January 25, 2011

Showing Off (Just a Little)

I am today, anyway!

What do I love almost as much as completing a project that makes my home a little more lovely? Reading about other people's fabulous home transformations!

Roeshel at The DIY Show Off loves a good project, too. She's done some fabulous transformations to her own home, and she loves to show off what other bloggers are doing, as well. So not only do you get to read about what Roeshel is up to, but also what tons of other talented DIYers are doing in their own homes! 

Today I got to join in on the fun; a few of my very own completed projects are featured on Roeshel's blog. If you're visiting from The DIY Show Off, welcome, and thanks for stopping by!

Read more about the kitchen transformation.

Here's more about the girls' closet renovation and bedroom makeover.

And here you can read about our home theater project.

Stop by The DIY Show Off, and be sure to check out the amazing talent of Roeshel and all of the other wonderful bloggers she's featured.

January 24, 2011

Kicking Butt and Taking Names

"Take a careful look at your home and strip away anything that doesn't fit your style. Don't be afraid of a bare wall or an empty shelf. Let it be lonely for a little bit while you figure out what you'd love to see there. When your home gets to show only the items you truly love, your home gets to show you, and it becomes a place you love to be."

Who said that? Oh, that's right - I did. Remember that little conversation? It started out as an attack against clutter and ended with a challenge.

This year I have committed to getting serious about loving where I live. It means taking a close look at what's on the walls and what's on the shelves. Does it serve a purpose? Do I love it?

Turns out, I've been holding on to my own little collection of meaningless stuff. I took a self guided tour around my home the other day and found some sketchy items that I believe don't deserve to live where I do. The suspects in question have become space fillers that don't paint a picture of my family and who we are. Ready for the photo lineup?

1.  First up is a tall slender pair, accused of holding me to a wine theme.

A collection of wine corks and fake grapes have lived in these hurricane vases for far too long. I set them out long ago and said "Sayonara," never stopping to reassess their value every so often. Do I still love them? No. {As a side note: I think I just scolded my mom for having fake fruit in her home the other day. Oops!}

2.  Next is this wine country motif platter.

I did love it.... six years ago when we purchased it at that fun little winery in Door County. But not anymore.

3.  Guilty of a similar offense is the platter's sister, the wine country motif pitcher.

It matches the platter, but not in a good way. Goodbye.

4. Rounding out the wine theme offenders is this decorative wine box that has sat atop the china cupboard for far too long.

It has served me well in collecting dust and, um, that's about it.

5.  The last offender on my list is this rooster.

He landed on the cupboard above the fridge shortly after we bought the house {over six years ago!}. I loved him then, but I don't anymore.

So who was found guilty? Me! I'm the one who allowed these felons to abide in my home for far too long. They've worn out their welcome, and I'm kicking them out.

What have you parted with lately?

January 19, 2011

The To-Do List

It's the dead of winter, and I'm getting that itch - the one that makes me want to start a bajillion new projects in my home.

We've already started the bathroom project. After we painted the cabinets and tore out the old tile backsplash, we still have a new counter, a new backsplash, new paint, and new flooring ahead of us.

Lots more work ahead of us to put this bad boy back together.

You'd think it would be enough of a headache to have the bathroom torn apart, but once I start one project and see the sweet reward of a little hard work, I typically get on a roll {much to my husband's delight}.

What's next? Well, for starters, the walls throughout our upstairs currently look like this:

That's right - we're right smack in the middle of choosing new wall colors. I've been stuck in a rut of warm yellowy-tans, and I'd love to switch the palette up to some pretty grays and taupes. With a new cooler color scheme comes updating the trim. The very, very creamy white that tops the wainscoting and trim throughout the house will be updated to a crisper white to offset the new wall colors.

New wall and trim colors in store!
If only I could choose a color as fast as I can paint.

The project I'm the most excited about is a big one for the kitchen. Here's what the kitchen looks like right now.

We have a lot of cabinet space, both above and below the counters. All of the cabinets are great, but I've loved the look of open shelving for years. I think I've finally convinced my husband to love it, too. Emily at Jones Design Co. has my version of the perfect kitchen.

Image taken from here.

Isn't her kitchen the most perfect thing ever? Doesn't the look of the crisp shelves adorned with beautiful dinnerware make your heart beat a little faster? And her pot rack! I've been admiring hanging pot racks forever, bookmarking lots of pretty ones under my favorites. I think this new kitchen project calls for a new pot rack. I can't wait to rip out some cabinets and get started {... or maybe just watch during the cabinet ripping out part of the project}.

