Friday, June 17, 2016

deck plans

Hi, Friends! Summer is finally upon us! To say that I'm excited to start outdoor entertaining (something that I have NEVER had the pleasure of doing in my whole 29 years of life) is an understatement! Since we bought our place a little over a year ago, I've been itching to get furniture on our deck. We knew that we wanted something a little different from your typical table and set of chairs, so we took our time, saved our coins, waited for a few spring sales, and went for something a bit more unique.

Brandon and I decided that we ultimately wanted a space where we could lounge and relax versus sit up straight and eat proper meals. So the idea of a sectional turned out to be perfect for us, and our style of entertaining. But we definitely didn't want to go with your run-of the-mill sectional. We chose a round one... 'cause we're cool like that. Plus, it's totally modular! Here's my hubby graciously putting it all together with an Allen wrench!

Of course I couldn't stop there! What's a sectional without coordinated textiles and accessories? So naturally I started scheming (or creating a scheme board, but I think scheming sounds like I have more of a sense of humor, so we'll just go with that). Below are just some ideas that I threw together. 

Anyone who knows me, or has simply looked around my blog knows that I'm no stranger to color, so when thinking about possible color combinations, I decided to narrow it down to two color schemes - cool and warm.

Just in case you're curious...
Sectional (bought during the super spring outdoor sale) / Chairs (bought separately in-store) /  Bench / Outdoor pillows: here and here / Wheel (similar) / String lighting / Wall Planter / Outdoor rugs: A / B (similar) / C

I knew which color scheme I was feelin', but I still let my hubby weigh in because I really do value his opinion. Brandon chose C., which was obviously my choice, but it feels good to know that we're on the same page!

Part of the sectional gets full sunlight most of the day, and the other gets full shade, so this is something we'll have to address if we want to use it the entire sectional during the hottest part of  the day. There are umbrellas large enough to cover the entire sectional, but because of the deck width, the behemoth of an umbrella base would have to sit in front of the sectional (or the sectional would have to move forward at least three feet to accommodate it from behind). I'm still contemplating my options, but for now it's okay. Thankfully we chose neutral sectional cushions, so possible fading shouldn't be that noticeable. We also like to keep it covered when it's not in use with this, and a little bit of twine tied to the decking and legs of the end tables.  

By the way, the description for the Rio mat says that the color is red, but it's actually a deep, burnt orange, which I love. The next step was to proceed with textiles. I took a chance and ordered about $60 worth to try them out. 

Turns out, I loved all of them. I don't know where there'll be room for butts, but hey, those pillows sure are adorable. :)

We also picked up come patio chairs to replace the sad folding chairs that we had previously. The end table is a remnant from the balcony in our old apartment.

As you can see, I haven't gotten around to styling it yet, but I think it's quite charming so far. I still want to figure out how to hang string lights, and address the bare wall against the house. We've toyed around with a few different ideas - a huge clock, wheel, or star, a few wall planters, or even an outdoor television (you can probably guess who came up with that last one).

Oh, and here's my tiny balcony umbrella the day before (and a few daisies that were obviously on their last leg). It doesn't provide nearly enough shade, but for now, it's what we have to work with.

Next we'll be tackling the other side of the deck. I would love to create an herb garden on the privacy wall, and of course we have to get a grill! I can taste the grilled hot dogs right now! I can't wait to see how the rest unfolds! We're taking it slow, but that's cool, right?

So how are enjoying your outdoor digs? Bought anything new? Is your outdoor entertaining in full swing? Have a drink alfresco for me! :)

*This post was not sponsored in any way. I just love Target and World Market. (Can you blame me?) And their reasonable prices align with our first-time-home-buyer budget. :) 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

entry nook

Hey there! Ever have a little nook in your space that you just had no idea what to do with? Well, that was me a little while ago. Thankfully, I just stopped playing around decided to go with my gut (as well as with things that I already owned). This little nook is in our entry and makes me smile... mostly because my "Salty Tolerance" print is like best thing ever.

If you get a little closer, you can see Brandon's little Vault Boy, which I so kindly placed in a cloche from TJ Maxx. The pair of baskets are a Goodwill find, as well as the green hand which I'm pretty sure is one half of a salad server set. We use it to hold our fur baby's waste bags (which sport a zebra print, but that's neither here nor there). 

Truth be told, most of the drawers in the Sprutt cabinet are empty, but the first few are filled with Chips' fabulous wardrobe. Sweaters on the left, dresses and t-shirts on the right. As you can probably gather, pink is her color. Don't hate. 

