New Rug Leads To Some More Hard Decisions

My life is so hard.

We just found the perfect rug for the laundry room… and that forced me to make some hard, life-altering decisions. But now I look back on it and realize that it was the best thing to ever happen to me.

Okay, enough with the silliness. LOOK AT MY NEW RUG! YAYYY

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The rug is from Urban Outfitters. I really enjoy their rug selection – the rugs are always well-designed and reasonably priced. I’ve been checking their website constantly, hoping for a suitable rug for either the laundry room or the green bathroom.

I was really thrilled to find this rug – the colors are PERFECT for the laundry room.

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The blue on the rug is a CLOSE match to our walls… it’s basically a shade darker of the same color. It’s serendipity, I tell you.

And the dark gray… you know it. Goes perfectly with our dark gray cabinets.

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I’m frustrated that I can’t get a photo showing both the rug and the cabinets. Close your eyes and visualize the previous two photos on top of each other. That’s what my laundry room looks like! YAYYY

Of course, a new purchase for the house ALWAYS leads to more decisions that we need to make. I’ve been thinking about choosing fabrics for the laundry room for a while, but wanted to wait until we got a rug because it’s easier to find fabrics to go with a rug than to find a rug to go with fabric choices.

For now, I needed to find two fabrics for these two purposes:

fabric locations laundry room

I just went straight to Tonic Living, because I really like their fabric selection. There are many other online fabric shops, but they have SO MANY FABRIC CHOICES that it’s easy to get overwhelmed at these sites.

I still got overwhelmed at Tonic Living with all the great fabrics, so I just narrowed it down and down until I had several choices. Then I put them all around a photo of my rug. I used the Pages application for this step.

fabric dump

clockwise from bottom left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

As you can see, I also put a dark gray background at the top and a light blue background at the bottom to see how the fabrics would look with our two main colors in the room.

Then I chose my four favorite fabrics and played with them:

fabric choices 1

fabric choices 2

I really like both choices, but I liked the second one slightly better. I did a mock-up of the whole room in Pages just to see how everything would look together, along with some more additions to the room that we’ll make in the coming weeks.

laundry room design 1

This really helped me visualize the room. I played around with all kinds of fabrics, colors on the shelf, the colors for the shelf itself and the folding counter, the hanging bar, etc etc. I finally landed on this design and it has been NICK APPROVED. YAYYY

I just had to torture myself some more and do the other side, too:

laundry room design 2

That little door with the hole in it will house our cats’ fancy litter box. The design isn’t final yet – it all depends on Nick’s progress there and what he figures out as he goes along. That part will be his project.

After all of this hard work, I feel an odd sense of peace. The path has been set – we just need to walk it. YAYYY

I’ll order the fabric samples just to make sure they look good in person ($1 each at Tonic Living) and continue trying to figure out a lighting solution for the room. I’m leaning towards buying a metal pendant from a big box store and spray painting it yellow.

I’ll be back on Thursday to show you another little addition to the laundry room! We gotta hang it up first (that’s a hint). YAYYY

Home Dreams vs. House Realities

It’s fun to dream, but there always comes a time when you need to determine the difference between what will always be a dream and what is actually possible. And so it is with our house.

My dream is to have wood flooring throughout the house. Real wood – not too dark, not too light. Wide planks. Perhaps they’ll be made of maple. But the reality is that wood flooring is expensive and this house is not our forever home. I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s worth the expense – will we get back what we spent in resale? – or swallow my pride and install economical laminated flooring instead. I need one of these real estate experts from HGTV to come to my home and tell me what the right choice is. I’m still not sure.

Source: feedly.com via elisa @ on Pinterest

My dream is to have a beautiful patio with tiles on the ground and a fan above. Our master bedroom has a window that overlooks the backyard and we’ve been dreaming about changing that window into french doors and adding a balcony right over the patio. How beautiful would that be. I image us sipping a cup (or three) of coffee in our robes (that we don’t own) and chilling on our balcony in the morning dew. But I can’t even imagine how much money that would cost. I still want to put down tiles for our patio and possibly have some kind of shade – a pergola, perhaps? Again, it all comes to resale, it’s not about what I want.

