Awkwardly Yours

Remember that time when my squishy baby legs grew so fast that my junior-size jeans couldn’t even skim the white leather of my Reebok high-tops?  Crop pants weren’t just an option but a unintentional fashion statement.

It wasn’t a pretty time (no matter how many times my Daddy told me so).  Awkward is mild in describing my transition from little lass to tween–orangutan arms of epic proportions and the kind of toothy, gummy, uninhibited smile that pays for an orthodontist’s mortgage and maybe his pool.

www.tphblog.comBonus awkward points:  playing with toes

But if you are an awkward tween survivor, you can attest that change brings beauty and strength on the other side.

www.tphblog.comThe living room in progress and host to furniture in need.  Color swatches = trusting my instincts.

A couple weeks ago I did an Instagram tour of our home based on fellow Instagrammers requests–photos of in-progress rooms.  What I thought would be a simple snap of photos around the house actually turned out to be a huge design lesson to me–one key point being, I am in a state of awkward change akin to a young child changing into an awkward adolescent en route to become a lovely and mature young adult.  Maybe your house is in an awkward stage, too?

www.tphblog.comThe cute calm before the awkward storm.

www.tphblog.comNew door detail on an old cabinet we’ve had for years + nomadic accessories + cool chair awaiting transformation

My house right now is preteen Angela–leaving a sweet ranch house behind and growing into a new image of herself.  Just like preteen Angela, my house has potential and really good intentions.  But much like my teeth–not everything is in the right place yet.  And much like my cropped pants that weren’t supposed to be cropped pants, my house just isn’t quite dressed right.  But this encourages me rather than discourages me.  I like to think I pulled through Aqua Net bangs and mom jeans (though there were sure to be other blunders down the road), and my house, too, will eventually make the transition to a lovely, mature-ish adult.

www.tphblog.comUnintentional cropped pants and bangs…bonus: our 80s living room.  And, shoulder pads.

The snapshots of the house helped me see the rooms in a different way than when I’m physically occupying the space.  I could see where I am hitting my goals and where I am veering off course.  The photos I shared (and didn’t share) helped me to clarify my purpose and direction in this house from the last house.

www.tphblog.comCurrent entry scene as furniture awaits reupholstery and a new resting spot in the house

The adorable shoebox rancher was deceptively roomy but much smaller in scale than our current house.  Smaller furnishings and accessories tucked in nicely at the rancher.  It’s traditional 1950s spirit called for an eclectic mashup of chinoiserie and mid-century modern–at least that was my prescription for the house.  Anyway, those things don’t always translate from house to house–where ceilings reach 2 feet higher and rooms stretch longer in width and length.

www.tphblog.comThe chinoiserie pieces we kept are in the bathroom for now + a chair that I just need to paint already!

Plus, there is the natural evolution of my personal style and curiosity.  While buying all new furniture isn’t in the budget, we are buying key pieces but making existing furniture work where we can, doing our best to support the vision for the house.  But the interim can be awkward–as I’m finding my way in a look I’m still defining and discovering for myself.  I’m learning how to combine the beloved vestiges of our past with new vistas–and my first tries aren’t always right.

www.tphblog.comFurniture from the loft + bevy of art = the leftovers party in the playroom

But now I know I’m just in my awkward stage, and this too will pass–please help me to remember it when sometimes things can’t happen quick enough.  But each little change and tweak gives me encouragement that I am closer to my goal.  And, I’m totally going to take more photos of the spaces I’m working on for my own deliberating purposes–and I’m trying to trust my instincts and question my tendencies more and know how to distinguish between the two.

www.tphblog.comNever awkward: being true to yourself and personality

The best part of this awkward stage?  Having photos to laugh at later.  Yep, it’s a good reminder to be generous with the camera clicks with my children in their tween years.  They’ll thank me someday.

www.tphblog.comThere is a bedside table plan, I just need to execute it.  In the meantime, this awkward arrangement.

The Kitchen | Plans, in Progress

The words “in progress” are key for this post.  I won’t rattle on a disclaimer, but this is the kitchen raw and ready for the details.  The sparse kitchen actually is pretty soulless at this point.  But, I’m working on it; and–while feeling vulnerable–I’d love to share where we’re headed.www.tphblog.com www.tphblog.com

I haven’t touched these shelves since we unpacked over a year ago.  I do know the bunny stays.  He holds our tea.

When we bought the house, the kitchen was tired and needed a refresh.  I was excited about having a kitchen to design from scratch–but overwhelmed.  While I looked at hundreds of gorgeous kitchens, none felt like us.  White and grey are classic beauties, but neither color seemed right for our family. Then I saw this kitchen by stylist Emma Persson Lagerberg  Those mint green cabinets heavily influenced me toward a mint paint decision.

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I also keep going back to that dark green chair and mint cabinet combo…  As for the cabinet shape, I fell hard for these Workstead cabinets.

www.workstead.comI couldn’t get them out of my mind and ended up modifying the design for our own kitchen.

