Monthly Archives: September 2012

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Apartment Therapy House Tour

apartment therapy house tour

My Apartment Therapy house tour went live on Friday. So fun. And very validating. Honestly, nine years ago I never would have believed that this house would ever be attractive enough for anyone to want to put up as anything other than a cautionary tale. Endless obsessing does pay off.

The comments were great, mostly complimentary. Numerous mentions of how well I’ve used “mass market” items. My favorite though, was one who called it “the house the internet built”, referring to the rise of the DIY decorators. A little patronizing, but completely true none the less. It would never have occurred to me to reupholster an old couch or paint an ugly dresser if I hadn’t followed Design Sponge for years. Watching people put up interesting wallpapers inspired my own venture in the kitchen. Pinterest provides endless possibilities. I read a ridiculous amount home blogs daily, I would have been remiss if I didn’t acknowledge these influences on the work that we’ve done in our home (they were listed under influences).

I work with artists and teachers on a daily basis. One of the first things you learn, and that I teach, in art is that when creating you draw inspiration from what is around you and find ways to make it your own. And its the finding ways to make it your own where the interesting things happen. Finding inspiration in diverse realms and making it a part of your work in truly innovative ways, that’s when we see the artistic mind at work and are astounded at how artists put things together.

I’m not claiming that my home is a work of artistic genius by any means. It’s a family home that I’ve worked to make beautiful and functional, because these things are an important part of making me feel comfortable in my own home. What I’m pointing out is the connection between my work with artists, working to create a way to teach all children how to engage with the creative process, and the effect that philosophy has had on my worldview. This clearly extends into my home decor, as creating this house (let’s face it, manipulating spaces goes beyond decorating) has become an extension of my creative process. And if you’d told 20-year-old me, with aspirations of choreographing, that one day I’d list decorating my home as my creative process she’d have rolled her eyes and run away. Oh well.

What do you think, does your home feel like an extension of your aesthetic sensibilities? How has the internet contributed to your design choices?

The Plan for the Dining Room

The kitchen and attached dining room are full of weird little nooks. I’ve tried to show you the layout below. The two spaces form an “L”, but there are several oddities. There’s the entrance at the end of the kitchen that looks right into the dining room. The soffit where we knocked out the wall to expand the space. That bump out provides the end of the dining space on one side of the room, but it’s not even with a second weird little bump on the far wall next to the shoe cabinet thing.

All this to say, trying to figure out what colors to paint this space and how to visually separate the dining space from the kitchen is tricky. Luckily I was able to enlist some help. Nicole is a color genius. Bonus, she lives nearby, so she generously offered to come by the other day to help solidify color choices.

After looking at the three options this weekend, I really wanted to go dark in the dining space. The room is tiny, just 9′ x 10′. I’ve tried to make it seem bigger and brighter for years and it doesn’t work. Instead I’m embracing the dark and small and trying to create dramatic and cozy. The kitchen already has the dramatic wallpaper, the dining room needs to step it up. Nicole gave me the courage to choose an even darker gray then the ones I’d sampled and I’ll be painting the entire dining room Seal by Martha Stewart. I’d been planning to paint the ceiling and some of the other nooks that connect to the kitchen a lighter gray, but she suggested I pull a tone from the wallpaper for those. Much better idea. So now the ceiling and the upper part of the wall above the chalkboard, as well as many of the weird nooks, will be a pale aqua to tie the space together. Here’s a general idea of which color will go where.

And then some furniture layout changes for the space. I want it to feel eclectic and cozy when all is done and after years of trying to tie the two spaces together I think a visual separation might be better. So I’m going to move the sofa to the back of the room, where the leaning shelves are now. Install a couple of sconces, find some good art. No wall shelves can go here because the silly wall is curved. Oh old houses, you are so stupid. So the table and other chairs shift back as well. New ceiling light project. And then some sort of bookcase thing up front, because I do still need the storage. Not sure what I’m looking for there yet.

Back to the painting. I put the first coat on the dining room last night and it is crazy good.

dining room painted Martha Stewart Seal

Oh yes. This will be fabulous.

The Weekly Room

library plan sourced from craigslist

This week’s Craigslist Weekly Room is a library space. Dark, cozy and full of leather and mid-century details, this would be the perfect place to curl up and read through the winter. I’d recover that fabric chair in a gray chenille, its got the same lines as my favorite living room chair.