Something to consider is the area where we live. I’m sure that certain improvements count more or less depending on the neighborhood. Right?

There are tons of other examples where my dreams and my reality collide, but these two are what I’m struggling with the most. And we’re also trying to decide which of these projects we should do first. The patio, so we can enjoy our backyard sooner, which we haven’t been doing because there’s nowhere to sit? The floor, so I can get rid of the cheap carpet that hurts my eyes and my heart and that’s probably hiding thousands upon thousands of… I don’t even know what and I don’t care to.

Any advice? Any real estate experts out there? Any offers of free labor? If you just want to commiserate with me, that’s allowed, too.

Plan for Guest Bedroom Finalized! Now I can sleep…

Last night, while I was in bed and hoping that Janella would make the transition to the crib successfully (she did! yay!), I decided to formulate some kind of plan for the guest bedroom.

Why now? Aren’t we focusing on the laundry room?

Yes, but the cabinet painting is taking forever (I can only get an hour or two every night, but only if Nick gets home early and doesn’t have any work to complete at home) and I feel like I’m not productive, even if I’m making progress, because it ISN’T DONE YET.

Making plans — now that’s very productive. At least, it is to me. So, that’s what I did last night.

Instead of just showing you my plans and walking away, I’m going to take you through the process of planning. I’m not a interior designer (dream job!), but this is a good way to see how a few pictures of inspiration can really help you get ideas for a room design.

Here we go.

The Room:

Sorry for the bad picture. It’s hard to take a good photo when the light is so strong and when I took this, the roller shade wasn’t in yet.

The Process:

I just opened Pages on a whim and wanted to see if I could make an image that resembled my guest room using shapes like squares, triangles, and circles…

guest bedroom 1

Not half bad. It’s not Photoshop, but it works in giving me a nice visualization of the room.

I originally thought I wanted to paint the nightstands white and add white curtains, but this photo made me go BLAH. Too much white.

I went over to my Pinterest and looked at this duvet, which I really love but won’t buy:

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I had pinned the image to help inspire the room. So I looked hard at the colors. I already had the yellow in the lamps and the blue on the walls, but the kelly blue on the walls is much darker than the light blue color in this duvet.

I thought of the light blue paint we used in the laundry room… maybe that would work on the roller shade? Maybe stripes of light blue?

Not bad. But these nightstands are killing me. They are SO BORING.

Looking at the duvet again, I thought about painting them a coral color. Really? Coral? Would that work?

I LOVE IT. Okay… coral it is. Never mind it’s a trendy color and might turn into the avocado green of the ’70s by next year. Besides, I really love avocado. Eating it, I mean.

Then I was stuck again. And I didn’t really dig the roller shade plan. The color was still not 100% right.

Back to my Pinterest board, where I found this image that I pinned because the wall color reminded me of the guest bedroom.

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I love how the green pops against the dark blue wall.

Green? Green!

I like it so much better.

But now I’m not sure about the stripes. I know Nick’s not a big fan of stripes and even though I love stripes, I wanted something a bit more unexpected.

I looked at the above image again… and was inspired by the floor pattern. Maybe it would look good on the shade?

Eh, not bad, but not quite there.

How about this?

Yes, I like it!

Great. Great. Okay… what’s next? Oh yes – I had planned to add two frames on both sides of the window and put my hippie cloth tarp thing that I’ve held on since college. The colors in it is really pretty and it’s free.

I didn’t have a photo on hand, so I just googled “hippie sarong” and found this fabric. Close enough…

But it doesn’t mesh with the coral nightstands and the roller shade. Everything kind of felt preppy and the hippie feel in the frames just didn’t work.

Oh! What about black swirly art that I posted about a while ago and was thinking maybe doing for the living room? What if I did them for the guest room instead?

Better than the hippie art, but not quite right, either. The lines on the shade is pretty severe, so I needed the art to be softer. And maybe colorful too, since everything else in the room so far is just one color.

Soft… colorful… Flowers?

Of course, it couldn’t be boring flowers. Nick would never approve.

