Archive for May, 2012
Okay, y’all ready for another what-we’ve-been-doing-outside post? This particular rundown, as you may have guessed from my title (why yes I can pun in Spanish), is about some hosta business that we pulled off, thanks to a bunch of extra hostas growing randomly in our backyard (this backyard garden bed is a hot mess but we’ll get to it someday!).
Since they weren’t doing much for us back there, we dug ‘em up – about five in total – and decided to put them to better use. For starters, they certainly could help our bedraggled mailbox (which became quite weedy this spring).
The mums that were there turned into dead sticks in the winter and, well, don’t mind that big rock. We found it elsewhere in the front yard and somehow it ended up there temporarily. Perhaps to distract from the weediness? Sure. That’s why. And look at poor Squirrel-y (see him tipped over behind that lone cowlick of a daffodil that’s completely done flowering?). This is the “first impression” we’re putting out to the neighbors. Ugh.
So we pulled all of the weeds out of the driveway (which was a surprisingly major improvement) and the iron squirrel temporarily took residence in the liriope.
Now, the advice from Katherine The Landscape Gal had been to either make the planting bed around the mailbox larger or just let it fill in with grass/ground cover. Good advice. We didn’t really have the energy to dig up a bigger plant bed at this point though, and we liked how the petunias looked there last year. But next year we’d definitely love to expand this bed so it’s larger and more gracefully curved for a little more curb appeal magic.
For the meantime, we got three pots of petunias at Home Depot and, paired with some of the hostas dug up from the backyard, we got to planting.
Here’s our little arrangement. It looks a bit spaced out right now, but having learned how well flowers grow in that area we’re pretty hopeful that it’ll fill in nicely within a month or two.
Oh yeah, and a little mulch never hurt. Here’s where it’s achingly obvious that Katherine was totally right- this little garden would look so much better if it was bigger. Someday…
At least it looks better than this ridiculousness….
Since we still had a handful of hostas with no place to call home, we decided to use them in this still-blank spot of our front planting bed that we last detailed here.
No, wait. Here’s the real ta-dah (again, thanks to the power of mulch). Although, this gives you a good idea of how mulch fades after a few weeks in the sun (and pollen). Haha. So hopefully that dorky mulch-tan-line won’t be there for long.
People always ask what kind of mulch we use, and we just grab the darkest brown wood mulch Home Depot sells (it’s usually on a special like three bags for $7 or something). But once we establish these beds (hopefully by next spring) we’d love to get a mulch delivery since we hear they can be a lot less than buying by the bag as you go.
Oh and those hostas will get nice and giant so they won’t look as dinky (they seem to keep growing well into the summer, and can get 20+ inches wide). The area is looking better now that we’ve extended our new plantings a bit more, but what will really help is something that’s still in the works. Perhaps this rendering below will give you a hint…
Maybe that was more than just a hint. It’s actually already starting to come in, but I haven’t had a chance to mow and take proper pictures yet. That’ll be a topic for another day! Has anyone else used transplanted bushes or flowers to spruce up their landscape lately? Are you a fan of the hosta? They’re one of our favorite shade plants (haven’t killed one yet!). And they always seem to be popping up randomly around our yard (the same was true for our first house) so it gives us a little thrill that we don’t have to pay $5- 7 for them at the store since they seem to just sprout up at whim.
And those dudes are pretty darn hard to kill. True story: we once found one in a pot within a large sealed tupperware bin in our basement growing without any light or water about two months after we put it there while we moved! We thought the pot had nothing in it but dirt when we popped it into the bin along with some other pots, and then in the spring it started to sprout right inside the tupperware. We laughed for about five minutes when we found it. It was a hosta miracle, I tell ya.
Psst- We really should update this master list of outside tasks (it feels like we’re inching along out there, but we actually have a bunch we can cross off now).
We never get tired of seeing a solution like the one that Sada and her husband Reagan sent our way. They took an otherwise useless wall in their entryway and turned it into both a functional space for coats and a pretty spot for displaying art and personal mementos (we think they did an especially awesome job picking meaningful, happy art and arranging it in a really charming way). Here’s their letter:
My hubby and I recently redid our entryway! With the way that our house is laid out, I knew we were never going to be able to have a beautiful “mudroom”, however, we have this huge blank wall right by our front door.
