Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pretty Playroom Pictures...

One of my many favorite things about the new house is that the girl's playrooms are now on the first floor, right off the family room and only about 20 feet from the kitchen. The girls were not going downstairs by themselves in the old house and it felt really secluded. Also, we had to create a small playroom area in the living room of the house, which just wasn't all that visually appealing...


I love the new playroom, though I think it still needs some more decorative flair and some weeding out of toys...I mean, how many loose game pieces and McDonald's Strawberry Shortcake dolls can one really use??

What you see from the living room:

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My favorite part of the room in this PennyPeople prints that I got on Etsy:

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They came unframed, but they are made to fit perfectly in Ikea frames. Helloooo? So easy.

I have grand plans for a big chalkboard/magnet wall for this side of the room:

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But, not enough time or motivation this we'll see when that happens. I should have a lot of time in the fall!

How do you guys keep your playrooms looking spiffy with all that kid's crap??

Monday, July 25, 2011

The ongoing battle...with Clutter.

Hi, my name is Kate. And I am a clutter-a-holic. Do you know how many bags of random things I have around the house? It's RIDONKULOUS.

I have come to the conclusion though, that clutter is created because of a lack of space and place to put things away. How can you put things away if there is no where to put them? Therein laid the problem in our old house. It was beautiful and new, but had a total and complete lack of storage. One hall closet on the entire first floor. No linen closets. No shelves even. And because of all the big and beautiful windows, there were no walls along which to put shelves and closets. We had two junk drawers in the kitchen AND a corner that constantly got filled with junk.

In this house, I have no excuses. We have so many closets and cabinets and shelves that I have no excuse to have clutter sitting out anywhere. I am proud to say that we have no junk drawer in this house. But, somehow we still managed to create a "junk corner" in the kitchen. It wasn't on purpose, I swear. It just happened. Some rogue mail, some unwanted bottles of bubbles, some discarded picture hanging supplies and next thing I knew...BAM!:

It's awful isn't it? It's a good thing my friend Margaux doesn't read this blog-she'd have a heart attack, what with her OCD.

Cue some dramatic music and in I went. I attacked that clutter pile like it was my job. I threw stuff away (don't tell Maya, but I may have thrown out all of her Tumbles art!), I put stuff in closets and pantries, I went out for lunch..oh wait, well, a girl's gotta eat, right? And then after just a little bit, it looked like this:

It almost looks sad, it's so empty. I am tempted to go buy some pens and paper just to put on there. But man, it feels good! And it even looks cute with the tray Margaux got for me when she ordered a monogrammed cutting board...

Until next time...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A splash of this...

When you build a house, there are going to be a few decisions you regret. Right? We had one that figured out pretty soon after we moved in. Actually, we hadn't even moved in yet. It was our kitchen backsplash.

Originally, I just felt that a backsplash should only come up about 18 inches all around. You know, I had never even had a backsplash before! All of our previous kitchens had just been painted without tile. We added a little one to our house in Evanston behind the stove.

In any case, I thought going all the way up the wall looked a little bizarre in the kitchen-very bathroom like. Plus, I liked the idea of saving money on tile. Our tile for the kitchen was about $25/sf and so by not doing the tile to the ceiling we saved a little money. And we needed that, since the tile was the one area where we blew our budget completely.

So...the kitchen looked like this:

10 - Trenton

(That's a builder photo)

Here's one of ours:

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And another:

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It just didn't look finished to us. Not to mention we couldn't find a paint color to put above the tile because we were afraid of clashing with the grey, so we went with plain white.

I've come to the conclusion that I like the tile to the ceiling if it's ceramic. Glass looks a little too bathroomy. And also, the space has to be fairly small. If it's bigger, it makes much more of a statement. With our windows and sink the additional tile doesn't actually stand out that much. It just makes more sense. Here is after:

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What do you think??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is it still a sitting room if no one sits there?

One of my dad's gripes about our old house was that we didn't have a sitting room. You know, a place without a tv where you can read a book quietly. I don't think we have an opportunity to read quietly that much-but it's not because of lack of a space. It's more because of the two munchkins that create a less than tranquil environment...

