Tom’s Room Reveal

Thomas’s room has been mostly “done” for six months – but it took me until now to get things on the walls and declare it done. I’m going to have a nursery to decorate soon, I needed to get Tom and Nell’s rooms done before #3 is here. So let’s start with Thomas’s room, which I really should have shared pictures of months ago. When we moved into our house in June of last year, Thomas’s room looked like this:


You know how I feel about neutral paint colors in kids’ rooms – that a neutral base allows the decor to change and grow with a kid easily. But the bottom line was even though blue is Tom’s favorite color, baby blue wasn’t working with his navy blue, white and orange scheme. So the baby blue had to go. Tom’s room was the first upstairs room we painted – I wanted it ready to go for him before he started preschool. But I’m pretty sure I never posted pictures of that. So here you go:


All Fall, Tom’s chalkboard had the Broncos schedule on it – we would write a W for a win and an L for a loss. We’re waiting for baseball season to fill up the chalkboard again – but being that we’re Colorado Rockies fans, it’s going to be a hell of a lot more disappointing than the Broncos season was (you know, save for that whole Super Bowl blowout thing…).

bedside table

None of the furniture or bedding or decor is new – it was all in Thomas’s room at our last house. But it’s funny how the same pieces can take on a different vibe in a different room. I love the pegboard we hung above Tom’s bookshelf (also in our old house) – it provides a nice textured backdrop for photos and other things.

peg board

Here’s where it becomes obvious that I’m not a good blogger: I didn’t straighten the books for these pictures. But this is real life! We don’t have books to make ourselves look well read or to provide colorful art and vignettes for a room – we have books because we LOVE to read. And a bookshelf full of hastily shelved books makes me happy – it means that Thomas has crawled out of his bed during his rest time and picked books to read as he rests. It means that he’s talked us into more than 3 bedtime stories. Books – hastily shelved or scattered on the floor – tell me that we’re doing alright. So that’s what you get to see, real life:


And because I believe that the closeups are nice but that you need to see a room in its entirety, here’s the whole picture. Bed-rail and all.

gray owl boys room

This room is just Thomas. His favorite colors: blue with pops of orange and red, a neutral gray background for everything to play off of. A nod to his love for sports without being a sports themed room. It hints at his love for numbers, letters and maps. It’s just so perfectly my guy.

Spring Pillows

I made winter pillows, and shared one of them here, but never shared the rest of them. They were okay in person, but they didn’t photograph well and I wasn’t all that enthused. Winter- and Christmas especially – are tough for me, decor wise, because I don’t really love to decorate with the warm, rich reds and other colors that the season envokes. But as soon as Valentine’s Day is over, I feel like I can move to a winterized version of Spring. I’m not saying that I’m busting out the flip flops and pastels – we’ve got at least two more months of snowstorms ahead of us in Colorado, but sprinkled among beautiful days – but I think that after mid-February, it’s perfectly acceptable to start adding touches of Spring.

Spring Pillows

I’ve been loving navy for the last year. Loving it. And luckily for me, navy mixes really well with my signature green. But I hadn’t yet brought any navy into our main living area – all of the bedrooms have a touch of navy, but our main floor was missing out. The kids and I were at Target on Friday getting soap and paper towels and as I passed the table linens, I saw these clearanced geometric, navy blue and white napkins. At less than $5 for 4, I threw them in my cart faster than you can say “No Spending January is over”. Then I saw these gray, yellow and khaki napkins at the same price – thought of my BFF Emily and her khaki couch and walls but recent love for gray and yellow and a conversation we recently had about how she wasn’t sure she could mix the colors and threw those in my cart to make spring pillow covers for her. Every non-skiing Coloradoan just needs a little happy in February to get them through to Spring, I think.

And one naptime later, I had six pillow covers whipped up, and just enough color to hint at sunnier days ahead.

Indigo and Green pillow covers

My mom gifted me those green, linen Pottery Barn pillow covers 4 years ago when we bought our white couch as a “Couch Warming Present”. Every time I switch out pillows, those work and they stay. I love how a good, classic basic can work for so many years depending on what you pair it with. Will I still love the geometric navy pillow covers next Spring? Probably not. But at $2 a pillow cover, I can just donate them and move on.

