Archive for ‘Interior’

September 19, 2014

Exciting Things

There’s something very exciting coming up for the House on Penny Lane. Are you excited? No? Not yet? Well, I can be excited for the rest of us.

At the end of this year, we’re getting a new sofa! A sectional to be exact…

Our IKEA sofa has served us well during the last seven years. It was our first big purchase together and, for each of us, our first real grown up sofa. But lately, we have begun to outgrow it. We’re hosting more and more get-togethers at our house while also spending more and more time stretched out/cuddled up just the two of us. And we just need more room.

And lucky for us, our living room can handle it. It’s kind of huge. Check out my sweet rendering. It’s like looking at my house through a Simpson’s episode.

 

And I never miss a chance for a mood board. This thing makes me giddy. Especially because the majority of the items pictured are ones I already own. This, by the way, is an update to a mood board from way back in 2010. We were just young chicks then, so it’s interesting to see how our tastes have grown in the last few years.

 

 

1.     Our wonderful wood floors. I still dig the high contrast between them and our walls.

2.     With the addition of a larger sofa, we will also need a larger area rug. Our current rug is a $170 8’x10′ shag rug we found at Home Depot. Such a steal and hides stains amazingly well. The new rug is actually made up of carpet tiles, so if one gets stained, I can just remove and replace it with a fresh tile. I’ve also heard the tiles are way easier to clean than a regular rug, so let’s hope any stains that do pop up can be taken care of quickly.

3.     My $30 a piece Craigslist chairs. I recovered them just last year, so they’re not going anywhere any time soon.

4.     Our 70s coffee table. Another awesome Craigslist find.

5.     THE SOFA. I am so excited by this. Pretend this picture is of a sectional with a chaise instead of an ‘L’ shaped sofa. I chose a fitted back to avoid the inevitable slouchy back cushions. The fabric will be a microfiber velvet in a very dark, almost black, charcoal.

6.     Our sofa table. It came from CB2, but is unfortunately no longer available.

7.     Our favorite IKEA Besta media cabinet.

8.     Our vintage walnut lamps. I am so glad these are not glass or ceramic. They would have been broken a long time ago. *Cough* cats *cough*

9.    My Valentine’s Day Fiddle Leaf Fig.

10.   Our current accent pillows, throw, and our Franco Albini Ottoman.

11.    With the new sofa, I should be receiving some throw pillows in the fabric of my choosing. So here’s my choosing! Kind of an Ikat print with cream, charcoal, linen, plum, and cranberry colors. It’s super pretty and this pic doesn’t do it justice.

12.   Think I can talk Rob into some light colored faux fur throw pillows? I hope so. We’ve got a lot of sofa to cover.

13.   I think a nicely colored Persian style rug would be beautiful layered over our future area rug. This will take some obsessing, hunting, and deliberation, so don’t expect to see this placeholder filled for some time.

 

So what’s been a recent exciting addition to your home? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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September 6, 2014

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

Hopefully there are people still out there who are willing to listen to my ramblings. Blogging consistently is challenging and I’ve just lacked the energy and inspiration to continue. Luckily, I do have some new and exciting things coming up for the House on Penny Lane. I’ll fill you in a bit more on that later. For now, I want to show off a quick and easy redo of our guest bathroom.

The guest bathroom was one of our first rooms to “complete” when we first moved into the house, mainly because it had the most bewildering decor of the entire house. Picture, if you will, matching wallpaper and window treatments featuring ladies’ hats and handbags in a lovely checkerboard pattern made of blue striped ribbon. Yes.

We removed the wallpaper and window treatments, painted and retiled the floor. The improvements felt like a breath of fresh air, but have recently revealed themselves to be merely an offering of a blank slate. While the rest of our home filled itself with texture and character, our guest bathroom sat blank and empty. It was time to add some life.

As a reminder of what the room looked like before, here are some phone pics I took of the space while contemplating my next steps.

      

Here’s the updated look.

My first step was switching around some art. Sometimes I love placing small pieces of art on walls that should really have large pieces, just because it’s unexpected. But the piece above the toilet just made the rest of the room feel so expansive, which only added to the empty, blank slate feeling in the space. So I moved the piece to the wall next to the door and added a larger piece of art above the toilet.

I would have loved to do something with the mirror and the light fixture, but I just didn’t have the budget to allow for those changes. Maybe further down the road. Right now, we’re just talking cheap improvements that make a big impact.

