Saturday, January 24, 2015

The next season...

 So, after a couple of days of being pretty sad about the Holidays being over...I decided it was time to move on and I went shopping. That always makes me feel better...ha ha. My hubbie is a bit concerned but I assured him a lot of gals think like this (right...I hope?)! We (well I) bought a couple of special pieces for the house. I have been really good for a while about NOT buying stuff but I decided it was time to take this house to the next level. It has certainly been quite an evolution over the last year. 

So what happens when you miss your Christmas tree. You jump on the ficus/ fig tree bandwagon and fill in the empty space. This space felt quite empty when we removed our tree so it was perfect timing to go get a 5 foot tall house plant. 

I had been in love with this antique woven basket for some time and finally bit the bullet. I am using it to hold firewood at this point but it will be great for magazines, many things really. I just love to look at it:)

And over the last few months...we bought some neat antique benches and some new rugs. And hung these modern fine art pieces that I had framed a while back. I am always drawn to antique, found pieces and like to mix them with something a little more modern. This space is looking from our dining room into the office and through the foyer. I love walking into our house and seeing some of the things that I adore the most.

This bull art was in our bar but I think this spot will suit him perfectly:)
And the piece de resistance..that I have been resisting and my
Hubbie really wanted me to resist. I have been in love with this guy for some time but my hubbie and I really struggled with is taxidermy ok...the ethics of it? We love animals so much and we would never go out and harm them. But, I do eat meat and I wear leather. So, where do you draw the line? This guy was for sale for only a couple of hundred dollars and I could not resist him or the price. And, bottom line is I love him and I did not harm him so here he is...

I also changed out some of our flowers (a couple of times) and table pieces from a winter wonderland to something a little more spring like (even though it is obviously not spring). There should really be a season between winter and spring. I always love a simple and natural statement.

 I am super happy with how this gallery wall turned out in the office. I cannot take credit for hanging them.  I did do a gallery wall  in our last house and it turned out ok but I just did not trust myself on this one so I left it to a picture hanging professional. Gallery walls make such statements, yes? And, yes I still have this one little lone tree up.  I really need to put it away.

And my son and I worked on this little painting project. This is so fun to do together with children...and it helped that this piece could not be "messed up". And painting can be very soothing (if you are in the right mood). Here is a before and after. The green was not the right color for our house and this dark gray works so much better. It's not perfect...there is still some green showing and imperfections but that is just fine.

And we are working on a garden. Here is a peek of our little helpers tending to their vegetables. It is going to be super cute with a white picket fence and a little table..can't wait!! I will post more on this soon.

This space was quite an eye sore before.  The previous owners used this area for a dog kennel:(

And having some beach days definitely make you forget that the Holidays are over.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Guest rooms and a little bump in the road with ours!!

Guest rooms are like powder rooms in my book...I think they should be special or at least given some special attention. Let me start this post by saying you can only do what you can with the space you have.  You do the best you can but I think it is so important to make your guests feel special and welcomed.

So, we have kind of a different situation. Our guest room happens to be one of the best rooms in our house. It has high ceilings, beautiful views, hardwood floors, a very natural feel. We also went ahead and redid the little bath because, well we could not have our guest showering with a cracked shower pan and broken tile, could we?

We would have loved to have transformed this space into our master but it just was not feasible. While it is attached to our house you have to walk outside to get to it. We would have needed to connect it to our house. Two other prominent issues being the bathroom is not big enough nor is the closet. We would have needed to borrow all of this square footage from my son's room and he just did not have the space to give. And, we had already spent so much money on big ticket items (roof, driveway, doors, flooring, etc.) it was just not doable...but it pains us because we love this room.

So, long story short, our guests have a pretty nice room to stay in. So, if  any of my friends are reading this, come visit, before this crazy girls changes her mind and decides she wants to do another fixer upper!!

The funny thing is that this room was done on a pretty small budget...and it is my favorite. Most of the furnishing were left over from the other areas in our home and was  put together in the most cohesive way possible.