Unfortunately there is only one lonely overhead light in this area. I really wanted to light the nook and make it feel a little more special, but I didn't really have anything that would produce the kind of light wanted without having to go out and purchase something. Perhaps one day I will hang the artwork (it's just leaning against the wall right now) and add a picture light, but for now I decided to add a simple table lamp. This particular lamp is an oldie, but goodie. We actually have two and they were on either side our sofa in our last place

Of course there wasn't an outlet in the nook. Because there's never, ever an outlet where you really want one - am I right? And I simply could not fathom the thought of an unsightly black cord snaking its way out of the nook, so I got a little creative. 

I actually ended up wrapping the cord with a little bit of ombre yarn that I've used and reused for years (mostly for wrapping presents). I just figured if I was going to be looking at the cord every single day of my life (at least for now), it might as well be pretty. 

Somehow the yarn I had just worked with the color scheme of the vignette. It was design luck. But if anyone ever asks, I'll tell them that I planned it that way. And you better not tell them any different, k?

Check out that wrapping action! It's pretty tightly wound. I'll say that the whole process took me about fifteen minutes or so, and it was totally worth it! I thought that starting the wrap would be hard, but it was actually super easy. I made a small knot at the end of the lamp base, then treated the loose end as part of the cord, so it all got wrapped up underneath the rest of the yarn. I did the same with the end near the plug. Easy peasy. If you need a tutorial, I'll be happy to provide one. Just let me know! 

Next, I need to figure out what's going on with the entry itself. Yeah, right now it's not very functional or attractive. I'm hoping that I'll decide on something soon. We don't have visitors too often, but unfortunately when we do there is no designated place to drop their purses, keys, shoes, bags, you know, stuff. Pretty sad huh?

Also, there's this issue with my decanter collection being right at the entrance to our home. Although empty, they do say. "Welcome to our home. We drink... a lot. Enough to have 20+ decanters." I'd at least like to get people all the way in the door before they find that out. I actually have a few ideas of how I would like to handle this "problem", so I'll being sharing those soon... and maybe a few sketches too if we're lucky. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

tropical vibe

So a few days ago, I mentioned that H&M was a wonderful resource for beautiful pillow covers. Well right now, they have an amazing collection available that is making me wish I was island-bound in February. Check it out! 

I'm really crushing on the toucan pillows a la #3, #8, and #13. They're almost awesome enough to inspire a living room refresh, but I'm going to admire them from afar because not only do I have another project that I need to start working on, I also don't want to fall down the rabbit hole of purchasing decor, and not using it right away. Case in point - my new fabulous palm leaf curtains! 

I actually purchased these babies from H&M as well back in January, but sadly they are no longer available. Apparently palm leaf curtains are pretty hot right now (search them on Pinterest), but the catch is that when I see them, they are almost always custom made. If you're diy inclined though, I found a decent price on palm leaf fabric-by-the-yard here. Where am I using these panels you might ask? Well, here's a sneak peek. 

I can't wait to inject some personality in our kitchen! It has nice finishes, and  the layout is quite functional, but the space itself kind of vanilla. I can't wait to see them up! I'm also contemplating on using a cute bench with black and white striped pillows. You catch my drift? Oh, and here's a quick sketch from my Bullet Journal.

I can't wait to get cracking on it. I'm probably putting the curtain installation on the "Honey Do" list for this weekend! Wish me (and Brandon) luck. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

hanging on

Hey guys! Just wanted to share how my living room situation is coming along. It's definitely a process. As you can probably guess, lots of little factors were considered, and today I'm going to give you a little peek into what decisions went into making it feel more like home. 

We already owned the sofa, the Blu Dot tubular chair, the CB2 coffee table, and  Home Goods ottomans. You may remember them from our former apartment. The ottomans were previously used as side tables with the addition of square mirrors for a flat surface. Here they are used for extra seating, and I'm surprised at how often Brandon and I use them when we're having quick conversations with one another / laughing, joking and talking general nonsense. The two side tables on either side of the sofa are from IKEA, as well as the floor lamps. The table lamps are Target, and the small Noguchi-inspired table is from an antique shop in my home town, Albany, GA.

The color scheme was actually inspired by these cool pillow covers that I ordered from H&M. If you haven't checked out their textiles yet, you're simply missing out! They are cotton with a zipper enclosure, and are usually priced between $5.95 and $24.99. I use the Fjadrar inserts from IKEA to stuff them. I ordered two sets of each pattern and went cray cray with it. I eventually pulled back on the pattern and added a solid Sanela cover from IKEA to tone things down a bit. I kind of laughed at myself when I typed that. Me? Tone things down???

Next I found this amazing armchair at... you guessed it. Goodwill!!!