In any case, we had the living room furniture from our house in Evanston, so we figured we throw a small formal living room in the front of the house, in the same place in the floorplan as it was in Evanston. You walk in the front door and you see the two least used spaces in the house (dining room and living room)-perfect!

When we moved into the house about 2 months ago, I threw the living room furniture in it's place and promptly decided to forget about it. There were more pressing concerns-dining room, family room, kid's rooms. Pretty much anything else.

Then last week I looked at the room and thought, "Wow. This room looks sad." But I realized that with just a little "ditzing" (as my Crate & Barrel design peeps used to say), that it could look so much better.

Here is the room before:

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Here's the current state of the space after a little shopping and rearranging:

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Here's what I did: I headed to West Elm and picked up a rug on sale for $199, a lamp and some silver figurines from Home Goods (total cost about $80) and hung the starburst mirror from the Evanston house. The mirror had never a found in our old Arlington house and I almost sold it, but am glad I didn't. It may not be in this place forever, but it's definitely a nice addition to the room for the time being. I also played around with the shelving to make it less "officey". I plan on filling them in a bit more, but for now I threw in some vases that I already had-the blue ones are Crate & Barrel and the little white one is a Jonathon Adler.

The room feels much warmer and more finished now and I can leave it be for another 6 months until I have the time to go back to it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dining Room

When we were nearing completion of the new house, people kept asking us, "Are you going to have to buy a lot of new furniture?". My response was, "No, not really..." Thing is, we had almost everything we needed for the new house, with the exception of family room furniture. One thing we definitely didn't NEED was new dining room furniture. However, I did really WANT new dining room furniture. Our set felt matchy, matchy and very formal. Not to mention the glass top was a pain in the arse to keep clean all the time.

Luckily, in the new house, the dining room serves a completely different function. In the new house we have a little dining nook in the kitchen where we eat our family meals. It's easy to grab stuff from the fridge or the stove and throw it on the table while we are eating-no lengthy commutes from the kitchen to the dining room. However, when we have guests, we eat in the dining room. The nook only sits 4 and the dining table seats....

And therein laid the rationale for a new dining table. Our table sat 8 people-maybe 10 with kids. There was no extension leaf and no room for flexibility. "What if we have all of our family members for Thanksgiving?" I asked Peter. "We won't be able to seat them all." So the search began for a new, large and extendable dining room table.

I had already fallen in love with a dining chair style a few months earlier (probably precipitating the urge for a new dining set). I didn't want the chairs and table to be too matchy and I wanted the table to have a more rustic, warm feel.'s the grand reveal.

Before in the old house:

Dining Room.

And now, the new house:

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The details:
-The table is from Random Harvest in Arlington. It has two extension leaves so it can seat up to 14!
-The chairs are from Room & Board. I bought 8 of them. I plan on looking for a bench that can be used for seating in situations where we have more than 8 guests and extend the table. I am sure this will be a frantic search just days before this first meal occurs.
-The rug is from Pottery Barn.

I plan to get a little bit of art up on the wall and perhaps some window treatments, but of course there is the small issue of the husband. His thing is that he likes everything "clean and uncluttered". I am learning that layering makes things more cohesive. These two theories are not really compatible.

But for now, I am very happy with this before and after..Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


So it's been a while since we've had an update-we travelled for 2 weeks, so that's part of the excuse...but otherwise I just feel weird about posting half finished rooms..and that's what we have more of anything. I will get better about posting little updates-I swear! I see so many blogs where people do little updates that make drastic decorations or make things and I haven't been doing either.

Our landscapers have been hard at work though. Our patio is basically complete. This is the first time we've ever had a patio and a backyard that has a real design.

This is what the backyard looked like last fall, when the new house was still in place:


And here is what it looks like now:

I love the patio-Maya even asked to eat out there a couple of nights ago. We haven't eaten outside around here in years. We got the yard sprayed for mosquitos which makes it even usable!