Monday, March 24, 2014

{gingham dining chairs}

Gingham dining room slipcovers. 

Last fall, I picked up a set of off white camel back upholstered dining chairs at a local antique store,they have been begging for slipcovers since I purchased them. I originally thought a solid gray slipcover would be nice and simple. But then I started thinking about the overall plans for our dining room, and I decided the room really needs some pattern. So now I'm leaning towards (my favorite) a buffalo check/gingham pattern. Something that would provide a bold, graphic punch....just what the room needs. 

Here are some of my inspiration photos. I'm leaning towards blue/white gingham, but I love green and grays so much I might play it safe and go that route instead.

scalloped slip

blue & white buffalo gingham check slip-cover/upholstery for dining chairs  --  a beautiful cliche appreciative of gingham

Southern Living Idea House 2013 | How about using it as a vanity or sink skirt? Do you see the lucite ...

NEED this chair clipcovers in my dining room. Via pink wallpaper

Dine in kitchen with hanging pot rack, white cabinets, a wood island with slab counter top, and a long wood table with gingham seat covers

Home Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel, and Decor - page 3

I will keep y'all posted on fabric selection! I found a local lady that quoted me only $15 in labor to slipcover each chair. Which seems crazy inexpensive (but also too good to be true..?!) I might take her up on her offer and take my chances!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

{design tips from Lauren Liess}

I love, love, love Lauren Liess, her unique style is all her own, and she seems so genuine and kind. I really admire her for that! She does her own thing--and I truly believe that is why her brand is so successful! In this world, where there are so many talented interior designers sharing their talents on so many different social media platforms, it's hard to not get swayed by someone else's style. Or often times designers get influenced by other designers and it's all copy & tweak. I think it's okay to get inspiration from other designers but make your OWN style. Put your touch on your work (which Lauren always does impeccably!). Be authentic to yourself.

Be Authentic  |  The Fresh Exchange

Lauren recently shared her 5 tips for freshening up your own home and making your home be a reflection of yourself. This post was so spot on, in my opinion. I have recently been thinking about doing a similar post- but I've been putting it off. So I thought I'd just share what Lauren wrote and then give my two-cents (my thoughts are in red!)

1. Create a clean slate.  Clear out anything that you don't love, especially an eyesore.  (Like maybe that rug you spent a lot of money on and have had forever but don't actually like??)  You can't create something you'll love in the end if you don't like the foundation you're building on.  Take a critical look at everything: upholstery, rugs, window treatments, lamps, accessories, etc.  Getting the bones & building blocks right is key.

Yes! My most favorite "point" in Lauren's post. While I realize sometimes you have to work with existing items. There also comes a time when you need to critically look at all the pieces in your home and ask yourself "are they representative of my personal style?". So many times I meet with clients that have an old upholstered piece or investment piece (rug or curtains ) that just simply skews the whole room. It's hard telling people "such and such" item has to go (without offending them...) But sometimes that's what it takes. You can't build a room around items that aren't your style anymore. Often times I suggest a slipcover to be made (if it's possible (and works with the style of the room) for upholstered items (if they are still in good condition!)) or better yet, selling the particular item on craigslist or a local for sale page. I'd rather see a client invest a new piece (using the profits of the sale) than to settle and try to work with an existing piece that simply does not work anymore. Or sometimes if you are on a tight budget- it's better to sell the item that isn't working, and then save up for a purchase in the near future. I am currently doing this in our home. It's not always realistic to think everyone can go out and buy ALL new things, but to know you saving up for such-and-such helps tremendously! I've sold nearly all our old "college" furniture (that was cheap/hand-me-down/or just simply not "my" style anymore) and we are now working on saving up for more investment grown-up type pieces that reflect our own style. It's a process, but I'd rather have a semi-empty room than to have a room filled with stuff that isn't us. It's also easier to buy new pieces that are your style when you don't have them already!

