Saturday, July 23, 2011

Needing Inspiration...

Dear friends,

Do you ever come to a standstill as to what to do next in the house? You have so many little (and sometimes big projects) to conquer and the hardest part is what to actually throw yourself into first. Love as I do all my favorite home blogs - even those sometimes get my head in a whirlwind of thoughts that I have to temper. So after much thought on this matter I think I have found my solution. I have observed that I focus better when I think about my guests!

My family's background is Latin American/Spanish, who are known to be some of the most gracious and gregarious hosts ever. Now throw in a dash of southern modern hospitality (I have been in the south since 1994) and by all accounts I should be the host of all hosts! LOL! I don't invite just anyone into my home because to me, my home is my sanctuary, my temple, my living breathing interpretation of my life in movement. I truly feel that "home" should be a journey, not a destination. I think this is why I try to approach my home projects through the lens of a new guest coming to greet us in our most private space for the very first time. What do you want them to feel, smell, touch and most important of all, what do you want them to learn about you?  You know, those unspoken truths about you?

My gazebo, which is tucked in the back corner of the garden, could whisper
 to my new guest that I like the hidden corners of life.
That perhaps I like to make my own path and savor the quiet spaces.

The inside of the gazebo can share that napping is essential in beautiful spaces!

And that "dinning out" should always be delightfully close to home!
Chris and I have spent a lot of time working through the details of our backyard and have treated the outdoor space as an extension of our living space always. Since the side patio and backyard leads directly into our family room and kitchen, this is why we started our renovation project in these spaces - this is where we spend most of our time!

However, now that I have the kitchen and family room almost the way I want them I must make my way to the front of the house. The dinning room & living room space right off the front entrance of the house is my next project! This is the "first impression" view of our home for most of our guests. While we have done a lot of work already with the renovation, we have LOTS more to do! Here are some pictures of what the space looked like prior to the renovation:

This is the front room. With the exception of the bookcase, every thing from this front room has been sold!

My main reading couch in the front room. There is actually great light in this room because of its sun exposure.

Dinning room right off the front room/front entry.
The look in the house was a little more traditional, no? That has all changed now! After the renovation the walls partitioning the front room and the dinning room were taken out to open the space and we painted all the walls Benjamin Moore's Mascarpone and painted all the trim a grey-blue custom color. The new space is fresh and inviting - much more organic and open. Last week my girlfriend Liz and I went out in search of inspiration for this tricky space and this is what inspired me...

Beautiful entry table and lamps at Armour & Co in Virginia Highlands.

While @ Armour & Co I also found this great table & chairs which made me
 feel better about having a dark table and light colored chairs.

I found this dinning set in Home Grown Living in Roswell and LOVED the skirts on the chairs - a MUST have!
 I also fell in love and had to have the grayish basket in front of the fireplace.

What about a bench for the dinning room table? This too was @ Home Grown Living.

For the front room maybe a floating mini day bed... is that craziness? Found @ Home Grown Living.

This antique shutter captured my heart at Redefined Home on Howell Mill.

Back @ Armour & Co I wondered if a more traditional, but small scale, sofa
would be in order for the front room. Hmmm...

Loved this little lady. Want to take her home but FOCUS FOCUS on the big pieces first!
 @ Home Grown Living.

This was a great upholstery job on a chair I found in Urban Cottage on N. Highland.
Wouldn't you LOVE to lounge all day in this decadent chair and sip your tea? Yes, Please!
Well, as you can see I have a lot of dreaming, planning and budgeting to do as I set the stage to conquer my front room and dinning room. Should be tons of fun...stay tuned to see what I find out there!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Le Sofa Search Conquered!

