Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Fall

Well hello strangers!

Sorry I have been absent for the last several days. I wasn't feeling well last week and this week life has simply caught up with us! 

Miss K, our college sophomore, was just accepted and scholarshipped (is that even a word?, well, it is now) to do a summer exchange in London wit the business school. Six credits, 4 weeks, and we will probably extend it from there since we have family and friends of friends throughout Europe.

 She always wanted to go abroad, and something tells me this is just the beginning. Proud momma right here :)

Miss H, our high school senior, finally landed herself a job. Employment under 18 is tough around here. So where will she be spending 15-20 hours a week?

Ha, World Market of all places. And Mom gets to use her discount. Fun shopping posts ahead, I am sure. 

Well, its finally Fall and I have been slowly adding layers to our home, testing the furnace (and clearing out that lovely scent), and generally tending hearth and home.

No big fancy tours here, just insta snap shots :) 

Hope you don't mind. Busy lives means cluttered homes.

I am so very thankful for it all...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Decorating for the Season You Are In

I am feeling a bit under the weather today. Which has lead me to sitting on the couch thinking. Reminiscing. And feeling a bit old. Am I the only one that gets sentimental when you are forced to sit still for a while?

Decorating for the season you are in...

I don't mean Fall, seasonal decorating is fun and an opportunity to let the creative juices flow. Its an excuse to change things up a bit, bring in, or take away, color, texture, and generally embrace what Mother Nature hands us. Not that many of us need an excuse :)

By season, I mean this moment in the timeline of our life, our personal, metaphorical tree. 

The trunk - 
When hubby and I were young and just starting out hand me downs, thrifted items, and road side finds filled our little studio. Paint and yard clippings were about all we could afford to make our space ours

It spoke of our college years, and of joining two lives into one.

The first branches and leaves - 
Then we bought our first house, furnished, and we made do with what was there, while blending in what we chose to keep from our college years. Tax returns were used for new sofas one year, and Pergo floors another. We balanced the very small "home" budget between home improvements and upgrading furniture. Very few of the things from that season of our life have survived my annual purges to today, but lots of memories were made. Our children were brought home to that little A-frame. First steps, first words, first days of school, and then first move. Lots of firsts. Lots of toys. Lots of love.

It spoke of our young family.

Growth and branching out -
The elementary school years were spent in a nearly new house in a new city, a new state... remodeling wasn't on our radar. We wanted to be able to give the girls our attention, make road trips with them, and concentrate on friends and family. But a funny thing happened. We didn't need to remodel, so we found ourselves decorating. This was the house where we found we could make it ours. We had the time, the energy, the funds. More than a decade later, we still have furniture, art, and accessories from that house. They survived the years, the moves, even the changes in design because we knew what we wanted and invested in it. 

It spoke of us, our family's unique story.

Deeper roots - 
The next ten years were spent setting deep roots in our community. The girls were involved in extra curricular activities, I was spending most of my time volunteering, hubby was building his career, we, the family, were building relationships, reputations, community. Our home reflected everything that meant. It was brand spanking new, a blank canvas ready to tell the story of us. It was ever changing because we were growing, evolving. We brought history with us, but a bright and exciting future too. The girls grew from late elementary school, through the awkward middle school years, and right into high school. The eldest graduated and said good bye to childhood in that house. The youngest found and over came adversity there. I rediscovered that I am a theater kid through and through, that my art didn't have to be relegated to just our home. Our home began its journey warm and cozy and was left to its next inhabitants light and bright. It evolved with us and served us well every step of the way. We loved that house and it loved us back.

It spoke of the past, the present, and the future.

Where does that leave us in this house? Saplings? Seed pods?

We downsized when we bought this house. We have one girl in college with a foot out the door and the other graduates high school this spring...also with a foot out the door. LOL We are on the brink of being empty nesters. sigh

Our house journey has circled back to a house that needs remodeling, that needs a fresh lease on life. Which is kind of funny because we find ourselves looking forward in our timeline and not quite knowing where we go from here. Will we stay in this house for the next ten years? We are remodeling as if that were our plan. Or are we going to let the girls stay here to see them through their college and grad school years while we move on to build hubby's career in new cities? We chose a location close to the university that is conducive to exactly that. Or will this house become more of an investment property? Sell? Rent? We have kept the budget in line to turn a profit if that is the path we choose. We just don't know what the future holds. We are holding our collective breath.

In the mean time, we decorate for now. We kept nearly everything from our last, larger home. Its telling our story in a slightly new way. What we didn't keep was passed on to DD1's significant other for his first house. Ah, the circle of life. I think the hand me downs he got are better than ours way back when :) Some items, like our pine queen bed frame, were given to our daughters to use now and take with them when the time comes. I find myself holding on to things I would likely purge because I know DD1 is set to move out this winter and she will be able to use them. I don't want her to move out, but I relish the idea of creating a guest bedroom for the first time ever. I look forward to replacing a few chairs, maybe a sofa when they find themselves packed off into their new life.

It all speaks of change. And uncertainty. I feel like our home reflects that. The look isn't as cohesive as I would like, but neither is our life. Change is hard

Thanks for listening to my sentimental banter. The photos are from our progress over the weekend in the dining room. Still so much more to do, but its good enough for now. My motto as of late.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dining Room Inspiration

With the holidays just around the corner, the dining room is taking on a new focus. The entry is all set to warmly greet friends and family, but the dining room is anything but. It has a table and chairs in it, but we still need to add some storage to make up for the shortcomings that a smaller kitchen presents you with. Time to find some inspiration :)

Everything I wish this house could be. We have the floors and that's about it.  Oh, and a fireplace :) There are some relevant take aways though. The french doors, the farmhouse table, the simple decor.

Our Fireplace looks almost exactly like this one, except we didn't paint the brick. It was a debate I lost :) Hubby doesn't feel too strongly about many house related things, except he wanted to keep the natural brick. So I let him have it. See, I am willing to compromise. :p
We need to install a mantel and I like the simplicity of this.

Simplicity is good, but I LOVE these brackets. I must find a way to incorporate chunky metal into the fireplace mantel.

This is awesome too. Oh, choices...

Moving on...
Tonal yumminess. Shiplap, farmhouse table with an industrial edge. French doors, and the chandy...
All smiles here :)

Now addressing the other side of the room.
We need to add a storage solution since the kitchen is much smaller than we are used to and I refuse to have wall to wall, floor to ceiling cabinets. Although I love the look, shelves like this just won't work with the end of the wall being open to the central walkway. Not only do I see myself hitting my head, shoulder, knee, or whatever body part has the misfortune of being at the height of each of these shelves, but the beasts would take the bottom one or two out regularly.
We don't baby proof, we DOG proof.

This would work better.
Lower cabinets would hide the majority of the not so pretty kitchen items,  and the coffee bar idea is spot on. No need to keep the Keurig in the kitchen, less countertop clutter.
Hmmm, I can see hot chocolate bars at Christmas, and tea service all winter. I have a collection of  old gallon mason jars that my Mom gifted me years ago that would make a pretty amazing pantry display. Not to mention the hubby's collection of growlers and single release beer bottles from a few of our local micro breweries.

A lot of ideas to ponder, and of course, the budget looms over every project. The dining room is our next room to work on. It may not be completely done before the holidays, but it will find a point of good enough to see us through the end of the year.