Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I got really wordy with ya'll a while ago and told you about my hunt for just the right leather sofas for our living room. Well, our leather sofas took a back seat (puns are awesome) for a bit, while we worked on several other things. I was planning on West Elm's Henry version, but I like to make it a competition and try to beat myself on pricing so I was still keeping my eyes out for a more affordable option.

We had decided somewhere along the way to go with two sofas, as opposed to a sectional. We liked the freedom of placement that two separate pieces gave us, and we think we'll be able to use them better in a future home.

Then two weeks ago, a catalogue arrived. Nothing new there. That's a daily occurrence. Jon told me he has decided not to toss them out anymore because they make me so happy. And that they do, but I also think that they are really great for comparison shopping.  This one was from Birch Lane. I had heard the name and thought they were a reputable brand,  but hadn't shopped them previously.

Well, low and behold, while flipping through their pages. I spotted something...
Hmm….the Fletcher...not a bad option.

And the price...$1999.00. Its smaller love seat friend was also available at a friendly $1,899.00.

Hmm...not too hard to swallow.

Oh, what's this? 20% off your first purchase
You know they were talking my language now, so just try to imagine what happened next. 

YOU GUESSED IT! I went online, plugged in my code only to find that they don't charge tax (I've yet to grasp online tax policies) and that shipping was totally reasonable at less than 200 bones.

So...what I'm trying to say is....they are on their way. Wait, let me say it again....WE HAVE SOFA'S ON THE WAY TO OUR HOUSE! OUR LIVING ROOM WILL NO LONGER BE ONLY 25% FURNISHED (more like 75% now)!

Truth be told, these aren't the leather sofas of my dreams, but because the leather sofas of my dreams cost double this (and then some) they are turning into the sofas of my dreams pretty quickly. A good price can do that to you, can't it?

I can't wait for the extra seating, dog hair-less cushions, and "I don't care what my child spilled because I'll wipe it up,  leather". I'll share them with you when they arrive, as well as my plan for that half of our living room. 

With bated breath, Meg.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Guilt Free Curtains

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that window treatment installations were next up on my list. After much whining on my part, Jon hung them for me this week.

Our main living floor is light filled most hours of the day,  thanks to lots of windows in our living room, dining room, and kitchen. They also provide tree top views of our forested yard, which are a favorite feature of mine for this house.  I have a tentative plan for all of the windows, which I'm hopeful will unify them and keep them cohesive. Phase one of our window treatment installation, was tackling these babies. 
Culprit #1.
At 22" wide, she's petite,
but I love her for being there.
Culprit #2. 
She sits next to our tv, 
which will soon sit inside some awesome built ins. 
But I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself there.
Now, lets rewind. Over a year ago, before we even purchased this house, I was dead set on the curtains that I wanted for my future home. I was absolutely, positively in love with them.
Stunning right? Okay, to me they were. They were the Concorde Medallion Panel, and I stalked them online regularly. I looked up every image I could find of them.
While I debated between Indigo or Taupe, I finally decided that I'd go with Taupe.
 I wasn't ready to commit to the dramatics of the Indigo (chicken, I know).
My biggest hesitation had always been the price, but after they went on sale and I had justified it over and over in my head, I ordered them. All five panels that I needed. I think that totaled about $375.00. I know, I know, but I LOVED them!  And nice quality curtains are expensive! And even if I bought material myself it would be so expensive by the yard (and I would surely do a terrible job sewing them)! And I would never, I mean ever, love another curtain like I loved this one! See, I was good at rationalizing it.

And then they arrived.

And I didn't love them.
They were just as the reviews had all said (which I tried wholeheartedly to ignore), the background color of them was too dark. My iphone photo above doesn't even due it justice, but held up to our windows, it was too much beige on beige. I also felt that the print created too much contrast in our small house. I needed things to remain open and airy, and didn't want to be chopping up the space too much. So, with a broken heart, I shipped them back. It took me weeks to recover (this was over three months ago, mind you).

