At Home: Entryway

It’s been a while since I shared much of my home, so I thought I’d catch you guys up on what things are like around here. First up, the entryway.

Currently

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There isn’t much to the entryway, but I like how, despite its small size, it’s better than opening up the front door straight into the living room. Our shoe organizer provides a small shelf to drop keys and mail, and the picture (an antique painted by a great-relative) gives the area a little “something special.”

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I may trade the picture for a mirror if I find one that can withstand being next to a slammed door day in and day out (our door closes very heavily).

I love this STÄLL IKEA shoe organizer. It holds a surprising number of shoes for its narrow size. Those Swedish geniuses!! We store shoes in three compartments and use the upper right compartment for doggie stuff (leash, harness, dog tee shirt), as well as the mail key and other assorted keys (padlock and bike keys, etc). I love the way its slim profile doesn’t block the light from the sidelight window.

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Plans

Right now we have a can light with a brass ring around it, but I’d like to updgrade that to something more special. I’m also on the fence about painting the back of the front door. Per HOA, we can’t paint the exterior, but I’m wondering about adding a little color to the living room this way. I’m just not sure what to do about all the trim along the doorjamb and the sidelight window. Suggestions?

Inspiration for a Bright and Cozy Loft

Earlier this summer, a friend of mine let me know that she and her husband were moving to a new city. They’d already signed the lease to an open-concept loft in a converted building. She reached out to me for some inspiration in arranging the floor plan and some jumping-off points as to decorating the new place.

I simply love putting together inspiration boards, so I was eager to help out! After a few emails back and forth I got an idea for the space and for a few looks that she likes.

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Given this information, I put together a rough floor plan (I couldn’t be totally detailed since I didn’t have measurements to work with) and an inspiration board to be used to start furnishing the living room and dining bar. I provided a list of links for items to buy, but oftentimes it’s just as useful to look at an inspiration board and purchase similar items things along the way.

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Sofa | Leather Stools | Media Unit | Pillow 1 (similar) 2 3 | Art Prints 1 2

Since the brick wall was already painted white, and the wood floor was finished in a light-to-medium tone, I decided to bring in color using a vibrant sofa and cool accessories. This isn’t really surprising considering it’s my usual design strategy! Not knowing if the lease allowed for hanging items on the brick, I picked inexpensive prints that could fit in light frames and attached using extra-durable 3M hooks. I love TV, so I don’t shy away from including TVs in inspiration boards, but I do like to make the area a little more interesting. I thought a media unit with a shelf up top could be accessorized in a way so that the focal point would still be attractive even with the big black box turned off. I also included a lighting solution involving a long white cord and paper lampshade (the kind found at IKEA or World Market) so lights could be hung from the ceiling without being hard-wired.

I didn’t have a lot of detail to go on regarding the bedroom and bathroom half of the loft (behind the amazing sliding barn door), so I just imagined what the layout might be like.

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I don’t have any afters since the couple didn’t move in until fairly recently. I am confident that however they decide to decorate, it will look great, and I’m so happy I was tapped to lend a helping hand.

If you are ever stumped for design inspiration you can always email me for some brainstorming! I would be happy and honored to help out. 

My Wooly Valentine

Last Friday night. It was destiny. We were headed over to North Park, one of our favorite neighborhoods, to meet some friends but first I wanted to stop by West Elm to see if they had anything good in their clearance section. I was thinking of desktop organization or a good deal on some kitchen stuff (typical… the obsession with kitchen stuff continues). Well, yes, I will say they had a great bargain in the clearance section. A HUGE pile or rugs they had been using in-store to anchor their show “rooms.”

With minor convincing/begging, a new member of the family came home with us.

West Elm Kasbah Rug

For only $99 I made it home with a rug. And not some skinny little flat-weave rug, either. A wooly mammoth, a 5×8 shaggy Moroccan-inspired (India-made) Kasbah rug. You may know Morocco has a special place in my heart since it’s where I did my 6-week study abroad program in 2009. Because of this, the Kasbah and the Souk rugs have been a couple favorites from West Elm for a while now, and this score was too good to pass up! I may or may not have logged some time laying on it and whispering “my preciousss…”

West Elm Kasbah Rug

West Elm Kasbah Rug

The original price was $499. Since they had it out on the ground for a little while (one of the associates implied it had been a week or less), it was marked down with the rest of the display rugs at $99. I’ll save you the math, that is a fifth of the price! 80% off is music to my ears! Especially when I wouldn’t have had it in me to buy one at full price, ever.

It has replaced our flat-weave cotton Zebra rug (which was constantly rolling up, getting lumpy, etc) in the living area. I like that wool is natural and that I don’t have to worry about weird plastic VOCs in my living area. I love the way it covers up the boring apartment-brown carpet. I love, love, looooove how it looks with our vintage coffee table. I can’t wait for it to become staple in my home’s “look” in different rooms and with different pieces of furniture as time goes by.

A Piano in the Home

I believe that the last time I shared photos of the TV wall, the living room looked like this.

