Living Room | In Progress

We are trucking along on projects at the house.  I’ve got an end-of-May deadline in mind for the top projects since we will start homeschooling again in June (thank you for your travel tips in that post!).  Chris is working on a prototype for the kitchen island lighting–oh, can’t wait to see it!  And I’m making decisions on paint color and fabric in our main living areas–just so I’ll have it done instead of staring at it during homeschool, wishing I had time to work on it.

The living room was on the low priority list until I ran across a red sofa I almost bought.  This was the time to take the living room all girlie red and pink, which my husband liked in writing–but when I showed him real rooms with the color combo he felt it “too old lady fancy.”  So close to feeling like I had the room done, I decided to see if I could make peace with the green sofa and stitch something together for the room around it.  The room really needs a larger sofa, but there are too many higher priority things to buy.  So, the $20 sofa is staying for awhile (I later bought fabric, though poor choice, and paid an upholsterer to recover it, but I still like to call it my $20 sofa).

Finally with a furniture layout in place that I like, the fabric swatches are now flying.  The house tells me go big and less is more–trust me, it makes sense.  So, I’m going big on color and only one color, blue, in hopes that the green recedes as a neutral and the colors of the art will pop the most.   This idea of repeating blue over and over soothes me.  At the risk of you sending me to the crazy house, I’ll say it again:  this life stage for me is so chaotic that the less visual noise I have, the better.  So, art will be my color and pattern.  Won’t it be sad to see the pink chairs recovered in something else?

Sometimes I just wish I would be an adult and go to a store to order furniture instead of picking up castoffs in dark corners.  It’s love/hate actually–fun to customize a piece but, sheesh, more repainting?

Drapery…can’t wait for it!  And, hopefully some good asymmetry in the future accessories will play off the many pairs I have in the room.

This June will be two years since we bought the house so I know I can’t play that “we just moved in” card much longer on spaces like this entry.  I can’t seem to find a place in this house where I like the knot mirror.  I’ve done too many chairs-flanking-console in the house to do it here.  I’m looking for that one good statement chair to put by this Round Top dresser (anyone hit Round Top this week??).  Stairs need a runner…and on and on.

This inlay coffee table is a recent purchase from Screen Door Antiques in Asheville.  Large and sculptural, it checks off two boxes on my new furniture criteria Here are some of the fabrics I’m mulling over for the room–keeping the Kelly Wearstler Channels fabric and Schumacher leopard on the bench.  Why mess with a good thing there?  Oh, and, I’m thinking of painting the room a soft grey-blue and keep the entry white with a painted ceiling. Or, maybe I won’t do any of this at all.

When I get scared that I’m just tooting around like a fool with my colors and goofy stuff, something crazy happens like being chosen as The Blue Ribbon #1 Pick out of thousands of entries for my gallery wall in the kids’ playroom.  I was floored to see the results of the Domaine Home gallery wall challenge.  In this Instagram photo you can see artwork by all of children, some by me, and even a 1983 painting of me by my Aunt Rita.  Check out their picks–so many lovely gallery walls.  Thank you so much for the huge honor!  This wall is a result of not knowing what to do with scores of small-scale art that I didn’t want peppering my home–remember, go big and less is more!  Putting it all in one space forced the art to make a huge impact (this photo shows only half of it); and, well, you know, what they say about collections.www.tphblog.comUntil next time, see you on Instagram!

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.

Around the House | New Kitchen Table & More!

Well, hey, happy new year!  Okay, are we all done talking about this?
www.tphblog.comWe had a wonderful, cozy Christmas.  But, I tell you what, I am charged and ready to go for 2015.  It is time to get cracking on some delayed decorating around here.  I’m trying to get as much done before school ends…because of this (99% sure it’s happening)!  So, let the zhushing games begin!

It took a year for me to decide what to do, but it was worth it:  the new kitchen table!

IMG_8251 www.tphblog.comYeah, hot and sexy…you know, as all family dinner tables should be.  This fabulousness is a variation of Grey Furniture’s Line Table.  Sarah at Grey rounded the ends for a sleek silhouette.