I had read about and seen lots of images of Ikea curtains put to use. And yes, they were super affordable.  Blah, blah, blah. And yes, they came in extra long lengths that you could customize. Blah, blah, blah.  So yes, they were probably the right choice for us as well. I became fixated on simple linen curtains, hung on dark hardware and I found inspiring images everywhere.
Source Unkown

So I decided to go with it. I purchased three packets of the Ikea Lenda curtain, to take care of 2.5 of our main living floor windows. Jon, much to his despise, installed the rods and some bamboo roman blinds, along with our totally affordable and guilt free curtains (totaling $60.00 for three packages) and I'm regretting that we didn't do this sooner.

Again, before:
And, after:

We hung the roman blinds and curtain rods high and wide, to help give the illusion of taller and larger windows (and to also help cover up some of the too-orangey wood pine trim on our windows). It feels like our main living floor finally rose up, and got dressed.  The added texture, the softness it brings to the white walls, the layering,  and the height it brings to the room. It's everything I was hoping for. And a tad bit more. Not gonna lie, sometimes I just sit there and stare at them.

I can't wait to pick up a plant and planter to sit in this corner of the room, and I'm tossing about some ideas for some artwork for between these two windows. And it's really about time that I stop bugging Jon, so that he can devote any spare minutes he has to installing baseboards. But, those aren't the only windows that got the royal treatment,  you're just going to have to wait to see that in another reveal which is scheduled for later this week.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dining Room Lighting

I've been quiet this past week. My day job is keeping me busy and we've spread ourselves thin with trying to tackle lots of projects at once. There is a big free neighborhood dumpster clean up day quickly approaching so we're doing some spring cleaning while also trying to get our yard back in gear for the warmer months. Yeah, and we're installing baseboards. But a couple of weeks ago, we did some upgrading, and I haven't shared it with you yet.

After checking off our list the replacement of our ceiling fan, updating our dining chandelier was high up on my list. When we purchased the home almost a year ago, I knew we would change out the dining fixture, so I started keeping my eyes open for possible options.

At first, I was set on the Eldridge Pendant from Ballard Designs. It was a popular choice, and I found many shots of it used in homes.
I really gravitated towards it, however I wasn't sure if it was compatible with our sloped ceiling. After a call into their customer service department, and a look over the installation documents they emailed over to me, I realized it wouldn't work with our ceiling. Flat ceilings only. I was bummed, but I'm learning day by day, that another great option will always present itself. There's no crying in interior design.

Then, I became really obsessed with the idea of lanterns over our table. I loved them every time I spotted an inspiration image of them.
I especially loved them when I saw them sprayed in a color.
Milk and Honey Home

I knew I would need two for over our long expanse of dining table,
and I found this awesome option over at Wayfair, for only $113.00 a pop.
So my obsession and pondering continued.
But I wavered and then began considering the Ballard Designs single Eldridge pendant,
as opposed to the larger option shown above.
Anisa Darnell, of Milk and Honey Home used one in her home.
When I came across this picture
 it stopped me in my tracks.
Caitlin Creer Interiors
The warm wood flooring throughout and the white walls paired with dark hardware
was the direction I was headed in, and this image really sealed the deal for me.

So while on sale, I purchased two of the pendants in the medium size and shortly thereafter they arrived at our house.
I shared a peek of them on instagram.
One of the main reasons that I went with them, is that the glass doesn't take up a lot of visual space (ie. they would keep our small home feeling open and airy). However, when you're purchasing everything online, it can be hard to nail it on the scale of pieces. Even after measuring them out prior, when I opened up the boxes, I thought they might be a bit big for our dining space.

But it was no turning back at this point (I have real problems with the idea of paying for return shipping), so up they were going. A couple of weeks ago, Jon took a day to do the electrical work (at this point, I'm pretty much convinced he can tackle any kind of project) and get them hung just so. Here's a teaser he sent over to me while I was at work.
With the lights hung, we were eager to have our dining table back in our dining room. Go figure. It had been about two months since we were actually able to sit down to a meal in our home, and it was a luxury we were missing. A friend saved us, and came by to give us a hand with our way too heavy table. 
In case you forgot, here's how our dining room 
was looking in the real estate listing last year.

