More is Always More.

While I may wax and wane about the color of my walls (white or full of color)  the one thing that I am quite certain about is that a space only feels personal when it is filled with objects that mean something to the person living there.  A perfectly styled home in a magazine while looking beautiful is essentially uninviting simply because it says nothing about the person living in it.  The more personal the home is the more alive it feels.  My mantra is More is Always More. 

I love the little things and the big things that I do to my home because I want to come home to a beautiful place.  I want to be reminded of where I come from, who my friends are and essentially be cocooned in a place of beauty.  Decorating for me is fun and relaxing.  I think that some people decorate to have the “perfect” place that they think will impress others. Some people rush to get stuff done and don’t seem to take any pleasure in the process of decorating.  Nothing about our house is perfect! It is old, odd-shaped and full of flaws…but those are all the things that I like about it!

I once had a hairdresser who told me quite authoritatively that photographs never belonged in the main living area.  He was totally appalled at my comment that  certain photographs are like art and should be hung all over the house! People and their rules! Nothing gets me more annoyed than all these rules people seem to impose on themselves and everyone else.  “No white after labor day”, “paintings only at eye level”, “granite a must in kitchens”, “ceilings all ways white” etc. are all random useless rules which should just be tossed aside in general and specifically when decorating a home.  Decorating should be a fun and instinct driven process.  I say do what you like and have fun with it!

Here are some homes that look fabulous while breaking a lot of the so called rules:

I love everything about this room: the gallery wall of vintage paintings, the mismatched shell chairs, the Eiffel tower bases on the chairs, the wood table. 

 Via SFgirlbybay

I love the dark ceiling and the wallpaper.

Room designed by Abigail Ahern (source unknown)

I love the blue walls, the paintings and all the colors in this room. 

Olatz Schnabel Bedroom (source unknown)

I really like the idea of painting the walls and the ceiling the same color…it opens up the space.  I am not sure why I never thought of doing this. I love contrast of the fabrics, colors and texture.  Also, the painting in the room to the left of the picture is fabulous.

Living Room Decorated by Abigail Ahern (source unknown)

Vintage paintings in the kitchen! what a great idea.  This is one of my most favorite kitchens.

Kitchen Decorated by Abigail Ahern (source unknown)

 P.S.  While I wish I could be doing some fun house project I need to get back to some work that I need to get done before tomorrow morning.  I was down with the flu and spent some time laying in bed and I think I am inspired all over again to tackle some house projects.  I know I have not been good at doing regular posts but I feel that I will be posting more regularly again.

Alive and Dreaming of White.

Yes I am alive and well.  I have had quite a relaxing summer (hardly any house projects with lots of relaxing).  Scott finished his Postdoc at Penn and had a couple of months off so he worked on some of the bigger projects like removing the wallpaper on the second floor hallway.  I bought a few things (outdoor lamp, and shower curtain rod to name a few) but I was generally uninspired to do any major work.  Recently I have been feeling like tackling a project or two.  Much to Scott’s dismay (and sort of mine) the one major thing that I have finally decided that must be done is to paint the house.  Yes we did only paint the house in 2007 when we bought it and it looks perfectly fine.  The only problem is that I really, really want a white house! I am not going to get rid of all the colorful things instead I just want all white walls.  I think that all my colorful bric-a-brac would look fabulous against a white background.  Don’t these rooms look so uncluttered and charming? I especially like the juxtaposition of the vintage furniture and mirror against the stark white walls. 

Via Emmas Design Blogg

Via Emmas Design Blogg

Via Emmas Design Blogg

Via Emmas Design Blogg
Via Emmas Design Blogg

Hallway One.

How fabulous is this hallway?

(I am not sure where I got this picture but I am pretty sure that it is Abigail Ahern’s hallway)
I love the juxtaposition of the dark grey, red, purple, pink and green.   In starck contract to the hallway above this is what our hallway looks like:

Our hallway on the second floor is in need of some serious work.  It is the only place in the house that we never got around to stripping the old wallpaper ( the first floor bathroom is also covered in layers of ugly wallpaper but we plan on gutting the bathroom completely so thankfully we don’t have to worry about removing any wallpaper).  Our plans for this hallway include stripping the wallpaper, fixing the plaster walls and putting up new black and white damask wallpaper (click here to see what it may look like once it is up). 

We have fixed the plaster wall you see to the right of the picture below.  Now if we could just stop being lazy and remove the rest of the wallpaper this hallway could be checked off my to-do list.

View of the hallway as it leads to the third floor staircase.

So far we (really just Scott) has stripped one wall of the old wallpaper.  Since the hallway is quite dark Scott’s dad installed a light on this wall.  It makes a world of difference.   I want to find a vintage sconce for this wall.  I may keep this porcelain wall sconce (found in my father-in-law’s basement) and just add a silver tipped light bulb. 

Wall at the end of hallway opposite which is the staircase leading to the third floor. 

The ceiling in this area looks really bubbly and strange.  In an attempt to deal with the crumbling plaster the previous owners covered up the plaster on the ceiling with some white wall paper.  We are going to have to remove the plaster and install drywall in this area only because I am pretty sure the plaster is beyond repair.  This fixture came with the house and I loved it so much that I added a clause in our purchase agreement that the previous owners had to leave this fixture in the house.

We have to also fix these random holes in the plaster around the switch plate.

Wall next to Master Bedroom.
View from the hallway towards the Master Bedroom.

