Dining Room and Breakfast Nook

Just like the living room, there isn’t much to show in the dining room right now.  The wall color is the same as the living room, Gobi Desert by Behr, and was already painted when we moved in.  The only thing we changed when we moved in was the light fixture.  There were Tiffany-style lights in this room, the foyer and the stairwell.  As a quick fix, we exchanged the lights with the corresponding lights from our old house during the move.  This chandelier is too small for the space, but I’m not ready to drop the money for a new one yet.  The dining set is the same one we bought off of Craigslist for our old house, a dark-stained teak set with concealed leaf that can make the table a square (which worked much better with the room shape at the old house).  The only thing I have added was an inexpensive jute rug to protect the floor.

Eventually I would like to replace the light fixture -I’m leaning towards this chandelier.  Also, a part of me would love to one day add coffers to the ceiling, something like this.

Here is what the real estate listing of this room looked like:

In the kitchen, we recently bought a table off of Craigslist for the breakfast nook.  I found the red industrial chairs on clearance at Target.  I wanted them as spare chairs to bring out if we host get-togethers, but since there were no chairs for the table we bought, I am using these for now.

Living Room

There isn’t much to see in our living room, but I haven’t posted anything about it since moving in.  The wall color was already Gobi Desert by Behr when we moved in.  (I used the same color in the kitchen and den for continuity on the first floor)  Our furniture from the old house is spread thin around here, so this room looks a little bare.  The room is a little difficult to figure out a perfect layout because of doorway and window placements.  Also, the only switched outlet is on the wall where the couch is (there is no overhead lighting in this room).

The chairs were cheap finds on Craigslist years ago and, until his recent job change, had been in Bradley’s office at work.  The only new pieces in here so far are the the Eye of the Needle hexagonal side tables which I found at Tuesday Morning, but had to paint the bases silver to cover the colorful, chipped-look they originally had.

Here is a shot of what the tables looked like before (the smallest one is still in our master bedroom):

For now, I have my eye out for a good deal on a rug and a coffee table for this room.  I haven’t figured out how I want to stage the front of this room because of the large windows and opening to the foyer.

This is the before picture of the living room from the real estate listing:

Progress Report: Organization

After the initial unpacking and staging at our new house, I’ve turned my attention to some organization.  It takes a minute to see how you use your space on a daily basis and what things are best kept in your living space versus what you can put in storage.  We are so happy to now be in a home with a basement – part of which is unfinished, so perfect for storing seasonal and rarely used items.  No more climbing into a super cramped attic space!

The previous owners left a large workbench and a whole row of metal shelves in the basement which are so useful.  Recently, I hung my pegboard (and one left by previous owner) so that I could start clearing out the boxes and the workbench of tools that were tossed haphazardly aside in the move.  On an episode of Today’s Homeowner, the simple solution was to use a clear shoe holder for spray paint cans.  I already had the shoe holder but had never thought to use it this way – it’s genius!  Another simple solution was to add outlet boxes to the pegboard for items that don’t hang on the hooks very well (allen wrenches, tape measure, pencils).

For now, I’ve been sorting the items that we don’t need in our living space into storage totes that I’ve lined up in two rows in the basement.  The left side is just party and holiday items – I have a small addiction I think.

In my soon-to-be craft room, I was able to reuse a hanging shelf system from the old house in the closet.  For now, I just have my extra cloth bins on the shelves.  My ultimate goal in this room is to cover the walls above the chair rail with pegboard and put as many of my crafting, sewing and wrapping items as I can on those.

I added an elfa door rack to the pantry door to hold all of our spices.  I like that the baskets can be moved as our needs change and also that I could hook it over the door instead of permanently attaching it to our stained solid-wood door.

In our bedroom closet, I purchased a few more Elfa mesh baskets to add to those I brought from the old house.  I did not hang the shoe shelves, because I instituted a ‘no shoes’ policy upstairs.  I haven’t found a great solution for our shoes yet, so most of them are still in boxes in the basement.  I think I would like to have a cabinet in the corner of the den for them – something like this.

The last area I’ve worked on is the garage.  We don’t want to keep much in the garage (unlike we did at our first house), but I thought keeping car-related products and our brooms/sweepers for the first floor would be more logical than in the basement.  I used one of my Rubbermaid Fasttrack rails on the wall in front of our cars with a few hooks and a basket for car cleaners.  I haven’t figured out if I can use my other two rails in the basement, because most of the walls are just block, with no studded walls over them.  The two grey items attached to the wall to the right of the rail are garbage bag dispensers that I got because I had a hard time reaching them in the top of the pantry.

Progress Report: Flower Bed Overhaul

There is an interestingly shaped bed surrounded by our driveway, walkways and deck.  When we moved in, it held some Christmas ferns and boxwoods that were crowded up against the deck.  I initially put my Japanese Maple tree in and moved the Christmas ferns to the front yard.  This week, I felt inspired to kick this bed into shape.  Luckily, the timing coincided with Pike’s red tag sale.  I scored three “Frances Williams” hostas, three “Marvelous Marble” Heucheras, and an Origami Pink and White Columbine.

I started by breaking out my measuring tape.  I always look at the mature size on the label to figure out my spacing.  In this bed, I am wanting a full, overlapping, but not messy look, so I shaved a few inches off each projected size when I marked for my holes.  Everything is tiny and very spread out right now, but if I can keep everything alive, it will look perfect when they are full grown.  Check out my inspiration here, here, and here.

It took me three afternoons to get the five boxwoods pulled out and all of the new plants in the ground, which also included moving some Creeping Jenny (Goldi Lysimachia) from a planter for ground cover, a small fern that popped up in the front yard and the Bergenias I had brought from the old house in February.  I still have some room in the back of the bed by the deck stairs, and I’m considering a small azalea for that spot.  My inspiration for adding that to the mix came from here.

Now that the boxwoods are out, I can see that I should have planted the Japanese Maple a little further back in the bed for good symmetry, but they are so slow growing, that I figure I have time to shift it in the future if I feel so inclined.  And yes, we need to install more railing and a permanent gate on the deck, of course that would require money and/or expertise that we do not currently possess, so the baby-gating stays for now.

Here is a before shot from April:


Progress Report: Interior Doors

One thing I love about our new house is that it has stained, solid-wood interior doors.  The trim is painted a shade of white which is just great to me.  About a year ago, I had pinned inspiration for my dream home – with dark-stained doors and painted trim!  See my inspiration here, here, and here.

Our doors are not in pristine condition, but in no way need replacing.  Over on House Tweaking, I read about her success using Howard’s Restor-A-Finish on some vintage furniture pieces.  I picked a can up to try on a Craigslist table we recently put in the breakfast area, and thought I would see how it did on the doors.  I have worked on two doors and the inside of the front door so far and I am really impressed.  I used 0000 steel wool to work it into the wood and then wiped it down with a lint-free cloth.  It almost makes dents and dings disappear (from view, not from touch) and gave a little life and shine back to the doors.

Here are a couple of before and after comparison shots: