Jul 30, 2012

Master Bedroom Paint Plans

Ok, I promise - I'm going to ante-up the frequency this week.  :)  I'm officially unpacked, minus the garage (which doesn't really count as my turf, right?).  I have so many ideas swarming inside my head, it's about to pop.  I want to do it all RIGHT NOW, but the budget doesn't meet the will, so we'll spread projects out for a good while.  Like my wise husband says, "We're going to be here for 4 years, so take your time."  I'm not so good at that though...

I visited our local Benjamin Moore paint store this afternoon and picked up a paint deck.  Few people are as excited as I am when I get a paint deck in hand.  To me, it's like a rainbow of inspiration...know what I mean???  I'm new to the Benjamin Moore brand, but I always see it featured and referred by designers/decorators in shelter magazine so I figure it's worth a go.

Here's what I'm thinking for this blank canvas of a master space... (keep in mind, minimal budget and no permanent changes allowed)

My paint plan?  Operation Accent Wall.  My target?  The wall the headboard will sit on - the right wall above.

My key color restraint?  Our bedding - a duvet and shams in the Simone fabric from Pottery Barn.  I bought it a couple years ago and I still think it's classically beautiful.  It was a splurge, so it's worth a re-use in this house.  Here's a swatch of it...

My other restraint?  I'm keeping our bedroom furniture that I put some new knobs on a few months ago for a quick pick-me-up.  This furniture was a major investment we made after we got married, and while it looks a little country with a distressed cream-colored finish, the new knobs freshen it up quite a bit.

I'll use our other relatively-neutral, already existing accessories as much as possible - i.e. sunburst mirror, acrylic lamp bases (new shades though!), an eclectic collection of throw pillows, and my turquoise chinoiserie-style bench.  I'll save those for the future reveal...

Based on the fabric and furniture, here's my accent wall color inspiration story:

Strong start here - an iPhone pic.  From HGTV magazine's Jun/Jul 2012 issue, Benjamin Moore's "Iron Gate (1545)" shade inspired me to use what I call "otter gray" - somewhat gray, somewhat taupe, somewhat purple, and somewhat brown - all combined into the perfectly rich, but neutral shade.
It's beautiful how subtly bold it is and how it makes anything hung on the wall come alive.  Plus, it appears to look great with white furniture/trim.

The most perfect raisin color...warm but not too brown.
 via SmallShop

Again, look how the artwork radiates and how pretty the coral hues look with it...
via BHG

This gorgeous shade (much like the above color) is "Mountain Ridge (1456)" from Benjamin Moore - however, it's not in their current paint deck.  I'm sure they could mix it up for me though...

This current Benjamin Moore shade - "Smoked Oyster (2109-40)" - is a tad lighter but I believe it will look like the above shade up on a wall.  Plus it has a very north-easterly name...maybe only "Nantucket Fog" would be better.

What are your thoughts?  Is Smoked Oyster a "go" or "no-go" with the Simone fabric...

While the other walls will remain white, I think the accent wall will make the room more inviting and sophisticated.  Please let me know what your thoughts are.  I'm open to other color recommendations, but need it to be somewhat "neutral".  Thanks for your input and have a happy week!  (BTW...it's so good to be back)

Jul 24, 2012

Some (New) Pillow Talk

Long time no see!  Sorry it's been so darn long since my last post - moving cross-country has been a bit more time consuming than I thought it would be.  No rest for the weary...we were in Colorado visiting family and friends for a week, then in DC for me to work my 2-week annual tour (I'm an Air Force Reservist), and then a weekend in Baltimore with friends, and finally up to Boston as of last Sunday!  We won't be in our home until this Friday, but once we get in you'll be hard pressed to not hear a lot more from me.  I'm so excited to get in and DECORATE!!!

Since I don't have any of my home goods around and I'm in the process of brainstorming on where furniture should go and what colors I want to use, I've been referencing my stockpile of digital photos so I can still make the most of planning during this interim time.  Today I stopped by West Elm - I finally have one close to me and I'm super stoked about it.  I spent some time time in the sale section and found a great outdoor pillow to add to my living room decor to shush it up a bit.

I love that this West Elm Outdoor Sunset Pillow ($20) is made of durable waterproof fabric - a.k.a. stain-resistant (for a 2-year-old) fabric.  It's not available online anymore, but they have them in stores still.

I'm thinking I'll tone down the red accents just a tad in the living room and have more fun with yellow, grey, and orange. I guess I've been heading that way for a while now...  Here's the pic of our old living room in Portland OR:

I also found some great tea towels at West Elm, that I plan to make a pillow (or two) out of.  A DIY project in the making...so stay tuned.

