I’ve been working for a few months now on giving our kitchen a bit of a makeover – we’ve painted the cabinets, we’ve painted the counters, and we’ve updated the backsplash. Our kitchen is looking so much better than it ever has before, but now we’re at the point where the big things are mostly taken care of and it’s time to focus on the little stuff.
I’ve always really loved quirky, cute art in kitchens. Kitchens are such a functional place that sometimes they turn a little boring, if you ask me. We have a perfect space on a wall in our kitchen for some big, impactful art, and I’ve always struggled with what to put there. I’ve currently got a couple of dishtowels framed, but I never really loved that as much as I wanted to, so with this update I’ve been dreaming of what I can put there instead.
Today I’m rounding up a bunch of my favorite art prints, printables, and DIY ideas for the kitchen – maybe I’ll end up with one or two of them in ours?
Sigh. Let’s not even talk about the disgustingly dirty chair or the dusty mirror.
We’ve talked a few times before about how our bedroom is a problematic area for us. It’s gone through about twenty-seven thousand different evolutions since we first moved here, and we haven’t settled on anything that feels right yet.
I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I’m a creature of habit.
I like things the way I like them, and nothing’s going to change that. Because of that, I tend to become very attached to certain objects, routines, and systems in my home and I can’t even imagine how life would go on if I didn’t have them.
(Sometimes I can be a little dramatic, too.)
Today I’m sharing the 10 things in my house that I can’t even fathom living without.
I especially love to “window shop” online. There’s something about the bright, colorful webpages of all of my favorite stores that just draws me in and I can spend an embarrassing amount of time filling up my online cart with things I know I’ll never buy.
It’s a problem. I’m aware.
I have to give credit to my sister for the idea for this post (possibly new weekly series?), because she’s the one who suggested that I pretend like all of my time drooling over stuff online is actually work and turn it into a blog post.
She’s a genius, right?
So, I’m giving it a shot. Each week I’ll have a theme (home decor, fashion, etc.) and I’ll share a few things I’ve been lusting after. I’ll even keep it simple – just some pictures and links…then, you can share a few things with me that you’ve been lusting after and we can all make ourselves feel a little bit better about the time we waste pretend-online-shopping.
I know Valentine’s Day is technically over, but red is always in style, right? Corey is a big fan of all things red, but I struggle to find good ways to incorporate it into our home. It’s such a strong color, and the vast majority of home decor that is red tends to be either overly traditional or overly modern. I rounded up a few favorites that are a nice balance, and I’d love to have any of them in my home.
For some reason, right around this time of year I always get a bit itchy for some new decor around my house. Everything feels so fresh and different with the new year, and that means I start thinking of how I can capture that feeling and transfer it to my house. I always find myself doing a lot of window shopping and dreaming of changes I can make to our home.
I love drooling over the gorgeous furniture and decor at places like West Elm, Crate & Barrel, or Anthropologie…but let’s be real – I can’t afford to actually shop for my furniture at those places on a regular basis! So, for a bit of inspiration, I decided to round up nine awesome tutorials for achieving the look on a small budget. Enjoy!
I never really thought I’d be the type to need a “home office.”
I mean, it sounds so fancy.
“Honey, I’m going to work in the office for a while, let me know when dinner is ready.”
As a teacher (who refuses to bring work home on principle), I haven’t ever had much need for a workspace or desk in our home – it just seemed like a waste of space.
But…things change, don’t they? Lately I’ve been working my little rear end off on blogging and writing, and I’ve often found myself wishing I had a desk to work at instead of the dining room table. Somewhere I can spread out a bit without taking over the whole house. Somewhere I can work comfortably, stay focused, and get stuff done.
First off, let me just make sure we’re all clear here: Corey and I are NOT moving. We have no plans to move for at least the next 5-10 years (unless something drastic changes), and even if we were in a financial position to do so, we have no desire to leave our home right now.
I’ve had moving on the brain. So many of my favorite bloggers are moving/buying new houses right now (see exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C), and we just helped one of our friends move into a new house too. I’m jealous. There’s just something so special and exciting about looking at houses, dreaming about which one might be right for you, and when you finally choose, moving into your new, empty home with so much possibility laid out in front of you.
