Dining Room Makeover

Like with all things, sometimes when you’re decorating your home, well, you make mistakes. I always try to remember this and don’t keep things around I don’t love. Recognizing the Ownership Principle was my first step away from being a hoarder. We value things we own or have paid for more than we would ever pay for said things again.

So a ways back when I installed some green IKEA curtains behind our dining room table, I tried to ignore how much I didn’t love them. I gave them several months of thought, weighed some other options, and finally decided to bid farewell. It was a relief to take them down and put in a pair of leaning bookcases. I also finally ordered the Paris metro print I’d been wanting for the past couple years. The space feels lighter, more personal, and much more complete. I’m so happy I didn’t let those curtains get the best of me!

The before:

And the after:

Wes Anderson Tribute

Lately I’ve been obsessed with finding fun and different art for our house. I’ve had my eye on these prints by Tim Doyle, made for a Wes Anderson tribute show. I am enamored with Anderson’s films and love Doyle’s illustrated scenes. I’m just about to make the leap and order these and I can’t wait to hang them on my walls.

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Garage Organization

Last night I was able to complete one more item on my 26 before 26 list. I’d been working on it slowly over the last few months and can finally cross off #17: Organize the garage.

While our little house has plenty of closets, there wasn’t much outdoor storage for larger items and those not needed in the house. For the first couple years, we used an old storage shelf I had bought for an installation art piece during college. It had been painted so many times that the pieces no longer fit together properly. So I decided it was time to get things in order.

Here’s our garage before:

While this is nothing compared to the clutter most people have in their garages, it made the organizer in me cringe. Stacked chairs, sports equipment, Christmas decorations, and much more just sat where they wanted, occasionally falling over when we accidentally bumped against them. Not a great situation.

I had Clay help me remove the useless cabinet from the garage wall. Doesn’t he look excited to be here?

Then, I put together two new storage shelf units from Home Depot to fill the space. They were $70 each and much cheaper than any other cabinet option we considered.

And here’s the after with all of our boxes and things on the shelves. The organizer in me wanted to get all matching containers, but the thrift shopper in me said to make do with what we have.

The last step was to get some Elfa wall hooks and hangers from The Container Store to get the rest of the stuff up off the ground and out of the way. It seems like such a small change, moving the items 5 feet above where they original sat, but it makes such a difference. These items are the ones we only use once in a while or seasonally, so having them on the wall clears up walking space and keeps them out of harm’s way until we need them.

(Disregard the pile of building materials. These are simply waiting to be installed in our guest bathroom and will be gone soon!)

When we moved in, we had made it a point to always be able to park inside our garage (especially during the hot summer months). It’s easy to start packing and stacking items in there and soon your garage is overflowing with things you don’t even care about. This new system will hopefully make it quick and easy to keep things organized.

Overdone Home Trends I Still Love

As often as I can, I like to browse home decor magazines and blogs for inspiration and stress relief. I love to see what new home trends will pop up and how I can incorporate fun and interesting ideas into our little Chandler house. As blog commenters will no doubt tell you, many home trends become so ubiquitous, the sight of them annoys even the calmest of us all. However, these handful of overdone home trends, I just can’t get enough. Anytime I see them pop up on blogs or on the pages of my favorite magazines, I swoon. Sometimes you just have to do what you like, even if everyone else is doing the same thing.

Chalkboard walls: Yup, still love ’em. They incorporate both functionality and whimsy, reminding me always of the dusty smell of old school classrooms. None of that white board marker smell in here. They are especially beautiful in unexpected places and when the home owner has particularly good handwriting or drawing skills.

Wall decals: The perfect solution for renters or the commitment-phobe. I’ll be the first to admit I have an obsessive problem committing to home decor. I agonize over paint choices, furniture sizes, and the right depth of bookcase. Wall decals allow us to add some life to our space, without the scary permanence.

White ceramic animals: As a kid I collected animal figurines of all shapes and sizes. I adored dogs, wolves, and horses and had a full ceramic menagerie. Later I discovered that was, well, kind of lame. Enter the white ceramic animal trend. Now I can air my ceramic animal love out in the open, while appearing hip and contemporary. What a glorious day.

Keep Calm and Carry On prints: These are everywhere. But you know, it’s still as charming as the first time I saw it. Clear and concise with no extra fluff, it’s a message we should all keep in mind on a daily basis.

Brightly colored accent walls: Scared of choosing a non-neutral for you house? Simple solution: pick a bright color and pick a wall. It’s an easy way create focus in a room and bring that room to life. Change your mind later on? Luckily, you only have one wall to re-paint.

Faux taxidermy: I’m the first to freak out in a room of death (for all you Ace Ventura fans out there) and I cry at the thought of shooting an animal for a trophy. I do, however, love the trend of faux animal heads. Cardboard, paper-mâché, I don’t care. All I know is having a fake animal on your wall doesn’t bother me one bit.

Shiny New Shower

After a quick five weeks, I’m giddy to cross of another item on my 26 before 26 list: #13: Replace master bathroom shower.

Whoever put in the original shower in our house must hate all things good. They did everything wrong and chose the cheapest methods and hardware possible. The first thing I wanted to do when we moved in was replace the shower. Two and a half years later, we finally got around to it. After speaking with contractors, we were a bit disheartened at the high estimates we received. Our friend Paul stepped in and offered to help us out at night and on weekends. This morning I used the new shower for the first time and actually squealed with delight. No longer do I need to worry about water soaking into the walls, my products have a nice shelf to sit on, and I’m not embarrassed if someone sees it! And the absolute best part? We saved about $5,000 doing it ourselves.

I searched through all the photos I took when we moved in the house for a “before” photo, but I couldn’t find a single one. It’s probably for the best, because it was pretty gross. No worries, it’s beautiful now!

Serving Bowls

I’ve been looking for a good fruit/serving bowl that can also be used as a display piece. Here are a few I’ve come across so far. I really love Jonathan Adler’s ceramic pieces!

Cork Bowl – $48 – from Bambu
Bird Salad Bowl and Servers Set -£29.95 – from Rockett St. George
Basket Bowl – $56 – from Perch!
Super Love Bowl – $108 – from Alessi
Moon Bowl – $110 – from Mario Bellini and MoMA
Butterfly Bowl – $115 – from Richard K. Thomas and MoMA
Large Pinch Bowl – $120 – from Jonathan Adler
Giant Horse Bowl – $495 – from Jonathan Adler