention she shares my maiden name!). I just love the color, pattern, and interest this piece brings to the room. I love waking up to it every morning.
Aren’t the colors fabulous? Mint, lavender, plum, chartreuse, olive–all colors I’m loving right now. This painting is giving me a whole new perspective on the room and where to go with it. It doesn’t need much, just a little more art and perhaps some colored/patterned pillows! Can’t wait to see where it ends up!
The bathroom makeover saga continues. I left off, here, where I shared the simple updates we did–art, accessories, and some updates with paint. The main thing left on our list was to find fabric that I could use to make an extra-long shower curtain. The shower curtain needed to be roughly 72×86 inches, so larger than normal widths of fabric. The only other option that I could think of was to find a flat sheet I liked to make it out of.
A trip or two to TJ Maxx gave us a few options. I couldn’t decide in the store, so we bought a few, brought them home to see them in the space, then returned the two we didn’t use.
The gray/teal/green patterned one was actually a duvet cover, then we had the blue/white patterned one, and the gray one on top. They were all pretty solid options, but in the end we went with the gray one:
That one beat out the others for a few reasons. I wanted this small room to stay pretty simple. My ideal curtain would have had a subtle pattern on it, but the simple patterned sheet set we found was light blue and it clashed with the mint blue ceiling we have in here. The more highly patterned grey/teal/green one I liked, but it was the most expensive, was a duvet cover, so it would have been a little added work to make into a shower curtain, and I was worried that it was just a little too busy for the space. The gray one, however, was simple, a great color that went well with the existing patterned hand towel, gray plant pot in the shower, and gave a nice neutral backdrop for the bright colored painting/accessories. As if those reasons weren’t enough, it was actually only a flat sheet (instead of a sheet set, where we were buying a fitted sheet and pillowcases as well that we didn’t need) and it was on clearance for $15:
It was a super easy project to turn it into a shower curtain. I only had to trim a few inches off one side, sew that seam back up, then I cut the band off the top of the sheet, hemmed that, and sewed buttonholes to line up with the holes along the top of our shower curtain liner. Finished it up in one short afternoon.
Even though the sheet made a thinner shower curtain than most ones you buy, I haven’t had any problems with it since we also have a liner on the inside.
Showering is so much nicer now! When we only had the liner up, the air would blow the liner onto you while you were in the shower. Now, with the outside curtain up too, that doesn’t happen.
Perhaps down the line, we’ll get a patterned rug to go in here to break up all the solid areas of color, but for now, I’m happy with our little bathroom makeover and how little we’ve spent on it!
The week after I helped my little sister, Kelsey, move into her dorm room, I spent a few days in Nashville with my older sister and her kiddos before heading back to New Orleans. While I was there, we got the chance to check out the Southern Living Idea House 2013 on the Fontanel Estate in Nashville.
I was super excited to check it out, I mean who isn’t excited to check out a house featured in a magazine and designed by Southern Living? I figured it would be fabulous and I would be left wanting a house just like it. However, that was not the case. While many of the design elements and the grounds were pretty, I was a little disappointed overall. I expected some gorgeous mansion, but in reality it was a collection of several buildings that felt really choppy and separated. It was ridiculously impractical for any family to actually live in (the main house only had one bedroom and the rest of the bedrooms were located in separate buildings connected by a wrap around porch). That made more sense once I found out that they planned to use it as a bed and breakfast for the Fontanel Mansion estate after it was done being open for viewing as the Idea House, however I found the choppy layout uninspiring.
Many elements of the design were pretty, but overall I was a little underwhelmed by that as well. There were only small snippets here and there of things I actually found inspiring. I thought overall the design choices were pretty expected and maybe boring? I know my design style is not completely traditional, but I still respect and find inspiration in other design styles as well. To me, for this to be an “Idea House” (essentially setting a goal for people to use it as inspiration), I personally don’t think it took enough risks in the design choices.
Here are some pictures and things I did like though:
On the outside of the buildings, I did like the taupe-y grey paint color, combined with the creamy soft white trim, the darker neutral shutters and the brick/stone color on the bottom. Not exactly a new or groundbreaking design choice, but I thought it was pretty and classic, while still feeling modern/updated/2013. I do like the more classic design style of the building contrasted with the more modern steel railing and cute metal gutter system. I also really liked the Oil-Rubbed Bronze outdoor light fixture above the door (although you can’t see it super well in these pictures).
