Workout Time

Now eight weeks out from having baby numero tres means this mama needs to get to working out ASAP!  Only problem – juggling a kiddo in school, sporting events, my volleyball broadcasts and filling my other free time with my love for design (this blog) doesn’t leave a lot of time for hitting the weights.  I get it – the problem and excuse everyone gives right?!

My solution – make our basement my workout cave (among the misters “man cave”).  So, without further ado I am sharing some inspirational “home gym” photos I found for different styles and situations nixing the thought that gyms have to be ugly and boring.  (Sidenote: I am not looking at the gym equipment in these photos…the mister being mr. health and fitness was very disappointed while viewing this blog post over my shoulder this evening talking about the gym equipment.  I am talking the decor aesthetics of the gym).

A chic and glamorous gym…

A rustic and charming gym…

A kid friendly gym…

Or a modern and sleek gym…

And in a dream world my home gym would look like this…

Which one is your favorite?  OK time to go throw some weight around.  Wish me luck!

Pillow Talk

The little man and I snuggled all day today.  Hey, I had a good reason – today is my last day of maternity leave.  I am going to stop talking about it before I get too sad.  OK?!  OK.

SO, on to the other topic at hand.  Throw pillows.  While snuggling and lounging around today I decided I needed to change out the pillows on our couch.  A fresh new look for fall and I am excited about the versatility with this collection of pillows.  (Actually I had all of these pillows laying around the house).

Note: Throw pillows are getting bigger and bigger.   Gone are the days of 16″ pillows.  Most of these are 20″ or even 24″ pillows.  So think BIG, COMFY and SQUISHY.

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Layer them on!  Mix patterns and textures all within the same color family.  This set of pillows welcome in fall and add a nice pop of subtle color.

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If I want to take off a couple pillows I can always go with larger pillow in the back and smaller directly in front.  Forget about only placing pillows to the sides of couches on an angle.

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So many different combos I can play with…

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And my biggest little man loves all the snuggly pillows…

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I am thinking I might have a pillow fight on my hands tonight!

 

Closet Art

If every other room in your house has art filling the walls, why should the closet be left out?  I am not talking coat closet or small walk-in closet here.  I am talking master room, major walk-in, jewelry box style closet.  These type of closets could use some art on the walls and I have found the perfect art for my walk-in closet.  Here is a look at a few details of our master room closet which better explains my top art choices.

Closet Collage

 

Closet Collage 2

Since I chose the high-color, bold color, glam look in my closet these are all great choices that I am having a tough time deciding between.

All of these art piece can be found at the fabulous online shop, Waiting on Martha.  I have a slight obsession with this site right now.  Check it out, you will have to buy something I guarantee it!

Here are my four favorites that are in the running, which will soon be hung in our master closet.  Perhaps I will give the mister two votes since we do “share” the closet.  And I use the word share lightly.  Its more of a 3/4 – 1/4 split.

Which is your favorite.  I know, tough decision. I am thinking the Hermes print since my last name is Hall it is only fitting right?  That is the same excuse I use every time I see something fabulous from Hermes.  Now only if that would work for the coveted Avalon blanket.  For now, I will take the $19 print and hang it in my closet!  Do you have art in your closet?

 

 

 

 

 

When White Walls Work

White is my favorite color.  Wait a minute.  You ask, “Is white even a color?!”  Some say yes, some say no.  Regardless, throughout my renting days I would yearn to paint those boring white walls.  NOW, I am painting walls white on purpose!

For example, in our nursery the existing walls were a sage green color when we bought it and I was not ok with that.  So, white it was.  You may think to yourself, how boring – but I would disagree – how clean, fresh and the perfect palette for your other items to SHINE.  Far from boring!

Here are my three main tips to follow when using white walls.

1. Try white walls when you want to infuse a large piece of BRIGHT furniture, art and accessories into your space.  This will make your color really pop against the white and make it the focal point.  The white acts as a canvas for the color in the room.

