We've been married over a year now, and have had lots of changes to the May Casa. It's become more than a house, it's become a home, and boy have we come a long way! This is what the living room looked like when we first toured the house. Empty, basic, but with lots of potential.
One of the first things we did when we moved in was to remove that giant mirror from above the fireplace and take down the curtains. When we got back from our honeymoon, I started on the blue dining room wallpaper, but you can read more about that little project over here
[above] This was what our living room looked like shortly after we moved in. We didn't have a lot of furniture, the overstuffed chairs and desk were given to us, I found the brown leather couch on Craigslist, and we were just blessed to have something! It stayed in this general state for some time. Sure, I moved it around and arranged it in different ways.
By Autumn, it had morphed into something more like this. I can't tell you how many times I pushed around the furniture trying to find a way for it to all work together. I think that's just a given of trying to decorate in a new space.
[above] This is the living room now. It has come a long way in the last year. Some key pieces that really helped were the two mirrors on either side of the window - I found those at Goodwill and painted them white. I also adore my trestle coffee table, another Craigslist purchase that has undergone a painting makeover as well. The green gingham wingchair recliner is one of my favorites, possibly because I found it on the side of the road for free, it's in perfect condition and incredibly comfortable. I can't leave out the lovely vintage white matelasse sofa
that I found at the recommendation of a friend at a garage sale. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites.
I still have a lot to do. The old porch pillars
(that I found in the shed) are just thrown up there for right now. I love the architectural details, but I know that's not the right place for them. I also need to get a real curtain rod
with some nice curtains - I'm thinking maybe a cream linen? The beige ones were on sale for pennies at Target, and they work interim. I'm also still struggling with arrangement, side tables, and lamps. This room is quite large, and without any overhead lighting, and getting the right balance of tables and lighting has been tricky, and I'm still not happy with it yet.
*Decorative pillows and botanical lamp shade from Pottery Barn.
I'm still in the position of looking for inexpensive, but interesting accessories. The thing with moving into a house with absolutely nothing is that you have absolutely nothing! Many blogs I follow show people "shopping" their house - moving things from other rooms, or pulling them from a closet full of accessorizing options, but I didn't have that because I didn't have anything, and what little I did have felt like a Tuscan hangover. I started by painting my mishmash of stuff white: the cheapo pine end tables, iron candleholders, "M" monogram, candlesticks, and shelves. That helped everything blend into the same general color scheme. (And yes, I also used Rustoleum's Heirloom White and I love it. thanks to Centsational Girl
for first turning me on to that.)
I've found some things I'm starting to like, the framed page is from a 1500's Bible. It's from Genesis, the story of Abraham and Sarah. Other frames I've found at thrift stores, along with my mother's senior picture, which I love. HomeGoods is also a favorite, but all in all the accessories are still very much a work in progress.
This furniture arrangement only works for the warmer months as in the winter, we use our wood-burning stove quite regularly, and love it.
You saw the "before" above with the blue wallpaper. Well hiding behind the blue wallpaper was some kind of Mount Vernon wallpaper that also had to come down. Read the whole saga here
The table was found on the side of the road, and I *love* it. The side chairs I found on Craigslist, and I'm still looking for the perfect end chairs.
The kitchen when we moved in had blue wallpaper, a border featuring ducks, curtains with ducks, and a large scripture painted onto the beadboard, but the real problem to me was the cabinets. The upper cabinets were dramatically tilted so that when you opened a cupboard, the whole door came swinging out at you. After almost having our heads taken off while reaching for the coffee in the morning, we decided to promptly remove the doors.
My husband looked at this "after" and said, "You could have put the dishes away." True, I guess I could have. We've removed two layers of wallpaper in the kitchen, replaced the cabinet hardware, and painted the insides of the cupboards a navy blue. We also have a wonderful new stove
, which is like my best friend. We still need to paint the bottom cabinets, which I'm not terribly looking forward to. I'd also like to build a shelf for the microwave (an appliance I hate using), and replace the lighting fixture over the sink. A new sink and faucet would be nice too. Actually I'd love a extreme kitchen makeover, but we work with what we have.
On the other side of the room are some of my favorite Craigslist finds. A marble table, 4 antique Thonet chairs, and banquette bench. It's still looking a little stark. I'd love to find a small hutch or something similar. My husband secured this pantry-door whiteboard for me, and I think it would be great with a large elegant frame around it. And of course, I need some nice pillows and pad for the bench.
My Office / Library
That area behind the large, wavy window and French doors is my office. It started out as a paneled, shelf-lined little cave that collected dust and junk, and wasn't near as charming as the mental image of a library.
See how cluttered and dark it looks? We took out most of this shelving and readjusted the furniture arrangement, but this room still has a lot of work ahead - the paneling need to be painted, some of the wall repaired, and it's just aching for a funky rug.
When we moved in, the master bedroom had dark maroon crown molding and a floral border. As I removed the border, I discovered mold had been growing
underneath it during the house's vacancy. Yuck! Originally, We had a queen-size bed, which we shared with two large dogs. That arrangement didn't last very long. Now we our guests enjoy a lovely queen bed, and we've upgraded to a king.
This is how we initially set up our room. Basically as you walked down the hallway, and looked onto the giant bed in between two windows. The framing was nice, but this arrangement put the bed in the middle of the room, making it feel much smaller than it really is. On a side note, can I mention how hard it is to style a king bed? I've googled, and searched for recommendations, but haven't found much. Queen beds are so much easier to get that "lovely bedding" vibe. King's just look huge, and the pillow proportions are never right.
This our setup now. We've moved the bed to the side, placing it in a little alcove. With this new arrangement we have more privacy, and floor space. Now the view from the hallway is a dresser with topiaries, and a bench made from a shipping pallet (that really is way to big.) There's now room for a sitting area on the other side of the room that for now holds a wing chair and ottoman and my absolute favorite mirror eagle mirror.
I still need to do a final coat of paint on the trim molding (Sherwin Williams Roman White), and then to hang the curtain rods and find some nice affordable curtains. Easier said than done. I'm leaning towards buying some fabric and making my own.
*mercury glass lamps from HomeGoods.
Sewing Room / Future Nursery
I have to confess, I haven't done very much with this room. The above is about what it looked like days after we moved in. I grew up with that double bed, and those curtains and comforter, and this quickly became a back-up guest room that isn't frequently used or entered.
After a year, I have moved some laundry items in here, including my ironing board and sewing machine. The rug was a freebie, and after not being able to get rid of it any other way, we put it in here. Actually this room needs a rug of some sort, as sound reverberates in here. I have plans to make this a temporary craft room until it's time to decorate for a nursery, as this room is closest to ours, and right next to the bathroom.
*The "pooh-bear lamp" as I call it, was found a thrift store. I painted it Disney's Pooh Bear yellow, thus the name and the fact that it looks like a giant honey pot. The lampshade was on sale at Pottery Barn, as were the quilted shams. The duvet cover is from Target years ago.