The next step was adding texture. This bathroom is used most by visitors that are only staying for a couple hours. So I really wanted to make the bathroom feel like an extension of the living room, not just the room that visitors would spread out their hygiene products in order to get ready in the morning.  So I added a runner to make the room feel less bathroom-y. It also added warmth and texture to an otherwise cold space.

Next was filling up all that counter space. I found the round basket at Home Goods on clearance for $5. I filled it up with toiletries that may be needed by overnight guests. Things like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. The Himalayan salt votive and marble tray also came from Home Goods. The hand towel and picture frame came from World Market and the soap dispenser came from Target. The floral stems came from Hobby Lobby. I’ve been on a faux floral kick lately and I recently realized how nicely the forms can fill a space, even if they’re not real. I’m no longer above having fake flowers, as long as they’re reasonably realistic looking and arranged well. The large vase, art, and other small pieces were items I already owned, but had no home for.

I’m planning on adding a DIY curtain for the window, but just couldn’t wait to share what’s finally happening over at our place.

Altogether, I spent about $60 on this space. I’d say it was money well spent.

Oh, I forgot to mention… we added framed picture of Polly because we consider this room hers. She loves drinking water out of the leaky faucet. I have proof.

September 2, 2013

Where’s My Fork?

‘Cause I’m done with my headboard wall.

Too bad the photo doesn’t do it justice. In real life, the drapes are so tall and the headboard is so low. It’s an elegant combination.

I had been searching for drapes for this space since April. I debated my color and pattern options, but I knew I wanted a 96″ length and back-tabs. Unfortunately, It seemed nearly impossible to find 96″ tall back-tab panels in a brick and mortar store in Oklahoma City. As always, I inevitably found myself looking through the many IKEA options.

I am a huge fan of the Aina unbleached linen drapes that are hanging in the dining room…

But I worried the linen color of the drapes might clash with the linen-ish color of the master bedroom walls (Sherwin Williams Balanced Beige). Just imagine if the drapes had a more pink undertone than the walls… I couldn’t live with myself!

I fully intended on taking down one of the dining room panels and comparing it to the wall, but I unexpectedly found myself 30 minutes away from an IKEA before managing to do so. No big deal, I could easily find another place to hang beautiful linen drapes, yes?

Obviously, I’ve ruined the suspense by putting the image front and center on this post, but imagine how thrilled I was, 500 miles later, to find the drapes to be almost an exact match to my walls. You can’t write this stuff!

So the master bedroom headboard wall is complete… save for a brass bird adjustment and ever-evolving nightstand styling.

By the way, that makes for 4 different IKEAs that I have visited – Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, and Centennial. I’m tied with Rob, but he has me beat by distance with a visit to a Russian IKEA. How many IKEAs have you been to? Let me know in the comments below!

June 2, 2013

Troublesome

My troublesome master bedroom was requiring some ‘Frasier’ inspiration. I had furniture I loved and pretty bedding to go with it, but it still wasn’t working for me. After much deliberation, I realized my biggest problem was how I was treating the lines of the headboard. With the overall height of the headboard at only 26″, it was even more difficult to accessorize.

So I took a cue from Emily Henderson on how to style my nightstands. The most important step? Lighting. I had originally considered the usual table lamp, but with an only 11″ tall headboard and no great way of corralling electrical cords, I decided against them. Instead, I installed sconces centered above the headboard for easy reach.

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The sconces functioned well, but having them centered just above the headboard really disrupted its low, elegant, albeit challenging, line. And don’t get me started on the Euro shams. If my goal is keep that continuous line, I was majorly failing. So I started entertaining other options for nightstand lighting.

I really loved the idea of hanging pendants centered above the nightstand, a la The Brick House:

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image courtesy of the brick house

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I bought vintage pendants that were originally a mono-point hardwired fixture and rewired them to be two separate plug-in swag pendants.

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But when I test hung them in our bedroom for placement, I decided they were totally off. The combination of the teak bed with the brass birds and the swag pendants was far too Bohemian for my taste. Much more like Frasier’s free-spirited one-time girlfriend, Caitlin, than Frasier himself.

Finally, I put my Frasier hat on. What would Frasier do? I obviously couldn’t do table lamps, sconces, or pendants. The only thing left was a floor lamp, which would need to be able to reach at least Rob’s side of the bed, considering he used the wall sconces the most. So, I started looking for a classically shaped floor lamp and found this beauty at a local vintage shop for a great price.

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It may not be the Arco floor lamp, but it very well may be as close as I will get to one. So here it is in my space.

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And here’s my sort-of-styled nightstand.