2. Determine both the mood and style you want your home to have.  Write it down or put it into your phone so it will be at the forefront of your mind when making decisions regarding your home.  Mood relates to the feelings your home will bring about in you & in others who visit and how the home itself feels. (Ie do you want a "cheerful" home or do you want a "quiet, calm" home?)   Style is more concrete.  (Examples would be "rustic" or "Midcentury."  or even "rustic Midcentury."  Combinations are great because the more specific you can get, the stronger your vision will be.)  Both mood and style are equally important.  Make sure every purchase you make and every decision you make it with style & mood in mind.
Determining your style is SO important (and relates back to point #1). Most times, the sole reason clients contact me (or another interior designer) is because they simply need help with this key point. They don't really know WHAT their style is or how to achieve the look they are wanting. A designer can critically look at your space & items and pin-point your particular style and/or what your space needs in order to achieve the look you are after. These days it seems like most people aren't just "one" style anymore. I agree with Lauren, combination-style rooms are my personal favorite! They always seem the most representative because they are unique and one-of-a-kind. Anyone can put together an entirely "country" room or an entirely "contemporary" room. But it takes a special combination of pieces, patterns, textures, and colors to create a room that is "country-contemporary".  That special combination is what makes a room "un-reproducible" and unique. It gives the space that designer look. The best thing a person can do when approaching the design of their home is to dissect every single component in their space and ask themselves  "does this fit the mood and style of my room?" 

3. Make a list of everything you need to do and buy for your space.  (Each room should have its own list.  Keep the rooms separate so that the process is more manageable.)
I think most women (and some men!) are list-makers by nature! A designer will create this "running list" for you. But in case you are taking on the designing of your home yourself this is such an important step in the design process. Write down every single thing you need in order to achieve the look and feel of your room. I have a running list for our each of the rooms in our own home and let me just say- it feels so gratifying every time I cross off an item from each list! I love it! Creating a list breaks down the many layered components of the room. Designing a home or even a single room can be challenging for most people because their are SO many pieces of the puzzle that need to come together to create the look and feel of the space. Write down every single detail....(ie. new ticking stripe pillows for sofa, framed nature-inspired artwork with custom thick mats, dark graphic patterned rug, polished chrome knobs, clips for curtain rods,ect) The more descriptive and detailed you can be the better so you don't loose focus or forget all the details you want your room to have. 

4. Attack Your "To Do" list.  Go after the items one by one and don't stop until you're done.   Remember to think about style & mood with every decision.  If you find things that aren't on your list but you love them and feel they're "you," go for them, because it's the personal , the quirky and the unexpected that makes a house feel like a home. 
Yes, attacking your to-do list is fun part! Once you've broken down your space into manageable steps, then you get to do all the sourcing/shopping/and savaging! This is my favorite part as a designer, being able to go out and find those perfect items for my clients. Nothing makes me happier than when I find "the perfect item" for a room. A designer looks at each item and knows exactly what to look for. But if you are designing yourself- keep your list close by for reference, but feel the freedom to know that if you see something that isn't on your list but it feels like "your style" to buy it and work it into the room. Like Lauren said, sometimes it's those quirky unexpected items that make a room feel like YOUR home. Don't forget to shop around! You aren't going to find all the components of your room at one particular store (ie. don't walk into pier one, or target and buy everything you see that fits your style) Your room will look flat and end up looking like "said" store you shopped at, rather than uniquely you. Don't be afraid of thrift shops or antique stores...this is where I find most of my favorite pieces! I'd much rather see a client purchase a unique item than a box-store reproduced item that everyone else will have. 

5.  Infuse charm.  A home is about more than just a bunch of well thought out decisions and things... it's about atmosphere, which touches all of our senses.  Make your home smell good, (candles, baking cookies, open windows...)  play music when you can, prepare great food, bring in fresh greens and flowers whenever possible, and make sure that it's comfortable and cozy... lights on dimmers, candles when appropriate and things right where they need to be.  All of these little things that tickle our senses bring us unexpected pleasure and a bit of delight.  Have fun with it and pay attention to how all of these little details affect people's moods and find creative ways to figure our how charming you can truly make your home.

Yes- as always, have FUN with the design process. If designing isn't "fun" for you, hire an interior designer who will make it fun and exciting! Details do matter in design. Details are everything! Don't underestimate the power of your senses, whether its the smell of a new seagrass rug underneath your feet, or the feel of your new velvet throw pillows, or the visual aspect of your favorite artist's painting hanging on the wall-- it's all the little things that come together to create a room that is dynamic and interesting! Infuse your home with charm that touches all your senses!

Monday, March 17, 2014

{stairway landing makeover}

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hope y'all are enjoying your morning. I recently did a little updating to the landing in our basement stairwell, so I thought I'd share it with you guys! The whole project didn't cost me a dime.....I used leftover paint from our dining room and a can of black spray paint that was sitting in the basement to transform this little niche. Never under-estimate the power of paint!

 This landing space doubles as our "coat storage/shoe catch-all/bag drop-off/everything-lands-here-type-space". When the previous owners remodeled the kitchen they used the original coat closet square footage as a built in for a refrigerator (which was really smart!) but unfortunately we now lack any "real" coat closet space! The previous owners installed these hooks in the stairwell landing. Which functionally worked fine, they just screamed "UGLY!" especially paired with the faux wood paneling. I couldn't handle it. So one day I just decided to start painting over the stuff.

