DIY – Artwork Turned Bulletin Board

Often times we have great pieces around the house, it just takes a bit creativity, imagination, and some TLC to morph it into a new piece.  A perfect example is a once art piece that I stumbled upon at Hilary’s house while Erica and I were recently there to help her with her dining room and kitchen accessorizing.

Before – the colors just didn’t work with the space anymore and Hilary was thinking of getting rid of the piece altogether.  She then told me she wanted a bulletin board for her kitchen and the wheels starting turning in my head.  Why not turn the once art work piece into a bulletin board?

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Leaving the frame color the same, using the beautiful coral hue that is in the dining room,  adding a couple cork pieces, and would you look at that?  It looks like a brand new piece.

(DISCLAIMER – these AFTER photos were taken at night – the lighting is awful and the colors are much prettier in real life.)

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Total cost – $9 dollars, some good quality time with left over dining room paint, and a steady hand while free hand painting.

Stop and think – what pieces might be laying around the house that just need a little update or perhaps a new purpose?  You might just be amazed and able to save some money reinventing a tired piece.

 

Trellis on a Budget

This is not a newsflash – Kelly Wearstler’s Imperial Trellis pattern has been around the home decor design block.  A time or two.

But for great reason – c’mon the pattern is incredible.  It has become the modern day herringbone.

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It is a pattern that can dictate and take over a room.  But in a good way.

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You can find this pattern in four different fabric color combos and nine wallcovering color combos – Kelly Wearstler for Schumacher.

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The only problem – this fabric / wallcovering will cost you a pretty penny.  So, I was a happy to say the least when I stumbled upon these recent items by Threshold at Target.

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These beautiful window treatments are 19.99 – 29.99 depending on the size and come in three unique colorways.

Or how about this great rug that is on clearance right now.  It comes in two different colorways.

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And maybe I am wishing spring was here with this outdoor pouf…for under $50.

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I don’t know about you but I will be ordering from trellis items from Target pronto!

Hilary’s Challenge

Remember our friend Carla? After her article in November, her friend Hilary contacted me and Jill to see if we could help her out as well. Hilary has a gorgeous home near Kansas City’s historic Plaza. It’s a Tudor with tons of character. I mean, look at her front door???

Hilary and her husband have two young kids, and she’s basically challenged with the same issues that all of us with young families have: how do I make my space fit my style but also really functional for my everyday life?

There are two things we really had to figure out during our time with Hilary.

1. What is their family’s style? This was hard for Hilary to articulate. And that’s OK. Many people can’t really “define” their style. That’s part of the process Jill and I go through when we walk through someone’s house and talk with them about their family. During our tour, we were able to nail down a few design themes in their home:

  • Mission-style furniture
  • Paisley
  • Colors of navy, light blue, salmon, and minty green

2. How do they want their main floor to function that best fits their everyday life? This is always a lot easier for people to articulate because they can really just explain their day-to-day activities. The biggest challenge Hilary had was their family room. The location of their TV sort of dictated where furniture could be placed. And because it is a long rectangular room, they had a hard time defining the various sections of it. They wanted to figure out the best flow for the space.

So in this first phase, we needed to rearrange the family room using existing items around their house. Here are the befores.

When you looked into the room, the couch was blocking the path to the sun room.

And it was pushed close enough to the back french doors, that it didn’t make it very inviting to open them regularly. Aren’t they beautiful? I love her archways and all the woodwork!

Most likely, the reason they did this was because they felt that the couch should sit at the natural end of their long rug. But after talking through it, they were totally fine with moving it in a bit.

And here you can see the TV constraint because their armoire needed to stay where it was located. We talked about the possibility of mounting the TV above the mantel in the future, but they weren’t ready to go there yet.

With the way the furniture was set up, you can see that the fireplace was getting lost. They don’t really use it, but it’s still a focal point of the family room that needed to be brought out a bit.

And here are the after photos.

By simply moving the furniture around and reaccessorizing, we were able to create a natural seating area that highlighted the fireplace a bit better but still allowed for ample TV viewing. We pulled the couch in a bit and moved the table from behind it over next to the fireplace, where it fit really well.

Now what we need to finish off this space are the following: a smaller area rug to bring in some color and help ground this space a bit; a storage ottoman that can act as a coffee table; and new artwork for the right wall (next to the armoire). We’re going shopping with Hilary this weekend, so hopefully we can finish this space off!

 

 

Got Sheepskin?

A sheepskin rug that is.  Hands down, the most versatile rug slash decorative item slash textural element I have purchased.

Use it on a chair.

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On a sofa.

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Or actually as a rug in any room imaginable.

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In a nursery which is where the one in our home currently sits.

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Quick, buy one for yourself, here for $35, and then try and tell me you don’t love you some sheepskin!

You can play “where’s the sheepskin” in your home.  Next stop for ours is the home office chair.

DIY Thankful Board

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.  We were extremely blessed to have Aunt Angela in town from Chicago.  The boys are absolutely smitten over Angela – Liam did not leave her side for a moment her entire visit!

