Friday, August 1, 2014

High Five Friday: August

TGIF!!! I've been spending wayyy too much time in front of a glowing screen lately. It's about time to head somewhere I can put my toes in the sand, and I know just the place... But first, my favorites from the week.

1.  Art Gallery!
Simplest ideas are my favorite. I had been wondering how to better incorporate all the art my kids bring home into our decor. They both recently spent a week at a local gallery's summer camp. This spot near the dining room table, where their photo hangs a bit too high, is absolutely perfect for a rotating series of pieces.

via Krystine Edwards

2. Best of the Nest
The July Best of the Nest has gone live and there is some MAJOR fabulousness happening over there. My faves here, here, and here have given me so many great ideas for my own house!

via Little Green Notebook

3. Up, Up, and Away
Have you seen Jenny Komenda's playroom yet? I am going to be standing in line to buy Domino magazine when the issue with her house comes out. So so so amazing! Yes, that wallpaper is on her ceiling (and the light fixture is from Lowes!)

via Domaine Home

4. Playing Outdoors
Summer is so short-lived in Michigan that I want to spend Every.Single.Moment of it outdoors. I was entranced by this image of a life size chess board, especially since my son is teaching his sister (and me!) to play. The rest of the article about the Parker Palm Springs is equally amazing with stunning photos and links to purchase your own items.

5. The Internship
We watched The Internship with Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson last weekend. I loved it! Lots of humor and a sweet message about friendship and being the kind of person you'd want to hang out with.

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Have You Ever Wanted to Write a Blog?

Once in awhile, in real life, a friend will mention that she is thinking about starting a blog. I always say "go for it!" 

Here are my top six reasons for blogging, followed by my five handy tips:

1.  Something to do
This might sound like the best reason NOT to blog for some people. Since I keep my writing sessions pretty short (see handy tip #1 below), blogging is just an expression of my hobby.

2. Make new friends
Reading other blogs has helped me get to know a lot of other people who share my interest in interior design. Some are professional interior decorators, others are hobbyists, but I've learned from all of them.

3. Give & take
When I started reading blogs, I felt like I needed a way to introduce myself since these people were sharing themselves through their writing. Being able to refer them back to my blog does that. There's also the slim chance that my ideas, or my story, might resonate with a reader and inspire them somehow--which is a good feeling.

4. Hones my voice
The more you do something, the better you get. Being able to tell a story or communicate an idea is important enough to practice.

5. Clarifies my "vision"
Since this is mostly a design blog, my posts help me clarify what my vision is for a project. I think of it as a "to do list" that I'm sharing with the world.

6. Potential for extra income
Besides a few posts with affiliate links, I haven't taken advantage of this option yet in 2+ years, but the option is there. It would be great to earn a little income on the side for my home improvement projects, but it's also pretty great that I can say whatever I want...

Now for my handy tips.

1. Set a time limit
I try not to take more than 15-30 minutes to write each post. If I use images, I save them to my computer and add the link to the empty post, then fill in with text around it.

2. Containerize your lists
If I write a list (and I do LOVE making lists), I think of a number and then fill in the blanks. It helps me stick to my time limit and containerizes my ideas.

3. Develop a vocab
I have a common language that I fall back on when writing to simplify things. It helps me express myself more quickly and is true to who I am. For example, I think every post I have ever written must have the line "so fun!" somewhere. Other words I (over)use are: beautiful, gorgeous, stunning...

4. Be yourself
I try NOT to think like a marketing genius and instead hone in on who I am and what seems right intuitively to me. This is good training for the rest of life, too.

5. Keep going
It bums me out a bit when I see someone with talent and a fresh voice who gives up after a few blog posts. Sometimes life is just about hanging in there.

And I'm three minutes over my time limit for today so until we meet again...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Countdown to ORC Linkup #3

Now that planning our wedding is a thing of the past, it's time to think about what project to do for the next One Room Challenge Link-Up!

ORC Linkup #3, hosted by the incomparable Linda of Calling It Home, begins in October. I've had loads of fun in the first two rounds, re-doing my mom's laundry room from a distance and making over the "keep" off the kitchen in my current house. 

Our house has great bones, is in the most perfect location for us, and the previous owners did some things for which I am grateful, like painting every wall white, but there are still a number of projects we want to tackle. 

And there is no better time to do it than the six-week one room challenge while the (blog)world watches!

So what should we do??? 

inspiration via BHG
1. Kitchen: this majorly needs to be addressed since there is no dishwasher and the wall oven has stopped working. However, the idea of doing it ourselves in a relatively short time-frame with people watching fills me with anxiety. It has been done beautifully by others, though. My favorites are 6 Wilson and Simple Details.

from the MLS listing

2. Entryway: this project has some pretty obvious benefits. We would be adding curb appeal, organizing the foyer, and finishing the petite powder room. It's manageable within the six-week time-frame and wouldn't bust the budget.

from Instagram
3. Lower-Level: Because our house is a split-level, the basement is just a few steps down from the kitchen. There are windows at ground level and it would be the perfect spot for extra hangout space. Right now, though, it's a catchall for crap as you can see above. Since it is visible from the kitchen and dining room, it would be great to snazz it up with some paint, carpet, and artwork. 

All three projects would tie in nicely with the project that I already accomplished in the "keep." Furthermore, getting the rooms on the ground level finished feels like the right thing to do--as if I am creating a structure for the decor of the rest of the house--literally building up from these ground floor projects to later take on the rooms on the upper levels. 

So what's your vote??

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lingering Over Dinner: Dining Area Design Plan

So, to riff on yesterday's post about not really having it in me right now to buy new armchairs and foreshadow tomorrow's post about upcoming projects, let's chat about my dining area and the big money I'd like to spend there.

Our dining area is at the front of our house, facing the street, and open to the kitchen. Which is why I call it an area and not a room. It's not formal; we're more likely to be eating tacos on paper plates than serving a dinner party, but I do want it to look nice.
via Smith & Noble

One of the advantages of the cozy little nook in which this area is located is that I can finally create the banquette of my dreams. There is a huge window at the front and on one side. The third side is a wall where I hung some antique plates.

via Smith & Noble

I want to create something like these banquettes but want them to blend more into the background. To accomplish this, I would move the table out more so that chairs could fit on all sides.

via 1stDibs
Our tabletop is round and made of a soft wood like pine, which has not been a good choice for our family. We've had it just since we moved into our house last December, but already there are some scratches and nicks in the wood. I love the base, however, as well as the story behind the table so we're keeping it. But I foresee a new top, maybe something marble and oblong like above?? A friend mentioned that she painted hers with chalk paint so that's an option, and I love the look of glass. I also think it'd be fun to have a few different options that I could swap out when I need a change, not unlike adding a tablecloth, just bigger and bulkier!

The Meurice by Jonathan Adler

The area was originally a den so the lighting over the table isn't quite right. I really like this modern chandelier from Jonathan Adler. It's called the Meurice, which makes me want to start singing Steve Miller and speak of the pompatus of love, whatever that is. It costs about $800, a fair price, but over my budget.

A great rug underneath the table is essential. I like the idea of something with reds and blues and lots of pattern to hide spills. Finding the right price point is tricky, though. And since I'm dreaming now anyway, how about this one? (great color swatches, too!)

I dig these fun melamine plates, a colorful upgrade from paper.

What do you think? Would this be a fun space to linger over a meal?


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