Photography to Add Modern, Beachy Feel

Sometimes I look around and lament the fact that almost all of my furnishings and accessories are comprised of other peoples old things. I do love vintage and shopping secondhand, but I also don’t want my home to look dated and dowdy. I’d like to just go out and buy a clean-lined sofa and coffee table and a few shiny new accessories, to impart a more modern aesthetic. However, my real life budget holds me back from those larger purchases. So, I’m always looking for small ways to add bits of modern appeal.

I’ve come up with a plan to do a beach inspired photo display in the dining room. I’m not sure if it will be a gallery wall or if I’ll spread them out around the room, since I don’t have tons of wall space. I’ve taken quite a few beach photos throughout the years, of the different coasts I’ve visited. I might also add a few Etsy finds into the mix. I’d frame them all in simple, white picture frames. I think that photos like these will mesh well with the dining nook fabrics I chose last week.

These are the fabrics I ordered last Friday, for the dining bench.
These are the fabrics I ordered last Friday, for the dining bench.
Digital download, $5.80, from Lilandlola on Etsy.
Digital download, $5.80, from Lilandlola on Etsy.
Circle ocean digital download, $5.00 from happybearprints on Etsy.
Circle ocean digital download, $5.00 from happybearprints on Etsy.
Ocean print 16 x 20 for $15.00 by hazytone on Etsy.
Ocean print 16 x 20 for $15.00 by hazytone on Etsy.

 

Honing My Dining Room Design Plan

I’ve been side-tracked with other home design and organizing projects and neglected my dream of a relaxed, global but beachy feeling dining room. There are several projects that need to be completed in order to fulfill this vision. The first was refinishing the dining table, which I described in a previous post.

The completed dining table.
The completed dining table.

The second project on the list was creating pillows and a dining bench cushion, for a cozier dining nook. I finally ordered some fabric, and the patterns are NOT what I was planning on. A while back I wrote a post on combining fabric patterns, and highlighted the prints that I intended to use. This is what I had pulled together:

My original plan for fabrics in the dining room.
My original plan for fabrics in the dining room.

These are the prints I ended up ordering today:

These are the fabrics I ordered today, to complete my dining room vision.
These are the fabrics I ordered today, to complete my dining room vision.

In the end, I wanted the colors to feel brighter and happier. I always gravitate towards pale aqua and soft apricot as a pairing, and it seemed I was forcing the other color pallete a bit. This is how I’ll use each fabric.

This will cover the dining bench cushion. Joyful Leaf Paisley in White/Teal, $6.64/yd on fabric.com.
This will cover the dining bench cushion. Joyful Leaf Paisley in White/Teal, $6.64/yd on fabric.com.
I'll make two pillows out of this. It brings all of the colors together. Olana by Waverly, $15.17 on fabric.com.
I’ll make two pillows out of this. It brings all of the colors together. Olana by Waverly, $15.17 on fabric.com.
I wanted to pull in navy blue for a bit of contrast. Jiri Stripe in Navy/Birch, $12.96/yd on fabric.com.
I wanted to pull in navy blue for a bit of contrast. Jiri Stripe in Navy/Birch, $12.96/yd on fabric.com.
The warm tones complement the cool aqua of the bench fabric. I'll make a pillow out of this one. Tullahoma Ikat in Copper, $9.48/yd on fabric.com.
The warm tones complement the cool aqua of the bench fabric. I’ll make a pillow out of this one. Tullahoma Ikat in Copper, $9.48/yd on fabric.com.

Truly, I’d like to somehow add a back to the bench, to make it more comfortable to sit on for longer periods of time. I’m thinking of finding a headboard  to re-purpose and attach to it. The other elements I’ll add to pull the design together include painting my bookcases white and adding in some more modern decor accessories. I’m going to start with the bench project and I’ll keep you updated.

Add a Small Shelf for Big Organizing Help

Hanging a wall shelf in a small area where you just need a bit of a surface can really make a major organizational impact. I’m in need of one over my washing machine, so I can get the detergent, fabric softener and stain removing products off of the dryer. Here are a few ideas of other places where a little shelf might come in handy:

  • Near your front or back door, with a stylish dish for keys and wallets.
  • The area between your bathroom sink and the medicine cabinet.
  • Instead of a bedside table in a small bedroom, like mine.
  • Just above or to the side of the stove or cook-top for commonly used spices and oils.
  • On the wall just above your desk, to keep office supplies off of your work surface.
  • Above your dining room buffet for extra glassware and decorative accessories.

I searched Etsy and found some beautiful, handmade options that just might enhance  your home and fill an organizational need.