These West Elm Rainbow Tea Towels ($9) have gray, yellow, and a reddish orange - the red is more "orange-y" in person.  I think they'll look so cute on my couch (see below).

Both the new sunset pillow and (future) tea-towel pillow/s will be great to add into the pillow rotation on my new-ish couch and/or chairs.  Here are the couch and chairs in our old home:

What do you think?  Do you like where this decor plan is headed???  I have several more West Elm crushes that I'd like to add to my new space, to include a side table, some curtains, and a lamp.  More on that to come - probably in a design board or two....  Thanks for your input as we venture through this redecorating process and thanks for sticking with me despite the few posts over the past few weeks!

Jul 16, 2012

Red Doors, Cacti, and Stair Veneers

The title of this post sounds like a surreal Alice and Wonderland-like dream, but really it's a description of three little vignettes that have inspired me during my stay in what the locals call "Old Town" Alexandria, Virginia over the past week.  "Old Town" is the cutest little place in the midst of the crazy Washington D.C. hustle and bustle.  A must visit, if you're ever in the D.C. metro!  

I snapped the iPhone pics below while walking around in my off time so the quality isn't fab, but the design certainly is!

First, we have the most beautiful lacquered doors I've ever seen.  It doesn't hurt that the home owners selected the most perfect shade of red...

I actually LOVE gold hardware after seeing this picture.  And that's a tough tide to turn for me...

Next, we have the coolest little DIY fabric cactus plants I saw in the Old Town Alexandria Anthropologie.  Are these not totally adorable?

They're made out of green linen fabric, stuffed with batting, and then little toothpicks are stuck in a few of them for the full-on pokey effect.  Totally something to make and set on a window sill for some cheeky fun.  As if a real cactus plant could get any easier to care for...

Finally, the stair veneer (or, that's what I'm calling it) running upstairs to the dressing rooms in the Old Town Alexandria Anthropologie.

I'm not quite certain how it was engineered - I wish I had gotten down on my hands and knees to further investigate.  It would be tough to recreate by hand but definitely manageable if done on a small 2-3 step stoop (versus 2 flights of stairs...).  The random black "piano" striping makes it all the better, if I do say so myself.

Anyone else lovin' these finds?  If you had to pick one, which inspires you the most: 1) slick candy apple red doors, 2) faux cacti, or 3) striped stairs?

Jul 12, 2012

Inspiring Designers - The Brooklyn Home Co.

I came across these cool cats while flipping through magazines the other night...The Brooklyn Home Company, based out of Brooklyn, NY of course!  They're a team of true innovators, designers, and artisans who have collectively created a beautiful design aesthetic that's earthy yet refined in the most perfect way.

What first peaked my interest in this design team was this fabulously simple, white, clean, concise, classic-looking kitchen showcased in this month's House Beautiful (July 2012):

Isn't that an amazing one-of-a-kind island???  I love the organic shape of it.  It's quite literally a usable art piece and it totally defines the space.  I also love the use of stainless stools (these ones a mere $99 from Home Decorators Collection) to complement the stainless steel appliances.

After "googling" The Brooklyn Home Company (T.B.H.Co.) and then subsequently spending lots of time flipping through their portfolio, I discovered that they had created another space that I've seen in several other publications - yes, I've pinned it, dog-eared it, and highlighted it many a time because it's so inspiring.  Has anyone else drooled over this space?

My favorite parts are EVERYTHING!  The livable white (livable in that you could actually have kids in this house), natural light, black window frames, organic shapes, high ceilings, exposed beams, myriad textures, a cozy loft (need I say more?)

I strongly recommend you check out the entire portfolio - T.B.H.Co. even has a few "available" spaces you can dream about.  The cool part is that most of the dwellings are smaller apartments, condos or duplexes that real people could actually live in (real people with deep pockets, I'm sure).  I did see lots of IKEA, West Elm, and ZGallerie pieces throughout their spaces - it's nice to be reminded that more affordable design is still beautiful design.

Here are a few more of their minimalist but warm spaces that I couldn't get enough of:

What are your thoughts?  Do you like the simplicity in color?  Are you drawn to natural elements and textures in design?  How bout those Herringbone floors?!?

Jul 9, 2012

Drum Roll...Our Boston House (Floorplan) Reveal

God is good (all the time)!  Our prayer to have housing when we get to Boston has been answered.    We will be living in military housing on Hanscom Air Force Base - which is a totally new adventure for us since we've never lived "on-base" at any other duty station we've been assigned to.  As much as we've liked finding our own place to live in the past, we simply didn't have many (or any!) options this time around because it's so incredibly expensive there.  

Before you hit up the floor plan and limited (unprofessional) pics from the website below, I'll share some pros and cons for this future abode of ours.

