Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guest Room Fantabulousness

We've been making some progress on some of those horrible places where clutter just seems to lurk.  And fester.  And make babies.  Doesn't it sometimes seem like the clutter just magically multiplies while you aren't looking?  Hate that.  One of those spots in our house was the guest room, which is a convenient dumping ground for pretty much everything.  While the closet was being re-drywalled, all the contents had been hurled on the bed.  The husband made an amazing bookshelf, but books and tchotchkes were snuggling in unorganized illicit bliss.  Crap would be dumped in there, only to be discovered as totally useless, should-have-been-in-the-garbage-already, a whole year later.  Black hole. Anyway, fast forward to today!

Is it time for my favorite thing in the world??  A before and after?  YES PLEASE!  This was the corner of the guest room as you walk in before:
And after!
When we first moved in it looked like this:
I noted at the time that I was going for "cozy reading nook" but that I didn't quite think that I had achieved it.  Yeah.  I was right.  However, now thanks to some rearranging and a wonderful, fantabulous, I-can't-believe-it-fits antique chaise, I think we're there!
This chaise came to us from my friends Mathew and Aviva who are just as wonderful and fantabulous as their furniture.  They relocated to San Francisco and couldn't take this sexy beast of a fainting couch with them, so she came to live with us.  She needs a little help in the buttons and tufting department, but nothing I can't handle!  The bookshelf got a little organizing:
My friend Christyne (of Styne-Tine Dream Team fame) came over and helped me hang some art, and poof!  The decorating fairy has been here.

The little "side table" for the chaise isn't really a side table at all.  It's a clever reusage of three things that I love but that were hard to store and not pulling their weight as everyday members of our household:
The top layer is a vintage toleware breakfast tray, turquoise blue with white and pink dogwood flowers on it.  (SO me.  It's the furnishings equivalent of my favorite sweater.)  But it's a little hard to store and had been floating around looking for a permanent home.  The brown thing is a fantastic vintage travel bar.  (Yes you heard me right, TRAVEL BAR.  I know it's blowing your mind.  It has tiny metal cups and bar equipment and room for three bottles of your favorite spirit.  It's the Don Draper of travel-ware.  )  Given to us as a wedding gift from my friend Camille, the same one who gave me the paper lady placecards in my last post.  Thank god that girl likes to vintage shop and then give gifts, otherwise our house would be boring! The bottom layer is a gorgeous aluminum suitcase.  Is it vintage?  You bet your socks.  After trying a million ways to get the tray to balance on top of the travel bar while it was upright, I got smart and went "shopping" in the rest of the house.  The metal suitcase was being neglected in the living room and BAM, decorating magic.  I'm excited.  The other side of the room got some love too.

During drywall, this was the before:
Oy vey.  And after!
SO. MUCH. BETTER.  In fact, I think perhaps I should re-title this blog "So Much Better".  Because I wind up using those words every dang post.  I suppose that's how it goes with houses that need this much love.  Shall we look at that before/after again?

Awkward and too small art, piles of crap on the floor, stuff strewn across every surface, books askew.  Ugh!  And now:
Gah!  I can hardly handle it.  This makes me happier than Bundt cake.  And Easter.  PUT TOGETHER.

I'm working on what they call "styling".  "Styling" is the art of setting up gorgeous and interesting vignettes in your house, so that every way you look your eye doesn't get bored or assaulted by tackiness.  I think we mostly stay away from tackiness (if you can look past the makeshift curtains and beer posters), but I'm a styling rookie.  I had a couple of tries on the bookshelf:
A carved soapstone egg from my friend Miss Anna and an Alhambra pop-up scene, liven up the seven volumes of Bronte, don't you think?  What kind of 30-year-olds own seven volumes of Bronte?  Well, my manfriend's wonderful maternal grandmother lived in a big house in Boston stuffed with books.  She passed away last year just as we were setting up this house.  So many wonderful things came from her house to ours, including seven volumes of Bronte, nine volumes of Austen, 42 volumes of get the idea.  We can't bear to part with any of these, even if we probably won't get around to reading 42 volumes of Kipling.  Ever.  But they do make our house look very distinguished (once we get them off the floor, that is.)  My grandmother-in-law gave birth to six children, and so we inherited many wonderful children's books:
Check out that gem on the right!  It's entitled "Little Folks of Feather and Fur, and Others of Neither".  The "neither" being human children.  So sweet.
Another mini vignette features a vintage photograph of Fred's paternal grandmother on her wedding day.  Given to me at my wedding shower by Fred's mother, on the same day that my mother gave me the vase on the right.  In the back are some vintage love letter postcards.  Love, vintage, vintage love!  Cute, cute, cute.  Anyway, that's basically all we got in the guest room.  In the living room, we've done some spring sprucing up too.  We actually finished the wall!  Painted and everything!  Check it out!  BEFORE:
And after!
OK, it will be vastly improved by the addition of some art and appropriately sized furniture, but at least everything has been painted.  (A sigh of relief goes up from all my friends, as my craziness level drops by half...)  The room is looking cheerful and spring-ified all the way around:
So yay for spring cleaning and spring decor!  YAY!  What's your favorite part of spring cleaning??  Do tell!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Craft Room Developments