2.  Try white walls when you have amazing windows and intricate trim that showcase an incredible scenic view or landscape.  Your view and landscape will provide the color through the windows.

3.  Try white walls even if you want to create a neutral space and add layers and layers of texture.  Also in a small space to make it seem larger and brighter.

So have you changed your mind on plain white walls?

Stay tuned as Erica will be showing her recent transformation in which she choose to go with white walls in her master bedroom which I know you will love.

Take a Seat

Lets take a dive deeper in to Molly’s seating area mentioned in Erica’s post yesterday.

Again, the BEFORE -

Family Room - Before

Family Room – Before

The AFTER -

Family Room - Progress - www.middleredefined.com

Family Room – Progress – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

First, when designing a new space it is oh so important to ask yourself this question, HOW DO I WANT TO UTILIZE THE SPACE?

Since this space is directly off their kitchen, Molly and Ryan wanted a casual space to gather and hang out.  They knew it would be the most important space to focus on when they moved in to their new home because it would be a heavy traffic area.

A television was a must for Ryan so once we knew that was going above the fireplace we took on the issue of developing the perfect SEATING AREA for the space.  With a kiddo and dog, the furniture in the room needed to be durable, comfy, practical all while staying stylish.

Enter these beautiful chairs.

[caption id="attachment_1738" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Seating Area Chairs - Source Seating Area Chairs – Source

We decided that four of these would be perfect in the space since the space was not large and a couch would be a bit awkward with the window on one side and the other side is the hallway in which you enter the house.  Also, whenever there is a couch it seems as though no one ever uses all the space so it ends up one person sitting on a large piece of furniture.  Might as well have four chairs that will get used.

Next, time to tackle the ottoman issue.  When it comes to ottomans the equation of sharp corners + no storage = no bueno with kiddos.  Enter this round ottoman WITH storage.

Round Ottoman WITH Storage - World Market

Round Ottoman WITH Storage – World Market

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This beauty is from World Market.  Isn’t it perfect??  It adds textural interest, no kid finger prints to worry about and has storage.

After the larger elements were decided in the space now it was time to infuse some color in the space.  What a better place to do this than the rug?  A rug grounds the space and when you have color in your accessories it helps bring the colors all together.

Rug - from Target

Rug – from Target

This rug is from Target and perfectly infuses the colors into the space around the other neutral elements.

All in all, I think the seating area featuring a vibrant rug, four beautiful charcoal gray tufted chairs and a hammered round ottoman with storage were the perfect main pieces in making this a great place to ‘take a seat.’

More from Erica tomorrow on accessorizing bookshelves and other areas from the makeover tomorrow!

 

 

Molly’s House: Progress Shots

Here goes! As you know, our friend, Molly, asked Jill and I to help her freshen up her family’s new house after they moved in a few months ago. They had plenty of space, but their kitchen-breakfast nook-family room area was just a bit dated. After some serious elbow grease and hours of online shopping, we have some awesome progress shots for you!

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen - Before

Kitchen – Before

 

Kitchen progress:

Kitchen - Progress - www.middleredefined.com

Kitchen – Progress – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

 

[caption id="attachment_1724" align="alignleft" width="600"]Kitchen and Eating Area - Progress Kitchen and Eating Area – Progress

Desk and pantry before:

Desk and Pantry - Before

Desk and Pantry – Before

 

Desk and pantry progress:

Desk and Pantry - Progress

Desk and Pantry – Progress

Family room before:

Family Room - Before

Family Room – Before

Family room progress:

Family Room - Progress - www.middleredefined.com Family Room – Progress – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

We decided to go with all white woodwork, and a base color scheme of greys and blues. Molly loves color, which matches her bright, fun personality, so we also added in pops of yellow and pink. Doesn’t it feel so inviting?

Molly and her husband spent hours and hours repainting everything themselves. They also replaced all the appliances, which made a huge difference in the kitchen.