I recently found a few pictures of my phone of when we toured the house prior to buying.
This was the dining room I captured then.
Here's how life looked, just after move in
(do not even ask me how many times I bumped
my head on that chandelier).
And this remained our reality for several months.
If you popped over for dinner tonight, this is what you might find
(perfectly styled with the high chair, heh?).

We hung the lights high, to help keep the room open and lift your eyes. However, when all was said and done, Jon and I agreed that they should have been about 4"-5" lower.  

Now, if you're thinking the room is looking a little bare, I'd agree. There are about seven more things that need to happen in here to get it truly feeling homey, but it's a start. I'm all for starts. A couple of of those things should be taking place prettttyyy immediately, so stay tuned people. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Put a Rug On It

*** I know I mentioned that we'd be installing some window treatments this past weekend but life happened. We took a day off to play. Jon's been working a bit extra. And then there was Easter to prepare for and lots of yard work to do. But I'll have that little reveal to show you soon. Promise.

I wish someone had told me when we decided to install hardwood floors, that I should set aside about 2k for purchasing area rugs immediately thereafter. Hardwood floors are kind of hard ya'll. And rugs are kind of expensive, ya'll.

I've been playing with a moodboard of area rugs for a few months now, trying to get my combination just so. I need several, to be rolled out in our dining room, kitchen, entry, and two for the living room. While I love a big statement rug, I definitely gravitate towards more neutral rugs (shocking, I know) for the long haul for our home. I don't want a pattern that I will tire of or is trendy. I want a collection of rugs in our home that will compliment one another and flow well. Rugs that will provide lots of texture and bring dimension.

I think after much editing, online browsing, and comparison shopping, I've come up with a plan I like (all is subject to change, mind you):
1) Along our plank wall:
This is the area rug that we've already purchased and set in place along our plank wall. Nailed it on the price and the look, if I do say so myself.
2) Kitchen:
With the beating that a kitchen floor takes and wanting to keep our floors pristine for as long as possible, we wanted a spacious indoor/outdoor option to cover lots of square footage near our sink area. I've loved Dash & Albert rugs for years, and I was so happy to finally bring this diamond patterned one home. I debated going with something with more color, but just. couldn't. do. it. It's working out super well, and I'm already feeling better about the protection that our kitchen floor is getting.

3) Dining room:
This is another beauty from Dash & Albert, and it's also an indoor/outdoor rug. I've read that they are the best in especially messy (read: kids) dining areas. I love this pattern and I haven't tired of it over the several months that I've been spying it (which is important to me). Really hope to purchase this baby sooner rather than later.

4) Entry:
Initially I was set on a vintage kilim rug in our entry, however I'm now leaning towards this indoor/outdoor Ballard Designs choice now. I only need a small 2' x 3' so its super affordable and can be swapped out easily.  After we finish our baseboards and get our new front door installed, I'm pretty sure I'm pulling the trigger on this bad boy.

5) Main Living Room:
This is the wild card. I need a large 9' x 12' option to go in our main seating area of the living room. I want something soft (that rules out natural fibers), something with some cushion (a flatweave probably wouldn't provide enough padded protection for the kiddos), and something affordable (duh). Currently, this diamond print wool blend rug is a front runner, and I think I can nab it for less then $500.00 which isn't bad considering its large size. But who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with something else.

Speaking of our main living room space, we may, may be getting our leather sofas sooner than I was expecting. But you'll have to stop back by in to hear more about that...

What do you think? Too neutral? Too much repetitive diamond/herringbone print?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The One That Got Away

We've been in our home for nearly a year (!!!!). I have some fun posts in the works looking back at where our home has been, and forward on where we hope it's going, but before I get to that...

In the two years that we spent shopping for a house, we estimate that we looked at 50-75 homes before we actually pulled the trigger on our fixer. Most of the homes we looked at were in our neighborhood, and I pass them regularly. They always bring back memories. But, there is one house in particular that pains me to think about (the pictures below actually make me cringe slightly). It's definitely the one that got away.

We never actually toured the house, as at the time it was over our budget. But we did do a couple of drive-bys.  This house closed almost exactly one year before we bought ours, and it actually wasn't the ideal time for us to be buying a home (Jon was looking for a position with a local fire department, and it would have made it impossible for us to live off of one income while he was in paramedic school), but I was still watching what was coming on the market at that time.