That little building opened right up to a bedroom with two full/queen beds (not pictured) and then this little nook/kitchenette area (above) and a bathroom around the corner. I thought the wallpaper in this room was pretty and I really liked the wide plank dark wood floors and the creamy white trim.
I thought this little kitchenette area was really beautiful. I love the wallpaper, the dark stained butcher block counters, the open shelving and the white accessories. However, I don’t think this area was super practical. I know it is an “Idea House” and so they aren’t exactly expecting guests, but design inspires me when it is both beautiful and practical/useful. I thought this area was beautiful, but was it useful? There was a small fridge, but there was no stove top/microwave/coffeemaker or any type of appliance to actually make food prep possible, therefore there was absolutely no use for any of those dishes, other than maybe a glass. Add a coffeemaker and a microwave, and then maybe it would have been a practical space. (but I think those are things the design team should have addressed)
Turn the corner from the kitchenette area and there was this beautiful bathroom. I did really like this room. I thought all the marble tile was really pretty (love the hex tile on the floor!) and the lines of the sink are beautiful. It was very classic, but also felt new/clean/modern too. For a small bathroom, the layout of this room was designed well and it really did have it all– a walk in shower, a separate little toilet nook, a beautiful sink area and this nice little closet/storage area right across from the sink (below).
Throughout the buildings, I did really like this style of molding. It was really pretty, but also really simple.
Moving on to the next building, the door on the left led to a bedroom, bathroom, sitting and kitchenette area and the door on the right went up stairs and led to another bedroom and bathroom. You had to go outside and in the other door to get to the spaces though, they were completely separate. (Which makes sense if they plan to use it as a bed and breakfast, but as a house, the spaces were too separate.)
I did love the color of the wooden doors though, the transoms above, and the schoolhouse style light fixtures on the porch ceiling.
Right outside those doors, on the porch, was this nice little seating area. The design here doesn’t overwhelm me, but the sectional and garden stools are nice.
The left door (in the photo above) led to this bedroom/seating area. I liked the dark color on the walls in here, the sliding barn door to the bathroom, the open wooded/metal shelving, the white accessories, the white fireplace/mantel, herringbone pattern on the inside of the fireplace, abstract art, the tall curtains, the fiddle-leaf fig trees and dresser/side tables next to the bed. Overall, I really like this area and was one of my favorites in the whole Idea House. I think it is pretty and classic, but also has newer/modern elements. I think this was one room that really melded a good blend of the two together (while still keeping a country, Southern Living style). A lot of these elements are really popular right now (fiddle leaf figs, sliding barn doors, open shelving, white accessories, drum shades, etc), so although I like the room and I like a lot of the elements, I’ve seen them all already on design blog after design blog, so I wouldn’t say there is any element in this room that just overwhelms me with inspiration.
That doorway in the back led to another little kitchenette area that was cute (but also similar to the last one I already talked about). I didn’t get a good picture or get to study it very well because there was a guy painting in there while we were there.
Sorry for the grainy picture here, but this was the sink area of the bathroom connected to the above living room/bedroom. It was spacious and had a nice closet there, but I think my absolute favorite element was that mirror on the vanity area. LOVE that shape. Behind where I was standing to take this picture, was another spacious room with a big tub and another spacious room off that one with a toilet in it. I didn’t include pictures of those rooms because I wasn’t that inspired by them and actually thought that the space in those areas was a little wasted (the toilet room was huge and just had a toilet and small dresser/table in it).
Leaving the bedroom/seating area above, going out onto the porch and entering the other door, you were greeted by this staircase, then a bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. I do like the lantern light fixture in here, but the art is a little bit of a disappointment. I’m all for gallery walls, but this one was really uninteresting. This tall, neutral room would have been a great place to add a little more interest, color, pattern, anything really that would be eye catching and make me want to treat this as a room, a place where I would actually stop and look at the art, rather than just walk on by and on to the next room.