I picked up these arm chairs from Antiques & Beyond–love the 80s vibe going down on these babies.  Pickled (I said it) wood, contemporary styling on a classic shape, they are perfect for the look I’m after.  I’ll send them to the upholsterer once I figure out drapery fabric for the big window.  The label on the bottom says Century Chair delivered to Bloomingdale’s New York, New York, 1987.  I love that.


As for the side chairs, these are on order–a nice echo of the arm chairs.  The finish is polished aluminum, but I will have them powder coated in a color pop–to be decided.

Do you see the big marshmallow sofa here?www.tphblog.comIt is a new addition in the family room, a room that is also in the process of getting some love.  Soon:  paint on the walls, hang a painting over that skinny window (to hide TV glare), pillows, drapery, rug, odds & ends–but all this depends on that blasted drapery fabric in the adjoining kitchen.  I’ll be so happy when I figure that one out!

And, then, the chandelier for the guest room arrived!  But!  Once it was here, I decided it really needed to live in my daughter’s closet.  It should be up soon, hanging beautifully between the carved doors–seriously, she has the coolest room.  In the meantime the girl chose pink for her closet walls.  I’m liking it.  I really hope I stumble upon a sculptural white lacquer dresser soon.www.tphblog.comAnyways, I have tweaked things in the guest room and feel like another fixture is needed–it is ordered and should be here in a few weeks.  So, yeah, longest 6-week challenge ever!

And, furniture is moving around the house.  I’m trying to use what I have.  Trying!  Even though I am stretching for something so different in this house than the last one.  The yellow dresser from the loft made it to the upper floor landing.www.tphblog.comFlanking the dresser, Paul McCobb chairs, that I defiled with steel balls where the wood originally was, will be painted black and receive new upholstery.  Please tell me you see the clown face in the above photo.

We moved the Mengel Module piece to the side entry.  I do think I like it there.  I safely tucked the original knobs away and tried these carved stone ones from Anthropologie.  I LOVE that tablecloth and have it hanging temporarily until I can decide if I want to frame it for this spot (I do).  www.tphblog.comI don’t usually dispense decorating advice, but a few things struck me with this post–things of which I am proud of doing.

Take it Slow | I explored a lot of options on the kitchen table throughout the year, but I didn’t rush or settle.  We had people over to eat many times on our wobbly, scuffed temporary table, and I was okay with it knowing I was being patient for the right fit.  I’m embracing this slow decorating as my ally to get things right, and this mentality feeds my patience.

Let it Go | Perfectionism.  I’m showing you spaces FAR from complete or perfect.  I’m showing you my process, whether right or wrong.  So proud am I to be at this point.

Make Peace | Does it unnerve me to see in these photos wood floors that didn’t turn out to my specifications?  Oh, yes.  And all the other details in the remodel that didn’t finish right.  This is where I give myself grace for the impossibility of managing it all perfectly in a hurried, inhospitable environment with difficult people.  And, I have to forgive.

Stay the Course | I’ve wanted to bail many times on this design challenge I’ve given myself.  There is all the second guessing, only to come back to the original heart plan.  When I’m scared, I think I should do what is easy–but that doesn’t make my pulse race with joy.  I’m trying to stay true to myself and our family, because that is where we’ll really feel at home.

Okay, guys, until next time (catch me on Instagram)!  XOXO

An Unofficial Guest Room Reveal-ish

Hey, there, you know I have felt horrible about not sharing the semi-finished guest room with you after you kindly rode the waves of the One Room Challenge with me (as a link-up participant).  So I don’t have the finished pillows or chandelier yet, but I wanted to finally give a little peek around.  The photos aren’t great, but I had a little pocket of time today and I seized it.  I’ll take more time when the final details are in.www.tphblog.comOh my goodness, it is December 19, and I bought those mums a week before Thanksgiving.  The lamps are from Screen Door Antiques that I found when dear Fieldstone Hill Dar and family came to visit me and mine at the cottage.  She can tell you how long I waffled over those lamps…still waffling over keeping them here in the guest room.www.tphblog.comSuper bad photo below, but I want to show you how the cornice boards evened out the uneven height of the window.  I do love how a very homely craft like quilting looks quite modern when framed as a segment.  I’m thinking of you awesome ladies in Gee’s Bend.

