Living Room: Hanging mismatched art

This “final” living room post has been rather difficult to write. I started with the idea that I’d talk about hanging the art around the room, but something about it keeps rubbing me the wrong way. Maybe it’s that there’s really no homemade or handmade element to what I’ve done (well, there is to two of the art pieces, but I’ll share those later), or maybe it’s that the whole discussion feels kind of privileged. Compared to the budget I had when I started this blog, this room was furnished in absolute luxury. Feels kind of like cheating. And it’s not say that the room is phenomenal either. It feels like home and I love a lot of individual elements in it, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything that shows I have an eye for design or anything. I think it’s pretty average for what a person can pull together with a little bit of money and a few decent pieces of furniture and art. So with that, I want to say, I am totally open to suggestions. Anything striking you as off? Any ideas for what would pull the room together a bit more? I’m fairly happy with the side by the windows, but the other half of the room doesn’t have the same “put together” feel.

Hanging art on the walls made a huge difference in making the living room feel cozier after I repainted it a light icy blue.

Some of the walls needed little to no art, mostly due to huge windows and big pieces of furniture.

TV corner after

While all the others were in need of something.

I had a hard time deciding what to do on the opposite side of the french doors, especially since I normally leave that door open all the time. I could have left it blank, I suppose, but it’s very visible when you are sitting on the couch or the green chair and it just looked empty. In the end, I decided to go with one mid-sized picture and treat the wall as though the door wasn’t there. Here’s what it looks like from the couch at night. 

painting behind french door

I actually could have gone a little bigger, but I had already decided to buy a big piece for the adjacent wall. It’s not ideal to have a picture partially obstructed, but it look better than it did with a blank wall—and it gave me an excuse to order a print that I’d been wanting for a while (Autumn in Orillia by Franklin Carmichael. I ordered the print from Art.com and LOVE the paper it was printed on. It was heavy and matte and textured – perfect for a water color print. I got the frame at Michaels after quite the hunt for a frame the correct size.)

On the wall opposite the windows, I chose to go big and bold, yet simple with one gigantic painting that I’d been lusting after for two years. (To give you an idea of the scale, that painting is 48 inches by 48 inches and about two inches deep.)

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And on the wall next to that, you can see the start of my art collage project for the remaining wall. See, those first two walls were easy. I invested a some money in two pieces I really liked and had been wanting for a while. But if you’ve been reading for a while, you know I love collecting artwork that speaks to me, so it should be a surprise that I had quite a few framed pieces and bits of brick a brack sitting around waiting to be hung in the perfect spot.

The big challenge of the living room was the wall opposite the french doors: A row of high windows, a low couch and two big blank patches of wall. (Ignore the paint color, of course. I neglected to take a proper “before” pic.)

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I had around a dozen pieces to play with, including framed photos, prints, some fun fabric pieces, a tortoise shell (faux, from Target) and a carved mirror. Almost none of the frames matched and the orientations went both ways. I followed the Young House Love paper-template approach to planning and traced the outlines of all the objects onto pieces of paper (I used a lot of packing paper I had laying around – a nice non-destracting neutral to play with, but it tended to be wrinkly). Then I used painters tape to play around with the different options.

big wall after

After a few days of hemming, hawing and rearranging, I finally got bold and started nailing. I started with the largest objects on each wall, and did a little rearranging after each additional object was added. And here’s where it ended up.

longlivingroomwall

 

When it comes to hanging a gallery wall, I highly recommend the paper template approach. It made it so fast and easy and I knew exactly where to put all the nails. I really like how the arrangements came together on either side of the windows.

The things I’m still considering: Let’s see…should I expand the gallery wall and flow things under the windows? Should I put shelving or something in the two empty corners of the room? Get a longer sideboard instead of the dresser that’s under the horse painting? An actual table between the two refinished chairs? For now, I’m calling it done, but if I find a great piece that I think will help tie it all together a bit better, I may make some changes down the road.

