Monday, March 7, 2011

Dining Room and The Sheilas

(Edited to add a before shot of the dining room...yeah, that would have been a good idea from the beginning!)

Who are The Sheilas, you're no doubt asking yourself?  Hang on, you'll meet them in a second.

I'm starting the After portion of the house tour with the dining room because I had started on this space in my head waaaay before we moved in...before we even bought the house, actually. I developed an obsession last year with all things Sarah Richardson. She is an amazing Canadian designer with a show called Sarah's House. Each season she buys a home, guts it and renovates it. My favorite season by far is the Farmhouse season.  Words cannot describe the amazingness. One night I settled in to watch the dining room episode, and things would never be the same again. (This would all be a lot better if I could figure out how to copy and paste a picture of said dining room into this post but I am not smart like that and cannot get it. Anyone who would like to spell out this process for me in the comments gets my undying gratitude. In the meantime, feel free to click on the link above and take a look around, but make sure you come back!) I think Sarah's show is what really kicked me into a really strong interest in design, and in making my home the best it can be.  Now I'll stop talking and show you my dining room!

Dining Room Before:  A great room, huge, nice windows.  At this stage I wasn't sure of the paint color. I think it was meant to be red but it is leaning towards pink or magenta I think. But, with everything moved in I'm not minding it.

Isn't it so pretty?!  The shot above was taken from the bottom step of our stairs, and this is what I see every morning when I come down.  Heaven, sheer heaven. The hutch on the right was given to us by my husband's parents. I need to ask them how long they had it, where they originally got it, all that good stuff. I love, love, love furniture that is passed through the family, and they gave us so much incredible stuff. This piece is perfect, and is where I store all my large platters and wine glasses. At some point I'd love to hang wine bottle shelving over it, and also start drinking more wine (it's important to have goals!). The previous owner had curtains in here that she took with her, and I am still deciding whether I want to put anything up or leave the windows as is (in which case I know I need to take down the hardware). My friend Kim has offered to make some curtains for me, and I have become enamored with beautiful fabrics, so I will probably go that route. In the far corner is a garage sale rocking chair (I think I paid $10 for it) and a stained glass panel that we had hanging in a huge picture window in our last house...we could not part with it, even though we have no window to hang it in here. I think it looks great as a wall hanging!)

Now standing in the room, looking toward the doorway into the kitchen (to the left of the shot). So totally love the tone of the table which...$100 FROM CRAIG'S LIST!  Go me!  I think we bought the table about a week after we put the offer in on this house. I didn't have a table large enough to go here, since our dining room in the old house was super tiny and functioned more as an entry way than a dining room.  As you can see it seats six super comfortably, and there is another leaf that would allow us to put eight or maybe even ten here. The leaves are a little banged up; we think they were stored outside at some point. But, for $100 I so don't mind. The table is crazy heavy, which to me means quality, and I am in love with the turned legs. Craig's List is the bomb dot com.

From the opposite corner of the room, looking out into the foyer and over to the sitting room (fancy!). In the left corner is another piece from my in-laws. In here I display keepsakes like little sculptures my kids have made over the years, our dried wedding flowers, and priceless-to-me pieces handed down from our families.  Yeah, I am a sentimental gal.  On that note...

My parents' china. I'm not sure (Mom, correct me if I'm wrong), but I think my dad bought this when he was in Vietnam, when I was a baby.  My mom and dad divorced when I was in my early 20s, and I will always be so grateful to them that they didn't do what I think many people do in that situation and get rid of all of this sort of stuff.  My sisters and I all have different things from their marriage, and we all treasure it. I already loved the two built in corner cabinets in this room, and when I finally got to unpack and display this dishware, I loved them even more.  The two crystal glasses are actually from my own wedding, and my mom took a great shot of us raising them at our reception. 