Here are the before photos:

Ideally, I would have pulled the paneling off, but I was afraid of what might be behind it...sometimes people hide banged up walls behind paneling. So I figured it'd be easier to just paint over the ugly stuff and deal with it. I primed the walls with little kiltz primer, then layered on some Sherwin Williams, Pearly White paint. It instantly lightened up the space! Since I had all coat hooks removed already- I just gave them a quick coat of matte black spray paint. 

I dug out an old wire shelf from our basement. It's seen it's better days. I would love to get one of those ikea shoe storage things or maybe a small bench, but for now this stand works. I just added some baskets to corral shoes & winter gloves and hats. I also hung our funny cow head here. I think it's just quirky and funny...Mr. Cattlebuyer's office is down in the basement so it's kind of appropriate here at the top of the stairs.
 I love seeing people's reaction when they see it! (For the record, Sally Wheat had a cow head hanging in her if she can have one hanging- I can too!)

And just for good measure...a quick side-by-side.

I must say, I'm SOOO happy with this space now. It really functions so much better than before and it really lightens up what once was a dark, dated eyesore.  


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

{fence dreamin'}

Happy Wednesday! 

As the weather warms up I've got fence plans on the brain. I don't know why this is still in on-going issue for me. When we purchased our house having a "fenced in backyard" was never even something I considered. Not a priority. We have no animals to speak of. I never even considered the fact that fences are nice for things other than toddler-children and privacy. Now that we are mostly settled, I'm realized this fence thing is not leaving me. I need a fence of some degree. 

I need to keep my rover-boy in (he loves running around the entire house) then I have heart palpitations every time I hear a car drive by and he is not in my eyesight (I wish I could keep an eye on him at all times, but unfortunately that is just not possible. There are times I'd turn my head for one second and poof he is gone any momma can understand this feeling I'm sure)....maybe it's just my anxiety or whatever. But I can't take it any longer. It's a priority.

Of course being that our house is of the older 1940's species, most normal fences aren't going to look good. Nothing you can pick up at menards or home depot is going to cut it here. So homemade it is.

Here are some my inspiration, using a lattice style fence and then slowly adding vines. I love that this acts as a visual /physical barrer but yet doesn't block the entire view. Of course the downside is that it would be years before we'd have any real privacy to speak of...the vines would take a while to grow.


I do love the short fences.  Of course a little one could sneak through this easily, but it might deter him to a point.  I'm thinking when we get around to the fence project we will do some combination of full and half fence.

edged driveway

I really LOVE this idea, adding a gate in one or two places would be nice. I like how the bottom is completely private but the top allows a partial view.

Gate with |

This is probably my top contender right now.  It's simple. But pretty. Not too tall, not too short.  I think it would work well with our older home and it doesn't seem too elaborate as to take away from the home.

simple but full of little things that make this a great space - brick pavers, striped scalloped awning, box planters, decorative yet functional fence....

The alternative to a fence would be some sort of privacy type landscaping. I think we will eventually do this as well. Of course this will be years in the making like the vine idea above.

emerald cedar for privacy fence

Okay- do ya'll have a favorite? Do share if ya'll have a better idea. I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, March 7, 2014

{things i like}

Happy Friday Friends! Just rounding up things I like this week. Enjoy! 
I updated/tweaked/organized almost all my header links this week. Fun Stuff! :)

These Southern Living Inspired Communities. Total Genius. Beyond Cute. I want one of these darling houses for myself. Click the link below to find out more information and to see just how cute they are for yourself. 
  • Community Philosophy:
  • To embrace the natural beauty of Southern landscape.
  • To display the best of Southern Living inspired architecture.
  • To create environments that foster gatherings, interactions, and celebrations.
Bluffssouthwood 640x420 a
Since spring is (hopefully) right around the corner I've been thinking a lot about outdoor entertaining areas/landscape/plants/ect.
For our sun porch I'm totally inspired by this image below. I love the tolix chairs and simple table concept.
Then when we win the lottery...that we don't play. I'd love, love, love to expand our cement slab patio. Not sure if this will get done this spring/summer or not....but hopefully we can do something at some point down the road.
boxwood and brick :)
backyard lights.
Then while we're at it.... I'd also love to buy a nice quilted hammock like this one on Amazon. My parents have a hammock at their place and it's always my first stop when we visit in the summertime. I might just ask for one since my birthday is coming up and all.... 
We also started some of our seeds this morning. We had no idea what we are doing....but I'm hopeful we will get some sprouts popping up in 5-7 days. Wish us luck! :)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

{fireplace fillers}

Happy Thursday!

