I live in a very normal house...
I would not call my house "feature ready." In fact, it's not ready for much of anything at all, except to be lived in.
I like my house. There are a lot of things that I know I'm lucky to have. I live in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. And although I live in a fairly suburban neighborhood, my house is tucked away, hidden, on a long private drive. We share this drive with our (thankfully) awesome neighbors who love the kiddos. We sit outside nearly everyday, all year long, in the front yard. You could find us there from between 10:30 to 12:30 (earlier in the summer time). We take walks down to our mailbox. They go on treasure hunts with their shopping carts and cardboard boxes. They have "search and rescue" parties for each other. We listen to the birds, and we occasionally get a glimpse of "our" owl.
When the weather is nice I like to open all the windows to catch a breeze.
My house is comfortable.
But it's not done. There are sooo many things that I would love to change (I'm looking at you, forest green carpets and popcorn ceiling). Most of the things we'd like to change, though, require giant amounts of cash, because we don't spend anything on credit. So, we're slowly (one-thing-in-a-very-long-time slowly) changing the house to fit us.
And that's okay. Sure, I'd love to have it all right now, but then what would we do? If we take our time with it, then maybe we can enjoy the journey a little bit more. And that doesn't mean that I'm afraid to show you my house, green carpets and all. So come right in.
My Driveway and Exterior
Looking back down our driveway to the street...
This is our front porch. I found that indoor/outdoor rug at World Market, quite possibly one of my very favorite stores ever.
I made the "Hello" sign by the front door after finding an inspiration picture on Pinterest.
I made a flower vase to hang by the front door using a mason jar and a braided hemp cord. I've been putting fake flowers in it ever since. Is that strange? I've decided that I really like fake flowers. Really. I bought the birds at World Market (you'll probably see a lot of that store in my house) with the intention of hanging them on the screen door. There's a little bell on the end which would ring when we open the door. I kind of like them beside the door, though, so I'm not sure yet if the original plan will ever materialize.
My Living Room
I really kind of like my entryway. I have tried to create a first impression of the inside of my home that is welcoming and inviting, a space that really reflects who I am and my style. As with all the rooms in my house, it is constantly evolving, but for now, I am pleased with this little space.
Here's the view you have right after you walk into the front door. You'll see our living room straight ahead and the playroom off to the right. To the left is a hallway leading down to our bedrooms.
Behind the front door is a little console table. I bought that table at a yard sale for $20. I talked her down from $40 -- yay for bargaining! I hate to do it, but do I love to score some deals. The empty picture frame was also bought at a yard sale. I made the pendant light you see with some fabric and a couple of embroidery hoops.
Here's a slightly different view:
Here's the same space with the front door closed. This is one reason that I leave the door open whenever I can -- it lets in so much more light. In this picture, though, you'll see the coat rack that I made (with Dave's help). I found so many of these simple racks all over Pinterest that I decided to give it a shot. Here's my version:
How about a close up?
One more, just because I love the hardware that I found:
All right, moving on. If you're standing by the hallway and looking back toward the front door, you'll see this. The basket on the floor holds all of our daily-use shoes. I found the stool for $15 at an antique store years ago. The room in the background is the playroom.
The last picture that I've got for you is the view down into my hallway. I'll show you more of this later, but I wanted to give you an idea of what's to the left of the entryway. My mom gave me the block print as a Christmas present years ago. No, I'm not a musician, but I do really like the print. The frames that you see down the way are my attempt at a gallery wall. I do love all the pictures and art that I've hung, but I'm planning on rethinking the way I've hung them...somewhere down the line.
(Note: this is an older picture. We have since taken out our old entertainment center and added in our new media console.)
As you move further into the room, you'll see the couch off to the right. The decal above the couch was a birthday present for me a couple years back -- from Etsy.
This is the view you have while standing in the living room and looking toward the kitchen.
I bought this chair about 10 years ago, when I was in college. I loved the retro upholstery then, but I'm so over it now. I bought some fabric last night and am going to try (fingers crossed) to make a slipcover. I'm cool with sewing if it's a fairly small project -- the largest project I've ever attempted was a patchwork curtain, and that came out okay if you don't look too closely. I'll be posting updates on the slipcover as I go.