What projects does 2011 have in store for you?

January 12, 2011

Bathroom Redo: One Step Closer

A big hurray! The doors are back on the bathroom cabinets, and this room redo is officially on its way. The counter, fixtures, paint, and tile will be changed out, and the wall where the "ugliest tile ever" used to live is in need of repair. Lots of work to be done, but it sure feels good to be off to a great start!

Stay tuned!

January 11, 2011

Bathroom Redo - Part One

You know by now how I love white trim, white cabinets, white pretty much anything. Soon after we moved into our home, we painted every last bit of trim, every cabinet, and all of the wainscoting white, including all of the wood in the main bathroom upstairs. Though the white was a billion times better than the old, outdated stained oak, the bathroom still didn't make me swoon.

To start, the bathroom has white tile, and white cabinets on white trim on white tile is a lot of white. Then there was the strange little counter that extended from the vanity and over the toilet. Not my style.

Besides that, the bathroom possessed the ugliest tile backsplash I'd ever seen. The grayish-cream topped with dark orange just didn't do it for me.

So much white!

A new look for the bathroom had been on my mind for awhile, and I had thought about repainting the cabinets but had never been struck with the perfect inspiration....until now.

Enter the new Restoration Hardware Annual Bath Event catalog. Pages 22-23 depict the most delicious vanity ever: the French Empire Vanity Sink in antiqued black finish.

Image taken from here.

I loved everything about it except for the sale price of $1359; that's just a wee bit over my budget. Okay Restoration Hardware, I may not be able to purchase your fancy shmancy vanity, but I can give my own a makeover.

Want to see my bathroom's current state? It's not quite as pretty as Restoration Hardware's - yet.

No more strange counter over the toilet!

White cabinets transformed to black with a couple {so far} coats of dark, dark, brownish-black.

Ugliest tile ever? It's gone!
I painted the cabinets before we removed every last bit of tile.
You can see the color the cabinets used to be before they were white.

A new counter is in the works as is new tile and paint. A lot of work in exchange for a bathroom we'll love? I'll take that. I'm so excited to be on the path to a better bathroom. No Restoration Hardware vanity here, but I'm determined to love what I have and make it work for us.

What have you been inspired to update lately?

January 10, 2011

Decorating With Love

Last time we talked about visual clutter - all the extra stuff we tend to hang up or set out around our homes and then forget about for the next thirteen years. So if we're supposed to surround ourselves only with what we love, living with less and loving it more, what does that leave us with? Here are some of the items that top my own list and make the cut in my home.

1. Framed Photographs

I love framed photographs, whether hanging on the walls or sitting on bookshelves {or anywhere, really}. They tell stories, evoke memories, and bring personality to a space like nothing else.

2. Framed Important Stuff

Terrible description, but there is a wealth of meaningful items besides photographs that are crying out to be framed and put on display in your home. Letters, cards, momentos from a trip, jewelry - all are pleasing to the eye on display.

3. Artwork

We all like beautiful art. Here's the catch - ask yourself why you want this piece of artwork in your home? Is it personal? Does it capture a mood you want your home to convey? Did you find it in the clearance bin at T.J. Maxx and say, "Hey! This will fill up the wall space behind the couch!"? The last one - not so good. Love it, or take it down.

4. Collections in Glass Jars

I love glass jars. They are terrific for displaying favorite things all over the house. Charlie has had a jar with extra Legos {Extra Legos? What's that?} and another one containing toy cars in his room since he was itty bitty. Two of his favorite things are neatly contained and add character to his bedroom.

Other ideas for glass jars:

In the Bathroom
  • Pretty bars of soap
  • Sponges
  • Bath Salts
In Kids' Rooms
  • Barbie shoes and accessories {I swear I'm doing this one. They're constantly getting lost or ending up in the baby's mouth, so why not display them instead?}
  • Marbles
  • Tinker Toys
  • Pop Beads
  • Extra Crayons
  • Craft Supplies even look nice and provide a pop of color when they're contained in glass
In the Kitchen
  • Coffee Beans
  • Tea
  • Spices

5. Books

I have an English degree; I love books. Not a fan of all the classics? Me, neither. But most of us own some form of written work that has spoken to us.

  • Cookbooks displayed nicely in the kitchen are both functional and pretty.

  • Books or Bibles that serve as family heirlooms deserve their own special place.
I have a Bible that's been in my family for years.
It gets displayed in a bookcase along with some of our other favorite reads.