We are enjoying another quiet day inside (darn snow...). Really wishing we could start up a cozy fire today, despite the fact we are on the verge of Spring. We have two fireplaces in our new/old house. One on the main level and one in the basement. The upstairs is hooked up to gas (capped off), and the basement is log. We are still deciding on weather or not we will get set of gas logs to put upstairs or what we will do exactly (I don't think we will ever actually use the basement fireplace...but the upstairs fireplace would be nice to have at some point.) In the meanwhile we have a pretty, yet empty firebox that has been driving me nuts. For the first few months we lived here, it sat empty. I just wasn't sure what to do with it. Then one day I realized I had a large rectangle willow basket that fit pretty much perfectly in the firebox. 

Here is a really close up shot of our fireplace (randomly found this on my camera) but it gives you a general idea.

For now it works...but I'm still open to finding a better solution and/or better basket.

Here are some of my other inspiration ideas for non-working fireplace fillers:

Baskets filled with cut logs for the winter months.

eclectic cottage living room. Obsessing over every detail.
tracery interiors

Another alternative is the fern in the fireplace. Love how this adds a touch of green to the fireplace vignette.

Beneath My Heart Blog

Then there is always the simple romantic look of tiered off-white candles. Always very pretty.

Simple Thoughts/Paige Knudsen Photography Blog

Or you could fill a firebox with an object of some variety:

Wooden Rocking Horse

Dear Lillie Blog

Or a large piece of pottery, or tall ginger jar:

Rooms to Inspire in the Country: The Infinite Possibilities of American House Design by Annie Kelly

Or a collection of stacked books for a more eclectic look:

Or use the firebox as a frame of sorts for a leaning mirror:

Or leaning art:

Art in Fireplace

Or the more rustic stacked wood display: 

In my opinion, all of these out-of-the-box ideas are an great improvement over an empty firebox or boring black metal standing screen. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

{snow day}

Oh guessed it. Just when the snow melts (just yesterday...) it comes back again!
I'm planning on being back tomorrow with some designer-ly inspiration, but as far as today goes....
I'm taking a self-appointed snow day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

{sidelight windows}

One of the main things that sold me on buying our new house was it's vast array of windows. I absolutely love natural light...actually I could go so far as to say, I NEED natural light to survive daily. I've lived in a few homes/apartments throughout my lifetime that have had small and/or very high placed windows and let me just say....I was miserable! It wasn't even a question for me....I knew when we were house shopping I needed a home that had ample windows everywhere, and luckily we found one that fit the bill!

We actually have so many windows in our house now we really only use our overhead lights in the early, early morning or late evenings. The overhead lights just aren't necessary at all during the day.

With that being much as I enjoy natural light, I also need privacy. Nothing gives me the heebie jeebs more than feeling like I live in a fishbowl at night.

I've been thinking a lot about sidelight windows in particular. We have two sets of doors both with sidelight windows. Our sun porch door is already decked out with drapery panels, similar to the setup in this photo:

More hanging curtains by the front door//only if curtains could be hung without obstructing windows when opened

It works great to pull the draperies in the evening. But now I'm thinking about our front foyer door (which has a similar window/door design, except the door is solid wood-no windows) and what I'd like to do seems draperies might be the best way to go. I love how these causal burlap looking draperies filter the light, but don't block it completely. Linen draperies would also be fabulous for filtering light.

Love the drapes at the entry!  We have all glass across the front that doesn't lend itself for night time privacy!  What an elegant solution!!!!  Open in day = closed at Night!!!!!

The same window/door treatment would work wonderful if you have a glass front door. I really prefer the look of a metal rod taken the entire length of the foyer if possible.

love the combination of metal and reclaimed wood. Fabulous Rug! (brilliant idea of curtains for privacy if you have a glass front door)

My alternative solution would be to do something similar to the photo below. Using just a short rod + ring with a sheer panel just on the lower portion (3 out of the 5 side windows). I like that this option allows in plenty of sunlight...but still gives you some privacy. However, if one is over 6' you would still easily be able to see in which is a bit of a privacy concern...

Beautiful Entryway/Foyer, wood and white, love the cafe curtains on the front doors...

I'm thinking I'll just sit on these two ideas for a while before I pull the trigger.
Do you have a preference between the two?

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