Our Thanksgiving tradition includes an enormous homemade meal down at my parents house with all the fixing and family time.  Newsflash- I am not the best cook around so aside from the brussels sprout salad (average at best) I decided late Wednesday night to tackle a DIY Thankful Board to bring to our Thanksgiving Family Feast.

A quick pop in stop to Hobby Lobby on my way home from work Wednesday, equipped with a 40% off coupon and numerous 50% off sales around the store, $40 dollars later and I had my supplies.DIY Thankful Board - SuppliesSupplies:

  • Open frame – I choose a distressed frame that goes with my parents dining room decor
  • Scissors
  • Burlap rope / twine
  • Hammer
  • Small nails
  • Permanent markers
  • Cardboard / Fabric labels to write thankful notes
  • Date stamp – not necessary – you can simply write the date
  • Small wooden clips

I called in the mister to help with the burlap twine.  He decided to double the twine by twisting it together for extra strength and to ensure the labels would not droop in the middle.    You can make as many rows as you would like.  For this frame three rows worked perfectly and in this case three is symbolic as my parents have three kids.  DIY Thankful BoardI then assembled the labels, markers, wooden clips and stamp in bowls for easy use.  IMG_6879Prior to dinner starting every one passed the bowls around and began to write down what they were thankful for this year.IMG_6883IMG_6884IMG_6889IMG_6891On one side reads the “thankful for” list and the other side is the persons name and date.  The thought is to keep each of the labels from year to year – making the DIY Thankful Board a tradition to continue.IMG_6965Isn’t it sweet how the mister lists my DIY projects?!  No sarcasm involved at all I’m sure!IMG_6970Add the “thankful notes” to the board with the wooden clips in random order and you are finished…IMG_6980

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And my brother Brent is the one who wrote they were thankful for “this board”.  Isn’t he just the sweetest?!  Our family doesn’t lack for sense of humor and sarcasm at all!

I can’t wait to use this DIY Thankful Board year after year and look back at all the notes years down the road.

 

Custom Photo Gift on Wood

Each year I struggle to find the perfect gift for my parents.  The hope is to find a thoughtful, unique present that captures my gratitude for all that they have done for me and their continued love and support.  I thought I would share the present that I created with the help of the mister who created the custom frame and my adorable nieces and nephews.

Pre-Jonah arriving my parents had nine grandchildren.  In fitting fashion – nine letters creates, “WE LOVE YOU”.  How perfect right?!  So, assemble the minions (sorry been watching Despicable Me on repeat – it’s Dax’s favorite movie!)  Each grand child was given the duty to hold a single letter to make up the phrase “WE LOVE YOU”.

I grabbed large wooden letters from Hobby Lobby – lightly spray painted them a pretty metallic gold and set up dates to take individual photos of the kiddos.

Best yet, at the time, the mister and I only had Liam and Dax (Jonah as cooking in the oven) so they held the letters “W” and “E”.  The middle brother has four little ones so they held the letters “L, O, V, E” and my oldest brother has three kiddos so they rounded out the word “YOU”. IMG_6808IMG_6813IMG_6802IMG_6804If you look closely my oldest was holding the letter “W” and he is the one NOT smiling.  Four different tries at getting a smiling photo and well, that was as good as it got.  Temper tantrum and all.

With a little work in photoshop the individual photos got morphed together.  Since I couldn’t decide whether to print off the photo in color or black and white I did a bit of research and took the photo to wood, thus creating the ability to use both versions and a tad more uniqueness.

A simple DIY project later with the help of this video the image was transferred to wood and the mister assembled a custom frame.  A fun project that turned out pretty cute.

Oh, just so you know, if you decide to try this and you have an image that spells out a phrase be sure to reverse the image in photoshop before printing off – the transfer to wood reverses the image.

 

Layering Rugs

Outfitting a large room with a beautiful rug is plain out expensive.  I am talking even some 8×10 rugs and if you dare go 9×12 or larger forget about it – a couple grand at least for a quality chic rug.  Or do you have an odd shaped room?  Finding a rug in these situations is difficult.   SOLUTION - Use two or more rugs to create a layering effect.  Some options to achieve this look…

  • Use a textural rug such as a sisal or jute rug as your base and then layer a more colorful woven rug on top.
  • Piece together multiple woven rugs to create visual pattern and depth.
  • Multiple striped rugs will work together nicely since you are working with rugs that involve a stripe pattern
  • Use an animal hide on top to create an interesting shape and add a textural hide element

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Wall of Mirrors

The perfect backdrop to my parents beautiful dining room table and fall tablescape (check it out here if you missed it) is what I like to call “the wall of mirrors.”IMG_6365When you have a wall that serves as the backdrop to a 16 foot long table the key ingredient is understanding scale.  One large piece of art would not suffice, nor would a series of art work.  The perfect solution?  Create a dynamic and interesting collage of mirrors.  The reflection of the mirrors also serve a purpose making the room appear larger with more depth instead of a long narrow shape.