Indigo and Yellow pillow covers

So that’s the latest over here – just a hint of spring on the sectional with some updated pillow covers. What projects have you taken on lately?

Master Bedroom: New Bedding

When we moved into our first house, we were engaged and our room was the first room we painted. With kids who we wanted to get settled, our room in this house was one of the last ones we painted (well, the kids needing to be settled was one excuse, the fact that the ceilings are ridiculously high was another). So, with paint on the walls, our room had become my focus. I still love the quilt I bought 3 years ago for our bed, but I was over the matchiness of the shams with it and ready for a little pattern mixing. So, for my birthday (technically the first day of January, which meant B had to do his shopping in December…no way would I do no spending January if it meant no presents, let’s be real), I asked for new shams for our bed and new sheets. I think you officially become a grown-up when you ask for sheets for your birthday.

Mixed Pattern Bedding

I photoshopped up a couple different ideas, and finally decided on these gray and white sheets from West Elm, and these blue Ikat shams to pull some of the blues out of our quilt. Can I say? I have never loved sheets so much. For the last 10 years, I’ve only had solid sheets – following the whole make your master bedroom like a hotel rule. And you know what I discovered? Even with solid white sheets, my bed did not magically get made every morning, there were no fresh towels waiting for me upon returning to the room at the end of the day, and my toilet paper has never folded itself into a triangle. What gives, white sheets? I thought you were magical. So with the hotel luxury thing not happening, I decided to throw caution to the wind and look into patterned options. The gray and white stripes spoke to me and I love that the horizontal stripes help me remember which direction a King sized sheet should go (am I the only one with that problem?).

mixed pattern bedding 2

You know what’s pretty interesting? Now that I want to see my sheets, the bed does magically get made every morning. The toilet paper’s still not folding itself, but baby steps. I’m on the hunt for the perfect solid navy pillow to hang out in front of the Ikat shams. Next on my list for this room are window treatments and new lampshades. And hanging the stuff we’ve had leaning against the walls in here since June.

So that’s the latest change in our master bedroom. I love my new sheets – I’m a patterned sheet convert. And I find them even more wonderful when my little buddy climbs under the covers while I’m taking pictures and requests that I climb in and snuggle with him. Irresistible.

mixed patern bedding

Our Dining Room {At Christmas}

Urban Cottage Dining Room

Our Dining Room has finally started to come together. If you recall, this was the first room we painted after moving in because Mr. B informed me that he couldn’t live one more day in a house with red walls. So high maintenance. Side note: We all know that I can call Mr. B high maintenance because it is painfully clear that if anyone in this relationship is high maintenance and demanding, it’s definitely not him, correct? Not that it’s me, but you know, comparatively, I might be a teensy bit more demanding than Mr. B. But I digress. We moved on a Sunday, and I was at Benjamin Moore on Monday buying paint and getting to work taking our dining room from dark red to light gray.

When I wrote that first post about our dining room, I mentioned all the things on the list: a new light fixture to replace the ornate gold one, find a buffet or hutch to store our china and linens in, and redo the moulding (new, thicker baseboards and  craftsman window trim). I took my time to figure out what the vision might be, some things just fell into place and others I took a leap on. Here’s how our dining room sat from June until November:

So, first things first, I ordered a chandelier. After going back and forth between Ballard Designs’ Eldridge Chandelier and a different but similar aesthetic chandelier on Overstock, I finally decided I’m not a $500 light fixture kind of girl at this stage in the game. If we were to win the Mega Millions, that might change {hell, I’d buy you all a $500 light fixture}, but seeing as how we don’t play the lotto, I’m thinking I’m gonna stick with the $130 variety for awhile. The chandelier came with two broken shades. I contacted Overstock. They were awesome and immediately put through a request to the warehouse for two new shades to be sent to me. 6 weeks later those damn shades were just sitting somewhere in Singapore with a shipping label, bouncing between two shipping posts. I got a little bit cranky, the nice man in the parts department at Overstock told me he understood why I was cranky, and assured me he’d get me shades before we hosted Thanksgiving. He was true to his word. So two months of waiting, a tiny bit of being talked off a ledge, and we had a chandelier that I’m very happy with.

