One Bookshelf Three Ways

You might remember back in September when I shared our new living room bookshelf with you. The process of ordering the Sauder Barrister Lane bookcase and putting it together was a breeze. We love this bookshelf and I can’t tell you how many compliments I’ve received on both the piece of furniture and the placement of it in our living room.

But, if you’ve been around for any length of time, you probably know that I just can’t leave well enough alone. I love to rearrange furniture (our family room is currently a mess as I figure out another furniture layout for our sectional…), and this bookshelf was no exception. One Bookcase 3 Ways

[Read more...]

One Year Later House Tour: Breakfast Nook and Dresser as Dining Buffet

It’s kitchen season over here. 3 years ago at this time, I was just getting started on transforming our old builder grade kitchen into my dream kitchen (painted cabinets, Silestone Marengo countertops, DIY Subway Tile backsplash). And as soon as we wrap up Thomas’s birthday, I’m doing the same at our new house. Well, I’m starting on cabinet prep this week. I think B and I would both like to replace the countertops and we’d really love to install a single basin sink like we did at our last house, but our granite counters here, while not my favorite material (I’m a Quartz over granite girl any day), are fine so we’re going to keep them for the foreseeable future. But before we get to the kitchen redo, let’s talk about the breakfast nook.

IMG_9816

Since we moved in, I’ve been on the hunt for an old dresser to use as a buffet and storage in the bay window of our breakfast nook. I’ve hunted Craigslist, thrift stores, antique stores and garage sales for a year with no luck. We’ve had an ektorp bookcase we used in the basement at our old house in the bay window for the last six months as a place holder (mostly because once we moved it out of our dining room, we didn’t have another place for it and the bay window was open). And then, just last weekend, I was out for a run with Thomas (on his bike) and I spotted a dresser in a garage sale two blocks from our house that I thought would be perfect for my vision. It wasn’t old, but it had drawers and doors like I’d hoped and I loved the bead board character of it. And it was chippy enough thanks to living in a house with 3 kids for several few years to pass as older. And I figure after it lives in my house with 3 kids for many, it will look even chippier. It had a broken leg, which I knew we could fix, so it was $15. Done and dusted. Thomas and I sprinted home and sent B with my car to load it in – he was questioning my vision for sure, but he will be the first to tell you that he’s learned over the years to just let me work with my visions because they usually work out, and when they don’t, I figure something out.

IMG_9807

My instinct was to paint the dresser a bright color, but since it was already chippy white, I decided to move it into the kitchen and see how I felt about the white. And I’m really liking it – it’s easy on the eye and allows other colors to pop off of it – like the happy birthday banner that’s currently living on it because it’s birthday season here at imperfect.

 

IMG_9818

The buffet is currently acting as my coffee station – I couldn’t stand having the Keurig taking up my precious counter space, so I moved it to the buffet and it’s working perfectly. I held out on the Keurig for so long due to the cost of the pods and the fact that they aren’t recyclable, but my parents gave me this ‘lil guy for Christmas last year, and with a reusable, refillable cup, it’s super convenient. My reusuable Keurig cup and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee lives in the top drawer so everything’s close at hand. And post Whole30, I enjoy my coffee black, so I grab it straight from the Keurig and head straight to the back patio in the mornings before the kids are up to breathe in the cool morning air and have some me-time.

IMG_9812

I love how the breakfast nook is coming together. The DIY painted industrial pendant plays nicely with the wood and metal tones on the table and chairs, and with the buffet being white, it doesn’t compete for attention. I like an element of surprise in every room – whether it’s an antique piece in an otherwise new furniture room, or a pop of color amongst my normal white and gray and wood tones, I think having something that’s us but not expected helps to inject our personalities into each room, and makes the difference, for our family at least, between a house and our home.

IMG_9816

1 Year Later House Tour: Gallery Wall

In our house, there’s a long hallway at the back of the house – it takes you from the powder room, by the office on your right and living room on your left, through the family room and into the kitchen. And it’s the perfect place for a gallery wall.

I love our family gallery wall.  There are times when I’m tempted to make it more eclectic -  mix it up and add some barn board frames and a few funky elements. And someday I might. But for now, it makes a big statement, and the black frames help ground it for me.

IMG_9646

The gallery wall hasn’t changed much since we put it up – I’ve mixed in some different pictures but kept the layout the same. I try to keep our family wall current, while also representing our family at different phases of our lives. The pictures move in and out of the frames a lot.

IMG_9650

Our console table houses a drop basket for keys and wallets and sunglasses, a Christmas cactus that was grown from a clipping of my great-Grandmother’s Christmas cactus, library books (just because I can keep them all together there) and a big basket for snuggly blankets.

IMG_9644

It’s not a fancy, staged vignette, but it’s our real life, and it works for our family.