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www.tphblog.comI love how the cabinets turned out and the putty-minty green color, which I mixed myself out of frustration.  The white quartz countertops make me happy.  We all love the roominess of the space as it is the place where we mill about the most–no more tripping over each other!  And, because the human collisions drive me bananas, we have two locations for trash and two sinks, LOVE the two sinks!  And we have a hot water dispenser that I use more often than I thought I would–adore it!  I also love, love our giant chalkboard, which also doubles as a secret door for a storage cabinet for entertaining ware and gift wrap.  www.tphblog.com

I’m not so thrilled with the backsplash–it was a compromise with my husband who didn’t like my first pick.  But it’s not horrible, it’s just not thrilling…like a backsplash should be, right?

.  I’m also not as satisfied as I thought I would be with the vintage light installed over the island.  The color just isn’t right and the space needs that one big moment that the right chandy could provide.  I didn’t buy the light for this house, for the last one actually, and I just figured it would be nice to use it here.www.tphblog.comDid you see this island lighting in the November 2014 Elle Decor?

IMG_0437Photo: Simon Upton Design: Achille Salvagni

I know, RIGHT?  If there were a race on how fast one calls her welder, I’d win.  He said, “bring it on.”  And, I shall.  So Chris is working with us on how we will wire this cage system up.  The easiest and probably cheapest way to do this, would be to just put a cage around the existing light, paint them up the same, and call it a day.  But I want to be more deliberate with it–at least I say that until the estimate comes in!

And because all the kitchen elements are so big, stout, and boxy right now, I am leaning toward a design that is more open like this:

www.tphblog.comColor and finish of it?  Not sure yet.

The other part of the kitchen causing me grief is the dining area, opposite of the island.  I have spent months looking at fabric for the windows, as I really thought all along that I would do drapes on this wall.  But nothing was exciting me–I can’t tell you how many renderings I made of different fabric/chair combinations.  But the table, by Grey Furniture, we all love!  And, I love our new (comfy!) aluminum chairs that finally arrived…but what color to paint them?

www.tphblog.comWhen I think about how I want this space to look, I keep going back to this image–a Notting Hill dining space by Staffan Tollgard.
dining

I’ve done soul-searching (as one does when considering kitchen finishes) and have analyzed every bit of this photo and every internal reaction I have to it, for clues.  It’s the simplicity in form and color, the color blocking, the artful sophistication, the texture, the symmetry, the classical trim vs modern lines.  And, I love that eggplant-y color on the chairs.  So, I’m moving forward without drapes, add picture trim that will help temper the contemporary flavor of the kitchen, add some statement sconces (we need more mood lighting anyways for quesadilla night), and go subtle-bold (it’s true) with the chair color.  receipts018

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Pay no mind to the painted chair.  Sometimes a girl has a can of red paint open and desperation on her hands.  Same goes for the gray-painted chair on the other end.www.tphblog.com

My husband says I’ve spent probably a total of 150 hours thinking about that window wall.  And, he is right, I’m sure.  But I’m feeling good about this clean direction.  Above all, this highly-sensitive, slightly OCD mother wants a clean, calm kitchen as a backdrop for the inevitable chaos of life, so I think streamlining it as much as possible will help me reach that goal.  Not a lot of different colors, not a lot of things on the walls (we have the pretty woods outside to look at), not a lot of different finishes…let’s just say it’s therapy by way of a kitchen.

Have you checked out the house tour I’m doing on Instagram this week?  Just a peek at progress we’re making over here at TPH.

An Instagram House Tour by Request

Starting this Sunday I’m leading  a tour of our in-progress house on Instagram–by your requests.  One photo a day for a week–it will be seven new peeks around the house.  If you have a special request of something to see, please leave me a comment here or on Instagram and I’ll consider it for one of the seven photos.  Follow along if you want!  And…hopefully I’ll have a kitchen post up next week.  Things are about to happen in there and I’m finally excited about the direction!www.tphblog.comI know you love some vintage Dolly Parton because who doesn’t?   I’m going to musically implant a little 9-to-5 tunage in your head right now.  Hum along while you look at this adorable tween room designed by my friend Shannon Berrey.  www.shannonberrey.comThis room has been augmented, painted up, nipped and tucked like a good Dolly room should.  Shannon did much of the work herself–including the Dolly painting.  She is SUCH a talent.

Other projects you should follow:

My friend Darlene at Fieldstone Hill Design is working on a kitchen remodel plan for her historic fieldstone home.  She’s scheming and pinning–lots of good ideas flowing over there!  She is also doing a room-by-room tour of her deliciously cozy house over the next few weeks.www.fieldstonehilldesign.com  I was lucky enough to visit one afternoon and there is peace and calm within those walls–immediately I felt at home.

Jill Sorensen made a cross-country move and finally found the perfect LA house to renovate.  No question it will be bold and the right mix of old and mod.www.jillsorensen.com

Nice choice on the black and white cement tile for the laundry room, Jill!  (Me thinks that Javier, her contractor, has never had a prettier or more talented customer.)

