25 March 2011

A Painted House?

I love me some painted brick and when my mom decided that she was going to have her house painted I was all over it!  She asked me to help pick some colors and my vision was a creamy white with sage shutters and a red door.  The tricky thing about colors is that one person's sage is another's cucumber.  The whole paint job was done in only days and now I am wishing that we would have slowed down, taken a deep breath and followed the steps I always follow when working on a project.  So now that the house is painted and we've decided that, although it looks a million times better, something is still amiss.  Lesson learned, now we gather inspiration.  Here are some of my favorite painted houses in the area.


23 March 2011

Kitchen Update

Remember how I said I was going to do five posts in five days?  I lied.  In the midst of the inspiration surge last week, I had my first dress fitting and our engagement session with the photographer.  All of the wedding buzz (aka stress) killed my motivation and drive to be inspired. 
In other news, we have officially ordered the cabinets for mama's kitchen.  Here is an update on what we have so far...

This was the preliminary floorplan I put together in an advanced design program called Microsoft Paint.  This rendition is extremely hi-tech so please let me know if I need to explain.
After lots of changes and new developments, including moving the ugly old hot water heater out of the kitchen (located bottom left in above picture) and deciding that a stove next to a desk wasn't a good idea and then deciding that the refrigerator didn't work there either, we came up with this...
Pretty much exactly the same as the original plan, which is crazy to think because we changed it 52 times in between and came full circle! We had some dilemma with the entry because we wanted ample space to come through the [hobbit hole] door in her kitchen. We opted for an 18" dishwasher because it's just my mom and it helped free up space. We initially had the dishwasher on the other side but it made for a very congested corner with the range there too. We tried putting the refrigerator where the range is, but it made the corner cabinets difficult to access and aesthetically it just wasn't right. We also worried that it might interfere with light coming in that large window. Next, we were going to use Martha Stewart legs and a dropped down desk under the window, until we found out that the legs were more than $500. No thanks. We will find another option for this and already have quite a few ideas.  For the two large sections of lower cabinets, we chose the large 'pots & pans' drawers. They are so much more practical than cabinets and perfect for my mom. We decided to minimize the upper cabinets because the kitchen is already petite and we wanted it to feel as open as possible, especially near the doorways. So above is the final floor plan (done to scale with fancy Home Depot software). There will be some open shelves not shown, but otherwise, this is it! So exciting!! The open space under the window is where her computer desk/workspace will go. We have not decided if we want to purchase a desk or just buy legs and have a dropped down counter top there.

The cabinets she chose are Martha Stewart's Ox Hill in Sharkey Gray, shown here:

That Martha, she sure knows how to make a kitchen real nice like.  We decided on white Staron solid surface counter tops.  The hardware, flooring and other details are still somewhat undecided, but we are definitely making progress.

16 March 2011

Inspiration from The [Other] Queen City

As a Cincinnati, Ohio semi-native, it is the only Queen City as far as I'm concerned, but because nearby Charlotte, NC was named after Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen consort of the United Kingdom, and because it's kinda neat, I will allow it to enter my repetoire as the other Queen City.  It's a place I like to go to get away from it all, boasting fabulous food and shopping, Charlotte is quickly becoming my Queen City substitute for when I am sick for home.
Last week, we made our monthly sojourn up highway 77 to discover what that fair city might have to offer this time around.  Here is some inspiration I gathered from the trip...

While at Restoration Hardware Home, these groups of white books caught my eye.  Upon further investigation, I discovered they were covered in standard canvas fabric.  Love this idea!

These lovely little book bundles are simply stacks of old paperbacks with the covers ripped off and string tied around them.

Beautiful teas and cheeses at Dean & Deluca. 

At Anthropologie, I was lovin' these Dr. Seuss-ish light fixtures.  Turns out, they are paper bags painted and tucked into one another. 

I love this decoupaged print lampshade.  Not a novel idea, but still a good one that I plan on duplicating.

15 March 2011

Doing the Laundry

I am bursting with ideas and inspiration.  I'm not sure if it's the warm weather or the blooms abound, but there is so much I want to do and say and not nearly enough time for it all.  And so without wasting another minute, today begins my five posts in five days. 
This weekend my roommate (fiance) and I cleaned out the storage area in our carport.  We call it the "shed" (said with a rough Southern accent) and from hereon I will refer to it only as the shed and from this point forward when the word shed is read it should be read with a deep, raspy Southern accent.  And so we cleaned out the shed, which looked like we had  been opening the door and chucking stuff in for months, even years.  We pulled everything out, bought a wire shelf from the Home Depot, loaded (almost) everything back in and it's like a brand new shed.  I could kick myself for not taking a Before and After as part of my Spring Cleaning Initiative, but it was ugly before and it's not that pretty after, so use your imagination. 
Anyway, cleaning out the shed will enable us to relocate some of the junk cluttering the inside of our house.  The laundry room is first on that list.  We began the Laundry Beautification Act as part of the Spring Cleaning Initiative two weeks ago when I spotted these lovely Hyacinth baskets that I decided would be pleasing alternatives to the plastic baskets that have been in use since I was fifteen.  Then this Saturday, we trekked on over to our local Sherwin-Williams store and bought some paint samples.  We found a lovely, sunny yellow aptly named, "Lily."  It was spot on what I had in mind: clean, happy, pure.  I plan on covering the small section of cabinets in wallpaper once I find the right stuff.  I was thinking red toile, but I will most likely change my mind at least seventy-nine times before I actually make a decision. 
And so for now, I need inspiration.  The devil is in the details and I am on the hunt for ideas.

Apartment Therapy

Country Living


Designer's Attic


Source Unknown

Brabourne Farm

The Washington Post

Country Living

Country Living

14 March 2011

Step 2: Discovering Your Style

An important part of decorating your home, whether it be on your own or with the help of a designer, is to try to narrow down your personal style.  It may sound easy, but most people spend decades uncovering and refining their aesthetic.  Looking at a magazine and saying I like that, that, and that is simple, but it's quite another thing to look at a picture of a room you like and ask yourself, "Is this how I want to live 365 days a year?" 
My mom has been gathering inspiration for years and it was exciting for me to sift through all of her collected photos and clippings.  As far as style goes, the apple didn't fall too far from the tree.  It's no surprise that much of my own style was heavily influenced by my mamas and shuffling through her inspiration was a lesson on both hers and my own personal style.  Although we like many of the same things, there were quite a few pictures that I would not have chosen on my own.  Where I like funky, my mom opts for preppy.  Where I like rustic and industrial, she prefers quaint and coastal.   I have gathered an assortment of photos that I felt best described my mom's "style."   I don't know where all of them came from, so I apologize in advance.

Better Homes & Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens

Cottage Living

Cottage Living

Cottage Living

Domino Magazine