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Posts Tagged ‘decorate’

fox and camera

My phone is not very smart, and I still have to open it up like an old-fashioned, mirrored compact; it isn’t in a hurry, can take several hours to get a message, and when it finally arrives it will have been jumbled into neat little piles of 140 characters or less.

I know I am holding onto it a little too tightly; resisting change, and dreading the time when checking my email might become more important than noticing a flower, or driving my car in a straight line.

But, I can barely see the screen, it no long likes to type the letter m or b, and it doesn’t take photographs anymore. Well, it does, but they are the size of a postage stamp, and by the time I have squinted enough to see what I am doing, it has gone back to some random setting and politely asks me if I want to send a message. Some days, I am not sure who is more confused.

And, I need photographs. Whether it is stored in a cloud (don’t ask me, I don’t even know what that means either) or in a basket on my dining room table (much better) I need memories and art in my everyday life.

They are also one of my favorite things to use in decorating. It is so hard to be objective about our own space that taking a photograph will instantly help you to see what others see. Like they say, the camera doesn’t lie; it might add on ten pounds, but it’s okay if your sofa and chair are looking a little plump that week.

A photograph gives you time to sit and look at what you truly have. It’s a captured moment of your life, and even though you walk through your home a dozen times a day, it is a rare person who will actually notice what is there.

If you’re selling your home, it is also the absolute best way to see your house from a buyer’s perspective. Try to imagine that you are the Realtor, and take photographs from across the street and all throughout your home. Be honest, or show a friend, and ask yourself how it really looks. Let these photographs be a reference, and use them for making a few changes, and tidying up a little before you put your home on the market.

The same goes for decorating your home. If you feel stuck, and don’t know what it is about a room that you don’t like, or you do but don’t know how to fix it, take a photograph. You will be amazed at how different your home looks through a lens (it’s a little like buying skinny jeans with your eyes closed, then coming home and realizing that the view from behind could traumatize small children).

Ironically, to be able to take photographs is probably the only reason that would push me to get a new phone, which is kind of funny, because then I think the obvious solution would be to actually buy a camera….

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph from: http://animalsandcameras.tumblr.com/post/35827073793

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Dining rooms are the one room in the house that often gets overlooked. Situated somewhere off the kitchen, a hallway, entry, or all three, this room is commonly underused and neglected. Furniture companies want you to buy the matching table, chairs, sideboard…but I love, love, love to decorate this room with unexpected touches and a bit more creativity. Just like the kitchen, a dining room should be a place to gather. Even if you don’t have a formal dining room, the table and chairs that you do dine at are what you need to focus on.

My family and I play board games, read, draw, and basically goof around at our table. It sits between a very large fireplace and a 3-panel glass door that overlooks the backyard, so it’s a cozy place to be in the winter and every other season allowing nature to take part in the fun. Right now, I can see the snow falling and my dogs playing and making tracks that they’ll run through again and again. The birds are eating their food from a feeder tucked away in the apple tree, and pine boughs are gently swaying under the weight of all that snow. Even if we don’t always sit down for dinner, we are always at that table. Decorated with a flat-bottom basket filled with a lantern, tea lights, and a vase of greens, it’s often strewn with books and papers ready to pick up when needed. Life happen at this table—breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, serious and not-so-serious talks, late night homework sessions, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Choose a table you love. Rectangle or square, round (perfect for tight spots) or oval; it should feel good to sit at. Mine happens to be a table that was made for my mother more than 40 years ago. It’s seen its share of everyday living, and because it’s made from a soft wood, I can still see the impression of a word or two every now and then, so it’s draped with a large fabric remnant I use as a tablecloth. Those words etched into its surface are from my children and I couldn’t bear for them to disappear with a sweep of a sander. And let’s not forget the chairs. Don’t bother matching. Swap out the two end chairs for upholstered wing chairs like I do, or swap out side seats for a bench, or better yet, a settee or sofa. Add pillows; toss a throw or two over the backs to make dining, talking, or just being as comfortable as possible. Tables don’t need to be centered in the room either. Dare to move the table to the side of the room so the dining room can now become a multi-functional space.

A dining room should more than just a place to dine, it should be a room used often, and with love.

For more dining room inspiration, check out my other posts here, here, and here.

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

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So, where do you work? If you work at home like me you probably don’t want your work area/room to look like a typical office. If I’m not in my studio teaching a class, I’m sitting at my desk tapping away on my keyboard in an area of my den located right off my kitchen and the hall leading up to the second floor. The room is essentially divided into two areas—one for work and one for relaxation. (I often gaze over at the sofa in front of the fireplace and wish I was curled up with a good book.) Now that I’m getting ready to re-do another office (my new studio space), I’m looking for some inspiration.

