our new living room…

I finally got around to tidying up a little bit and snapped some “after” shots of our new living room! After comparing the before and afters of this room and seeing them on screen, I can hardly believe that this is the same room! The whole room feels so much brighter and larger, even though it’s still the same small space.

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I still need to find some new curtains to hang up. These old ones from Ikea are still doing the job but I’ve been looking for something that has a little bit of a more subtle pattern, and maybe in a lighter teal or navy, instead of black. I’m also thinking about hanging some curtains over the window, too, and not just the sliding door. We like to watch movies on the giant TV and as it stands right now, there’s a pretty bad glare from the sliding doors, so we need some heavier curtains to block some of the light out.

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IMG_9761The bar area looks a kajillion times better now, so much lighter and brighter after all the white paint! These built ins used to feel like they sucked half the room away into a deep, dark, wooded corner, but now it’s a heck of a lot lighter and it feels like more of a focal point in the room. We’re thinking about retrofitting the lower left cabinet space to put in a larger wine chiller, or maybe just a small fridge, since our old wine chiller bit the dust a while ago.

IMG_9765I wanted to keep more of a “relaxed” vibe in here, since this is where we do just that, relax. Instead of trying to find the perfect wall art to go up on the bigger blank wall, I decided to get G’s guitars out of hiding and mounted them up on the wall. They get played so much more often now that they are out in the open! And my little woven storage trunk is still doing a great job of corralling ALL.THE.TOYS. that get left in here. Out of sight for when we have people over, but still easy to get to when M wants to play!

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One of my favorite spots in the whole room is this little gallery wall area. I didn’t want to put too much up on the walls, especially since we have the large gallery wall down the hallway, but I wanted a sweet little spot to hang some of our current favorite photos. I don’t update the frames in the hallway as often as I should, so this little burlap frame I got at Home Goods gives me the perfect spot to print out and hang my favorite instagram photos, and the tiny little clothespins make it so easy to swap them out! And that picture in the middle of the boys at the beach? Melts my heart every time I look at it, I don’t think I’ll ever take that one down!

There are still a few minor details that need addressed; some paint touch ups, the new curtains, and possibly painting or refinishing the wood end table, but for the most part, this room is done! Later this summer, we’re going to replace the door that leads to the garage and I need to get the door trim painted on the half bathroom, but after that’s done, we will officially have painted all of the orangey 70’s wood trim in this half of the house!

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changes and a new living room…

It has become clear to me, over the last 5 years or so, just how much our styles and personal tastes change over time. When I first moved into our home, my husband had already lived here for about 10 years, so it’s not like we were starting out with a blank slate. But we were at the point of trying to blend our styles and tastes together, and for a while I didn’t do a single thing in the house to make it more “my style”. Over time I started to find I was disliking things more and more, I felt as is none of our home reflected me, and I got to a place where I just kept dreaming about our next house, our forever home, and wishing we could just move right this instant. That is not a good way to live, and it definitely is not apt to make you “feel at home” when you come home after a long day of work. So I started thinking, really thinking, about all the things I love about our home, and what areas needed improvement. And as my thinking and list making progressed, I began to realize that feeling at home and being comfortable in your home is not really about the surface appeal, and more about how to make your home work for your lifestyle. I mean, we have two rambunctious boys running through this house, and all the stuff and junk that not only comes along with kids, but with life in general. We needed to start focusing on how to make our home work for us, instead of us trying to work for our home. And boy have things been going a whole lot smoother ever since. At the beginning of this year, I went on a cleaning and de-cluttering rampage. I try not to make many resolutions at the beginning of the year, because I tend to lose steam and feel overwhelmed, and then I just give up on it all. So this year, I thought maybe choosing one word as my goal would work out a little better for me, and this year I chose to “simplify”. After spending some time reviewing everything – and I really mean everything, our possessions, our schedules, our relationships, our functionality – I realized that we have too much stuff, too much junk, too much of everything that is clouding our vision and making our lives seem hectic and unbearable when, in fact, they are not. We need to sort through all the stuff so we can finally see and actually enjoy our life, both on the day-to-day basis and long term. So that’s what I’ve been working on: trying to reduce the clutter in our lives and figure out ways to make our home work better for us, so we don’t have to work so hard to make our home work for us. And that started with the living room…

