Dining Room Makeover

Dining RoomToday’s post comes to you in the form of a bedtime story. Or a cautionary tale. You pick. On another note, this project took way longer than I anticipated, as do most “quick” house projects in my life; but there’s a whole lotta love in it. And a big thank you to my friends at Lamps Plus for giving me the chandelier* which started the domino effect. Now on to our story:

ChandelierIf you give a girl a chandelier,

Dining Roomshe’s going to need a new table to go with it. She’ll shop and shop and finally find THE ONE.

Dining RoomWhen the table arrives, she’ll realize it clashes with her old hutch. She loves the hutch and can’t bear to part with it. So she’ll paint it. 

Milk GlassShe’ll agonize over paint color, and choose gray because it’s perfect for displaying her milk glass collection. After all the hours of painting, she’ll want to sit down…

Dining Room…but she doesn’t have any chairs. So she’ll paint eight of them. When the chairs are done, she’ll sit down to try them out. She’ll see the paint on her hands and it will remind her of this great painting she saw:

Dining RoomThe painting will look great with her colorful chairs. So she orders it right away. 

Plate WallAfter she hangs the painting, she’ll stand back to admire it. She’ll notice a blank spot on the other side of the doorway. So she’ll start hanging plates. She’ll rearrange them over and over until they’re just right. 

Bar CartAll that rearranging will make her thirsty. She’ll set up a bar cart so she can get a drink. When she’s finished her drink; she’ll take the glass back into the kitchen.

Dining RoomWhen she walks into the kitchen, she’ll notice it’s not as bright and cheerful as the dining room. 

Jonathan Adler Rio

 

So she’ll stop what she’s doing and order a new light for the kitchen

***

Now that the bedtime story is over; let’s indulge in a little before and after, shall we? 

Dining Room BeforeBefore. This is from the real estate listing…but get a load of that heavy iron chandelier and those dark window shutters. And after:

Dining RoomSince I spent over 100 hours painting for this project (yes, I realize I’m a complete lunatic). Humor me by looking at a few more pictures:

Dining Room 5 Dining Room Detail Bar Cart Plate Wall2 Light

This room isn’t exactly like I’d mapped out originally; but that’s why I love it so much. Every time I start a room project, it takes on a life of its own. I’m giving myself a gold star for bravery since I only panicked once during the process. (When I thought I’d ruined the hutch). Now let’s give a big round of applause to Lamps Plus for having such great products; and for being so patient with my horrific turnaround time on this project. And another standing ovation to my husband who never complained about the chaos of my process; and who took the kids out to play while I painted and painted and painted. 

Now that this room is finished, let’s have a dinner party before I start another project! 

*Disclosure: Lamps Plus gave me the chandelier for this project. They are really really great to work with. I’m so thankful for wonderful companies who support my work. 

 

Colorful Farmhouse Kitchen

Shortly after Bryce and I got engaged, he moved  back to California for a while. Despite the long-distance planning, our wedding came off without a hitch. Until we opened gifts. With every box we opened I got more and more confused. There was an abundance of rooster decor: pot holders, dish towels and even a ceramic rooster cookie jar. Then we got to the bedding…a full Americana bedding ensemble, complete with Old Glory-inspired quilt and shams. Did the people from his hometown have horrible taste? Were roosters and patriotic bedrooms a hot trend in Northern California? I finally asked what was going on. He explained that he thought that’s what I liked, so he put them on our registry! (Also possible:  he picked them out specifically to mess with me.) I wouldn’t put that past him. 

Hutch DetailWhile it’s true, I am a small town girl; and that small town IS located in an agricultural region, I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a “country girl.” (Unless you count that one time I got thrown into a pig-tying contest…but that’s a story for another day.) More than a decade after the wedding gift situation I still couldn’t figure out why every time I turned around my style was called “country.” I typically associate the style term country with the 80’s geese and cornflower blue heart wallpaper. Or rooster cookie jars and Americana bedding. While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with roosters and patriotic textiles, they just don’t speak to my heart.