My first response when I brought this idea to my mom was average at best.  She was hesitant taking on the task of creating this collage and risk of not knowing how it would turn out.  Patience is a virtue in this case as her wall of mirrors has evolved over the span of three plus years.  The reason?  Each mirror has a story and a meaning behind it.  You aren’t going to find a mirror from a typical home good store on this wall…

For example – this beauty was our thank you gift to my parents after our wedding and we purchased it while honeymooning in Paris, France.  Talk about a long trip back with a fragile early 1900′s hand carved mirror!  Completely worth it though…it is stunning.IMG_6383Or these two mirrors that mix a more modern gray straight lines mirror (mothers day gift) with that of a two hundred year old frame from Belgium (my moms family).  IMG_6386Or a frame purchased on a family trip to Maui from old sailboat wood.  And the mirror that used to serve as the landing for my dads childhood farm house of his family of nine brothers and sisters.  My dad actually laughs looking back thinking he never actually knew it was a mirror because it was always covered by coats, hats and scarves.  IMG_6384The large round mirror a gift from my dad to my mom for Christmas one year.  The large rectangle mirror a gift from my brothers and sister in laws for Christmas as well.  IMG_6388And the intricate hand carved mirror from my mom’s cousin (practically like a sister) Barb that she found antique shopping.IMG_6381

IMG_6393I think my mom would agree that watching this wall evolve has been enjoyable.  Although patience is key – as character like this wall of mirrors doesn’t develop over night but provides a meaningful display of family history and love.  The perfect solution.

 

Rethink – Fall Tablescape

Traditional color palette for the fall tells us to use a warm color palette of oranges, reds and yellows.  However, when my mom approached me with the design dilemma of decorating her massive (16 feet long) and beautiful table for the fall, she put in the request to use a cool, neutral color palette of smoky blues, a touch of subtle green and textural neutrals.

Fall Tablescape - www.middleredefined.com Fall Tablescape – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Another request was to incorporate visual height to the table.  Adding this vertical impact with five vases filed with neutral floral arrangements helps break up the horizontal plane / length of the table.

Sidenote: When my parents remodeled their home one of the most, if not the most important room in the plan, was the dining room.  My mom is a phenomenal cook and we all gather almost every Sunday for family dinner so it was very important for her and my dad to have us eat as a family on Sunday afternoon.  VERY COOL.  Now with 10 grandchildren, they need to buy a couple more chairs to add to the 16 foot long table.  Talk about massive chaos as the adults are now outnumbered with all the little kiddos running around.  Fun problem to have…but it might be five years or so before an actual adult conversation can take place again.

Once the five vertical floral arrangements were put together a long conversation at the local Hobby Lobby and trying about 30 different combinations (after a while every combination start looking the same) we settled on this…

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Then we took to the material that would ground the floral arrangements and settled on a large burlap runner.  Next was figuring out the large decorative elements that would serve between the floral arrangements.  We found a great neutral pumpkin at Home Goods and  then scavenged around the house to fill in the other items.  Keeping the palette neutral and incorporating baskets and beautiful pottery made for the perfect statement setting combination.

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Stay tuned for Thursday as I talk more about the fantastic wall of mirrors you see in the background.  What do you think of the fall table scape?  Do you like the neutral / cool tone color palette?

 

 

 

Rethink: Chicken Wire

Chicken wire in home decor.  Might sound odd but strangely enough I recently bought two great items that are made from chicken wire.

And before I get too far along on this one – I am blaming it on the mister on our recent lunch date.  See, we hardly ever get a chance to go on a lunch date and with only 20 minutes to spare we decided to run to Hen House (local grocery store) because they have a fantastic salad bar.  He then walks up to the register with an entire rotisserie chicken.  For himself.  His response, as I am sure I was staring at him with a puzzled look, “6.99 for an entire chicken!”  Oh I love him, even with his cave man eating habits.  And his chicken eating habits made me chuckle and pay more attention to these recent home decor items made from chicken wire.

Now on to my home decor purchases…

I found this great vintage basket that I use in our laundry room.  (I saved you the image of actual dirty laundry in the basket.  Figured you didn’t need to see the misters dirty whitey tighties:))

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This lovely find was vintage and one of a kind but a quick cruise around Etsy and I found one very similar and just as lovely with a muslin liner for $35.

And on my recent trip to HomeGoods I found a steal of a deal in this mail organizer for $10!

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What I adore about the look of chicken wire is the repetitive hexagon shape it produces.  Once I add some fun labels to this puppy I will have a great mail organizer for a great price.

Here is a look at some other great decor items that incorporate chicken wire…

How amazing is this dark distressed wood?  A great piece to display photos, kids art work, invitations, cards, etc. – Etsy

Or you could use the same concept as a jewelry holder.

Reclaimed wood and only $25!  Also found on Etsy.

And my favorite…

A great shaped basket that can be used in many different ways…and who said you can’t glam up chicken wire??  A little gold paint makes a big difference.  Only $25!

Do you have anything around your house made of chicken wire?  That is unless you have chicken farm – you don’t count.

 

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