Summer Forecast

Okay, so, my home isn’t new to me, but I have been putting a lot of thought into designing my spaces better. I feel that we’ve finally gotten settled, gotten to know our home, and really know what works for us. Now the fun part comes. Getting each room tweaked just so, and realizing our condo’s full potential. We are traveling a little bit in May, but in June and July I think we are going to work on home stuff a lot more than we have in the last year or so.

Living Room: The living room is humming along. We are working on a wood paneling update that I’ll share more about in a week or two. We are going black and white inspired by the interior design firm Commune’s work at the Ace Hotel LA. Here is a sneak peek and a little inspiration I am working from.

living room inspiration.jpg

Bedroom: The paneling has been going so well in the living room, I think we have enough leftover to do paneling in the bedroom too. I think the recurring feature will connect the rooms, but for color I am still deciding between matching the black from the living room or going with a color.

bedroom inspiration.jpg

All of this exciting redecorating on the horizon has got me thinking back to moving into our place for the first time. Making a neutral space exciting takes a little bit of skill, a little bit of luck (if you’re a bargain/thrift shopper like me) and a dose of color. I’m finally ready for phase two of decorating, but phase one is a challenge for a lot of people. I brainstormed with Casper to come up with some essentials to make a new house feel like home.

Staci_home_essentials

Rug: Rugs are great because you can move them from room to room and house to house. They are a good investment and can cover up less than desirable linoleum or blah carpet.

Artwork: Like rugs above, artwork can be sentimental and move from home to home. Putting art up on the wall instantly transforms a room from a plain box into a place with warmth and dimension.

New Mattress and Pillows: Every room can do with new throw pillows, and moving is a good opportunity to trade in for a new mattress, too. If your mattress is doing okay, it’s still a good idea to get new bed pillows because… do you even remember the last time you got new bed pillows? I mean… you could get your dog a new bed too. Mosey asked me to mention that.

Paint: Confession, even when I was a renter I took the liberty of painting my space. Something about picking out the color you want to surround yourself with is liberating. We recently painted our living room from beige to white, an almost imperceptible change but the room just feels “right” now.

Lighting: I switched out my dining room light and have felt like a rockstar ever since. I think this usurps painting as the act that truly claims a space as your own. If you invest in lighting (it ain’t cheap) and put it up without zapping yourself… your house has truly become home.

Tool Kit: Trying to assemble furniture or switch out finishes can be frustrating without the right tools. I got this IKEA tool kit when I moved into my first apartment in college. I have used it countless times. It has just about anything you need to do odd jobs around the house—I can’t recommend it enough and I think everybody should have one tucked in their bottom kitchen drawer, like we do.

What do you think takes your living space from “house to home?” Having friends over is an instant fix–they call it housewarming for a reason. Baking something delicious and filling the home with the scent of that is another great idea. Share your move-in traditions, or must-haves, or best housewarming gifts in the comments!

Casper provided me with the infographic, but this is not a sponsored post. 

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Antique Postcards in the Bathroom

Recently Doug and I were perusing a huge antique mall and spent a little more time than usual in a vendor’s space that had old postcards and photographs from around the world. It was organized really nicely and all 50 states were broken up so we looked at all the Kansas postcards!

For those who attended our wedding, it’s no surprise that we love antique postcards. We had a box of them for people to “write to us” as an alternative to a guestbook.

 

We actually found many postcards from Hutchinson, the town where Doug was born, and even found one from McPherson, where we lived. We nabbed the McPherson one up and Doug picked his favorite Hutchinson locale and I knew exactly what frame they would go in when we got home.

Hutchinson Postcard

McPherson Postcard

We used to take Mosey for long walks in this very park!

The bathroom has proved to be a tricky place to hang art. We have the perfect long and narrow frame for one space (you can see it reflected in the mirror below) but there was an awkward place above the hand towels (look in the reflection in the medicine cabinet–below, right). Psst… These photos were lazily plucked from my Home Tour. ;) 

Bathroom Peek

Note: The bathroom area is tiny and full of mirrors–not so easy to shoot! 