  • Coffee table books and books on other interesting topics look great and give guests something fun to thumb through when they visit your home.
  • Favorite books - Your collection of personal favorites, when displayed thoughtfully, adds character and tells its own story about you.
6. Items of Sentimental Value

I just noticed the wall looks really orange in this picture. It's not that orange.

This one runs the gamut. My husband's family has a name in the music business, and we adorned our basement bar cabinets with an old company sign. It's both meaningful and defining to us. We have a collection of mortars and pestles for my husband, who is a pharmacist. If we spot an interesting one, we bring it home. But the mortars and pestles will never grow to overtake an entire wall or entertainment center, which leads me to my one key DON'T in displaying items in your home:

DON'T get sucked into themes.
Whether it's teddy bears or Tuscany {which I admit, I love} or roosters or cats or flowers... just don't. When you start doing your home in a "theme", you run the risk of looking like Disney World for adults. If you love roosters, great. Place a couple unique {read - not mass produced and sold at Kohl's} ones in well thought areas. Your guests don't want to sit down for coffee and have 17 roosters watching them, perched above your kitchen cabinets. It's a fine line between tasteful and tacky. If on a shopping trip you spot a rooster - any rooster - and declare, "A rooster! I have to buy this for my kitchen!", you know which side of the line you fall on.

How do you decorate your home with love?

January 5, 2011

Clutter Police

Is this your home? Is it the home of someone you love?

Image taken from here.
What I want to see is the beautiful chest in the far corner of the room and the gorgeous wood floors. I think there might be a nice paint job on the walls, but I can't tell because I can't get past the pictures and prints and plaques and knickknacks plastered to every surface and suffocating every piece of furniture. The home owner here has put up more and more and more until there is no place for the eye to rest.

In another case, clutter has overtaken not only the walls, but also the coffee table and entertainment center. What would be a welcoming space with lots of natural light has been sentenced to death by way of clutter.

Image taken from here.
I wonder if either of these occupants absolutely love everything they have out on display. Call me the Clutter Police, but my guess is no, that instead, they added and added and added to whatever was first nailed up, never stopping to concentrate only on the items that really meant something to them.

What's hanging on your walls? What items do you have displayed on your shelves, in your bookcases, and around your home? Do you love what you see?

Too often, we are guilty both of putting too much on display and displaying items that we do not love. We put up those "lovely" framed prints that aren't quite our style because Aunt Kate gave them to us for our wedding. We set out those crystal candy dishes that don't fit with the rest of our decor because they were on sale and the price was too good to pass up.

Our own personal styles are always changing, and decluttering our decor is not unlike decluttering our closets. Both can use a thorough assessment from time to time. The classic, timeless styles that you still love get to stay, and the pieces that don't fit {either your personal style or your space} need to go. I don't know about you, but I don't still wear the stonewashed jeans that were all the rage when I was in junior high. I wouldn't keep something on my walls or sitting on my nightstand if I didn't love it anymore, either. Need I bring up the country cute decor rage of the 1980s and '90s? It plagued the midwest section of the country, and clutter was its middle name. It seemed to overtake every home it invaded, weighing it down with fake ivy, lots of hearts, and teddy bears.

If you love cute country decor, then by all means keep it in your home. But if it's only on your walls because you put it there in 1989, someone near and dear to your heart gifted it to you, it's filling an "empty spot" on your walls, or you can't be bothered to take it down, it might be time for a change. We deserve to love where we live, and that includes what's hanging on the walls.

Peek around; are your walls free to breathe or are they drowning in decor? I challenge you to take a careful look at your home and strip away anything that doesn't fit your style. Don't be afraid of a bare wall or an empty shelf. Let it be lonely for a little bit while you figure out what you'd love to see there. When your home gets to show only the items you truly love, your home gets to show you, and it becomes a place you love to be.

January 4, 2011

Love Where You Live

Like the title? Sound familiar? "Love where you live" is the whole inspiration behind this little ol' blog, and in this new year, I hope you come to fall in love your home if you don't already. I'm not sure if you're the type to make new year's resolutions. I've never been one to fall hard for life changing ways starting on January 1st. I believe anytime is the right time to make a change for the better, and change for the better doesn't have to be huge. When it comes to your home, your own personal style will guide your heart into creating a space that you love. {A couple of pretty throw pillows, new paint on the walls, and a can of spray paint never hurt, either.}

I hope you'll join me as I continue to fix up, take down, paint, and rearrange. I hope to be inspired by your stories of what works and what doesn't as you try new tricks in your own homes. I hope that 2011 is a year of new colors, new textures and patterns, and new ways of thinking about the places we call ours. So if you don't already, I hope that this is the year you'll come to love where you live.
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