1 Year Later House Tour: Living Room

We’ve been in our house for a whole year. It’s flown by but at the same time SO much has happened here that it feels like home. I mentioned on Instagram this week that I thought we’d have done a lot more (ahem…paint those darn oak cabinets!) by the 1 year mark, but that we were kind of assuming that it would take a few months after I weaned Nell to get pregnant with #3 and we’d have a 3rd June birthday. But, turns out I didn’t need to wean Nell at all to get pregnant with #3 (I don’t think I’ve ever shared the story of the crazy week we found out Peter was on his way…I’ll do that someday. It’s a good tale.), so the 2013 summer of cabinet painting and neutralizing rooms with paint I had planned got put on the back-burner. Happily!

But, shortly after Peter was born, my mom was over one day and we decided to paint the Living Room. Well, one of us painted while the other bounced a colicky and refluxy Peter up and down for hours on end. One would wonder why we didn’t just wait on that. It was the second to last room to get painted in our house, but the first one you see when you walk through the door. Let’s take a look. Oh, but first, let me apologize for taking pictures at night. I have 3 children under the age of 4…the only time the house is the least bit tidy is at night when they are all tucked away sleeping soundly in their beds.

Here’s the view as you walk into our house. You walk into a long hallway that’s basically the living room on your right and our dining room is to your left. A formal living room was on my must-have list when we were searching for houses. At our old house, there was one snowy Easter when no one left because they all wanted to watch the Master’s and my mom and I ended up upstairs cleaning my bathrooms because the downstairs was totally monopolized by people intently watching golf, and there was no other place to escape to for chat. So a living room and a family room were on my must-have list. But I swore we wouldn’t treat it like a formal room that no one ever uses. We use this room daily.

IMG_9524

Standing at the stairs and looking back to the front of the house:

IMG_9514

I painted the back of my front door black a couple weeks ago. As I was standing in line to buy the paint, I told myself, “This is a terrible idea.” It was messy, and getting it to look brush stroke free was hard. And it still needs to be sanded and given a finishing coat if it’s going to stay – but I’m undecided. B came home and I was covered in black paint. He asked what I was painting and I kind of grimaced. I showed him the door, and he said, “What color was it before?” So I decided I didn’t need to immediately paint it white again, I have some time to think about it. All of our trim needs to be repainted, too. We’ll get there. Someday.

IMG_9517

A few months ago, we moved the slipcovered ottoman back downstairs from our bedroom. We’d had the kids play table serving as the coffee table, but I was over that look, and in a rearranging frenzy one day, I decided to kick the beloved big green chair to the play room and keep this room airy and light. And bring back my signature green ottoman. It made the space feel way more “us”:

IMG_9520

I moved the play table to the far wall. The play table is necessary.   We color there. We do preschool homework there (oh yes…preschool homework). We play restaurant there. Nell occasionally dances on the table there. Thomas frequently tells Nell that tables are not for dancing on there. It’s a circus, my friends. Oh, and I don’t worry at all about the compartments underneath being neat. Well, for awhile I tried, but then I decided it was a waste of time.

IMG_9528

My least favorite thing about our house has become one of my favorites. This arched cutout is not my thing. I like architectural features that mean something – not weird cutouts just for the sake of doing something different. But a lot of houses in our area have them. My hilarious sister-in-law calls them “Crap Catchers” – and that’s 100% what this ledge/cutout functions as. A crap catcher. From the moment we moved in, I’d been on the hunt for a giant old window to hang in this ridiculous space. I had to go into college rival enemy territory (Fort Collins) to find one, but find it I did. I gave it a quick coat of white paint with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint, and then it sat in our living room for months before I finally coerced B to hang it right after Christmas. And I love it.

IMG_9529

My old window is fun – I like that it adds history to an otherwise meh architectural feature. Whose history? No clue…but it had a history in a house in a town that B and I will not pay for college educations in. Unless the kids want to be veterinarians. Then we’ll discuss a Colorado State education. I digress. I will say, the crap catcher is fun to decorate for holidays – and my window just adds to the fun. I love to hang happy garland from it. This garland was put up to celebrate B finishing his Master’s degrees but staying up to celebrate summer and the two kids birthdays that are quickly approaching, and you better believe I’ve got something patriotic in mind as soon as the June birthdays are over. I can’t wait to deck that window out at Christmas. But, lest you think that hanging a window prevented me from using this as a crap catcher, think again. It loves to hold outlet covers when I’m painting (and paint cans and water bottles and a host of other crap). And Thomas’s lego creations. And I frequently lose my sunglasses and phone to the crap catcher.

IMG_9501

So, that’s our living room as it stands today. I’d love to switch out the curtains and replace the leaning bookshelf with something more in line with our “urban cottage” vibe, and that will all happen in good time. But for now, it’s a fun, casual space. Not the least bit formal. And it’s my favorite place to hang with Peter in the early morning  with the windows open, just having coffee talk with my baby boy.

Master Bedroom: New Bedding and Curtains

How’s that for a creative post title? Killing it. We’re coming up on our 1 year anniversary of living in this house, and so I’m trying to get progress photos taken in every room…so get ready for small updates on the house  and a house tour of sorts over the next few weeks.

When we moved into our house last June, the master bedroom had yellowed-by-the-sun faux wood blinds, white frilly sheers and plastic hardware including curtain tiebacks. Works for some styles, but not mine. We took the curtains down immediately and eventually removed the hardware before we had the room painted last November. The blinds are still up there while I decide what I want in their place (I’m leaning towards bamboo for the texture).

