Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hamptons Love

Years ago I discovered the Sotheby's Real Estate website while doing a search for Hampton's style homes. I know lots (and lots!) of home design lovers out there fell in the love with Hampton's beach houses because of the movie Something's Gotta Give.  I actually had liked this style before that because of my favorite cooking show, The Barefoot Contessa.  After the movie came out, that just reinforced my love of the style.  So, one of my favorite things to do is peruse that Sotheby's Hamptons site.  My design style is a very mixed bag but I really, truly adore the interior design style of those houses in the Hampton's. And if I were forced to pick a single style, that would be it.  I just feel most comfortable in that beachy, clean, airy, bright environment.  As such I have collected many, many, many pics of these spaces and wanted to share them today.  Starting with my favorite room of any house, the kitchen:

Even when the style is spot on for me, maybe a little too modern, etc. I still love the overall effect and feel.

I realize what draws me in most is the simplicity of nearly every home.  I don't know if, because these homes are for sale, they are staged this way, but I can't get enough of the uncluttered, clean, not overly decorated spaces. Like these dining rooms:
And these family rooms, dens and living rooms:
And bedrooms:
(all photos from Sotheby's Real Estate)
These spaces are my absolute inspiration for my own home.  Rooms like these are what say home to me and what I think of and refer to when choosing things for our home.  I just love me some Hampton beach house style.  I will do another post on outdoor spaces since I have a embarrassingly large growing collection of those spaces, too. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another Bench Makeover

When we purchased our dining room table, chairs and hutch we also noticed a two-person bench that matched the chairs.  We didn't get it then because we felt we had just about met our maximum spending limit that weekend.  But.....a few weeks later and after we'd calmed down a bit about our big purchase (our largest ever on furniture) we thought we really should have gotten it.  I called the store and was told our design had been discontinued but we could have the floor model at a reduced price. Woo-hoo! The only drawback was that unlike our chairs we couldn't pick the finish or fabric. Fortunately the finish matched but we didn't care for the bright red patterned fabric:

We've lived with it for a couple of years like this with every intention of recovering.  A few weeks ago I was in a fabric store and the P. Kaufmann fabric (above) was discontinued to $5.99 a yard.  Nice.  It was perfect with my color scheme and it was upholstery grade.  So, finally I did my redo.
After recovering the bench I had quite a bit of fabric left, so I decided to recover the arm chairs to tie in it.

I hadn't been looking for fabric for this project that day, it just happened to be there and at a great price so I took it as a sign since we're phasing out the red accents in our home anyway. Just meant to be!
I tried to take pictures of the process when I had a serious camera malfunction (better than a wardrobe malfunction I guess!) but it was incredibly easy.  Just unscrewed the seats from underneath and tightly wrapped the new fabric right over the old and stapled down with a staple gun.  My only hiccup was that a couple of the screws had been stripped so I had to wait for my handy hubby to use some specialty tool to get them out.
For the price and time and effort investment I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Red No More

Well my poor blog has been silent since April because during a project I was doing that I planned to post my camera died. Just died. It will take a single picture and turn itself off. I have yet to get another because we'd like to save up for a really nice DRS digital Canon and both my husband and I are of the school of thought that we'd rather put all of our money toward what we really want then to buy something cheaper to hold us over.
I was really disappointed over not being able to do my blog until I realized I had collected hundreds (upon hundreds!) of inspiration photos and I could post to inspire myself.
My design style has evolved since we moved here in 2003. At the time I liked red but always did have a love of whites, blue-grays and neutrals. In the red phase we hung red curtains in our family room and had lots of red accessories. But now I want to move to the more neutral and light, bright design style
Of course, I have a ton of inspiration from other blogs. The one that currently has me obsessing inspired is Megan's home from the blog Honey We're Home.  Her kitchen is exactly what I've been looking for with a mix of white cabinets and dark stained ones.
 I also ADORE her family room and breakfast nook curtains.

Besides Megan's home I am also love, love, loving Ina Garten's (aka Barefeoot Contessa) kitchen featured as the 2009 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year.

Once again:  LOVE it. And this is where I want to go. White cabinets, lighter curtains, more of a Hampton's beach house type feel.  My curtains are coming down in shortly and with my new camera (which we'll be getting in the next week or so-woo hoo!) I'll do before and after.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Little Paint Project

We have had this bench for years. In our previous home we also had a covered front porch and I always pictured a cute little bench there.  I saw this bench at a local home improvment store and knew it would be perfect and I loved it's design. 
When it came home with us it was a medium wood color.  After we moved to our current home I stained it much darker with a Minwax stain to a mahogany-type color.