I immediately thought of this photo that had popped up in my Pinterest feed (do you call it a feed? the pins that you get from those you follow… is that a feed?) that I admired but didn’t pin:

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I went back to Pinterest, found the painting, and pinned it.

And added it to the frames:

guest bedroom mockup

Yes.

I’ll work on this room probably in 2013, but it feels so good to have a clear plan for it that I love!

What about you — what’s your process when you design a room? Do you use inspiration images or are you a design genius with 1,323,743 ideas in your pretty little head?

West Elm-Inspired DIY Ideas

West Elm is officially my favorite store. They just get better and better with each new season! I love their catalogs, too – the way they include non-catalog items as well as Etsy finds makes every page a delight to look at.

I recently received their latest catalog and spent a whole airplane ride (it was a short flight) just looking at the pictures and thinking about what items would work in my house. And I also got a lot of inspiration for future DIY projects!

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My mom worked as an art teacher when she lived in Florida and she usually made the costumes and decorations for school plays and pageant competitions. During my sophomore (or junior?) year, my class gave a play about dragons (our school mascot). My character was a dragon who acted like Barney. My mom made a paper mache dragon head and I wore it like a mask. She did an awesome job and I wish I could have kept one of the masks she made for the play.

So, when I saw this white paper mache animal bust, I thought that it would be a fun project. Start with a ball of some kind, maybe a syrofoam ball, then mold newspaper around it using masking tape until it resembles an animal head. Attach it to a piece of wood and form the neck and the ears. Make the horns out of toilet paper tubes and add pipe cleaners to look like ridges. Paper mache it all and spray it a glossy white. It could be awesome or a hot mess, depending on my paper mache skills. If worse comes to worst, it would still be fun to do!

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There are loads and loads of sunburst DIYs out there in blogland, most of them good. However, this cool twig mirror is sightly different but would be as easy to DIY. And I could find everything at Hobby Lobby. Grab a mirror, a couple of fake twigs, hot glue everything on just so, and get a cute twig mirror as a result! If I could think of a good spot for this in my house, I’ll be sure to do it. A easy project!

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I have so many white pillows waiting in a closet for their makeovers. We bought a lot of them for our wedding reception for the benches at our outdoor loft/bar. I’m always looking for ideas of how we can use them. This is a cute and simple idea! I have so many buttons saved up for no reason. But I wouldn’t actually sew the buttons on the pillow – I would just thread string in the buttons to make them look sewn on, and then glue them to the pillow. Think that’d work?

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Another leftover from our wedding reception is all the glass vases we have. I plan to put paint in them and swirl them around to give them some color. This sweet little vase with the leaves gave me an idea – after putting paint in a vase, I could paint on the outside with glass paint to add simple designs like this one.

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We have a total of three builder bathroom mirrors (two huge, one humongous) that we plan to re-purpose into pretty mirrors to reflect around more light, since our house doesn’t have that many windows. I’ve seen this mirror at West Elm before, but it never occurred to me that I could DIY this with our bathroom mirrors. Get thin trim, paint it black, glue it to the mirror, add little mirror squares from Hobby Lobby, and then finish it with some more painted trim.

I just bought some materials for one of these projects and we hope to get started on it soon. Can you guess which project we’ll be doing?

Lights Galore

We finally went on our bathroom light hunt last Saturday and it was successful! It was so successful that I was so worn out and slept all the way home from the stores. Sorry, Nick. In my defense, we also went thrifting after the three lighting stores – no, no that’s a lousy defense. I’m just a wimp.

First, we went to this cool little lamp store in downtown Austin, Tipler’s Lamp Shop. They had a great mixture of antique lights with modern lights and I loved everything in there, especially all the big ceiling pendants. I didn’t take any pictures because the workers there seemed very aloof and didn’t greet us, and I always take that as “You don’t look rich enough to shop here, so we aren’t wasting our time..” and I didn’t feel right taking pictures. Oh well. The lights there were tad out of our budget, so they might have been right in ignoring us.

Our second stop was Lighting, Inc. It’s a bigger store that carries all types of lightings, mostly traditional but with a nice selection of more modern light fixtures. We checked out the bathroom lights and saw this beautiful thing.