Living Room: A Paint Saga in Three Acts

When I first moved into my new apartment, I showed you all this picture of my living room:

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A dark room with sage green walls with a nice dented texture that you can see on the left. Since I was sticking with light gray for most of the rest of the apartment (Burnished metal in the foyer, dining room and back hall and French Silver in the bedroom), and this was one of the few rooms that was open, but separated from the other rooms by wood trim (the halls, kitchen and dining room all flow together with plaster archways), I thought it was an opportunity to add another color to the house. I know some people like to use one continuous color when rooms are open to each other, but I really like the effect of looking from one room to another and seeing a touch of something different – as long as it works together! (My disastrous interim kitchen color did not, which is a story for another blog entry.) With all the wood accents throughout the apartment, I thought brown would work really well and would make the room feel warm and snug. I’d planned to get a light gray couch, a gray patterned rug, a light-colored ottoman coffee table, and then I was finally going to recover those estate sale chairs in a light/neutral fabric and paint them white.

But, where I ended up was this:

Brown Living room

As I mentioned before, I ended up getting a brown leather couch. I’d spent hours and hours looking at couches online and reading reviews. I didn’t really want an IKEA couch (the reviews for long-term wearability are mixed, plus I’d have to rent a truck and spent over 3 hours driving to get one), but I was considering a Karlstad with the gray cover, because I thought it was the only new couch I could afford. I also considered a fake-leather/bonded leather couch in light gray from an online site, but I was really leery of buying something that big sight unseen and cushion un-sat-upon. Leather would have been my first choice because of the dog—when we were upstairs her hair was constantly getting woven into the upholstery of the gold love seat. I was spending a ridiculous amount of time vacuuming, lint-brushing and tweezing the hair out of the furniture, even with protective throws in constant rotation. (I did try banning her from the furniture, but that made both of us unhappy.)

I really wanted to invest in the couch as my first piece of real, honest-to-goodness-grown-up furniture I picked out myself. I was 33. It was time. I went to JCPenny to look check out the gray fabric version of their Darrin couch and it turned out they were clearing out ALL the furniture. The floor models were going for insanely cheap (50% off list price, and this was when JCPenny was doing the no-sales, low price all the time thing). And suddenly, I had the opportunity to get a gorgeous, real-leather, mid-century style, ridiculously comfortable couch. A leather couch had previously been way, way, way outside my budget, but combined with the credit card deal they were running, I ended up paying $750 for a very high quality piece of furniture. I know that still seems like a lot of money to some people (it did to me – the couch is officially the most expensive thing I own aside from my car), but I think I’ll have this couch for a long long time. And I love it. More than one person can sit comfortably on it! I can stretch out and nap on it! People sit on it and comment how comfy it is. And the dog hair comes right off with a brush of the hand or a light vacuum. So, so happy with the couch. But it meant the brown paint on the walls and the wood trim was causing brown overload.

And it only got worse with each additional piece of furniture, like this:

brown living 1

Let’s add a big wood dresser to the back wall, shall we? Because there’s not enough brown in here yet. In this picture you can see how I desperately attempted to lighten up the room with the light-colored chairs (and we will talk about the chairs soon—didn’t they turn out great? My mom basically did them for me) and the light pillows and light rug. And then added a giant horse painting, which just made it even less cohesive.

Basically, the only part of the room that was even remotely working was the window wall, and that was mostly due to the long white curtains I added:

Living before

There were light-colored curtains, and the light rug, and the cream ottoman and light-green chair. I even had a plant. The whole brown-on-brown-on-brown thing wasn’t bugging me as much on this side of the room. But it’s pretty sad when you only like one corner of your living room. So…

paint supplies

It was time to haul the painting supplies back out (keep in mind that I spent the first month living here painting every single wall and much of the trim. It was ridiculous.). I decided to go completely in the other direction and do a light, airy almost-white blue. I settled on Fresh Day by Behr (which almost looked like a neutral instead of a blue). It took about three coats of Behr’s paint and primer in one to get a clean covering of the brown — the plaster walls in this place just suck the paint up.

