Quick DIY Project

We have gorgeous built-in cabinets in our upstairs sitting room that flank both sides of a fireplace (non working right now). Since we moved in I’ve been wanting to rip off and replace the dark, dingy wallpaper that the previous owners used to line the back of the cabinets. It kept falling to the very bottom of the list, but when my mom booked a short weekend trip to visit I decided she was the perfect person to help me tackle the project.

I chose a light wallpaper from Home Depot (online) called Leaf Toss. Once activated with water the back was self adhesive. No wallpaper glue or special equipment necessary…just careful measuring and patience since the shelves do not come out.

At first I was a little disappointed that the leaf pattern was so fair, but in the end it looks really pretty and behind our glassware and paned glass cabinet doors. Overall the aesthetic met my goal to quickly and easily lighten and freshen up the cabinets. Unfortunately, the cabinets are not wired for under-the-shelf lighting, so I would like to pick up some of those sticky press lights to turn on when we are entertaining.

Thank you mom for all of your help and wallpaper measurement and application expertise!

In other news, the basement progress has been remarkable. Mike’s amazing drywall mudding and re-texturing work is just days away from completion. Then, we paint! Cue happy dance. I am excited to share some pictures soon.

Basement Decor Concepts

I should post a picture of the basement right now…it’s torn to shreds. Maybe later this week I’ll be brave enough to do so. Until then, let’s stick with my area of interest and leave the plaster patching debacles to my DIY hero Mike.

We have two Pottery Barn glass lamps that will move from the upstairs down to the basement TV room when complete. I think they will fit much better down there, and the earthy, sea glass color (Jade if you click through the link above) is beginning to inspire how I envision the room coming together.

 

The bulk of the room will be white (TV cabinet, bookshelves, office area) and right now I’m leaning towards a soft cream on the walls so that I do not get sick of a paint color in years to come. But cheery, light-catching accents and decorations will be critical for tricking the eye and making the room appear brighter and more airy than it really is given the small sub-ground windows.

I don’t want it to be beachy (no shells) but shades of blue and green/blue are colors I’ve never decorated with before and I feel like they are very basement friendly. I’ll be enlisting my decor GENIUS friend Kimbra to ensure I’m on the right track though.

We’ll be stuck with the bulk of the furniture we have now given budget limitations but I would like to get rid of our black, very scratched coffee table (and matching scratched end table) ASAP and replace those with two side tables in a natural, earthy wood that compliments the white cabinetry. Right now I am loving the table below from Overstock.com.

Source: overstock.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

I may steer clear of a true coffee table altogether since the space is relatively small.

One area where I am extremely stumped is artwork. There will be one main wall to decorate behind the couch. The wall is the focal point from either way you enter the room (through the guest bedroom or laundry room). We had one big picture hanging there but I think a collage of framed artwork and a few small mirrors may play better given the low ceilings. Inspiration & decor advice welcome ~ just leave a comment below!

 

Pin of the Week: Terrariums

 

I really need to stop pinning pictures of terrariums to my Green Thumb Envy Pinterest board and just make one, or a bunch, happen already. I think a small cluster of three like this one from Lavender and Lemon Drops could look gorgeous in our TV room once the basement facelift is done. Isn’t every room (or at least one) in a house supposed to have something living? We have none.

West Elm has some beautiful options, and I really like the terrariums with a wooden base for an added feeling of “natural.”

Are they easy to care for? Any tips to get started? I’m clueless!

Copy Cat Chic

Since I was nine years old I’ve been in awe of my cousin Daina’s style. She can put together an outfit like none other and introduced me to swoon-worthy brands like Tiffany, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik from an early age. So naturally I was thrilled when she sent me to the blog Copy Cat Chic after reading yesterday’s post about the kickoff of our basement facelift.

The blog is brilliant. As someone without a lot of patience for bargain hunting (i.e., none at all) I tend to blow my budget rather quickly or end up hastily settling on a “so so” find. But this blog tracks the hottest home decor trends from major retailers like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, and then tells you where to find “chic for cheap.” Freaking genius.

