Monday, August 24, 2015

The Living Room

I gave a little bit of a living room teaser in a previous post. Well, it finally dawned on me to push some boxes out of the way, take some pictures and do things proper already.

I think the living room may be my favorite room in the house. I spend the most time in here (like, right this minute, even...) and every day I look at something in the living room that makes me smile.

Let's talk color!

I have two rules when it comes to picking colors for a room.

  1. Pick colors you look good in. If you're not sure, think of your favorite outfit and literally go out shopping with those exact colors in mind. Use these staple hues in the large scale areas. (Wall color, curtains, upholstery, rugs, larger furniture and art pieces.) If these are the colors you feel best while wearing, that will translate into ambiance as well. (Not to mention, you will always photograph well in that room too!)
  2. Accent with a color you love, but never get to wear because it looks hideous on you. Incorporating colors you've always longed for will give your space some extra zoom-zoom. (The only adjective that's coming to me at the moment...) Just like when dressing, I'll sneak these colors into small accessories, shoes or toenail polish. Even though it may not be a color I look good in, using it in smaller pops won't clash with any selfie-taking. (And, you know you're taking selfies in the living room. Let's be truthful!) 
But, you say you don't look bad in any color? Well, you can just keep that information to yourself, Miss Perfect! Pick another favorite color then and go back to your beauty sleep.

My good color is teal. I used it in an entire wall of curtains, pillows, throws, furniture accents and other accessories big and small. My living room doorwall also opens to the Florida Room, which is screaming teal at all times. Bring on that universally flattering color!

My color I look ugly in, but always wanted to decorate with, is yellow. I used it in lamps, picture frames, a chair, some art pieces and... oops... one of my largest pieces of furniture. It's okay, though. I toned it down with some antiquing wax so it won't bite my face if I accidentally bring the camera out over there.

Two solid colors are good any for basic interior design. But, that was a little basic-basic for me in my largest room.

I'm a bit of a color screamer, so I added lots of red into the mix as well. I personally prefer three main colors to a living space. 

Well... maybe more. 

Since, I had a bit of olive in my existing art mix, and I'm not shy of a fourth color if it's practically a neutral (in my world), I was planning on purchasing an adorable Strandmon chair from Ikea in a lovely shade of olive green. But then the fridge went kaput and robbed me of my wing chair funds. I ended up using green in my dining space, anyhow, which is open to the living room... so I guess that makes it a whoppin' FOUR big colors in the mix.

Do it if you dare! Your eyes will stop you once it's too much! Be brave and trust those eyeballs. (And, for the third and fourth colors, be sure to go back to those hues you look good in!)

To offset all this color mania, I made sure to use large amounts of neutrals in the backdrop to prevent major headaches in my relaxation space.

I went against my past design history and decided to leave almost all of my walls white. (A color I do not look good in.) I knew I'd be bringing in lots of color in the artwork, so it was alright. (Plus, I didn't want to end up having to wear sunglasses in my own home.)

When I was younger, I used to despise white walls. Then again, when I was much younger, I also had carpet the shade of Pepto-Bismol on my bedroom floor. Let's just say, I got over it. Baptism by Barbie-toned fire. I eventually learned to incorporate white, and you will not find a drop of pink in my home today! (Don't look at that stripe on the chevron pillow...)

My favorite thing about this room: Is it wrong to say "EVERYTHING!"?

What this room will be used for: Once again, EVERYTHING. I eat in here. I drink in here. I binge-watch in here. I fold laundry here. I catch up on social media here. I read right here. Sometimes I accidentally fall asleep in here.


Of course, this is also the place for quality kitty time.

What I'd still like to do with this space: Not much, really. Maybe eventually another end table and lamp to replace the floor lamp. And, who knows... maybe once the rest of these boxes are put away, I'll unearth the perfect place for that olive wing chair.

This room is chipmunk approved!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Hallway

Yes. The hallway! When you're working with barely 800 square feet, every inch counts.

