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