Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Reading

Why does Independence Day seem to mark the unofficial halfway point through summer? And why does time drag during the winter but fly at the speed of light in summer? Maybe I'm just a kid wrapped in an adult body who still delights in the relaxed, slow-paced days and the freedom of vacations, staycations, and looser schedules.

Of course, I may be drawing attention to my age when I say that some fond memories of summer include weekly trips to the library - do kids even do that now?  I sure hope so! I mean, I know that times change and technology advances, but in my mind there is still great value in sitting quietly with a physical book. When I was young, trips to the library were always a perfect way to get out of the heat, spend some "down" time, and peruse the rows and stacks of all those books that held so much promise.  This activity suited me perfectly, as I was an introverted, non-athletic, only child who loved school and learning.  But the meditative quality of reading and spending time in libraries still seems healthy for everyone, at least occasionally, am I right?

OK, time to step down from my soapbox and fast forward to the present day.  You may assume that with my periodic mention of books and reading, and my occasional posts about our book club, that I'm a voracious reader. Not true. Honestly, the acquisition of books is more thrilling for me than reading said books (because, shopping!)  Also, buying books reminds me of school "book orders" - remember those?  I grew up with a single mom and not much extra money, so it was a real treat to be able to order books!  My kids would probably tell you that I enjoyed their school book orders even more than they did.  The thrill of ordering books hadn't faded, so I'm sure I sometimes urged them to get books they could have lived without.  

Now, once we acquire all of these great new books, we typically read them, right? Well...I also read at a glacial pace, which doesn't help me get through those books! I'm so easily distracted by my own thoughts that I have to reread a lot.  But, you don't need to know what all of those squirrels are doing in my brain.  I'm sure you're much more interested in my current reading list!



If you enjoy reading, you've likely already read some of these books.  My list is not cutting edge by any means.  But, here is what is stacked up waiting for me to get going... (all reviews from Amazon.com.)

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

The latest New York Times bestseller from the author of the beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House is a heart racing story about a man’s treacherous journey through the twists and turns of the Underground Railroad on a mission to save the boy he swore to protect. Glory Over Everything is “gripping…breathless until the end” (Kirkus Reviews).

If you haven't read these 2 books, run, don't walk, to your nearest bookstore or library!  We read The Kitchen House in book club and loved it; and everyone else I know who read it could not put it down.  I'm sure that Glory Over Everything won't disappoint.

Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt

"A Dickens-loving tennis prodigy finds himself the hero of his father's plot in Douglas Brunt's Trophy Son, which convincingly renders a pro-sports fishbowl peopled by drug-enhanced, endorsement-emblazoned warriors - and the attempts of one weary soldier to escape with his soul." - Vogue

This one hits a raw nerve with my "Mom Guilt" - ugh.  As the mother of now-adult children, I often look backwards in regret for my less-than-perfect mothering skills. (If only there were do-overs, sigh.)  I know I hovered and pushed too hard sometimes.  This book might be a bit uncomfortable for me to get through, but apparently I have some desire to punish myself with this story, haha.

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

This one is on our book club's future reading list.  Psychology is always interesting and, coincidentally, my husband and I currently have a family member who is experiencing the frightening and debilitating effects of encephalitis.  It's a different health crisis from the one in this book, but there are enough parallels to have me very interested!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

A whip-smart, hysterical dramedy about a family in crisis after the disappearance of its brilliant, misanthropic matriarch.

I know this has been out for a while and I'm behind the curve here.  But it struck me as a light and fun escape from reality - perfect for summer.  A mother-daughter storyline always appeals to me and, well, she's an architect so there's that pull as well.


Faithfully Religionless by Timber Hawkeye

If you consider yourself spiritual but not religious, then you're going to love this inspirational book. And if you want to lead a simple and uncomplicated life with happiness at your fingertips, then you'll want to read this page-turner more than once!

I stumbled upon this in the bargain section at Barnes & Noble, and it piqued my curiosity.  After flipping quickly through this book, the author's beliefs resonated with me.  Spirituality is very personal, but I think this may be right up my alley.  And at only $5.98, I didn't have much to lose by buying it.

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far From the Madding Crowd (1874) is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel and his first major literary success.
This story of a proud rural beauty and the three men who court her is the novel that first made Thomas Hardy famous.