This whole week will be dedicated to this redesign, so we’ll have tons of info for you, including source info for the major items. In this first one, we just wanted to share the adorable progress shots as a way to introduce you to her space. Be sure to tell us what you think!

Photos, photos, photos

Ever think – what do I do with all these photos?  I do love me a good collage of great photos on a gallery wall – but there are only so many walls.  And you know you need to get them off the hard drive on your computer.

My go to solution – My Publisher.  See I have this goal to take great photos of each of my kiddos and make them a photo book each year so they can one day have for their own.

I just recently came home to my latest book for Liam and his 4 year photo book.

Liam's Photo Book from My Publisher

Liam’s Photo Book from My Publisher

Of course my rule of thumb is having to start with great photos to get a coffee table quality photo book.  In our case we have been blessed to have met Rusty Wright, owner of Waldron Photograph Co. , who has captured our family so beautifully over the past couple years.  More on this later because his photos deserve an entire post (or two) but once I have these lovely digital files I hop over to My Publisher and start creating.  Easy to use and only a simple download program to your computer.  You can even have My Publisher create a book for you by placing photos in order when you upload.  I choose to create the books myself and it is still very simple and easy to use.

My first photo book was made after our wedding when purchasing a large photo book wasn’t in our budget.

Photo book from My Publisher

Photo book from My Publisher

My advice – because of course there are many “add-ins” that you can choose to pay extra for – spend a little extra for the lay flat pages.  The super glossy finish is not worth it – but I also prefer more of a matte finish.  Go for the photo cover instead of the photo jacket.

Also – wait for coupons.  No joke, I get great coupons and discounts via email notifications almost weekly from My Publisher.  I can typically get a great photo book for under $50 with the photo cover and lay flat pages.  And if you are a new customer I have noticed a pop-up offer for new customers so check that out!

I typically like to sit my recent photo book out on the coffee table for a while to enjoy and then they go nicely in bookshelf.

Photo books in bookshelf

Photo books in bookshelf

Next dilemma – what to do with all the photos on my iPhone?!…has anyone out there tried Mosaic?  If so, let me know what you think!

Craigslist Tips

Craigslist has been an amazing resource for flea-market junkies like me and Jill. When it started, it provided this whole new world for vintage seekers to hunt, negotiate, and score their perfect next treasure. You’ve seen lots of examples from Jill of items she’s found through Craigslist and spruced up to fit her home. She seriously has a knack for it. I was a bit leery of it at first, just because I’d read stories of burglaries or people taking advantage of those buying or selling. However, last year I decided to give it a whirl, and now it’s definitely a go-to resource for our family. I’ve also had luck selling a few things, which makes it even better!

After taking baby steps and talking to pro’s, like Jill, there are a few tips for buying and selling on Craigslist that I’ve learned along the way:

  • Make sure you’re photography is helping sell the item. It amazes me that people post coffee tables with trash all over them, or a chair with clothes all over the floor in the background. C’mon, put a little effort into it people! Those of us buying online are so visual, so anything you can do to “stage” your piece will help sell it. Clean up your item for sale and take a photo of it in a room as you would recommend using it if you can. If not, try to at least make sure the photo is bright enough that potential buyers can really see it. Too often, people take a photo in their garage or basement on their phone, and it’s really difficult to see the full potential of the piece.

 

  • Give all the dimensions and product information you have. This is something I didn’t really think about at first. I posted my first items for sale and forgot to even measure them. The first questions I was always asked was, “what are the dimensions?” So, after that, I decided to give every measurement I could, the brand name, the exact color, and anything else I thought was pertinent for a potential buyer. That helped cut down on the email questions I received that never turned into sales.

 

  • Be willing to negotiate. You have to understand that people shopping on Craigslist are looking for a deal. Part of the fun is negotiating a price that makes the buyer feel like their hunting paid off. So, start your price a tad higher than your bottom line – that way, you have some wiggle room. If you aren’t willing to alter the price at all, type “price is firm” in your description. But what’s the fun in that?