So we took advantage of it and created a little board and batten magic! Here is the before and after – Our version of a mudroom. :)
It is practical and it definitely adds a much needed pop of color.
The only thing we are still working on is the light (the light fixture AND the lack of natural light, as I’m sure you can tell by my photos). We are in the process of trying to fix both, but I love how our entryway is much more cheery! I find myself just staring at it, ha!
I love your blog (and would pretty much pee my pants if this was actually featured…tmi?)! Have a great night! – Sada
Obviously the woodwork looks great, but we’re totally into Sada and Reagan’s art arrangement (um hello, you know I love all things soda). It’s such a fun touch that they mixed engagement pictures with some of the real items they used at the photo shoot. You can click over to Sada’s blog to get more of the details on how they pulled this whole shebang off, along with sources for the art and all that good stuff. What’s your favorite thing? Sherry loves the sweet “Love” and “Always Radiate Sunshine” prints and I’m digging the dark hardware and those come-hither soda bottles. Oh yeah, I’m smitten.
Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner. Click here to see if it’s you.
And there were a few commonly asked bedroom questions in the 800+ comments on Monday’s post, which were:
- have you considered getting larger bedside tables?
- can the bed go on another wall?
- will you repaint? maybe in a darker color?
- what are your plans for the nook to the left of the bed?
- what about changing out the pillows/painting the bed & tables/getting a longer bench/switching the lamps, etc?
The short answers to those are: yes but it’s complicated, no, we’re open to it down the road, adding an armoire or a built-in, oh yeah all that stuff is still on the agenda we just haven’t gotten to everything yet.
To elaborate, we’ve definitely considered larger side tables, but the door would swing into anything larger than what we already have on that side, as you can from this old door-open pic (we did a secret book project to the front of this door, so we can’t snap an updated shot).
We don’t want to move the bed to the left since the chandelier wouldn’t be centered above it anymore (we could do a larger table on the left, but we have plans for an armoire or large built-in for the nook to the left of the bed and don’t want to crowd that). We could reverse the door to make it swing into the hall instead of the room, but it might jam up the hall to have a door out there. We couldn’t do a pocket door (we have duct work/electrical in that wall) but have thought about a barn door on a track (which could rest where the leaning mirror lives in the picture above this one), but we’ve considered using that in a spot nearby (more details when we decide if we’ll actually go for it!) so we don’t want that to be too repetitive. We’ll keep you posted no matter what we decide though!
As for if the bed can move, the floor plan of this room is a definite challenge thanks to “things” on each wall (two very off-centered windows, a nook across from the door, and a nook with the sink tucked into it on another wall, and a chandelier in the exact center that looks off if the bed isn’t in the right place). The chandy even lines up with the mirror above the sink, so we don’t want to swag it or move it since aligning things like the bed, the chandy, and the mirror make the room feel balanced/less wonky. So we’ve tried the bed in a bunch of spots, but the place that works best for us is where it lives now (it’s the only long flat wall in our entire room).
It just doesn’t look centered on the chandelier or the windows in any other spots, and we actually like the placement a lot in person since we wake up to the chandelier being perfectly reflected in the mirror above the sink (it’s so hard to capture in 2-D but it’s the thing everyone falls in love with in person). As for repainting the walls, especially in a darker color, we’re definitely open to it but we’ll be refinishing the floors in a dark mocha color someday and the rug is pretty dark (and the room doesn’t get a ton of light) so we’ll think long and hard before we do anything rash. We’re just getting started, so everything is fair game for tweaks (painting furniture, switching out accessories, etc). Many things like those lamps and the bench are just leftovers from our first house that got plopped down “just-for-now” (Burger uses that bench to get into bed, so it’s our version of Doggie Steps until we get something better – haha).
So now that we’ve hopefully answered those common questions, let’s get to the fun part. Noodling. The first thing we played around with were the pillows and a few other small accessories. The pillows actually inspired a little art switch (since the floral shams were a little busy with the old botanicals that were hanging there).
From up close, this mix was fun (the shams are from Pottery Barn two years back, the blue bolster is from Marshall’s, and the front accent pillow is from HomeGoods a few months back). But from far away, the new art was way too small for our tastes. Oops.
We want the whole room to feel balanced, so with very tall vertical items on all of the other walls like the door to the bedroom, the windows with ceiling-height curtains (which will be switched out, hopefully soon), and the sink nook with a mirror over it…
… this art was just too squat and didn’t feel as balanced as the larger Alaskan prints had. But we did like the general concept of adding different colors with pillows – just to break up all the blue on blue action.