Last summer I actually saw an almost identical bench in a movie painted white and LOVED it.  As I've said in the past I'm a huge fan of white and it's clean simple look. So with my boys help I primed and painted it.

Now I ADORE it and think it will stay white for the remainder of it's days.

It looks so fresh and inviting and has inspired me to spruce up my front porch even further.  I think I'll add a little coffee table and maybe a little white chair to match and enjoy cups of coffee or glasses of lemonade out here all summer long.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tax Time Organizing

We filed our taxes several weeks ago but just this weekend packed up all of our 2010 stuff. We hadn't done this yet because we didn't want to make the mistake again this year of packing everything up only to receive documents in the mail weeks after packing up and having to go to our garage and dig out our box.  
This year we got REALLY serious and I made photo copies of all of our important documents that we need occasionally for things like insurance and sports sign-ups such as birth certificates, marriage license and social security cards to keep in our regular files and kept the originals in our fireproof safe.
And then I tackled the owners manuals of which, it seems, we have an endless supply.  You know, everything from the washer and dryer and KitchenAid mixer to my boys' electronic toys and husband's tools.  This is what I came up with:

I wanted to use the Martha Steward idea I saw on a show years ago of putting them all in plastic sleeves in labeled binders but didn't do this because it irritated my husband having to pull them out of the sleeves. I then thought of just hole-punching each one and putting it in a binder but doing that cut off information. So above is what I put together with what I had on hand.  I just recycled old file folders and labeled the categories on both the side of the file and the top for ease of finding what we needed. I put all the manuals behind each divider and stuck them in a bin I already had.
Now, I realize this isn't the loveliest thing to look at, but it stays in the office closet and I have to say it really is functional.   Since I've done this we've had to refer to several manuals and it gave me quite the thrill to go right to it AND my ultra-organized hubby even got a bit excited.  Yes, we're a little lame. But we do love us some organization!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bright White Kitchen

A week or so ago we completed the painting of the kitchen and I couldn't be happier.  As I stated in the post of the 'during phase' of the painting, I didn't like the beige-pinky color of the kitchen and I have always had a love of white walls, especially for the kitchen.
We haven't had a bit of spring as of yet, in fact it snowed just a couple of days ago, so my light white kitchen is just the thing to brighten up this space that I spend so much time in.   I also just received these two pitchers I ordered from the Martha Stewart White ware line from Macy's and I love them.
We are expecting lots of sunshine this week along with 70 degree temperatures, which I hope will bring out all the of bulbs I planted last fall (over a 100), so I'll be able to add real flowers! Until then though, I am happy to have bright, white walls again.

Here's to the beginning of spring!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Colby

Today is our middle son's 9th birthday.

As I did with my other boys, I'm recounting the story of his birth which, just as with the other boys, fits his personality to a T.
Because with my first pregnancy, my labor happened so quickly we were very concerned that the same thing would happen with my second. So on a Saturday evening, I had been having a little back ache but thought nothing of it. As every mother knows backaches at 9 months pregnant is nothing new and I had almost 2 weeks to go until my due date.
But I had just fallen asleep when I felt something odd, like nothing I'd ever felt before. My water broke. My husband had been at a friends house and I called him pronto. I was shook up because my water never broke with my first and I was afraid that doing so meant that this baby was coming RIGHT NOW. My husband was home in probably less than three minutes. He was a nervous wreck as having to deliver a baby was pretty much his idea of his worst nightmare.
In the car, he was making me a nervous wreck because he was speeding and driving like a mad man. 
We made the 20 minute drive to the hospital in just over 10.  We rushed in thinking this baby would be here any minute.
Apparently, that evening every other mother was going into labor as well because I had to wait in the waiting room for a delivery room for nearly two hours.  The nurses told me to come get them right away if I felt the urge to push. I thought, "Are you kidding me?" 
I was finally in a room and thought, "This is it! I'm going to have this baby now."  And then.....nothing.
Hours passed. More hours passed.  Finally 10 hours later, he decided to make his appearance. I'm sure the whole labor he was thinking, "I'll get there eventually.  No worries. La-de-da."
This is Colby completely. He just takes his time.  He never gets hurried or flustered.  Good for him.
Thing we love about you, Colb:
1. You ARE so laid back.  You don't get stressed or bogged down in details.  You take it all as it comes.  You'll probably live to be 100.
2.  You LOVE life.  You get so excited for anything fun in life.  You enjoy and are present in every minute and always find things to do to that make you happy.

