Christmas Decorating

December 17, 2013

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I just love how cozy our house is at Christmastime.

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We kept our decorations really simple this year, only putting silver/gold/white ornaments and beads on the tree, snowflakes on the windows, and my favorite Christmas print up. Our apartment doesn’t have a ton of storage space, so we can’t have too many seasonal decorations. The beads on the tree are all ones we have caught at Mardi Gras parades here (most are from our first Mardi Gras in New Orleans).

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This year, in addition to small, normal tree lights, we also added some bigger globe lights as well, which gives the tree a really pretty effect. I saw the idea on Vintage Revivals. We used these bulbs from Target. The glass jar candle luminaries on the TV console are from our wedding.

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My glittery, metal snowflakes that I hang from the curtain rods might be my favorite part though. I did that last year too (you can see them a bit in this photo from last year). It is the closest thing to falling snow that we get in New Orleans!

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On one side of our French doors, I’ve been taping up our Christmas cards (we’ve gotten a few more since I took these pictures). I had visions of clipping them up onto a string with pretty gold, glittery mini clothespins, but that never happened. Maybe next year. It is strange. This is the first year that I haven’t had a Christmas break/vacation. I get a couple days off work, but that’s it. I’ve never worked right up until Christmas Day before. It is definitely different. I miss having those weeks off before and after Christmas to decorate, bake cookies, shop, drink hot cocoa, spend time with family, wrap presents and sit by the fire and crochet. There was always a peacefulness surrounding the slowing down during that time (often because we were snowed in at home). I feel like Christmas this year is so much more rushed without that down time.

In front of that door, I pulled out a basket (that usually lives behind the door with magazines in it), and made it into a mini wrapping station. It is holding all our wrapping paper, boxes, tissue paper, etc.

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Speaking of wrapping presents, my wrapping has also been simple this year. Paper from Target and simple stick-on name tags. This doily wrapping I did a few years ago would have been pretty with our simple, neutral decorations this year, but that didn’t happen. They are all just going to be ripped open anyway (and we have to transport most of them back to Illinois with us), so I’m not losing sleep over the fact that there aren’t any bows.

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Wrapping up the tour is my favorite Christmas print from Lindsay Letters (she now has it available in white/gold too, here and a canvas print here).

I only put up decorations in our living room, since that is where we spend most of our time when we are at home in the evenings. In past years, I’ve also put decorations in the foyer and some in the kitchen as well. I like the simplicity of our house this year though. Are you a whole-house decorator? Maybe one day when we have our own house and more storage for decorations I’ll decorate more rooms.

Here are a few other past Christmas posts:

Merry Christmas 2010! (the Christmas we got engaged) and Christmas Eve that year (Here is our engagement post in case you are interested)

Christmas Shortbread Cookies (from before I was Gluten-free)

Christmas Decorating (our first year in this apartment)

Doily Christmas Wrapping

Our First Rowland Family Christmas Card (last year)

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P.S. Linking up to The Nester’s 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes

Container Garden Fail

October 27, 2013

The last couple summers, I’ve grown basil and other herbs in my kitchen window box (Just do a quick search in my search box, there are several posts about it). Basil, especially, has always done really well in there. This summer however, we decided to try doing bigger container gardens outside the front of our apartment. We started last January with growing all our plants from seeds–cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, rosemary, cilantro, basil and parsley.

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We had a couple seeds that either didn’t sprout or didn’t make it, but most of our plants did really well for the several months that they were inside. Once they outgrew their tiny little seed pots, we re-planted them in 5-gallon plastic buckets. Drew drilled several holes in the bottom of each bucket for drainage.

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Once it warmed up outside, we slowly transitioned each plant outside, letting them stay for a few days underneath the small porch roof in front of our house, so that they could slowly get used to the outside environment.

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Several weeks later, we ended up with our only crop of the season, this one tiny cucumber:

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We made sure they got enough sun and watered them every evening or two, but after being outside for a month or so, they all just sort-of stopped growing or started to shrivel up. I know the New Orleans summer sun is pretty brutal, but other people’s plants survive here? I’m not sure exactly what the problem was. The sun was too direct? Too hot on them after being inside so long? They didn’t have adequate drainage? We didn’t fertilize them?

I was traveling a lot this summer, so I can’t say I was the absolute most attentive plant mom, but they definitely weren’t neglected and Drew looked out for them while I was out of town. I just don’t know why they weren’t at least slightly more successful. I grew up in the country and my family always planted a huge vegetable garden that I would help out with, but this was my first time trying containers. I’m used to the Illinois planting season, but still new to when to plant outside in New Orleans. Maybe I should have just gotten them outside a lot sooner, so they got used to being outside before it got so hot?

This is what they looked like as of today, right before I dumped them out:

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They obviously look bad here, I hadn’t even touched them the last several months since they stopped growing/producing anything for me. But see those green peppers in the front? They weren’t even dead, but hadn’t grown even an inch the last five months they’ve spent outside!

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Anyone else had success with container gardens? Any fellow New Orleanian gardeners? Any advice for me?

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.

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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.

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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:

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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).

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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.

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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)

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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).

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Throughout the buildings, I did really like this style of molding. It was really pretty, but also really simple.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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View from the kitchen (above) and view into the kitchen (below).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The back porch was really spacious as well. I liked that the fabric screens rolled up and down to block light when needed.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Bathroom Makeover

September 16, 2013

As you know from this post, I shared pictures of our bathroom and then shared my inspiration images for a makeover.

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image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

It’s been a few weeks now, and I’m happy to say that our little bathroom has come a long way!