Dining Room at Christmas

Then, came the hutch. I already mentioned that my parents were upgrading their Dining Room furniture for their 40th anniversary gift to each other. I really need to take you all on a photo tour of Caroline’s house, it’s pretty great. My mom had been toying with getting rid of her antique pie safe for a couple years, but I kept talking her out of it. Finally, she decided to do what she wanted to do, and told me that if I loved that pie safe so much I could come pick it up and take it to my house (which actually translated into my dad and mom driving it up to me on a Monday and moving it into our house themselves. I might be a little high maintenance afterall).

Antique Pie Safe

And just like that, we went from a red room with an ornate chandelier to a much-more-our-style mix of old and new. An old rustic pie safe, a modern chandelier, a painted pedestal table and contemporary parson’s chairs. I’ve always called our style “urban cottage”, and I think the dining room in our new house is starting to take that form.

Urban Cottage Dining Room

Dining Room Christmas

Because it’s Christmas, I threw down a red plaid table cloth, my burlap runner, brought out a few Christmas balls, and whipped up a tweed moose in photoshop to throw into a frame we already had.

dining room vignette

We still intend to replace the baseboards and frame out the window someday, but that’s a whole house project down the line. And right now, the first room you see as you walk into our house makes me feel so at home.


Nell’s Nursery: Bead Board Wallpaper

Nell’s room is a work in progress, and is going to remain that way until we move the double bed into her room in early 2014 to get the 4th bedroom ready for baby Peyton Manning.

I always had a game plan for this room, but since I found out within minutes of our move that we were expecting #3, my painting and projects kind of came to a sudden halt. It drove Caroline crazy – every time she suggested she come up to help me paint a room I made an excuse for why I didn’t want to do things too quickly. When we finally told my my parents that #3 was on his or her way (we wait to tell everyone until the first trimester is in the rearview mirror), she finally understood my sudden heel dragging and immediately asked if she could come paint. I readily accepted her offer.

On Move-in Day:


So, Caroline and my sister came up while we were in Florida and painted Nell’s room. The top half above the existing chair rail went Gray Owl, and the bottom half they just primed white in preparation for bead board. I have a personal preference for chair rails that serve a purpose, rather than just chair rails that break up a room, so I knew I wanted to add bead board underneath the existing chair rail. But adding real bead board meant taking off the chair rail – and the baseboards – and waiting for Mr. B to have a few weekends to work on the project either with me or while I occupied the kids. And since B’s been super busy between work, finishing up his Master’s (one more semester, friends!), a non-profit he’s involved with and everything else I volunteer him for, like coaching T’s soccer team because history has made me not trust anyone else with my kids, I was pretty sure adding bead board to his plate in 2013 was going to push him over the edge.

Painted and primed (please excuse the terrible lighting that makes this gray paint look yellow-y beige).


So, I started researching paintable bead board wallpaper. And the reviews I read told me to go with the Allen and Roth version from Lowes. So, I picked up two rolls, and while B was in DC last month, Caroline dug up her old wallpaper tools and the two of us relearned how to wall paper. It’s kind of fun! Everyone I mentioned this to was skeptical, but in the end, everyone was really impressed with the results.


The process of putting up the wall paper was really easy. I just cut everything to the right length and followed the instructions on package – soaked the paper for 30 seconds, let it set for 5 minutes, and we applied. Caroline and I took turns squeegeeing out the glue – this wall paper had a ton of extra glue. We opted not to paint the wall paper. We were prepared to if we needed to, but it was actually really white and matched the trim in the room. The seams aren’t noticeable, but we were very careful to butt two pieces right up against each other to avoid any seams. And can I just say? Using scissors to cut around outlets instead of a dremmel? Heaven on Earth.

