29 February 2012

A Look Back: Living Rooms

 I love looking through pictures of the different homes we've lived in since my husband and I were married and seeing how my style has evolved over the past 9 years. I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts showing how each room has changed with each house, starting with the living room.

Here is the living room of our first house, that we bought when we got married. 
I was 19, so went straight from my parent's house to my own house, and this was my first chance to decorate something that was all mine, beyond my childhood bedroom. 

I jumped straight into the red craze and like pretty much everyone back then, painted a red accent wall.
Fortunately, mine was pretty small:

I absolutely hated that big cutout in the wall. It looked so awkward with the tv sitting in that huge hole, and oh my gosh, look at all the exposed wires!! It looked even worse from outside though- that big box stuck out from the side of the house and hung several inches off the ground, so it looked like it might drop off any second. (And with that gigantic, dinosaur of a tv, I'm surprised it didn't !!) The picture on the wall above the couch makes me laugh- it's like a mile away from the top of the couch. Plus it looks so small on that huge wall. 
We lived in this house for a year and a half, and I love looking back at pictures of it because that was such an exciting time for me. 

Here is our second living room:

We bought this house when I was 22 and we lived here for four years. The above picture was taken right after we moved in, which is why it looks a little barren. 

Later it got some red and tan striped curtains.

Obviously I was still feeling the red.

My favorite part about this room was the 2-story high ceiling, although I don't have a good picture that shows it. 

It was during our last year or so in this house that I started getting tired of red decor and started phasing it out. One of the first things to go were the curtains- I replaced them all with simple burlap ones that I made. 

My little brother would hate me for posting that picture- he wasn't actually opening a gift from Victoria's Secret! I'm just a lazy gift wrapper so had used the only bag I had on hand to stick his birthday present into. 
Since all these photos were taken years before I had a blog, it was really hard to find good living room pictures to put on here! And this one is the best one I could find of my burlap curtains. 

Ok, third house:

This was my favorite living room

This was the house where I finally got a clue that we had waaay too much brown going on and I lightened things up. There were a lot more things I would have loved to do in here (like curtains) but we were here for less than a year. This house we rented right after selling our second home; this was just a landing pad while we prepared to make a bigger move out of town.

My favorite part about this living room was how big and open it felt- I loved being able to float the couches in the middle of the room instead of having everything shoved up against the walls.

Even though this was just a temporary house for us, it was still a great home for 11 months and I have great memories here. Especially since it's where we lived when these two little life-changers were born:

It's also where we made the life-changing decision to forgo our original plans to move an hour away and buy a home in Jacksonville Florida, and instead move 26 hours away and rent an 80 year old home in Minneapolis, MN while my husband went to law school. 

Which brings me to living room number 4:

(as if you haven't seen enough pictures of it)

As far as my decor goes, I've just been continuing the look that I've slowly been evolving towards- lighter, brighter, with just little pops of color here and there. 

As far as the actual room, I'm loving having a fireplace for the first time. I don't love the awkward setup though, with the tv on that little wall. The whole room feels really off balance. And I'm not a fan of all the dark wood everywhere. If we owned this house, the first thing I'd do is paint all the trim white. I do love the big windows though. 

This has been such a fun trip down memory lane! I can't wait to do this again with another room!

27 February 2012

Books As Art

 I snapped a picture of this page of a Room and Board catalog a couple weeks ago:

I like how there are books mixed in with the frames on the picture ledge just like they're pieces of art. 

I know some books I would love to do this with: Reader's Digest Condensed Books. 
They have the most fabulous covers. 

I got the above picture from the blog Just Something I Made. Cathe has a huge collection of Reader's Digest Condensed Books, and she has done some really neat things with them. Check out a few of her projects here and here.

As soon as I saw the picture on Cathe's blog I wanted to kick myself. I could have TONS of these books right now. My grandmother had a huge collection of them that covered several walls and as a kid I read every single one. Back then I loved them for all the different stories but I never paid attention to how pretty the covers were. When my grandmother passed away several years ago and we were cleaning out her house, it didn't cross my mind to take any of the books since I'd already read them all. 

Dang it!! I'm going to be scouring thrift stores for them now
 because they'd be so much fun to decorate with! 

In the meantime, I found one book today that helped me do a little tweaking to a tabletop.

I've been wanting to change things just a little bit on top of this table:

So this afternoon I moved the mirrored tray over to the left side of the table, and then started looking for something to fill the empty space next to the statue.

I wanted something with color...hopefully something bright...

and then I saw this chartreuse-colored book sitting in the stack that's holding up one of the lamps on my mantle. So perfect. 

I added it to the tabletop and set the black and white tin of paper flowers on top. 

I'm liking this better; it feels more balanced. 
Funny the difference a little book can make. 

25 February 2012

11 Questions

Last week I was tagged by the super awesome Jessie of Mix And Chic to answer 11 questions about myself. If you didn't catch Jessie's answers to her questions, then go on over and read them because she's a super talented girl and it was fun getting to know one of my favorite bloggers a little better.  And while you're there, make sure you check out her living room reveal. It is clear by Jessie's posts every day that she's got an amazing eye for design, and you can totally see it reflected in her home.