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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!

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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.

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Total: $62

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!

It had been a while since our living room had seen any love and it was in need of a little attention. The last time I posted about it on here was in our November House Tour, and although it had come a long way from these previous posts about it (getting our couch, getting our loveseat/rearranging/drop cloth drapes/adding a lamp & tv stand, adding a living room gallery wall, adding our painting) it was still a little lackluster, in my opinion.

Here it was then (as of November 2012):

There were just a few little things that bothered me that needed tweaking:

  • I was tired of the pink pillows on the couch (I love deeper raspberry pinks, but I’m kind-of over hot/Barbie-like pinks right now). Not that Drew really cares that much about what I put in the house (and I don’t think he ever gave a second thought to our couch pillows), but I wanted something that maybe he would be inspired by/excited about as well (and that wasn’t going to happen with the pink floral print). Overall, I thought our previous pillow situation just looked a little mis-matched and not all that inspiring together.
  • Decorating around our crazy green couches can be a little difficult (how I wish they were a warm grey linen color!) and the previous color scheme of the room altogether just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted a little more specific color direction in here.
  • The bookshelves needed just a little tweaking, re-arranging of things and adding in a little more art and personality.
  • The coffee table! Our coffee table I’ve had since I was in high school, it used to be in my bedroom in my parents house. I found it for $15 at a used furniture store close to my hometown and it was probably my very first home related DIY project. I had my dad’s friend cut the legs down to make it a little shorter (I wanted to be able to sit on the floor and use it to work on art/school projects) and then I painted it black (don’t ask me why, I had questionable taste back then). After 6+ years, it was looking a little gross — the paint was chipped and it never fully cured correctly and always stayed a little tacky (anytime you put a magazine or anything on it, it would stick to the table!). It was in desperate need of a makeover, to say the least.

So, in short, that was the list of things that needed to be addressed. Drew and I are on Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover so we didn’t have much of a budget to spend on this room, so most of the above issues were addressed with a little DIY and elbow grease. I made some new pillows, brought in more of my own art for the bookshelves (fabric paintings from my BA Exhibition) and paint-stripped down our old coffee table. For just a little bit of money (on some pillow supplies and paint-stripper) we ended up with this:

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pillows bookcase brighter 1

living room into foyer 2 brighter1

look into living room from hallway brighter1

I love the pops of the pretty blues! Teal and turquoise are really trendy colors right now and I’m so in love with them! My favorite skinny jeans are teal and it is our branding color for our business. It is a color that works really well with a lot of the other rooms in our house (not that your whole house has to match exactly, but I think it is nice when rooms flow into each other and all have a cohesive feeling/design aesthetic), our laundry room has a blue tile floor and teal curtains (the same ones from my freshman college dorm room) and there are pops of it in our foyer (you can’t see it in the pictures, but that big plant in the corner is planted in a huge teal planter pot) and my office (painting taboret, bowl/books/yarn on the white cabinet) as well. Overall I think it gives the room a more clean, simple and fresh look. It just seems like such a happier room now!

pillows table art brighter 1 with words

The two largest pillows (the turquoise velvet ones) are from World Market and the other two (the patterned ones and the smaller teal ones) I made out of World Market cloth napkins (these and these). Cloth napkins are a great way to find just the right amount of fabric for pillows like this! Usually they are pretty inexpensive and you can find some great patterns! I didn’t spend a ton of money on these pillows, but I think they really make a big difference in the room!

As for the coffee table, I paint stripped all the black paint off, then sanded it down. I decided to just use some coconut oil (I already had on hand) on it for now. I love how much brighter the wood tone feels in the room compared to the black! Eventually I’ll give it another sanding to get the rest of the paint out of the little cracks and then perhaps stain/oil/seal it better, but I wanted to live with it as is for now to get a better idea of exactly what I wanted to do with it. (My original thought was to leave the top wood and then paint the base gold, but after spending so much time getting the old paint off, I don’t want to put any more paint on it until I’m 100% sure about it!)

before after coffee table makeover

The overall changes in the room are pretty small, but I think they make a big difference! Here are some side-by-side comparisons:

before after looking into living room and foyer

before after living room couch

before after living room wide

What colors are you crushing on right now? I’m so into teal and gold!

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Couch and loveseat are from Compass Furniture in New Orleans, television/media cabinet is from Target, coffee table was thrifted years ago (it used to be in my bedroom in my parent’s house when I was in high school), white bookcase is from IKEA, painting was a wedding gift from my sister and her husband (by New Orleans artist Adam Hall), gallery wall photos were taken by me, curtains I made out of drop-cloths, big turquoise velvet couch pillows are from World Market, teal and patterned pillows I made from World Market cloth napkins (these and these), light blue pedestal side table from Nadeau in New Orleans, cream and white damask throw, wire basket (filled with yarn on bookshelf), and wooden @ symbol from TJ Maxx, floor lamp is from Lowe’s, silver table lamp is from Compass Furniture (scored it for $15 with a Living Social Deal!),  8×10 area rug from Lowe’s (scored it for $15!), glass candy dish, basket (on the floor at the end of the loveseat), wooden ladder and quilts were thrifted, basket (with magazines in it behind the french doors) was a wedding gift, landscape painting on the bookshelf was a wedding gift (painted my Drew’s mom’s good friend and my 8th grade teacher!), globe was mine from when I was little bought for me by my Mamaw, the chalkboard message board was from our wedding (originally from here), and the two abstract paintings and ceramic artichoke were made by me.

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