And the end result:

TV corner after

Same corner as before, but doesn’t it look so much lighter and happier? Now, the other corners of the room actually wound up looking a little sterile with the lighter color:

IMG_0585 big wall after

So I was a bit desperate to get some art on the walls to warm it up. We’ll talk about art next time, because I have had so much fun finding new pieces for the new place and figuring out how to get them all hung!

(In this picture you can also see that I replaced the too-short coffee table I originally purchased off Craigslist with a larger, taller table from Potter Barn. After trying to live with it for a few weeks—because it was really cute—I realized that in order to be comfortable I needed the table to be at least an inch taller than the couch seat cushions. I tend to have a cup on the coffee table and constantly reaching way, way down for my beverages was driving me crazy.)

But that’s it: The color evolution of the living room. Have you ever made a big color mistake? How long did it take you to give in and repaint? It took me about two months for the living room, but I redid the kitchen about halfway through the first coat of the first color.

Some updates

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry about that! It turns out that managing three blogs at work means that I’m less inclined to work on my own blog at home (go figure). But that’s going to change in 2014, I swear!

Some exciting changes here. For one, I got a new camera! It’s a Sony Cybershot Mark 100, which is a compact, fixed-lens camera, but with an incredibly powerful lens and sensor. I wanted a small camera for travel, but didn’t want a mediocre point and shoot. So far, I’m really happy with the purchase. I took it with me on my recent vacation (I went to Paris. Everything people say about it is true.) and got some great pictures with it. I do have a few catch-up posts to share, which will still feature less-than-perfect, step-by-step iPhone pictures, but after that you should see a noticeable improvement in photo quality. If anyone is interested in how I went about choosing my camera, leave a comment and I’ll do a post. I did a lot of research ahead of time and went to about 5 stores to look at cameras in person (I research things to death when I make a large purchase). Otherwise, I’ll assume you get your camera advise from a camera expert!

Some other exciting things you missed:

I made this cake for my sister’s birthday. It was ridiculously good and impressed everyone who ate it, even those who ate smooshed leftovers out of a tupperware three days after her birthday.

susan's birthday cake

At one point my vegetable garden was producing crops like this on a daily basis (this is my share, after giving the upstairs neighbors their share):

veggies from garden

I can’t wait to start planning for next year’s garden, and I’m hoping to share some of the stuff I learned having a vegetable garden for the first time.

And at one point, my living room looked like this:

Brown Living room

In an attempt to try something new, I painted the living room a nice cozy brown (Basketry, by Behr). I actually still really like this color. It’s a great mid-tone neutral—not too green or too red, in my opinion. But, with the wood trim and floors it was a lot of brown. Then I bought a brown couch (not what I intended at all—I’ll definitely share my couch saga soon!), and a too low coffee table and the room slid into a horrible state of Not Working At All. So, aside from the couch (which I LOVE), it’s completely different!

Oh, and I bought these insanely girly hooks for $2 each at Anthropologie. Everyone who saw them on my counter said they were really flowery and looked like they belonged in a little girl’s room. Everyone who’s seen them on the wall  (they  in my back hallway next to the door) has complimented them. Girly can totally work in a grown up house.

girly hooks

So that’s what’s been happening here. More to come soon!

Covered lampshade

A few weeks ago, I came home to find a surprise lamp in my living room. A really (hate to say it) ugly surprise lamp.

For years, my mother has said that she disliked the carved milkglass lamp I’ve had in the living room. I like it—it’s classic.  But mom didn’t like it, so she dropped off a surprise lamp. It was beige, with a dirty cylindrical shade. There were chips in the side and it was oddly spongey looking. And I transformed it into a really cute lamp using just a little craft paint, some fabric, and ribbon.