After seeing the movie at our university's theatre (which plays mostly independent films and documentaries) I immediately ordered the tie-in edition book.  Honestly, this was one of the most beautiful dramatic pieces of cinema that I have ever seen.  I left the theatre and just couldn't stop thinking about it.  The sets and visuals were stunning, and the story was very emotionally moving, with a really strong female character.  I hope that the book keeps me as enthralled as the movie did.

Sense and Sensibility: A Novel by Joanna Trollope

From Publishers Weekly (Aug.) Brit author Trollope brings Austen's classic into the new   millennium, with mixed results.

I don't doubt that there have been mixed results in reactions to this novel.  Some people might think it is a crime to rewrite one of Austen's classics.  Believe it or not, I have not read Jane Austen's book, although I do own it (shameful, I know...don't scold me too harshly about this, haha.) Anthropologie offered several of her books a year ago or so in beautifully-patterned covers, so I bought them...and they sat as lovely home decor accessories.  Then, I tried to read Pride and Prejudice (I don't remember reading it in high school, although it's possible that we did.)  I got a ways into it and then abandoned it.  I'm hoping this modern-day version will capture and hold my attention.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Katherine Boo spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a sprawling, cockeyed settlement of more than 300 tin-roof huts and shacks in the shadow of Mumbai’s International Airport. From within this “sumpy plug of slum” Boo unearths stories both tragic and poignant--about residents’ efforts to raise families, earn a living, or simply survive. 

What can I say about this?  I'm not sure why it spoke to me in the book store, but something drew me to it. I really love reading non-fiction, and I'm a sucker for stories that tug at the heart-strings in some way.  It may be another difficult one to get through, as it undoubtedly sheds light on the harsh realities of how people are forced to live.  But it's probably something that I need to learn more about.


There is actually no way I'll get through all of these books this summer.  As a matter of fact, I still have 2 unfinished books that I'm working on before I can crack any of these open.  I'm currently reading Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan about Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with Mamah Northwick Cheney, and Dreams from My Father by Former President Barack Obama (I know, I know, I'm very late to the party again with this book! Haha!)

What's on your summer reading list?  Have you read any of these?

Julie



 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Eclectic Style? or Hot Mess?

There are many styles that designers use when creating living spaces for their clients and that we use in our own homes.  We're all familiar with Traditional, Contemporary, Industrial, French Country, Mid-Century Modern, etc.  They each have identifiable features and are fairly easy to classify.  So, does that mean that any room which doesn't neatly fit into a specific style is eclectic?  Definitely not!

Let's take a looks at what the term "eclectic" actually means...

Definition of eclectic.  1:  selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles.  2:  composed of elements drawn from various sources; also: heterogeneous. (source: Merriam-Webster)

Eclecticism is a nineteenth and twentieth-century architectural style in which a single piece of work incorporates a mixture of elements from previous historical styles to create something that is new and original.  In architecture and interior design, these elements may include structural features, furniture, decorative motifs, distinct historical ornament, traditional cultural motifs or styles from other countries, with the mixture usually chosen based on its suitability to the project and overall aesthetic value. (source: Wikipedia)

An eclectic interior, then, is not a "catch-all" but rather a carefully curated collection of elements from various styles.  Established design principles such as balance, proportion, and scale still apply if we want to create a successful eclectic interior space. Take the following image, for example.


Several styles are incorporated here, including contemporary clean lines in the credenza, chaise longue, and side table; traditional elements of the tufted ottoman and rug; and a decidedly modern gold slat chair.  This room works so well because the designer kept a uniform "feel" with the use of subtle color, simple shapes and lines, and proper furniture scale.  The artwork, in a combination of framed portraiture and modern abstracts, adds visual interest without being confined to one style.


This gorgeous black and white space employs abstract art and a modern lucite chair to balance the visual weight and ornate carving of the desk. Minimal accessorizing with plants, simple vases, and draperies that blend into the walls keeps our eyes focused on the beauty and personality of the furnishings. Neutral colors help to eliminate busyness and serve to meld different design styles together; and a traditional oriental rug gives warmth to the scheme.  The room is purposely kept open and airy to balance its generous use of black decor.


This next room is just full of eclectic goodness, isn't it?  The furniture, lamps and chandelier lend an old-world charm, while bold pops of color keep things fresh and timely.  A black and white geometric rug grounds the furniture grouping and adds a playful quality to the room; while the crisp white mirror against a white wall brings in a contemporary twist.  Also, white-on-white trim mouldings provide interest without detracting from other furnishings.

