Archive for February, 2014

Setting The Mood

During last week’s update about our Homearama Showhouse for Habitat For Humanity, we included a few peeks at how some of the rooms were shaping up.

Well, shaping up in our heads, technically, since we’re still about three weeks out from being able to put any furnishings into the house (the walls are getting painted as I type this, and then the cabinetry will go in and the hardwood floors will be stained on site), so everything has been in shopping list and mood board form so far.

But in the last week the builder and his awesome team have been humming along, and we’ve made some really good furniture-and-accessory planning progress in several of the rooms. Enough that we can finally share a few room plans with you guys that are no longer missing major elements. Some spaces are definitely further along in the planning process than others, and the two in the lead are: the study (aka: the home office) and the dining room.

They’re the first two rooms in the house when you walk in, so we’re grateful that they’re shaping up to be a good representation of the feeling that we want this house to have. One kinda skews light & happy while the other brings in a bit more of a cozy & moody feeling that we also really like. So we figure that together they’ll help set the tone for the rest of the house.

Let’s start with the study, er, office as we keep calling it. Here’s what it’s looking like now.

Since we’re sort of designing for a hypothetical future version of our family (hence the tween girl & young boy rooms that we mentioned last week), we thought it’d be fun to do a home office for a woman who works (perhaps blogs?) at home. Not only is it an easy mental leap to make, but we also thought it would differentiate it from all of the manly mahogany studies that we’re used to seeing in model homes. So light, cheery, and a smidge feminine was our goal.

  1. The walls are already Simply White like the trim, but the painters still have to put our bold accent color on the 10′ ceiling, which we thought was tall enough to handle a rich and saturated turquoise color called Skydive.
  2. This Wire Globe Lantern in rust from our lighting collection (donated by Shades of Light) will hang over the desk that will float in the middle of the room.
  3. Floor length curtains in a textured & modern feeling fabric (Dapp woven fabric in Elephant) will hang floor to ceiling on either side of the window (our favorite local fabric shop, U-Fab, is donating them to the cause).
  4. West Elm is also excited to help Habitat, so they offered up this striped Saddle Office Chair but we hear it’s on back order (fingers crossed it comes through in time).
  5. We’d love to add some chic storage boxes, like these from Target.
  6. While we’re at it, a cheery mug for pencils and other desk stuff could be fun. Maybe this one?
  7. This wood & metal desk hails from Green Front Furniture (sorry, we don’t know the maker) who is loaning furniture to all seven of the homes in the show (more on that here). Please forgive the wonky photoshopped top (I attempted to remove some display materials that were in our shot).
  8. We love this art from Help Ink, where $1 of every $5 spent goes to a charity of your selection. We’re thinking this print would be perfect, since the colors fit right in, and the message is pretty great too.
  9. West Elm was also happy to donate this Torres Wood Kilim rug in Guava, which we think will keep things casual and light.
  10. We’re also thinking about buying this Help Ink print as well. Feels nice to choose accessories with a charitable goal while decorating a house for charity.

Although most of the items above are already locked in, a lot of the accessories and art are things that we’re going to purchase and fill in as the rooms get further along. So we’re sure some might change as we go, and of course a ton of other stuff will end up in each room as it evolves. But on to the dining room! Last week it was looking like this (we’re still waiting for our big glass pocket doors with a transom window to be installed at that extra-wide entryway).

But as of yesterday it had made some great progress thanks to our custom wainscot being finished and freshly painted! It’s not your typical wainscoting, but with a very talented carpenter at our disposal, we wanted to try something a little different (remember how we chatted about trying to take risks and all that good stuff here?). We thought about something like a herringbone or a chevron pattern, but didn’t want it to be too overt (like this) and were inspired by something a little more subtle and less common (oddly enough, like the pattern on these shoes that Sherry saw on Pinterest).

It’s a wide-angled pattern made up of wood slats with a 1/4″ gap between them, so the lines are kind of “engraved” into the wainscot instead of sticking out. Before putting it up, we literally sat with the carpenter and drew various angles right onto the walls and used different board widths and spacing methods until it looked subtle enough not to be too crazy (but not so soft that the pattern would disappear completely when it was painted). For anyone interested, we went with 1 x 3″ boards, a spacing of one quarter of an inch between them, and the angle is around 22 degrees from the floor.

It’s sort of hard to get “the full picture” for the room from that shot above (since about 99% of the other elements are missing) but once the rest of the furnishings/accessories get added (and the upper wall gets painted a nice dark color to balance out the wainscoting) we think it’ll be a great background texture among some other elements, like:

  1. The upper walls are going to be Kendall Charcoal, a deep brown-gray color that will bring some moodiness to the top of the 10′ tall room.
  2. Here’s the aforementioned wainscot that we added for reference (it’ll remain glossy white, along with the trim).
  3. This is the big Industrial Modern Island Chandelier in Bronze that Shades of Light is donating for over the table.
  4. We fell hard for this Jute Boucle in Platinum, which West Elm is kindly donating.
  5. We’d also love some potted greenery as centerpieces, like these that we found on Etsy.
  6. This rustic wood pedestal table that Green Front Furniture is loaning us for the show will float in the middle of the room with the chandelier over it.
  7. Among the potted plant centerpieces, we thought a collection of old wine bottles or green vases would be a nice mix (image from West Elm).
  8. We liked the idea of dark upholstered chairs, which would pop in front of the white wainscoting. Maybe these from World Market?
  9. We’ll also be adding floor length curtains in this fabric (Stri fabric in Ultramarine, donated by U-Fab). We love that they subtly reference the angled wainscoting, and while we wanted the room to be sort of quietly elegant, we couldn’t resist some color on the window wall.