Another view from the couch. The cabinet that you see is our computer desk.
Looking back at the couch from the corner of the room. We just recently found this coffee table on Craigslist, and I'm in love! So much better than the one we had before.
I've seen those fabric circles all over blogland and decided to give it a shot. That was a year ago, and I still love them, but it's definitely time to change out the fabric. Oh, and that yellowish rectangular box right in the middle of the wall, you ask? That's our doorbell. Can anyone please tell me why someone would put a doorbell right in the middle of a wall? Yeah, I don't know either.
Looking back through our living room into the foyer and out the front door. That screen door was a Christmas present to me this year and I love it!
This is the corner of my living room, to the right of the media console. The corner table was given to me by mother -- it was my grandmother's. I found the birdcage at a yard sale for $7.
Another view of this corner of the room. Last year I made those photographs for Dave for Father's Day. Natalie is actually signing, "I love you." I tried to get Daniel to sign the words as well, but he was a little young. He mostly just sat there looking a bit confused, which is almost as awesome as the original idea.
My kitchen is one of my least favorite rooms in the house. Among other things, I'd love buy new appliances, create a bar between the kitchen and living room to open things up, change out or paint the cabinets, get new counter tops, and add wood floors (along with the rest of the house). It would also be nice (dreaming here) to add a couple more windows on the west wall of the kitchen -- right now the natural light in there is sooo limited. And I'd love to have my sink face one of those windows. Aaahhh, a girl can dream.
But my kitchen has come a long way since I moved into this house. In the beginning, the kitchen had mauve walls -- walls that were, in fact, the same color as the rest of the house. Who paints their entire house pink? Along with those awful walls was a border -- a beach scene which included Adirondack chairs, sea gulls, and wide brimmed hats. It took me a year, but by the second summer those walls and that border were gone. Then it took another (almost) year to paint the kitchen -- brown. I really do like the brown, but I sort of regret it since it makes the room look darker than it already is. But I doubt we'll be changing it anytime soon. We have bigger fish to fry at the moment.
Anyway, let me stop talking and give you the dime tour.
This is the view of the kitchen if you walk from the foyer and through the living room. The first thing you'd see is the kitchen table that Dave made for me as a Christmas present one year. I love this table! You'd also see an office chair that I reupholstered and another chair that I bought for $20 at a boutique store -- it was on sale because one of the slats in the back is broken. Doesn't bother me, though, and I love the chair.
The door that you're facing leads out to the laundry room, our sunroom, and our garage. All three of these areas need a major face lift, so we'll just keep that door closed for now. On the door is a little cork board that I made for notes and cards and other reminders. I made a stamp out of linoleum and block printed a floral design on the cork.
Here's a close-up of that finished project:
If you turn to your right, you'll see the actual kitchen area. Beyond the kitchen is the dining room. Here's the stove and refrigerator wall:
I inherited this Coca-Cola box and decided to use it to hold all of my dish towels, wash cloths, and pot holders.
And the kitchen sink and dishwasher:
Here's another view of this side of the kitchen:
I bought a silver tray at Goodwill a couple of years ago and moved it around my house for awhile until I finally decided to keep it in the kitchen. Then I saved a few spaghetti sauce jars to hold dry pasta:
This is the view when standing at the stove and looking back toward the west wall -- and my only (super small) window. :( To the left, you can see a little bit of the sliding glass door in the living room. One reason I'd love to create a bar area between the kitchen and living room is so that I can have the natural light from that door in the kitchen. This is also the wall that I'd love to add in more windows -- perhaps one on either side of the window that you see.
And that's it -- in all of it's before-shot glory!
My Dining Room
If you look to the right when standing in my entryway, you'll see two rooms: a playroom and beyond that, our dining room.
I like our dining room. It's very small and not very formal -- and we spend a lot of time here. We eat three solid meals and two in-between snacks here every day (well, sometimes we take the snacks outside). The kids also use our table for messier art projects like painting and cutting & pasting. I didn't bother to take their booster seats out of their chairs before taking these pictures because this is how our dining room looks all the time. Thought I'd keep it real ;)
Anyway, this is the view of our dining room when standing in the playroom. I'm looking through a doorway that has a set of french doors held open with doorstops.