The last this blog saw of my hallway was Audrey being strategically placed to be dragged away by vengeful Cat. 

Well, I ended up doing a little bit more with this "room". 

As I started unpacking and unearthing things that would have gone in my second bedroom, if I had a second bedroom... I found the immediate need to start getting creative with storage.

Enter this cubed shelving from Target I had been using as closet storage in my former residence. It fit perfectly into this narrow space, without impeding function or safety.

I now call it my Kid's Section.

Having eight nieces and nephews also means having more kiddie stuff than most singles my age. With nowhere else to put the movies, toys, children's books, Sunday School material and video games... this new "room" became a blessing in disguise.

It's out of the way enough for everyday living. But, accessible enough for small visitors that call a-callin'.

My favorite thing about this room: The little bit of art and the family pictures I've enlarged and framed to match. Everything's a perfect fit! And, the colors blend with the adjoining rooms.

This space is also a perfect showplace for some of my many pieces of Disney memorabilia.

Not to mention, my salvaged collection of Golden Books that the kids don't really care about, but they give me a warm case of nostalgia... therefore, they stay!

What this room will be used for: The first stop for pint-sized visitors. And, at just the right height for little hands to help themselves.

What I'd still like to do with this space: Nothing! This room is complete. *sigh*

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Dining Room

I've eaten in my dining room, maybe, three times since moving in over a month ago. I feel like I've been awkwardly avoiding the room, like an unappreciated but necessary roommate.

Until this weekend, the dining room has been basically used as a.) a passageway to the kitchen, b.) a storage place for my sewing equipment and c.) a last full-length mirror checkpoint before leaving the house.

I usually eat out in the fresh air or on the couch while "studying" (ie. watching Netflix), so I've been torn on how to use this space.

I was tempted to turn it into an office/library, but I figure every home needs a table. Every woman (or dude) with a sewing machine also needs a table. And, I can't expect my house guests to all be "couch eaters". (But, if you are... welcome!)

Besides, my younger sister had so generously donated to me an entire free dining set. So, dining room it is!
New addition to the blog: Unrequested cat photobombs with every pic!

I'm not gonna lie, and it's no family secret, that this set has seen better days. It was my brother-in-law's childhood eating place. It saw my sister through her newlywed years, motherhood, and even survived a most unusual fire. (Yes, fire! A strange freak accident involving sunlight and a perfectly/poorly-placed mirror.)

It's not something I'd pick out for myself at the store... but the best DIY projects usually aren't. It's sturdy, solid, and without the leaf, transforms into a perfectly compact round table that's just the right fit.

Now, what do I do with it?! Pinterest plus my imagination had a billion ideas and it took me forever to settle on just one.

First, I had planned to paint the top black, the legs white, and then do the chairs in a bolder hue that would compliment the Disney wall.

But, the white base ended up looking way too stark against my white walls.

Enter, Home Decor's Wood Tint product in walnut. I had bought this out of curiosity and figured I could use it as back up, since I wasn't really sure what I wanted out of this project. Good thing I did, because I ended up loving the results!

Wood Tint is designed to work right on top of chalk paint. This is a miracle product for lazies like me who are vehemently opposed to stripping and sanding before refinishing. Since, I didn't like the result of the white and black chalk paint combo, I simply brushed the Wood Tint right over top of the dried paint and the brush strokes gave it a pretty realistic look of stained wood grain.

I also painted a layer of it on top of the black table top to give more depth to the flat chalky look. Sealed with a clear coat, for protection, and voila! All on one work night. No sanding or stripping required!

My arsenal.

Now what about those chairs?!  It took me almost another week to finally decide on a color.

I wanted something that was fun, but not too juvenile. Something that matched the artwork, but didn't clash with the exposed living room's palette. I settled on either an apple or olive green. (Krylon's "Ivy Leaf" being the final winner.)

Although, I love the ease of chalk paint, I let Pinterest persuade me into thinking that chairs are easier sprayed than brushed.

Fume management 101: If it's a must, at least try to be cute about it.