Finished product the night we wrapped this project up:


When B got home he was shocked that it was actually textured, and he said he’d wished he’d known about this when he did bead board in our old powder room – cutting around all those appliances was a pain. So anyway, bead board wallpaper gets my seal of approval. I wouldn’t use it anywhere that’s going to get a lot of abuse – like under our kitchen island, just because I do think it would be prone to tearing under foot kicking circumstances – but I’m a convert. We took this picture just as we wrapped up the wallpaper, and since then the bookshelves have been styled (as much as you can style an 18 month old’s bookshelves), pillows have been added, and the room is coming along. I’ll share progress photos soon, but:

Now I need your advice. I’ve still got to figure out window treatments. What would you do? The window seat necessitates either shorter panels or a roman shade (I’m not going the valance route). Would you go solid or patterned? The ikat fabric on the window seat I’m in love with, and I have pillows in coral chevron. The chair and ottoman are moving to the baby’s room – and will be recovered when I meet him or her – so ignore that stripe that doesn’t work with the room. The bed we bring in will likely have a quilt or patterned duvet on it, and in the long run the scheme here is gray and navy with pops of sea glass and coral. I was leaning toward a solid navy or white roman shade, with maybe some grosgrain ribbon trim, but I’m just not sure. I’ve thought about a subtle pattern, but being so close to the larger scale ikat I’m not sure. So, help me friends, what would you do if that was your daughter’s window? Panels? Roman Shade? Pattern? Solid? What color? Thanks a million.


The Baby’s Room Part 1: Goodbye, Blue

The baby’s room was arguably the most offensive color in our house when we moved in – while none of the colors we inherited were my taste, I knew that they did appeal to other people – but the bright bright bright cobalt blue bedroom was just awful. Hard on the eyes. Not restful. And I like blue. I even like this particular shade of blue…in small doses. However, since no one was living in there and we rarely have house guests, it wasn’t a priority. Until we found out two weeks after moving that we were going to be a family of 5.


The main floor of our house will mostly be Gray Owl lightened by 50%. I’ll probably paint the office a different shade of the same color, but the goal is bright, inviting, flowing spaces. When it comes to kids’ bedrooms, I like neutral bases that can be changed with accessories, so all three kids’ bedrooms upstairs were going full strength Gray Owl (color matched to Behr’s Premium Plus Zero VOC – which is their cheapest paint – the more expensive paint and primer in one is low VOC, but with McKiddle #3 on the way, it’s Zero VOC over here for now. Side note: I had decided to be a paint snob in this house and so bought Benjamin Moore for the main floor…and because I didn’t want to pay $80 a gallon for Ben’s Zero VOC paint, I switched brands for the bedrooms and went with Behr. And I like it SO MUCH MORE than the pricey Benjamin Moore Regal we have used on the main level. And it’s a little over $25 a gallon. Can’t beat it.) My mom painted Tom’s room in August right after we announced McKiddle #3′s impending arrival, and she and my sister painted the top half of Nell’s room in September and primed the bottom for beadboard while we were out of town, so just Baby’s room and our master bedroom needed to go gray still.

But anyway, I decided to paint every kids’ bedroom the same color for a couple reasons. As previously mentioned, I generally like accessories and fabric to provide a room’s color. Also, growing up, my sister and I switched rooms all the time. Almost every summer we’d trade rooms, and I want that same flexibility in our house. It’s an awesome way to clean out rooms every year and get rid of unnecessary and outgrown items, and also I hope will help tamper any “Why does Nell get the big room?” life is unfair fits. We’ll rotate rooms whenever it makes sense.

Mr. B was out of town last weekend. B does not like to paint, so I usually save my projects for when he’s gone. While he was out, his mom, my mom and I tag teamed projects – two of us painted while one entertained tots, and then we switched. Thank goodness for family nearby.