Anyway, I reused a very cheap $5 frame I picked up at Wal-Mart years ago. It already came with a mat in it–so this little project was seriously a no-brainer. The small size of the frame looks ok since the towel bar is weirdly high. All in all, it makes me smile to see these reminders of where we’ve been!

Postcards in frame

Postcards in frame

Have you done any inexpensive and sentimental updates lately?

Loving the Living Room

Well, slowly but surely, I’m continuing to make my way around the house for my room tours. Just in time to move.

The living room, while the most energy-inefficient room in the house (several degrees above/below the other rooms, depending on the season) is my favorite room in the house. It’s gotta be because of the IKEA curtains I had my heart set on for quite some time.

Here’s a little secret: with four windows, curtains can add up very fast. These IKEA beauties weren’t cheap at $60 per set (I mean, that’s not a ton but more than curtains at Target would be). Since the windows were so small anyway, I thought a whole panel would look a bit strange on each side of the window. Things would get really heavy really fast. Do you see where I am going with this? I cut each panel up the center and hemmed them, thereby making 8 panels from 4. Making that first big irreversible cut was so hard to bring myself to do! I’am really happy now, though. The bamboo blinds came with the house and I hated them until we got the curtains up, and now I love them. Isn’t life funny?

When we first toured the house we were to move into, I had visions of making everything white to look like whitewashed adobe walls you’d see in interiors of the southwest. So, that’s what we did! I feel that it helps the walls seem cooler and with the numerous but relatively small windows the room has, I needed light to bounce around as much as possible. So, with several coats of white on the walls, I was determined to infuse color into the room using textiles, art, and furniture, and prove to myself (a color addict) that a white room can be colorful!

The mantel proved more challenging than I originally thought it would be, since it’s pretty shallow. I know it looks deep in the next picture, but trust me there isn’t really room to layer objects (like Emily Henderson’s recent video recommends).  Behind that large frame is a little cut-out, with a bumpy, non-functioning outlet in the bottom of it that makes it impossible to use as a showcase for doodads… yep, so we just covered it up. I like the height that the frame gives to the all-white fireplace, and it was a good opportunity to showcase some wedding pictures as well.

These photos are from the time I shot my home tour (in March?) but not much has changed. I have done some rearranging here and there, and I finally painted the inside of the fireplace in with flat black, and we sort-of-but-not-really finished the dresser by the front door. Another post for another time, that.

Sources:

  • Blue couch, free. My, my, my. This blue couch has been passed down through several dorm rooms, to Lisa (my old roommate) and now to us.
  • Gray couch, free, reupholstery, $130. Last summer we drove to St Louis for our anniversary and then made a hop on over to the town where my dad grew up in Illinois (and where my grandma still lives) to pick up this bonafide family heirloom. The cushions (original to the 60s or 70s) were pretty rotted out so we got brand new cushions in a cool gray microsuede we picked up at Hancock Fabrics on clearance.
  • Coffee Table, Goodwill. Refreshed from a pretty sorry state.
  • Sofa table (holding the TV & Playstation), handed down to me when a neighbor passed away [not shown].
  • Side chair, free, plus materials for my first reupholstery project.
  • Side table (gray), got used when our alma mater had a garage sale. Side table (wood), is actually a drum!
  • Entryway dresser, Goodwill–repainted using house paint (the same color as the guest room). Only two of the drawers were usable so I transformed the bottom section into a shoe catchall!
  • Rugs, both natural fiber from World Market. The circle one from 2005 and the jute one from last fall.

When my in-laws recently decided to list the house for sale, I was pleased that the realtor agreed to just use the photos I’d taken of each room for my house tour on the listing. My first foray into real estate photography! If I want to get serious, I’ve gotta get a wider-angle lens, but I told him to pass my name along to any other agents in the office if they liked my photos! 

For a whole house tour, click here, and for other room details, you can check out the guestroom, bedroom, and bathroom!