Tuesday, February 10, 2015

long overDUE update

Wow, it has been too long my friends!  I keep telling myself that I will get back to this blog but, alas, life has not worked out that way.  As I begin to toss around even the early thoughts of a project in our home, I imagine its manifestation as a blog post because, honestly, writing and preparing the visuals for them have become very helpful to my own design and decision making process.  But then I'm pulled back into my current reality of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants design decisions as I attempt to keep up with our painter and handyman.

While things may be moving a lot more quickly than I am used to with hired help, it is nice to see the interior of this house changing so fast.  It really is beginning to feel like home - a reassuring feeling as our newest addition's due date draws near.

And, speaking of our new addition, we have been busy working on the new nursery.  Because our next will be another girl, we'll be re-using much of the same items in this room as we used for Ella's room (wow, how little she was).  However, there are also many things that traveled with Ella to her new, big girl room - the curtains, her rocker, and many of her colorful possessions - opening the door for a bit more of a neutral take on the nursery this time.

So, here's where we started.  The ABC room, as it was formerly called, was covered in wallpaper (complete with border).  We stripped the wallpaper but all attempts to remove the paper backing and glue from the walls failed.  It was all so old that it would have taken our painter days to remove it down to the bare plaster.  He opted to use a special sealer over the paper backing and glue, after giving the walls a really good sanding, in order to prevent moisture from causing it to bubble.  He then skim coated the entire room, sanded smooth, and primed.  The walls in this room look brand new!

Here's the room post-skim coat.  

And here's what it looks like now.  YES, it's pink!  

We've been working really hard to keep the arrival of the new baby a family event and include Ella in as much of it as possible.  Sometimes that includes answering tough questions - "Momma, how did baby Jo start growing in your belly?" More often, it has meant including her in doctor appointments, asking for her help to unpack baby clothing and blankets, and involving her in the construction of baby equipment and even the nursery itself.  As such, she decided that, because the baby was a girl, the room should be pink.  Clearly, despite my personal de-emphasis of all such silly gender stereotypes, the world outside our door has shown its considerable influence. And unfortunately, despite my attempt to pick a very pale shade of pink, the actual color turned out to be a bit more saturated than I would have preferred.  Eventually, I'll re-paint the room myself, but for now we're going with it and I'm trying to get used to having a pink room in my house.

There's still a lot to be done in this room and I'm working on how to pull it all together.  More soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

white christmas

One of the most exciting things about moving into a new house (for me) was that I would be able to pick out a new sofa.  I bought my first sofa right out of undergrad (that was 12 years ago folks!) - it was the largest purchase I had ever made, both in size and cost.  I had picked a neutral tan upholstery for the sectional I had chosen until my Mom astutely reminded me that I was sure to be living in apartments or rental houses with neutral beige walls in the coming years and that a neutral sofa might be a little boring.  So I went for it and picked a red upholstery that has immediately injected some life into all of the beige and white boxes I've lived in over the years.  Nonetheless, I've still always longed for a neutral sofa.  And by neutral, I mean WHITE!  

Call me crazy - I do have a massive dog, a toddler, and a baby on the way - but I love the idea of a nice, clean, white sofa.  Perched against the backdrop of a pale grey wall and the deep colors of our new vintage living room rug, I think it would be sure to pop!  So I did it!  It's definitely going to be a WHITE Christmas in our house (because it seems as though it will take that long to get it - 8 to 10 weeks lead time, whoa)!

Here are some shots of the living room as it existed before we moved in.  We fell in love with the floor to ceiling windows and all of the original moldings.  The room was previously wallpapered but it was thankfully removed before it the house was listed, and so we have a great blank slate.  This view looks toward the front of the house.  You can see a peek of the foyer on the right.  The piano was one of the few things in the house when we first saw it and so we wrote it into our offer.  Surprisingly (or not, because who wants to move a piano), the previous homeowner obliged without any objections.

And this is the view toward the rear of the house and into an addition that we use as our family room and play room.

And here is what I am pulling together for my first adult living room space (I feel so grown up, at least on paper):

The sofa is from Crate and Barrel - the Petrie in Snow.  I've had my eye on it for quite some time.  I love its clean, mid-century style.  And, in a room with as much existing character as this space has, I'm inclined to go for really simple furniture pieces so as not to distract from any of it.

The tall, barrister bookcase is another inherited piece, along with the wool area rug.  I love that I now have a place to give these pieces a new home.  The height of the bookcase will be a good addition to all of the other, relatively low pieces.  And the rug will add some pattern and color to the room.

We also already own one Wassily chair, though it is a vintage knock-off of some sort, and will be inheriting another, this one original. We have been contemplating whether to purchase another "original" chair to replace the knock-off as there are some very apparent differences in the construction.  But to be budget friendly, I think both can co-exist for now.

I recently purchased the floor lamp shown on clearance from JCP - the Skyscraper Floor Lamp designed by Michael Graves (no longer available).  It has an antique brass finish that I think will complement the woods in the room nicely.

The coffee table shown is also from Crate and Barrel - the Structure Square Coffee Table.  I am using it as a place holder for the time being.  I think that the heavy, solid wood table is a nice contrast to the thin, light frames of the Wassily chairs, but I want to wait until the sofa arrives to make a final decision on the size coffee table we need for the space.  I also don't want the living room to feel as though its been ripped from the pages of one store catalog - my worry if I purchase too many pieces from one place.  I would certainly like to do some more browsing of local vintage furniture shops before I decide to splurge on another piece of furniture for the room.

The room is slated to be painted after Thanksgiving in Sherwin Williams Aloof Gray - at least that's the plan.  We just purchased a myriad of paint samples that we need to get up on the walls to make a final decision.  All of the existing trim and built-ins around the fireplace will also be getting a fresh coat of white paint so that they will pop from the pale grey walls.

When the sofa arrives, expect some "in progress" photos of the space actually looking like a room we use!
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