I don’t know about you, but we’re excited to be getting to this phase of the project: where things start feeling like real rooms – and we finally get to work on filling them up and making it feel like home. It’s crazy to think this was just a dirt lot a few months ago. It’s also pretty crazy to think that in two short months we’ll have an entire finished house (with over 20 different spaces) to share with you guys. That’s a whole lotta before & after – and about 95% faster than we’re used to moving. Oh yeah, and somewhere in there we’ll have a baby. Guess it’s time to buckle up and hold on…

PS: For those asking about Homearama tickets, they’re usually $10 (children 18 & under are free) but you can get them for 20% off in February (and show some love to Habitat if you’re so inclined) here. The show is open Thurs-Sun, the first three weekends of May.


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by TheThreeOfUs by aforceinside
by Jenna2027
by Vegas



House Crashing: Cheery Across The Pond

We like to House Crash at least once a month but somehow it has been nearly two since our last one, so we’re sorry for the delay, but we hope that this awesome one all the way from the UK makes up for it! We knew as soon as we saw this place that it was primed and ready for a crashing, and since it’s a little too far for a road trip, we had a lot of fun getting all of the virtual details (and photos) for you guys.

Meet Kimberly. She’s married to Wayne, and is an American who has been living in Manchester, UK for over a decade.

This is her charming Edwardian home that was built in 1906. They’ve lived here since June of 2010, and have been having fun putting their stamp on it since the day they moved in. It might not be giant, but it’s packed with style, personality, and feel-good vibes. Can you see that dragonfly door knocker? She got it here and I’m in love. The geometric doormat from Ikea is also doing things to me, along with that cool transfer film door number over the glossy black door (from here).

Once inside, let’s start with one of my favorite spaces – her dining room, which is a rich royal blue color (it’s a UK paint called Dulux in Wild Water 1). I really like how Kimberly mixed in those great textured chairs, a big brass mirror, and a lot of fun patterns. It’s a space that feels upscale but also doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I think is a pretty amazing mix. And a fireplace – even a non-working one – in a dining room is a major score. Makes me want to get an old reclaimed mantel and plop it onto the back wall of ours…

The dining chairs were thrifted from ebay and then painted/reupholstered – and she also found that brass mirror on ebay while the brass light fixture came from Habitat. On the other wall there’s a big frame collage full of even more pattern and color. I love how it goes right up to the crown molding and has everything from words and letters to colorful images and maps.

Kimberly also painted the art above her secondhand bar cart herself. Here’s a close up.

She did another big painting across from the fireplace over the thrifted console table that she found, which she also painted and added new hardware.

Behind the dining room is the light and airy kitchen. Kimberly and Wayne did a ton of things themselves in this room, like tiling the backsplash and laying the slate flooring (which is heated!). They even ripped down a false (lowered) ceiling, and then plastered to add nearly a foot of head height.

How sweet is that big glass door with those two half-windows on either side? The shiny brass cabinet hardware that she found on ebay is pretty amazing too.

Both Kimberly and Wayne prefer casual and easy-access storage in a kitchen – so a lot of their stuff is housed in doorless cabinets. Once again Kimberly wasn’t afraid of a mix of textures and patterns, so it was fun to see how she layered swirly wallpaper behind lots of kitchen storage and lined up all of their cooking utensils so they hung right within reach from the counter.

Now let’s check out the living room, where there’s a really cool dresser that Kimberly made over with wallpaper. And it’s not just any wallpaper, it’s the same stuff that she used on the wall across from that gorgeous fireplace.

Everything from the marble table to that pretty branchy paper (it’s Cole & Son’s Cow Parsley in Yellow) is elegant but interesting. Kimberly just has a way of pairing things that I’d never think to put together.

Her master bedroom is another moody space like the dining room, with dark walls (they’re Dulux Night Jewels 1). I’m so into the splashes of yellow and gold along with those stunning blue side tables. Can you believe those are Rast dressers from Ikea that Kimberly hacked with new paint and hardware?

I really like how that she paired that shapely headboard (she splurged to have that custom made) with everything from leopard pillows (which she found on Etsy) to those royal blue dressers and dark walls.

And here’s Kimberly’s dressing room. One thing that really struck me was how many special pieces there are in here – like that statement making mirror, the gorgeous wallpaper (it’s Osborne & Little’s Grove Garden in Green), and the secondhand dresser with brass hardware that she painted herself. I never would’ve had the guts to put them all together, but the result is such a charming and personality-filled space to get ready in the morning. And when it comes to function, she has two Billy bookcases from Ikea in there with painted backs for storing lots of shoes, bags, and other accessories.

So a big thanks goes out to Kimberly and Wayne for so thoughtfully allowing us to peek in on their lovely little UK home! You can see more and follow Kimberly over here on her blog – but first let’s play the favorite part game. I’m loving the wallpaper in the dressing room and the living room along with those dining room chairs – and John really likes the navy and yellow color combo in the bedroom. Your turn.