I hate spray paint (if graffiti's not involved) but fell victim to viral peer pressure. I hate the smell. I hate the mess. And, I especially hate this:

The spray paint "tent".

Apparently, one of my neighbor agrees with me on this, because two chairs in, I received a note on my front door inquiring about the smell. I ended up having to finish the job at my parent's house. Chalk paint wouldn't have done this to me! 

Spray paint tips: 1.) Invest a few dollars in the nozzle. It made spraying so much easier
and I didn't end up with "spray paint fingers". 2.) Remove the cat. 3.) If you don't have a
well-ventilated workspace (or even if you think you do!) spray outdoors. Your neighbors
will thank you. 4.) Chair-painting goes alot smoother working from the legs up. "But paint drips
downward!" Trust me. I did two each way and the Pinterest bloggers are right!

I can still taste the fumes today. Slightly helping me out with neighborly relations is the cinnamon candle I've left endlessly burning right next to the shared wall.

But, in the end... Lookee here!

I really do love how it finally came together!

My favorite thing about this room: Still the Disney wall. But, also the other this 'n thats I found to go with it that make me nostalgic for childhood vacations. And, the chair color still has me swooning! (Or, it may just be the fumes.)

What this room will be used for: Hopefully, not just this.

What I'd still like to do with this space: I'm on the lookout for a long dresser or other such object I can pretend is a buffet, but will secretly be hiding all my sewing stuff. The little left-over dresser pictured below just ain't cuttin' it!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Just Add Cat

So, I may have jumped the gun on something. 

Before I have finished unpacking... Before I've refinished all the furniture or have gotten things totally organized and settled... I went and invited this little furry turd to come live with me.

"Oh, furry turd?! Kim, you're so cruel!"

Yeah, yeah... she's cute in pictures, but let's run through her first night here.

  • 11:00 pm: Lights out.
  • 11:01 pm: Repetitive meowing from Cat.
  • 11:02 pm-4:00 am: Horrendously repetitive meowing/squawking/live exorcism taking place out in the Florida room.
  • 4:01 am: Human worries for the sleep of the entire neighborhood, slams both doorwalls shut and chastises, "Now NOBODY gets to enjoy the fresh air!!!"
  • 5:00 am: Cat scales every piece of furniture in the living room.
  • 6:30 am: Cat discovers alarm clock on nightstand. Human fears her stepping on the "alarm off" button and deactivating it. But, Human needn't worry about waking up, because Human hasn't fallen asleep yet.
  • 8:30 am-5:30 pm: Human is excessively grumpy due to lack of sleep and manages to avoid most human contact for an entire work day. Forgets the word "brass" at one point and refers to it as "the one that's like gold, but uglier. I forget the word. I just said in two minutes ago, but can't think of it now. You know..."

In Cat's defense, Human may have provided cat nip right before bedtime...

Day Two went a little more smoothly. She didn't greet me when I got home and was hiding under the bed. She still hadn't eaten, but there were signs of piddle in the litter box.

Night Two was a total 180. She stayed out in her favorite spot (kitty condo in the FL room) for what sounded like (or I should say, "lack of sounded") the entire night.

By the time I got home on Day Three, she had made herself at home. Food, eaten. Water, drunken. Litter box, pooped in. We were in kitty business!

That's not to say it's a perfect arrangement. We've had alot of "Seriously?!", "What?" conversations.

Like when she...

Climbs things:

Hogs the couch:

Climbs more things:

Impedes with my morning process:

I cannot go to work looking like that!

Last minute addition, from ten minutes ago.

I've been reintroduced to cat allergies that have laid dormant for the past five petless years. I've added extra chores to the daily list. She's decided it's fun refrain from retracting her claws when she walks, so she goes around the house sounding like steel velcro as she crosses the carpet... the bed... my brand new couch!!!