Add in some great lamps (one of which is not a steal by any means), an industrial work table for extra character, more chairs in a great pattern – you can even pick up some books if you need to add old world character to collection.

The Weekly Room is a series in which I challenge myself to create an idea board from furniture found entirely on Craigslist. All furnishings must be in good condition and only one IKEA item is allowed per board. Unless otherwise specified, furnishings in the Weekly Room can be found in the Chicago Craigslist. All sources are on the Pinterest board, the pins for which are updated weekly as well. If you have a room or city you’d like me to try, let me know.

Alternatives to Fall Decorating

modern fall decor

I like fall, but I’ve never been into seasonal decorating. I don’t change out my mantel or have door decor that changes with the seasons. Perhaps it’s because I switch things around so much anyway it just doesn’t seem necessary to find an excuse for change. When you have children, however, there are certain expectations. Pumpkins, for example. This year, I’m interested in finding ways to keep the idea of holiday decor without feeling like I’m compromising aesthetics. I really like the spray painted pumpkins above. I might even go for pink, although let’s face it, that’s a long shot. The pumpkin dioramas are super cute too and the kids are already coming up with ideas.

black paper cone wreath

I’m also loving this dahlia wreath. I’m not usually the crafty type, but I think even I could find the patience to make this.

What about you, do you like to decorate for fall?

Other Sources

Important Questions

Which paint color do you like?

I think (and these are just today’s thoughts, I’m still a little flip-floppy on what I want to do with the space) that I want to take off the chair rail, install board and batten up about 3/4 of the wall height and paint a dark color on bottom, lighter on top and ceiling. The lighter color could then extend onto the weird entry wall and over the chalkboard area. Here’s our kitchen layout for reference. Its L-shaped with the dining area and there’s that weird entry on one end. I’m not sure any of these colors are quite the right shade. Grays are tricky little things and I want one with depth. hmmm.

Also. What on earth did this to our yard last night?

dug up back yard

Monumentally important questions you guys. Fate of the world stuff.

Happy Weekend!

solar system lollipops

These solar system lollipops by Vintage Creations are insane. I don’t think I could bring myself to eat them, although I’m sure my kids would not have that problem.

Some fun links for your weekend.

The tall one just joined a choir. Wonder if I’ll hear this at the concert?

This biking mom is committed.

Finally, the definitive best word ever.

My block is having a sale next weekend and I’m planning a major cutter clean out. This might help.

Still pondering dining rooms. Here’s what I’ve been pinning this week.

My Apartment Therapy House Tour should come out this week. We tried to take a family photo for it, one of the outtakes is above. Who wants to fill in the bubble quote?!

And in case you missed it, this week the temperatures turned and I became a little obsessed with fall. Fall layering, fall gardening and of course, The Weekly Room (that settee haunts my dreams).

Tomorrow is my birthday (38 for those who are nosy). Not sure what the day will hold, but my little homebody self is hoping for some more gardening and perhaps finding a paint color for the dining room. I dream big you guys.

Have a lovely weekend!

Bike Mom and Best Word links via.

The Weekly Room

dining room sourced from craigslist

I’m a little dining room focused right now so I put together a sweet dining space from Craigslist this week. Then I found that fabulous blue settee and had to add it in to the room. A pale pink paint or a floral wallpaper (or both, why not) create a feminine space, while the farmhouse table and touches of grey and red keep the room from going full on girly. This idea board is the most tempting one I’ve done, if I had space for either the table or the settee I think one of them would come live with me, despite their almost retail price tags.

I’m curious, would you mix styles like this?

The Weekly Room is a series in which I challenge myself to create an idea board from furniture found entirely on Craigslist. All furnishings must be in good condition and only one IKEA item is allowed per board. Unless otherwise specified, furnishings in the Weekly Room can be found in the Chicago Craigslist. All sources are on the Pinterest board, the pins for which are updated weekly as well. If you have a room or city you’d like me to try, let me know.

The Fall Garden

I spent all day today (Sunday) working in the garden. When we put in the front garden, I deliberately crowded together the shrubs, planning to separate them as they grew. Most of them outgrew the space a couple of years ago, so today was spent doing a lot of digging and heavy lifting. I began the process of clearing out the side yards and relocated seven good size shrubs. While it’s still nowhere near the inspiration pictures, little things are starting to come together.