How different would this space feel if the walls were dark, the rug was traditional, and the chairs were covered in tapestry?  


And, finally, traditional and Asian-inspired furnishings are punched up with a large piece of modern art and daring use of color.  The abstract painting adds a lot of interest, movement, and colorful energy.  Again, if we imagine a piece of landscape, portrait, or still-life art here, and wood-toned tables in place of the painted red ones, there would be a more predictable and conventional look to this space.  

One of the great benefits of using eclectic design is in achieving a one-of-a-kind result. For people who enjoy many interior design styles, this method of curating pieces from various time periods and regions is ideal.  As long as we remember to use a framework of good design principles, we can create unique, visually-stimulating spaces.  I, myself, have always leaned toward eclectic design, as I find it to be very adaptable, fluid, and exciting.  How do you feel about this design style?  





Monday, June 12, 2017

Relax

Hi Friends,
It's been a while. You probably thought I fell off the edge of the earth, right?  I've got to say that the One Room Challenge kind-of took it out of me - whew!  And then there's that ongoing thorn in my husband's and my side, the townhouse reno from H*## (after our former tenants completely trashed the place.)  We've basically had to gut it and start from the floors up...ugh!
It hasn't all been toil and trouble, though.  I did manage to fit in a fun Girlfriend Trip to San Antonio over Memorial Weekend.  Seven sorority sisters and I (many of whom hadn't seen each other in 34 years!) spent the long holiday weekend at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Texas Hill Country.  It was glorious!!  Here is a glimpse of the spa pool and and the amazing views.


There were long chats over coffee and wine, a full spa day, an evening on the RiverWalk, complete with a boat tour and dinner and, most importantly, the chance to reconnect with a few of the women who helped usher us into adulthood so many years ago.  And I noticed that everyone was exactly the same as when we were in college together.  I mean, of course we look older now and we've collectively endured a lot of life experience; but personalities hadn't changed at all.  The things we loved about each other were still there.  I came back home with such a full heart :)

So now summer has finally arrived, and I'm trying to slow down, regroup, "Relax," and enjoy it.  Those of you who follow me have seen our sun porch in past posts.  As a matter of fact, the décor out here really hasn't changed much at all.  Unfortunately, I've placed myself on a strict budget after all of that spending in the Master Bedroom, and during the Girlfriend Weekend...ahem.....  Creativity will have to be my middle name for a while! 



I moved a few accessories around and added some new succulents and plants.  Each year, the plants barely scrape by in the house during our long Nebraska winters; and then I move them out to the porch to rejuvenate over the summer months.  It's amazing how much growth happens while they are here in the sunshine and humidity.  You can see that the one under the wire cloche has had quite a bit of growth on top.


I would love to add some new pillows to this sofa. A couple of these have gotten a little tired and faded. Hopefully, I'll stumble onto some great deals this summer - fingers crossed.  The Buddha head was something I found last year at a yard sale for $1, and I think it is perfect for this space. 


You may remember seeing this wreath if you follow me on Instagram.  My intention was to hang it on our front door, but between birds trying to nest in it and our son complaining about bumping his head on it every time he came through the door, it had to be moved. We keep this antique dresser on the sun porch and store dog leashes and miscellaneous dog supplies in it.  I also store the summer accent pillows in it during the winter months.  I don't have a strong attachment to the dresser (obviously, since I allow it to endure harsh weather conditions out here.)  We originally purchased it to use in our kids' nursery, which was 28 years ago.  The wood on this poor thing has really dried out while it has sat on the porch, though.  At some point, it will be sold or given to someone who can lovingly restore it to its former beauty.

These finials had been inside our house on the fireplace mantel, but this spring I changed the look in there to topiaries and branches.  So, the finials found a new home here on the porch.  I often threaten to add more color in the décor out here, but all of the greens and natural elements really blend nicely into the outdoor landscape.  It feels very restful to me this way, I guess.


And restful is the whole idea for this space.  It is such a comfortable spot for settling in with a cool drink and a magazine or book, especially when there is a nice cross-breeze coming through the windows.  We have plenty of birds, butterflies, squirrels, and rabbits that come to visit, too.  This spring, another robin built a nest outside of our sun porch on the downspout.