After hanging art

I like the art, I like the symmetry, but something seemed to be missing. With the addition of our pine shelves (to the left of the photo), it was getting to shelv-ey around here (what with spanning the whole left wall, and the Expedits dominating the TV wall). Now, this:

Wurlitzer Piano as Decor

I am so happy we hauled the (scavenged, free) vintage Wurlitzer keyboard (officially called a “stage piano”) out of storage. The instant I picked it up at the dump, I knew I wanted it somewhere in my home, but it went to go live in the I Heard A Lion practice space for a couple of years. Once we moved, though, I was unsure of where to put it in our small apartment so to maximize “useful space,” we disassembled it and stored it in the closet.

At first I thought maybe it would seem a little weird to have a vintage keyboard as a decor item at such a prime location in the living room, but its placement has made all the difference in the world! Since I don’t play, knowing what part of the house to put a keyboard in wasn’t immediately evident. Doug does, though (duh, self) and it’s fun for kids that come over to play with it (it makes a little bit of sound even when it’s not on, so it’s fun for them and not annoying for the adults). Pianos in the home are not strange at all, so I don’t know what was with my mental roadblock concerning this piano. Growing up, we always had a piano in the house. My mom’s isn’t large, but it isn’t small either. She plays well, my sister took lessons for a long time, but I was too hopeless to continue my instruction. Now, Doug plays sometimes.

We need to replace some parts inside it because it’s a little out of tune, but it’s still nice. Now I absolutely love having it as one of the focal points of the living area! Really though, I just like gazing at it.

Wurlitzer Piano as Decor

The perfect yellowy beige color typifies that era of musical equipment for me. I’ve seen amps and other gear this color and am always drawn to it!

Wurlitzer Piano

Wurlitzer Piano

I keep going back and forth on what to put underneath it, though. I had filled it with tall stacks of books, but recently we brought my old guitar home from my parents house and needed space for it and its stand. Mosey’s dog bed moved under the piano for now… but the corner is constantly evolving :)

It’s nice to be back to blogging about home stuff. I have a ton of bottled up posts!

Instagram Fridge

This was such a simple project, and I’m in love.

A few weeks ago I realized that I hadn’t ordered any prints of my instagram photos in over a year, so I took advantage of a fall sale and ordered 60+ prints through the Postal Pix app.

The stack sat in my kitchen and I flipped through the pictures many times, but wanted to display them somewhere! I have a little scrapbook I started with instagram pics in it but I didn’t feel like scrapbooking. I did feel like throwing away all the expired coupons, takeout menus, and storing away old thank-you notes from my fridge, though… so I took an idea that has been done in 1,000 blogs before mine, and ran with it.

It started with cleaning off the side of the fridge and then cleaning it thoroughly with windex. Kitchen surfaces can get so grimy, can’t they?

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Then, I spread my prints out on the kitchen counter and started taping up photos in a grid. There’s about a centimeter (give or take) between each photo. I made sure to mix light, dark, and vibrant photos evenly so the eye isn’t drawn to any one area too strongly. One tip for a cohesive looking collage is to use one or two filters all the time, instead of always going with a different one, so the color wash is similar on them all.

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This was such quick and relaxing project. I love looking at photos and reminiscing. I completed the whole thing before my mug full of tea even had time to get too cold. Now I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my kitchen gazing at my loved ones and remembering great times.

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It also serves as an antidote to all the stark white, too!

Plants on the Patio

I never knew it until living in our rental house in Kansas, but it’s actually really easy to grow plants, if you do so outdoors. Turns out, nature knows what to do to make the magic happen.

Take this jade plant, for example…

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About six months ago, it was literally a stem broken off of our neighbor’s larger jade plant. We stuck it in some water and waited… and waited… until it sprouted a root. Then we put it in this pot I stole from my mom’s backyard, with some soil we stole from a planter bed in the complex common area. The rest is history. It’s literally four times larger than it started.

Then there is the succulent garden I planted right before our mac’s hard drive crashed in… February, I believe? Here’s how it started out:

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And now, this:

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The baby-plant vibrant green is gone (sad face) but the plant is going bananas. I took one of the succulents out since it was getting so crowded. The hen and chick plant now lives in its own vessel, a pretty pitcher I picked up at West Elm on clearance for about $5.

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I’m going to see if it survives OK on the coffee table, but the apartment is a bit dark so if it starts looking sickly, the move will be made back to the patio.

I also bought a couple more plants at Lowe’s a few months when my mom came down for the day. My favorite plant at our Kansas house was a Wandering Jew, but I left it behind since I was skeptical it would make the move OK. Now, I have Jew, Part Two! I love that it came in a hanging basket.

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Finally, the most beautiful plant in the world, a Croton. The name itself generates visions of prehistoric rainforests and I love picturing this very plant growing tall and shielding a nest of baby dinosaurs, or something. Crazy imagination? Maybe, but check it out:

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My patio is shaping up to be a very fun and plant-ful space indeed. Now if only I’d come across the perfect outdoor chairs to replace our beach chairs (which threaten to fold up when one sits in them)…

Pumpkins

Thanks for all the supportive comment on last Friday’s post, you guys. I’m glad I’m not the only one still working on “figuring it out.” I hope some people got a little encouragement out of it, too!

Today, some pumpkins, because it’s already halfway through October, for crying out loud.

They live right outside my front door.

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I made sure to follow the “rule of 3s,” and vary them all in shape and size. My favorite has got to be the gray one. Spooky and perfect for halloween!