+ 1900 sq feet...the most we've had in the last 4 homes was 1500 sq feet
+ Air conditioning!!!
+ 3 bedrooms with big closets
+ Upstairs laundry with a sink
+ Double sinks in both upstairs bathrooms
+ Tons of storage, including a mudroom...never had one of those
+ Attached 2-car garage (quite convenient when loading a toddler in the car during a blustery nor'easter)

- Interior unit of a four-plex, which means we share walls on both sides.
- It's "builder basic", and by thrifty government standards that means linoleum, cheap carpet, chalky white paint, boob lights, and discount laminate
- Very limited natural light on bottom floor
- Tiny kitchen with no pantry
- Carpeted dining space
- Awkward layout on bottom floor - Where do you float a couch in this place??? Especially when you want it to be across from a TV cabinet???
- Limitations/restrictions on painting, putting nail holes in walls, changing hardware, and updating fixtures

Overall, more pros than cons.  But, it will definitely be a major decorating challenge!  (see pictures below...)

Bottom Floor
I'm thinking I'll definitely switch the "dining" space with the "great room" space next to the kitchen because the table needs to be close to the doorway of the kitchen vice around the corner and through the woods.

Top Floor
Nice upstairs space, huh?  We'll probably put the tiny tot in the front room...or gauge the placement of her room based on which neighbors are most quiet. :)

The Kitchen
There has to be some potential in this kitchen somewhere.  If anyone sees it, please leave a comment with your ideas!  I BEG of you...

View from Front Door 
Looking in to Dining/Living Space...
Buehler...crickets...silence.  It's gonna be a tough nut to crack and then make pretty.  This is a call for some more ideas...so be thinkin'.

Exterior Elevation
(No, the mini van does not come with the house.)  Do you think those are glass storm doors over the front doors there?  If so, it's a glimmer of hope for letting some more light into the cavernous first floor.

Any thoughts, friends?  I've been lying awake at night rummaging through furniture layout ideas in my head.  Once we get there I'm sure we'll have a better idea of where things should go, but I'm a wee bit of a (mega) planner.

Anyone else ever live on a military installation?  Most of our friends who have, say they love the close-nit neighborhood feel, so we're really looking forward to that part of it.  Oh, and they have an indoor splash pad and some awesome parks for some crazy cool progressive park parties (like progressive dinners, minus the food and wine).  After all, that's the way we roll most days...

Jul 6, 2012

Friday Fashion Find

Hey everyone, happy weekend!  I was flipping through July's issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and saw the cutest turquoise bib necklace from Coldwater Creek:

The best part is that the Latticed Bead Necklace is totally affordable at only $16.99 (plus $30% off online through Sunday, July 8th!).  Oh, and it comes in a beautiful coral hue too!

Brightly colored bubble bib necklaces are super popular right now - I've seen them all over fashion blogs, Pinterest, and on retail websites.  They're often pretty pricey - the one below is a whopping $150 at J. Crew.

To be honest I like the more affordable Coldwater Creek necklace better because it has the rope-like section around the top and looks a bit more casual.  I think it would be so adorable with a white button-down and jeans.  

What do you think?  A good Friday Fashion Find?

Jul 4, 2012

What Does 4th of July Mean to You?

Happy 4th of July, friends!  I thought today we'd do something a little different and reflect on what the 4th of July means to us.  It's different for everyone but I believe we can all agree that it's a holiday that reminds us of how blessed we are to live in the U.S.  Take some time today to reflect on what this day means to you and your family...

This is what it means to me in a few brief words and photos:

Freedom - It's an amazingly rare thing in this world that we get to experience everyday as Americans.  May we always value it for what it's truly worth.

Sacrifice - Today we remember our military heroes past, present, and future.  The sacrifices they made and continue to make allow us to live the way we do.  May we each attempt to model this selflessness in our own lives.  Please keep our military and their families in your prayers today and everyday.

The American Dream - We can do anything and be anything, as long as we're willing to put effort into it.  We are not entitled to anything but we are free to pursue our own happiness with so few limitations.

Family & Friends - They mean the world to us and help make us who we are.  We can't imagine life without them and count them our most treasured blessings this side of Heaven.

(our little princess last 4th of July!)

Fireworks & Festivities - As Americans, we love our celebrations.  Relaxing, watching fireworks, and sharing a picnic are just a few ways we love to celebrate Independence Day.

America the Beautiful - We're reminded of how beautiful a land we live and play in.  For the 4th, we're at my family's ranch out in Florissant, Colorado doing some four-wheeling, fishing, kayaking, BBQing, and more!  Does it get any better than that???

What about you, what does the 4th of July mean to you?  How do you celebrate with your family and friends?  We'd love to hear what you're doing on the day that commemorates the birth of the best nation in the world.  God bless the USA!

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