And this is all I’ve got for the baby’s room so far. Thomas’s old crib will become #3′s crib and the double bed will move to Nell’s room (with an antique bed frame I have yet to find) in the new year so we’ll still have a bed if guests come – and eventually when she’s done with her crib, Nell will inherit the double mattress. The IKEA Ektorp Jenny Lund chair in Nell’s room will move to the baby’s room as will the dresser/changing table. But color schemes and accessories are beyond me now. I had no trouble decorating nurseries for Tom and Nell not knowing their sexes, but for some reason not knowing if Peyton Manning McKevitt is a boy Peyton or a girl Peyton is keeping me from decorating this go around. Which is fine, gives me something to do when I have 3 kids 3 & under come March. :)


Both T and Nell’s rooms are close to done, too, so I’ll share those soon. And we’re hiring out the painting of our vaulted master bedroom and bathroom, upstairs hall and stairwell, so sooner rather than later, the entire upstairs will be neutral. Ahhh.

Fall Pillows

I showed you our new Adirondack chairs and my Fall wreath a few weeks ago, but the rest of the Fall decorating bug didn’t hit me until we got back from the beach. Hard to think about Fall when you’re dreaming of warm ocean water and sunshine. But as soon as we got back on Tuesday, I was in Fall decorating mode. Starting with the pillows on our family room sectional and living room sofa. With little kids around and a bit of a minimalist eye (read: I don’t think I have a very good eye for styled vignettes, so I generally go with the minimum instead), most of my seasonal decor comes in the form of fabric and color rather than accessories. I pulled out a few Fall pillows I already had and then went on a hunt for fabric to recover my more summery pillows to tie the room and the season together.

After we dropped T off at preschool on Thursday, Nell and I hit up story and music time at the library and checked out some books (Nell time), then we went fabric shopping (Mama time). We checked out two fabric stores but nothing caught my eye – I wanted fabric to tie together my go-to green with some more fall colors like orange, red and brown, and I needed to swing by World Market to pick up a tea towel that I had my eye on for a pillow for Nell’s room makeover (in progress), so with 45 minutes before we needed to pick T up at preschool, we set off to World Market (Cost Plus? I have no idea what it actually goes buy these days). Napkins and tea towels are some of my favorite sources for pillow fabric (as long as you don’t need anything more than 20″ square – in which case I guess you could cut up a table cloth) and World Market is continuously my favorite source for those (this link is also a hilarious look back at how small Blogger photos used to be. Oh those were the days).

Turns out, Nell loves shopping for pillow “fabric” in the kitchen linens section of stores, too. I would hold up a napkin and she would vehemently shake her head no at some of them, or eagerly reach out and grab the ones she liked and refuse to let them go. I didn’t buy anything she vetoed, she has good taste. We got into a little scuffle over a tea towel I picked out for her room – there were two similar options, and I liked the trim on one better, but Nell kept saying “Uh uh” to it and was clutching onto the other one for dear life. And finally, I gave it to her. It’s going in her room, after all.  I love that 15 month old spice cake, and I can’t wait to shop with her for years to come!

So anyway, here’s what we came up with. In the living room, which has been sadly ignored since we moved in, I added a rusty orange pillow and a fun navy blue and orange (Go Broncos!) patterned pillow, and brought in one of the black and white cross hatch pillows that lived in the Family Room this summer.

I love the orange and blue fabric. A lot.

And in the family room, I made two new covers and reused a bunch of pillows I already had.

The orange and patterned pillow are new covers I made from my World Market linens finds. Cable knit pillows are from JC Penney a few years ago, the SIT pillow is from Sundance also a few years back, the green linen pillows are Pottery Barn (also ancient).

That patterned pillow (made from two dish towels I couldn’t find online, but in this pattern) is my very favorite right now. The green pulls together all my existing green together so well and pulls in Fall’s wheat, brown and orange to bring the rest of the room together.

