2.29.2012

Seller's Remorse

Yesterday I told you I was a wee bit remorseful about selling my traditional dining room set before moving to this house.

While I have nothing against this style of furniture - in fact, I think it's classic and will never go out of style - a formal dining room just didn't fit into our lifestyle anymore.  Since we know we will eventually combine our dining room and kitchen into one space,  we envision a humungous rustic farm table that is casual enough for daily meals and can also get all fancied up with linens, china and crystal when we entertain.
  {via}


{via}


So rather than move it all, we sold the traditional table, chairs and china cabinet, and figured somewhere down the road when the money tree started producing, we'd buy our big dreamy table.  Then a few weeks ago we decided to move our kitchen table into our empty dining room....

and discovered that it looks a tad miniscule in this room.  How perfect would my old table, that has two leaves and could seat twelve, have been for this dining room??  I immediately thought of this table and chair makeover by Carmel of Our Fifth House.

While I have painted just about everything else over the years, I never in a million, trillion, gazillion years would have thought to sand, prime and paint that formal table.  The thought just never occurred to me.

Look at Carmel's table when she was starting the makeover:

And now, in her kitchen dining space!

A table and chairs that are pretty, spacious, comfortable, and casual enough for a family with kids.

Um, yeah, I'm a moron.
{via}

Okay so I'm not the kind of person who spends much time dwelling in
coulda, woulda, shoulda -
but I think this is a good lesson in thinking outside the box.  Look around your house and rethink with what you already have.  Imagine items that you're not loving anymore with a makeover - a new color, a new fabric, a new spot perhaps.  What's holding you back from making your house reflect who you are?

Life is short, peeps.  Love the space you're in.

Thanks Carmel for letting me share the fabulous transformation of your table and chairs!!

Happy Leap Day, lovelies!

2.28.2012

Evolution of Our Dining Room Style

Today is the second monthly Room Evolutions party over at Evolution of Style.
Have you found that your style has changed over the years?  Since I am starting fresh with the dining room in our newest home, I thought it would be fun to look back on our various dining rooms.

Our first house was tiny, so cute and our first foray into the world of home improvement.  We bought it two weeks before our wedding (almost 15 years ago!)  Every square inch of that house was covered in 45 year old pasted wallpaper that we stripped from horsehair plaster walls (a DIY job not for the faint of heart!)  The teeny dining room was our very first room that we renovated top to bottom; it boasted this beautiful corner built in, original to the house, that I kept my china in.  I loved the details in that sweet little house!

Our second house was brand spankin' new and we were brand new parents.  Mark & I both felt like it was time to invest in "grown up" furniture and "real" window treatments.  We again went with red on the walls of our dining room - such a huge trend 10 years ago!  It's a color that is said to whet the appetite, and definitely was a lively background for many fun dinner parties!  It took us 7 coats of primer and paint to get the color right in this room (and I still think it's a great, deep red - Roseate by Ben Moore).

Our third house came with a pretty green color on the walls and custom window treatments the previous owners left us that Mark liked, so I tried, I really tried, to love it and work with it even though it didn't feel like me.
{My mom, brother, me and my little Native Americans and Pilgrims one Thanksgiving.}


Over time Mark and I both started to feel like our decor did not represent us or our casual lifestyle very well anymore.  We didn't want to have rooms that we only used a couple times a year.  I tried to make the room feel less traditional by changing the wall color and curtains,  finally settling (after a couple failed colors) on metallic paint.  I know, I am completely insane with all the re-painting I have done over the years - you too???
Metallic paint does not photograph well but it's really pretty in real life.  With this color I discovered that a neutral backdrop allows you to play with pops of color.  Setting my table was so fun for different holidays and season because I wasn't married to any major color scheme in this room.
The metallic paint is actually very subtle in person, like in this picture above.  The picture below is taken with a flash; the color was not blinding in person!  This paint was really fun to try.

And finally, the current house.....don't be alarmed - it's a complete work in progress, a blank slate.  The traditional furniture was sold (tomorrow I'll share why I have seller's remorse about that one) and our "real" window treatments all stayed with the last house.  I am playing around with neutrals in this house.  Instead of traditional we're going for comfortable and casual but still pulled together (remember this post about defining our style via Darlene at Fieldstone Hill?)

On one hand it is a little overwhelming to start over, but on the other, so freeing.  At 40, I no longer equate being a grown up to owning formal furniture and investing in expensive window treatments.  While I truly appreciate beautiful fabric and the craftsmanship of custom drapes, guess what?  They don't make the quality of our life any better than the unlined white cotton Ikea panels that come 2 for $20.  And those unlined white cotton panels don't tether me to a color scheme I'm going to tire of in 5 years.

I love, love, love that the neutral backdrop of this house gives me the flexibility to change up the feel of a space with pillows and accessories!!  While I truly adored nesting in my other houses and experimenting with so many different colors and styles over the years, I also feel a newfound freedom in this house.  I am not worried about putting craftsman-style board and batten in my colonial-style house, or banging holes in the walls, or whether my dark-stained stairs are appropriate.