Dear friends,
I am starting to feel like 2011 is the year of the never ending house projects! Since the kitchen renovation ended in March I have been busy trying to get the rest of the house in order. Like any major renovation that quintessentially transforms your living space "feel" we have had a domino effect of projects that have spread like wildfire throughout the rest of our sweet little ranch house. My dear husband keeps asking: "when is it going to be done?"  I reassure him, "I'm trying, I promise!" but pesky budgets, the obsession to search for "the perfect" piece and that valuable little thing called time seem to all get in the way.

However, you will all be happy to know that we did actually find the perfect couch (and other fun pieces) for the new TV/family room. Back in February I blogged about what seemed like an endless search for THE sofa for our little space. As you know, our space is limited but our house is always filled with wonderful friends, nephews, and neighbors! Not to mention my husband is over 6' feet tall and wanted a sofa that could cradle him like a baby in front of his new flat screen (I'm assuming this is a man thing). My girlfriend Liza, who thankfully also happens to be an incredible decorator, took us to the Atlanta Mart to find our coach. Bless her heart - she had done her homework prior to our visit. These were some of her suggestions for our space...

Chris said this one was "too small". Legs dangled over.

This one wasn't "deep enough".

This one was at Up Country in the Mart. Not my 1st choice until we sat down.
Then WE KNEW we were taking this Lee Industries love cradle home. Ps...this was Liza's 1st choice.  
We were able to get this floor sample for 75% off the original price. We were pretty siked! We called our movers and the couch was delivered by the end of the week. Now it was time to start thinking about the rest of the TV room. In a small space storage is essential. So back to the mart we headed and we found some hidden treasures to make the space actually usable. But before I show you how the space looks presently let me share what the space looked like BEFORE the renovation...

looooved that dropped ceiling & faux paneling!

So needless to say we had a LOT of work to do! I wanted to change the whole entire space in look and feel. There was terrible lighting and awkward spaces and most importantly we needed to add a bathroom to the space because our house only had ONE bathroom for EVERYONE to share. So here is the new space....remember it is still in-progress!

Eventually I will find some curtains for this space and maybe a real ottoman! Still searching.

We searched high and low for a non-typical component piece and stumbled upon this one next to the sofa. It was at Kudzu in Decatur. It was made of industrial steel and it was black. Nothing a little paint wouldn't fix!

Found these fun pieces at Home Grown Living with my girl Liza. Finally we have a place for our mail and keys
And of course our wine corks!!

This is Chris's favorite part of the WHOLE renovation.
Here we are watching Sideways tonight. With some wine you ask? YES!

This was the fun piece Liza and I found at Creative Coop.
 Great for dvd's, pitchers, table cloths and more.

This Cline Cellers Mourvedre helped guide and keeps me going throughout my design process...
Oh yea and we also purchased this piece at Creative Coop and I placed it in the new bathroom. So convinient!

There are plenty of things still left to be done at the house but for now it is time for dinner and I think tonight we will make some chicken enchiladas. Let's start by making the tomatillo sauce first...

Gooch is on her way with little Bennett. It will be a fun night for sure. :)
  Let me know how your projects are coming along.
In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 235 years of Independence to the USA!

On this day the famous Declaration of Independence was approved and stated that the 13 original colonies were free and no longer under rule of the British Empire. It was declared and heard by all that "all men were created equal" (except men that didn't look like the English...) and that all Americans had the right to: "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." What a beautiful message for this young country. 

Unfortunately, sometimes I get the sense that somewhere along the way "life" became a formula for most Americans that in turn prescripted "happiness" and "liberty" was somehow tied to money. Regardless, as the USA struggles to identify its 21st century social and spiritual revolution I can't help but think of how grateful I am for this country to have afforded my family of immigrants an opportunity to educate ourselves, worship as we please, and own a little slice of Americana if we so desire. At this point I am really trying to curb my philosophical thoughts so instead I wanted to show tribute to the USA in photos.
To hope and true happiness for the future of our next American generation...

Miami Beach, FL

Cannon Beach, OR

Where MLK stood and shared his "I have a dream" speech.

Savannah, GA

Cannon Beach, OR