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I used Martha Stewart craft paint in basic black to to paint the base. It took about four light coats with a foam brush to get full coverage. Then, I used a bold indoor/outdoor fabric to cover the shade following these instructions from the blog House of Fifty. It wasn’t too hard, but I really don’t recommend indoor/outdoor fabric for this project—It doesn’t stick well to the glue or the tape, making the project more difficult than it should be.

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I’m really happy with the results. It’s dramatic, and looks a lot more upscale than it really is. Not bad for a free rummage sale lamp and $15 in paint and fabric.

Sweet(er) Dreams of a New Bedroom

It’s time for a makeover. My bedroom was the first room to come together…nine years ago. Three apartments ago. And its time for a change.

Bedroom from DoorMeet purple. The purple was a good idea nine years ago. My furniture has a lot going on, so I knew I wanted to keep it simple and thought a solid color would be best. I finally got a headboard a year or so ago. It doesn’t read quite right in this photo but it is a sage-y green/gray.

This room is not bright at all. It faces North, and if you look at the picture you can see that the window has something just beyond it–the window opens on to the porch, so natural light is tough to get in here.

Inlaid dresserThe furniture is old. I got it when I was 16, from my grandmother. The art was a hand me down from Dad. He brought over all his rejects so I had things on the wall. I can’t decide what (if anything) on the dresser I like.

VanityThe vanity had doors once. And see that bench? Its upholstered with horsehair. It’s having a horsehair baby out the bottom and needs to be reupholstered. The shape looks easy, but I’m guessing switching out horsehair for cushion is a job best left to professionals.

Bedroom Window

See the horsehair pooching out the bottom of the bench? The curtains need to be rehung too…higher and wider.

But mostly…all. that. purple. The pillows are actually from my VERY first apartment, when I was a junior in college. It was a whole theme they went with…it involved a set of purple sheets and a sheet of green sheets. Also my mother and I sponge painted a dresser. We were awesome like that. I don’t think I have pictures, but I kind of wish I did.

While I still like purple, it isn’t fitting in too well with the other rooms in my house, especially the hallway. The bedroom is just off the teal hallway, and the rest of the house is more blues and greens. Since I only have four rooms (+ 2 hallways + a small porch + bathroom) I want to keep it cohesive. Plus its time for a change. The quilt is starting to get little tears–no complaints here, it has seen plenty of use over almost ten years–and the comforter cover has a rip and some small stains.

Bedroom from WindowsI got those two pictures from a street vendor when I went to NYC. The colors are green and purple. Look at that consistency.

So it’s time for a change. I’m just not sure to what.

Things that aren’t changing:

  • The furniture placement
  • The furniture itself (headboard, vanity, dresser)

Things that are changing:

  • Curtains
  • Quilt & comforter cover
  • Throw pillows

The rest is up for grabs. A rug? Could be nice. New art? A change in wall color? Who knows.

I’m having a tough time finding inspiration with such heavy dark furniture, but I’m not in a huge hurry. I think I can work a pattern in somewhere, and I like the ideas of blues and greens. That’s most of what I’ve got right now.

Thoughts? Know where I can find some pictures with dark bedroom furniture? I love mine, I just can’t find any pictures with dark furniture for ideas.

Dinners, Crafts and Games

When I was looking for my condo, I really wanted a dining room. My specific request was “a real place to put my table” but what I was hoping for was an actual dining room, not just a good sized corner for the table or an eat-in kitchen.

DIning Room Full

This was exactly what I wanted. When I first moved in, the dining room had a table & four chairs, an armchair in the corner and two bookcases. It was a little…sparse. It was also really beige. The walls are a perfectly acceptable neutral, but pair that with several wood bookcases, a wood table & chairs, bare wood floors…you get the picture. I wanted curtains to really soften it up, but I didn’t want just one color. I searched for ages for the right patterned fabric, and my mom sewed the curtains for me.

DR windows

The background is neutral, so it goes well with the walls (and new chairs), but brings in lots of color and movement. They have several shades of blue and green, with a little teal and yellow mixed in. Plenty of colors to play off of, like the green tablecloth I picked up on clearance at Target.

I got a china cabinet hand me down later, and then got my big break on an old original buffet living in the basement. Lesley and I decided to paint it a dark blue to tie in to the navy in the curtains (which was a little trial and error–oops).

DR from kitchen 2

I finally hung my birthday artwork and I got a matching frame to hang some new art (a photo my sister took on a hike in Tahoe). Along with the old china cabinet, these two provide tons of storage! This is also the room where I craft, and I have a lot of supplies that live in there. Adding all that storage from the buffet gave me a lot more space to store my supplies–and keeping them convenient makes it easier to use them. Its definitely still a work in progress, but I’m refining how and where I store things and I’ll get there eventually.

DR from Kitchen

The Birthday artwork is definitely the focal point in the room–I love all of the color it brings in. My best friend has requested I make him one as well, and that seems like a fun wedding project (he just got engaged).

DR Birthday Art

I just added the two new upholstered chairs–I was going back and forth on whether to get neutral or something fun/colorful/printed and how much to spend (high quality that I’ll be able to use in the future? Something cheaper that can be a fun accent for now?). I’ve been playing princess and the pea with chairs for months now, and haven’t found anything I totally loved–and $300 for a chair is a little ridiculous. When we went to Ikea on our post-Christmas shopping trip I sat on these–and they’re good! They’re less than $100 each, so two of these came right out of my Christmas money and the neutral cover ties in to the background on the curtains. The finish on the legs is even a pretty decent match to my table.

DR Table and chairs detail

How many types of chairs do you have around your dining room table?

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Style Evolution: Old Apartment

I started writing this post before I started moving. Then, no internet for three weeks (oh, the agony!). But now that I’m settling into the new place, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the old place.

Mary’s post about her living room is a pretty good description of how my style has evolved – I’ve worked with what I had and made the most out of things I don’t necessarily love. I have a lot of hand-me-downs, a lot of thrift store finds and a lot of furniture from box stores like Ikea and Target. And you know, I think I’ve made that work pretty well. That’s been my budget, and I think I managed to mix the practicality of using what I had and throwing in some smaller new stuff to make it work.

So let’s take a tour, shall we?

You enter the apartment at the top of a flight of stairs (no landing), and step into a narrow, L-shaped hallway.

The front hall

The front hall

Front hall towards kitchen

Front hall towards kitchen

When I moved in, most of the wall in the apartment were dingy beige and the trim was dusty taupe, and in pretty rough shape (tons of chips). It took about two weeks to paint the hallway, living room and bedroom. The gray here is Burnished Metal by Behr, and the Trim is Behr’s Ultra White. (I’m a huge fan of Behr’s Paint and Primer in one.) I love how this turned out. (I actually love this color so much that when I had paint samples stuck to the wall of my new place, I picked this color again, having no idea it was the same until I ran down to the basement to get touch up paint when I moved out.)

Since the space was so narrow (the exact width of the doorways), I only hung pictures on one wall in each passage, but I think keeping the frame sizes and shapes consistent really dressed up the space.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Since I painted so much of the apartment, I left the kitchen color as it was. It was a beige-y yellow that felt a bit Tuscan to me. The cupboards were a mishmash, but the giant wall of windows made up for any shortcomings in this kitchen. Pity the curtains are closed in this picture.

More Kitchen

More Kitchen

I invested in a nice island-type table that could seat four (even if you could only crack open the fridge when both flaps were up), added narrow shelves above the sink, asked my mom to make some basic cotton curtains for the windows (both for privacy and temperature control). And we added a ceiling fan, which made a huge difference in the functionality of this room in summer. Oddly, the bathroom was tucked under the eaves right off the kitchen.

