Friday, March 30, 2012

What is my design style?

I think about this question a lot. Now that we are settling into our house, I am trying to make it a place that reflects our style and is comfortable to live in. I thought this would be so easy when I dreamed of owning a house one day, but it's not. It is a lot harder and I find myself overwhelmed when trying to make a decision. Trust me, this is a good problem to have and I am enjoying this challenge. So to help myself out, I decided to take a couple design quizzes online and see if I could find some answers.

First, I took a quiz on the HGTV website and found that my style is called Romantic. Then I took another quiz on the Ethan Allen website and again was told my style was Romantic. So there I have it, a name that represents my style.

I am currently trying to put out living room together and I thought I would try and make my first mood board. I used a website called . It was fun and super easy. I would recommend trying it out if you haven't already.

Here is what I have so far.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Backyard Renovation - Part 1

Part I - Planning and Preparation

The backyard of this house had been neglected for months, possibly years, when we finally moved in. There were vines of all kinds growing on the house, on the fence, on the ground, on the pergola and just about everywhere in between. We decided to redo the back yard rather quickly because summer was approaching and we wanted to be able to enjoy ourselves back there.

These are the best before pictures of the back yard I have. The piles on the ground are just a portion of the vines that we took down. I hope you believe me when I say, "the yard was much, much worse!"

First step: We Contacted a local landscape architect to help us organize our ideas and give us a plan. We contacted Angela at Pravettoni Design Studio who helped us put together an AMAZING set of plans. If you don't have the money in your budget to hire a professional, then I would suggest measuring  every dimension possible in the yard. You will want to know not only the dimensions of the yard but the house as well, including windows and doors. As my husband likes to say, "Plan the work and work the plan".

2nd step: Lay out the plan and make sure it fits the space as you intend it to.

3rd step: Demolition. My husband and his friends had a 90 lb jack hammer and it sill took 2 solid days to finish.

4th step: Lay out again and be sure to make any changes now.

To see Part 2 (Concrete) go here. To see Part 3 (Irrigation, Electrical & Sod) go here. To see Part 4 (Fountain & Landscape) go here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding the perfect curtains

I never knew it would be so hard to find the perfect curtains when I dreamed of decorating our first home. Now I understand. I have purchased curtains several times times and each time I get them home and put them up only to be disappointed.

When we bought the house, this 3 panel patio door had skinny wooden blinds for each panel. No matter if they were open, closed or rolled up, they were always in the way.  So instead of looking at the back yard, you are standing there looking at these wooden blinds that really weren't in that great of shape. This is not good for resale and not good for a perfectionist like me, so down they came. The goal is to open the house up and draw the eye to the backyard making the house feel bigger than it really is. Off to work we go, painting the door white (everything used to be yellow) and spray painting the hinges and the hardware (they used to be gold) with Rustoleum Antique Bronze spray paint. We learned of the idea from Our handles were the same gold color and in about the same shape as theirs was.  Sorry for the lack of pictures, but this was before I knew I would be blogging about all this.

Now, to get to the main topic for this post, I have purchased a 2nd set of curtains for this door and yet again find myself not happy with the overall look of the room.

The first set. A silk panel from Bed Bath & Beyond. Too frilly.

The second set. The dotted trellis dove curtain panel from Crate & Barrel.  Too busy.

The only curtain I have bought and plan to keep are these sheers from Potterybarn.

I am now moving on to the idea that I am going to have some made. Off to the fabric store I go!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Decorating the Fireplace

Having a fireplace is great. But now that we have put a lot of money into it, we need to make sure it remains a focal point. This process is a little overwhelming. How do I pick the right items to put up there?...That stand out and set the tone for the room?....That represents my style?.... I could go on, but I think you get the point.

For me, I was out shopping one day and came across the venetian beaded mirror at  Restoration Hardware. I saw it and was immediately in love with it. I had to have it and new that it would be a perfect fit for the fireplace. Once I found that piece, the other decorations have started to come together.  I still need some other pieces, but like the mirror, I will know it when I see it.

My advice when decorating a fireplace, is start with one item that you love and let the rest evolve. From an interior design perspective there needs to be a focal point (ie- a photo, clock, mirror or object) and balance (within the context of the room and on the mantle).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Operation fireplace

Updating our fireplace was the first project we have undertaken at our new house. We completely gutted the existing look and started fresh. We installed new travertine tiles, painted the oak mantel white and Installed new gas fireplace. What do you think?