3.  You'll try nearly anything which means you have made so many interests for yourself.  The standard stuff like sports and skiing to things like cooking and gardening.
We hope you have a wonderful 9th birthday and many, many more.  We love you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

White Orchids and White Kitchen

When we moved into our home a few years ago, the current trend was that if walls were white the room wasn't complete and having white walls was a complete waste of design potential.  Our previous home had white walls in every room except our boys' room, which we had painted a light blue. I've always, always loved white but after moving to our newly built home let myself get caught up in painting every room. Well, I have now gotten back to my roots so to speak. A couple of weeks ago I painted our breakfast nook it's original white and this weekend my husband and I tackled the rest of the kitchen-until we ran out of paint.  Even only partially complete I absolutely love it and am so very happy we did it.  The beige we had painted it turned out too peachy but even if it hadn't I would have wanted to go back to white.  It feels so fresh and crisp (and matches all the snow outside!)
 It is a Behr color, Swiss coffee, color-matched to Sherwin Williams No-VOC line.
 And it celebration of our white-again kitchen and to bring a little spring in since our latest snow storm and single-digit temperatures put the nix on our budding plants and plans to plant spring bulbs, I bought this lovely little orchid.
And placed it on our living room mantel.  I've had orchids in the past and have failed miserably in keeping them alive and/or reblooming.  But I've read up this time and with the proper light and fertilizer hope to keep this one for a long time. 
 Happy Spring!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nevada Weather

Our home is at an elevation of 5000. This usually means February is a cold, cold month. This year, however, seemed to be a rare treat with last weekend temperatures in the high 60s. We worked in our yard, cleaning out winter debris, cutting back the plants that are cut back in spring and general tidying up.  I was incredibly excited to see our maple and flowering pear trees with tiny buds and my roses with new growth.  My boys even found their first ladybug of the season.
Then yesterday we woke up to this:
That picture above shows what's on the horizon.  Usually you can see all of the Sierra's from our front yard, but that is a storm rolling in.  All of this is, of course, nothing compared to what other areas of the country are experiencing and would not be post-worthy except that this means that all my budding trees, shrubs, bulbs and bushes are now frozen.  Ugh.  Last year, a storm just like this, after a warm period like we just had stunted my rose garden all summer long. But, I've lived here all my life, and I know that is Nevada weather.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Sawyer

Today is my youngest son's 4th birthday.
 Staying with my birth story theme for each of our boys on their birthday, this is his:
First, let's say this little guy was a surprise.  He came to us unplanned but sometimes that exactly how the best things in life happen and for us that is absolutely true.
Because my first son was born by c-section my ob/gyn strongly suggested we have one with this pregnancy.  I had a natural birth with my middle child but when I became pregnant the third time my doctor told me recommendations had changed and it was now not advisable to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section.)  I really did not want to have another c-section but as we were told repeatedly that it was safer for the baby we opted to do that.
So it was scheduled for February 16, 2007 at 3:00 in the afternoon.  This little guy was kind enough to wait for his scheduled date to arrive.  And as a matter of fact, he'd probably still be there had I not had a c-section.  Which (as is with my other boys) is strongly suggestive of his personality.  He is extremely attached to us.  Me in particular, but also very much so his dad and brothers. 
The day he was born one of things I remember most was that you are not allowed to eat before surgery and his wasn't scheduled until 3:00PM so I was STARVING. And I was in serious nesting mode that day.  It became absolutely paramount to me that I come home to a clean house with freshly washed sheets and sparkling bathrooms.  So, hungry and all I spent all day cleaning like mad. My husband kept telling me to relax but I kindly and completely ignored him. 
The surgery went off exactly as planned except that he was wedged in there.  My doctor had to reach in(!) and maneuver him out.  (Like I said, he wasn't leaving easy.) This created a much longer recovery than with my first one.  But when I look back at that time now I remember it being utterly and completely happy and feeling totally fulfilled.  I had my tubes tied during the c-section and I know a lot of women mourn a little after that is done, but I didn't for a even a second. I knew my little family was complete with the addition of this precious little guy.
 What we love about you:
1. You are so very affectionate.  You are always saying I love you and giving out hugs.
2.  You are always happy and bring brightness to our family every day.
3.  You love to help. 
Happy Birthday, Sawyer. We love you to pieces.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some Kitchen Organizing

