Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Decor: The Magnolia Leaf

Hey Guys... happy Fall!  Can anyone else believe that it's the last day of September???  Seriously, where does the time go?


Our home still has some of it's summer decor up, but with fall in full swing, and the days getting noticeably shorter, my goal for this week is to get some fall decor going at home.  It seems that everyone goes straight for pumpkins when decorating for fall, but I want to go for a less obvious approach.  

There will of course still be pumpkins and gourds in the mix as well, but for this fall, I'm really liking the magnolia leaf.  


It's extremely classic, and I love that the leaves look as lovely bright and green as they do once they brown out.  I also really like that the magnolia leaf - whether in the form of garland, nosegay, or wreath will take you all the way through Thanksgiving... even into the holiday season!

Look how pretty this garland below is - very autumnal without needing in your face bright orange leaves.


As a side note... I also really like the dark brown jug. It also feels very autumnal without being juvenile.


This garland is also a favorite - the mix of brown magnolia leaves with the green is so pretty, and while to me this looks like fall, it's clearly something that can take you into the holiday season too.  Imagine that lit up at night.  So pretty. 


These nosegays clustered around lit lanterns is a very grand way to light up the stairs leading to your house... even along the driveway.  Or take this look inside, and cluster a few lanterns of varying sizes on a mantle, flanking a long dining table, or as a centerpiece on an outside table.


I am fairly sure that I've posted this idea last year, but I still love the look of magnolia leaves as placecards.  So simple, although my handwriting would look nothing like that.


And finally, one of my favorites...  the gilded magnolia leaf wreath.  I want to try and tackle a similar project this weekend.  Now that our front door is looking all fresh and pretty, I'm thinking of retiring our moss wreath until the springtime, and attempting a similar gold wreath.  

That would look so pretty against it, don't you think??

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sprucing up the Entry


So... our entryway / frontdoor has gotten a bit of a facelift.  

Actually, if we want to be more accurate in comparing hallway updates to plastic surgery, it's more like our entryway got some botox.  Nothing radical.  Nothing over the top.  No nips and tucks... just a bit of an enhancement.  

Wait... would this update be more of a boob job then?  Ugh, whatever.  It's looking better.  Let's just say that.  

Here's how the hallway looks now as you walk through the front door. 


Pretty wreath.  Some nice color in the runner.  My pretty bar cart.

And here is the hallway, staring back at the front door from the other end.  New mirror, new plant, and yes... a freshly painted door.

<< heavens singing >>


I mean LOOK at that thing!  A work of art, pretty much.


I am so thrilled with how it came out - the grey is perfect, and it brings some much needed contrast to the entry.  It's looking pretty good in here... not that it looked bad before.  It was just sort of blah beforehand... kind of empty and unfinished.  

Now that you've seen it's current (aka gorgeous) state, let's look at how it started.  Per usual, I took one before picture, and called it a day.  When will I learn?!

Here's how the hallway / entrance looked beforehand:


It wasn't BAD... it just was very white, and very empty.  The mirror had actually just been hung - literally MOMENTS before I took this picture.  It actually looked MUCH emptier in there beforehand, so this "before" is actually an improvement on the real "before".  That wall to the left of the door has been completely empty since we moved in back in January.  

Really, this space started as just a blank slate - white walls, white door.  Plain, and calling out for some color.

Via Pinterest, I'd seen a few interior doors painted dark colors, and so decided to tackle our plain hollow core door.  The hardware on it is pretty ugly, with the exception of the peep hole.  The pretty brass peephole probably cost more than the entire door, knob, hinges, and lock, so I wanted to feature it prominently.  What color looks good with brass?  Grey.  And black... but grey is where it's at.  I didn't want to go too dark on the inside of this door, and honestly black looks better with a glossy finish, which on a lumpy, bumpy door equals bad paint job.

I wanted a quick and easy project, and feeling too lazy to head to the hardware store for a fresh can of grey paint, I improvised.  What I really did was mix a bunch of leftover paint together to make a color that suited my needs, but let's just say I created a "custom paint for the door".  

**Note: do not try to mix custom colors if you need a lot of paint otherwise you'll run out, and never be able to match the color you started with**

I keep all the extra paint that is leftover from projects in a cabinet in the kitchen for easy access. I knew I wanted to paint the door a dark color since the rest of the hallway was all white.  I also knew that I didn't want a glossy paint since it would show every. single. imperfection (which our front door has plenty of).  I also knew I didn't want it to be completely black.  I was looking for a dark grey with blue undertones, so I brought out the remainders of my can of eggshell finish "Grey Owl" (a very light grey) from our dining room in our last apartment, along with some satin finish black paint that I used on our dresser and nightstands, and a can of blue outdoor paint I'd used on the deck chairs.  