Have you seen Gwen’s dining room at The Makerista?  www.themakerista.comIt’s hard to believe it was just recently a very basic, everyday affair with popcorn on the ceiling.  Black on the walls, pretty much always a good thing.  She is working magic on her new house, pulling Craigslist rabbits, one after the other, outta her hat.

I have to say, I love it when bloggers move or tackle a big project.  Voyeur much?

Enjoy the weekend, friends!  I’ll see you around on Instagram!

Ninja Birthday Party

Last summer we had our first birthday party in the house, and the birthday boy wanted a ninja party.
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My kids had fun making the candy sushi and Oreo ninja faces to ring the cake top.  I’ve learned to pick-and-choose what I want to spend time doing for party prep and what I want to delegate out for ease.  Unwrapping packaged Rice Krispy bars and ordering a red and white  grocery store cake to decorate myself saved me some time but still looked super cute.

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The tablecloth is just unhemmed yardage from Joann’s on our blue makeshift table.  (We’ve since upgraded to a beautiful custom marble piece!)www.tphblog.com

The calligraphy marks are cut black poster board–with the middle character meaning “ninja.”

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We invited the boys to come and attend ninja training.  I made free invitations on Paperless Post by uploading a photo of our son.
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The boys arrived in their ninja suits and we took their photo in front of the Japanese-inspired chalk art.  I didn’t want to take those happy lanterns down after the party…especially since our house is still so sparse from moving in.  I found those on Oriental Trading Company and hung them up with fishing line.

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www.tphblog.comIf there is an opportunity to play dress up, I will.

www.tphblog.comMy husband played ninja teacher and instructed the boys at the beginning of the party that they would have to pass three tests of agility, precision, and strength to become a ninja.

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The agility test in the treehouse was a hit as was the bean bag toss off the back deck…the zipline challenge was a bad, bad idea on our part, but no one was hurt!  Oh, man.
www.tphblog.comwww.tphblog.comWe also had a star piñata because who doesn’t like to beat the crap out of something with a stick?

At the end of the training challenges, the new newly-minted ninjas ceremonially received their ninja swords, which also doubled as part of their party favors.

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The kiddos also left with a little box of Japanese candies.www.tphblog.comLooking forward to more parties here in the new house!

Blogging Like It’s Nineteen-Ninety-Two-Thousand-Six

I’ve been blogging since 2006, which would lead some to assume that I’ve learned many a technical thing in the span of almost nine years (wow).  But, nope, I haven’t.  Or made money.  Or something, right, to keep going?

www.tphblog.comThe Playroom

It seems like it’s time for a State of the Blog Address.  After much thought on what to do with with it while it sputters here in the dark ages, I’ve decided…

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…to keep blogging like it’s 2006, for better or worse.  That means pure joy, no pressure, fun, on whim.  That also means that while I do care about how it looks here and it does pain me that it needs a visual overhaul, I’m going to be fine with it until I have time to polish things up around here, remember, no technical skills.  But right now I want to work on our home, prepare for homeschool (again) next year, and just write for the fun of it without the downer of maintenance (for this season, you get it, I know).

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More than working on my house this last year (which was mucho), I’ve worked on myself even more.  And, many things were revealed, straightened away, fortified, or booted out.  I finally realized that the elusive balance we crave can only exist when we don’t try to do it all.  Because you can’t and I can’t.  This is hard for someone like me who wants to do it all and has a million and one ideas to test out.  I’m embracing good enough when good enough is acceptable, which, really, is almost always.  The stubborn perfectionist in me just cringed.

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Blogging was just something I couldn’t cut from my life.  I do it for the fellowship with all you other creatives and the warm-fuzzy that comes from occasionally inspiring someone else with something I do here on The Painted House.  I just had to realize the blog balance comes from keeping things low-key here…uh, like it’s been.  I’d like a little background music for this:  seasons change, and this blog may someday.  Or it might always be 2006 around here.  Because I do have a million and one ideas.  Mind. Never. Rests.

www.tphblog.comWe are adding trim to the doors of this cabinet, painting it, and moving it to the dining room…using what we have!

I know it’s all, tell us something we don’t know, but I just wanted to say it all out loud, ya know?  That this a-little-here, a-little-there is intentional.  I’m still around here.  Just on a little slower time.

www.tphblog.comThe upstairs sleeping alcove…awkward space turned cool with mattresses from the loft…painting pizzazz in progress.

Thank you for sticking around here with me.  I am looking into obtaining some technical skills this spring that the kids and I can work on next school year.  I’ll share that post soon–SO EXCITED!  Hopefully learnin’ stuff will have a positive effect on ye olde blog.  And, things are getting done around here…guest light arrives next week!  And I promise to show good enough pics along the way.  Here’s to you, and to me, for knowing where we’re at and embracing the steps along the way.

And, you know you can find me in between posts on Instagram, that adorable, precious, time-suck app.

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