 Ok, so here are the rules to this game:

1. You must post the rules.

2. Answer the 11 questions the tagger posted for you and then create 11 new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.

3. Tag 11 people and link them in your post.

4. Let them know you have tagged them.

Ok, here are Jessie's 11 questions:

1. What is your favorite room to decorate and why?

The living room, because it's where we spend the most time.

2. What is your favorite decorating trend?

Zebra! I don't care that it's been a little overdone lately; it's still a neutral so it'll last beyond the moment. 

3. Which decorating trend you think is way overrated?

Brass....sorry!! I know, shoot me. A lot of people are loving it right now but I just don't. 

4. What is your biggest decorating pet peeve?

Rugs that are too small, especially in a dining room. It looks so goofy when the chairs look like they're having to stand on their tip-toes to stay on the rug. 

5. Averagely, how much time do you put into a blog post?

Way too much time....this blog actually covers two of my loves- decorating and writing. I've always loved to write, so I spend a lot of time making sure everything sounds good before I hit that "publish" button.  So if I'm writing a super long post, sometimes I'll spend a couple hours writing it. Having a blog kind of makes me feel like I'm back in english class writing essays, and I want to make sure I get a good grade...

6. What have you learned/ gained from blogging?

That there is seriously no end to what you can do to make a house look amazing, on any budget. Before I started a blog of my own, I read like 2 decorating blogs. Now I read tons. There are so many ideas out there. Thank goodness for Pinterest so I have a place to save them all! 

7. Who do you most admire in the blogging world and why?

John & Sherry Petersik of Young House Love. They started out as two regular new homeowners just blogging about fixing up their first home and were able to make what started out as a hobby into a full-time job with multiple magazine and tv appearances, and now a book. They're amazing. 

8. What is the coolest opportunity that has come your way because of your blog?

Seeing other people liking my ideas and copying them...that is the coolest.  I think my ideas are great, but it's a whole other thing when I see people featuring me on their blogs, or pinning my ideas on their Pinterest boards and using words like "brilliant!" -that sure feeds my ego! haha

9. Who is your favorite decorator and why?

Genevieve Gorder because I'm obsessed with her show (Dear Genevieve on HGTV) and I love the way that she accessorizes! I'm not a minimalist at all- I'm more of a "more is more" person so I love that she always fills rooms with tons of amazing stuff, but at the same time is able to keep them from looking cluttered. And I also have an obsession with built-ins so I love how she puts them in pretty much every room that she does. 

10. What is a little-known fact about you that your readers would be surprised to learn?

I have a fetish for the smell of cleaning supplies. Like a crawling halfway into the empty washer to smell the detergent residue-type of obsession. 

11. What do you hope your blog will achieve in the long run? Please elaborate.

I hope it will be somewhere that people know they can go to get great ideas for their home. There are blogs that I can't wait to read every day because I know that I'm going to walk away with an amazing idea that I can't wait to do myself. I want my blog to be that for people. 

Ok, Here are the 11 bloggers that I am tagging:

Aimee at Twigg Studios
Holly at My Sister's Suitcase
Cindy at Cinsarah
Sherry at Decorating With CENTS
Nancy at Dream it...build it...style it!
Elle at Ellementary Home
Erin at His & Hers
Elizabeth at The Little Black Door
Teresa at Teresa D Boyd
Paige at The Creative Paige
Tammy at Type A Decorating

Please take some time to check them out- they're all very talented!

Ok ladies, here are my questions to you:

1. What is your favorite room to decorate and why?
2. Do you have a "Monica's closet" aka a hidden space in your house that's either a total mess or completely undecorated?
3. What is your favorite room in your house?
4. What made you decide to start a blog?
5. What is the best decorating tip that you've learned from another blog?
6. What is your favorite movie?
7. What is your favorite food?
8. Is there a decorating trend that you hate and why?
9. Do you prefer baking or cooking?
10. What is your all-time favorite blog post? (That you've done)
11. What project have you completed that has made the biggest impact, visually or otherwise, in your home?

24 February 2012

And The Winners Are....

 It's that time!!!

We have two winners to last week's giveaway!

And how lucky that both winners wanted something different! (whew!)

And Shanna O'Loughlin won the tree art:

Shanna, there wasn't a link back to you on your comment, so I'm not sure how to contact you. Please email me your address so I can get this out to you. :)

Congrats girls!!

23 February 2012

A Giveaway Reminder!!

 Today is your last day to enter to win one of these:

There will be two winners in this giveaway so your chances at getting one of them are good!

All you have to do to be entered to win is to be a follower of this blog 
and leave a comment on last Friday's post letting me know which picture you'd like. 

I'll announce both winners tomorrow.

Hurry over!! And may the odds be ever in your favor!


22 February 2012

Revamping A Light Fixture

 In yesterday's post I showed you the fabulous new light fixture I have hanging in my living room, and how I came to acquire it. Today, I'm going to show you how I got it looking so good.