I mean, if we’re being realistic, I hate the actual process of moving. Packing, loading up the UHaul, and unpacking for weeks is absolute hell, but all that other stuff? The parts where you get to choose new paint colors and pick out where to put everything, and that first night spent in your new home? That’s the best.
So, since I’ve been thinking so much about the wonders of moving and I’ve been so jealous of these people who get to start fresh in a new house, Corey and I have been chatting a bit about what we would like to do differently the next time around. Don’t get me wrong, we love our house, but there is always room for improvement! So, today I’m going to run through a quick list of what we would want in a new house if we were moving. Because, sometimes it’s just fun to dream, right?!
1. Master bedroom on the first floor
We love having a two-story house. It’s nice that half of the house doesn’t really need to be cleaned when we have guests over, because no one will be going upstairs, and we like having the two areas separate. We also end up with a much bigger backyard, because our square footage goes up, not out. BUT. If we were moving, I think it would be more important for us to have the master on the first floor, rather than upstairs with the rest of the rooms. Right now, this isn’t something that impacts us hugely, but I think when we have kids it would be nice to have some separation from them (so if they stay up all night giggling with each other, we don’t have to hear it!), and it would be nice not to have to trudge up the stairs every time we need something from our room.
2. Non-textured walls (or, less textured walls at least)
(This room showcases our weirdest texture on the walls!)
This one sounds silly, right? But, um, SERIOUSLY. Next time we move, we will NOT have textured walls or ceilings. It’s a little touch, but it’s something that makes a huge difference in how fresh and updated the house feels. Our walls have a really thick texture (and in some rooms, a really weird one), and it’s one of those little things that just drives us nuts. And the ceilings? I honestly have no idea why popcorn ceilings ever existed, but they are the WORST! We could always scrape the popcorn off, I know, but with our vaulted ceilings it would be a huge undertaking and we aren’t quite sure we want to go there yet.
3. A well-maintained exterior
Our house has some okay curb appeal from far away. It’s a relatively cute house, the colors aren’t too offending, and the lawn looks pretty nice. But up close, it’s like a horror movie. The colors are both very muddy and weird, and there’s no real classification for what color they are. Tan-ish, cream siding? Or is it peach? Pink? Blue trim? Or is it more gray?
And the paint job?
I’m fairly confident whoever did it was blind. There is paint splattered everywhere. On the brick. On the roof. On the part under the roof. On the window frames. It’s more or less the worst paint job ever. And we won’t even get into the status of the wood siding. It’s splintering, peeling, and just not looking so hot anymore. And, obviously, that’s going to be a huge amount of money to actually fix. Which means for the time being (aka: a very, very long time), we’re just going to have to deal with it.
4. A better neighborhood.
Really, we love most of the things about our neighborhood. It’s in a great location that is continually growing and expanding, there’s no HOA so we don’t have to worry about pesky fines for leaving our trash can out too long, and it’s an older neighborhood so there are lots of pretty trees.
There’s no HOA, which means lots of people don’t take care of their yards. And our neighbors aren’t super friendly (no block parties here!), and some of them are downright rude. I think the next time around we will focus a little more on the actual feel of the neighborhood and whether or not it is a friendly, well-maintained place. We certainly don’t feel unsafe in our neighborhood or anything, but it sure would be nice to at least be on a first-name basis with the people who live next to us.
Do I sound like I hate my house now after all that complaining? I promise I don’t. Let’s balance it out with a few things we did totally and completely right when we moved here.
1. The floor plan is open but defined, and it feels unique.
I don’t really know how to explain this one, but there’s just a feeling I get in some typical suburban homes that I’ve seen that floor plan a million times. They all look the same to me. This one, however, has a different feel to it and I love it. Maybe it’s just because it’s older, but there’s something about the layout of our house that makes it feel a little different from your standard neighborhood home and I love that. I also love that our floor plan is very open on the first floor, with the kitchen, dining, and living rooms basically being one big room, but it’s also defined enough that there’s a clear distinction between each room, so it doesn’t just feel like one giant space.
