The Sofa Hunt

J wanted me to title this “The Hunt for the Red Hot Sofa.” I told him that only worked if the sofa we were hunting for was actually red. Hint – It’s not.

While I do know the sofa isn’t going to be red, I’m not exactly sure what color it’s going to be yet. The jury is still out on that one. I do know that most of my plans for the house this year have been pushed back and derailed slightly due to a few unexpected bumps in the road.

That also means that (embarrassingly) that we are just now getting the powder room reno really going this weekend. The wallpaper removal has been a nightmare – I swear it’s like they didn’t use glue on three of the walls and then put all the rest of the glue on the last one, and it will never come down. Up until last night, I had debated ripping out drywall… Dramatic? Maybe.

Because I was often taking extended breaks from the frustration of removing wallpaper, I used that time to search for our new sofa.

There are so many options out there, friends. And let me tell you, the good ones are NOT cheap. That means that this decision is weighing extra heavy on me – I don’t want to pick the wrong thing and then regret it for any reason, be that durability, comfort, look, or scale!

So, knowing all of those factors, these are the criteria I am using for my hunt:

  1. Must be a deep seat that allows for lounging. We only have one living space in our house, so this sofa will serve as our Friday-night Netflix binge spot and Sunday afternoon nap spot 90% of the time. I know that super deep is not great for entertaining in a more formal setting, but let’s be real, when our friends and family come over we typically all lounge together anyway. We just aren’t formal people.
  2. Must have a classic enough look to stand the test of time. We are certainly not made of money and I can’t change my mind about aesthetic in two years and buy a new one. This is definitely an investment piece! I’m going to let the accent chairs bring in the modern (and dare I say, trendy?) flair that I’m looking for. They are easier to replace if I get sick of them.
  3. Slipcovered… or at least zip off covers. I’ve said it before on this space, and I will say it again – I’ve seen the dirt accumulation on our current slipcovered Ikea sofa (that we wash regularly) and I will never be unable to see it. Upholstery gets GROSS, so the ability to wash it (even if it’s having it dry cleaned every so often) is important to me!
  4. Must have an option for a bench seat (Maximum of two cushions, but preferably just one)! Our current sofa has three cushions and I’m constantly trying to fix them. It makes me crazier than I already am, and no one wants to see that! Hopefully a sofa with one, larger cushion will stay in place better, and no one will fall into the crack between the cushions when we are trying to sit multiple people on the sofa at once.

I have so many inspiration images saved for living rooms, and I’ve noticed that most of them have sofas that are basically the perfect combo of all of the above traits – Interesting how form and function are really aligned for me here!

Design via the always incredible Amber Interiors.

I love these identical sofas facing each other. This layout is what I imagined for our living room the first time we toured our house. You can see here that these sofas are extra deep for lounging and have really pretty classic lines (with a skirt!).

Jon and I were in a Room and Board about 6 months ago and saw the most amazing sofa that was somewhere between an army and an olive green. I was completely obsessed with it (especially considering I had already picked out a similar color tile from Fireclay for our fireplace). I’ve been smitten with the idea ever since… That’s why I love this sofa in Katie Hackworth’s home. Something about the green chaise with the bench seat just gets me. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to commit to the color long term, but I figure if I can tile the fireplace in that color, surely I could deal with the sofa? We’ll see…

Design via my latest design crush, Katie Hodges.

Again with the identical sofas… I’m sensing a trend here in my preferences maybe? Ha! These have the perfect bench seat – I bet they are GREAT for napping.

Design via Studio McGee

This leather beauty is from Studio McGee. While I probably can’t afford leather, I can still dream! Besides the fact that it’s made from a buttery soft hide, I also really like the lines of this sofa. Shouldn’t be too surprising considering that it has a similar aesthetic to all of the others I’m drawn to – classic (but clean!) lines and a lovely bench seat.