The office pictured above is so inviting. The warm woods, the blue velvet chair, and inspiration board remind us that these rooms do not need to conform. Use a comfortable chair instead of an office chair. Simply add a set of casters to its legs and you’re off. The inspiration board is an easy DIY project. All you need is a bulletin board (some batting if you want it), fabric, and a staple gun. Take a look at the ones I created using burlap here.
Keep it simple with white but add a pop of color for interest. The shelves are from Ikea (see below) and can be configured into any design you’d like. You can even paint them to add even more color to your space. And please don’t spend a lot of money on drapes or pillows. Fabric remnants can be hemmed and hung from a tension rod or ring clips—you can even use a decorative shower curtain or table cloth. The same is true for the pillow. Find a fabulous print and recover an inexpensive pillow.
Who wouldn’t want all of this space? Custom cabinetry is lovely, but you can achieve s similar look by using free-standing filing cabinets and hollow wood doors. But the one thing I truly love in this space is the textured bulletin boards. Burlap would surely make a good stand in, but so would textured blinds. The chairs are from Crate and Barrel (see below).
Do desks need drawers? Not always. It depends on what you’re using the space for. I worked at an old farm table for years and stored my essentials in baskets and boxes within reach. The best thing about working on a table is the space. You can really stretch out and leave projects out instead of putting them away. (I would like to have both kinds of desks!) Pay attention to your lighting. Make sure any task lighting is placed close to you and any overhead light does its job. Who says you can’t use outdoor lighting indoors? This lantern is both functional and attractive.
Jen over at Made by Girl shared her own office space. This wall is filled with both her own art and pieces that inspire her. Why not frame a page from a magazine, theatre tickets, a thank you note, or anything else that inspires you to keep at it!

Sawhorse tables are quite popular right now. This one is from Williams-Sonoma and is quite pricey, but this one from Ikea is very budget friendly. Here’s a feng shui tip: If your desk faces a wall, hang a mirror over your desk so you can see what’s coming and help reflect the light.

If you want a little more inspiration, then check out these posts about vintage desk accessories, ideas for what the perfect little desk should have, and take a glimpse of my own home office.

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I love cape-style homes. It could be the reason why my own expanded cape would look right at home along the seashore as well as it does here in the New Hampshire woods. During our vacation, I couldn’t help but look at all of the beautiful houses, and every year I snap some favorites. (Forgive the top of the car window. There’s a reason why I call these shots drive-bys.)

I like the house, but what I really liked was the detached garage. (Although I would use a different door material). After building our shed last fall, plans to build a barn or garage like this are never far from our minds.

“A Cape Cod cottage is a style of house originating in New England in the 17th century. It is traditionally characterized by a low, broad frame building, generally a story and a half high, with a steep, pitched roof with end gables, a large central chimney and very little ornamentation.” However, this style home has come a long way. You can find contemporary-style features and wings mixed in with more traditional elements. Cedar shakes or shingles, white trim, wooden shutters and onion-style lanterns are just a few of the typical materials used in the construction and design of a cape-style home. Typically a one to one-and-a-half story house, capes have grown to accommodate today’s style needs. The design was/is also considered practical. Because New England winters can be harsh, the steep roof line prevents excessive amounts of snow from accumulating. This is a must where I live.

Stone and brick are always close behind whether they’re used for the chimneys, walks, or steps. These natural materials are the perfect marriage between style and function.

The interiors of a cape-style home can vary greatly. Natural elements work their way indoors for a casual feel. Driftwood signs, wainscoting (originally used to address moisture in the walls), and painted cabinetry and woodwork are all mainstays. But you can vary the look and feel of the interior greatly mixing a variety of style and materials together to suit your needs. Here are a couple of highlights:

Beach House Chic: Driftwood, rattan, seagrass, starfish, seashell prints, nautical ropes and knots.
Colonial Style: Shaker-style kitchen cabinets, wooden knobs, wood plank back splash, ancestor portraits, wood plank floors, linen checked fabric, 13-arm meeting house chandelier.

The list goes on and on. If you have a cape-style home you’d like to share with me. Drop me a line and I’d love to take a look.

Kim Merritt – http://beautifullivingstyle.blogspot.com/

Images (starting from the top) via personal collection, smg.photobucket.com, reasontobreathe.tumblr.com, cityfarmhouse.com, foleyandcox.com, pasticheofcapecod.com, southernliving.com

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