A friend of mine gave us this hutch. It was her grandmother's. I like it a lot and I'm very grateful to have it, but I've been feeling the itch to paint it (maybe a light grey? I've been really digging grey lately). The only thing is, I feel a little wrong about it because it might hold some sentimental value to my friend. Sigh. Not sure what to do here, but I might just be very direct and ask her how she feels about that. I'll let you guys know.
My very favorite thing on this hutch is the owl card right in the middle. Another friend of mine made this for Dave and me for our anniversary last year. I've been looking on and off for a frame for it every since, but it's an odd size and I hate to cut it. So, here it sits, front and center.
To the right of the hutch is a large window which faces our front porch. And these awesome curtains that I bought at World Market. I think I am in love with that store. If I was a store, I'd marry it.
Directly across from the hutch is the doorway into the kitchen. If /when we renovate our kitchen, one of the things I'd like to do is widen this doorway. The small opening makes our dining room feel so teeny and enclosed.
The high chair was mine as a baby. A friend of mine made the clock above. We actually traded projects -- I made a mobile for her and she made me this awesome clock with the cover of a Simon and Garfunkel LP (absolutely one of my favorite bands).
Here's a view of the other side of the doorway. I was given the old window from a house under renovation in Atlanta.
I made the chandelier following this awesome tutorial over at Design*Sponge. It was so easy to make, but very tedious. That was a year and a half ago and I'm here to report that it's help up very well. The circles are actually three layers of wax paper fused together and they haven't curled or changed at all in the time that it's been up. I use florescent bulbs, though, which don't give off much heat at all. I would suggest this kind of bulb if you'd like to make a similar project.
A close-up of the window...
On the wall, across from the window frame, is a print that I made years ago -- I made several as Christmas presents and kept this one for myself.
Well, that's it!
This room has been called a couple of different things. When we were first married, we called this room "The Nook" because the couches were facing each other on either side of the window to make a little seating area. About a year ago, I decided to make this space more of a kid-friendly spot so that we'd have a place to put their toys which wasn't right in the living room. Since then, we've gone back and forth between calling it The Nook and the playroom. Really, though, it's more of a playroom for us than a conversation area. So, playroom it is.
When you walk into our entryway, you could go one of three ways. Off to the left is a hallway leading down to all of our bedrooms. If you were to walk straight ahead, you'd find yourself in our living room. But if you were to turn immediately to the right, you'd be facing the playroom, and beyond that, the dining room. I know, I know. Who makes their playroom, quite possibly the messiest room in the house, the very first room you see when you walk in? The answer is, we do.
Here's the view:
The window looks out onto our front porch and yard. The couch, as you can see, can be moved into two different sections. This couch belonged to my grandmother and desperately needs to be cleaned. And reupholstered. Hello sea green and mauve stripes. I made the pillow covers and the curtains. My mother bought the children's desk and chairs at an antique store for (I think) $25 awhile back.
The empty-ish shelf next to the dining room is slowly becoming our new art shelf. I'm working on adding supplies in one at a time so the kids don't go crazy with everything. Right now I've got paper on the top shelf (still need storage for that), and boxes of crayons, markers, and stickers on the second shelf. There's room to grow, including an extra box, which pleases me. Underneath the shelf is our train set.
Let's get a little closer:
If you keep turning to the left, you'd see this:
I bought the cube shelf at Target, and I love how versatile it is. Lately, I've become obsessed with labeling things and have bought tons of clear plastic storage bins to group like items into.
We got the bookshelf at a yard sale for $10. The bookshelf used to be ours (read: it belonged to the parents), but it's slowly becoming the kids'. Right now, they've claimed the two bottom shelves. I've got kids books on one shelf and games and busy bags on the other.
Side note: I love busy bags. I hosted a busy bag swap last October. I think we had 15 participants, so we each ended up taking home 15 home made games and activities, each one in its own bag, that the kids can pull out when they're bored (or we're going to a restaurant or to the doctor's office, etc.). Natalie loves them so much that I think it's time to add some more and trade some of them out.
Here's the view of the playroom from the dining room, looking back to the entryway:
And that's it!