Wow, that is blurry...almost 10 years ago now!  Isn't he adorable?  :  )

In the opposite corner cabinet is my Fiesta Ware collection. I really like the juxtaposition of the all white china with the bright colors of these pieces. I started collecting Fiesta when my oldest daughter was little, about 16 years ago now.  I've kind of lost interest in it and gave away a lot of my stuff, but every time I get it all out again, like when I unpacked it and put it away in here, I fall in love again. It really is so gorgeous, especially the vintage pieces.  

Another treasured item (this is really making me realize how lucky I am!), a deacon's bench that was in our house growing up as far back as I can remember.  I will never not have a place for this is any home of mine. It is so simple and beautiful, and it's perfect in the dining room.  I have kicked around moving it to our mud room whenever my husband relocates the washer and dryer, but I don't know if I can risk all the wear and tear all the kids would inflict on it in there.

And finally...I'd like to introduce you to Sheila.  Well, one of eight Sheilas. Isn't she adorable and awesome?  These are the chairs that Sarah used in her farmhouse redesign, and I fell in love.  And guess where they're from? IKEA! And guess how much they are?  79 BUCKS!!!  Can you believe it?!  These chairs were the second thing we bought for the new house...I had to have them, and made a special trip over an hour away to get them, only to find they were not in stock. But, they did have one on display and I got to sit in it and visit a bit. It was so crazy, I seriously felt like I was meeting a celebrity. I wish I was exaggerating. Luckily, Ikea has an inventory check tool online, and the second I saw that they were in stock I dispatched my fantastic husband to get them. Anyway, I love love love how there are so many tones in the wicker, including a reddish honey that matches  my Craig's List table perfectly. I have quite a few wood tones going on in this room, and the chairs pull them all together in an awesome way.  I just get so happy every time I look at them, you have no idea.

So...that's my dining room! I hope you love it as much as I do, but I am also open to suggestions. I am new to this game and want to do the best I can by my family and our home.

Next up...not sure yet!  But I will see you back here soon! Thanks for coming by!

PS -- Look up over on the right hand side of this page and you'll see a "Follow Us on Facebook" button. I am way too tech-challenged to have figured this out on my own, so I once again called upon the amazing Jessica at Very Designs to help me out...and later that night, voila, the prettiest little Facebook linky thing you ever did see!  So, if you're on Facebook and would like to get notices when I update this space, or other random musings that may or not be amusing or the box and follow along!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Before Shots, Part Deux

Hi all. I just can't tell you, three posts in, how much fun I am having with this blog! Of course I am still figuring some things out, especially all the ins and outs of If anyone else uses it and has any tips for me I would welcome them! For now though, let me show you around upstairs! You should feel friends rarely see the upstairs rooms of my home, as they generally hold all the laundry piles (dirty and clean) and don't make the cleaning cut when I actually clean!

OK, let's start this tour at the bottom of the stairs. Walking in the front door of the house, the stairs are in front of you and to the left. There is a weird part of me that wishes we had carpet covered stairs so I could get in on the all the awesome stair makeovers people are doing! I do love ours though, although this runner isn't so much my taste. I've (of course) got some ideas about what I want to do instead...with kids, we will have to have a runner of some sort on the steps, but I definitely want something jazzier than this. I'm totally stumped on what to do on the wall going up the steps. I have family photo and kids' artwork galleries going in other areas, and I want to do something different and unique here. But what?!

Moving up now to one of my favorite spots in the house, the upstairs hallway. The stairs come straight up to a little landing (I'm standing on it in the first shot), off of which is the master bedroom, and then there are two steps up to the right. The two kids' rooms are to the left in this shot. On the wall to the left is where I am putting a kid's artwork gallery. I plan to totally fill the wall with their stuff. I just love the way that looks, and seeing the pride in their faces when their work is displayed prominently is priceless. Obviously there will be lots of bright color on the walls, and pretty much every color in the rainbow, and I've been torn about balancing that with a simple seagrass or sisal rug on the floor, or going all out and finding a super bright striped rug. Thoughts? Also, loooove the built in bookcase (is there anything better than built in bookcases? NO!). I am toying with the idea of painting the back of the bookcase an amazing color, or maybe even papering it. I recently got on a kick and ordered a bunch of my favorite books from child- and young adulthood with the covers I remember as a kid (the updated Judy Blume covers were not doing it for me, I wanted the 70s bell bottoms and 80s feathered hair!), and I plan to put those and my kids' favorites in here.