 

  • Keep yourself safe. If you’re a buyer, have the seller meet you in a public parking lot if possible. Do the same as the seller. Or, if you have to go to the seller’s house, ask them to bring the piece outside for you to view it. As the seller, you should do that as well for your buyer. Email is great for initial discussions, but talk with the person over the phone as well to understand why they’re interested. And try to have someone else with you if you can.

 

Here are a couple of my favorite Middle Redefined Craigslist finds.

Jill’s fabulous media console re-do.

Before Media Console

Before Media Console

 

Media Console After

Media Console After – middleredefined.com

And my pendant lights.

Craigslist Pendant Lights

Craigslist Pendant Lights

 

New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs - Middle Redefined

New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs – Middle Redefined

Hope this inspires you to give Craigslist a whirl if you haven’t already! It takes some serious time to weed through everything. But when you find that perfect treasure, it’s all worth it!

 

 

Got Grass?

I can remember vividly – on a volleyball trip to Chicago and I begged my mom to buy me this item…

Faux Wheat Grass Decor

No joke – I wanted some faux wheat grass to decorate my room?!  What 16 year old wants faux wheat grass??  I told you, I have had this ‘love for decor’ problem for a while now.

And I can tell you, that $19.95 was well worth the cost mom, as this little decorative item has been used in every apartment, town home, residence I have lived in since 2000.

Although this may seem silly and very odd since I am not a fan of fake flowers of any sort, but this little rectangle of grass I absolutely adore.

In the future I plan to actually attempt to grow my own REAL wheat grass and reap the health benefits of wheat grass shots but for now my faux wheat grass will do.

www.middleredefined.com

http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

And you can use the wheat grass to decorate for holidays and parties like so…

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And just in time for football season…

Shoot, you can throw anything in the faux grass!

And since I am in high baby time with baby items all around, I love that BOON makes a bottle drying rack that gives the same look and feel…

Boon bottle drying rack - www.middleredefined.com

Boon bottle drying rack – http://www.middleredefined.com/caption

Perfection.  Makes having bottles on the counter much more decor friendly.

You can find the drying rack here and pretty much any retailer that has baby items.  I have seen this item at Buy Buy Baby, Target and Wal-Mart to name a few.

OR if you want a wheat grass look to charge your phone I found this

[caption id="attachment_1519" align="alignnone" width="482"]source source

SO, moral of this story – faux grass can be a fun decorative item, bottle drying rack and electronic charger.  Oh and the real wheat grass is super healthy and I would highly recommend it.  I will get my green thumb up to speed and get some of the real wheat grass soon.

Anyone else love wheat grass?? The faux and real kind?

Rethink: Clothespins

Perhaps it is the loads of loads of laundry that I have been doing lately…I tell ya, three boys, make that four (the mister included) and there is never a time where the laundry baskets are bare.

Growing up on the farm we used to hang the clothes outside and you can’t beat the sun-kissed smell.  Dryer sheets don’t even come close to the natural aroma.  Maybe one day if we decide to move out the ‘burbs’ I can have my own clothes line and clothespins will be essential.

But for now, I think I will grab some clothespins for some great DIY projects.

Sidenote: who knew that clothespins are made in practically every color and size these days?!  Trust me, google it – you will be amazed!  SO, let the crafting commence!

Two of my favorite DIY projects featuring clothespins:

On Young House Love they used clothespins to create this fabulous light fixture in their laundry room.

How incredibly fitting is a clothespin light fixture in the laundry room??

Next up, on Little Green Notebook, once again in a laundry room, clothespins are used to create a funky mirror.

Check back next week as I share our laundry room…the laundry room and I have become quite close the past couple weeks and I have a feeling that won’t change for the next 18 years or so.  Talk to you all next week!

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