IMG_9442

For my birthday, I asked for new sheets for our bed and new shams. I loved the shams, and was getting tired of the quilt (still love it, but like the option to change it up), so when the duvet cover that matched the shams went on sale, I waited for a free shipping day and ordered it. I also bought long navy blue curtain panels (at IKEA) and new hardware and B hung those a few weeks ago…and our master bedroom changed dramatically with those two changes. I also bought some new, graphic lampshades for our existing lamps and moved the white drum shades to my green living room lamps that were in need of new shades. Just little, pretty inexpensive overall, tweaks. I have an evolving vision for this room – eventually I’d like to go away from our matching dresser and bedside tables. They were some of the first things we purchased for our last home before we really had a keen sense of what our style is – and it turns out our style is a little more eclectic than matched furniture sets – I’ve always called our style “Urban Cottage” and I think that’s still on the money. And that boxspring needs a tailored bedskirt on it as opposed to a cheap sheet, but we’ll get there.

IMG_9436

IMG_9434

So that’s where we are for now. I’m still hunting for a navy accent pillow to anchor the bed and the bedskirt, and the furniture is absolutely fine so if we find something more our style, great, if not, oh well. It will continue to evolve, but that’s where our bedroom stands almost one year in. Here’s a peak at it on move-in day.

Peter’s Nursery: Gray, Blue and Rugby Stripes

You all saw the blank slate nursery that was ready for #3 to be born so we could personalize it based on the baby and their personality. I had no real clue what to do with the room if Peter was a girl, though I’m sure I would have figured it out, but I was ready to run with a boy nursery plan when Peter was born. It’s mostly done now…I have a few projects to finish up, but I figured I’d share it now and share updates later.

IMG_9386

Peter’s nursery is very similar in shape to the nursery at our last house (here as a nursery for Thomas, here as a nursery for Nell), it’s just about 21 square feet bigger and has a wall in front of you when you enter, so we kept the furniture layout pretty similar because we knew it worked. Crib on the far wall, changing table on the opposite wall, chair floating in front of the big window.

IMG_9366

The bookcases we bought to flank the crib in Thomas’s nursery are some of my favorite things in the house. I adore them. But I wasn’t feeling the same layout for them, so I chose to just install one on the wall as you walk into the room. I’m planning to add a giant P for Peter above it soon, but taking three kids to Hobby Lobby is torture. If they don’t have a cart that fits at least a car seat and a toddler, I’m not going there anytime soon. That’s why Costco and I are so close these days. And you guys know I’m frugal – if I can make it myself, why pay major markup for something? But I’m tempted to just order the giant Pottery Barn P already painted navy blue and call it a day…sometimes $60 is worth your sanity, right? I digress.

IMG_9369

Peter’s crib is the same one that Thomas slept in. Thomas likes to tell Peter that a few times a day. “Your crib used to be my crib Peter. It was never Nell’s crib.” Siblings, man. Pete got his own crib sheets though. 3rd baby has to have a few things that are just theirs.

IMG_9371

We moved the IKEA Jenny Lund chair from Nell’s room to Peter’s room before his arrival, but I bought the pouf for an ottoman the week after he was born when it was on sale at Target, and I’m smitten with it. My mom made Peter a gray and white strip quilt just as she did for Tom and Nell.

IMG_9382

My absolute favorite piece of furniture I own is that $30 vintage dresser I found on Craigslist when I was pregnant with Thomas. It’s been the perfect changing table for all three of our kiddos, and I always remember putting Casco in my little red bug and racing to South Denver to pick it up after work one day. I’ve realized that I like at least one piece of old furniture in every room. Not beautiful, ornate antiques…I’m not fancy enough for that. Farmhouse style, simple, sturdy antiques. That dresser will always have a place in any home I live in, hear me now. I’m looking for a small scale, industrial-esque shelving unit to go above the dresser. I know exactly what it looks like in my head, just haven’t been able to find it in reality yet.

IMG_9384

The whale changing pad was just fun, so I bought it. It’s from the same collection of sheets that he has and was his baby gift from my parents, but I like that they’re not matchy-matchy…just coordinated.

IMG_9375

And although I love everything in the room, I think the rugby stripe curtains make it. Caroline and I made them when Peter was one week old. Because we had nothing better to do with our time. We cut a king size duvet in half and hemmed the edges. Peter’s window has a shade that pulls down that darkens the room, so we didn’t bother blackout lining the curtains, but I can always add blackout liner later if needed.

So that’s Peter’s nursery. It’s come along way from the bright blue make-shift guest room it was when we moved into the house 11 months ago.

Sources:

Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Gray Owl color matched in Behr paint

Bookshelves: Target circa 2010 (but knock-offs of these Pottery Barn shelves that are still available)

Crib: JCPenney 4 years ago

Sheets and Changing Pad Cover: Land of Nod

Crib Skirt: Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available

Chair: IKEA Jenny Lund

Ottoman: Target

Rugby Stripe Curtains: DIY from king size duvet cover (available at Target)

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:

Bed

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:

bookshelf

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.