The two photos above are the master bedroom, and it's really hard to give a sense of how this room is laid out. Like I mentioned, the MBR door opens off the landing at the top of the stairs. Looking in that door is the long hall you see, which is our dressing area (sounds so fancy for a place that houses my three pairs of jeans, 42 sweatshirts and 14 pair of flip flops!). It is really nice...we have his and hers closets on the left, plus behind the door is a good-sized walk in closet with lots of shelving and another hanging rod. The his and hers closets we use primarily, but the walk in we haven't quite figured out yet. I will get a pic of that and show you another time. To the right off that hallway is the master bathroom. To the left as you walk in that first door is another door, which goes into the main part of the master. It looks tiny in this photo but is really large, especially with no space taken up by closets. There are three windows that look out into the trees, and I think it is going to be amazing in a couple of months. My husband and I are both loving this space. The blue is not one we ever would have chosen on our own, and we love it. It is such a peaceful, serene room. I think I only have one painting on the wall so far, and that may be all we put up. I don't want anything to "clutter up" this space, in any sense.

Another favorite spot is this little mini-hallway off the main upstairs hall. It is to the left in the shot of the hall above, and the kids rooms both open off this hall; the door straight ahead is a linen closet. I just love the feeling that the kids have their own little wing.

This is my 6-year old son's room. I love the kids' rooms; they are really large and have a lot of potential. Bennett has asked for a Star Wars room in this new house, and we are granting his wish.

My youngest daughter's room. Not quite as bright as her brother's, but much, much bigger than her tiny nursery at our last house. She moved into a big girl bed in conjunction with our move, and she loooves it. She is a great independent player and spends a lot of time playing with her dolls in here, which I think is so neat. My sisters and I spent a lot of time playing in our rooms as kids, and that was something my son didn't do much of; maybe one of those boy/girl things, not sure. I developed an obsession with owls when we lived in our last house, since we had at least two that nested on our property and who we got to watch quite a bit. I was soooo sad to leave them, so I decided to decorate Brooke's room with owls. Luckily that is quite a huge trend right now and it's been really easy to find stuff!

Finally, my oldest daughter's room. (You have no idea how I struggled with what to call this room. Gina is away at college and I don't know how I will ever bring myself to feel that she doesn't "live" here. Do you know what I mean?) For a lot of the year this will function as a guest room, and the challenge will be making sure Gina feels that she can make her mark in here while making it a welcoming space for guests. It is a "bonus room" over the garage, and is a lot like the room Gina had in our last house, except that room was super dark and not welcoming at all. This room gets great light, and the slanted walls start a lot higher up which makes a big difference. I love love love the built in bookcase under the window. We had an extra king size bed which is going in this room. I actually just picked up an upholstered headboard that I had made for in here yesterday, and today at Target found the most perfectly coordinating bedding ever. The fabric for the headboard is so color specific, I thought I would just have to go with a solid quilt, and I was stunned to find something that went with it so well. AND, the bedding has some California poppies, which are my favorite thing in the universe. As my husband would say, it's like ya read about. I can't wait to show it all to you!

OK, so...that's our house! Now I can get into the fun parts of going through each room and showing you what I've done, telling you what I plan to do, asking a bazillion questions about what you think, and showing you the gajillion inspirational photos I see in blogland, on TV and in'll be so fun! I plan to post two or three times a week, and I hope you'll pour a cup of coffee, a glass of tea, or a tumbler of whiskey and join me!