I still haven’t completely decided, but I have a really great list of options in the running. All of them have a bench seat option or two larger cushions, are extra deep, have zip off covers (and a few are even fully slipcovered!), and most of them come in multiple fabric offerings. They all also can be a sofa OR a sectional, which is great for me because I’m still trying to decide what layout I want for the living room (more on that whole saga later)!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

So… of these options, which one would you pick?

Design Guide | Sourcing Original Art

Can you spot J in this photo?

Working in design means that I get to be friends with lots of really talented designers, and on occasion I get invited to their homes. The designers I work with are all client-centric problem solvers, so it’s not often that we see a whole lot of anyone’s personal interior style in the workplace. When I get invited into their homes however, it’s like an invitation to get to know them.

I recently went to a party at a designer friend’s home and completely fell in love with her art collection. It was minimal and elegantly displayed, and I felt like it gave me a special glimpse into who she is.

This is what I love about art – it’s deeply personal, potentially more personal than any other element in your home. It’s aesthetic isn’t impacted by function, like furniture or architecture. It’s purely about what speaks to the viewer. Therefore, my number one rule about art in the home is that if you love it, you should display it. I don’t care if it’s a piece you bought from a high-end gallery or a reproduction painting you got at a big-box store.

For my home, I tend to prefer original artwork. That can be a tough preference when you’re on a minimal budget. Despite that , I’ve found some great resources for incredible original artwork. Some cost a little more then others (like a custom commissioned piece), but others may just be the cost of printing and framing!

Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media has become a prime resource for me to find unique treasures! There are so, so many talented artists that are using Instagram as a platform to market their work. Searching hashtags or going to the “discover” page has led me to tons of Instagram artists, many of which sell their artwork! I’ve also found lots of sources via other bloggers and designers I follow on Instagram. Some of the artists I enjoy following on Instagram right now are Brynn Casey @brynnwcasey.art, Laurie Anne Gonzalez @laurieanneart, Jessica Bush @jessicabushart, and my dear friend  Caroline Riley @carolinerileyart. There are about a million more, and tons that I follow that I can’t even think of.

Online Art Shops

I don’t know if it’s a millennial thing, or an evolved internet thing, but I feel like there are actually so many good resources online where you can affordably purchase an original piece of art. The list below is barely scratching the surface of all that is out there, but they are some of my favorite places to window shop for the perfect piece!

Local Shows/Galleries/Coffee Shops

Support local business and you may just find some great local art! There are three galleries right around my neighborhood, one of which happens to be located in my favorite neighborhood coffee shop! Since I don’t live in your neighborhood, my best advice on this one is to get out and explore. you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find. Usually the artists displaying their work in these makeshift galleries are just starting out, and the prices per piece (while not as inexpensive as big box store art) are often much more affordable than lots of original art. At the very least, you can build a list of local artists you love and save up for a special piece. It’s worth it, I promise!

Personal Photography

Any photo that captures the imagination is good in my book… I also love anything that is of family or friends (especially when they are vintage!). Right now, I’m wanting to hang some photos we took on trips together in our home.  We bought the frames for our dining room with the express intention of faming some of our photographs from a trip we took to Ireland a few years ago. Long story short, don’t be afraid to hang your own photos. They can serve as a great conversation piece when you have guests, and bring up some of your favorite memories the rest of the time!

Vintage Art

This category includes both vintage works of art, but also vintage textiles, objects, or books. We have both in our home! One of my favorite pieces (that I need to get framed for Jon ASAP!) is a vintage book page describing all of the rugby positions. I bought it off of Etsy as an anniversary gift when we were newly married and super broke. Other vintage artwork in our home are paintings that were inherited. I don’t know who bought them when, but I loved them so much I had them framed and have moved them from apartment to apartment and now to our house.

