Sophisticated Bohemian Office

>> 10.30.2014

Wait a second, did I just put sophisticated and bohemian in the same title? I guess I did.

My husband and I have big plans for closing in the front room to turn into an office, and I am constantly daydreaming about custom, white, floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases, pocket french doors, a pretty new desk, and all of the other beautiful new things that go along with it. But all of these pretty ideas are going to cost a pretty penny, so lots of saving will need to occur before my office dreams come true.

But a girl can still dream, right? Well today I'm dreaming big-with no restrictions. And I'm going out of my comfort zone in design a little too. I've thought a lot about what type of style I want to go in the room, and lately I have been drawn to pattern and texture of a bohemian sort, so when I saw these Kilim rugs by Amber Interiors, I thought it would be a great foundation for a sophisticated bohemian office.

In this dream bohemian office, I would also have this awesome burled walnut dresser, which I would use to store my craft supplies. Have you heard of Chairish? It's an online store where you can buy and sell your vintage furniture and home decor. It's a great option for those that don't want to hassle with selling their nice furniture on Craigslist, and great for people like me who love vintage. The prices are steeper than what you will find at the thrift stores and Craigslist, but you can guarantee the quality is excellent and they have been well taken care of. What I love most about Chairish is that it makes it easy to get inspiration and find amazing vintage pieces that you can mix with the new, which is totally my thing.

So here it is, my "Sophisticated Bohemian Office" mood board. I hope you love it!

1- Art Deco Burled Walnut Dresser
2- Telescoping Floor Lamp
3- Threshold Gold Task Lamp
4- Martha Stewart Craft Table
5- Trees Wall Art
6- Knoll Saarinen Executive Arm Chair
7. Turquoise Majolica Planter
8. Fiddle Leaf Fig
9. Shay Kilim Rug
10. Everett Velvet Arm Chair
11. Killim Pillow Cover
12. Early Brass Bronze Finish Globe


House to Home Series - Part I - Finding Your Design Style

>> 10.29.2014

When I started this blog about a year ago, my biggest worry was that others would think that I was too concerned with pretty things and the appearance of my home. I was worried that I would appear to be "showing off" and too focused on worldly possessions. And although I DO love nice things and making my home pretty, I want you to know the deeper reasons why I love design, why I care about the appearance of my home, and why I started this blog to share my experiences with you.

I believe that you should love where you live. That is the crux of it, to me. Our house should not just be four walls, a roof, and a place to sit and sleep, but it should be a HOME. And it becomes a home when we fill it with family, friends, and things that speak to us and make us happy, and that includes furniture and decor. I believe that people, especially visual people, are happier in a designed space that means something to them. And because I spend a great amount of my day at home, like many of you who work from home or stay home with kids, I NEED to enjoy the space that I live, work and play in. I think we all deserve that.

I also believe that it shouldn't be difficult or expensive to turn your house into a place where you love to be, and that is why I am starting a new series call House to Home, where I will share with you ways to easily and affordably make changes in your home that will help you love where you live.

The first idea is to find your design style.

There are lots of different design styles out there, but these seem to be the ones that I see most frequently, especially in my neck of the woods.

(Click on the links to get a description and more pictures of each style. Also I don't have links or photo creds to all these pics, but none of them are my own.)



Country Cottage

Shabby chic

Shabby chic

Mid Century Modern/Vintage
Mid Century Awesomeness by my idol Emily Henderson


Eclectic living room


Mediterranean/Old World

Some other less common styles are, but not limited to:

Hollywood Regency
Art Deco
French Country

Which of these speaks most to you?

I think it's important to define your design style, even if it's multiple styles, because the overall mood of a room has a big impact on those who live in it. I appreciate many different styles, but if I had to live every day in a Tuscan or Old World inspired house, I would go crazy. (No offense to you Tuscan/Old World lovers.) For some reason, I react very negatively to that look and it would definitely not feel like home.

I think choosing your design style is especially important to those who feel that their house is design-less with no real identity. I think once you choose what style you love, it is easier to catch the vision of what you want your home to become.

Also, defining your style is a good idea so that you can make more selective choices when purchasing things for your home. When I first started becoming a hard core thrifter, it was hard for me to say no to a great deal, even though it didn't fit my style. I had to learn (and still learning) that other deals will come along, and just because it's cheap doesn't mean you have to buy it. That has helped me hone my taste in furniture and decor.

How can you apply this to the decor you already have?