And YES, our dining room is extraordinarily vanilla right now and I need to pull it all together, but the possibilities are endless!

Maybe I need to put this on my dining room plate wall???

How about you - has your style changed over time?

Thanks for following along on my adventures of playing house.  I love sharing the evolution of this house into a home with you!

Hop on over to Evolution of Style and check out other room transformations, or link up your own!

2.27.2012

Mangia Mondays:: February Features

Welcome to Mangia Mondays, the blog hop I co-host with mama-to-be and chef-in-training Kristin of Delightfully Dowling!
Can you believe that it's already the last Monday of February?  That means it's time for another roundup of great recipes shared at MM this month.  There are some random themes here - soup, brunch, dessert.  I'm having funky cravings and I'm not even prego, go figure!

My lovely friend Nettie from Moore or Less Cooking shared Pasta e Fagioli with Ham and Escarole.  Pasta e fagioli = pasta with beans, a traditional Italian soup.  The Italian stallion husband of mine is all over this one!


Vicki at The Blest Nest shared Fish Chowder.  A great recipe to try during Lent - it sounds so flavorful and delicious!

Mrs. T of Tales From The Ts offered her take on Classic Tomato Soup.  She creates a smooth consistency with an immersion (hand-held) blender - I need one of those!!!  I am a huge fan of tomato soup and am looking forward to trying this.

Bizzy B. of Bizzy Bakes shared Cheesy Hash Brown Muffins, which are so cute they make me want to host a brunch in the near future!

The Bookcase Foodie posted a recipe using frozen broccoli that I think would also work well for a brunch:  Baked Eggy Broccoli Cuties.  These would be great with leftover cooked broccoli or asparagus too!

Speaking of brunchy foods, Cooking For My Kids linked up Egg Stuffed Baked Potatoes that calls for cracking an egg right onto a hallowed out baked potato half, loading it up with bacon and cheese, and then baking.  My kids will love these - they're potato skins and eggs all rolled into one!

How delicious-looking and pretty is Shopgirl's Vanilla Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries?  A simple and elegant dessert to serve guest.

Kay of Cooking With K shared her Granny's Decadent German Chocolate Pound Cake.  I love this beautiful presentation!  What excuse do I have to make this in the near future???

One more lovely dessert to tempt you with:  Easy Vanilla Cake shared by Fiona of Lilyfield Life.  How pretty are the frosting rosettes?  And did you say EASY, Fiona?  Okay, I'm in!

If you've been featured and you'd like to add a button to your blog, copy and paste the html below this button!
Shine Your Light

Please remember to add a Mangia Mondays button or link back to either Kristin at Delightfully Dowling or me over here at Shine Your Light when sharing your Mangia Mondays posts - thanks so much!!

I'm looking forward to seeing what you're sharing today.
Have a wonderful week ahead!


2.26.2012

Skied, Survived, Inspired and Featured

Hi friends!
My kids were on school vacation this past week and we spent the last few days skiing in New Hampshire at Loon Mountain.  This is a great family mountain and has great trails for all levels.  My oldest son is a snowboarding-double-black-diamond-daredevil kind of guy; his mom makes it down the mountain at a steady rate of 2 miles per hour.
{via}

We had so much fun skiing with friends (and running into other close friends on the trails!  Crazy small world!) The only problem was that it was next to impossible to get wi-fi up there.  I was constantly trying to check out your before and after projects from my phone when I could get reception!

And wow - you goal achievers did NOT disappoint!  I am so inspired by each and every one of you that accomplished a project!!!  Lots of great before and afters were linked up, and the party will be open for another week if you'd still like to share something you worked on in February!   Check it out here.

This Friday, 3/2 will be the kickoff of March projects - link up any idea you are hoping to accomplish in the coming month and then come on back at the end of the month to share your after!

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my idea for a plate wall in my dining room!

I'm still mulling that one over and appreciate so very much all of your feedback!!!  The overwhelming response was
Do What You Want Because It's Your House!!!
I completely concur, plus it's not like it's permanent, so why not give it a whirl??

Lastly, Beckie at Roadkill Rescue featured my wine cork tray this weekend.
Have you ever visited Roadkill Rescue?  Dedicated to all things trash to treasure - this blog is chock full of fabulous ways to repurpose and recycle.  {Beckie is also the writer of the wonderful blog Infarrantly Creative.}  Thanks for featuring my tray, Beckie!

See you tomorrow for Mangia Mondays February Features!
Enjoy your Sunday Funday my lovelies.

2.24.2012

February After Party!

Welcome welcome welcome to the February After Party!

Shine Your Light

It's time to link up the fruits of your labors this month!  Did you start a project?  A health plan?  A goal to write a little bit each day?  If you got any project off the ground, I want to hear about it.  That's what these Before & After Linky Parties are all about - to give you the motivation to get started!

That being said, my own project for the month of February was to start pulling together my master bedroom.  As I confessed this week, I got sidetracked from this project when we found ourselves with a dining room.  We recently finished our basement, and the furniture that was taking up space in the official dining room went down there.