In other family room news, we bought a new rug. I didn’t know you could love a rug until we rolled this one out in the room. As soon as it was all arranged, I looked at B and said, “This is the first thing we’ve put in this room that I haven’t thought needed something else to make it work!” And B agreed. I think part of that is because the rug was one of the final purchases to make our vision come together (a more substantial chair and ottoman in place of the slipper chair is on the someday list- when we’ve saved for and found one we love, but for the most part I view this room as pretty good to go now). It also just made the solid, dark sofa feel so much lighter and warmer at the same time, tied in the green from the curtains (I’ve had tons of emails from readers about the curtain source. The previous owners bought the fabric and had them made for the tall windows – I love them and they go perfectly with our color scheme, but unfortunately, I don’t have a source to share). This was our first “real” area rug purchase, and it’s so cozy. We lounge on it, play on it, and spend so much more time in this room now that it feels warm.

So that’s the state of our house right now, in terms of Autumn decorating. Remember when I put out pumpkins on September 22nd one year and all the reactions I got to that? I’m holding off on actual pumpkins on the porch until October 1st for the sake of my reputation in the new ‘hood.

Linking up to The Inspired Room’s Fall Nesting Party


Family Gallery Wall

While I’ve loved the changes we’ve made to our home – the few things we’ve purchased over the last two months and the unifying paint color, I’d held off on accessorizing – or decorating – our home. I kept telling B, “Why should we hang pictures if we’re going to have to take them all down to paint anyway?” When we finally painted the wall I had earmarked for our family gallery wall when we looked at the house, we had just ordered new family photos, and I was all, “Let’s just wait until we get those so we don’t have to do this twice”. I was apparently in a funk – maybe I was not feeling quite yet at home, here?  Since it will be months before they arrive (so hard for an instant gratification person like me – I need a local photographer who just gives you the CD of images), I decided to just work with what we had and accept that when our new photos arrive, we’ll have to change up the layout of the gallery wall, add in different frames, etc.


Sorry about the glare – there’s not a single daylight hour that this room doesn’t have intense sunlight. Makes pictures hard.

A few weeks ago, I laid out the pictures the way I wanted them hung, and then took the kids for a bike ride while B hung them. We think totally differently about projects like hanging things – or really anything that requires measuring – so it’s best if one of us gets out of dodge with the kids while the other does their thing (for Mr. B, methodical measuring that generally ends up requiring a few re-measures and extra holes. For me, random nailing and hanging until it looks right that always requires extra holes. Basically, we get the same end result, but neither one of us can watch the other’s process without wanting to bang our heads against the wall. At least we know this about each other, right? Right.) IMG_7725

It was so nice to get back from our bike ride and have a personalized home. When you get right down to it, we hadn’t had a single personal thing in our home since we staged our house in April. It’s a very similar gallery wall layout to the one we had in our last home, and like I mentioned, it will change whenever we get our new family pictures (though I still haven’t seen an invoice, so T and Nell could be in college when that happens). But I forgot what an impact adding just a few photos has on making a house feel like a home. The moment these pictures were up, it was like B and I were catapulted out of our “Let’s just wait and see what we want to do” mindset for making changes and decorating and ready to make this place our own.

A Pop of Fun: Painting a Warehouse Pendant

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant

So, when we last left off replacing light fixtures, we’d installed a classic school house light in our front entryway to replace a dated builder “boob light”. When I was buying that light, I also threw an industrial warehouse pendant in my cart – I wasn’t convinced that the finish was right for our home and was pretty sure I’d end up returning it, but I knew I liked the style so I figured I’d buy it with our “Just Moved” coupon and could always return it. Our coupon brought the pendant light to just about $25, and I brought it home where I decided the stainless steel finish just wouldn’t do in our space. It screamed industrial kitchen, and I’m far from a gourmet chef. And this room needed some personality.

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant 4

I put it in my car to return it, and thought about what I wanted for a couple days. I didn’t really want a traditional kitchen light fixture. I have my eye on the Eldridge chandelier at Ballard Designs or something similar for our dining room, and I didn’t want more of the same in the kitchen. I just couldn’t shake the idea of the industrial pendant, I wanted something funky and fun. But again, that stainless steel wasn’t cutting it for our space.