I did like the sliding barn door in here as well, although when you slid it open, it opened a closet/eave area of the house. While it was neat that that room was sort-of secret, it meant you couldn’t close the bedroom door without opening this big closet, and therefore couldn’t have both rooms closed at the same time. Might not be practical for a real house.
One thing I really do like about this room was the fact that the ceiling is painted a color, while the walls are neutral. I love the idea of treating the ceiling as a 5th wall, and love the fact that they gave it some interest. I think it adds a nice cozy factor to the room.
I really liked the windows throughout the entire set of buildings. They were all like these, with the muntins forming squares of glass, rather than the traditional rectangle. I thought they were a slightly more modern take on this traditional window style.
The ticking pattern on the walls (and everywhere else) was actually fabric. I thought it was really interesting that they covered the walls in fabric, rather than wallpaper. They used to do that to cover the stone walls in castles back in the day. That isn’t something often seen in interiors these days and was inspiring. How cool would it be for the fabric to be a really cool pattern? There are lots of possibilities with that and I would love to see more interiors explore this. It gave the walls a nice softness. I’m curious as to the process involved (how they hung it, how they covered seams, etc.) I should have studied it further when I was there.
I’m not however the biggest fan of the fact that the walls, curtains, chair upholstery, lamp shades, curtains behind the bed, etc are all the same fabric. It gets a little too matchy-matchy. I would have loved to see them pair the walls with some other fabrics on everything else.
A walk around the porch again led to the main house. This porch swing was nice and the ropes to cover the chains were a nice touch, although one I’d seen before. The big triple white door behind the swing was the door to the library/study (I’ll show it later).
The porch of this house was enormous, it wrapped around all the buildings, so there were lots of little areas. I like the polka dotted rug and the side tables above and I’m in love with the beautiful trestle table in the outdoor dining area below. The geometric rug below is nice too.
This beautiful wood herringbone door below is the center entrance to the main area of the main house. While I absolutely love this gorgeous wooden door and the transom above it, the door itself is a little small/skinny (less grand) of an entrance for it to be the main entrance to the house. The doors to the library/study were also on the front of the house, but were bigger (there was also another larger entrance on the opposite side of this front door, symmetrical to the library/study entrance).
That door opened up to this enormous living area. The tall ceilings, horizontal paneled walls, windows along the top, and rustic wood beams were gorgeous. I liked the sliding barn doors here again leading to the kitchen area.
This room was very pretty, but again I couldn’t get over how separated it felt. I mean who needs two separate living spaces in the same room? (a bed and breakfast maybe, but not a real house) In my opinion, this room felt like a little bit of wasted space. It took up almost half of the entire main house, but only functions as a living room.
View from the kitchen (above) and view into the kitchen (below).
I LOVE the old crocks on the kitchen island. My dad has collected these old crocks all my life and has a ton of them. (I have a couple in my house that he gave me). I really love the old patina they add to this otherwise more modern space. I also love the trio of plants themselves and the pretty ceiling pendant.
I loved the deep teal-y blue color of the kitchen cabinets (the pictures online from Southern Living don’t show the color accurately at all!), although they did make the room seem really dark (and therefore the pretty big room seemed a little on the small side). I also love the butcher block counters (and the way they contrast against the white and blue in the room). The sink faucets here also have a really pretty shape. I did like this room, although it seemed dark and made me wish that ALL the cabinetry wasn’t painted such a dark color (This would have been a great room for two toned cabinetry). I would have also liked to see a little more open shelving and a little more personality in this room with art/accessories. It feels a little on the too industrial side for me.
The laundry room was pretty, although pretty basic, but it did have nice windows in it. I love laundry rooms that have a counter top over the washer and dryer. I wish I had that in our laundry room, it would be so convenient. The sink and faucet in here are pretty too (although I would have preferred an apron front sink and perhaps a different skirt around it). This room was right off the kitchen, and on the opposite side of the house from the bedroom (and other buildings with bedrooms), which isn’t horrible, but it seems like it would have been more convenient on the other side of the house.
I like the windows and the rug in here, but overall I thought the dining room was really disappointing. It was at the back of the house and almost seemed like an afterthought. The decor in here wasn’t anything spectacular and for a place (along with the kitchen) that seem like they are usually at the heart of a home, this room didn’t feel like that.