When I saw the flame stitch I knew I just HAD to have it. I mean, for around $20 I really couldn't say no. Of course Baby Bug carried it home like a champ!!! She fit perfectly with absolutely no room to spare. I was proud momma!

I followed Carmeon's advice on Cohesive Randomness about using Folex carpet cleaner for a quick upholstery clean alternative. Then I eventually followed up with an all-over spritz of Febreeze. You can see the dampness around the edges of the muslin from the cleaner. I even managed to find some extra goodies while cleaning this beauty up.

I was a little hesitant to put her in front of the french doors to the deck, but it just so happens that she actually has wheels instead of legs, so whenever we need extra room we just roll her to side.

After the chair, I found this amazing Havnso rug that I just couldn't go on living without.

It was huge, colorful, super easy to clean (which was absolutely necessary with our little pup) and only $99. Upon our first meeting it was pretty much a done deal!

It took me about 6 months to finally decide how I wanted to address the wall space above the sofa. I could have easily hung a big piece of art and been done with it, but unfortunately I just wasn't satisfied with that option. I kept thinking about how normal that option was, and how everyone has a big piece of art or a mirror above their sofa. Not to knock that solution of course. It's a great solution! It's super easy, and makes a big impact. It's just that I've done it before, and I was pretty bored with it. I wanted to push myself to try something different. There was so much symmetry going in the living room with the side tables, lamps, and windows that I knew I wanted something a little atypical.

I had been collecting baskets from Goodwill and I wanted to try and incorporate them into something eclectic. Unfortunately, when I put them all together, it was pretty busy. Mind you, everything in this space is multicolored, so I needed to pair down a bit and make some pointed decisions. The weird thing is that I had acquired three baskets that were the same color scheme, so I knew my subconscious was trying to tell me something. Below is my attempt to narrow down to my favorite.

I really wanted something asymmetrical, so I started searching around and found a HUGE decorative wall medallion from Target. I waited until it went on sale of course!

Then it all sort of came together one November evening. After playing with the layout, I realized that it would be best to use just one of the colorful baskets, and keep the rest neutral, so that the textiles could have a larger presence.

So here we are today!

I like how fun the space is, and it definitely puts a smile on my face whenever I get home. The accessories get switched out often, but for the most part I like to keep it realistic. We have lots of remotes, we eat at our coffee table almost every night, and we have a dog that sheds (a lot), so right now this works for us. 

I wanted to share this with you to let you know that it's okay to let a room come together organically over time, and you shouldn't feel bad for not completely assembling a space the first week you move in. I  took my time, and though it was frustrating at times, I kept at it and found something that worked for me (and my budget). I pushed myself for something unique, and that's what I ended up with. This isn't even my first round, more like my third. You can see the first iteration here. I still have some ways to go - window treatments and more storage, but for now it's a good start. Stuck on how to start pulling your space together? Well...

Start with a piece that speaks to you.

Stumped when it comes to choosing a color palette? I often wait for the perfect textile to use as inspiration. In my case, the middle turquoise pillow on the sofa was my muse, as well as the Goodwill art on my fireplace.

Find a layout that works for your space and how you actually live.

Create a conversational layout that allows you to entertain AND watch television. Contrary to popular belief, both activities are achievable in one living room. I find that people tend to push everything against the wall, but you don't have to! In fact, you shouldn't.  Don't be afraid to float chairs, ottomans, or even your sofa to create a functional layout and good flow. The ottomans in our space are floating in front of the tv, but they don't obstruct the view to the screen. 

Ask yourself, "Can I look my guests in the face when they're talking? Does everyone have a surface nearby to sit a drink? Can I easily walk between furniture without bumping into anything?" Answering those questions will get you closer to a layout that works. I like to read in the living room, but I also loathe overhead lighting, so I added task lighting (reading floor lamps) and ambient lighting (table lamps) right next to one another when usually they would be spread throughout the room. Who says you can't? Do what works for you!

Add in some great second-hand pieces that complement your decor. 

The flame stitch chair and Noguchi-esque side table were very inexpensive finds that make me love my room even more. As far as I'm concerned, I 'm not going to tour anyone else's home (virtually or in person) and see them. They also add soul and personality to a room that is full of new-looking furniture. Best thing is, if you don't love them after a while, you can always pass the pieces on without feeling guilty that you put a lot of money into them.

Don't be afraid to mix things up a little.

Our space is pretty symmetrical, but not all the pieces are identical. Here, let scale be your guide. Notice how I have two chairs that are a different design, but they are similar in scale. Same goes for the side tables on either side of the sofa. They are roughly the same height, but a completely different design. Mixing things up helps your eye keep moving around the room, and overall adds more interest.