We need one or two floor lamps to round out our TV room lighting since the basement windows are so small. Last night I looked at my typical home decor sites and felt a twinge of disappointment when every lamp was about twice our budget. Yet after about five minutes on Copy Cat Chic, I may have found exactly what I’m looking for – and for a price that won’t give Mike heart palpitations.

Chic, Cheap: Pottery Barn’s Surveyor’s Floor Lamp.

Credit: “Cheap” Surveyor’s Lamp via Amazon.com

The Plantation Atomic Floor Lamp post also caught my eye, although it’s a total departure from my typical style. It would catch and bounce the light in our room well!

Copy Cat Chic is surely going to become a daily obsession.

Basement Facelift!

Our basement is getting a facelift, our basement is getting a facelift!

Note: I am singing as I type…just so you get the full picture of how freaking excited I am. 

Where to start? Well, the TV room in our basement has been on our project to-do list since we got the keys to our house last December. But other rooms were prioritized, including the basement guest bedroom, so that family and friends would feel cozy and comfortable. The TV room is 100 percent functional in its current state. We use it every day and in the summer, it offers immense reprieve from the scorching oven that is our upstairs. It’s amazing (and a bit frustrating) how old houses stay cold in the winter and are so damn hot in the summer.

But the space isn’t pretty. The previous owners thought it would be a great idea to paint it a dingy greenish gray, in a glossy finish, floor to ceiling. That’s right. In a concrete basement room with little natural light and low ceilings, they painted the entire room one terrible glossy color. Ew. Put it this way. If my mom had not been with us when we were shown our house for the first time, the two basement room paint jobs may have caused me to walk away altogether. She helped me see “the bones.”

Okay, enough stalling. I am going to share pictures now. Please be kind and know that the holes in the ceiling are brand new. On Saturday Mike (the most handy husband on earth) kicked off the facelift project by removing the only two (yes, just two) can lights from the ceiling and added four adjustable recessed lights so that all the walls can be washed with color. There is literally nothing that man can’t do around the house.

 Ewwww, I know. Here is a breakdown of Project Facelift.

  1. Install new recessed lighting on dimmers – CHECK
  2. Purchase white entertainment center + floor to ceiling bookshelves for TV wall makeover – CHECK
  3. Purchase white filing cabinet + office storage combo to make one side of the room into a home office – CHECK
  4. Have walls patched and re-textured
  5. Paint walls, ceiling and window trim respectable, normal, no-gloss colors that BRIGHTEN up the room
  6. Purchase one or two floor lamps (blog posts about the ones I’m coveting to come) to add more light
  7. Update the fireplace facade (The latest issue of This Old House has an unbelievable fireplace makeover DIY tutorial for about $100 total)
  8. Eventually, we’ll look to get a sectional sofa, replace the arm chair and get a new (lighter and brighter) coffee and end table set. But those will all stay for now and I know the lighting, texture and painting will make a tremendous difference in the interm

To all my design-savvy readers out there, any and all recommendations and ideas are welcome. Have a paint color you think we should try? Tell me! Know a killer website to get Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel lighting knock-offs? I need to know about it ASAP. And stay tuned for many facelift updates throughout the weeks ahead.

Pin of the Week: Adorable Measuring Cups

The last thing in the world I need is more kitchen stuff. But c’mon, these are simply precious and I know they would make me smile amidst the worst baking meltdown.

 

Anthropologie, I love you. xoxo

Guest Room Touches

We do not have a ton of guests at any given time but I am obsessed with slowly creating the most comfortable, inviting guest room possible. I think it says a lot when hosts go the extra mile to make a spare room cozy, which is why I am thrilled that we were finally able to purchase a statement upholstered chair for a bare corner of the space.

Forgive the camera lens cover on the bed. I didn’t notice it until I sat down to blog and I’m too tired and sore from three back-to-back killer workouts to stand up again. But I digress…

World Market, in my opinion, is a go-to store for anyone who likes eclectic home decor options on a reasonable budget. I’ve been watching the chair selection at World Market for months and was over the moon when the Green Ikat Darby chair dropped to just $97 with a 25 percent off coupon over the weekend. That’s a total savings of about $82 people!

