Office Redesign

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Of all the projects we have done since moving into the park house. just over a year ago, I think I can say this is my favorite one. The story of this office redesign is one of seizing the moment and not letting beautiful chairs opportunities pass you by. We had talked about what we wanted to do with our office space, but decided it was a project that would have to wait until after year end bonus time.

However, because we had those conversations, and had an idea of what we wanted out of the office space, we were able to strike when opportunities presented themselves. Like when we were wandering through World Market and saw two beautiful chairs on sale for around $200 for the pair after a 10% off coupon! I knew I would regret it if I walked away from such beautiful chairs at such a great price. Those chairs set our office redesign in motion. (Soon after we found the desk chair on clearance for $30. Crazy, right!?)

This is what we were working with pre-redesign. We hadn’t done anything more to the office than plopping down our existing office furniture and throwing in a few vintage pieces we collected over the last year.

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Our ideas definitely evolved as we found pieces. The original plan involved warmer tones, but after looking at a paint sample against the chairs, they seemed to blend in too much. I’m so happy we went with the grey; our entire main floor in blues, greys and white and I love the way the rooms fit together.

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It was important for us to have extra seating in here, we love to hang out together when one of us is working on the computer.

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I love the swanky lines on the vintage bronze desk lamp. I also adore our new iMac! For a great resource on desk styling, check out this post from Kristin Jackson. It came out right as we were finishing up this project, and I felt super cool because the pieces I’d selected for our desk were so in line. (Between you and me, I have a slight designer-blogger-crush on Kristin Jackson. Don’t tell anyone.)

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I really let our geek flag fly while staging this shelf. Can you tell we are Doctor Who fans?

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The globe is vintage from a local store we love (Hunt and Gather), the deer antler came out of the woods on my parent’s farm, and we picked up the painting on our honeymoon in Jamaica!

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I really enjoy the sentimentality of this wall. The map is an aerial shot of my parent’s farm from 1950, the pictures are of the places Grant and I have travelled (left to right: Jamaica, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland), and the clock is from Grant’s grandma.

There  you have it, our office redesigned!

Sources: Desk | Desk chair | Mulberry Chair | Printed Chair

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|Chalkboard| Chargers

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A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to buy a new set of dishes (thanks to our families and their generosity with our wedding!). Going from a mix of round and square brightly colored dishes to these simple, rectangular white dishes definitely prompted a change in place settings as a whole. Instead of placemats, the fun new shape of our dishes inspired me to make some chargers.

This was another simple and inexpensive project! After taking the measurements for the dishes so the charger would evenly frame our dinner size plates, I went to Home Depot and found the thinnest board that would work within our size requirements for both length and width, and had it cut into 8 equal pieces. Next was some light sanding to smooth out the edges, and wood glue and clamps (As you can sort of tell from that picture, I did this project while sitting in an adirondack chair outside. Plus I had strep throat. Its that easy.) to attach two pieces together. After letting it dry I threw on two coats of chalkboard paint, and voila! Chargers.

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I love that they can be personalized for any occasion! I even used one for our wedding reception.

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Love | Caribbean Inspired Details

The thing I found most striking when we were in Jamaica (other than the pure bliss of spending a week totally relaxed on the beach my husband), was the perfection of the Caribbean color palette. While blue and cream are pretty common colors to put together, the pop of emerald from the trees is the perfect compliment to the blues and creams.

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I’m loving these rooms with their Caribbean inspired colors.

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|via House of Turquoise|

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|via House of Turquoise|

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|via 6th Street Design School|

Maybe a whole Caribbean inspired room is too much for you, so here are some Caribbean inspired accessories I would love to bring home!

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emerald lamps | striped rug | wall color | garden stool | printed chair | gold turtle shell

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|Twenty six| before 26

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Wandering around blogland a few nights ago I ran across the “30 before 30” project. Love it. However, waiting 4 years to do my own sounded less cool. (I’m terrible at waiting. Last week I bought Mumford & Sons tickets for G’s birthday in August, and managed to wait a full hour before telling him.)

