Monday, April 11, 2011

Best Laid Plans

What I planned to do this weekend was take "before" photos of my whole house to give you a better idea of what I'm working with, but then Shawn & I got called away to do this....

A bathroom rescue for a client; complete with scraping, sanding, spackling, & sealing.  What was supposed to be a simple, "I'll just throw a fresh coat of paint on the walls before my daughter's Birthday party" turned into an S.O.S. of epic proportions (nothing like the sight of blistering, peeling paint to send you running for the professionals).  So instead,  I will leave you with a very simple Before & After.

When we first moved into our apartment I decided it was best to wait before I hung any artwork on the wall.  I wanted to get a feel of the space and dreaded the idea of turning my walls into Swiss cheese from moving pictures around.  That brings us to today's "before".  There is this tiny little wall in the kitchen that I felt has been begging for SOMETHING, but what?  I wanted to  find a super cool vintage frame and fill it with cork to make a family message station, kind of like this:

House and Home

The reality is, I have absolutely NO time to take on yet another project (and should probably focus on finishing the ones I already started) so the wall has looked more like this for the past year:

Such a waste of space!!  While helping the hubby organize the garage I rediscovered my boxed-up paintings and pictures.  I had almost forgotten that I had all those wonderful treasures hiding right under my nose.  One of the paintings incorporated all the colors from my kitchen & dining room and would tie the two rooms together nicely while filling the space out perfectly!  I had purchased this piece from a local artist when we lived at our last house and never could find "the perfect place" for it, so I carefully boxed it up until I could find one.  The artist called it "Affluence", but something about it made the man look so sad to me.

I love how he's dressed well but is missing his shoes, like it was all a facade of wealth.  It brings to mind the phrase, "keeping up appearances."  Anyways, I digress. *ahem*  So I dragged it out from the garage and put the hubby to work (he's very handy like that).  Perfection!!

It's amazing to me how such a small change can make a big impact.  On a larger wall, this painting would have gotten lost, but the scale fits perfectly and allows the painting to command attention.  Best of all?  This makeover was F-R-E-E (quite possibly one of my favorite words)!!  Maybe you have something hiding away in your attic/garage that can breath new life into a neglected space in your house.

Side Note:
I'm a big fan of supporting local artists.  "Affluence" was painted by a young artist name Leroy Shaw who is a self-taught artist.  I especially like his more expressionist works.  You can check out some of his work on his MySpace page, or if you are in Columbia you can catch him at the Barnyard.

Self-Portrait, Leroy Shaw

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Love at First Sight

You know that moment you see something and your heart stops?  You know, when you realize you're actually holding your breath?  Well I was just cruising along eBay one day and it happened, I saw this beauty:

I was totally smitten.  Then I looked at the price, ouch!!  For about two weeks I tried to shake it off but I was officially obsessed.   I mean, just LOOK at it...

I knew that it would be perfect for my dresser.  I could see it holding my keys and other small accessories and bring a little bit of the green from the rest of the house into the bedroom.  I've always been more than a little obsessed with the details.  I think they are like the jewelry to a room.  The right accessories can can take a room from drab to fab, they make the eyes linger and beg you to stay just a little longer.  I've also learned that when you've fallen head over heels in love with something, you always wish you hadn't walked away.   So, even though it was more than I would normally spend on a small accessory item, I decided that I would go for it.  Now I am *ahem* patiently waiting for the arrival of my "it" piece, stalking myEbay and tracking it's every move.  Until then, I leave you with a breakdown of today's cost:

Monday, April 4, 2011

What I've Learned from the Blogosphere

For the past 8 years I've struggled to balance my desire for a "magazine" house and my duties as a stay-at-home Mommy.  With only one income I decided that I would have to give-up on the idea of having a "design plan" for my house and "make do" with what I had.  While I was thankful for a place to put my bottom and rest my head, I still struggled with feelings of discontent.  I longed for the days when I could buy what I wanted and make my house look like the pages of Pottery Barn.

When my husband and I got married, we decided that it would be best for me to quit working and  stay home with our young son.  The budget I had to work on decorating was now non-existent.  I long ago resigned myself to the fact that it would probably be years before I was ever again able to make my home into something beautiful.  Then I found Young House Love, Sherri & John taught me that I didn't need a million bucks to make my house look like a million bucks.  I was inspired to transform my house into a home, and I wanted to do it in one year on a budget of about $75 per month.  With lessons learned from the blogosphere of home improvement DIYers, this is how I plan to do it:

  1. Rome wasn't built in a day - While the homes on the internet look stunning, they are almost always a lesson in patience.  Most bloggers have been steadily chipping away at decorating their homes over a process of several years.  I'm usually an all or nothing person, so if I didn't have the money to "completely" transform a room I would give up.  The internet taught me that even if I have to take 10 steps to get it done, it's better than not even starting.
  2. You need a plan - Most all home decorating bloggers started with a plan.  Some of them made mood boards, and others just had pictures from magazines that inspired them.  My Dad always used to say, "If you don't know where your going, you'll never get there."  It's kind of like that with my house too.  Start with a "big picture" idea and then look for specific pieces that can make that dream a reality.
  3. Mistakes are bound to happen - I used to feel like I must have done something terribly wrong when my design ideas went awry.  Thanks to the wonderful bloggers willing to embarrass expose themselves to the world, I've learned that I'm definitely not alone.  

Armed with my new-found knowledge, I birthed the Hevel House Project: the complete transformation of my house from shab to chic in one year on a meager budget of $75 per month.  You are invited to follow along and watch as we attempt the impossible achieve our goals.  I will show you the exciting before & afters and do a budget breakdown, so you can be inspired too!