Our house was built in the early 60’s; it has little storage space, and all of the rooms are closed off from the others, which makes me a little claustrophobic. I would love to be able to rip out some walls and tear stuff down to open it all up, but it’s simply not in the budget and, to be totally honest, it’s not a need right now, it’s just a want. So I set out trying to lighten things up and gain the illusion of bigger spaces when, in fact, they are still the same smallish size. I redid the living room last October when the whole family was in Florida. Unfortunately I could not get off work for the week, so I stayed home while they enjoyed the beach, and that was actually okay with me. As much as I would have loved to get to spend some down time with my family and hang out on the beach all day, I was also totally okay being able to do what I love – and that was completely emptying out the living room and starting over.

Our living room started out with a little bit of a man cave feel to it. Tan walls, wood paneling, huge orangey wood built-in bar area, and wood trim all around. Typical 60’s and 70’s design and finishes, and most definitely NOT my style.

IMG_9607IMG_9610IMG_9615First, the wood paneling got filled, sanded, primed and painted, and that alone made the biggest difference in the feel of the room. I was kind of dreading all the labor that was about to go into painting that paneling and the bar, but as soon I saw it with the first coat of primer on it, I knew it was meant to be.

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After painting all the rest of the trim white, and tackling the ceiling (which when you’re 5’2″, that’s a HUGE accomplishment to get done by yourself), it was time for the walls. I’ve been debating for two years what colors we should use in the house; I didn’t want every single room to be the same color, but I wanted there to be kind of a natural flow through the house, from room to room. I ended up grabbing a sample pot Target’s new paint line Devine Color, in Horizon, for another project, but thought what the heck, I already have it here, so I painted a patch of it on the walls and I absolutely fell in LOVE with the color. It’s the perfect shade of tealy blue that I was looking for, so I ran back out to Target and grabbed three cans to do the walls with. Since I didn’t take in to account that it’s only a half wall that I had to paint, due to the paneling all the way around, I only ended up needing about one and a half of the cans, but I love the color so much, I knew I would end up using it somewhere else in the house, so I wasn’t too concerned. And the coverage was amazing, so that helped too.

IMG_20141014_173435039_HDROnce the walls were done, I figured I might as well deep clean the carpet, since all the furniture was already out of the room. After that, it was just a matter of getting the room put back together. We had recently bought a new sofa and recliner for the space, so those things stayed, but I brought a few new into the room and mixed them with some already existing fixtures. We don’t have a lighting kit on our ceiling fan so we have to rely on floor and table lamps to light up our room at night. I found this awesome floor lamp at Target and knew that it had to come home with me! I scored two awesome glass-top solid wood end tables from a friend at work, and just gave them a good scrub before wiping them down with some Old English furniture polish. The size is absolutely perfect and I love these new-to-me tables! The one issue I had with the space is that it still needs to be kid friendly, while keeping a lot of functionality at the same time. We don’t have an extra space for a playroom in our house, so the living room kind of does double duty. I got this storage trunk at Target a while back and it has been working out great for keeping toys contained, but still easily accessible when playtime comes around. I got a few new throw pillows from Home Goods and Pier 1 for the couch, and some cute art and frames for a small gallery wall. And that’s about it! Until the following week when I lost my mind and painted the bar.

IMG_20141027_210223548Ohmygod, it’s was a huge task, and every couple of hours I would sit down, stare at the mammoth-sized project in front of me and wonder what the hell was I thinking?! I had to do about three coats of primer, and four coats of paint. It was absolutely exhausting and I honestly didn’t think I was going to get it done by the end of the week, before M’s birthday party. But I did! I can’t believe it, but I did! And after all the blood, sweat and tears (literally, all three of those things happened during this redo) the room looks like a brand new space! The living room is so much lighter and brighter now, and the room feels about twice as big. I’m pretty proud of myself for tackling this big of a project all on my own, and I think it turned out so great! Sorry for the grainy cell phone pictures, I definitely was NOT in the mood to get out the camera to take shots during this redo. But not that it’s all said and done, I promise I’ll get the camera out and take better after pictures tomorrow!