Milk Paint DetailSo what IS country, anyway? My friends at Joss & Main invited me to be a style curator (EEK!!!) for their Country Kitchen Ideas; which prompted a lot of thought on the subject: What IS my style? I’ve never really needed to name my style. I just do what feels right. And it turns out that my style is actually country after all. Who knew!?! For my research, I turned back to one REAL country kitchen I’m familiar with: my grandparents’ farmhouse. They had a farm in Idaho; and it was one of my favorite places to visit as a kid. I haven’t been back there for years, but the memories are still as fresh as the raspberries picked from the yard. So as I tour that farmhouse in my mind, this time as an adult, here are the elements of country style that stand out: 

  • Practicality. Everything serves a purpose; and nothing is too precious to be used. My dad still talks about his first meal with his future in-laws: my grandma used Depression glass as her everyday serving pieces.  
  • Mismatched prints. Florals, plaids, stripes, calico prints; a mix of prints lends a cozy, casual feel that’s the cornerstone of the style.
  • Colorful dishes: My grandma had these turquoise blue melamine berry bowls. We’d eat fresh raspberries and milk out of the blue bowls as dessert with every meal. I looked forward to breakfast every morning, because of the juice glasses with cute fruit prints on them. 
  • Painted wood furniture: My grandma had this table and chairs that she gave a fresh coat of white paint every year or two to keep it looking nice.
  • Durable materials: Metal, stoneware and weathered woods are unfussy and practical foundations of the style.
  • Cozy Ambiance: When there’s a chill in the air, there’s a crackling fire in the fireplace; the smell of apple crisp fills the air; and there are plenty of handmade quilts and blankets for cuddling up with a good book. 

Dining Room DetailEven now that I’ve realized country is my style; the word “country” still evokes the 80’s geese. I just can’t shake those geese. So I’m going to call this “Colorful Farmhouse” style instead.  When I decorate, I want my spaces to feel comfortable and casual. Not too stuffy or precious to be touched and used. I have always gravitated toward color and painted woods. And if you look at the pictures from my hutch makeover, almost every one of my criteria for “Colorful Farmhouse” is shown. And P.S. my dining room makeover is finally done. I’m sharing the whole room tour later on in the week! 

Now that I’ve come to terms with my own colorful country style, here’s a shopping guide to help you get the Colorful Farmhouse look:

  1. Colorful Farmhouse-01Floral napkins: Our neighbors in Wyoming used cloth napkins for every meal; and I loved it so much. It makes every meal feel like a special event. 
  2. Painted chairs: I’m a huge fan of mismatched colorful painted chairs. They wipe down easily; and you can always paint over them if they get damaged or you’re in the mood for a change. 
  3. Hobnail goblets: Again with the making every meal seem special. Both of my grandmothers were good at this; and it’s such a memorable part of our meals together.
  4. Colorful bowls: Like I need an excuse to buy more latte bowls. But they fit the bill perfectly. 
  5. Floral teapot: Cozy, inviting, and floral. Perfect.
  6. Farmhouse table: The more guests the merrier. Make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone.
  7. Apron: Cute and practical. Grandma would approve.
  8. Pendant light: Rustic and practical; this barn light is the perfect addition to any farmhouse kitchen.
  9. Table cloth: Table linens up the cozy factor; and add another layer of color to the kitchen.
  10. Stoneware Vase: No country kitchen is complete without a rustic vase (or plain white pitcher) with a bouquet of wildflowers. Or a bouquet from Trader Joe’s. Almost the same thing. Right?!?

So there you have it. Colorful Farmhouse. It’s a thing. If you’re not sick of me yet, hop over to Joss & Main to see some of my other Country Kitchen must-haves.

 

Back to YOU!

This summer vacation was my favorite to date. We didn’t even take any big trips…just lots of swimming, lots of cousins, and lots of time spent with friends. It’s the kind of nostalgic summer vacation I always dreamed of for my kids: art projects, parades, water balloons; evening bike rides, popsicles.  I spent most of my summer prepping for my first big craft show (which was so much fun!) Then shortly after, I designed and set up a booth for my husband at the community health fair…so I’ve neglected both the housework and myself amid all the fun and the chaos. Even though I’ll miss my little buddies next week, I’m craving some organization and quiet.