Family Heirlooms

My grandmother and grandfather on my dad’s side were artists (she was primarily a painter, though she dabbled in lots of kinds of art, and he was a ceramicist). My grandmother on my mom’s side also painted and was a talented seamstress. Pretty much anything they’ve made is an automatic yes from me… I love all of it and am honored to display it in my home! This is the biggest category for me I would say that most of the art in my home right now (and most that I want to have framed and hung!) is something that one of my grandparents made. We have a zebra drawing hung in the living room that my grandma drew on the back of a paper bag. She would probably find it hilarious that we are displaying it so prominently, because I don’t think she ever intended to it be framed. We have a series beach sketches that she did on trace paper hanging up our stairwell. I have two beach paintings my grandpa did framed and waiting to be hung in our master. We also have a sculpture my grandpa did on my fireplace and little ceramic bowls that he made, holding jewelry and bobby pins, strategically located near sinks and bedside.

DIY

Finally, if you really can’t find what you’re looking for, why not try your hand at DIYing? You never know… you may just find the perfect new hobby!

Happy New Year!

 Welcome to 2019, friends!

I can’t believe we’ve already crossed into another year… time flies when you’re having fun, I guess! Last year was a doozy. It started out with a crazy house hunt followed by the purchase of our home, and ended with a promotion at my day job. The middle part is all kind of a blur at this point, but we have done so much work on this house and I’m really proud of what we accomplished.

Before we even moved in we painted as much of the house as we could. The office/2nd guest bedroom, our bedroom, and our bathroom are the only spaces that still need a fresh coat of paint. We’ve also painted most of the doors. We’re down to closet doors and bathroom doors that need painted at this point. Unfortunately that project didn’t start out how I wanted (we’re on our second color!), and it’s still something I’m not 100% happy with. All good lessons going forward I guess! One project I am super happy with is replacing all of the boob lights with this one. They look infinitely better and seeing them installed throughout our hallways gives me so much joy. They change the look of everything!

Hallway Light | Dining Chairs | Dining Light | Rug | Table (Antique, Similar)| Vases

The next big effort dining room because it was the one room that we didn’t have any furniture for. We are about 95% there (window treatments and art are the final touches), and I love how it’s turning out. The lesson I’ve learned here is that we need to take it one room at a time. There is a satisfaction with planning something and watching it come together, even if it’s a slow process and even if you have to course-correct along the way. Sometimes the course-correction is the best part (and where the most creativity happens!), but that doesn’t seem to exist for me if I don’t have a good plan and overall vision for the space from the start.

The second area that we’ve spent the most time and money on in 2019 are some of the functional aspects of the house. We immediately replaced our back door and all of the locks, fixed the dishwasher, got the carpets cleaned, had some repair work done on the roof, and replaced an air-conditioning unit. Later we bought a termite bond, had the fireplace inspected, and Jon added onto our fence. That was probably the most life-changing project because now we can open the door and let Remi out to our backyard without walking him to the gate. He loves it and so do we!

Finally, we focused some attention on the outside. My mom and I did some landscaping in the front yard this summer, adding flowers and tearing out dead plants. And towards the end of the year, I focused my attention to the back porch for Jon. When asked what his priorities were for the house, he kept coming back to having a place to sit outside, so for his 30th birthday he got 4 Georgia-made adirondack chairs. Then for Christmas he got an outdoor cooler and a grill, so between that and the new fence addition, we will be ready to host outside come spring!

Outdoor String Lights | Chairs

Just looking at that list makes me tired and proud all at once, considering most of it was DIY over time while trying to stick to a budget. That being said,  I’m ready to hit the ground running in 2019 and finish some more projects! Thus far what we’ve completed has been mostly out of necessity and I’m ready to move on to some more of the fun stuff!

What projects do you have planned for 2019?

Doing up the Dining Room | Part 2

Even before we bought the house, I had already picked out a dining chair. In fact… I think I’ve wanted this chair since I specified it as a guest chair on the first law firm that I worked on when I started my design career. And when I saw that they now come in all black (I’m an all black everything kinda gal!), I knew it was fate. Its the perfect super classic designer chair to pair with a beautiful, antique table.

I got a running start by painting the dining room white, purchasing a table a few months ago from Scott’s Antique Market (that is a whole different experience that I’m going to have to write about another time…), and almost immediately purchasing a rug.