This is a pair of copper painted brackets, so you would have to supply your own wood. The maker can craft these to your desired measurements. $20 for this pair from Unique Wood Artwork.
This pair of copper painted steel brackets, fits a shelf one inch thick. You would have to supply your own wood, but the look is so pretty. $20 for this pair from Unique Wood Artwork.
A shelf for a shallow tray for your keys and mail on top and hooks to hang coats and bags underneath. Corvallis Coat Rack with Floating Shelf by KeoDecor.
A shelf for a shallow tray for your keys and mail on top and hooks to hang coats and bags underneath. Corvallis Coat Rack with Floating Shelf, $115 by KeoDecor.
These would look great in the kitchen or bath. Urban Industrial Pipe Floating Shelf $37.30 from Henry Lewis Home.
These would look great in the kitchen or bath. Urban Industrial Pipe Floating Shelf $37.30 from Henry Lewis Home.
A sleek and minimal look, but made of super strong steel. 13- Gauge Wall Shelf, $28 by Cream Street Shop.
A sleek and minimal look, but made of super strong steel. 13- Gauge Wall Shelf, $28 by Cream Street Shop.
this shelf is such a simple design, but makes a very cool statement. Hanging Pallet Shelf, $22.50 by Lee Art Designs.
This shelf is such a simple design, but makes a very cool statement. Hanging Pallet Shelf, $22.50 by Lee Art Designs.

 

“Spark Joy” Reignites My Will to Declutter

In my last feature for the paper, I wrote about how using the Marie Kondo method of decluttering my home has impacted me as an organizer to my core. She encourages us to keep only the stuff that makes us happy. This is actually a tall order, and not an insignificant psychological feat. While I was on my organizing kick last year, I hit a wall when it came to the paper purge, and the whole process got put on the shelf. Then I hit critical mass, with the excess stuff of having two growing children cluttering up my basement and work space.

spark joy2

As I continue to work on “the purge of all times”, it is easy for me to get sidetracked and lose my motivation. Luckily, Marie Kondo’s new book, Spark Joy arrived just in time. I’m in the middle of it, and have to stall the urge to put it down, just so I can go get rid of some more unwanted stuff. This book is much more in-depth and descriptive, complete with illustrations on how to fold your clothes properly to maximize drawer space.

I’m eagerly anticipating reading Chapter 6, about getting rid of paper. I’ve built this task up so much in my mind that it has paralyzed me. I’m afraid I’ll shred something I may need down the line. Yet, if I’m being honest with myself, when was the last time I actually needed to reference one of my paid bill statements? I can’t remember. Surely, going through this category of stuff will feel just as liberating as shedding the bags and bags of clothing I did last March. Wish me luck, this duty is next on my list.

 

Trends in Cabinet Hardware

Changing out or adding new cabinet knobs or pulls is an easy, and often low-cost way of updating the look of your kitchen, bath or a piece of furniture.  I’ve pulled together a few styles that are trending right now, to inspire you to make this happy little improvement to some corner of your home.

Acrylic. This crystal clear option would look so fresh and modern in the bathroom or kitchen. I absolutely LOVE the smoke-colored version too. So sophisticated!

Schaub and Company Positano 6" Pull. $13.40- $15 on pullsdirect.com.
Schaub and Company Positano 6″ Pull. $13.40- $15 on pullsdirect.com.

Natural Stone and Concrete. These are two materials you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find on a cabinet knob. They are each textural and expressive, sure to make a statement.

Lucy Concrete Knob. Set of 2 for $25 on rejuvenation.com.
Lucy Concrete Knob. Set of 2 for $25 on rejuvenation.com.
Swirled Agate Knobs. $24 on anthropologie.com.
Swirled Agate Knobs. $24 on anthropologie.com.
Druzy Quartz Knob. $18 on anthropologie.com.
Druzy Quartz Knob. $18 on anthropologie.com.

Extra Long Pulls. This is a classic, no fail way to make old cabinets feel more modern.  I suggest mounting them horizontally on cabinet doors as well as drawers, for a cohesive look.

Glide Rite 6 in. Stainless Steel Pull. Set of 10 for $26.99 on overstock.com.
Glide Rite 6 in. Stainless Steel Pull. Set of 10 for $26.99 on overstock.com.

Mismatched and Eclectic. I’m generally a fan of mixing patterns with fabrics, so why not knobs? Purchase various styles of a certain color or finish, or vise versa.

Marbled Solitare Knob. $10 each on anthropologie.com.
Marbled Solitare Knob. $10 each on anthropologie.com.
Various ceramic knobs, in sets of 2 for $2.38 - $4.78 on worldmarket.com.
Various ceramic knobs, in sets of 2 for $2.38 – $4.78 (current sale price) on worldmarket.com.

Ring Pulls. These little pulls work great for small drawers and doors. I could seem them on a reinvented vintage desk or hutch.

Bosetti Marella Ring Pull by Classic Hardware in Polished Brass. $7.03 on myknobs.com.
Bosetti Marella Ring Pull by Classic Hardware in Polished Brass. $7.03 on myknobs.com.
Top Knobs Nouveau II Finger Pull in Brushed Satin. $6.30 on pullsdirect.com.
Top Knobs Nouveau II Finger Pull in Brushed Satin. $6.30 on pullsdirect.com.