Her babies hatched, grew, and flew away according to schedule.  However, a couple of weeks later, I noticed that a robin has been sitting on that nest again.  I don't know if it's the same one or if a second, opportunistic robin is taking advantage of a nicely-built home?  I was worried that our first robin was still "fussing over" an egg that hadn't hatched, so I drug the ladder out and climbed up there to inspect what was in the nest.  Sure enough, there are 2 eggs there, and she continues to nurture them now.  I hope this story has a happy ending with two new babies soon.


How about that for a perfect segway...haha!  I've displayed this metal bird sculpture both inside the house and out here at various times.  Obviously, it is quite fitting in this space.  I picked up the pepperomia plant at a tag sale for $2 last weekend, but I've already noticed that its leaves are turning brown/black in the centers.  There is so much conflicting information online.  I haven't figured out if it is suffering from improper watering, has been scorched from too much sun, or some other issue.  It looked fine when I brought it home, so apparently my brown thumb is working quickly on this poor plant :(  At least I didn't spend much on it, haha.

I hope your summer is starting out fun and relaxing.  Don't you just love the carefree feeling that summer invites?


Sharing with: Between Naps on the Porch, Everyday Living, DIY by Design
The Dedicated House, Vintage Charm, A Delightsome Life, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

One Room Challenge - The Reveal!

The day is here!  It's Reveal Day for the One Room Challenge Guest Bloggers!  Before I share photos of our new and improved Master Bedroom, I want to thank Linda from Calling It Home for creating this incredible event, media partner House Beautiful, and everyone who stopped by my blog these past six weeks to check on my progress and cheer me on.  It's been crazy, but well worth the effort to give this dated bedroom a fresh facelift (see the Before here.) 

Also, I'd like to thank my hubby for his patience with my design "bug."  He's been dealing with this for almost 34 years now - the constant changing, painting, rearranging, etc.  And, funny story - he has been saying, "You're going to win!" even though I've told him that this isn't a competition, haha!  Isn't it sweet of him to give me that compliment, though?  I guess he approves of the new décor.

OK, then, without further ado, here is our "Plum Perfect" bedroom...


If you're new here, I went with an eclectic, moody vibe with an infusion of sparkle for the room's new look.  For links to sources on all of the furniture, lighting, etc., you can visit my past three posts.  I am SO pleased with the way everything turned out, starting with this perfect paint color from Clark & Kensington!  There is just the tiniest hint of plum in this color, so it makes a rich background for black and shades of purples.


As you can see, the Noir Ascona bedside chests, which are such gorgeous anchors in this room, are topped with Gilt lamps that still take my breath away with their marble column bases and polished brass shades. The Largo Furniture Soho iron and upholstered headboard gives us a comfortable backrest when we are sitting in bed.  I love the Industrial element that it lends to the room, as well.  



Each side of the bed is styled similarly, with mirrored stars in open frames.  These stars were actually hanging in other rooms of our home, and I plucked them off the walls to place in here.  They  are the perfect accessories to create both unity and distinctiveness to our separate sides of the bed.


My night table is a bit more feminine, with a crusty antique frame, books about design and ballet, an Anthropologie Volcano candle, and flowers in shiny vessels.


If this vignette is photo-heavy, please forgive me, haha.  I really love the layering of finishes, textures, and colors here.  We ladies need pretty things, am I right? :)


The hubby's side is more streamlined with a simpler black frame, a star that is bolder in size and shape, and succulents in modern pots on a stylized tray.  We now have so much storage in these chests that there will be no excuses for cluttering the tops!




This corner will make a nice reading nook by the window with an oversized leather chair, which was brought in from another room, and a cozy throw.  There were a couple of revisions I had to make toward the end of this challenge.  The Mid-Century Modern table project didn't come together quite as I had hoped, so I replaced it with this cute garden stool-type table, purchased at HomeGoods.  I love the mirrored chrome finish on the top, the stud details, and the ring handles.  And it will be the perfect little spot to set a cool drink or cup of coffee when I'm curled up with a good book.



At this point in time, I don't plan to add any drapery panels to the window treatment.  Our ceiling slopes down on the other end of the window, which doesn't allow much space for hardware.  And, truthfully, I like the simplicity of the blinds alone.  It keeps the visual focus elsewhere in the room.  I'm still loving the light fixture from West Elm, which adds that modern, industrial flair and echoes the style of the headboard.  The collage wall will eventually grow larger and extend down towards the floor, but for now it definitely reflects my design aesthetic.  I don't always design so symmetrically, but as I laid it all out, it just kept working this way.  Having pairs of similar art pieces lent itself to this arrangement.  