Bathroom

Bathroom

Not stunning, but there was a ton of storage that made it usable. The sage green towels I’ve had for years looked pretty good too. On the other side of the kitchen was a small carpeted room that I used as a pantry.

Pantry

Pantry

Since it had an outlet and a light, I was not only able to store food in there, but kept my kitchen aid mixer and microwave in there too. It was just a step away from the stove, and really helped keep my limited counterspace clutter-free.

Looking into the living room

Looking into the living room

My living room evolved around a couple key hand-me-downs and some lucky clearance finds. The loveseat (and despite the size of the room, I could only have a loveseat because of the narrow hallway and door) was a gorgeous designer hand-me-down that used to belong to an interior designer friend of the family. The green chair and rug were both new, but floor models, so I got them each for about 75% off from Pier One and Ikea respectively. These are three pieces of furniture that I really love, but I have discovered that the loveseat is fantastic for curling up to watch a movie or read a book by yourself, but not really functional for company.

The "L" of the living room

The “L” of the living room

Now, you’ve seen these chairs before. They weren’t quite what I had in mind for this space, but they were a free hand-me-down from my mom, and I do love how they turned out with new paint and fabric. I also love how glass doors turn the cheapest Ikea bookshelves into something really special.

Living room looking toward hall

Living room looking toward hall

I also really like my TV armoire. I like that it keeps the TV dust-free and out-of-sight when I ‘m not watching, that it’s actually made of real wood with a nice finish, and that it was another free hand-me-down from friends of the family. I’m not crazy about the way you can see all the cords underneath, or about how wide it is, but all-in-all, it’s a nice piece.

Office

Office

Off to the side of the living room was another under-the-eaves room, which I used as an office. I had a desk made of two file cabinets and a huge glass table top. I regret buying that glass table top! It’s too heavy to move by myself and it’s so large I have to use brackets to brace it against the wall. The room had another sloped ceiling, but was long enough to pack in quite a bit of storage for my craft and office supplies.

Messy, messy office

Messy, messy office

Bedroom

Bedroom

The bedroom was one room I never really did much with. The Ikea dresser was purchased to fit a specific space in a previous apartment (and I’m sick of the blue) and I never really found a rug I liked, so I just threw down a tiny Ikea mat. Also, the radiator made bed placement really difficult.

Bedroom window

Bedroom window

I do love my textured white curtains (and the cute dog peeking out the window). But I’m not crazy about my headboard anymore. Or the return-discounted mattress set I purchased almost 10 years ago (it’s a full-size firm bed, and I’m a side-sleeper who’d rather have a soft queen-sized bed). Also not great? The blankets I constantly have on the bed to keep dog hair off my sheets because someone likes to nap there while I’m at work.

So there it is. Not super-stylish, but not too terrible either. But now that I’m in the new place, I’m eager for some change. And, for the first time in my adult life, I can actually purchase a few new things too. I still have a pretty strict budget, but there’s a little more flexibility to, say, buy a couch that I like, instead of one at Goodwill. So I think it will be really interesting to see how things evolve in the new place.

At the same time, I keep reminding myself that part of the reason I have inexpensive, fine-for-now furniture is because I rent, and I never know how long I’ll be somewhere or what the next place will be like. So it still doesn’t make a ton of sense for me to spend a fortune on  decorating a place I might be in for a year or two. And money I don’t spend on that, is money I can eventually spend on buying and decorating a place that I actually own.

Loving the Living Room

I moved the best of two worlds (my apartment and my sister’s; she headed for California) into my condo, but the best of both worlds came with some drawbacks. Having all of the furniture I needed meant I didn’t need to buy anything (yay!) but I also didn’t get to choose anything (boo!).  In a few rooms that meant giving myself some time to choose what I wanted and upgrade over time to better pieces.

My living room, however, was another story. That room was fully furnished, and much of the furniture was very nice.  The centerpiece? A (very valuable) Oriental rug from my grandmother. I also had most of my father’s newly-divorced living room set, with a masculine/traditional look going. It wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t my taste either. Especially with my darker-gray walls in a North-facing room, it also made the room feel dark and small.

