Family Room: Pillow Updates

It's the never ending parade of pillows on our family room sectional.  Part of the issue is that we really do need a lot of pillows on the sectional so we have pillows for lounging as a family which we do often on the weekends but rarely during the week thanks to my kids' 7:15 p.m. bedtime!  The latest is an oversized graphic floral. The colors could not be more perfect.

I walked by them 3 or 4 times before I decided to pick them up.  I wasn't sure I loved the pattern but I knew the colors were spot on.  I decided to take a chance (not a big one since they are returnable!), and I took them home.

They are large, down-filled pillows and I think they were about $17.  How could I go wrong?

I'm so glad I took the chance!  I love this area because it makes you want to grab a book and snuggle in.  The tray on the ottoman is really working well and my kids haven't broken my blue vase so I call that a win!  My next purchase is a new colorful throw.  I think it should probably be in a yellow/gold/cream pattern but I am waiting to see what comes along.

Have you taken a chance on a decor purchase lately?  Heck - this entire family room was created based on taking a chance.  Of course looking at this picture, I realize that pink floral painting has got to go.  Time to find a new home for that baby.  I've got some ideas...


Family Room: Things Coming Together

Since purchasing the new sectional and ottoman, a few months back, I felt like this area really was not finished.  I love both of these purchases.  The ottoman definitely needed a tray (you know I loooove trays), but in this case it really needed one just for its flat surface but the consolidating feature was a bonus.

At the beginning of yard sale season summer, I found a fabulous tray at a neighborhood sale.  The man had $10 on it but I offered $7 and he grabbed the money before I could second guess.  This baby is HEAVY - no lightweight silverplate here.  It's also tarnished, but I don't mind it.  Originally I had intended to use it in the dining room as part of a centerpiece but it seemed just too big and oversized.  Besides, I need my dining room table for junk that has no other home in our house!  So, it sat in the dining room against the wall for 3 months while I pondered its fate.

The other day, I had an epiphany!  The tray could go on the ottoman. Just the right mix of contemporary (the ottoman) and traditional (the tray).  Pretty much exactly my style!  So, I threw it on there and it worked.

Next I plunked on a glass vase that I had just bought last weekend at a flea market, also for $7 (irony?). I saw this vase and although I don't think it is anything particularly special, it just spoke to me.  I had to have it.  People complimented me on it as I carried it around while we shopped for another hour before heading home.

By the way, that's my new Kindle under the artichoke candle.  LOVE that thing but of course, it's now outdated only 3 weeks later.  ARGH!

I love how the tray leaves plenty of room for books, card games, or cars to be run around the ottoman.  I also have enough space to pop my feet up there while I watch my nightly HGTV fix.  It's a tough mix to have functional with pretty so I love when it comes together so nicely.

I'm off to watch Sarah's House on my DVR.  Anyone else watching?  It's Saturday afternoon on HGTV - LOVE her shows!


Kitchen: Color Pop Runner

I love my black and white kitchen.  It's so clean and classic and I hope it won't ever really go out of style. I've made conscious decisions to not do anything too trendy or out of sync with the style of our colonial home.  For example, after a lot of pondering we chose a white subway tile backsplash with light gray grout (more on that here).

At the same, time the black and white is really just a blank slate for any other color that strikes my fancy.  I'm in a blue and green kick which is carrying through the family room, living room, and the kitchen.  Other than my countertop compost container and some dishtowels, I had not found many good ways to bring these colors in without making major modifications.  At various points, I had thought about adding a carpet runner through the main walking area in the kitchen.  Although I had originally envisioned a black and white patterned runner, I came around to adding some bold graphic color in a graphic pattern here.

The rug came up on a daily deal sale on One Kings Lane for $49 (it's called Kau Outdoor Runner in green).  My mom happened to be here when I found it there and she agreed it would be a good choice.  It's an outdoor rug which means I can take it outside and hose it in the driveway when the need presents itself.  

So far, I love it.  It needs a non-slip pad under it but other than that, I don't have any complaints.  The added bonus is that it will help protect the hardwood.  Hardwood in the kitchen can be tough (especially hardwood finished on site).  Although I've chosen to be happy with a more rustic, naturally aged over time look, I want to give our floors every chance they can get!  It nicely covers the area in front of the sink where I previously had a 2x3 black and white rug.  