The center print was my jumping off piece, and I already had the architectural plaques and antique mirror, which I spray painted raspberry.  The "Spirograph" art has a sweet story, which was shared in a previous post; and the chair art reflects my Interior Design background.




This antique doorknob previously belonged to our daughter.  Can you believe she found it lying on the rooftop of an apartment building in Chicago that she had lived in?  Who would abandon this gorgeous piece of history on a roof?  I have been coveting that doorknob ever since she discovered it, even before the plan for this room was based on the color plum.  She was generous enough to pass it on to me after she decided that she could live without it - I was thrilled!




Here is a quick view of that amazing Norman Bel Geddes chest I scored on Chairish.  No one really wants to look at an ugly tv, but this sure makes it more appealing, doesn't it?  The clean lines and simple design blend well into the room's style.




Our new bedding includes a combination of linens from Bed, Bath & Beyond (coverlet), IKEA (sheets), and Urban Outfitters (light purple shams.)  The shades of plums and magenta were pulled from the art and really add some beautiful color to the neutral furnishings.  

Well, that's a wrap!  Thankfully, we finally have a completed bedroom for the first time in our married life - it's such a joy to use this gorgeous room now!  I absolutely love how it envelops us in velvety, restful color and lustrous finishings.  Thank you, again, for visiting.  I hope you have enjoyed taking this journey with me.  I sure do appreciate all of your support and comments along the way.



See you next week for something new and different.  Maybe I can finally get outside and start tackling the jungle that used to be known as our landscaping beds............

, Dwellings the Heart of Your Home, Let's Add Sprinkles, Rustic & Refined, Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, May 4, 2017

One Room Challenge - Finishing Touches


There's nothing like the final weeks of the One Room Challenge to make sane people turn into wackadoodles who don't sleep, can't make decisions, and run around willy-nilly trying to find the exact-right accessory pieces they envision for their spaces!  Well, ok, that's probably just me, haha.  Actually, I've seen many of my One Room Challenge cohorts skating to the finish line in perfect designer form, having created much more elaborate projects than I have.

Can you believe I'm already scheming in my mind about how to "up" my game for the next challenge?  Yes, I digress...

As it turns out, even though this master bedroom project is without many bells and whistles or custom details, I love how it is turning out.  It truly reflects my style.  In fact, there have been times throughout this process when I tried to push myself out of my comfort zone (which is often a good thing!)  But I kept returning to what is inherently "me" - solid colors, classic accessories with a touch of feminine glam, and always black ;)

So today I'm giving you a peek into how everything is taking shape, without spoiling the final reveal - which happens next week!


Here is a shot of Hubby's side of the bed, which I tried to keep a bit more masculine than my side will be.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but the star is mirrored so it reflects light, especially when the lamp is turned on.  And, seriously, can we just talk about these lamps?  OMG, they are my favorite pieces in the whole room!  They are from Gilt and, when lit, cast such a beautiful glow onto the marble bases.  I was worried there wouldn't be sufficient light for reading through those opaque brass shades.  Honestly, though, I loved them so much that I decided we'd just have to adapt if they were prettier than functional.  Luckily, they are working out fine.

The succulents give some life to all of the hard edges, and I think I might even be able to keep them alive since this spot is adjacent to a South-facing window - win/win!  I have them corralled on an iron and mirror tray, in case of drips when watering.  Plus, the tray echoes the mirror of the star above it.  Aren't the pots good-looking?  They are both from Hobby Lobby! It just goes to show that you can find great design almost anywhere, if you have the eye and the patience to search. 


 Here is a portion of a gallery wall that is coming together.  The piece in the center with circles of color, from West Elm was part of what inspired this room's color scheme.  It also adds some brightness with its white background and frame, and it gives a modern hint as well.  I used to have a phobia about combining white and ivory together in a room - I was such a color "purist."  Our carpet and upholstered part of the new headboard are ivory, so it caused me a little anxiety to throw bright white in here (silly, isn't that?)  Once I did, though, I could see the value of white adding crispness and light; and the contrast makes everything pop.