We’re so glad we banged in three tiny nails to give that art a go, even if we didn’t like it once we got ‘er done. It’s all about trial and error (and spackle!) at our house. Haha.
Oh and the prints are from Ikea! We found them for $2.99 for all three (in a clearance bin) and know we’ll eventually find the right spot for them. We already had the frames (also from Ikea, but they hung in our first house), so it was just a $2.99 failed experiment. Haha, so not too bad.
Oh and we also picked up some new lamps! They’re artichoke-ish, which is a totally new shape for us when it comes to lamps (we have like ten gourd lamps, so we were psyched to play around with a new silhouette). They were from HomeGoods ($49 a pop, including the extra large shades).
The original lamps that we had on either side of the bed used to live in our first house’s living room and were over five years old, so we figure we’ll either find another spot in the house for them (we have completely untouched rooms like the playroom and the sunroom to tackle) or yard sale/craigslist ‘em if we can’t.
See how much more balanced and substantial the new ones look (with their larger, wider shades and darker bases) in comparison to the old ones above?
They even seem to make the side tables feel wider, which is nice for balance. And the rounder more textured shape of the new lamps also ties into the chandelier, which is a total happy accident (we definitely didn’t think about that when we fell for them in the store, haha). Oh and ignore the different pillows on the bed in the pic above. We’ll get there in a minute.
It’s nice that the putty color of the lamps isn’t too crazy to compete with the pillows or the rug, but the shape is full of interest and dimension.
Oh and see that book on my side table called One Word A Day? John and Clara got it for me for Mother’s Day along with a pretty pink tulip bouquet and some vases. It’s a one-word journal that John thought I could use to record one hilarious Clara-sentence per day instead of just one word to describe my day (which is how it’s meant to be used). Now we won’t forget the time I said “we might have to rearrange your room again” and she said “Yes! Put some ice cream on it!”
But back to the bedroom. Since the smaller art didn’t work, it was back to our Alaskan botanicals with some different pillows. We landed on this pop of yellow with the teal bolster to tie things into the rug and the deeper navy and white pillow in the front to ground it all. For anyone wondering, those two yellow ginko leaf shams are from a small shop in Northern VA (don’t know the name, but it was in Old Town, Alexandria), but they’re made by Dermond Peterson if that helps.
But you know me, pillows are nomadic in our house, so they might be completely different the next time we share bedroom pics. Yes, pillow swapping is right up there with watching Parks & Rec while eating Oreos around here.
Sure, we still have some major furnishings missing, but it’s fun to see some happy new pillows (with a few warm yellow pops to balance all the blues). And the dark tones in the smallest accent pillow, the botanical frames, and the lamp base relate nicely to the slate/navy tones in the rug without being too matchy.
The lamps just might be our favorite little change (favorite big change = the rug of course).
So that’s where we are. We don’t play poker or bet on horses, so I guess trial and error decorating is how we get our kicks. Haha. Oh yes, we’re daredevils.
We’re still entertaining a ton of possibilities, like:
- switching out the old curtains (for sure!)
- possibly painting the bed in a deep charcoal color
- finding/making a longer bench for the end of the bed
- possibly painting or refinishing the cherry-colored side tables & dresser (on the other side of the room)
- adding an armoire or built-in to that nook next to the bed
- possibly repainting the walls down the road
- painting the ceiling
- possibly removing the posts from the bed (although we like them in the photoshopped renderings below, so maybe not)
- switching out the pillows/bedding as we go
- bringing in a lot more art/furniture in general so it’s not so empty
- staining the beat up & yellowed floor a rich mocha color
- possibly adding a barn door which would allow for larger side tables
- lots of things I’m probably forgetting – haha, but check out this post and this post for mentions of other potential plans
Some might be things we tackle this month while others might not get done for years (like refinishing those floors). But just look how much of a difference that one change can make. Mmm, dark wood floors (thanks Photoshop!) = our happy place.
And after a bunch of other tweaks, we’ll just have to see where we end up! Maybe here?
Don’t mind the bad Photoshop. I guess that’s part of the fun, huh? In the meantime, have you ever hung something new only to learn that you loved the first choice better? Have you made any easy lamp or pillow switcheroos in your house lately?