www.tphblog.comI did finish the art in time for our Thanksgiving guests.  It was a new idea I had for my ribbon infatuation–so I kinda consider it a rough sketch or prototype.  I like how it turned out on the plywood and look forward to making more and improving the idea.

www.tphblog.comThe rug was in our kitchen (click to see more bad, yellow photos of our kitchen) in the last house, our rancher (click to see TPH’s most visited post and an amazing before and after).

www.tphblog.comThis photo gives you a closer look of the concrete floor finish–so much better than what we were dealing with before.

www.tphblog.comHopefully I’ll have lighting up in the new year.  Then we’ll have a big reveal with a marching band and sky writing.  It’ll be grand.

Until then, I’ll be Christmassing with the family, many who are really sick.  Oh, man, last night my husband and I cleaned up the most epic vomit explosion of our parenting careers.  Let’s just say that I am so happy that we tiled the walls around the boys’ toilet here in the new house.  Gross, why did I tell you that?  Hurry!  Look at this and forget what I just wrote:IMG_7832Marlowe never wastes an opportunity to be irresistible.  I think I know why he likes curling up under the Baby J b-day party tree…

Fun and color, I can’t quit you.

Have a lovely, healthy weekend, friends!

New Blog: West of Grey

Hey, guys, I’d love to introduce you to my friend Alysa who has started a new lifestyle blog, West of

Here is Alysa, in her son’s adorable adventurer nursery.

Screen shot 2014-06-09 at 8.48.07 AM

www.westofgrey.comAlysa started West of Grey last spring.  Her posts are thoughtful and well-crafted.  The photos are gorgeous–her husband is a photographer and obviously the talent gets around the family.  (In fact, they shot photos of the cottage for us a while back and founded the Magic Hour Foundation for cancer patients.)  I love her Color Watch posts of liked-hued pretties for your home or body.  She selects items that don’t break the bank so the look feels accessible…because you know the disappointment of falling in love with something only to discover it costs one million dollars and your right lung.

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There are room designs:www.westofgrey.comScreen Shot 2014-10-20 at 4.19.53 PMAnd local Chattanooga, Tennessee, action, too:Screen shot 2014-06-09 at 8.47.16 AMwww.westofgrey.comAlysa also documents her family’s journey with lissencephaly.  Sweet baby Oliver was diagnosed at 5 weeks old with the rare brain formation disorder.    It is hard to imagine how parents take such a gut-wrenching diagnosis.  But I see their immense faith, honesty, courage, humor, and unfailing love as they adapt their lives to a new normal.

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And I do get to see Oliver’s pinchable, chubby cheeks on her blog and Facebook.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Oliver the last time we saw his parents since he is under quarantine due to seizure treatment that has compromised his immune system.  When I hear that parents have to administer injections to their baby and worry about the real dangers of other human contact, I am at a loss for words to describe the unfairness and heartbreak.  Alysa wrote:

After three weeks and 500 conversations on the nature of God and this crappy, crappy world we live in, I’ve come to one conclusion: this is our boy. He is beautiful and he is a miracle. And the beautiful thing is, we’re given opportunity to see every tiny accomplishment he has as exactly that – a miracle. We let it slip by so simply with normal children. We check things off our milestone “to do” list. “Head up, check. Tracking, check.” With Ollie, I’m searching, waiting for the tiniest thing from which to draw more happiness than he’s already brought us. I’m not sure what his grand purpose will be (and there is one, people, I know it), but this one is pretty great. He will remind us of the beauty in the little things in life. He will remind us to take joy in simple gifts, real relationships, and defending the vulnerable.

She and Alan are pretty awesome.  I hope you will check out Alysa’s delightful blog, West of Grey.

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