First, pick a room in your house that you feel needs help. Do the pieces of furniture in the room fit the style you are most drawn to, or do you have pieces that drastically differ from the style you favor? If you do have a piece or pieces that are out of place, can you imagine what you would replace it with? For example, if you have a very traditional headboard in your bedroom, but you want something more shabby chic, go online and search "shabby chic headboards," and look for inspiration. Could your traditional headboard be painted and turned into something more shabby chic? No? Then I would consider listing your headboard on craigslist and using the proceeds of the sale to help purchase something in the style you love.

Aren't you getting excited just thinking about it? All it takes is a little legwork and you can sell what you have and find pieces that speak to you. The market is saturated with traditional and contemporary styles, so if your style is not one of those, it might take you a little extra work to find the right decor, but it's so worth it. Don't settle! Remember: just because it's cheap, and I'll even go as far as saying just because it was a hand-me-down or free on the side of the road, doesn't mean you have to keep it. You spend hours a day looking at and living on these things, and you should love what you have.

Honing your design style can be a slow process and replacing those out-of-place pieces to create the room/home that you want doesn't have to happen over night. Take it slowly and do what you can with what time and money will allow. Changing one piece out at a time and making small changes will quickly add up.  If you think critically about the furniture you have or plan to have with your design style in mind, the vision that you have for your home will start to take shape, and you will begin to really love where you live.

And briefly, if you're still reading... I want to share with you how my style has changed over the past eight years. This is what our living room looked like in our old house eight years ago.

Pretty traditional/contemporary, huh? And then our sofa and chair died and we forked over the money to get the sectional of our dreams, and that's when I felt like I started finding a design style I loved. These next pics are realtor pics so the room is pretty pared down.

And when we moved into our current house which is larger and brighter, I honed my style a little more and now this is what the family room looks like.

Leave a comment and tell me what your design style is! And stay tuned for part II of my House to Home Series, coming soon!


Formal is as Formal Does

>> 10.23.2014

I've been working on styling my "formal" living room for a while now. I put it in quotes because there's really nothing formal about it. "Second family room," is probably more suitable, but that's just confusing, so maybe I need to think of a better name. But for the sake of this post, it shall heretofore be called the Formal Living Room.

So like I was saying, my formal living room has been a work in progress for a few months, and I think I finally like it enough to stop changing things. For now anyway. So I thought I'd share with you a few images of the finished product!

The Sofa is the Ikea Karlstad, the chairs are vintage.

In the right corner of the room is a little bit of family vintage. The artwork is an oil painting I did in high school, and the milk can, which we are using as an umbrella stand, is from my dad's ranch in wyoming.

The side table was one I got for $7 in canton and made it pretty again, and the coffee table is one of my favorite pieces purchased on craigslist for $120. 

Someone asked where I put the teal piece of furniture that we use as a blanket holder, after it lost its place in the family room. Right now it is in the hallway in front of the stairs. It's not an ideal location, but we don't have a good place for it, and I don't want to give it up because I love it too much.

 I'm not sure if I have ever posted this angle of the room before. You can see that the formal living room are completely open into the front entry and office. Eventually we will close in the office.

The coffee table decor arrangement is a good example of how I like to decorate. The tray is a DIY project, the candle holder is vintage brass, the books were all thrift store finds, and the plant was from Ikea and the agate from Homegoods. I love to mix new things with DIY projects and vintage pieces. 

This campaign dresser was a thrift store purchase for $40. It's not real wood, but right now I don't think I want to paint it because I don't want the room to be busy. I like color and all, but I think that would be a little too much in one room. It also came with "brass" corner pieces like all campaign style dressers do, but when I removed them and tried to polish, I discovered there was a seal that they had sprayed over them, so I couldn't polish, and when I tried to remove the sealant, it removed the brass plating. Apparently they were not solid brass. So I might leave it like this or try to find some replacement pieces.

The basket with the long handle was a $2 thrift store find. I love the cheap little finds like that which really add interest to a room.

So there you are. Hope you enjoyed this brief tour!


Cheap Side Table Transformation

>> 10.17.2014

I've been to Salvation Army one too many times this month, because apparently I've memorized the furniture on the floor. Two nights ago I was getting ready for bed and a side table popped into my mind. Even though I had passed by that piece of furniture several times, I had never given it a second thought, but suddenly, there it was in my head, and I knew just what I wanted to do with it. So first thing the next morning, I went and bought it. I tell you, I have problems people.