I’ve partnered with my pals at Wayfair* to help get Back to ME when the kids go back to school. I know as parents we rarely (if ever) put ourselves first; and the beginning of a new school year is a great time to treat ourselves to something we want or need. What I need is a little quiet. As much as I love reading Harry Potter with my 4th grader; occasionally I need some quiet time to myself. This little reading nook I designed for my bedroom should fit the bill perfectly: Back to You-01I usually gravitate toward lots of color and pattern in my interior spaces; but after the chaos of summer, I need something more muted. I stuck with white, grays and black with just a bit of metallic to create my “ME” space. I imagine curling up here with a cozy blanket and a good book as the weather turns cooler. Maybe I won’t cry so hard at kindergarten drop-off next week knowing I can read a good book, and eat a treat all by myself. 

There were so many other things I wanted to include in my reading nook, so take a look at my Idea Board to see some of my other favorites. And here’s a source list if you need any of these pieces in your life as badly as I do: 

  1. Union End Table, by Sunpan Modern
  2. Hathaway Armchair, by VOLO
  3. Alvira Table Lamp, by Three Posts
  4. Worn Stripe Pillow, by ferm LIVING
  5. Superheroes Print, by Kal Barteski
  6. Geometric Pillow, by e by design
  7. Sarjaton Metsa Mug, by iittala
  8. Iron Wire Basket, by ferm LIVING
  9. Menagerie Elephant Figurine by Jonathan Adler

So how are you going to treat yourself once the kiddos go back to school? 

*This post is sponsored by Wayfair. I chose all the products; and all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work. 

 

Patio Dreams

Summer’s almost here, and the warmer weather has me dreaming of evenings spent in the backyard. Lazy Sunday afternoon barbecues, with the cousins running amok in the yard. Saturday morning brunch on the patio. The patio is on our project list for this year; and I really can’t wait to get started. My friends at Wayfair hired me* to put together a style board with my dream patio. Pretty great that they’re paying me to tackle my own to-do list, right? Thanks for the motivation, guys! Here’s what I have in mind: 

Patio Dreams

Some of these things have been on my patio wish list for as long as I can remember: A hammock, cafe lights, fire pit, and bright colors. Here’s a little shopping guide for you: 

  • Edison outdoor string lights: Set the tone for evening parties with a little vintage-inspired lighting.
  • Striped Hammock: Cheerful and relaxing at the same time. The perfect combo.
  • White Planter: Simple planters let the flowers take center stage. The texture makes it interesting, without being overbearing.
  • Triangle Pillow: Make the patio comfy with some great outdoor pillows. More likely: my kids will see who can throw them onto the roof first. But still, outdoor pillows are must.
  • Drink Tub: Keeping drinks cold and at arms reach is an entertaining essential.
  • Mint ombre pillow: Again with the pillows. This one would look great on that hammock. Or on the roof. 😉
  • Melamine Dishes: Perfect for outdoor dining; and adds a pop of color to the table.
  • Grill: Looks like a built-in without the construction mess. 
  • Plants: Ccolorful, and drought-tolerant. My black-thumb’s dream come true.
  • Bird Houses: Reminds me of a weekend we spent at a charming coastal cottage, where the garden was filled with birdhouses and personality.
  • Giraffe Pillow: That’s it. I’m doing pillows for the patio this year. Final answer. 
  • Indoor/Outdoor rug: Beautiful and indestructible. I have several of these; and the color stays vibrant while it holds up to dirt and traffic.
  • Fire pit: A simple shape and crackling fire is the perfect backdrop for many summer memories. And a few toasted marshmallows.
  • Seating: Clean lines and crisp colors lend easy sophistication to this seating set. 

I’m actually meeting with a landscaper tomorrow to see how many of my dreams we can make into realities. It’ll be fun to see how far we get this year. I’m also wishing for some garden beds built into our hillside and a clubhouse for the kids. Maybe I’m shooting the moon here, but a girl can dream, right? In my search for the perfect patio, I stumbled across a couple other things I love, that I just couldn’t squeeze onto the style board: 

Pillow

Again with the pillows. But there are so many fun options; and this is a fun nod to our California years. 

Glider

My grandparents used to have one of these gliders in their yard; and I have so many fond memories of it. I’d love to have one in my own yard someday. Also, have you seen Wayfair’s Idea Boards yet? It’s a great way to organize all your favorites; you can see what else is on my patio dreams idea board here

I’m so excited to get cracking on my patio plan. Hopefully the rain will stop long enough I can get some yard work done this weekend. Have a great day!

*This post is sponsored by Wayfair. I chose all the products; and all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support my work.