Creating Useable Zones in the Basement

Our house is 95 years old. We live in a very modest 900 square feet upstairs, and need to use every square inch of our mostly unfinished basement. Previous owners had chopped up the space into small chunks, and until recently, we were using almost every area as just storage space. With our family of four seemingly outgrowing our house, and my husband and I each spending hours working from home, our basement must now function as additional living space.

I have made it my mission this year, to carve out little zones for our various activities. I also need to purge and organize each area and get it looking as good as an unfinished basement can, on a tiny budget. You can do this in your small home too. Just really consider the way you live and what you want to actually do in your space. These are the zones we need for our small house to really work well for us:

  1. Laundry area
  2. Storage for toys, off-season items, and momentos
  3. Music area for drums and piano
  4. Office for me
  5. Art studio for Thomas and Lucy
  6. Project space and tool storage
  7. Lawn care items and extra furniture storage
  8. Office for Chris

While I know where all of the areas will be, and some zones are already serving their purpose, there’s a lot of work to be done before I share more before and after photos with you. So for the time being, I’ll show you how the music area is shaping up.

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The drum corner BEFORE. YIKES! We did a major purge of this area and then set up the drums. The next step was to paint the area white and add some decor. 

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The piano area BEFORE. I had already purged this area of clutter, and was using it as an art studio for Thomas. Then, on New Year’s Eve, my mother-in-law bought us a piano at Goodwill for $25!

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The piano bench desperately needed to be recovered. I used upholstery tacks and some fabric I already had on hand.

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Removing the odd shelving and painting the mismatched walls white totally transformed the drum nook.I still need to paint the wall by the piano, change the light fixture above the drums and hang some pegboard near the drums, for storage of other instruments and drum hardware.I’ll surely be posting more photos as I complete each area.

Five Incredible 8’x10′ Area Rugs Under $200

A couple hundred bucks can go along way to update the decor in your living space, and not much makes more of a design statement than an amazing area rug. Here are five 8′ x 10′ finds, all under $200.

Assembly Home Plus Sign Printed Rug, $199, on urbanoutfitters.com.
Assembly Home Plus Sign Printed Rug, $199, on urbanoutfitters.com.
nuloom chinky loop jute beige
Chunky Jute Rug in Beige, $170.58 on homedepot.com.
Traditional Vintage Inspired Overdyed Rug in Blue, $150.74 on Overstock.com.
Traditional Vintage Inspired Overdyed Rug in Blue, $150.74 on Overstock.com.
Brianna Area Rug in Yellow, $160.49 on Wayfair.com.
Brianna Area Rug in Yellow, $160.49 on Wayfair.com.
Selina White Easy Shag Rug, $ 198.03 on Wayfair.com.
Selina White Easy Shag Rug, $ 198.03 on Wayfair.com.

Pretty Patterned Lamp Shades

Trading a boring white lamp shade for a fun, patterned one is the easiest way to inject a playful element into your living space. Although I’ve been known to make my own, there are a dizzying array of choices available to purchase as well. Here, I’ve rounded up a few pretty ones, from several sites where you’ll find a great selection.

lamp shade flocked ogee target
Flocked Ogee from target.com.
lamp shade flocked criss cross target
Flocked Criss Cross from target.com.
lamp shade seedling overstock
Stockholm shade by Thomas Paul for Lamps Plus.
lamp shade star gazer nod
Star Gazer shade LandofNod.com.
lamp shade up and down minted
Up and Down shade minted.com.
lamp shade watercolor scallops minted
Watercolor Scallops shade minted.com.
lamp shade petaled echo minted
Petaled Echo shade minted.com.
lamp shade adventure camp minted
Adventure Camp shade minted.com.

Tips for Getting Organized This Year

In Sunday’s Life section, I wrote a column about my own home organizing challenges. Even as an organizing professional, I still wage a battle against clutter on a regular basis. I hope that you’ll find some of my ideas about how to tackle that looming mountain of stuff in your living space, inspiring.

i clearly labeled bins in my basement, after purging two truck loads of stuff.
I clearly labeled bins in my basement, after purging two truck loads of stuff.

Organize with Pegboard

Our family uses a lot of bags for different activities, and without a proper coat closet upstairs, the bags end up in a jumble in the basement- bags for swimming, overnight stays, store returns, trips to the library, and reusable grocery bags. To solve this storage dilemma, I’ve  hatched a plan to cover an entire wall in my basement with white pegboard and hooks.

Pegboard is available at your local hardware store, and the pricing is super reasonable. I’m going to head to Home Depot in Silverdale, where I know that they can cut the 4 ft x 8 ft sheets down to the height I require. All sorts of hooks and bins are available to customize the wall to serve my needs. I can’t wait to tackle this project and share images with you!

pegboard baskets pegboard hooks pegboard