Living Room

I’m back to show you more of my home, and to take a look at how this room looks now and what I’d like to do with it. This is the living room, which is where we spend the majority of our time. In the photo above, you can see that this room is right off the kitchen. In the photo below, you can see it is also right off the entry way. Over the couch are three photos that Eric took on our honeymoon in Rome.
I’ve got more of my red in this room, with the pillows. I made the throw pillows myself. I wanted a sort of Morroccan feel to this room. The couch and love seat were a hand-me-down from my sister. I would dearly love to replace the couch and love seat with a brown leather maybe. This room (as is the case in many of the other rooms too) could probably use some window coverings, other than the standard mini blinds that were installed by the property owner. The entertainment center was my Grandmother’s. It is functional, but not necessarily what I would prefer. I would love for the stereo equipment to be hidden away. And the eggs on top are beautifully painted Japanese pieces. The coffee table was also a hand-me-down. It has more of an Asian look to it, which I don’t necessarily mind in here. I think the pillows underneath it need to go. They just look a little junky, now that I look at them in the photo. They don’t serve a purpose either, other than for the cat to sleep on. I would love to replace them with a Morroccan pouf or two, like this.

I would also love to set out something like this as a decorative accessory.

I wouldn’t want this room to look like a Night at the Casbah, but just to have some accents, or touches, of Morocco.

Looking back towards the loveseat, you can see the door to our “media room” and the hallway that leads to the guest bath, our office and the door to the garage.

Opposite the couch, between the windows is the fireplace. The door leads out to our “patio”. The photo by the door is a photo Eric took of the Chicago skyline on our trip there last year.

I’ve got some work to do on this room, obviously. But, this gives me a good idea where to start. Any suggestions?


I have to admit that I am feeling a little unsuccessful with my attempts at decorating my home so far. Seeing the blogs of people that just have a knack for decorating really inspire me, but I don’t know how to translate it to my own space. As I mentioned before, this is a rental home, so we can’t paint or change things up too much. The kitchen is one of those places where it is really apparent that there is so much that really needs to be updated and changed. I almost hesitate to show it to you.
In this room, I would really like to have more of a French Country type feel to it (at least touches of it). Of course, being right next to the Asian dining room may have you all wondering if I am design schizophrenic. Maybe I am. Is there a way to pull all these different things into one house without it looking crazy. I want our home to have a world travel sort of feel to it. Maybe there’s a way to have one style throughout the house, but with eclectic, world touches?
The photo above shows the doorway that goes into the dining room. We were making dinner, so the crock pot is out (which it usually isn’t). I’d love this room to have touches of red and yellow in it. The birdhouse cookie jar on the counter is part of my Pfaltzgraff set of dishes that I’ve had forever. At my apartment I had more of a garden theme going in the kitchen with birdhouses, etc. But, I’m kind of done with that look and wanted to go in a different direction. The refrigerator is ours. Eric had to do some creative “rearranging” of the cabinet above it in order to get it to fit underneath.

There isn’t a lot of wall space for artwork in the kitchen, so I hung this print over the refrigerator to add a pop of red. I wish I could find a place for the panini press other than on top of here. Now that I look at this photo, I’m thinking the candle needs to go too. I’d love to add a wire basket full of lemons or something instead.
This photo really shows the things I would change if I could – ie the cabinets and that horrible flourescent light fixture. Should I try to incorporate more of my color scheme above the cabinets? Fill it in a little more? I’d love to put a ceramic rooster or something up there.
In the corner, we have these great windows. I love all the light they let it (although it makes it difficult to take a great photo). I made the curtains to allow for some privacy since our neighbor’s front door is right there, but still let in the light. I actually just bought some sheers, and then cut them off and hemmed them to the right length. We had to sort of rig something up for the curtain rods though since there is no “wall” in between the windows. We ended up hanging the rods from cup hooks, which seems to work pretty well. I love the decorative plate, which I bought at Macy’s several years ago. We’ve got a pot of basil there in a great pot from Pottery Barn, and three African Violets (two of which are actually blooming).
To the right of the sink is the oven and stove, which are brand new. Unfortunately, when they replaced that piece, they didn’t also replaced the hood and metal “backsplash”, which are a different color from the stove (which is white). I’ve got our cookbooks up above on this side, and I like the color they add (plus, they’re out of the way). The copper tea kettle was a gift and I was told it is an antique.
The doorway to the right here leads into the living room. The microwave is ours (another new purchase when we moved in). I would love to buy my husband a fancy espresso machine.
The framed piece is a Lemon Meringue Sampler cross-stitch that I stitched this year. I love Lemon Meringue Pie, and thought it would be perfect in the kitchen.
So that’s my kitchen. In the corner opposite the sink is a double door washer/dryer closet. We also have a small pantry. I didn’t even think to take a photo of the floors, but they are a neutral tile.
Like I said, I would like to incorporate more of a French feel in here through little decorative touches. Our handtowels are red, and I would like to get some white with yellow dish towels. I’d like to incorporate some more little touches above the cabinets too, like maybe the wire basket with lemons, a rooster, that sort of thing. Any suggestions? Am I heading in the right direction?
Thanks for looking at another room in my home, I appreciate your visit and comments!