The “beautiful thing” I speak of is not the light itself, but the big yellow tag that says Special Sale Price! That three-bulb light was down from around $150 (?) to $45. Awesome – and we even liked the light, so it was perfect and made our decision easy. Otherwise it would have been a pain in the neck deciding which light to pick.

Some other favorites of ours that we’ll definitely consider for the other bathrooms in our house:

Look at the top of the photo – the ones with the cute shades and the crystal bottoms. I love them. I want them for our master bathroom! Someday. With dark purple walls, white marble countertops, shiny mirrors, light gray vanity… oh yeahhh.

This one was a bit expensive, but we loved the dark, moody look of them –

In the right bathroom, they would be perfect.

I also loved the industrial look of this light – (top row)

Maybe not in this house, though.

After we bought the light, we decided to go ahead and check out our third lighting store – Lights Fantastic. I am glad we did! That store is… well, fantastic. The light fixtures are very modern and cool and the prices cannot be beat. We saw some lights that were also available at the other lighting stores, but they were cheaper here.

We only saw one bathroom light that we liked in this store, though – after you’ve seen a number of bathroom lights, you get bored easily. We liked this one and will consider it for our 2nd floor bathroom, if we feel like it.

There were too many goodies around the store to focus only on the bathroom lights. Nick fell in love with this lamp and said, “We must buy this!” I said, “Check the price.” I’ve seen this around blogland and just knew it would be an unfriendly price.

Over a thousand bucks. Yeah… moving on. Nick demands an overhang lamp for our sectional sofa, though, so I will be stalking Craig’s List for that.

Saw some lights we might consider for our stairway:

And some contenders for our living room ceiling light:


(this one, above, is another form of boob light according to Nick. he’s right… look closely)

A simpler pendant:


This dazzling ceiling light grabbed Nick’s attention.

It is way too fancy for our living room, of course, but this could be awesome in a closet, maybe?? A bedroom would be another great place for this glittering thing.

You know we need lamps for our living room and we really liked this lamp – it comes in different colors. We saw, in two separate stores, a light blue one, an orange one, a teal one, and this gray one. Only if it was 50 bucks cheaper.

Enough about lights for now. Our little bathroom light is installed right now and we are happy! We’ve also visited three light places in Austin and are adding them to our home decor places to frequent, so we are happy! This post is finally over, and I’m happy!

(fantasy) outdoor space

After a miserable week of going through boxes and boxes of Kleenx and bursting all the blood vessels in my nose, you might say I’m ready for spring.

Actually, let’s skip spring and just go straight to summer. My favorite season.

So, when Liz at It’s Great to be Home asked this question for her blog party: If I won a free makeover for one room in my home, I would… the answer was easy for me.

I would ask for an outdoor room to be created and decorated, please! Our patio currently looks like this (but add the grass, this was pre-sod):

I’m sorry, it doesn’t even deserve to be called a patio. A tiny cement block is the only thing there. We have a lot of work to do here.

For my fantasy makeover of this space, we would add something like this:


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Specifically, the roof/columns, the gray stone floor, and the lighting. And we definitely plan on switching out our lame sliding door for a black french door.

Ahh, looking better already. But we’re not done!

The color scheme here is green, orange, cream white, and blue. Start with a green striped rug (1) and add a nice creamy white outdoor sectional sofa (2). Fun blue side tables (3) could hang out to hold margaritas. I would love this hanging chair (4), either hanging off the porch or with a stand. I like the shape of this coffee table (5), but I would either stain it a dark color or paint it. Then we have our pillows – one made out of this great fabric (6) and then add this pillow, that pillow, and another pillow (7). Come to think of it, I could use the navy fabric to make a cushion for the hanging chair, that would be cool. Lastly, these coasters are very cute but I would want plates similar to this for outdoor grub.

Add lots of Mexican beer with salt and lemon slices and now that’s what I call summer!

Considering…

…this acrylic shelf for the first floor bathroom, above the toilet, to hold… stuff.

In the picture in my head, there would be two of them.

We have a gift card to CB2 and I would love for it to go to something for our bathroom.

I’ve always wanted something acrylic in our house.

And this gives us reason to buy even more little cute things for the bathroom. A most perfect plan.