Since this is such a small space I am tempted to go all out and experiment with lots of color and pattern.  I am thinking of painting the space underneath the stairs to the third floor in a bright color, similar to the hallway in the first picture.  I am also tempted to paint the ceiling in the same color.  This hallway is pretty dark and only gets natural light when the bathroom door and Kiran’s room door are open. I would also like to figure out a way to install another light source (not that easy since this hallway is the only place in the house which still has  knob and tube wiring). 

It’s been a while…

I have been very motivated to do lots of things around the house.  I especially get more motivated when things get really busy at work because it is a way for me to relax.  So this is what I have been up to:

  1.  I finished painting the two doors on the third floor black 
  2. I bought a new dining table!
  3. I painted three of our old dining chairs in Regal Matt Black by Benjamin Moore and upholstered the seats in a very dark gray fabric from Ikea
  4. I painted the back wall of my room black and I used Benjamin Moore Chalkboard paint as I did on the doors
  5. we bought Kiran a full size bed for his room from Ikea
  6. I rearranged the furniture in Kiran’s room and organized all his toys in separate baskets.  (This has worked out really well.  Kiran cleans up most of the time and I don’t have to deal with stray toys all over the house).  

Here’s what I would like to get done for April

  1. Install two curtain rods and hang some sheer curtains (which I already have) in the back room
  2. Install a shelf in the vestibule and put some small baskets to store scarves and gloves in one space
  3. Pick a color and paint the guest room
  4. Paint the office room in black or dark grey
  5. sell more furniture and clear out the basement!
  6. figure out how I can build a bookshelf for the office room like this:
Image via Vintage

Oh and if you are wondering why I haven’t posted any pictures of what I’ve been up to well it is because my camera is not working.  Apparently the sandy conditions in Sri Lanka were too much for my camera.  I plan on buying a camera before April 18th (which is Kiran’s birthday) but I just can’t bring myself to spend the money again since we’ve only had our camera for about a year.

Editing the Dining Room.

I love everything about this dining room.  I love the mismatched chairs (especially the Ghost chair).  I love the art work. And I love the laid back vibe. 

Via Domino

Our dining room feels a lot like a glorified corridor! It is long, narrow and has a slightly dropped ceiling (thankfully not the textured kind).  It does have two very large windows that face East and has tons of unrealized potential.  I have always been at a loss to make this room feel right.  It has always felt cramped and very boring.  The other problem was that we had a table and buffet which were really dark, heavy and too big for the space. For years I tried to work with what I had because I hate getting rid of stuff.  Anyway  I finally decided to get rid of everything in the dining room and start afresh.  For now I am keeping the blue walls.  We sold the dining room table and buffet on Craigslist (for the same price as that we paid in 1999 when we bought it).   Now I want to get rid of the chrome chairs.  They are fabulous  but I need some slimmer chairs for the small space.

Our Dining Room before we sold the table and buffet.

I love the gallery walls in the image below.  My plan to make the dining room feel less like a corridor is to cover all the walls in interesting art work, photos and other stuff (I love to frame anything).

Via sfgirlbybay

I would like to find a solid wood table, if possible made of reclaimed teak.  I bought a credenza a while ago on eBay.  It is Danish and it is gorgeous.  My camera is not working right now so I won’t be able to post any pictures of it for a while.  For seating I may find a vintage bench to go against one side of the wall and use some of the mismatched chairs that we have in the basement.  I plan on funding all my purchases for the dining room with the money I make selling my stuff.  I have a huge old Persian rug and also a china cabinet (part of the dining room set) that I plan on selling soon on Craigslist. 

Re-dcorating the Guest Room.

After spending some time in November and December vacationing I realized the importance of having a very comfortable and beautiful guest room. This is what the guest room looks like now:

Our guest room is pretty tiny but it faces South and is always filled with light. To make it more guest friendly I need to make it feel more fabulous than it is now. I think we need to add some shelving, maybe in the alcove (next to the window and not seen in this picture) and over the bed. I would like to fill the shelves with some books about Philly and other great reads. We have no shortage of books in the house and this would give me more storage for the books and also provide our guests with some good reading material. I love the shelves in the images below and would like to use these images as inspiration to build our own shelves:

(source unknown)

Since the room is pretty small I want to paint it a dark color, maybe a greenish grey and attempt to obtain a cocoon effect. I think that smaller bedrooms look much better in a darker color. I don’t think that a small room ever looks bigger with a light color. Similarly, I think a small room looks better with larger pieces of furniture, even if they take up a lot of space, instead of tiny furniture scattered around.

I think that I will also paint the lamp base in black and get a smaller end table. Also, the batik peacock art will be moving to the basement temporarily. I want one large painting over the bed.

I hope that this will be a short and inexpensive project!

I’m Back!

The nightmare is over.  It turned out that Kiran also got an infection from the hospital likely due to the stint for the IV drip.  Anway he is better, Scott is better and we are safely back in gorgeous cold and snowy Philly! I think that it will probably take me a while to get over the emotional aspects of this trip.  I generally hate blaming others or harboring emotions of resentment for things in the past because it is just such a waste of time and really only serves to drive me crazy.  For whatever reason I am still angry about Kiran and Scott getting Dengue and the circumstances surrounding the illness, my parents reaction to the illness and  the magnitude of the decisions we had to make and the knowledge that a small miscalculation on our part could have resulted in a dire situation.  So while I am (unsuccessfully) trying to parse out these emotions I haven’t started on any new house projects.

However, after seeing this picture of this mirror for the second time (I initially saw it on Living Etc.) I am inspired! Isn’t it fabulous? I have a couple large vintage mirrors just gathering dust and I would like to paint one of them like this.  Maybe I will run out and buy some paint tomorrow after work…