Tuesday, February 26, 2013

dining room with painted hutch or wall of photos?

So, suppose you had a dining room that had room for your long-anticipated wall of photos that you have been lusting after ever since India Hicks did it in her house in Domino?  But there was only room for a wall of photos, OR a fabulous painted hutch, but not both? Which would you do?

A wall of photos, because holla, awesome!

(I will add that I will never have a rug in my dining room till my children are grown and left the house, but I dig this rug, not that its big enough for a dining room, but you get the idea, yes?)

Or a beautifully painted hutch, because holla, awesome!

Or would you dither in indecision for months?  (I would.)

Light fixture (via this image, I don't have a source for the fixture, I'm sure its to the trade, but I WANT)
Boerum dining table
Marais A chair in gunmetal
Campaign dresser via Natty By Design Shop
India Hicks's dining room

Friday, February 22, 2013

George and Weezy redux

This weekend marks the one year anniversary of when the Mister and I got on a plane to California to find a place to live.  The Mister stayed here in California and started working while I went back to New Jersey to pack up our lives. Moving to California was our ninth move in ten years.

I am tired of moving.  I want to buy a house. I want to stay in that house for a period longer than a year.

Its more than a house. I want to be home. I want to set down roots that won't be ripped up in 18 months. I want to have friends that I won't leave soon after getting to know them. I want to have a place we belong.

I don't feel like we belong here, really, yet.  I don't really feel like we belong in New Jersey anymore, either.  On our last few trips back to New Jersey I have had a weird sense of unreality--I used to belong here, but I don't anymore.  I don't belong anywhere, at the moment.  As my friend Linda once told me, "I'm just passing through here...for the past thirteen years."   

We have started house shopping.  I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  Thrilled because holla, new house, new decorating, of course.  Having something that is mine.  Building equity rather than paying a gazillion dollars a year in rent into someone else's pocket.  Terrified because the last time we owned a house we sold it at a significant loss and had to come to the table with a really large check to get rid of it.

The cost of housing where we live is INSANE.  Like, one billion dollars for a three bedroom house.  And prices are rising, if you can believe that.  There is so little inventory here that houses are selling for many thousands of dollars over asking price.  Every house we looked at last weekend was in escrow on Tuesday.  We are looking in four towns and there are less than ten houses in our price range.  We looked at a house that had twenty-three offers over asking and is currently in escrow for $30,000 over the list price.

This may take a while.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rugs to go with Ikea Janette curtains

Recently I got a question about what sort of rug would one put with the Ikea Janette curtains that are (no longer) hanging in my dining room.

Because the curtains are a very large multi-colored floral pattern, I would stick to a simple graphic rug, such as stripes or chevron (or even a solid), and probably not more than two colors in the rug.  This is a personal preference of mine--I like bold, large-scale patterns in my curtains paired with fairly simple rugs.

The Janette curtains have a very greeny-yellow citron as the dominant color, and then black, navy, teal, white, and pale mint as the complimentary colors, so there is a wealth of colors to pull from. The citron green is a very intense, acidic color, so I wouldn't try to match it or even stay in that color family.  Depending on the furniture in the room I'd probably concentrate on finding a black and white or a navy and white rug to ground that bright citron green. If you like more color, I think a blue-ish teal would be a great match.

Here are eight rugs that I think would look good.
moroccan tile / chevron / striped Rand / greek key / herringbone chevron / teal soho / blue white dot / blue trellis

Like so:

My favorite is the black and white herringbone stripe--its a fresh take on the ubiquitous black and white Ikea Rand/Madeline Weinrib rug that is everywhere these days (yes, including my own living room).  What would you put with those curtains?

Monday, February 4, 2013

the boys' room refreshed

In the winter I add heavier quilts to the boys' beds.  These are quilts I picked up at Target about five years ago.  In fact, I liked the quilt so much I bought one for Greg, and then a week later went back and bought one for Peter, who wasn't even conceived yet.  (Very forward thinking of me, no? I contemplated buying the pink version too, but didn't.)

Uncle Mark gave the boys a new gazelle head for Christmas, which we added over the dresser between the beds.  (Don't ask how I got that pointy thing through airport security. It involved a lot of socks and shoes.)  We moved the bookshelf that used to be in the room into the garage, and then put the Mister's former bedside table in the boys' room.

The two small square frames hold tiny Chinese renderings of the boys' names.  But they may come down, I think there is too much stuff up there.  Maybe just the heads right next to each other?

As a part of January's Fix All the Things month, I added a plug-in swag pendant.  There are no overhead lights or hardwired fixtures in any of the bedrooms of this house, and the single lamp did not provide enough light for the room.  (We also added this pendant in the playroom as well.)

Friday, February 1, 2013

January recap: Fix It Month

I designated January as the month I was going to fix all the things in my house that were broken, in need of repair, or just didn't work as they were.  It was a big list.

Some of my problems were fixed by simply moving the furniture around, like the living room.  Other problems were fixed by replacing the offending item, such as the pair of kitchen shears with broken handles, or replacing the all the green playroom bins I didn't like with navy blue ones.  I bought new lamps, new art, new bedspreads, new rugs, new curtains and new dining chairs. I have yet to share most of these new things with you, but I will soon.

The big Fix It project, though, was the garage.  I do not have a head-on picture of the insanely packed garage, only this one taken from the doorway into the house the day we moved in:

It was packed floor to ceiling, front to back.  Sooooooo much stuff.

I purged and purged and purged.  So many rounds of purging.  (See them here, here, here, here and here).

You know, I got rid of an unbelievable amount of stuff.  I didn't take that many pictures, and my "after" pictures are not nicely staged or beautifully organized.  You might look at my garage and think, you know, there's still kind of a lot of stuff in there.

(Ignore the red armchair; that usually lives in my living room but I dragged it out to the garage so that Princess could prop up her leg and watch the ipad while I walked on the treadmill.)

Yes, there is still a lot of stuff in there.  Hand me down children's clothing, Christmas stuff, a sewing machine, my craft closet, an air mattress, four bicycles, two scooters, ten folding chairs, four laundry baskets, a tool shelf, art supplies, the shoe cubbies, the filing cabinet, the printer, the treadmill, two bookshelves....I could outfit a new family with most of the basic necessities.

BUT.  When I started?  I could have outfitted and furnished AN ENTIRE VILLAGE of families.  It has taken me the better part of a year, but I have gotten rid of a garage, an attic, and a basement worth of stuff.

This is the first time in ten years that I don't have an attic, a basement and a garage full of stuff.  When we move out of here, this will be the first place where the moving estimator doesn't say "this won't be too expensive...oh wait...you have a storage unit and a basement and garage full of stuff I haven't seen yet?"

I'm not done yet.  There's more to be done, and I'm working on it, bit by little bit.

I have plans for February, too.  February is the Spend No Money Month.  In January I spent quite a bit Fixing All the Things.  Since its really difficult to take a three year old with a broken leg shopping, it seems like the stay-at-home-with-broken-leg month will coincide nicely with a spending moratorium.