But, it was probably not always such a nice guest room to stay in.  This is what it looked like before we purchased the home. Not super inviting. But it had good bones. I mean look at the ceiling!!

The biggest issue and the reason it has not been "finished" this past year is due to the number of windows that needed to be covered...this was a big expense that I was dreading. And, this is not because I do not love window coverings...oh, I do!! is just because they are so dang expensive. Look at all of the windows that need to be covered.

Let's just put it in perspective...these custom dining room drapes in our dining room...which I absolutely loooove... cost approx $3,800 (see below). The area measures approx 130 x 96 (to give you an idea) and obviously we wanted some additional fabric on each side (no fake mini drapes here, ya'll!)This included custom Kravet hardware, linen fabric, labor and installation.


Back to the guest room...the smaller windows are 50 " wide and the larger ones are 100"wide. So, I needed to cover 450" of windows!! This would have cost us at least $15,000 if we had gone the custom route. So, that was not really an option. However, the holidays were quickly approaching and I had to get something up on those windows. My sister and her husband were staying with us and I think it is only fair that they have some privacy and are able to sleep in without the sun pouring in at 6 in the morning:)

So, I had a couple of options. Originally, I was thinking about woven blinds. We ordered some through Home Depot (Bali) for some other rooms in our home and I am super happy with them but they still are not cheap (approx $200 to $500 per blind depending on the size...see below in our kitchen dining nook).Woven blinds are a great look but I prefer them partnered up with drapery and especially in this circumstance it would look so much better. And, that would have doubled the cost if I was doing both (blinds and drapes).  I think only woven blinds  would have been just too much of a good other words a sea of heavy woven blinds.

I also checked out the Home Depots' cut -to -size woven blinds (seen below in our guest bath). 

They were appealing because they are light weight and light looking and less expensive. While I am happy with them in that particular location they would not have held up long term and with so many windows going up and would have been too much wear and tear. Also, where it is cut on the side by the employees is not a perfect cut and is a little ragged looking. But, hey for $35-50 for each one...not sure if you can beat it. But, with the number of blinds I needed, it would have added up fast. Also, I would need 2 next to each other for some of the windows (because they come in limited sizes) and they would not abut to one another due to the hardware. So, it would look weird and there would be an it would contradict the reasons why I was getting them in the first place...privacy and early morning sun. And, it would look weird!! Too many cons!

I am normally such a planner and like making decisions but I was stalling on this one!!So, 2 weeks before our guests arrived, I needed to bite the bullet and do something. So, I ordered drapes from Restoration Hardware in their fog linen color. Because, I did not have time to go get a sample, I could only hope that this gray color would work ok. Thank goodness for is usually hard to mess that one up. And, I put a rush on them and they got here with a few days to spare!! And, I was a quite nervous...was this all going to come together?...And I hoped all of the measurements were right on. So I had them installed with my fingers crossed. I figured I could at least make a portion of them work and add some temporaries if needed (may have made for not so happy guests:).

I was so happy with them. I hung them all at the same height and they are so pretty and easy to work. I could not be happier. So while they are not custom they have the look I was craving for a fraction of the cost ($3,200) and that works just perfect for me. Here is a look at the room now.


And the little guest bathroom that had potential...

And after...

I would love to know how you make your guests feel special.  Here are a couple of things that I do just so our guests feel welcomed.

*Clean, clean, clean. Cleanliness...the room itself  and the areas around it.  If this means that guests are staying in one of your children's room...I would try to really organize and get rid of some of the clutter.  Just try to make it as clean, organized, and enjoyable as possible.

*Fresh flowers or a pretty orchid.  This does wonders.  Something so simple but so welcoming saying to your guests I am so glad you are here.

*Nice hand soap in the bathroom and decent shampoo and soap.  I know many people travel with their own these days but many do not, as well.

*Clean and fresh towels and a few extra of them.  It is sometimes awkward having to ask for extra ones so you may as well just go ahead and provide them.

*Also, because it was the Holidays I added a wood Christmas tree on the night table and some fresh white roses with some greenery.  I did  not want to go overboard...just something simple and a little statement to say "I am so glad you are here."