You see, it started out like this:

Not awful, but not my style at all.

So, after taking all the parts of the light fixture out of the box, I first determined that I would not be using any of the extension rods that it came with (there is one in the picture above- it's that long skinny pole at the top). Our house has low ceilings so if we'd hung the fixture the way it shows it in that photo it would have been hitting us in the face. So all the extension rods got put back in the box. Along with the ugly brown-frosted glass shade. 

When I'd first ordered the light and had been looking at the picture of it online, I figured I'd just paint the whole thing white and just stick a new shade on it. 

But once I saw it in person I was reeeally not liking the look of those extra, decorative poles...it was too busy looking. I wanted one single one.

So I got out my trusty glue gun and wrapped the whole thing in jute.

{See how there's the exposed part in-between the two sections I'm wrapping that isn't covered by the jute? That part doesn't matter- since what's the "top" of the fixture in the picture will actually be the bottom of the fixture when it's hung, that part isn't visible so I didn't bother covering it. I like to save myself unnecessary work.} 

I left the flat, round part at the end (the part that goes to the ceiling) uncovered; that part, along with the separate round piece that mounts to the ceiling and hides all the wires, I painted white.
{Sorry, I didn't get any pics of that process. It wasn't anything exciting though.}

I bought a simple linen lampshade from Target to use in place of the glass shade. 
I would have loved to have been able to get one twice this size, but this was the largest that they had, and a bigger one would have been out of my budget anyway.

This was pretty the way it was, but I wanted to add a little embellishment so I used the metal iron-on studs that were left over from my dining room mirror and used hot glue to attach them around the bottom edge of the shade. 

....And then my job was done and it was time for my assistant (aka my husband) to step in and assist....

Madonna came down from the ceiling...

...and I thought it looked better already! Seriously, I would have lived with that hole for the rest of our time in this house before spending one more second with that hideous fan. 

And we did live with it....for two weeks, while my husband was busy with school and trying to come up with a way to make my lamp shade work with the light fixture. 

You see, I don't always think things through. 

I come up with these *brilliant* plans, drag Rob to the point of no return, and then when he looks at me and says, "Ok, now what?" I shrug my shoulders and say "I dunno, I just thought we could figure it out." 

In my defense though, I just have great faith in the saying "When there's a will, there's a way." 
And there's no kind of will like having a dark living room for two weeks to give someone the motivation to figure out how to refit a lamp shade. Which Rob did. Because he's a genius. Then he steps back and lets me take all the glory on my blog for our awesome light fixture cause he's the sweetest. Love him. :)

So anyways, the problem with the lamp shade was that the metal ring that's suppose to fit over the light socket was too small. I'd figured we could just glue it on or something but Rob wanted to make sure that it was going to look like it belonged on there, and also that it wasn't going to fall off at some random time.

So, he removed the ring from the lampshade so it was left like this:

Then he bought a piece of pvc pipe that was slightly larger than the diameter of the light socket so that the pvc would slip over it. 

He drilled three holes into the sides of the pipe near the outer edge, 
marking the outside edge first so that the holes were evenly spaced. 
This becomes the new ring for the lamp shade.

It slides over the light socket and the white plastic ring 
that screws onto the end of the socket 
goes in front of it, keeping it from sliding off:

Here it is with the three metal pieces on the lamp shade inserted into the holes in the pvc pipe:

This works great because it totally looks like the light fixture just came like that; there are no obvious "DIY" signs (like dried glue, if we'd gone with my idea!) when it comes to how the shade is hung. 
Plus there's no complicated removal of the shade or anything when we need to change out lightbulbs. 
All in all, I'd say it was a pretty great idea by my hubby. :)

The only other bit of modifying we had to do before getting this light up on the ceiling was covering the jagged hole that was hidden under the base of the ceiling fan, but that the new light's base wouldn't cover.

But that was an easy fix; Rob just got one of those ceiling plates and it covered the edges of the hole. 

And that was it- then the light went up. There are no pictures of that process since I help by holding the light up while Rob screws everything in. Besides, unless you want to be electrocuted to death, you really don't want any light-hanging tutorials from me. 

We actually hung the fixture sans shade, and then attached the shade afterwards. It just made it easier to get it onto the ceiling without the shade getting in our way. 

Here it is lit. <3

I don't know what the white mark near the top of the shade is in that picture, but it's not ripped or anything- that's not there in real life. What is there is the shadow from the seam at the back of the shade- that's a bummer. You can always see that when it's on. I'm guessing that drum shades that are actually made for use on the ceiling don't have a big seam like that on one side. 

But again, for $34.00, I'm not complaining.

This picture with the reflection of it in the mirror really illustrates what I was talking about yesterday with the exposed bulb- it is blinding when it's on if you look right at it!

Still thinking about how I want to fix that. 

But I'm super happy with how this came out, and loving how it looks in the living room!

If you haven't entered my giveaway, do it now! There's two prizes so two winners! (And I made the prizes myself...seriously, what could be better?!) The winners will be announced this Friday.

Positively Splendid