The back porch was really spacious as well. I liked that the fabric screens rolled up and down to block light when needed.
The master bedroom (or the only bedroom in the main house) was right off the back porch, but I didn’t include pictures of it, because it was really boring. This shot (above) was of part of the master bath/closet. The waterfall marble counter top on the sink was kind-of pretty, but the rest of the room isn’t anything special really. That room in the back was supposed to be the master closet, but it felt more like a mudroom or locker room.
Ahh, the library/study. This was by far my absolute favorite room in the house. I liked the rich dark wall color (it made it cozy for a room that is meant to be quiet/serious), the tall windows with transoms, the geometric chandelier, and the patterned curtains. For me, this was the most inviting room in the entire house(s).
Love that magnifying glass above. I think the thing I liked the most about this room was it was the one that had the most interest, pattern, accessories, and artwork. I think those things really make a space.
Last but not least, this bedroom was on the other side of the main house, in its own little building, directly across from the first room I showed you. Overall, I think this room is a little boring and hotel-ish, but the headboards are pretty.
That pretty much wraps up the tour. There are some rooms I left out, these ones are just ones that I found the most inspiring.
I’m sorry if this post was a little negative about the SL Idea House, but I left it with such a disappointed feeling. I expected to be wowed and over-inspired but I really wasn’t. I’ve thought a lot about why I felt that way, and I think it has to do with several things.
I think that for an “Idea House,” too many of the choices were too boring. They were expected choices, not overwhelmingly creative and innovative ones. I know I might read more design blogs and keep up with the design world more than most people do, but I’ve seen these same choices over and over again. I expected more creativity or innovation or something. I think color is one thing they could have been a little more innovative with. I love color and I love bright colors and I know that not everyone does, but a lot of the rooms in this house were too neutral or they used expected color choices– light blues and greens, browns, some reds, etc. I think the teal-y blue color in the kitchen was perhaps a step in the right direction, but I would have loved to see some more creative colors and color combinations used throughout, even if in just small doses. Peacock, mint or teal blues, perhaps lavender or more raspberry pinks– there are a lot of really hot colors right now that would have been more refreshing to see.
I would have loved if the spaces had been set up in a more inspiring way (less of a bed and breakfast and more of a real house), but I guess I understand their decisions for practicality in the afterlife of this Idea House. However, I think the absolute biggest problem I had with this Idea House was that it felt like a Pottery Barn store or a furniture store, not a real-lived in home with a story. I guess that is to be expected, but I found it to be a little stale. The pieces all seemed new, they didn’t feel collected over time. There wasn’t any personality. The art and accessories were lacking. I didn’t see any paintings or art that I thought were very inspiring. I would have loved to see some vintage landscape paintings mixed in with more modern abstract pieces, prints, and black and white photos. I wish that they had used the art and accessories to make the Idea House feel more like a lived-in home, rather than a hotel or store.
Which maybe brings me to an even greater point, that interior design (to me at least) is more than just harmony of objects in a space, the beauty of rooms, or the quality of the pieces. It’s about the story that they tell–the art, photos, books, knickknacks, furniture pieces, memories–all showing a picture of their collected history together. They describe the personality and the history of the people who live there and what the interests of those people are. I love a pastiche of things in a space. A mixture of styles and pieces, thrifted tables next to handmade curtains next to a modern light fixture. But I think the story of them is what equally interests me, and why I find myself drawn to design blogs where people tell the stories of their own houses and I can see the rooms and the things in them change as time passes, how those areas are both beautiful and practical for their lives/families. In light of the amazing resource that is design blogs, I find that decorating television shows, magazines, and I guess Idea Houses too, just don’t captivate or inspire me in nearly the same way.
As you know from this post, I shared pictures of our bathroom and then shared my inspiration images for a makeover.
It’s been a few weeks now, and I’m happy to say that our little bathroom has come a long way!
What I did:
- Cleaned! I scrubbed down all the walls, tile, shower, sink, floors, etc.
- I scraped the paint off the glass on the built-in cabinet & mirror on the medicine cabinet (whoever painted it was super sloppy!)
- I organized the built-in cabinet to maximize storage in there and created a sort-of small vanity-like area in there to use when putting make-up on in the mornings.