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Where do you draw inspiration from? Do you have a troublesome room that has taken some time to complete?

April 9, 2013

Insta Decor

If you’ve been paying attention to my instagrams (I’ve magically included a feed at the sidebar), you’ll have noticed some new master bedding. Our bedroom is nowhere near finished, but the improvement is definitely worth noting.

I purchased the euro shams during my first ever Home Goods visit in California. The fur throw was also from an inaugural visit to World Market (both stores, by the way, are everything everyone says they are). Once home, I found the duvet cover at Target. I love it all.

 

 

February 2, 2013

Kitchen Improvement Baby Steps, Part 2

I promised a full post wrapping up my first baby step to improving the kitchen, so here goes. Let’s start with the Befores.

Kitchen 2011

Kitchen 2011

Kitchen 2011

These pictures were taken in 2011, but not all that much had changed before this past November, including my choice of pajamas. At this point, I was unhappy with practically every surface in the kitchen, but I knew I couldn’t afford any upgrades anytime soon… if ever. So, instead, I started thinking about ways I could improve the feel of the space without putting too much money into it. I came up with a plan, starting with addressing the items I disliked the most about the space.

1. The upper cabinets above the peninsula. I despised them. They got in the way of many conversations being had. I wanted to tear them down, but that meant patching the surfaces beyond. I had to be prepared for whatever state they may be in. I’ve had experience patching gypsum and texturing walls, so I felt confident I could fix whatever happened to the ceiling in the process. The wall, not so much. The backsplash tiles were cut around the upper cabinet, so if I took the cabinet off, the raw edges of the tile would be exposed. I do not have experience in tiling, so I did not feel good about that. Luckily, I had an idea. I designed a wood trim piece to cover the cut tiles and had a friend build it for me. I then painted it and liquid nailed it to the wall. You can see the down and dirty pictures here at my previous post on this subject.

Kitchen Progress

2. The dark and creepy window nook. I loved this window space when we first looked at the house. I thought it could be a cheerful space to grow herbs and other plants. Instead, it became a black hole that constantly felt empty, yet overcrowded. After staring at pretty kitchen windows on blogs, then at mine, I realized a curtain was the first step, and I could make it myself. But first, I painted the window frame to match my tile trim. Painting the trim white helped to brighten up the area and made it feel much cleaner than the old, worn stained frame did. I then got to constructing my curtain. I found a pretty simple tutorial here that is so easy I was able to start and finish the project in an evening. I then took the “less is more” approach to accessorizing the nook by removing everything I didn’t love. I was left with a knife block, a couple plants, three glass canisters (which each hold flour sack towels, dish detergent and fresh light bulbs) and a frosted mustard bowl to tie in my accent color.

Kitchen Curtain

3. Lack of interesting and cohesive accessories. What accessories I had were merely parts that did not add up to a cohesive look. Accessorizing is not my strong point, so I experimented with my accent color in various patterns. I mixed the geometric curtain with striped tea towels and a southwest style rug. Mustard colored bowls, a print with bits of yellow and produce helped add fresh color to the space.

Kitchen Accessories

4. The furniture in the space doesn’t accomodate the activities that take place there. Sure, a dinette table belongs in a dinette, but what if the dinette table only gets used as a mail sorter and a coat rack? The table just took up space and made it difficult to vacuum. What I noticed most was that guests preferred to stand close to the peninsula to watch whatever activities were happening in the kitchen. So how about some stools?

Kitchen Stools

Ok, enough ‘splainin’. Let’s get to the Afters!

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Baby step one is done. My plan, now, is to live with this progress a while and decide if anymore steps should be taken. At this point, those steps are painting the upper cabinets or painting all of the cabinets. We’ll see!

December 30, 2012

Kitchen Improvement Baby Steps, Part 1

Over the holidays, my focus has been on improving our kitchen. Even at its best, it has been strangely cavernous yet very bright. It lacked any interesting characteristics to warrant it being the heart of the home and where we would often find guest congregating during parties. I attempted, many times over, to rearrange countertop accessories to improve the interest, but it was never enough. We didn’t have the money for a complete kitchen renovation, so I came up with some baby steps in hopes that I would find a comfort zone somewhere in the middle.

Kitchen Before

Many times, I would find myself prepping food inside the kitchen and ducking to be able to chat with friends on the other side of the peninsula. So step one became tearing down the cabinets above the peninsula. It was a bit of a scary step to take, like stepping off a cliff, because we weren’t sure what kind of surfaces we would find behind the cabinets. Would we have to patch large areas of the ceiling with sheetrock? Would we have to patch the tile backsplash? These lingering questions became the reason why we waited so long to take this first step, but finally, I had had enough. The day after Thanksgiving, Rob and I tore that sucker down.