Yes, all the paints had different finishes, and all of them are meant for different kinds of projects, but I knew that mixed together they'd be ok.  The outdoor paint is very matte and kind of rough, so the texture this added to the mixture meant no priming needed!  Score for me!  

It's possible that the door would end up being hideous... streaky... peeling... or just a wierd splotchy color, but IT'S JUST PAINT.  This is the mantra I repeat to Kris whenever he think's I'm having a bad idea... and it's true!  It really is just paint.  If you mess up, you can re-do it. It's not a huge commitment (coming from the girl who had to paint the living room twice), so when you want to tackle a project but feel like it's a big change, or you're worried you might mess it up... trust me when I say, paint is so easy to change, so don't over-analyze it.  It works out 99% of the time.


Anyway, back to my "custom paint mixture"... I didn't have a fancy bucket for mixing, but I did have an empty jar of tomato sauce from dinner the night before.  I cleaned it out REALLY well and made sure it was thoroughly dried before pouring paint in.

It turned out to be the perfect vessel for mixing paints, because you could screw the lid on and just shake it up.  Could not have been easier.  I mixed, and tested a few swatches on the door until I found a color I liked, and then I got to work.  I used a short handle brush for cutting in around the door knob, deadbolt, and peephole, and I rolled the rest with a flat foam roller.


 It took about 3 coats to really get an even color on the door, and while you can see the brush strokes of previous paint jobs, it doesn't bother me.  This is the exact reason I wanted a more matte paint... glossy paint magnifies every single imperfection x1000, so can you imagine how prominent the imperfections would look with a glossy paint?


Isn't that peephole just amazing?  I love it! It was hard to cut in on those little details, but what paint got on the brass, I just wiped off with a wet paper towel immediately and all was good.


See those little holes below the peep hole??  What ARE those?

The paint was still wet when I snapped these close-up pictures, so you can really see the brushstrokes of paint-jobs past.  Also... notice the hinges?  They now match the peephole thanks to a quick once over with my gold leaf pen.


Another really minor change that I appreciate every day when I head out the door??

The speaker.

See how old, and gross the old speaker was?  This is for the intercom system so that we don't accidentally buzz and ax-murderer into the building, and it's "harvest gold" as my mom calls it.  A super popular household appliance color of the 70's and 80's.  Why?????
 

I'm not sure this is harvest gold as much as it is "faded baby poop" - either way, it was ugly.


But not anymore!!  It got a coat of white paint to match the walls, and all is right with the world again...


Look how it blends in and just dissapears!  Such a small change, but I swear it makes a WORLD of difference.


This wreath on the door came from Smith and Hawkins for Target, and is made of live moss.  I'm not entirely sure how to care for it, but I've spritzed it a few times with water, and it seems happy so far.  I realize now that I need to fix the hanging mechanism, since you can see the hook very clearly in these pictures, but that's an easy change.


Our bar cart got a few additions to glam it up... striped straws, a new, BEAUTIFUL live orchid with the largest, thickest petals you've ever seen, and a new (to me) ice bucket.


The ice bucket is actually of the Mad Men era, and belonged to Kris' grandmother who passed away earlier this year.  She made it to 100 years old my friends!

I never did get to meet her, but love that we have something that was hers.  There are little nicks and scratches here and there, but when we use it, and see those imperfections, I'll think of all the parties (and cocktails) they probably had over the years.

Come to think of it, with all the nicks, it seems they used it a lot... I think her and I would have had quite a bit in common :-)


On the wall opposite the bar cart hangs one of my FAVORITE flea market finds from a few weeks back.  I am SO in love with this mirror.  Last week I posted about the mirror at the flea market that got away... it just seemed silly to get both this one and the octagonal mirror in the same day, but I am so glad that I came away with at least one of them. It's one of my favorite things that I own.

There was no hesitation in purchasing this one, and thank god, because it is PERFECT for this space.  It's the perfect size for this wall (narrow, but not too narrow), and it's just so nice to have a spot to check your hair before running out the door.


The mirror is nice and light - physically, and visually... it doesn't weigh that much, and the light wood is so pretty!  I just LOVE the carved details, and the little feet on the bottom kill me!  Mini pineapples!!


The final addition to this space was some fresh greenery - my newest fiddle leaf fig that I haven't killed (yet).  It doesn't stick out or block traffic flow between rooms (which I was worried about when I first moved it here), and it is just so fresh and lovely.

The rug was the first thing that went down in this hallway, and about 5 months later, we're still in love (me and the rug).  The blue packs a punch... it's navy, but still very vibrant, and it's holding up SO WELL.  Very little shedding, which I've been happy about, although it is a magnet for lint like you wouldn't believe.