What about you? Have you ever started a project and then realized you bit off more than you can chew? Or what about those pesky New Year’s resolutions? Do you make them? Avoid them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

let’s get back on track…

Oh my, I don’t even know where to begin. This post is gonna be mostly words, so I’ll throw in a few instagram pictures of our growing boy to get you caught up.

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I guess I’ll start with this. I am so far behind with the blog, I’m afraid I’ll never get caught up. I told myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to be better at posting once a day, whether it was a big post about a project I’ve been working on around the house, or even if it was just a few sentences about something silly Mason did. But let’s be real, life got in the way I slacked off and that just didn’t happen. But you know what? This blog is for me. I write when I have time, and lately, I just haven’t had time. Although it’s a great way for friends and family that we don’t see that much to stay updated, this blog is mine. All mine, all for me. And with all this craziness going on and about to get crazier, I need some sort of an outlet to let my random thoughts run wild. So it’s my resolution to myself to update more, only on the premise that this blog is my sort of “diary” in which I can sort my thoughts, vent a little, update family on stuff, and chronicle big changes in our lives, so that I can look back at them years from now and remember every little detail. 🙂

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Being a mom can really be overwhelming sometimes. Being a mom and a wife and daughter, sister, employee, friend, photographer-on-the-side, and everything else? Well that can be overwhelming all the time. And now add student to that mix (I’m finally going back to school in January!) and we’re in for a crazy ride! Nothing could ever prepare me for motherhood; no amount of book reading or parent prep classes could cover all that material. It’s just something that you’ve gotta live and you’ve just got to DO it and see what happens. There are some thing I sure learned fast, like how to change a diaper with my eyes closed, how to feed Mason lunch I his high chair while eating my own and doing two other things at the same time. But little things like keeping up with the blog? When I finally have time to sit down at the computer and start writing, I get too distracted with Pinterest 🙂

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So my new goal is to update when I can, how I can. I installed the nifty little WordPress app on my phone (what I’m using now actually as I’m laying here in bed getting ready to hit the hay) and I’ll just update little tidbits as I go, and finish them off when I get time to hop on the computer.

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But enough of that boring stuff. Can you believe that Mason is going to be two a little over a month? I’m still having a hard time adjusting to the fact that he’s one, and now I’m already planning his second birthday! He has grown and changed SO much in the past year, I hardly even recognize him sometimes. And I didn’t even know it was possible, but I think I love him more and more each and every day. It started out as this tiny little love for this tiny little boy, but the more he grows, and the more he learns and understands things about himself and the world he lives in, my heart just swells with more love for him.

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And in home improvement news, I’ve got a couple of things on my plate. I’m trying to wrap up the task of transitioning Mason’s nursery into his toddler room (more posts on that later), with just a few finishing details left to go. And once I get Mason’s room finished, its on to the master bedroom. I feel like once I have him settled in his new big boy room and he’s finally sleeping in there (yes my son is two and still sleeps in bed with us), it will be time to dedicate a space to just us – me and the husband, that is.   And my big project that I am so freaking excited about – we are redoing the kitchen! Yep, you read me right. We are FINALLY. Redoing. The. Kitchen!!! Even though I would love to rip out all the cabinets and get started on it tonight, realistically this project probably won’t start until next spring. But trust me, I’ve been planning and looking and dreaming, so I’ll update you on the plans soon!

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I leave you with this last picture… Isn’t it amazing what a difference one year + one year can make? The shot on the left was when Mason was about one month old, the middle one was right before his first birthday, and the one on the right was just last week. Talk about melting my heart.

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