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

We were left with some surprising and not-so-surprising surfaces. Not-so-surprising were the tile edges cut around the now non-existent cabinet and the once hidden wall texture that was now exposed and out of place next to the remaining texture-less walls. The tile would either have to be patched or covered in some way so that the rough edges would not be exposed. The textured wall would either have to be sanded down or the remaining walls would have to be textured to match. The surprising was the already textured ceiling that required very little additional patching to blend with the exposed ceiling.

And then the real work began. I decided to go ahead and texture all of the walls in the kitchen because the flat walls felt cold and out of place with the rest of the house. I then primed and painted both the walls and the ceiling with Sherwin Williams Shoji White in a flat finish. I had a little wood ledge made to cover the cut tile pieces. I originally tried staining it, but couldn’t get the stain color dark enough. I also realized I didn’t want a dark brown stripe that was the trim seemingly hanging in space. Another reason I decided against staining the trim was because the next kitchen improvement baby steps would involve painting the upper cabinets white. So why stain the trim only to paint it later on?

Kitchen Progress

Kitchen Progress

Oh, we also replaced the outlet and switch covers and re-caulked the counter.  It’s amazing what a difference those small changes can make. The final item to complete before wrapping up baby step one is accessorizing – a big step all on its own. I created a quick mood board for the kitchen.

Kitchen Mood Board

The easiest way to unify a space is through color. I already had several yellow items in the kitchen, so it only seemed natural to continue with that theme. The rug was a Christmas gift from Rob. I’ll also make a curtain with white and yellow print fabric, frame and hang a print, and replace our kitchenette table and chairs with bar stools (the brass pull is for future baby steps).

Jin on the Kitchen Rug

Jin is already enjoying the new rug.

November 10, 2012

Well, this is embarrassing…

Let me preface this by saying, we are not lighting novices. We have replaced our fair share of light fixtures – from interior to exterior, from the laundry room to the office, we have replaced almost every light fixture in our house. But something just wasn’t working in our guest bedroom.

About a year ago, the IKEA fixture in our guest bedroom went out. Initially thinking the bulb had burned out, I replaced it. But with a replacement bulb, the fixture still was not working. Not wanting to spend money or make a trip to IKEA, we spent a couple dollars on new wiring and re-wired the fixture. Still no worky.

So our guest bedroom sat in the dark for a year until we were able to get our hands on a new IKEA fixture (I have no shame for how much I love IKEA, deal with it).

I love the paper lantern hanging over our dining table, so the Vate fixture was an easy decision for me. I felt especially confident in my choice after Morgan of The Brick House pinned the Vate fixture for nursery lighting (our guest bedroom will likely be a nursery someday and I have not held myself back from decorating it accordingly).

OK, back to my embarrassment. In a rush to host a gathering this week, we spent an evening wiring up the new light fixture. As most IKEA products go, the instructions were a little vague. Not a good combination with… ELECTRICITY. Using our knowledge of wiring, we hook everything up and flip the breaker. Nothing…

Reluctantly, we switch our wiring thinking the unclear IKEA wiring was our previous mistake. Still nothing…

We check all wiring with our multimeter – the house wiring, the fixture wiring. We call Rob’s dad for additional ideas. “Of course you’ve checked your bulb…”
Of course. What do you think we are? Idiots? That’s the first thing we did a year ago – replaced the supposedly burned out bulb with… Oh.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Save yourself from embarrassment – throw out your burned out bulbs lest you want to mistake an oldie for a newby and spend a year in an unlit room.

On the bright side (I’m punny), we have a new guest bedroom light fixture and boy, is it dramatic.

 

Proof it works…

 

September 3, 2012

Art, etc.

It’s funny the places art can be found.

Last Friday, my work had an office-wide summer cleaning session. No room was off limits and every corner was purged. Two hours in, a portion of a beautiful wood column was removed from the conference room and left in the building corridor as trash. I quickly marked it as not trash as I knew exactly where in my house it belonged.

August 7, 2012

Antiquing, etc.

Catching up on all the small changes that have happened at the house on Penny Lane.

You may remember my fluff post back in June about hanging part of a set of birds in the master bathroom. The other part hung un-remarkably in our bar area for a couple of months before it found its proper home above the master bed.