Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inspiration for Spring

I really enjoyed my fall and Christmas inspiration boards, so I made a new one last night for spring. It serves absolutely no purpose except to make me happy sitting on my desktop, but I kind of love it! Even though I waffle about it, simple is beautiful, yes?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Week in Pictures (So Far)

I kind of fell off the week-in-pictures wagon this month. Now that the weather is clearing up, I'm feeling inspired to pick up my camera again, and just in time for the blooming of the cherry trees! I look forward to this all year, they are just so beautiful.

This forsythia is completely covered in blooms. It must like the full sun it gets, because there are flowers on top of flowers on it. I walked past it the other day on an evening walk and with the sinking sun behind it, it looked like the burning bush! So naturally, I came back with my camera the next evening. Our neighbors probably think I'm a loon.

There is a faint dusting of light green over the trees as they begin to leaf. I'm sure a pollen burst is soon to follow, but, for now, it's exciting. The spring fever in the air is palpable.

Wes made some great progress on our deck over the weekend. It needs stairs on one side and a railing, but we've already been using it. I actually kind of like it sans a railing, as it is easier to toss Maddie's ball into the yard for her to chase.

Which she really likes, as you can see.

Oh, and that cherry tree? What can I say? This little branch wanted to come home with me! Whoops!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ideas for the Breakfast Room

You have probably never seen our breakfast room (this is not it!). There's not much to see. It's cut off from our kitchen by an awkward set of hanging cabinets and isn't much more than a pass-through at the moment. But we're working on it (or at least, thinking about working on it).

I'd love to break up all of the hard angles in the room with a round or oval table and soften it with an upholstered bench or small sofa. Then add a couple of chairs to round out the seating. I think we will still eat most of our meals in the dining room, but it will be nice to have the option of more space.

A rug to cover the lovely linoleum (which is covering more linoleum, we already checked) will really help. And we'll definitely replace the rickety (and ahem, dusty) ceiling fan with an interesting light fixture.

If I can't come up with a bench/small sofa, I love the look of wicker chairs around a round table.

So, I've got my eyes peeled for deals on a table, chairs and/or bench, a light fixture, and a rug. Whew!

Photos: Grant Gibson, Tracery Interiors, Style at Home, Megan Thompson for Cottage Living, and Cote de Texas.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day One Thousand!

Today Wes and I have been married for 1,000* days! I think maybe we'll celebrate with a fun dinner out and then more deck-building tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

* Did you even know that that is what the numbers on our posts mean? Someone asked me about it the other day, and I hadn't thought about it being unclear/random before. But I think I'm going to disable it next week, in case you are wondering.

Photo is by Salis Studio.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 999: progress inside and out

We have been busy, busy bees lately! Our backyard deck is coming along nicely after four Saturdays of work at countless trips to Lowe's.

Wes has braved cold rain, humidity, and mountains of mud to get it ready for our wonderful spring weather. We have a large and very private backyard (more so when the trees have leaves on them) and have been looking forward to having breakfast, lunch and dinner out there since we moved in two years ago.

Wes' Dad and our friend Ben have lent their hands, and I even helped mix concrete one weekend, but it has really been Wes' labor of love and I am so proud of (and thankful for) his hard work.

Meanwhile, I have been working on a little makeover in our bedroom (here is my inspiration). It was the first room in the house we painted, and I can't really say that I ever loved it. At first it was a bit difficult to admit that I'd made a "mistake," but after going through three paint colors in the office, I decided there wasn't any harm in painting the bedroom again. Paint, after all, is one of the easiest and least expensive thing to change, and usually has the greatest impact.

I painted the walls China White and the ceiling 1/2 formula of Palladian Blue (both by Benjamin Moore) and I love it. After the China White went up I wasn't sure I hadn't made another mistake (this is my first foray into white walls), but now that the ceiling is done it's perfect. Now if I can tear Wes away from the deck for a minute, we can deal with the space our lovely recessed square lighting left us, hang the new light fixture (well, it's new to us) and caulk and paint the crown, and we'll be in business!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 998's spring update

As the weather is warming and the flowers are peeking out, I suppose it's time to lose the plaid blankets in our bedrooms. I love them and can't wait to bring them back in September, but, I like to keep things fresh. Changing things around a little helps satisfy my shopping urge, honestly.