2. We have a huge backyard.
The backyard was a big factor for us when we were looking for houses, and I think we knocked it out of the park. We absolutely love our yard (though it definitely needs some love – and a patio – to be in even better shape) and it’s perfect for our dogs. They have a ton of room to run and play, and Corey and I love the beautiful trees that came with the house.
3. We have vaulted ceilings.
(An old photo, but it shows the ceiling well!)
I adore high ceilings. They make a room feel so much bigger and brighter, and we were lucky enough to get them in the living room, our bedroom, and the master bathroom. They may have made painting the rooms a bit (a lot) harder, but they’re so worth it!
4. We live close to family.
(From making gingerbread houses with my sister and her family this past Christmas!)
Our neighborhood may not be our favorite, but we’ll gladly trade the friendly neighbors and well-kept streets for the proximity we have to my sister and her family. We’re walking distance from their house, which makes hanging out with them super convenient. We’re also close to both sets of parents, as well as just about everything else we could possibly want. Who needs a super awesome neighborhood when you have a super awesome sister just right down the road?
5. We have lots of room for improvement.
One of the best things about our house was also one of the few things on our non-negotiable list when we were house hunting: we wanted a house in need of some love. And boy, did we get it. Most of the functional parts of our house were just fine when we moved in (aside from the windows), but there was so much work to be done cosmetically, and we love that we get to do all of that work and do it exactly the way we want it. We’ve made a lot of progress over the last almost-two-years of living here (which you’ll hear all about next month with the 2-year house tour!), but we still have a very long ways to go, and I’m excited to keep working on and improving our house!
What are some things you’ll do differently next time you move? On the flip side, what do you love about where you live?
Let’s jump right in and finish this tour up, shall we?
The Southern Living Showcase home that I went to check out recently was so incredibly large that there was no way I could fit all of the inspiration into one post. I tried, but I took over 100 photos while I was there and it was impossible to narrow them all down to just one post. So today, we’re back to check out all of the bedrooms and bathrooms that we haven’t seen yet.
You ready to be wowed?
Okay, well let’s start off back in the living room. Remember it?
Ahh, so gorgeous. Well, if you head down that hallway you can see to the left of the fireplace, you can access two of the five (!) bedrooms in this house. First up? The master.
Yeah, that’s right – I’m starting off with a bang.
I’m so inspired by everything in this room. I love the neutral color palette and the insanely cushy looking bed. I also love the beams on the ceiling, and that giant wall of windows.
I’m also a huge fan of the wall color – it’s almost white, but not quite. It’s just this gorgeous, super-pale gray that makes the whole room feel bright and airy.
My favorite part of the entire house just happens to be right off of the master bedroom – the master bathroom.
Once again, it’s mostly shades of white and light gray which creates an incredibly serene feeling and makes me never want to leave.
This mirrored wall was hands down my favorite part of the bathroom and one of the things I found most inspiring in the whole house. I had never seen an entire wall mirrored like this in a bathroom, and I’m in love with the effect it creates. It made the entire bathroom feel larger (like it needed to feel any bigger…) and was just incredibly gorgeous. This is definitely an idea I’ll be keeping in mind when Corey and I do our master bathroom, because I think it could work really well in our bathroom, too!
Oh, and I also adored the backsplash in this room.
Need a closeup?
I’ve seen this tile all over the place online, but this was my first time seeing it in person. The textured effect it creates is stunning, and I kind of wanted to stand there and stroke it for a few minutes. It was amazing.
The shower was also just a little bit impressive.
Oh, and who could forget the closet?
You guys, it was about the size of our guest room. Seriously. Amazing.
Back out in the hallway, there was also a small (comparatively) hall bathroom – it was hard to get good photos, since there wasn’t any natural light, but it was gorgeous.
And it also had these really nice cabinets instead of a linen closet. It made me wonder if we could convert our linen closet into something like this, because I love how it looks!
Also in this part of the house was a study. A study with dark navy grasscloth wallpaper that I wanted to rub all over my body.
Maybe…but the texture on this wallpaper was incredible, to say the least. I was completely smitten.
Aside from the wallpaper, my favorite part of this room was easily the two giant owl prints.
It was hard to drag myself out of this room to go see the rest of the house (because, seriously, it was ridiculous), but my friends were waiting on me so I finally gave the grasscloth walls one last loving stroke and headed to the back of the house to see the next bedroom.