Someday in the future we envision a huge farm table in here, something along these lines....
{Country Living}

Until we make that purchase down the road, we had planned to use this room for the family computer and printer, where our kids could work on school projects.  However, we spontaneously decided to move our kitchen table into the dining room instead.

Where once the table and six chairs seemed ginormous in the kitchen.....
they're like a tiny island in the middle of the vast ocean of the dining room!

That's how the dining room unexpectedly became my big project for the month of February.  I painted the walls (Ben Moore's Edgecomb Gray on the top - leftover from the basement, and White Dove in semi-gloss for the chair rail and below - leftover from the rest of the trim painting in our house.)

Then - the major project - I set to work to revive the tired table and chairs that have seen my children through from babyhood to the onset of the teens.   I estimate we've sat at this table for somewhere in the area of 13,650 meals and an untold number of arts and crafts in it's 13 years!  They've been banged up and disrespected by my munchkins many a time, earning them frequent paint jobs.   I really need this set to power through for a couple more years, so it was time for a another facelift.  Finally, two weeks after I started stripping and painting, we can actually sit down to this table for meals again!! {More on that process at a later date!}
Here's a peek into our living room - we have tons of room to extend our table for the holidays.  {And yes, the living room is half furnished all of a sudden.   We're playing musical furniture in this house right now!}
The tabletop looks black in most of these pictures, but it actually has a lot of the rich red mahogany stain peeking through, which I love!

The rest of the room is a blank canvas that I'm fired up to work on!  (If you didn't weigh in yet, what do you think of my idea for the mirror wall???  Please, please, please give this girl some advice!)

This is where my head's at right now for the room - what are your thoughts?  I love the colors in the Pottery Barn vignette (#5) - whites & browns with a pop of color.  I want to keep it neutral enough that I can change it up throughout the year.
{1. Lowes, 2. Southern Living, 3. Home Decorators, 4. Sunset, 5. Pottery Barn}
We have a seagrass rug in another room that has held up great over the years, so we're in the market for another one for this room.  Love the texture and warmth it brings.  I also plan on hanging either dark or light bamboo shades flanked by simple white panels either edged with grosgrain ribbon, like I did in the adjoining living room, or bordered with a patterned fabric.

I'm excited to have this dining room to decorate and best of all - share meals in with our family and friends!!  Between having our house on the market forever and then moving and renovating, we haven't entertained much in the last couple of years.  It's time peeps!!!

Enough about my February project - let's see your before and afters!  Link up a blog post (or if you don't have a blog, email me some before and after photos and I'll share with the world.  You'll be downright famous!)  This link party will be open until Friday, March 2.
  • By linking up your blog post, you give me your permission to share your project, pictures and blog link on Before & After Feature Fridays (the Fridays in between the first and last Fridays of the month.)  I love featuring your amazing projects!!
  • Please copy the Before and After button off my sidebar or link back to Shine Your Light somewhere in your post.  This is required to be featured.  Spread the love!
  • Please link to your specific Before & After post url, not the general url to your blog.
Let's celebrate what you accomplished this month!  I'm excited that this blog hop is encouraging some of you to get going on something you've been wanting to do.  Last's month's AFTERS were just plain awesome and I can't wait to see what you have this month!  


Rock on, goal achievers!!


2.23.2012

Grouping Plates

Okay all you creative and talented home decorators out there, I need your help.  I've got a blank canvas and I need to breathe some life into it.  The full scoop on the dining room is coming tomorrow at the February After Party (are you linking up a before and after project??  Hope to see you there!)  In the meantime, I have one wall in particular that I'm tossing around ideas for.

While the rest of the world is painting just about everything gold, I painted a gold mirror white.  Remember this mirror from my foyer, about 5 versions ago?
 Well here it is now in it's very vanilla surroundings!

I'm not afraid of gold or color, I'm just so sick of the things I've had for years, and need a change!

On the other side of the room are two vintage travel posters that I want to pull some colors from for curtains.
{Excuse the poor quality of these photos; my camera battery was charging so I took these with my phone and edited them.}


I've been thinking about hanging colorful and white plates on either side of the mirror, in a free form fashion.
{house to home)

{elle decor}

Dining Room contemporary dining room
{Leslie Goodwin Photography}

Eat-in Kitchen modern dining room

Melanie Gore traditional bedroom
{Melanie Gore}

Two Story Cottage eclectic dining room
{Two Story Cottage via Houzz}

Dining Room eclectic dining room
{uploaded by Joi to Houzz}

Connecticut House eclectic living room
{Dufner Heighes Inc.}

{sunset magazine}

What do you think?  Should I bring a pop of color to the plain jane mirror wall with a mix-and-match of plates in varying sizes and patterns, or are you so over this look?

Please share your thoughts on this subject.  I can't make decisions in my own house - just the houses of friends and family!  

And come on back to share a before and after tomorrow - you can jump in even if you didn't link up a "before" at the beginning of the month!  The more the merrier!

Have a great day,