The history on the home is complicated, with it being listed and sold several times since about 2002. When it re-listed in 2012, it had been in the midst of a remodel and I think it was an inside sale. It was listed only briefly and rumor has it, the contractor working on the home purchased it from the sellers.

So yeah, it wasn't a real possibility for us at the time, but that doesn't mean I can get it out of my head.
It's in a different neighborhood, which wasn't our first choice as far as location, but
it sits on a quiet street, with lots of space between neighboring homes.
It is several hundred square feet larger than ours
(and by Tahoe standards huge for the price, at about 2300 sq ft)
and is on a flat, almost full acre lot.
Can you imagine Summers in that backyard!
It has an open floorplan,
but isn't quite as overwhelmingly open as our current home.
Picture a giant grey island with new pendant lights
adjacent  to a large area rug, dining pendant and big farm table.
Oh, and I'd definitely swap out those sliders for
some single pane French doors. Just for starters.
She already had hardwoods throughout, they just needed a good refinishing.
And GET this, it featured a white kitchen! A white kitchen in Tahoe! This is unheard of.
AND shaker style door fronts. OMG.
Man, I would have loved to style that kitchen out
with a vintage kilm rug, a new backsplash, a roman shade and some hardware.
 The bedrooms were perfect empty slates for some personality.
And it looks as though the door and trim work throughout were on the higher end
(however, the pictures could certainly be deceiving).
The most painful part, is the buyer got a SCREAMING deal on the place. It closed for substantially less then what we paid, and I think there is amazing value in that flat lot. It was in need of a rear deck, and the master bathroom wasn't completed, but COME on. Someone hit the real estate jackpot with this baby, and it wasn't us.
Is there a home that you didn't nab up when you should have? Do you still think about it?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Shop This Look

I mentioned that Jon and I are so happy with how our most recent update turned out. It came together pretty close to how I had envisioned it, which is not always an easy feat to achieve. Surely, after my kids start using the chairs as a jungle gym and Blue inevitably finds his way onto them, it won't continue to look quite so photo worthy, but for the time being we're treating our new area with kid gloves. Truly though, one of my most favorite things about the space is that none of it is precious. I pieced everything together from affordable retailers, and while there were certainly costs involved, I think I got everything at really fair prices. If you want to achieve something similar, it is so possible, and I put together a cheat sheet to help you do so.

We haven't had everything for long enough to really see how they will wear in time, but here are my reviews based on first impressions:

Chairs: Only the test of time will tell how these babies stand up to the beating our family will surely give them, but as for looks, stability, and comfort I'm completely happy with them. The fact that they are slipcovered leaves me breathing easy when Nolan plops himself down on them. We purchased the chair-and-a-halfs, coming in at a whopping 54" wide, but if your space is smaller, try them out in the traditional size of 42" wide. And remember you never have to pay full price on them. Expect to get them at 40-50% off their full retail if you wait for a sale.

Area Rug: If you're in the market for a natural fiber area rug, but want something soft under foot and easy on the pocketbook, then I highly recommend this RUGS USA version.  I may be singing a different tune in a year after seeing how it wears, but at $200.00 if something gets spilled, it's not a shot to the ego to replace it.  I would even recommend it for a kids room.

Side Table: I'm so happy with the look of this wicker table, and the price tag of $59.00 makes me like the look even more. But, it is an Ikea piece of furniture and it was collapsed (it took me forever to find it in the store, because I wasn't expecting it to be on a shelf folded up!) and needed minor assembly after purchase. Nolan has been running some serious quality control tests on this thing, and I cringe slightly each time he climbs inside it, but then I remember that it was less then sixty dollars. I can zip tie and duct tape that thing back together if needed and I won't give it a second thought. It's a bit wobbly, but it will work for us and was sixty dollars well spent.

Wall Sconces: These babies are currently on sale for only $80.00 ,which is a great price if you're in the market for something with this look. Jon questions their sturdiness a bit, but as long as you don't plan on doing pull ups from them and adjusting their positioning all of the time, I think they're great. And did I mention that they are only $80.00?