So, I decided to make a 26 before 26 list.

I do recognize is a total digression from home design. I really gave that a lot of thought before deciding to post this. My favorite blogs are ones where I feel like I can relate to the writer personally. Maybe this will facilitate that around here.

Here is my |twenty six| before 26 list. I’m adding a new page at the top to keep track of my progress over the next 10 months!

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Handmade (Paint Chip) Art

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Today I want to share a really simple (and very affordable!) diy project I did in our bedroom: the paint chip “art” above the bed! I love that it looks almost pixelated.

The original tutorial I found online was very colorful, which I loved, but was not right for this space. I decided to go with various shades of white, and used Valspar paint chips because of the shape. They were slightly rectangular, but turned out to be perfect squares (or close enough to perfect for me) once you covered up the text on the bottom.

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I used a frame we already had in our house (sorry for killing your beers of the world montage, G!), so the total cost of this project was one can of white spray paint for the frame, and some double sided tape!

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After painting the frame, I used double sided tape to adhere the paint chips to the back of the old picture. I overlapped them so the text doesn’t show, and then trimmed off the bottom and edge where there was overhang. It took awhile to find the right placement so there weren’t too many like whites grouped together, but even with that the project came together in less than an hour!

An hour of time and $5 in supplies? That is my kind of DIY!

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Bathroom Update.2

When we went on our honeymoon in March Grant’s parents stayed at our house, and were nice enough to paint our downstairs bathroom! Like I mentioned when I wrote about our main bathroom update, it was high on our priority list  to get our bathrooms painted with better quality, mildew and mold resistant paint.

The downstairs bathroom is pretty basic and definitely one of our least ‘designed’ spaces. However, some paint  and a little shelving update still made a big difference. (Plus it was really awesome to come home from Jamaica to a newly painted room!)

DSC_1102I made the curtain out of a pillowcase. Lazy lady’s solution, yo! I just sewed a seam through the top to make a pocket for the curtain rod, and clipped open the end of the pocket on the side that wasn’t already open. It took me all of 3 minutes and was one of those projects that seemed way too easy to be true.DSC_1107I picked the color based on the grays in these towels.DSC_1109

Love | White Walls

Although the park house. is evolving into a mixture of whites, greys and blues, I have a major thing for white walls. I love the clean, simple look and how they allow the things around and on them to pop. In certain rooms like the bedroom and the office (post coming soon!), I like a deeper wall color that makes the space feel cozy. These are also spaces that I want to look simple and clean. Spaces that need to feel calm and relaxing. In a space like the living room, my aim is design, for the space to feel beautiful above all else.

White walls facilitate that so perfectly.

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I adore this space from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess. With the white walls the all the other design elements in the room look so vivid.

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And this amazing Copenhagen abode from Traveling Mama. The white walls and white floors? Simple and lovely.

The trickiest part of white walls is finding the perfect shade of white. Kristin over at The Hunted Interior has a great post about her favorite white paints. When choosing a white paint my personal criteria is something warmer than the white of our woodwork and different enough that it doesn’t look like a failed color match. However, it still needs to be light, bright and clean. For our hall (and eventually living room and kitchen), I used Glidden Parchment White color matched for Behr paint.

Do you love | white walls? Do you have a favorite white paint color?

I blue the hallway.

Sorry guys, I couldn’t help myself. No exaggeration, I thought of Arrested Development inspired jokes the entire time I painted our hallway. I fully recognize that I have the sense of humor of a 15 year old boy.

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When we were painting our bathroom a few months ago, we grabbed this paint sample that we knew was too dark for the bathroom space. The second I looked at it I knew it was going to end up on the ceiling of our main hallway. It felt like the perfect way to personalize this space. So I painted the ceiling this lovely blue*, and the walls |Behr parchment white|.

*The lady in the paint department at Home Depot seemed slightly appalled when I asked her to tint ceiling paint blue – it turns out you either can’t tint actual ceiling paint that dark, or she refused to do it because she thought I was insane.

