Drapery Challenges - Master Bedroom

The existing curtains in our master bedroom are fine.  But, that's all they are... fine.  Fortunately they were about $12 each from Walmart so not a major investment.  If you want to buy them, I'll make you a deal.  You get what you pay for - they were too short (probably 82") and they are not lined.  Such a big issue for me because they do not look full or rich. 

 Also on the back wall, I really want the curtains to hang above the transom window to emphasize the cathedral ceilings in the room. 

So, my first try at a new option was this -
Nice quality and the color is nice, but not the right color.  They are from JC Penney where I have bought a lot of the window treatments in my house.  Too much contrast and it is taking the sea blue accent color into being a primary color in the room which is not the look I am going for.  I really want a neutral and serene room - a total break from the craziness of life.  The color is neutral but the contrast with the wall is too much. I think I am looking for a simple cream curtain, so I am going to try these same curtains in cream.  I may eventually add some trim or something but for now, this might just work.  Stay tuned!


"Mom, NOW what are you doing?!"

What did you do while your kids were eating breakfast this morning?  Seemingly I lost my mind because I decided to reorganize my dish cabinet and add a little punch on the back wall!  What?!!!  Yup, seriously.  Elizabeth said "Mom, NOW what are you doing?!"  But then she jumped in to help.  She's a keeper.

Here's where we started - lots of white!

The main reason for reorganizing was that I wanted the coffee cups to be close the actual coffee pot.  I love the idea of a coffee cabinet (check one out on Nesting Place), so I took it as far as I could except that I keep my actual coffee in the fridge and I use a permanent filter so need for a place to store filters.  I have a sugar bowl in here and the spoons are right underneath.  Now, weekend guests can grab their mug after seeing the  full pot of steaming hot coffee and grab a mug right away. I also needed some more room in  my glassware cabinet for a couple of recent bargain purchases (more on that later).

I also had an idea for adding a pop of color to this cabinet since right now it is pretty much all white but it's a focal point in the kitchen.  I picked up a roll of green and gold paisley wrapping paper at the Container Store about a month ago.  I trimmed about an inch off the side of the roll of paper (with Elizabeth's help), and slid it up behind the shelves.  I didn't even have to take most of the dishes out!  I then taped it at the top and bottom using double-sided clear tape.  Done!

The only disappointment is that from far away through the glass, it looks like the back of the cabinet is just green because the pattern is fairly muted.  But, up close and when you open the cabinet, it definitely has a big impact and my white dishes don't just fade into the back wall.  It was so easy, if I find a paper I like better (maybe with a bolder pattern), I'll just change it out - maybe during breakfast.  Including reorganizing the cabinet and wiping out some dust, the whole project took about 35 minutes.  Just in time to leave for school!

I am already thinking of other pieces of furniture to try this technique on. 



Happy Halloween!



 My little goblins!


Just cannot help myself...

No, not talking about candy corn although I have eaten a few this week.  I am talking about our over-the-top Halloween outside decor.  I just added a creepy spider to our hanging light on the front porch.  It's really for the benefit of trick-or-treaters.  Next year I am going to try to find some purple/black bulbs for the front porch light.

 Here are a few more pictures of what the trick-or-treaters will see from the front porch.


Happy Halloween!


Halloween Mantel Decor

After several iterations of my fall-themed family room mantel (read about those here and here), I decided to go out at it one last time with a Halloween theme.  The goal was to keep it light and fun - and a little gaudy.

Fortunately, I didn't need to buy anything for this make-over.  I had all of these decorations from other years although I had not used the lanterns in several years.  We actually have an extra plug behind the TV if I ever get inspired to plug them in - maybe this weekend!  The trick-or-treat sign was purchased at HomeGoods after Halloween last year.  My daughter picked out the small metal witch (hard to see on the left side in front of the plant) at Michael's last year.  All of the other items I have had for several years.  Not exactly no cost but at least no cost this year!

Only 2 more days until Halloween!  We'll be enjoying our neighborhood Halloween party tomorrow and then trick-or-treating with our neighbors on Sunday!  Hope you have a great one!


Halloween Spooktacular!

I am fairly certain that a few of my young neighbors are avoiding our house right now because it looks extra creepy for Halloween!  My 4 1/2 year old daughter is obsessed with Halloween (as am I) so I really wanted to take it over the top this year.  I absolutely love it!  Here are some day pictures:

 And some spooky night shots (sorry about some of the blurriness - I need a tripod!) -

I was totally inspired by Mrs. Limestone's over the top Halloween decor last year.  I followed her advice on the skeletons from Oriental Trading Company.  I used heavy duty fishing line (60 lb capacity) which I picked up at my local hardware store.  The chain hanging from the second story window was purchased last year for our pirate ship wagon (ok, so maybe this isn't the first year I went over the top).  I also bought a large bag of "cobwebs" from the Halloween store for about $8.  This stuff is incredibly cool and realistic - especially at night.  My daughter loved playing with it and decorating the fence in the backyard.

Our pumpkins are carved but they are safely hiding on the screen porch from the squirrels who are particularly hungry this year judging by the other pumpkins in the neighborhood.  

Now we just have to wait for trick-or-treaters!


We've been BOO'd! Neighborhood Halloween Fun

Where I grew up, neighborhood Halloween fun meant toilet papering your favorite teacher's trees on Cabbage Night (October 30th).  I am sure the high school teachers dreaded that night!

Fortunately, where I live now, there is little if any Halloween mischief, but we do have some fun neighborhood Halloween traditions.  First, we hold a neighborhood Halloween party a few days before Halloween itself.  Mostly it involves an evite, a moonbounce, pizza, and beer (for adults of course!).  Everyone has a great time and it is always great to catch up with our neighbors.  Fortunately the weather in Northern Virginia is generally not lower than 60 during the day in October so we can enjoy the outdoors.