Painting the pendant my signature green definitely crossed my mind from the beginning, but I was scared – that I wouldn’t like it or that I’d ruin it as spray painting’s not usually my strong point.  And after it was painted, I certainly couldn’t return it. And finally, on Thursday I had a pep talk with myself, “Em, it’s $25. If painting it screws it up, life will go on. And if painting it makes it less timeless, so what? It was $25.” So, I pulled out a can of Rustoleum Fern spray paint  (my shade of green) and went to town.

This is what we started with:

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant 2

I didn’t prep this at all except to tape off the holes at the top because I didn’t want the inside to be green. I used a plastic tarp in the grass as my work station. Not a great call. I highly recommend you do this on cardboard on a hard surface, not the grass – I had issues with the plastic sticking to the light even though I taped the tarp down down – after I took this picture – which required me to sand. Don’t do that, just use cardboard.

After one coat, I was skeptical – of my color choice and the ability of this metallic lamp to look good glossy green.

how to spray paint a warehouse pendant 3

But three coats (and a little sanding plus a fourth coat because of my grass and plastic choice…again, use cardboard) later I had a perfectly glossy, fern green pendant light for above our kitchen table that I adored. I let it dry for a day, then it was install time.

Mr. B took down this late 90s faux finished beauty:


And put up my green girl:

spray painted industrial light 2

And I’m smitten. Perfectly classic and timeless like my school house light? Not at all. But so much fun, and the perfect pop of color our breakfast nook was so desperately lacking. I love how it brings the green of the family room back to the kitchen:

painted industrial pendant

And mostly I love that it says we don’t take ourselves or our home too seriously. The stainless steel was too harsh for our space, and just wasn’t “us”. But the green? So very us, and a hit of whimsy that our house has been missing. I’m smitten. What about you?

And that concludes our lighting updates until I decide on a dining room fixture and bite the bullet on the price. Pretty sure whatever I choose will cost more than these last two switches combined. Hard to beat $70 for two new light fixtures.

Au Natural

So, I mentioned that I wanted to warm up the family room a bit. I love our gray sectional and the Gray Owl paint we have going on, but any more gray and I was going to need a beach vacation to get warm. (Okay, I’m still going to need a beach vacation. Taking this land-locked Coloradoan to the beach at least once a year is Mr. B’s #1 philosophy for how to achieve the Happy Wife = Happy Life equation).  The thing about a move though? You just ooze money for awhile and I didn’t want to buy everything at once. Even when you’re trying to be frugal. We should have just agreed that he budget was out the window for the summer of 2013, but it was probably for the best that we kept some semblance of living within a budget while still allowing purchases here and there.


Anyway, I wanted natural texture as the first stepping stone to warming up the Family Room. A seagrass or jute rug was my top choice, but Mr. B (while admitting he really likes the way they look) doesn’t like walking on natural rugs barefoot and doesn’t think it’s good for little kids playtime. And I have to agree with him. So, I turned my search to a natural woven coffee table. And once we had the sectional for awhile working with our ottoman that I slipcovered as a coffee table, I knew rectangular wouldn’t work, and decided round was the answer to soften the square lines of the sectional. I stalked pretty much every source for woven coffee tables and purchased one last week when it was on sale on Joss and Main.

Family Room Ottoman

It arrived in like, 4 days or something absurdly quick like that. And I loved it immediately – the brown is warm but has hints of gray to tie everything together. . It’s much smaller than our rectangular ottoman was, and took me some time to adjust too, but it’s actually perfectly scaled for the sectional. The other side of the room just needs some more furniture now. Naturally.  Thomas’s favorite books are the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series, and I feel like I’m living my own version:

If you give an Emily a coffee table, Mr. B will want a rug that doesn’t wrinkle when you vacuum. And if you give Mr. B a rug, Emily will want a comfy new chair and ottoman for the other side of the room. And if you give an Emily a chair and ottoman…you get the picture. Decorating this room will be a process. Which is how I like it so that things have a collected-over-time feel. I have to remember to enjoy the process and not rush to the finish line.

And here’s what the family room looked like before I decided I should probably put things away for these pictures:


Library books, rug samples, plastic cash registers. Real, beautiful life.