Room Redo: Living Room Before and After

Room Redo: Living Room Before And After

I’m sharing the before and after shots of our living room since we managed to get around to adding a checkmark in the “done” box a couple of weeks ago.livingroomempty1As I mentioned before, the entire first floor, save for the kitchen, was painted grey. Normally, I wouldn’t object, but I didn’t think it complemented the red brick. The walls got the white paint treatment in Bakery Box from Behr.. which I DO NOT recommend since it took 3-4 coats. I can’t remember how many cans of paint we went through, but suffice it to say that Graham has traumatic flashbacks at the mere mention of the words “bakery box”.. even in the pastry sense.redolivingroom2redolivingroom3A working fireplace was high on Graham’s list of priorities while we were house hunting.. a wood-burning stove works out just as nice. Since moving in in March, we’ve gotten to use it a handful of times to warm the house while binge-watching on Netflix and making s’mores.Sadly, the cozy size of our living room puts a limit on seating. We added an extra chair in the corner. I love the lines.. it actually belonged to Graham’s grandfather. Deer antlers. The nice thing about the location of them in our new house vs. the old place is that we are no longer in danger of being impaled by antlers while lying on the sofa. The hexagon shelving from etsy houses the majority of my Polepole figures.redolivingroom9

The media stand was the last thing we added to the room. It took us over 6 months to agree on a style.I should add that the kitchen wasn’t the only room with buttercream walls. The entryway was also yellow. I love yellow, I really do.. I always pick it as my game piece in Trivial Pursuit (it’s also easier for people to remember which player I am.. y’know.. being Asian).. but I disliked this shade. livingroomempty3We wanted something that contrasted with the Bakery Box walls of the dining room and living.. so we went with Poppyseed… aka Black, as Graham would say. redolivingroom5redolivingroom1We really love the way it turned out. livingroomempty2redolivingroom6redolivingroom4We found this side table at Jinxed in Queen Village. It was in need of a little TLC, but I fell in love with it. You might be able to see the empty coaster holder sitting there. We had a coaster problem at our house. We had various sets that tend to wander from room to room until they hit that other dimension where they’re never heard from again. We picked out a heavier set made from agate to prevent them from walking about that now sits on the coffee table.redolivingroom11One of the first things I looked for when we moved was a maneki-neko or lucky cat. redolivingroom18It goes well with our vespa kitty that sits below..Vroom. vroom.


Room Redo: Kitchen Before and After and Graham Cuts A Rug

I let this past week get away from me with projects at home along with the usual things on my “To Do” list, so I wasn’t able to post on schedule. While putting together the post on the alcove, I realized I wanted to put up some before and after shots of the entire kitchen.beforeafterkitchen1When we first viewed our house, we had just made it to the second floor when we realized we wanted to put in an offer at that moment.. without even heading up to the third floor. That didn’t mean there wasn’t anything we wanted to change. The stagers for the house did a nice job, but it didn’t reflect our personalities. The first thing on the list was the kitchen.

The floors of the house were definitely worn and scuffed. Initially, we were planning on having them stained darker, but once we saw the beautiful sanded yellow pine beneath our feet, we opted to keep it natural, only adding a couple coats of polyurethane. 14747525706271474752713898I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned how much I disliked the buttercream walls on multiple occasions. I felt it clashed with the red brick behind the stove. Although the kitchen has multiple windows, the hanging eave off the back porch and the neighbor’s house to the east doesn’t allow as much natural light into the room as I would like. We painted the walls white to brighten the mood. I also dreaded the idea of trying to clean cooking splatter from painted walls, so we knew we were going to need a backsplash. Graham and I talked about doing white subway tiles, but when I found white honeycomb tiles on Wayfair, I fell in love with the vintage, yet modern, feel.  14746872753351474754708710Although he always complained whenever I went on about how much I love chalkboard walls, Graham suggested we paint one in the kitchen (aww.. one of the reasons why I married him). We used to keep our grocery list on Google Keep, but I love writing it out on something tangible. We’re usually in the kitchen when we realize we’re out of something, so it’s convenient to scribble it out then, and really, who doesn’t like writing on chalkboard? It’s also nice to temporarily jot dates while you’re on the phone and can’t access your Google Calendar.14747514968481474687746936Uh….we still haven’t gotten around to erasing the seasoning marks towards the ceiling..

Then of course, there’s the shelving…14747515790191474686606036Our biggest accomplishment with the kitchen actually has nothing to do with paintbrushes, wallpaper, etc. When we moved in, we knew we were going to need a new kitchen rug since our old one had definitely seen better days. We first purchased one with a geometric print from Society6, but we freaked out when we opened the package and saw that the colors didn’t translate well from online to real life. We found ourselves face to face with lavender, navy, and neon pink triangles which I’m sure would be lovely!… in another kitchen. Strike One. We then tried our luck with RugsUsaWell… we ended up being out $80, but we got a good laugh out of the rug that looked as if it would be more at home in a kindergarten classroom. Strike Two. We were definitely suffering from online rug shopping PTSD and were reluctant to try our luck again.

We took a chance on a hemp rug from Target that I wasn’t too crazy about. Once we laid it out in the kitchen, I immediately decided it needed to go, and back it went. Strike Three.