I previously gave you a peek at the vintage mirror that I painted raspberry.  You can see my hubby's side of the bed reflected in it.  The chair prints were purchased at a local shop, and I love that they display who I am - a former Interior Designer (and chair collector, haha!  Luckily, these chairs take up much less space than the ones I find at estate and tag sales and can't resist bringing home!) 

  
 The black and gold plaques were thrifted locally as well.  And the piece that looks like a Spirograph drawing is from Art.com.  There are several reasons why I am in love with this art.  From a design standpoint, the circle shape echoes the circles and colors in the West Elm art and has that nice white background again.  And from an emotional standpoint, it evokes happy feelings for me.  You see, my daughter gave me a Spirograph set for Christmas and she said, "When I saw this in the store, I knew you would love it!"  She was right, because it brings back good memories of my childhood, creating all of those cool Spirograph designs.  But, more importantly, it showed me how well she knows me and how much thought she put into purchasing that gift for me.  I smile every time I glance at this piece of art on the wall :)

Well, Friends, there continues to be a lot going on behind the scenes here.  I still have a table to paint in the next couple of days - yikes!  And there will be final "fluffing" happening before next Thursday's big reveal.  Wish me luck, and please drop by next week to see the full transformation!

Julie

Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Room Challenge - Furniture


Welcome back, Friends.  If you've been following other bloggers who are participating in the One Room Challenge, you may be feeling some rising anxiety as the weeks go by.  That is certainly the case here at RM Design/Renaissance Mermaid!  There are still projects to complete and details to button up, and the time seems to be going faster and faster...
At any rate, today is all about the larger furniture pieces.  I want to show you the "anchors" for the design of our Master Bedroom.  My vision for this space began with masculine vibes and simple, but interesting, shapes.  The first piece I culled from my hours upon hours of internet shopping was this timeless dresser, which we will be using as a TV stand.




Chairish is one of my go-to sources when I want something unique.  Because this piece is used, it isn't in pristine condition, but I'm fine with that.  The clean, straight lines and bold brass hardware will always have a place in my home.  I like to select pieces that can easily transition to other rooms and uses in the future.  We'll probably store seasonal bed linens in the drawers, although my hubby has hinted at wanting to use them for some of his clothes...(to be determined, haha.) 

Next, this chest absolutely took my breath away!  The shape and details were exactly what I wanted, but I did deliberate for a bit because of the price - I needed to order two, as these would be used as nightstands.  In the end, though, I just couldn't get this beauty out of my mind and decided that the splurge would be worth it.

These pieces have a British Colonial/Plantation feel to me, and the finish on them is gorgeous.  They are quite a bit larger than the conventional nightstands we had here previously; but we have the space and, again, these will transition nicely into our next home someday.  Plus, I tend to pile lots of books on my side of the bed, so this will give me plenty of room to keep my collections organized.  There is a lot of space within the drawers as well, so we can't possibly complain about a lack of storage space! 



Soho Upholstered Iron Bed by Largo Furniture

The headboard I selected definitely has a personality all its own.  It's industrial and very masculine, but some folks might question this design decision.  My thought process was to find something heavier than our previous headboard which was a bit insubstantial, and also something that was more comfortable to lean against.  (You can see our old headboard here.)  I knew I didn't want a completely upholstered one, nor did I want a strictly metal one.  This headboard seemed to check all of the boxes for me, with the added bonus of having a dash of antique brass on the finish.
Finally, I wanted to have a table next to the leather chair, which we brought into this room from my husband's office.  I think the corner where the chair sits could be a really comfortable reading spot with the right set-up.  I usually read in bed, but that's not always ideal because it's a little hard to sit up straight, and I also have the tendency to fall asleep!  Our bedroom is by far the warmest room in the house, so during the winter months I spend a lot of time in here.  And the nook that I'm creating sits by the window, so it's a perfect place to relax.  There is a cute shop in our city that sells mostly mid-century modern furniture.  I snagged this great table for a really reasonable price.  It was probably used as a coffee table before I got ahold of it and might be slightly large for a side table, but it should work well to hold books, magazines, a beverage, etc. 
 