In the guest bedroom, I wasn't ready to go to the full-on summer look of lots of crisp blue and white. I went to my fabric stash and found a pretty green and blue floral remnant I bought out of a clearance bin for next-to-nothing.

The repeat is large and needed to be appreciated, so I took a cue from the bedroom in this house and just hung it over the upholstered headboard. I folded the edges under and ironed the creases. A couple of pieces of painter's tape (I didn't have any straight pins handy) holds the bottom in place.

It doesn't match exactly, but I think it "goes." And I love the way gold-toned mirror picks up golds in the fabric. A quick, easy -- and free! -- fix for spring.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 996: two kitchen faucets

We're planning to renovate our 50-year-old kitchen (hopefully sooner than later) and Wes -- ever the diligent project manager -- has been drilling me about my wants and needs and trying to come up with a firm budget. Last week he asked about the faucet. Like many of you, I have a dream faucet: a beautiful two-handle bridge faucet in shiny chrome or polished nickel.

But my love -- Kohler's HiRise polished stainless deck-mount bridge faucet -- will set you back more than a grand, which frankly, isn't in the cards for this kitchen AND that doesn't include the side-sprayer, AKA, my best friend. So off I went to Overstock where the knock-offs weren't really doing it for me (though I do sort of like this one).

Then a few commercial-style faucets caught my eye, particularly this one from Vigo. I would have never thought I would like this look but there is something appealing about it. And since my tendency is to be pretty traditional, this might by just the industrial kick our future suburban-farmhouse kitchen needs. Then I remembered one of my all-time favorite kitchens and the crazy-tall commercial faucet Lindsay used there.

While it's true, most of the kitchens I save for inspiration feature a bridge faucet of some sort, I was pleasantly surprised to see this Margot Austin designed-kitchen has a fixture similar to this model. Since this room is a major inspiration for our kitchen, I think I'm on the right track.

Top photo is by Stephen Karlisch for Southern Accents, bottom photo is by Donna Griffith.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 993's pretty and a question

I've alluded to the fact that we have a project going on and it's time to spill the beans. Wes has been working on a deck in our backyard for the last 3 (four?) weekends. I've helped a little, but admittedly, not very much. It should be wrapped up in the next few weekends and I've been gathering inspiration for furnishing it. I haven't come up with much! Wood decks are apparently not often photographed. But if you saw the steep grade of our yard you'd know why it's a deck for us instead of a pretty brick patio. So, dear blogland, have any great ideas for making a deck feel a little less, well, deck-like?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 991: bedroom makeover inspiration

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my bedroom was in need (and by need I mean want) of a makeover. I'm happy to say that it's underway -- inexpensively, of course -- but the room's layout still has me perplexed in terms of furniture layout, what to do with the windows, and what I can put on the floor. Those are the main problems, but it also needs a little more personality and direction and I'm slowly making progress on those. While I (attempt to) sort all that out, here are a few bedrooms that are inspiring me, for one reason or another.

If you could change one thing about your bedroom, what would it be?

Photos: Elizabeth Martin, Grace Happens, Elle Decor, Schuyler Samperton, unknown source via Little Green Notebook, Phoebe Howard, Mallory Mathison via StyleCourt, Donna Griffith for Style At Home (still not tired of that one!), and unknown via LGN.

Monday, March 15, 2010

flowering branches

One of my favorite things about spring are the flowering trees and bushes. Here, the forsythia is out in full force, and the redbud trees are putting on a lovely show. The buds on the Bradford pears are looking heavy and swollen, and they will be followed by the magnificent cherries and then the dogwoods and azaleas. I am smiling just thinking about it!

