Screen Porch: Furniture and More

Just moments before Alex's birthday party, we loaded the furniture into our finally finished screen porch.  I was so happy to see how well it fit and it just felt right.

The sofa and swivel chair are from Sears 3 years ago.  I think it was the Country Living line but they still have something very similar.  The coffee table was a thrifty find from Goodwill a few months ago - $15 for a hard rock maple table?! Yes, please.  This reminds me that I haven't been to a Goodwill in a few months.  I need to rectify that this weekend.  Of course, when I bought the table, I did not know where I was going to put it.  I like the campy feel it has and I love two-level coffee tables because of the extra storage and display space they provide.

I bought this wheeled cooler from Kohls online a few years ago (get 10% off through 6/23/12 using code: Blogger10).  It's such a great piece and makes grabbing a cold drink so much more refined!
I still have a lot of decorating left to do in here.  I'm going to put my curtains back up I think.  I may need to make a trip to Ikea to get another rod or two and I'm not sure when I'll have time to do that.  Not for a few weeks I think.

The table is clearly not permanent. I sold the old table at our yard sale earlier this spring.  I'm hoping I can make a rectangular table work and plan to put my yard sale proceeds towards a new one.  I have my eye on a table at World Market but I'm holding out for a sale or good coupon (let me know if you see one!).   I'm hoping to try out my folding table here to get an idea for the size to be sure it will work before I lug it home!  

I'm looking forward to temperatures in the 70s this weekend so we can spend lots of time out here.  I need to do some big thinking about our landscaping.  We definitely need a little more shade and privacy so some strategic tree placement is in order. 

Still, it has been so great to eat dinner outside (when it's not pouring rain and thundering!).  Handy Hubby has had a couple of opportunities to work from home over the last week and swears he is more productive when he's out there!

Any outside projects in the works? Table shopping?  


Family Room: Putting my feet up in comfort

Hope everyone had a great long weekend.  We spent part of it in upstate New York with my family for my sister-in-law's baby shower.  So excited to meet that little guy or girl - they aren't finding out the sex which I love! We didn't find out for either of our children and although the suspense nearly killed me (especially the second time around), it made the delivery that much more fun and exciting.  Back to the blog...

When we got our new sectional a few months ago, it quickly became apparent that our coffee table was not going to cut it any more. It was a hand-me-down from my parents who bought it at Macy's circa 1973 soon after they were married.  I really wanted an ottoman here instead to make movie and TV watching more comfortable and enjoyable.  We also don't need a coffee table here because we have one in our living room which is great for games, puzzles, etc.  

So, I set about looking for an ottoman. I was looking for something between 30 and 34" square. This gave us a little more floor space but gave everyone sitting on the sectional a place to rest their feet.  I was open to fabric and leather, but did not want pleather or vinyl. Turns out - this was no easy feat!  Most ottomans were small - around 24" or huge McMansion ottomans - closer to 40" squire, or made of vinyl/pleather.  Not going to work for our small family room.  You can see some of my finds on my Pinterest board.

Then I considered making an ottoman.  In theory, it probably would have worked but I think ultimately, I would have ended up buying something after a few years. I feared it would look homemade which I most certainly did not want in my family room where we spend all of our time.  

I scoured HomeGoods/Marshalls/TJ Maxx, Target, World Market, Macys, JC Penney, Kohls, etc., but none of my discount sources were revealing anything great. I found a few good options on One Kings Lane and Joss & Main but nothing perfect enough to take the plunge on something non-returnable!

Finally, it came along on Gilt in a Safaviah sale earlier this month.  Clean lines, not too much tufting to interfere with magnatiles or other toys which make it onto this surface.  And the $239.00 price tag didn't hurt either. It's just about 30" square and the fabric is called gray but it has tan undertones which work well with the rug, curtains, and other golds and greens in the room.  

Fortunately the 3 week delivery window turned out to be only about 4 days!  I couldn't believe it when I came home and found it on my front porch on a Thursday afternoon.  When we first put it together, right before Alex's birthday party, I have to admit, I thought it was way too small.  In hindsight, I think it was just an adjustment from the too-big coffee table which was wider and taller. The ottoman actually fits the scale of the room and sofa better than the table did.