I think I’ll hunt for a small, bright table to sit next to the chair for a clock and another place for guests to set a glass and/or a bud vase with fresh flowers. I found one at Home Goods last weekend for $79 but want to give it a little more thought. Bright and colorful is critical in this room because the basement ceilings are low and we’re trying to keep the vibe as cheery as possible.

What guest room touches have you incorporated into your home?

Finding The Perfect Rug

Rugs can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a room, especially in small spaces like our main public space upstairs. We’ve divided the space into living and dining. Since moving in last year I’ve wanted a rug for each side to further separate and define the look of each “room.”

I quickly learned that a.) rugs are not cheap and b.) it is really hard to make a decision. It has taken almost 12 months for me to commit to a color, style and texture for the living room side of the space, but I am extremely happy with the result.

We chose the Avocado Jute Boucle Rug from World Market. The color online looks much lighter than the rug appears in-person, FYI. It’s comfortable and I am hopeful the color will somewhat hide Kona’s hair, which collects on every single surface in our home.

The last two things on my list for this space are bright throw pillows to spice up the dark leather couch and a colored or lucite tray to hold magazines on the coffee table. I am 100% obsessed with Dwell Studio’s throw pillows but cannot bring myself to pay their prices. I love the square lacquer trays at West Elm and at $24 a pop, those trays are within reach. The orange tray really catches my eye because the longer we are in our house, the more I realize the need to branch out from browns and beige tones since we have dark wood molding and flooring in every space. I love our wood and the character it brings to the home, though I do get urges to beg Mike to paint at least some of it white and lighten up the smaller spaces. He’d never go for it though.

Any opinions on throw pillows, trays or other accessories I haven’t thought of are welcomed!

Pin of the Week: Lighting

Our upstairs living/dining space is coming together nicely, but when I sit up there all I can think about are “Rugs!” “Lighting!” Both of these purchases will really bring everything together and infuse some color to a mostly neutral and wood-dominated space.

Above our dining room table we desperately need some sort of pendant or statement light. For awhile I was leaning toward a chandelier but I think that would be too formal. So lately I’ve spent a lot of time looking at pendant options.

Source: westelm.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

I’m not sure if this is THE pendant but I really like it. Casual yet colorful. Colorful yet neutral. Modern without being stark. West Elm really does it right.

The Front Porch

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley (you know, where “valley girls” are from) we never used our front porches much. I really cannot think of anyone on my parent’s block who sits out there on a warm summer night. Everyone is safely tucked away in backyards. All of LA isn’t like that, it’s just the experience I had as a kid.

So imagine my shock when we moved to the Highlands area of Denver and front porches are as, if not more, important than backyards. Parties spill out from kitchens and living rooms onto the front porch. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons you see parents watching little ones play in the front yard while sipping beer and wine from where…the porch of course! I absolutely love the friendly neighborhood culture it creates. Furthermore, money is tight for tackling our monster of a completely bare backyard, so sprucing up our porch seems like a much more realistic endeavor. In fact, we’ve already made great progress by taking advantage of six pots left behind by the former owners!

Given my recent front porch obsession (which is keeping me slightly distracted from how much I want to find a filing cabinet to complete the office and two area rugs to “complete” our upstairs living/dining rooms) I was excited when the June issue of This Old House had several features on outdoor spaces, including porches. When you own a home built in 1928 this magazine is a must have and typically, the products that are recommended are very nice without being ridiculous on the budget meter.

A few finds that got my creative juices flowing included adding a pop of color with two bright chairs like these vintage-looking aluminum seats. We already have two hooks for a porch swing so I want something classic and Americana in nature, to eventually match the color scheme we hope to paint the trim when we find the cash.  This white swing would work just fine.

Back to adding color, I love the thought of hanging a few birdhouses–Anthropologie has some gorgeous Brush Flick Birdhouses online and the latest catalog. Finally, This Old House has some killer ideas for growing fruits and vegetables in pots. Since we won’t be able to get a garden area built in the backyard this year I’d love to use a tiered corner plant stand out front (away from Kona) to try my hand at a few fruits/vegetables that don’t require tons of direct sun.

There is much to do, and even more money to save, but we’re savoring every moment!

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