Living Room Old

Also, it looked like my grandparents lived here. I felt like the sofa was old-man, the table was old-lady and the rug just old-people. I am a brat, and I am sorry. The table on the left of the sofa was nice though…honestly, that was the only thing I genuinely liked. I was neutral on the other end table and the blue chair.

I considered repainting the walls to make it work, but my friend Brad (he of the brilliant paint choices) suggested a new rug might make a huge difference. (This is probably why he now works for a home staging company, right?)

We went on a mini shopping spree, picking up a new end table lamp in glass (much lighter then the heavy ceramic you see above), a rug that was both smaller AND lighter, and new throw pillows for the couch. On a whim, he also talked me in to a new lamp for the mantel. I was “meh” about it when he picked it, but now I love it. I still wouldn’t necessarily say its “my style” but it is so perfect for the space–a great lesson about style not being the only indicator that something is right!

Living Room ProgressThat was two years ago, and I instantly loved it more—it doesn’t even look like the same room! Incredible considering we changed only three things (and added a cream blanket that was formerly hanging out in my bedroom).

So. much. better. I hosted game club at my house shortly after this, and one girl asked if I’d gotten a new couch and told me she really liked it. A couple days later another friend said the same thing. I don’t love it still, but it was a great working-with-what-I’ve-got lesson.

Next up, that table. It belonged to my parents. Who are divorced, and have been for 19 years. They bought it when they got married. Goodbye. I pinned the heck out of various table ideas. I thought glass would be great for making the room look lighter still, but Brad (yep, the home styler again) pointed out that his glass coffee table it takes two people to move it. Oh. So I settled on two smaller glass cube tables. These are really similar (identical?) to Pottery Barn’s Tanner Cube tables, except they were less than $100 each on Overstock.com.

Living Room Feb 12Oh, and I got the same Target chair that everyone else has. Can you spot my Christmas presents? The pillow is sitting pretty on the couch (love the rectangular shape) and the blanket basket is diagonal from this shot.

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Boyfriend got me a basket and a new blanket for Christmas. I don’t like the look of the red one, but its cozy so I live with it.

Blanket basketAnd the rest of the room? Here’s looking from the windows back towards the door…you can just make out the stenciled hallway reflecting in the mirror on the hall cabinet.

Living Room Door view

And from the center hallway, where you can see the lamp a little better. Both the base and shade are oval, and the color is just right.

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I’m mostly happy with the mantel right now. The photo is me and my parents before my sister was born–my uncle took it. And the little photo canvas is one of my grandfather’s photos. There was a huge set that used to be hung in their house, and when we divided up their estate I got this one. It was taken before I was born when my grandparents (mothers) came out to my grandparents (fathers) house in Tahoe. He was an avid photographer and my mom has some of his old photos displayed too. I don’t love the framing, but its permanently attached so I’ll deal–and the picture is gorgeous. I’m still working on styling all this, but its much better than it used to be!

Living Room Mantel

What are your best tricks for styling mantels? Tables? Mine definitely still need some work!

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Favorite Spaces: The Porch

Being unemployed* is weird. Days are like three times as long as they are when I’m actually working, and it’s nice to have time to enjoy my house. The weather has been perfect the last two days, so I’ve been enjoyed some time out on my porch.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite things on the porch since its come together so well!

The chair I redid with my mom.

With the series of “Rock Pictures” my sister gave me for my birthday last year (taken every time we go to our family’s house in Lake Tahoe)

The comfy hand-me-down chair that’s great to read in, with my garden stool that I wanted forever.

My cabinet (which was oddly impossible to find), with the cute prints we got from Orange Beautiful and framed.

The totally useless but adorable glass lantern

What’s your favorite place in your house?

*I’m not really-truly unemployed. I’m just not working because it’s summer and I’m a teacher. But it’s still weird.