Monday, March 10, 2014

Kitchen Reveal (Oh, hi there.)

I've been absent for a while, and the longer it's been since I last posted, the harder it's been to make myself sit down and write even when I felt the desire. I've been working on projects, even taking photos... but it's been very difficult to find the time or the motivation to start again (an object at rest tends to stay at rest, right?).

I'm going to try, though! One of my favorite things about writing this blog is that I can fit it around my life; I can post when I have time and projects to share, and remain quiet when I don't or when my "real" life demands more attention. I'm going to work on posting a bit more regularly, especially since (a.) that won't be hard when you look at my recent posting history and (b.) it makes me happy! 

So without further ado, some news about my kitchen. We got it done just in time for Christmas, thanks to our contractor friend Joe who was immensely helpful and The Tile Shop which sent me all the gorgeous tile.

Part of me still can't believe it's done because the kitchen has been an ongoing, never ending project for several years. Let's look back:

Now back to today...

Such a change, don't you think?  I'll be back to share some details in a day or two, promise!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jute Living Room Rug

If you've been reading my blog for a while you may have heard me lament my front room's awkward layout before. It tends to feel like a big square hallway dominated by multiple doorways and a piano, which makes it hard to use large furniture pieces without interrupting the multiple flows of traffic.

My challenge was to make the front room feel more like a room, especially one that people would like to spend time in. The first idea I had was to get a big rug to help anchor the space, so I started speaking with the people over at Rugs USA and they were kind enough to send me a rug of my choice!

I picked this 9' x 12' jute rug with a beige border. I love the classic, casual look of natural fiber area rugs, and I knew I wanted a neutral border that would blend in.

I feel like the rug plays a huge role in making my front room feel like one cohesive space instead of a collection of small furniture groupings in opposite corners of the room. There's still plenty of space for the heavy traffic patterns the front room sees, without it feeling thrown together or disjointed.

As for this specific rug, here's the lowdown now that I've been living with it for a couple months:

The Good:
  • I love the color and the texture that the natural fibers bring to the space!
  • Did I mention that it's a great size? Big rugs can make a room.
  • The jute doesn't shed -- I love this. Our last jute rug was a nightmare.
  • No lasting smell! This is another complaint I've seen for natural rugs. When I opened it, I could smell a rubbery-smell that most likely came from the backing, but it was gone in a day or two.
  • It's surprisingly soft -- not plush, but pleasant enough for bare feet or lying down to play a game with kids.

The Bad:
  • The fibers catch all manners of pet hair -- easily vacuumed, but it definitely doesn't hide anything.
  • The rug stains with water -- a characteristic of a lot of jute rugs, from my understanding. There are products out there to clean spills, but I won't lie: I had water spots on it within a week of having it in my house... such is the life with kids and pets.

The verdict:
  • I was worried at the beginning with the water spots, but the longer the rug has lived in my house (and the more regular dirt/wear and tear it's accumulated), the less noticeable the spots are.  It's developed a sort of rug patina. Ha!
  • I really, really like it. A rug like this is probably not for you if you have lots of kids and pets and a high traffic house (all of which apply to me) and you lose your mind when your house looks like people actually live in it (not me). It works great for us!

Do you have natural fiber rugs in your house? Do you love them? Hate them? Have tips for getting stains up? Lay it on me!

P.S. Rugs USA always has great sales on their rugs -- I've seen discount codes for up to 70% off before. It's a great website to bookmark!

P.P.S. If you're thinking more about a natural area rug, Lauren Liess at Pure Style Home wrote a great post about the differences between materials, their upkeep, etc. It's a great place to start!

P.P.S. Go check out the front room reveal if you want more pictures!

P.P.P.S. I'm done now.

P.P.P.P.S. Promise.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Front Room {Reveal}

I'm so excited to share this room! It all happened so quickly with other people doing the board and batten and painting... I have to admit, I could get used to that.

But for now, some pictures. We'll talk later. 


Squee! After four years, I have a front room!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's in the Details: Rope & Pipe Handrails

I realize I may stand alone in my love of funky handrails, and that's okay. It's been a very divisive topic at my house, especially the rope versions, so it won't hurt my feelings if you think I'm not quite right in the head.

But really, people. Rope and pipe handrails. I feel like they can work. Don't get me wrong, I feel like sometimes they don't. But they can. And when they do, they're fabulous. Let's look at some that work. (In my opinion, not my husband's!)

via Houzz

C designs via desire to inspire

I love quirky, unexpected touches like this. And these are obviously not for everyone, but I love the look of both of them in the right space.

How do we feel about this? I can handle it, so be honest!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Board & Batten Surprise

Last week I made the impulse decision to go ahead and make some progress in my front room while waiting on some things for my kitchen (AKA "the project that must not be named" or "the 5 year project that just wouldn't stop").
I gathered up my motivation and my DIY know-how, and I used them both to call our contractor friend. I could have done it myself, but when I'm talking through a project with him and it starts "maybe I could help you with that," and eventually morphs into "maybe you should help me with that," I know I'm beat.

Anyway, we emptied the room and he spent a few hours throwing this together. He's way faster than I am. And you know, probably a tiny bit more precise and better, since finish carpentry is his specialty and all.

And bonus, he rebuilt the window seat so it's bumped out a little from the wall and has cubbies. I love it!

The painters start today. Color me giddy. And color the walls Palladian Blue.

I can't wait to share what it looks like later this week! This is proof that when I make a decision, stuff can happen fast. See last year's impulse kitchen wall demolition for reference. So it's not that I can't make progress... I'm just lazy. :)
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