So that's it - a little paint, and some well placed accessories and we're in business!  Very very happy that the hallway isn't all bare, and empty and sad anymore.  One more side by side before and after??
Oh okkkkkk, since you asked!


Don't you just love quick and easy fixes?  I think a coat of paint, and some well placed accessories really brought this space from plain, to pretty.

Happy Monday!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Mirror that Got Away

Regret.  Major regret my friends!!

I'm going to call it "un-buyers remorse".  Ugh!!  If only I could turn back time and buy that mirror a month ago at the Alameda County Flea Market, all would be well in the world!!

Here's the short version of this story... a few weeks ago, one of my best friends and I went to the Alameda County Flea Market.  "Flea Market" doesn't sound like the kind of place I'd want to be, but I swear to you, this one is amazing.  Some real gems my friends...  Also, a lot of weird old (but not that old) nightgowns, Hawaiian shirts, and used shoes, but for the most part cool, unique furniture, accessories, and antiques.

Last month was our second trip to the flea market, and having already used our first trip to scout things out, we came prepared with a rough wishlist of what we wanted to find, plenty of cash, and comfortable walking shoes.  We both came away from our little flea market trip with some absolute gems... but there is one mirror that I passed on, and it keeps coming back to haunt me.

It's literally haunting me you guys... now that it's long gone, and I can't possibly have it, I keep seeing it pop up in pictures of beautifully styled rooms - on my favorite blogs... on Pinterest!  I can't escape it!!







I realize that at some point I'm going to have to get over it, but it's just so pretty, and it would look so amazing over our chest of drawers in the bedroom!  As if to add insult to injury, the mirror we have hanging there right now is a boring, black, rectangular frame from Ikea.  Oh, and I accidentally drilled two holes straight through the wood, so that it looks extra "special". Dah!

People talk about buyers remorse, but I swear no one ever talks about un-buyers remorse.  If only I'd pulled the trigger!!

Has this ever happened to you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Moody Ocean Prints

I'm currently in what seems to be a very slow process of  re-doing the gallery wall in our bedroom.  I just could not stomach the mis-matched (and scratched up) frames that were originally hung, and the art didn't seem to jive all-together. I want all the frames to be a single color so it doesn't seem so scattered, and I plan on replacing some of the art that is currently up there.

While I re-work the frames, and the layout on the wall, I'm on the hunt for some cool prints.  In our bedroom, we have various shades of blue, grey, and teal, and I want to bring these colors into the art in the gallery wall, keeping with a moodier, cool color palette.  Nothing too happy, bright, or playful.

I toyed with the idea of all black and white prints or photographs, but I think that might be a bit too boring unless I did the frames all gold - an idea which Kris wasn't loving. I think he could love it after it was done, but I think I abused the gold a bit in our last apartment, so I'm going to initially try a more understated route with the frames.  I think I'm going to do all grey frames and if it's too boring down the line, perhaps gold... or even navy might be fun.

Inspiration started with this first print, and kind of snowballed from there........






So my question for all of you... is all the moody ocean photography too much together?  There are a few prints we have hanging right now that I do love by Claire Elsaesser that these would coordinate with, but I'm worried that more than one will be overkill?  Should I stick with one?  Do you have a favorite?

Thoughts?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Indoor Plants - the Olive Tree


If I could pick the number one thing that I have learned in the past several years while decorating our home, it would be that no matter how good your taste is... how much you accessorize a table, or bookshelf, or how lovely all your furniture is, a room never feels truly complete, or alive, or even as beautiful as it possibly could, without a plant.

Not even kidding.  As soon as I brought our first live plant home, and saw how the added greenery changed that room, I've made a conscious effort to bring more plants home.  Not cut flowers - which I do love - I'm talking about a live plant.

For the past several years, I've been ALL ABOUT the fiddle leaf fig.  Totally drank the cool-aid, and as much as I still do love them, I've been on the hunt for equally beautiful, dramatic indoor plants to bring home, and guess what my friends??  I think I've found it...

The Olive Tree.


I love that the dwarf olive tree is a little like a topiary with the round leafy top, and the tall spindly trunk.  The grey-green leaves are more subtle, and earthy, and I just love how they look in these clean, minimalist spaces.


The above picture is one of my favorite images of all time. It was the background on my phone to remind me to simplify, and to remind me how lovely a clean slate can look.

I really like how the rustic look of these mini trees are still elegant while being a little wild.


Can't you also imagine these flanking a fireplace, or being dolled up for the holidays?


I did a little research already, and apparently they can do well indoors in a pot - they can't sit in very wet soil, so be careful when potting originally to use a more arid soil that will drain... they also like to be rotated in direct sunlight, but overall, they seem like they could be a real contender for an indoor plant.


Anyone have any expertise on the subject here??  This notorious plant killer novice plant care-taker would love to know!!!