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This will be the color in our living room eventually as well; I really wanted the two spaces to flow together.

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A time for firsts.

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So yesterday I mowed the lawn at the park house. for the very first time. Subsequently, that means I used a push mower for the first time. It was a very frustrating process until I realized it had a choke. Anyway… in the process I learned three things about myself and my home.

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Adult-onset ADHD makes it incredibly difficult to pay attention to keeping your lines straight, and thus results in an enormous amount of string trimming later to fix all the little slivers of grass left over. Coupled with my mildly neurotic need to do things correctly… let’s just say I started this job at 7:30am and was back out in the yard at 8:00pm fixing it more.

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A family/colony of daddy long legs live along the north side of our garage. All I wanted to do was kill them, but I held back and let them live. I’m pretty sure they are good for my garden. Also, I had to pay penance for the results of Three.

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Apparently moths like to hang out in the dewy morning grass. They are not great at getting out of it fast enough to avoid the lawn mower. Sorry little dudes.

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Oh wait, there is a fourth thing. I would really like G to remain in charge of our household lawn mowing duties.

Where We Eat. Occasionally.

Helloooo! Did I forget to mention that I would be taking a stress induced/nervous breakdown preventing sabbatical from this blog from April 27th until this very moment? Oops. For me, nothing tops the end-of-the-year stress of being a teacher. I always get to that last day and feel like I just ran a 3 week marathon (immediately preceded by a 9.5 month warm up jog).

And then suddenly, it’s done. And I have almost two months to breathe. To focus on my sanity, my home, my marriage, my life. To prepare myself to start grad school in the fall. To do all the sweet projects around our house that I was dreaming about while literally surrounded my piles of paperwork a week and a half ago. And to catch up over here at the park house. So let’s get to it!

One of the things we loved about this house was that it had a huge living room (by 1950’s standards) and no formal dining room. If we’re being honest here, we eat 90% of our meals on the couch anyway. A formal dining room is not a good allocation of space for our lifestyle. (Side note, I am certain the woman who helped us do our wedding registry at BB&B would be abhorred at that idea. She and I had a legit argument because she was so concerned that we weren’t registering for a gravy boat. We came close to needing smelling salts when I told her that if we were serving a “lettuce salad” I would just put the dressing bottle on the table.)

However, we do have a small eat in dining space in our kitchen. We use it when we have friends over for dinner (with salad dressing bottles on the table. The horror.), and our Friday night tradition typically lands us there for dinner time at least that one night a week. It’s kind of a nice space; a cozy little nook in the corner of our kitchen with two windows to let in the sun. However, with the square IKEA table and chairs we had from our townhouse, it was a bit too cozy. Think, shuffling sideways to get around the table.

The week before G and I got married (3.10.13), I happened across a mid 1960’s era dining table at a local vintage furniture store we love and can rarely afford. However, this was a piece they had picked up but never got around to refinishing. Luckily for us, they eventually decided to sell it as is.

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Which meant we got an awesome vintage dining table with swanky lines… and green vinyl chairs. I know its a junky cell phone picture, but who needs to see 1970’s green vinyl in high resolution? For the record, the green vinyl was someone’s update from the 1970’s. The original tan 1960’s upholstery is under there.

So, we had the table delivered a few days before our wedding, and (along with another project I’ll be sharing soon), Grant’s mom volunteered to reupholster these babies while we were in Jamaica and they house sat.

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A small change can make a big difference.

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This space is so much easier to utilize with a round table, and this set feels right at home in this space. We may refinish the top of the table eventually, but we sort of like the charm of a table that has clearly been used and loved. We also plan to take off the table cloth eventually, but right now our kitchen has wood cabinets, and I don’t want to feel like I’m cooking in a lumber yard. There is a big kitchen project on the horizon this summer. Stay tuned!

And if you are still reading, congratulations on bearing with me through such an insanely long post!

P.S. We still have cats.

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