The north side yard, which I would like to have a bit of a secret garden quality eventually, got an arch and climbing roses, relocated from the front entry where they looked ridiculous. A couple of rhododendrons and a butterfly bush were moved from other parts of the yard. A few more plants are needed on the side of the house, but as the roses grow it should look much better.

The south sideyard is just getting started. I moved an overgrown red twig dogwood from the front and a hydrangea that’s just never grown. Perhaps it will like its new home better. Finn and I made plans today to improve upon the improvised patio space with a small retaining wall and a more structured patio, so I’ll be bringing the flagstones currently in front to this side space as well. The sidewalk next to the house is very narrow, so the flagstones should make the pass through space much more functional. A couple of rocks and perhaps some hostas will finish that space.

Here is the front garden after today’s work. A boxwood border is going in, which we think we’ll continue around the front of the garden as well. The shrubs have been rearranged for their current size and space needs. Where the table and patio are now, we’re hoping to put in square pavers similar to this.

So, some progress. And a gorgeous day outside. I need to go take some Advil now though, so I can move in the morning. That was a lot of work.

Fall Layering

It cooled down dramatically here this week, ushering in my favorite time of year. I’m not big on seasonal decor for my home, no fall mantels here, but my wardrobe is another story. I put together a little style board for what I’m looking forward to wearing soon. And yes, the yellow pants are still in there. I haven’t found the right pair yet, but I did pick up a chambray tunic to wear with them when I do finally get to a store.

Lots of layers and belts. I’ve never been much for belts before, but I think I’m starting to figure them out. I used to feel that they just accentuated the post baby bump, but now that I’ve moved them higher it seems better. I’m by no means svelte, but this gives a decent shape.

I’m also digging tunics these days, although I have to be careful with how I style them. I find a lot of the dresses from gap and old navy are shorter than I’m comfortable running around in, so I throw them over jeans. The striped dress above, is a new favorite, the pattern with a colorful scarf is comfy and fun. Mine is from gap, not banana republic, but seems to have sold out in the navy.

What are you looking forward to pulling out for fall?

Happy Friday!

Oh my am I happy to see you today, Friday. Even though I have so much left to do that you are rendered meaningless, you still hold symbolic promise. Let’s see if we can make that less symbolic for next week, ok? How about you guys, any big weekend plans or will your to do lists trump the weekend feeling?

The tall one is away at a choir retreat all weekend. She’s the youngest in the group and I’m having trouble controlling my anxiety about how little supervision there might be. Which is tricky, as part of me is fairly convinced she’ll get lost in the woods, the girl has NO sense of direction. Gets that from her mom. Oy. Finn’s working, so the small one and I are going to hit up the farmer’s market in the a.m. for a mess of ingredients for hand pies. We picked up a new apple peeler and pie press a few days ago and have been itching to try it out. So I’ll get a little bit of weekend-ness in there. He learned to ride his bike this week and is looking forward to riding to the market next to me instead of on the trail-a-bike. And true to form, he waited to ride that bike till he knew he could do it really well. Meaning he went from not going near a bike to stunt turkey in about 30 seconds. Between the tall one’s burgeoning independence (she might be walking home from school soon as well) to his desire to bike off stairs, I might need some anxiety meds myself soon.

A couple of fun links for the weekend.
This article for my friends who worked in bookstores with me. So true (thanks for the link Nicole). Anyone else have a crate of cover-less paperbacks still?

This house tour is so real.

I’m still pondering entering our home for this. Guess I should get it together quickly if so.

This video is a must watch for every woman who’s given birth.

On the blog this week we looked at the changes I’m pondering for our dining room. From the picture above, its clear I’m still looking smitten with grays. Good news – Finn’s up for changing the lighting fixture, painting and a possible new table. Bad news, all the tables I like are too expensive. We also looked at home office options in The Weekly Room (how do you like the new idea board format). And I discussed how we’re planning to home school the small one this year. I have a co-op orientation tomorrow, Finn and I will be teaching art as part of our rotation. Well, Finn will be teaching art, that’s totally his forté. I might offer some dance/theatre work.

Have a fabulous weekend!

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