This guy was $15, 24 inches tall and 18x18" square, which just happens to be the perfect size for an 18x18 piece of tile. So off to Home Depot I went, where I found a great piece of travertine tile for $5.

Once I got it home, I took the top off, which was a piece of MDF that had been covered with some kind of vinyl fabric like a three-ring binder. I'm sure this table probably made a college student or straight bachelor very happy once upon a time.

The table was a little too tall next to our sectional, so I decided to saw off the legs. I measured 21" down from the top and taped each leg and then took it outside and sawed each leg off with a hack saw. (Pretty sure we're gonna need a new blade now. Sorry, honey.) I then sanded the bottom of the legs with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Next I sprayed it with three coats of brushed copper spray paint. I was a little disappointed that the color wasn't a lighter tone of copper, but I think the color works well in the room anyway.

(p.s. I apparently use anything I can get my hands on as a drop cloth. This is an old vinyl table from Target.)

Finally I popped the feet back in and glued the top onto the base with some gorilla glue and it was ready to go!

The side table next to our sectional now was mid-century traditional, and I lean more towards a modern/mid century modern look, so this is a much better fit for the room than the other table. I also love that the table top brings some lightless to the space, especially with so many wood tones in this room.

This was a quick and easy project, and although it wasn't a huge transformation, I turned a worn and cheap looking piece of furniture into a high end side table. Here's what I spent:

table - $15
travertine tile - $5
spray paint - $5
TOTAL - $25

And here's a side by side of the before and after:

See the rest of the room HERE.


Family Room Gallery Wall

>> 10.15.2014

Our family room is the center of our home. It is part of a great room that encompasses the kitchen and eating area, and it is always bustling with activity...and noise...and crumbs. Because it's such an important part of our home, I feel like the area needs to be warm, inviting, and a place we really want to be in. We have a really beautiful fireplace and mantle, but it's really, really big. Like Alice took one too many swigs from the "drink me" bottle-big. The scale is off, and I've always felt like it dwarfed everything in the room, which has left me confused about how to create balance in the room. Because of that reason, it's taken a long time for me to take on the challenge of decorating the space.

For a while I had a few frames hung next to the tv along with this awesome piece of furniture that we use as a blanket holder, but it was such a puny attempt at decorating that I've never even taken a picture of the whole wall.

I finally decided to move the blankets and replace it with a chair and side table (the ones from my bedroom) and create a large scale gallery wall to add some height to the area of the room and hopefully make the fireplace feel a little less behemoth.

Gallery walls are stressful! I have done three in my house now and I thought this time would be easier, but I still found myself second guessing nearly every choice I made. I started out by choosing frame colors. I decided to match the color of the credenza and go with a dark walnut color, as well as white and thin silver frames. I had about half of the frames already, (which was another reason for choosing those colors, lets be honest,) and the rest I scored at Michael's thanks to a huge clearance sale. With the dimensions of the wall in mind, I laid everything out on the floor to see how it looked. Once I had an arrangement I was okay with, I started thinking about what to put in the frames.

I wanted things that meant something to us, so I put a couple of family pics, a picture of the temple, some artwork that Abby and I have done, and the rest I downloaded from Etsy shops and printed. Two of my favorites on the wall are this bokeh piece from Becky McCreary

and this abstract art by Jessica Torrant

I put all the art and pictures in their frames and stepped back and looked at the collage, but I felt like something was missing. I had made this chevron artwork at a church craft night, but didn't have a place to put it, so on a whim, I decided to add it to the collage and that's when I felt like the wall really started to come together. To balance it out a little I also added an M that I painted gray to match the chevrons.

Then I hung it up on the wall! And here's the finished product!

I was concerned that the wall would be too busy, but I like it! The space finally feels finished, which makes hanging out in that room even more fun!

I also love that the arrows on the wall mirror the arrows on the table, (which I took from the upstairs playroom.)

If you're interested in making a set of chevrons for yourself, you can find the tutorial HERE. 


What I've been up to.

>> 10.08.2014

Woah. I looked at my blog today and realized that it has been a month since I posted last. REALLY? So I decided I'd better check-in and let you know what I've been working on!

Since moving the piano into the office, I have been working on finishing the front living room, except once I think I have it styled just right, I find something else to change in that room. I've been revisiting the room off and on this month and I think I've finally got it styled the way I want it, so I'll be posting pictures shortly. But here's a sneak peek.

I've also been working on a few other projects around the house, including a gallery wall for our family room, so I'll post about those soon!


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