The craft room is always, and probably always will be, a work in progress.  I'm so lucky to even have a craft room, I feel like I need to lavish enough love on it to make it as adorable as possible.  (Pinterest may or may not be setting my expectations for myself pretty high.)  This weekend, I took another crack at organizing.  Shall we do my favorite, a before and after??  A before:
And after:
Better, right?  Not quite epic-adorable yet, but vastly improved.  With the pink chandelier, it's even better!
Wrapping stuff on the right, complete with custom ribbon rack made by my lovely husband.  Some of the decor highlights that I unearthed include these lovely ladies:
They're vintage place cards, featuring lovely ladies with crepe paper puff skirts.  Each one has her own costume, complete with different handbags or accessories.  Aren't they great?  My amazing friend Camille gave them to me as a bridal shower gift.  Now they've got an appropriately amazing place to hang out.

I tried to do some pops of color, like these fun boxes:
 But overall, shelf arranging for maximum cuteness may be a skill that I need to hone.  We'll see, I feel like I've got a good start!

On the other side of the room, we have more progress.  The husband put a shelf above my sewing machine so I finally have a great place for my notions and ribbon.
It also gave me a good place to hang this fabulous vintage light given to me by my fabulous friend Anna.
Who wouldn't want to sit down and sew here??  I used some of the blue Mason jars from our wedding for odds and ends:
 So cute!  Overall, the room is looking so much more welcoming, I kinda want to hang out in here all the time.
First up on the sewing roster, some throw pillows for the couch.  Then another baby quilt, then a big quilt, and then, and then, and then...the possibilities are endless.  Thumbs up for spaces that make creativity possible!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Come Here Spring, I Want You!

Y'all, spring is so close I can taste it.  In my last post with the porch swing you may have noticed two tiny specks of color near the door.  I usually don't go for primroses, but by the time they appeared I had already been thinking garden plans for a month.  I had to get a little color fix!  Primroses, take one:
So bright!  The other side of the door has the twin arrangement:
Because I am, after all, an engineer and therefore I heart symmetry. 

In other spring-related gardening efforts, (OK, popping some primroses in a pot probably doesn't qualify as "effort", does it?) anyway, in other gardening news, I started some seeds indoors for the first time ever.  So far I've got tiny green plants but look!  Growing things!  Spring IS coming!

Ignore my tacky blue painters tape labels.  I ran around the house looking for hipster-gardener popsicle sticks but in the end wound up being my usual super classy self and going with what was close and easy.  Next time!  So far I've started parsley, chives, larkspur, hollyhock, and morning glory.  Yeah, I'm also not hipster enough to be attempting vegetables.  We'll see how this year goes, next year I may graduate to real edibles.
My morning glory is already bolting out of the frame of this photo, which I take as a good sign, right?

Spring was popping up elsewhere in the city this week too.  Do you know what time it is at the Pike Place Market?

Tulip time!!  I love tulips.  They're my favorite flower.  So crisp and classic and perfect all by themselves, what's not to love?  The husband brought me these wonderful examples:
And yes, that's a copy of Make Way for Ducklings.  Because soon, so soooon it will be duckling time.  It's always hot on the heels of tulip time.  Ducklings and tulips!  Dang, I love spring.  And Easter!  It's almost Easter!  In pre-emptive celebration of that most pastel of holidays, when the white tulips had departed, I sprung for these pink beauties.
Just a touch of yellow inside, see?
So Eastery!  As the last piece of evidence that spring IS coming, I present this photo of my Saturday morning last weekend.  Although it was still February, I got to enjoy this:
Sunshine, back porch, tea cup, Pottery Barn spring catalog, ahhhhhhhh...Just try to be tense and look at this photo, I dare you.  Not possible.  Yay for spring!