Entry and Dining Room

Welcome inside!

I thought I would start the tour with the obvious “front rooms”. Above is a photo of the entry way in our home. I love the rug. There’s really not much else to see other than a silk plant near the stairs and a cat condo. I really hate having the cat condo be the first thing you see when you walk in my house. I just couldn’t find a better place for it. The entry way is just so plain an uneventful. I don’t think it really reflects who we are. Eric took an amazing photo at Little Round Top in Gettysburg recently, that we are having printed and will frame. I would like it to hang on the wall at the bottom of the stairs behind the door. I love using our travel photos as artwork for our home. Just inside the door, we have this little tile with an “L” for our last name.
The dining room is just off the entry way. When we got married, we didn’t have any furniture for the dining room, so these pieces were our first (and only) purchases. I love the table and the buffet – I think they are just beautiful. The table does have a leaf in it, so it can be made smaller.
Because of the style of the chairs, we decided to go with some Asian decor in this room. The napkin rings are black iron looking, and have an I-Ching looking coin on them. I searched for a long time for a Buddha statue that I liked. This one actually came from Target.
For the buffet table, as soon as we purchased this I knew it was perfect to hold Eric’s swords. He collects swords and these needed a place of honor. We have our woven straw coasters on the left corner. On the right corner, that little box holds a sword-cleaning kit. There are Japanese characters on the lid. On the bottom shelf sits our three crystal decanters and a Mah Jong set. Above the buffet are some of our wedding photos.
We have a little jade piece hanging from the light fixture. The light fixture itself came with the house. I believe the jade piece is a character for wealth.
I consider this room “finished” except for one thing.
My Kimono quilt top has been assembled, but has not been quilted. I need to quilt it and finish it into a wall hanging. At the moment the quilt top is just tacked to the wall. The wall it is on is really too small for it, but as this is an octagonal-shaped room, there wasn’t really another choice. I love this quilt though. Once we started on the Asian accents for the room, I worked really hard to complete it.
I don’t know that I really like “theme rooms”. I do like rooms to have a certain feel to them, and as I have a degree in Art History, a lot of the rooms I am attracted to are based on specific cultures or periods. I do love the idea of having “period rooms” throughout the house, and hopefully they will all work together as a whole.

To “finish” these two areas I intend to have the Little Round Top photo printed, framed and hung as well as to quilt and finish the Kimono quilt. Any other suggestions?


Home is Where the Heart Is

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and seeing some wonderful decorating and renovating ideas. Mostly, I’ve been inspired by Laurie’s mission to make her house a home. I think the reason that this struck me is that because we live in a rental house, I haven’t felt like it was our permanent home. So, I did some decorating, but there were a lot of things that I just didn’t bother with, because of that whole “we won’t be here long” mentality. But, I agree with Laurie that it is important to really “move into” your life and your home. To be present in your surroundings. So, in an effort to change my perspective and begin really being in my home, I’ve decided to use this blog to record my efforts.
So, Eric and I were married in April 2006, and I moved into this house in March of that year. Eric moved in after the wedding. So, we’ve been here a little over a year and a half. The photo above is of the house about this time last year. Not that you can really see the house through all the trees. Below, are photos of the house now. Basically no difference, except for the large tree on the left that was ripped out of the ground by a storm a few months ago. I think it looks better with less trees, although I hated to lose the tree.
As this is a rental house, we can’t make any permament changes to the house, so we’ve basically left the landscaping alone.
I do love the red door though. I think I may have to have a red door in my next home too!

Our house is a cute little house, and I love the amount of light we have inside from all the windows. It is a two-story, and about 1200 to 1500 square feet maybe. We have three bedrooms and two baths. We do plan to buy a house of our own in the near future, but I’m not going to wait for that before making a home for the two of us.
Next time, we’ll take a look at the inside!


New Purchase – Ralph Lauren Shoes

As a birthday gift to myself, I bought these shoes. They are Lauren by Ralph Lauren and the style is Jala. I love love love these shoes. I’ve been searching for a pair of sandals in this color for several months now, but hadn’t found anything I liked. This is the most money I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes, if you can believe it. There’s a story there though…

Years ago, after my divorce, I decided that it was worth it to take care of myself. I realized I deserved to dress well, to wear makeup, to fix my hair, to accessorize, etc. Watching one of the very first episodes of What Not to Wear on TLC was my wakeup call. They were showing the girl and how she dressed and looked “before”. I said to myself, “ohmygod, I look like that!” At first, I didn’t have the money to go out and purchase all new clothes, but I realized that nothing was stopping me from doing my hair and putting on makeup. Then I started looking at getting rid of clothes that had stains or tears in them. From there I went to wearing clothes that actually fit, instead of wearing clothes that were two or three sizes larger than the size I actually should have been wearing. I was hiding. I was trying to disappear into the background. But once my separation and divorce hit, it occurred to me that I deserved better – from myself and from other people. It was a long process, and in many ways I was learning things for the first time that a lot of girls learned in jr. high or high school. I was learning about makeup and purses and shoes and doing something with my hair other than pulling it back in a ponytail. I learned that long hair is not a style, it’s a length.