So what do you think? Do you have a space you just started, or need a little help getting some ideas rolling? Email me with some pictures, and I'll brainstorm with you! :)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

the moment

Hey Guys! I decided that before it officially hit February that I should talk about my New Years' Resolution and how I've managed to keep up with it! Why is there a picture of a Christmas tree below? Let me explain.

I was super late posting my annual holiday post. This frustrated me to no end, and now that there is a picture of our 2015 tree on the blog I can rest a little easier at night. I wanted to place our Christmas decor before we traveled to Illinois for Thanksgiving (but my hubby insisted that it was WAY too early, and that I was a crazy person) so naturally I listened to him and waited.

When Brandon finally assembled our black pre-lit tree, he noticed that the top lights wouldn't come on. I was devastated. He fiddled with them for a while, and finally decided that we needed to get more. My thought was that we could just get one small strand for the top. When I sent him a link to order it (what I thought to be an appropriate size strand for only 1/3 of a tree) somehow our signals got crossed because Brandon unstrung the entire tree in anticipation for the new lights. Now if you have a pre-lit tree, you know that each branch is meticulously wrapped and the light strands are in fact a circle and not a line, so once they were off, it was a dreadful idea to even attempt putting them back on. At some point during this time, we also decided to purchase a second "basement tree" a' la' Brandon's parents house, despite the fact that our basement was still lined in boxes. In fact, that's what you see above, our complementary slimline Christmas tree. 

When the new lights came, Brandon strung the tree and we both agreed that it wasn't going to be enough lights, so we ordered another strand. This is when Lasership (for heaven's sake Amazon, please stop using them) dropped the ball and failed to deliver our lights. So naturally Brandon canceled the order. Then the week of Christmas I had what I like to refer to as a "Come to Jesus Moment" (appropriate considering it was his birthday and all) and thought to myself, "You know what self? This IS ENOUGH! You are ridiculous. Simplify and make this work! After all, it's what you do best. Who cares if you don't have an extra 100 lights on your tree? Be thankful you have a tree, a loving hubby,a sweet pup (note the three stockings) and a beautiful home to put it all in."

That was it! I could feel that I was on to something. On December 23, I decided to fully decorate both trees and place one in the entry, and one in the living room. That night I also decided that for 2016 my New Years' Resolution wasn't going to be to exercise more, save more, or blog more. (I want to do all of these things, but somehow as resolutions they always seem less concrete and less attainable.) This year it was going to be:

"Learn how to simplify 
in all things that I do. 
Learn what is necessary. 
Learn what I can do without."

This, my friends, is something I feel that I can stick to. No empty promises, just sorting out my life and getting rid of the unnecessary. I can stop acquiring things just to have them, I can get rid of the miscellaneous stuff that we've miraculously been able to live without for the last 10 months. I can spend less time shopping and more time doing. I can remove the emotion and physical clutter from my life so that I can see God's blessings more clearly! I know that it won't be easy (no New Year's Resolution ever is) but this is something I feel that I can slowly achieve by reminding myself of  this lesson daily, and using this mantra to actually accomplish my outstanding goals. Complex tasks seem less difficult when we break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks, so why not simplify?

So yes, my holiday post was VERY late, and my Christmas trees are STILL up. (I reconcile that decision in my head because I didn't get to enjoy them decorated as long as everyone else.) But know this - I'm not ashamed! I'm happy, and I'm learning to go little easier on myself. So far, I've already begun limiting my purchases to things that I need, and if I buy something home related I must have a definite plan and timeline for its installation. Designers hoard pretty things, and I am no exception.

Finally I can get out of Target without walking the entire store AND I can purchase only what I intended to get (a miracle indeed). I've also been dropping off huge blue bags to Goodwill (instead of shopping there), and recently started a bullet journal to organize my ideas so that I don't waste time constantly thinking about them.  I consider all these small triumphs a very big start! 

Next I want to focus on organization and being more decisive about our home. Side note, does that tree look any less beautiful with only one stand of lights? I didn't think so! Also, share your New Years' Resolutions with me! Now that you're a month in, how is it going? I'd love to hear from you!

I can't wait to share this year with you (and some other things I've been holding on to from the one past). Sometimes I get so stressed about the fact that I haven't updated my blog, and then I remember that unlike other bloggers that I follow and admire, blogging is not my full time job. I have bills and student loans to pay and none of that gets done here. In fact, I generate zero income from my blog, so I have to stop being so dang hard on myself! Not to say that I don't have any ideas, (I have SO many) just very limited time. And for now, I have to be okay with that. My hope is that once I get more into my life simplification process, blogging will become much easier. Thanks for tuning in. xoxo -  Rae