A few years ago "ghosting", or "Boo'ing", hit our neighborhood in a big way.  No one really knows who started it but I have my suspicions.  The basic premise is that a neighbor leaves a bag of goodies on your doorstep at night, rings the bell, and runs away.  My dog hates the bell ringing part but the rest is a blast.  You never know who did it, unless their child lets it slip the next day.  You then post the enclosed ghost picture on your door letting others know that you have been ghosted, then you ghost 2 other neighbors.  This generally starts 2-3 weeks before Halloween so an entire neighborhood will be ghosted by the big day.  I was walking a few streets over the other day and noticed some ghosting in that neighborhood as well - but different ghosts so clearly a different string.  It's really fun!

Above picture, more information, and printables here.

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Powder Room Updates with More to Come

Sorry about the short blog hiatus.  I am basically single parenting right now while the hubby works furiously for various political candidates across the country.  I have some great posts coming this week so stick around!

Every time I go into our first floor powder room, I cannot help thinking that this tiny room used to be our kitchen.  Well, half of our kitchen to be more accurate but still... that was a really tiny kitchen!  If you're curious, here is a picture of our original (somewhat messy) kitchen.

The window on the right is now our half bath window.  Still pretty amazing to me!  (If you're interested, check out our new kitchen here)

Anyway, I thought I would relay a few details of our half bath.  Needless to say with a 3 year old and another on the way, a first floor bathroom was a VERY high priority when we were designing our house.  Our basic 1940 colonial only had one real full bathroom on the second floor and a pseudo bathroom in the basement - a toilet and shower in a tiny room with the laundry room sink outside the door.  Not palatial but functional.

So, we got our first floor half bath in the remodel - yeah!  I always planned for this to be a clean but dramatic room, but it is definitely not there yet.   Here are some pictures of where things are now. (Note:  This is a SMALL room so these pictures were challenging to take!)

The paint color is Duron Naval in eggshell finish.  The trim color is Duron Toque White in semi-gloss.  The sink base was purchased at the Home Expo going out of business sale.  Faucet by Pegasus.  Light fixture from Restoration Hardware - purchased at their outlet store for less than $20 including the shades!  The mirror was purchased at my neighbor's yard sale for $10 several years back.  I wonder if they remember?  The window treatments are cordless roman shades from JC Penney (since discontinued - too bad because they were great and I would have bought them for other rooms in our house!).  I seriously love that woven step can too.  Hard to find step cans with style but with a tissue loving dog and two kids - they are a necessity in my house.

Troublemaker in Chief

On the toilet side of the room, I recently updated the artwork from this cute but undersized print of a ship on the St. Lawrence Seaway (near our alma mater of the same name in upstate New York) -

 To this - a really fun poster of the Washington Monument which suits the area much better.

This last update has inspired me to start finding other DC architectural drawings and paintings to add to the room.  So far I have found a few but I need to do some framing before I hang them. 

To amp up the drama, I am seriously considering doing a stencil of some sort.  I think it would look amazing but it's really a matter of how much contrast I want in there as far as color.  I am going to do some samples pretty soon and then see what you all think.  Stay tuned!

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Remodelaholic Featured!

I am very excited to say that my blog is featured on Remodelaholic today!  I am avid reader of that blog so I was really excited to see my own post about curb appeal there today!  Click here to check it out!

For those of you visiting for the first time - Welcome!  Hope you decide to become a subscriber (links to the left) and come back often.


Dining Room Halloween Centerpiece

After yesterday's post about our dining room decor overhaul, I realized I forgot to give a little info about the centerpiece.   The centerpiece bowl and candlesticks were wedding gifts (Simon Pierce) from very close family friends.  I've had the orange candles for a long time but never used them and the pumpkin bowl filler is from Ross ($5).  I've also had the table runner for a few years. 

I have decided that I am going to try hard to only buy accessories which have some flexibility - either seasonal or use.  I think vase/bowl filler has become so popular because you can do a lot of different things with it.  I hope I can stick with my new mantra!  More Halloween decor later this week!


Dining Room Redesign Update!

I am STILL working on getting my dining room redesigned.  Although I am keeping all of the furniture, I am changing out most of the accessories and wall decor.  I am still missing a few pieces but it is getting much closer than before.  My dining room before was definitely leaning towards floral and feminine.  I am a huge fan of florals, but the dining room was overloaded.

This weekend I became really inspired to get my dining room up to snuff as we prepare to host Jim's family for Thanksgiving.  We are really excited to have them all here together - a first!  Maybe this was just the kick I needed.

Over the summer, I found a new rug and updated the chandelier

Now for some close-ups.

The buffet with a new mirror ($20 from Ross) and small buffet lamps ($10 each from Walmart).  Everything else was mine already.

The new boat paintings were my grandparents'.  They remind me of them and I love that.  The colors just happened to be perfect for this room.  I love when that happens.  I may get the inner mat replaced at some point because it has faded to an odd shade of purple.  I am sure it was dark blue at some point.

My china cabinet was rearranged a few months ago so we would get more use out of our good china (read about that here).  I recently added the blue rimmed plates which my mom thinks my grandparents received as a wedding gift.  Turquoise was my grandmother's favorite color. 
The mini bar was a very recent addition although we have had the bar cabinet for years.  (Read about that quick update here)  I added a new picture above which I already had on hand.  It's probably a few inches too high right now but I am not sure this picture is here for the long haul.

Finally, I added a reproduction map of Washington, DC in the mid-19th Century before Virginia took Arlington back.  Arlington was mostly forts and farmland at that point in history.  What a change in 150 years!


I am so happy with how it's turning out.  Can't wait to break out the extra leaves for the table!  What do you think?  Any additional ideas?