She kicks her litter all over the bathroom. Sticks her bumhole in my face as a sign of supposed affection. She gives looks of teenage indifference when I scold her. But, I've found my owns ways to even the scorecard:

I've had passing thoughts of, "What have I gotten myself into?", "Do I want to spend the next twelve years of my life itchy-eyed, snotty-nosed and incapable of breathing?", "Is she too old to be declawed? If so, can I have her feet amputated?", "Do I really want to be a mom?", "Would they take her back if I ask?"

But, as I was laying in bed this morning, in comes Cat. Steel velcro prancing across my new bedding. She mewed for breakfast and I tried to forcefully hug her to buy a few minutes. She pulled away, stuck that bumhole in my face, then proceeded to purr and rub her head all over me as I pretended to be sleeping. 

She climbed across my legs. Hugged her side against mine. Purred to almost pornographic degrees. Then took a lap across my nightstand and quietly lied down. She'd decided I could sleep. She would allow it.

She reminded me exactly of myself when I'm not the hugger, but the huggee.

And, I too, like to keep my own schedule. I too, would rather hide under the bed some days. I like to go where I want, when I want. I like to act like I own the joint wherever I go, 'cause it makes me feel comfortable. I too, invoke "Seriously?!" in others, and reply with my own "What"s.

She's independent. Sassy. Loves fiercely once she decides you're worthy of her love. Is affectionate on her own terms. Loves to sleep. Is thoughtful when it counts. And, is silly as can be. Wait a second... this cat is ME. I can't get rid of me!

In other words, she's a keeper. Seriously.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Kitchen

Three words about my kitchen: 1.) Skinny, 2.) Boring, 3.) Wallpaper.

This scrawny galley kitchen was the room I least wanted to spend time in and most wanted to touch when I moved in. (Then, the idea of peeling wallpaper made me not want to touch it at all, but just wake up one morning to find it magically renovated.)

Once I started adding my own stuff to it and the new appliances arrived after the Fridge Ordeal... it's starting to grow on me.

I reminded myself it could be worse. It could be any of the other kitchens I visited while house-hunting. If there must be wallpaper, at least it's a neutral color. If there must be boring peel-and-stick tile, at least it's in the same matching neutral.

I don't know why I originally hated the stainless steel backsplash so much. (I have an unpopular theory that stainless steel will become the Harvest Gold of the 2020's and have been avoiding it in exchange for the ever-okay white.) But, now that my stuff is in there, I realize the wall plays well with the metallic features of my small appliances.

All in all, the kitchen is still not my favorite room. But, it ain't so bad.

My favorite thing about this room:

Crockpot by Crockpot, purchased at Target
Red outdoor rug, also from Target
Adorable breadbox, by Waverly. Purchased at
Yellow tinted Bell jar from JoAnn Fabric. Spatulas from here and there.
(Here and There is not a store, by the way.)

This once boring room is all about the little things that give it some graphics and its pop of color. My favorite Crock Pot. The perfect red rug that happens to match my adorable breadbox. (Psst... it's an outdoor rug, purchased from Target's patio section clearance. 50% off and I can spill on it and much as I plan to!) Not to mention the new oven and fridge that actually work and are not in danger of imploding at any given moment.

Just don't ask about my dishwasher that, turns out, has not one inch of metal to it.

What this room will be used for: It's amazing how much I drift through this hidden corner. I planned on only spending about 1% of my time in the kitchen. But, it turns out, being hypoglycemic, I eat alot more than I'd like to admit. (Time to gain some of that weight back!) Not to mention the time spent chasing my nephews out of the cookie cupboard. Plus, it's where I stash the tools, scissors and batteries. My kitchen's work is never done!

One more use for the kitchen. Adoption news, coming soon!
What I'd still like to do with this space: Tear out that wallpaper! My original design plan involved white subway tile on both of the length-running walls, walnut floors and some paint. But, now that the stainless steel backsplash on the oven wall is growing on me, it may be more cost-effective to just add a matching backsplash on the opposite wall as well. (Half the work, half the price!)

I also want to paint a chalkboard wall on the narrow wall in the back. But, for now, this will have to do!

Notice last item on the shopping list. Check!