I love the tweed-like texture which plays off the sofa and other fabrics in the room.  I put together a little summer centerpiece while I was at it.  All the better for blogging from!

Any furniture purchases in your neck of the woods?  Fun Memorial Day weekend stuff?  Did you watch the Hatfields and McCoys on the History Channel?  


Cowboy Birthday Party for Alex!

We hosted a birthday round-up for Alex last Sunday afternoon.  I love having "family" parties for toddlers with kids enjoying cupcakes while the parents enjoy a beer (and a cupcake!).

Although Alex originally wanted another car-themed birthday party, I was able to convince him of a cowboy theme. I wanted it because it's perfect for little boys and girls - lots of dress-up!  We had about 35 friends along for the ride.

Here's the birthday boy sporting his new t-shirt custom made by my friend Mari.  I love their stuff!

We set up a dress-up table just inside the gate where most people came in. The kids grabbed a hat, bandana, and...

a mustache!!

Here's Handy Hubby testing out a mustache...  

A quick shot of our backyard with our bean bag toss game out and ready for action.

For food, we served taquitos (from the frozen food department at BJs Warehouse - YUM!), watermelon, chips, 2 kinds of salsa, and cream cheese & pepper jelly dip.  Of course, we had cake and cupcakes too!  I bought cupcakes from the grocery store and put plastic sheriff badges on each from the dollar store.  The kids could take the badges home with them.

Handy Hubby made the cake and I decorated it.  I love how it came out.

So did Alex!

Even my blog-friend-turned-real-life-friend came with baby Maddox!

Happy 3rd Birthday Alex!!


Screen Porch: Construction Complete - Finally!

I am happy to say that the porch is finished.  We added about 40 square feet but it feels like we doubled the size.  It's aaaaaamazing.  I love it and I want to sit out there all the time.  It gives me a reason to walk through our living room!

As a reminder, here's the before (which doesn't look all that bad just smaller and not as bright)...

I attribute the better feeling to the ceiling most of all. Having a cathedral ceiling with loads of light pouring in through the open gable end and skylight seems to make the whole project worth it.  Although it wasn't the quickest project, I think the end result is worth it and Jim pulled it off in the end.  Of course, I'm already thinking about tiling the floor down the road but that will have to wait for Handy Hubby to recover from this event.

This also highlights the need to get some more screening landscaping between us and our neighbors.  We love our neighbors but not their air conditioners and trash cans!

Next up bringing the furniture back in and getting a new rug and dining table.  Mmmmm... shopping :)


Screen Porch: Lighting

Had to share a quick lighting update because I am sooooo excited about it.  The combination of great looking lights and affordability are so rare.  For what it's worth, I tend to like the style of Lowes lighting as opposed to Home Depot when I'm not looking to break the bank. If I am looking to break the bank, Restoration Hardware all the way.

First the below lanterns are from Lowes.  Sorry for the blurry pic!  Hard to beat the $29 price tag.

The fan is from Home Depot and it's their basic Hunter Bay indoor/outdoor fan. We had intended to use our old fan but it did not survive the renovation so we had to get a new one. Probably a blessing because I like the cleaner lines of this one and it's actually meant for outdoor use whereas our other fan was not.

Still struggling over the lamp outside the back door. So far I haven't found the right thing but I'm hoping I run across the right solution soon!!

I'll share some finished porch pictures really soon!


Screen Porch: Paint Problem Solved

Our paint problem got solved mid-week last week with some simple paint matching.  Of course, finding a piece of existing trim that could be removed and replaced easily proved a bit of a challenge but one of the base pieces of the front porch columns did the trick.  

Here's what was greeting me when I got home on Monday night last week. 

By the end of the week, everything was repainted and it now looks like this...

Still to come - lighting, screens, and floor paint.  We're so close I can almost taste it!

Hope everyone had a beautiful Mother's Day! After an absolutely jam-packed Saturday, Sunday was so relaxing!  I spent a great day with my kids, starting with a mouth-watering brunch at one of my favorite local restaurants, Liberty Tavern, followed by a relaxing day at home.  My father-in-law snapped this picture on our way to the restaurant.