Once again, I loved the neutral and serene color palette, and I kind of just wanted to curl up in the bed and never leave. The walls were a very similar color to the master bedroom, but they had a very subtle lavender tint to them that made the room feel a bit warmer, and tied into the super feminine accents. It was gorgeous.
I was also a big fan of this little sitting area right next to the giant windows.
That table is gorgeous, no? In this room, I was struck by the use of lamps – there were four lamps in the room, and it made me think about how Corey and I don’t really use a ton of lamps throughout our house. They created a nice, not at all harsh light in the room, and I loved the effect it created, so I’ll have to be thinking about ways to incorporate more lamps in our home!
Next up? It’s time to head back up these beautiful stairs to see the bedrooms on the second story.
There are two bedrooms upstairs – one on either side of the great room.
The bathroom in this bedroom was small, but it packed a punch. I loved the adorable crab print on the wall!
I also adored what they did with the shower in here. It was pretty much just your standard bath/shower combo, but they took the opportunity to amp it up a bit with a gorgeous tile detail on the ceiling. It was definitely the highlight of this bathroom and was something I’ve never seen done before – I loved it!
Across the TV room from this bedroom is the last bedroom and the last bathroom in the house. Let’s start in the bathroom.
The tile was amazing and I am absolutely and completely obsessed with that giant map on the wall. The fun pop of color on the mirror was definitely a focal point, and I think the shower in this bathroom was one of my favorites in the house (right behind the master bathroom shower, of course)
And the bedroom? It was definitely the most unique and fun bedroom in the house. It was a fun change from all of the super-serene colors in the rest of the house, and I loved the little bit of whimsy they added in here.
Oh, and even better? This bedroom has this:
Um, yeah. I wanted to stay here forever.
But, unfortunately, I couldn’t. And neither can you. Because, at this point, we’ve seen the whole house and it’s time to leave.
I know. It’s sad.
I’m so glad I had the chance to go and check out this house, and I’m still feeling incredibly inspired by all of the amazing things I saw. I think that I’m going to have to start paying more attention to when stuff like this is going on in our area, because I’d love to see more houses like this!
Have you ever been to an “idea house”? Now that you’ve seen it all, what is your favorite part of this one?
Do you ever have the urge to just pop into a fancy neighborhood, sneak into a house, and gawk a bit?
Of course, it’s not something I normally get to actually act on, but I always feel like it would be so fun to see how the other side lives. Lucky for me, Southern Living put on an open house a few minutes from where I work called the Southern Living Showcase Home. Can you guess how I spent my Friday afternoon?
I finally got a copy of it and within about ten minutes of flipping through it had a list of about ten new things I want to build. And I was feeling so inspired, motivated, and excited!
Many of the plans in the book are already available on Ana’s website, so don’t buy it thinking that you’ll get a ton of exclusive projects that you couldn’t find anywhere else – but what it does have is a whole section on getting started, including information about what tools you really need to start building and some basic tips and tricks on building furniture. And even though most of the plans are available online, the book has way more (and better) photos of the finished products, and Corey and I both agree that the layout of the plans and the explanation of the plans is much easier to follow in the book than they are online.
It’s a fantastic resource for someone who wants to learn more about building things but has no idea where to start. And something about having the plans and photos on paper in front of me is so much more exciting and motivating than just finding them online. I’m definitely a book girl at heart!
I’ll be honest – I wasn’t originally sure if I wanted to get this book because I’ve never had too much of a desire to start building things. I’ve always been mildly interested, but something has been holding me back. But now that I have the book? I’m feeling seriously inspired, and Corey and I have already made a trip to Lowe’s to buy the stuff to build something from the book! I’m so excited!
So, long story short – this book is awesome and you should buy it. If nothing else, it’s a great way to get you feeling like you actually CAN do this, and it’s an awesome source of information for how to get started building your own furniture. I have a feeling this book is going to do awesome things for us and our house!
Have you ever built any furniture? Any desire to?
Note: I was provided with a copy of Ana White’s book in exchange for this review, however all opinions are 100% mine and I probably would have ended up buying the book anyways. 😉