Galvanized Tray: I knew that the uneven texture of the wicker table would drive me bananas and I loved the look of the galvanized tray up top, so when Jon gave me the go ahead to just pull the trigger and buy one, I ordered one from OneKingsLane. I had spied it a couple of months ago and hadn't forgotten about it. It was $35.00 and available with free shipping (and arrived within only a few days), but the crazy part is….it was made for this wicker basket! They have the exact same dimensions. So there is plenty of space to rest a beverage without concern for it tipping over. You can get a smaller and more affordable version at Target for just $20.00.

Threshold Frames: Oh, divine affordable frames. How I love thee. I was able to take advantage of sales  and nab ours for about $13.00 each. I love their contrast to the white wall and the character of the walnut wood. I have them in several rooms in our house, and they continue to be a favorite piece of mine. I have to resist the urge to use them everywhere!

Pillows: I picked up the yellow striped pottery barn pillows at our local thrift store in amazing condition for $10 bucks each (including down fill inserts), but there are countless sources for affordable pillows, and I thought these target versions were a comparable option.

West Elm Throw: I found so many sources for throws that I loved, but most of them came with big price tags. These striped versions were on clearance for $10.00 each at West Elm, and I had a store credit, so I brought them home for free. Nolan gravitates towards blankets so whenever I find him rolled up in one on the floor, I don't give it a second because they can be replaced no-prob.

Happy Decorating Peeps.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Behemoth Wall: A Progress Report

I am so happy to finally be writing this post. You'll see why in just one moment (don't you go scrolling down on me now). You might remember that way back when, I began talking to you about our big ole' behemoth wall that flanks one side of our living room.
It looked like this on our final walk through before receiving our keys.
And, very sadly, it looked like this for several months while we settled in.

Yes, we lived like that.
I revealed my thoughts and ideas for it here,
and shared my original design plan for the space.
It took us about five weeks, but we finally got that wall planked,
and hung up some frames and new wall sconces.
I never shared a full update after that,  but we did change out the switch plates and put some photos in our beloved frames. The next time you really saw it was a glimpse I shared of how the wall was looking  just after we finished the floors (sans frames, as they had yet to been rehung).
But now I have some more fun to show you. Are you on the edge of your seat yet? I finally ordered two large chairs to fill the void of this 17' wall, but they were on back order and set to be delivered in early June. I was hopeful that the delivery schedule would get bumped up, and amazingly it did. I got a call while sitting in the hotel room, displaced from our house during the flooring install, that our new delivery date was April 2nd (I think that bit of good news helped us to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel). April 2nd was also about two weeks after we finished our install, which was our most preferred time to be setting furniture out (so that the sealer was fully hardened). When does timing like this with a home reno project actually work out? Sometime around then, I also purchased this rug at an absolute steal of a price (it was 50% off at the time), as well as picked up the side table I had mentioned, AND purchased a couple of throw blankets on clearance with a store credit that I had. I was going crazy with the idea of actually being able to install this area of our house…and actually have a nearly completed space.

Well, guess what? The chairs were delivered on Wednesday, and I've been smiling from ear to ear ever since.

This is now the view just to the left of our front door 
and kitchen area, taken from the same spot as the first
image in this post.

This space isn't done yet.  I'm not sure if they ever are.  I shopped the house quickly and styled it with some pillows that I had on hand, books, and a plant from our bedroom, so that will all be evolving a bit. Shopping for just the right floor poufs has literally turned into a full time job for me. And, I've got plans for that half window (as well as the window to it's right). We should have everything on hand that we need to install the window treatments this weekend, and I'm predicting another big transformation in the space when those go up.

The best part of this all, is that Jon and I are equally smitten. It captures how we wanted our home to feel. It has given us hope that we really can turn this place into a home that we love and it's keeping us motivated to push onward to the next thing on our list. 

If you aren't quite tired of hearing me babble on about this space yet, come back later this week where I'll break down all of the details and  tell you how you can very easily (and fairly affordably I might add) put together a similar look in your house. I also wanted to thank my photog assistant, who really helped me put this all together this past weekend.
Thanks Buzz.