My current plan is to paint the wood a gloss white, but I'm still contemplating that.  With dark paint and furnishings in this room, pops of white will help keep things from getting too weighty and somber.  The rods you see on the table are brass with lion head detail, and there are small brass medallion details on the base.  Of course, I will preserve all of this brass!  This is one of the projects yet to be completed in the next couple of weeks, and I'm asking myself if I've gone mad, haha.  I am NOT a fast worker...in fact I employ an "artistically" slow, puttering style, so it remains to be seen if I can pull this off! 
Also, the accessorizing of the room, which should be the fun part, is causing me to pull my hair out!  Finding just the right mirror, arranging and installing a collage wall, and hunting down the perfect tchotchkes is anything but fun right now, lol.  But I hope you'll stop back next week when I'll show you how I'm prettying-up this room.
Thanks for following along with my progress.
Julie


Sharing with:  Calling it Home, Vintage Charm

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

One Room Challenge - Out with the Old

Welcome back, Friends!  Thanks for stopping by to check on my One Room Challenge progress.  I hope you've been able to visit some of the other featured and guest bloggers who are busy working on their room transformations.  There are some really amazing projects happening out there!  And I'd love to thank Linda from Calling It Home for creating, organizing, and hosting this twice-yearly Challenge!
As promised, I'm first going to share the funny story I mentioned last time.  OK, please take a look at the photo of the ceiling fan/light below.........does anything look strange about it?


It originally had 5 blades!  If you remember, I had mentioned that I was questioning the need to replace that fixture for this challenge.  My hubby really enjoys having a fan in the bedroom.  Also, though, let me note here that our greyhound is deathly afraid of ceiling fans.  Weird, I know.  He is a rescue racer, so we think there may have been loud fans in the kennels where the hounds were boarded, but that's just our theory.  At any rate, we don't run the fans in the house because it causes him so much anxiety!  So, that could have been reason enough to replace this fixture.  However, a couple of months ago we noticed that one of the blades seemed to be hanging a little lower than the others.  After inspection, we could see that the metal piece that attaches the blade to the fan had been broken, so it was connected precariously at that point. My hubby then remembered having heard a "pop" sound when he last dusted the fan, so we figured he had accidentally broken it.  He took blade #1 off of the fan.  Well, as if that wasn't enough to convince me to start shopping for a new light....

While we were dog-sitting our daughter and son-in-law's greyhound, Cougar, (yes, we both have greyhounds and they look like they could be siblings, haha) she was on the foot of our bed one night as we had settled in to watch some tv.  She is quite the little diva and pretty much commands the household when she is here, claiming her position at the foot of our bed.  As I said, we were relaxing in bed when, all of a sudden, another one of the fan blades abruptly came crashing down on her.  She bolted upright in terror; and once I figured out what had happened, I just started laughing hysterically.  Poor dog...she really got a rude awakening that night!  But it was clear that we would be getting a pretty new light for our bedroom :)  And here it is...


I wanted something that was decorative but not too fussy.  The new headboard for this room has an industrial look, and the other furniture pieces are black with a somewhat masculine feel.  We don't use the overhead lighting a lot, so it was really more about "form over function."  I had several fixtures chosen, but budget did play into my final decision (boo, hiss, budgets!)  I selected the West Elm Mobile Chandelier in a combination Antique Bronze and Antique Brass finish, which was reasonably-priced and fit my vision for the room.  It is going to look really great with the new furniture.
Below, is what it looks like in the freshly painted room.  I am so pleased with this paint color, too!  It's called Spanish Parador from Clark and Kensington.  It is a very muted mocha-color with just enough of a plum cast to give it personality.  Paint colors can be so difficult, right?  I was looking for a "dirty" plum, and I think I nailed it with this one!  It envelopes the room in moodiness, but it also creates a great background for pops of color.


Here, you can see that I am gradually gathering art and pillow covers for this project, which are sitting on that leather chair.  The plants went out to the sun porch this weekend, where they will stay until about October...keeping houseplants alive and healthy is always a juggling act since we have brutal winters here in Nebraska.  They do so much better out on the porch with some humidity.  But during the winter months, we have to bring all of them inside.


And, finally, here are the window shades I selected to replace those outdated vinyl vertical blinds.  They are Hunter Douglas Provenance Woven Woods in fabric, Aspen, and color, Fireside Retreat.  I chose to order them without any black-out lining, so they filter the light but don't block it.  I had to make sure that the hubs was ok with that.  He prefers to sleep in a dark room, and I like having a little light coming in.  But he said that he didn't care, so I hastily ordered before he could change his mind ;)  Our neighbors' house is pretty close to ours, but their windows aren't placed directly across from ours.  If it ever becomes a problem, though, we can always add some simple pull shades behind these, but I don't think we'll have to resort to that.  I also opted to order the shades without valances, which gives them a straight, clean look.  The goal was simplicity and lots of texture, which was achieved perfectly with these shades. 