The nice part is that if I want something with different colors or tones in other seasons, it's a 1 minute costume change!  What do you think?  Did I make the right choice?  How have you added pops of color to your kitchen?


I need a fire pit!

Last spring in kindergarten, Elizabeth learned the difference between a "want" and a "need" which she frequently articulated back to us when we used the terms incorrectly (or interchangeably).  It seems that my 3 year old also caught on because one night earlier in the summer, I told him that I need him to get out of bed and go to the bathroom in the night if he needs to.  Alex said, "Mommy, that's a want not a need."  Seriously, that kid...

This leads to the title of this post. This is a long-term want which has now turned into a "need".  At least in "first world" terms.  I have mainly put it off because Handy Hubby's insistence that we will never use.  I insist that we will use it as the fall wears on and we can toast marshmallows, etc.  I'm not sure we'll ever see eye-to-eye on this.  Want to put money on who is going to win? 

Here's our patio - doesn't it seem like it needs a little something?

So, I have been assessing my options.  My criteria are: 1) it must have a cover to protect the kiddos, 2) cannot be too big, 3) relatively attractive, 4) ideally it should fold up for easy storage or transport, and 5) less than $100.  Here are the contenders:

Landman USA 28240 - about $75

Fire Sense 22" Folding Fire Pit - about $50

Charbroil Portable Fire Pit - about $60

Anyone have a favorite fire pit that fits the bill for me?  My need to swing by Target tomorrow. I heard they were putting any remaining summer and outdoor stuff on sale this week.  Bring on the Christmas lights!


Shower Update and FInale

I'm glad to say the shower issue is fixed.  The cause was both a poorly installed and caulked shower seat and a potentially faulty body jet spray.  Everything is now reinstalled, retiled, and ready for use!  Wahoo!

We were lucky that The Tile Shop still carried our tile so we didn't have to take more extreme measures.  For those who are looking for the tile (one of the most frequently asked questions on this blog), the wall tile is Lansdale Carrara Medley (item #659075) and the mosaic floor tile is Lansdale Carrara Niles (item #655758).  Of course the first salesperson I spoke to told me that neither was available and that I would be better off calling the main office to see if they could track it for me.  PANIC!!!  Grrrrr.... I felt like this guy might not be that with it so I talked to another salesperson and he located 2 boxes of the floor tile in the same store's storeroom (grrr... but thank goodness) and located 3 boxes of wall tile in another store 30 minutes away.  Lesson learned: Don't take no for answer and if you don't trust the first person you talk to, find someone else!  If you are looking for this tile, it does seem like it's not readily available right now so go get it ASAP if you want it.

The pictures aren't exciting so it just looks like our regular shower!  Just waiting on the drywall and painting to be finished and we'll be fully back to normal!

The main lesson learned here is that you need to caulk your shower every year... We learned the hard way that this can make a small probably huge.  It won't take long but it needs to be done!!  One tip from the plumber was that if you want to use the caulk that matches your grout color around your plumbing fixtures, you can do a very thin "pencil" line of caulk so it really just looks like grout.  Let that cure for a day, and then go in and cover that with a fat bead of clear silicone caulk which will hold up much longer and you won't be able to see it.  At this point, I am really just aiming for function not beauty, but I thought I would pass that along.

We are so thankful that we chose a builder that is willing to stand by his work at any cost.  He continues to answer our calls so we love him for that!


Back to School Mantel

The kids are headed back to school today after a great summer vacation.  Virginia seems to be one of the only southern states not already back in school.  I love that my kids are out of school until after Labor Day - it seems to make summer feel so long.  Elizabeth is headed to first grade and Alex is headed to the "upstairs" class at his wonderful preschool.  Elizabeth is truly excited about not being the youngest in her elementary school!  Alex is a bit nervous and does not really understand his friends are also moving up as well, and he gets to do so many more fun things!

In honor of this fun day, I surprised the kids with a quick back to school mantel last night.  I used things I had around the house including small fake apples, a bouquet of pencils, lots of books, and glass containers of crayons and scrabble letters.

I'll share some first day of school pictures of my kids on Facebook later so be sure to check there!  I also have to say "hi!" to my reader Caitlin who so kindly introduced herself on the street last night and told me that she loved my blog!  So exciting for me!!

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