Happy Mother's Day!


Screen Porch: Paint Problems

UGH.  That's pretty much all I can say right now.  We were sooooo close to having this whole porch renovation done this week but now I think that's in jeopardy.  I'm still holding out hope that it will be done in time for Alex's birthday party on the 20th but even that seems like a big hope.  (for the full play by play, click here).

So what's the hold up? Paint of all things!!  Totally not our contractor's fault. I had the original paint can from when we renovated 2.5 years ago.  The painters bought some more based on the formula and they started putting it on the porch and it didn't match the existing trim!  Huh???  I could imagine this happening if the paint was 5 years old but it's not even 3 years old. The color is really off and not even something I can live with in the short term because it's so obvious.

Here you go...

So the painting stopped which means the gutters are held up and the last of the woodworking and the screens...

I had forgotten how the details at the end are all so dependent on each other so one hold up, puts everything behind.  

Still looking forward to painting our porch.


Screen Porch: Ceiling, Oh the Ceiling!

If you've been around a while following the progress on our porch, you'll remember that the porch ceiling was a source of some angst for me.  I debated paint and stain in several variations.  Ultimately stain seemed the right way to go, so I sought out a white semi-transparent stain.  It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be but I did find several. We ultimately went with Cabot brand.

Here's the result...

Here's what it looked like before.

Still a little bit rustic but still traditional and fitting for our house.  I love it.

Some other details have been added now as well including this upright in the peak.  
You can also see the first coat of paint but I wish it was a simple story which had already resolved itself, but it's not. More to come on that...


Screen Porch: The Door and Steps

Well, I'm excited to say that we have a door on our porch and steps to get to the door. I'm a little behind in posting so I'll do some catch up this week (and vent my frustration!!).

Everything will be all painted out to match the existing trim (except the porch floor and steps.  These pictures remind me that we need to do something to shield those air conditioners a bit more.  Shrubs?  Surround?  Thoughts?


Rec Room Progress

I have finally made some progress getting our basement rec room together. Slow progress, but some progress.  It still needs some more toys purged from it but generally it's getting much closer to what I want it to be.  Of course, I should be spending more time on the treadmill and probably a little less time thinking about the decor!

So, here's where I started back in December.  Actually, this picture was from July but it looked the same even in December.

This was way too much furniture for this space.  The red leather chair on the left found a new home in Alex's big boy room.  The chair and sofa were sold via Craigslist.  (Hello $450!)

Next we moved the family room sofa down to the rec room.  Our sofa looked like this...

 Until I got a slipcover for it and then it looked like this...
Next I brought in one of a pair of chairs previously in the family room (the other is still in the family room), moved in some end tables (one was already here and the other was in the attic), and hung a great new canvas-mounted picture of my kids.  Finally my lamps came back fitted out with their $15 Target shades which happened to fit perfectly without a harp.  Hooray for happy accidents!

After a little bit of tweaking, the room now looks like this.  

More accurately maybe like this...
The sofa works so much better here than it ever did in our family room.  Maybe this was all part of my original subconscious plan! 
Those end tables work well here as well.  They were a hand-me-down from my parents and they have lived in my attic for a few years.  They are perfect down here because they have drawers and storage. Need to brain storm the options...
Also, think I need a couple more canvas prints of my kids.  Looks like I'll be back on the Groupon hunt!  This all leads me to my new color scheme which was previously (in my head only) beachy cream, yellow, blue, and green. Now though I think I am heading in a more colorful playroom direction.  I'm not saying wild color everywhere but a few fun pops of color might be in order.  It's time to stop fighting the toys which dominate this space but embrace them and their wonderful color!
Doing any furniture swapping in your house?  Amazing how different and perfect a piece can feel in a different space.


Lamps Transformed

I have had these brass lamps since we moved to Arlington 14 years ago.  They have followed me through several apartments and now our house.  They used to be in our living room but eventually they made it back to the attic where they have lived for several years.

I had contemplating spray painting them for a couple of years.  I finally got up the guts to do it last weekend.  Enter Rustoleum Harbor Blue.

The lampshade is from Target and just happened to fit over the existing lamp works so I didn't have to get a harp.

More to come tomorrow...