As lovely as they are outside, these flowering branches are just wonderful when brought indoors. We have a few forsythia in the 'woods' behind our fenceline, so I bring some branches in each year. Mine were looking a little frost-bitten, but they perked up and bloomed almost immediately after I brought them indoors (and if the sun ever comes back out I will take a photo).

Flowering quince is blooming now too. I don't have access to any free branches, but Whole Foods often has them for sale this time of year. You've probably seen this arrangement by Katie Denham before, but it is just too pretty not to include.

Dogwood blossoms might be my favorite. This hanging arrangement by Martha (who else?) has a tree-like quality.

Cherry blossoms are the fullest and are real show-stoppers. I might just have to do some side-of-the-road gathering for these this year.

All striking on their own, they are also lovely in a mixed arrangement. Wouldn't this be just wonderful for Easter?

Photos: via Habitually Chic, Housemartin, Sisters Choice, Katie D-i-d, Martha, Country Home, and Martha.

Inspired by: Matte Black Furniture

I don't usually love black painted furniture -- just not my thing, I guess-- but when the finish is matte I can't get enough. I blame this on my obsession with black basalt.

The new black furniture kick was set off by Haskell Harris' cabinet (I first spotted it on Style Court). She painted it herself with chalkboard paint, which immediately sent me on a quest through my house looking for something I could take a paintbrush to. I didn't come up with much -- the inside of my living room shelves and my blue chest are the only contenders.

I then headed for 1st Dibs for a little more eye candy. I'm quite sure I could find a place for this darling writing desk. Doesn't this hardware remind you of some I was mulling over last month?

And I think I have posted a similar painted secretary before but I couldn't resist including it again. We have an Eastlake secretary (on semi-permanent loan from my dad) but I don't think I could bear to paint it. Though it is certainly tempting!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 986's pretty

Speaking of undecorated, aren't these lovely? Makes me want to put every random thing I love on a shelf just so that I can see it everyday. Why not?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 984: undecorating my house

Lauren of Pure Style Home posted an interesting discussion yesterday on decorated vs. undecorated spaces. The short version is that the "undecorated" rooms -- though often very intentionally decorated -- feel like they were created naturally over time and through collecting and editing. As a designer, Lauren's perspective is that she is trying to create this look on a schedule and in a limited time (whatever that may be).

My perspective is that yes, I do want my own house to evolve over time. Not be redecorated all the time, but to change organically, to reflect our needs and what we think is beautiful, and -- above all -- to be a haven for our little family. Our guest bedroom is kind of a microcosm of that idea. When I started working on it I had a time frame: Money for it came from a garage sale, and it needed to be finished (I use that word loosely!) about eight weeks later because we were expecting visitors. You can see it then here.

I liked it, but it didn't thrill me. I updated it a bit early in the fall and have moved a few other little things around since. Now when I walk by and look in (and sometimes sleep in there just for kicks) it makes me smile, which is the goal, I think! The basics were there in July, but it's taken a little longer for the room to settle into a groove and have its own identity. Now if only our bedroom would get over its identity crisis (but that's for another day!) ...

Now, for the whole point of this post, here are some of my favorite "undecorated" rooms. Which have been decorated, but not overly so.

I remember this story from Cottage Living. The homeowners downsized and took all of their furniture to the new house which was a completely different style architecturally than the old one. Just goes to show that if you buy quality pieces that you love, they will always work (see another view of this room here).

Another good one from Cottage; this dining room doubles as a library. I was watching The Marriage Ref last night, and one couple was fighting over their dining room. The wife sets the table and leaves it that way for 364 days a year and they only actually eat on it on Thanksgiving. The husband, appropriately, thought this was crazy. People. Please use your dining rooms! Even if you don't eat there, surely you can find some way to use it. Why spend the money to have the space and decorate the room if you aren't "allowed" to use it?! Okay, rant over.

Ruthie Sommers can do the best of both worlds, in my opinion.

I really love a spare dining room. Crystal chandeliers need not apply!

Yet another favorite from Cottage Living. This Charleston house had such a great mix of style and periods -- it felt like the very definition of "collected over time."

And again, just a simple dining room where the function meets form just beautifully.