In my mission to simplify things around our home, a big part of that is clearing out unneeded, unused and unwanted items from every room in our home. This week I worked on that in the kitchen. Many of my cabinets and drawers have been a jumbled mess and since I spend so much time there I thought there was no better place to start my purge. This is the cabinet that housed our small appliances.
Before: (I can't believe I'm showing anyone this.)
 I cleared everything out, wiped down the inside and shelves and then put back only things that belonged there and that I used.
Here is the After:
 Not perfect but so much better. Things removed and donated to Goodwill: electric wok (I stir-fry often but my stainless steel saute pan works much better and is easier) and a rice steamer (again my rice turns out just as good on the stove.)  And things relocated: mandoline.
Now, because my mandoline did not belong in the cabinet and it wasn't the ideal place to store it anyway, I moved it to a (more kid-safe) drawer, but that caused that drawer to be cleaned out. 
Here is that drawer before:
I relocated all of these items to the pantry and plan to purchase this from the Container Store for all of it.   

Here is the After:
 Ahh. Much better.  Now I only have about 42 cabinets/drawers to go. But it's a start and honestly now when I open this drawer and cabinet I get a little thrill.  Ridiculous but true.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Paint Color

I'm linking up with one of my all time favorite blogs, Nesting Place for this post.  She has amazing taste and is currently doing a linky link for paint colors.  I happen to adore her paint colors and may just find myself down at the local Sherwin Williams this week as a result.  I have been looking for the PERFECT tan/beige for my family room and she has re-inspired me to find it.  I'd like it to go with my dining room, below, which is Mercer Blue from the Eddie Bauer line at Lowes:
We plan to add wainscot in this room below a chair rail in white so I'm hoping this will make the rooms brighter.  My living room is the same color because these rooms are on each side of the entry and are open to each other and I thought two different colors would not look right.
Forgive the dark picture.  This was taken in the afternoon and we get sun blazing in that room at that time of day so I had to close the shutters.
I do like this color but would not be opposed to changing it once we find our perfect tan for the family room (which can be seen from the dining room) and add our white trim work. My husband, however, will be seriously opposed to it as he doesn't like to paint as it is and I have made him paint our family room 3 times already.  What a guy.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Dallas

Today is my first born son's 11th birthday.

We wish him all the happiness he could hope for.
Since each of my boys' birthdays is a time that reminds me of when they were born, I thought I'd put in writing the story of their birth day.  I don't know if this is true of everyone, but the birth of each of my son's EXACTLY reflects their personalities. This is the story of Dallas:
About 7 months into my pregnancy, this little guy turned into the breech position.  Head up, bottom down.  I remember the night it happened.  The doctor assured me this was common and in almost all cases the baby turns back into proper position.  I had a feeling even then that this baby would not do this.  He didn't.  As is his personality to this day, I just know he thought, "Nope.  Don't like it.  I'm not going head down.  Don't care how most everyone else does it.  Not moving.  NOT doing it."  He is still SO this way.  He does things his way and cannot be convinced otherwise.  He is also incredibly structured and his birth was no exception.  At 9:00 pm on the dot, I began having contractions, five minutes a part.  After one hour they went down to under 3.  I knew we had to go to the hospital.  Because this was my first baby, all the nurses were a little la-de-da about my condition as I'm sure they get many false labors in new moms.  I was checked and dilated to seven.  Seven!  They started to get a little more involved and then my husband told them we had a c-section scheduled because he was breech.  I tell you what, if you've never had an emergency c-section it is like nothing else.  I had one nurse casually checking me one minute and literally the next there were a dozen people in my room, lab techs, ultrasound techs, nurses.  As also is Dallas' way he did not wait until the scheduled date of the c-section.  He decided it was time, so it was TIME. They gave me medication to stop labor to no avail.  I was rushed into surgery without the saddle-block anesthesia fully in effect.  Really.  I was not in pain but I could feel the incision.  This is an incredibly odd sensation and not at all pleasant.  He was born 15 minutes after midnight on January 27, 2000.  I heard his cry and remember thinking, "He's here. I can't believe he's here."  Our lives have never been the same and we never want it to be.  He made a couple into a family and this family would not be complete without him.   We love you. 
A couple of things we love about you:
1. You are an incredibly hard worker.  You try and accomplish things that should be too difficult for someone your age.
2.  You are so self confident.  You don't let anyone talk you into anything.  You like what you like.
3.   You have a big heart.  It bothers you when one of us (especially your brothers) are upset or in trouble.
Happy Birthday son.