One of the things that came out of this metamorphosis was buying my first pair of heels. A friend took me shoe shopping at lunch one day, and I bought a pair of heels. I spent $49 on those shoes, and couldn’t believe I had spent so much money on a pair of shoes for myself. I loved those shoes, they were a step toward living my true life. I’m 5’9″, so putting on a pair of heels makes me really tall – there is no hiding when you’re that tall.

I am still on this journey of self-discovery, but one of the things I am finding is that I am determined to take care of myself. I deserve nice things, and things that show off my beauty. It’s not about spending a lot of money, it’s about knowing you deserve to treat yourself well. These new shoes encompass that feeling of being sexy, being beautiful, wearing clothing that accentuates my shape and being seen.

I could get used to this.


Style Inspiration – Jessica Alba

I love Jessica Alba’s style, and after recently re-watching both seasons of Dark Angel, I love her even more. She’s so fun and fresh-looking. Jessica has an everyday style in particular that I am really looking to for inspiration.

She always looks cute and put-together, in jeans and a t-shirt or in a summery dress (look at those bags!!)

I love the neutral tones in this outfit that compliment her complexion. I’ve been looking for a similar pair of heels in a caramel color.

The wooden bangles really make this outfit, as well as the grey heels.

Another casual outfit – her accesories seem to be what really pulls even the most casual outfit together.

For example – the turquoise she’s repeated in the scarf and the shoes.

I love the jacket that she’s paired here with the turquoise necklace. I recently bought a similar jacket to create the same look.

And of course, we can’t overlook her Oscar gown. The gold dress is amazing on her.

Jessica has a style that I aspire to, and this post is one I’ll refer back to numerous times, I’m sure.

Black & White

Although the black and white trend seems to be prevalent in fashion right now, at least in my locale, the graphic beauty of its contrast is always in style. The painting above is Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 71 by Motherwell. This was painted in the 1950s, and it is still just as compelling today.

I’ve also been looking a lot at what I refer to as “Plantation Style”, which I will probably discuss in a future post. Hemingway, of course crops up a lot in any reference to that sort of tropical British Colonial style. When I came across this photo on The Nest, I fell in love. I love the dark wood and zebra rug, but the pairing they’ve made with the lavender walls is really interesting. Hemingway’s African adventures are drawn to mind with the rug too. I like the use of the black and white photos as well.

Another newer trend I’ve seen in interiors would be this Murano glass chandelier found here. I love the Gothic look of it. Just an amazingly dramatic piece. And Murano glass is magnificent in any color.

I won’t spend time picking out specific clothing examples of the black and white trend, as you can see them anywhere. But, here are two beautiful examples of accessories.

The Kate Spade Hugo Poppy Griffen tote has a bold graphic look. It would be perfect for toting around books or something not-too-personal as the clear pvc might give your secrets away! The bag comes with a variety of piping colors, this one being Snow.

And finally, this beautiful bracelet by Jessica Kagan Cushman. She uses the ancient tradition of scrimshaw to create these pieces with sayings and quotes. The script lettering gives it a daintier look, but the use of black and white really makes it striking.

Red Silk

Last night I held some red silk thread in my hand, and watching the way it caught the light I realized that I was inspired to create my first post – and a new blog. Red is such an amazing color – the color of happiness, the color of desire. A few years ago, I read the book Slammerkin, by Elizabeth Donoghue. It’s the story of a servant girl in 1763 who begins a life of prostitution because of her desire to own a single red ribbon. The ribbon encompassed all that fashion and high society had to offer in her eyes. It’s an interesting thought how a color can have so much impact on us. At a nearby museum, their current exhibit features Japanese painted scrolls, mainly of geishas. What I find mesmerizing about those scrolls, is the hint of red from the underlayer of their kimonos. An invitation at a subtle level, perhaps? The red silk dupioni clutch (above) is a fun little piece with the pleats. This is from Vintage June. I love the idea of carrying such an attention-getting piece with a simple dress.
Make A Wish Necklace

These Make a Wish necklaces from Dogeared are fun too. With the red silk Kabbalah bracelets sighted so often, this is an interesting marriage of jewelry and creating your life.
Reese Witherspoon’s Golden Globe ensemble also uses red to great advantage. I would never have thought to pair that gorgeous yellow Nina Ricci dress with those red Brian Atwood Dorian heels. Gorgeous.
Nicole Kidman’s Oscar dress is actually strangely reminiscent of the Atwood sandals. This red silk Balenciaga dress is so elegant. It almost has that Parisian feel to me.
My intention with this blog is to focus on all those things that epitomize style and beauty for me. I have such a desire for the stylish, the luxurious and the beautiful, and want to incorporate it into my life on a daily basis.