Any tips that you have...I would love to hear!! 

Have a great weekend!!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!!

It is pretty shocking that the New Year is already upon us. It went a little too fast this year...not sure if I am ready for the fun to be over:(

It is time to say our goodbyes to our Christmas tree...I am not sure who has more trouble with kiddos or me?

I will keep this simple arrangement on the dining table for a little while longer.  After all, it finally feels like winter in Southern California...yay!! It is consists of some faux snow covered branches mixed with some natural greens, a couple of pine cones and I wrapped the vase in some green twine...and voila.

For New Year's Eve, we had a fun dinner with my parents. I just added some candles, a runner, and  woven place mats to our dining room table.

It got a little wild....ha ha. (My things have changed since having kiddos!!)

Like I mentioned, I am not sure if I am ready for this fun to end.  I did have a mini (internal)breakdown a couple of days after Christmas because of all of the stuff...not so much the Christmas d├ęcor but mostly the gifts in the family room (where to put the new gifts!!), wrapping paper, trash, etc.  But, come on, it's Christmas, I need to let that go!!!

I was craving this...a tidy house...but now I am not so sure
 I think we are all pretty exhausted from the activities...and lots of catching up on sleep is in order.

I received a very special gift this year. I rode horses pretty competitively as a child but stopped when I was 18.  After longing to ride again after an 18 year hiatus, I started again last summer.  After looking at some horses and getting my heart broken because they did not pass the vet check or getting bucked off because they were spooky...we have finally found the one...Mr. Styles and let me tell you he is such a gentleman even though he drinks from a hose at times:)

And, Santa did not get the memo that somebody needed his 2 front teeth for Christmas.  Oh well, he looks pretty darn cute with 2 missing teeth:)

 Hope you had a wonderful Holiday season!! And, while I am so sad to say goodbye to this magical time, I always eagerly await the next chapter/season in our lives.



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

We will probably never have the prettiest tree. I struggle with that sometimes. Sometimes, I would love to have a really pretty tree. But Christmas is obviously about Jesus and giving back and everything bigger than is also represents magical things especially in eyes of a child and our children.

And, so I put up a few pretty and very natural decorations.  I definitely do not like too much "stuff."  I have never really had a theme when it comes to our tree. Our decorations have been a collection over the years.  Our kids on the other hand definitely have a say when it comes to decorating the tree. And to be honest, a part of me wanted to cringe when they chose some of the decorations from the box.  I would say "oh, no, not that does not really go."  But, my goodness, a lot of this fun and excitement is for them and to see it through their I let them have at it:) And, after all, either I picked the ornaments (or tacky Christmas tree decoration) out at one time or another or I allowed my kiddos to choose them.

The happiness and accomplishment it brings them definitely outweighs the "non-perfect" aspect of it.  I also cringed when the majority of the ornaments were on the lower part of the tree and clumped together..ha ha. I moved them around as best as I could so that it was not super noticeable to my kiddos and to our guests!! They do notice everything...especially if one of the ornaments is missing!

It is about making memories...memories that they will carry on probably forever.

My husband jokes me because he says I like old-school Christmas tree decorations. And , I do, and this stems from my incredible childhood memories. The excitement of pulling out those Christmas boxes each year and rediscovering each and every ornament and the memory associated with them is indescribable. And as much as I would love a beautiful and perfect tree...this time is about so much more than that. It is about the celebration, tradition and memories. If I want my perfect tree, I can certainly go purchase another one. In the mean time, I would rather see it in the eyes of my sweet children.

Here are some of our Christmas decorations and how we are making memories...



We went a little Griswold with all of the exterior lights but they are so magical

Of course, we had visits from the Elf on the shelf

Ice skating with friends

Lots of family time

And watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate

And lots of good cheer 
Loved hanging our Christmas cards like this 

And decorating the tree was pretty special for the kiddos

Wishing you a magical, happy and safe Christmas from our family to yours!! xoxo