One day, while on yet another trip to Ikea (if you’ve bought a new house, prepare to spend so much time at Home Depot and Ikea that they should just start paying you to work there), we found a rug we thought would be perfect. In a perfect world, we’d have a white rug, but since we’re imperfect people in the kitchen, we knew that would never fly. But this rug was white with enough mottled dark hues that would hide potential cooking snafus.

We got it home and unrolled it…at least we tried to.. Although we knew the rug was wider than we needed, we thought we might be able to slip the excess inches under the refrigerator. Nope. My resourceful husband, however, was not going to give up.. He wasn’t going to be victimized by yet another rug. So he dragged the rug to the back porch with a hacksaw..1474687439542Problem Solved.


Kitchen Shelf Redo

KItchen Shelf RedoAside from adding a few new pieces of furniture this summer, we’ve had a slow-down in the decorating department thanks to my injury and with travel. One of the things that have been on the list since before we moved in was redoing the shelving alcove in the kitchen.1473964140114I wasn’t a fan of those buttercream walls and robin’s egg blue alcove. The colors just didn’t go with the mid-century modern / folk feel of our design scheme. The walls went white, but I felt the interior of the alcove needed something extra other than a few coats of paint. So we picked out some cute reusable wallpaper from Chasing Paper, but the rolls sat in our storage closet since we moved in 6 months ago in March. (Oh, and as a side note, “we picked out” means I presented Graham with three choices and then opted for one of the two he didn’t select.) Continue reading

Subversive Design – Update 2

On the morning of our first anniversary, I came home from walking Huxley to find Graham in the kitchen with that “hand in the cookie jar” look on his face.

“Don’t be mad at me. I know we said no gifts, but I was thinking about how marriage is about compromise… or more like.. how compromise is about making you happy.”

He took me to the dining room where I was greeted by this:starburst

So, that last item on the list?

No starburst/sunburst clock


I won. And I don’t mean the design war.. I won the husband lottery. Sorry about the cheese.


Subversive Design – Update

We have special house guests <3 from Paris this week, so this is a short update on a previous post.

Another wall hanging…

Another hanging macrame planter..

20160703_183007 (1)... in front of the door that leads to Graham’s office.

Is he ok with this? He was actually the one who nailed the planter bracket to the wall. <3

For the curious, the greyhound statue was a wedding gift from the incomparable Aunt Flossie, spray painted from the antiqued bronze to white to match the rest of the house.


Subversive Design – How To Win The Battle of Home Decor Against Your Significant Other

Subversive Design - How To Win The Battle of Home Decor Against Your Signficant Other“Relationships are all about compromise.” In most aspects of our relationship, Graham and I have had it easy when it comes to living the adage.. except when it comes to decorating.. well.. decorating and music, but I’m going to focus on decorating in this post.

When home ownership happened in January, after a lot of vetoing and eye-rolling, we finally decided on combining mid-century modern elements with bohemian accents. Just because we agreed on a theme, doesn’t mean that all details falling in the two categories are automatically approved. Graham set some guidelines for me regarding what’s NOT permissible. For instance, this Gemma Correll print is the extent of word art that’s allowed in the house:gemmacorrell1The rules are as follows..

  1. No dreamcatchers
  2. No antlers / mounted deer heads
  3. No Starburst / Sunburst decor
  4. No Sputnik-inspired lighting fixtures
  5. No more painting post-move
  6. No macrame
  7. No woven wall hangings

With the exception of the dreamcatchers (I’ve just never been a fan), this list KILLS me. But you know what? That’s okay. Because I’ve managed to get away with strategically breaking six out of seven of these “rules” through covert operations.

Antlers? Check.SAM_3233Oh look, antlers! This is in a corner of the living room. I was able to pick this up after begging Graham for a mounted jackalope head. He caved on the antlers. The lesson? Pick something incredibly awful so your actual choice in decor seems like a compromise.

Starburst / Sunburst Decor? Check. I dislike our bedroom because of 2 annoying flaws – the warm cream walls and the hideous light fixture that every morning makes me think I’m staring up at a gigantic saline breast implant. I really wanted to add a set of sunburst mirrors in the room to help distract me from the flaws. Graham had already said no to sunburst and starburst decor in general. I waited for him to leave on his business trip to D.C, ordered them from Amazon, hung them up, and waited for him to notice once he got home. He didn’t notice.SAM_3229More Painting? Check. The aforementioned offending cream wall? I complained almost every day for two months until Graham caved so he wouldn’t have to hear me say “I hate these walls” every morning and every night.. with the condition that he doesn’t have to help. So.. that’s kinda like a draw, right?

Macrame? Check.SAM_3249I negotiated that I would keep the macrame planter I got from etsy.. (which I’d *ahem* forgot to tell him about) confined to the studio. Once I hung it, he was surprised that he didn’t really mind it. Soooo.. I’m taking that to basically mean that it’s ok to hang another one… on the 3rd floor.. right outside his office.

Woven Wall Hanging? Check. If you decide to make one yourself, what is he going to do? Tell you that you can’t display your hard work?wallhangingThat was 5 rules broken. Here’s the 6th..

Dreamcatcher? Check.dreamcatcherI know I said I’m not a fan of dreamcatchers, but since Graham said, “No,” I just kinda HAVE to do it. It came as a surprise thank you gift from an etsy seller, so Graham can blame fate.. or maybe poor judgement in wife selection.

When asked if he minded terribly the reminders of violation against his list, Graham replied, “No, if they make you happy, I’m happy. Plus, I realized it’s much less painful to agree with you.”