Here is a sneak peek at a painting project that is going on for this room. Right now, I'm frantically trying to put together all of the accessories, bedding, and art.  I hope you'll stop back next week to see our new furniture pieces.  The weeks are flying by! 

Julie


Sharing with:  Calling It Home, Vintage Charm, Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, April 13, 2017

One Room Challenge - The "Before"

I hope you were able to take a look at my previous post, which shows the vision of how our Master Bedroom will look at the end of this challenge.  There is a lot of work necessary to complete this transformation from ugly duckling to swan!  Before any progress can be made in this room, the first order of business is to remove the monster treadmill, take the very dated window treatments down, and repaint the ceiling.

Does anyone else buy exercise equipment with all of the best intentions, use it a few times, and then discover that it has become an extremely expensive, dust-gathering piece of sculpture in your room?  I never really wanted that treadmill in the bedroom, but I figured that if it meant the hubby would get healthier, I could suck it up and live with a visually clunky piece of "décor."  As it turns out, our son used it like crazy...for a while - so much so that the friction singed a little area on the carpet (yikes!)  Eventually, though, everyone lost interest or got too busy and it became a piece of "art."  Once the man cave in our basement was finally painted and re-carpeted, the guys agreed to move it downstairs - yea!  And I was celebrating small victory #1.


Before the room could be painted, we also had to remove the circa-1993 vertical blinds.  Seriously, can you believe we still had those in our bedroom?  The thing is, though, they are really functional.  You can control exactly the amount of light you want in the room, they open/close easily, and the vinyl (yes, we had the "stylish" vinyl ones) required minimal cleaning. But, their time had definitely passed, so they came down...hooray!


We needed to paint the ceiling because there were a couple of hairline cracks along the angled slope that had to be filled, and of course the spackle was whiter than the ceiling.  Can I just mention that this simple part of the room redo stalled the project for months?  (Remember, I was planning this room refresh over a year ago.)  We just couldn't bring ourselves to tackle another ceiling, after having done several in our rental properties.  Ugh.  But, finally, we had to face it, and it was a good reason to get a fresh coat up there.  A fun color, other than white, would have been more creative...sigh.  But to avoid giving my hubby a design-induced stroke (haha) I stayed with the conventional white.  Actually, the paint color I have chosen is quite dark, too, so the white ceilings help to keep the room feeling open.  Here are a couple of photos of my favorite painter.  He's a trooper, right?


I was questioning whether I should replace the ceiling fan/light or not.  I really, really wanted a pretty new light there, but my rational thoughts and frugal instincts were kicking in, until.....................ok, I'm going to keep you in suspense.  Please join me next week for a funny story about this fan!



  This entertainment unit and console table that I use as a make-up table are headed out the door.  They are both in good shape, but the style just doesn't work for me anymore.  Also, note how the orange cast of the furniture emphasizes the turquoise paint even more.  I'm not exactly sure what I had in mind when I chose that color.  But more on that subject in weeks to come.  I plan to donate the entertainment unit and either sell or donate the table.  Another decision to be made is whether to replace the table, or to retrain myself to apply makeup in the bathroom.  I'd love to eliminate this piece of furniture and create a large gallery wall in its place - one that extends almost to the floor.  So, I'll be checking into wall-mount magnifying mirrors for our bathroom and will probably opt for a pretty design over function on this wall.


This headboard and these nightstands have also lost their appeal.  The headboard will be sold, but the nightstands and lamps can be used in our guest bedroom.  Our son is using that room temporarily, but these pieces will work well for additional storage.  (Both adult kids still have quite a bit of their stuff here at home, so I'm always looking for nooks and crannies where their high school memorabilia, etc. can be stored out of sight.)  I do still like these lamps - they were purchased inexpensively at Target several years ago.


And now, I'll leave you all with this photo of our daughter and son-in-law's greyhound relaxing in the "old" turquoise bedroom.  You can see that she was not too concerned with the frightful state of our décor.   As a "teaser" for my next post, let me just mention that she plays a part in the aforementioned ceiling fan story, as well.

See you next week!
Julie