- I added an extra shelf (already had the wood on hand) to the bottom part of the built-in cabinet and organized storage in there as well.
- I organized the clutter on the magazine rack (although I’m still not in love with the way it looks, plus the white is more yellow than the surrounding areas, so it might be replaced sometime or get a new paint job)
- I gave the shower curtain rod, curtain rings, toilet paper holder, towel rod, and both light fixtures a nice coat of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. (don’t they look so much more crisp and clean?)
- I hung the shower curtain rod higher and put up an extra long shower curtain liner. (this makes the room feel so much bigger!)
- I gave the ceiling vent a nice new coat of white spray paint (it was all rusted before).
- I painted the ceiling a pretty mint blue color.
- I painted a painting for the room.
- I spray painted two frames gold and added black and white photos to them.
- I switched up the accessories.
I did all the main things I wanted to do in the room, but it isn’t 100% finished yet. I still need to find/make a shower curtain (there is only a liner up now), but that’s proving a little tricky since I don’t really want a plain white one (there is already a lot of white going on), but there aren’t many other options in a extra long size. I need it to be 72×84 inches, which is wider than any standard fabric I could buy, so I’m hoping to find a really awesome full/queen/king sized sheet I like that I can use to make a shower curtain out of. It might take a while to find what I’m looking for though.
I’m also not in love with the magazine rack situation. The creamy white color looks dirty/dingy against the rest of the white in the room, so I might paint it, but I don’t really love it overall anyway. The magazines don’t sit every well in it.
For now, I’m using a rug we already had in here, but that might get replaced down the line. I think the room could use a little more pattern, so something more interesting might be in store later.
Other than that, I’m pretty happy with how this little makeover turned out, especially for it to be mostly paint, art, and accessories!
Hanging the shower curtain rod higher makes an amazing difference in this room. It feels so much bigger than it did before and it looks so much better now that the rod doesn’t visually cut right through the middle of the window anymore.
My original plans didn’t include painting the ceiling, but I am so glad I thought of that and went for it! I love the blue porch ceilings in New Orleans and I had been itching for a ceiling to paint (I think they can make such a statement in rooms with white walls!), so I thought this would be a great place to go for it. I love the subtle statement it makes in here and it is great at breaking up all the white everywhere else (and tying in the colors in the art and accessories!).
I absolutely love the color, interest, pattern, and coziness that these old books and the little brass bowl bring to the room. They are my favorite part. I think every room (including bathrooms and kitchens) should have books and plants. Things to bring up the home-y factor and make them seem like less industrial spaces. How perfect are the colors in these and the fact that one is an artists handbook! Love that! Picked these up for a couple dollars at an estate sale.
I also really love these black and white photos that I hung in some frames I spray painted gold (the frames got a little fingerprint-y when Drew hung them, so I might have to touch them up). They remind me of cute memories Drew and I have (one is us at a Louisiana plantation in a friend of mine’s hometown and the other is of us in the French Quarter one year at Mardi Gras) and I think they give this room so much personality. Those, along with the painting, plants, and books really bring our interests/personalities into the space. I think it’s crucial for your home to be a reflection of who you are.
I painted the inside of our medicine cabinet with chalkboard paint a few months ago and I love it! Since it is one of the first things I see in the morning when I come in here to brush my teeth/wash my face, it is the perfect place for inspiring quotes and scriptures and Drew and I leave each other cute notes in here quite often.
If you read my previous post about this room, then you might recall that one of my goals in renovating this room was to do it as inexpensively as I could, preferably spending not much over $50. Since I used a lot of things we already owned (storage in the cabinet, plants, towels, rug, etc.) and painted the painting myself, I came in pretty good!
Oil-rubbed bronze spray paint, $7
Extra-long shower curtain liner, $14
Frames & photos, $25
Ceiling paint (Color is Mint Whisper, Valspar by Lowe’s Paint & Primer in one), $13
Books/brass bowl, $3
Originally when I was thinking about the budget, I hadn’t planned on painting the ceiling and I was hoping to find cool frames at a thrift store, but I couldn’t find what I needed, so those upped the budget slightly. Overall, I think this is a great transformation for how little it cost!