The part that I’ve been struggling with lately is lighting. I started with design boards showing 12 (yes, I said 12!) options, and I narrowed, and narrowed, and narrowed some more. I ended up with three favorites…

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Then I eliminated option 1. I love the idea of it, but it just didn’t feel right for my own home. Then I did a poll on Instagram for the other two, and everyone seemed to gravitate towards option 2. Now, don’t get me wrong… I like option 2. I wouldn’t have even considered it an option if I didn’t like it. But something about it just didn’t feel right. Then a designer friend of mine told me that she liked option 2 because it felt a little “funky” and counteracted the traditional table and it clicked. I needed funky! Option 2 is more funky than Option 1, but it also feels super dressy to me and that’s just not really my style. So I did what any reasonable person would do, and I pulled a third (thirteenth?) option to amp up the funky.

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And so that is how I got to this option with the classic (but kind of funky) “praying mantis” fixture designed by French lighting designer Serge Mouille. At first I was worried that it was too short to work with our super tall ceilings, but then I searched for some pictures of it in dining rooms, and I’m in love! Let me point out… all of the images have a classic chair and a touch of traditional. And bonus… this light may not interfere with the art I want to hang above our board and batten because it mounts so high. When something is right, it’s right!

Elle Decor Sweden
Via Elle Decor Sweden

Colombe Design Via ARch Di
Colombe Design via Architectural Digest

Casas AD
Via Casas AD

Camilla Styles.jpg
Design by Bachman Clem, Photo by Belathee, Via Camilla Styles

Dining Room Sources

Chair | Table | Rug 1/4 | Rug 2 | Rug 3| Light 1 | Light 2 | Light 3 |Light 4

The Big, Long List of Home Improvements!

We knew when we bought this house that there would be some work to do, but I might have underestimated just how many things I would want to change. It’s kind of a domino effect… you start to change one thing, and then it makes something that was seemingly unnoticeable before more apparent. For example, we’ve painted the entire downstairs white, and suddenly our white outlet covers don’t look so white anymore (and now that detail has been added to this list)!

I thought compiling everything together so that I can track my progress would be smart, so that is how the list below came to be! Keep in mind, I don’t plan on doing all of these things at once… this list will likely span MANY years that we are in this house. I’m also willing to admit that not everything on this list may get completed, but I’m okay with that. This is more of a “wish list” of things I would want to change/fix/adjust.

General

  1. Replace the air conditioner
  2. Save for (and replace!) the roof
  3. Clean and repair gutters
  4. Replace locks
  5. Replace back door This took waaaaaay too long, but it’s done and it’s beautiful! And secure, which is important.
  6. Have carpet cleaned upstairs Had this completed before we moved in!
  7. Replace all “boob” lights (why do they even make these?!)
  8. Replace all lamps (bulb in a light fixture) with LEDs
  9. Replace all switches/cover plates with upgraded options
  10. Replace all door hardware with upgraded options
  11. Have the ducts cleaned
  12. Refinish Hardwoods

DSC_0585This is what we started with… gotta love the green paint!

Kitchen

  1. Clean
  2. Fix the dishwasher – J ordered the part for this… it was only $20 and was a quick and easy fix.
  3. Fix the garbage disposal
  4. Paint (everything… walls, ceiling, trim, doors, temporary island) – Almost there!
  5. Clean up and repair butcher block on temporary island
  6. Replace closet carpet with something intended for wet areas
  7.  Kitchen Renovation (eventually… not any time soon!)
    • Cabinets
    • Backsplash
    • Counter tops
    • New, custom island
    • New sink and faucet
    • New range hood

Powder Room

  1. Clean
  2. Remove wall paper (and maybe replace with new wallpaper?)
  3. Replace Mirror
  4. Replace all hardware (towel bars, toilet paper holder, etc) – These are ordered… not complete yet though…
  5. Paint (everything… walls, ceiling, trim, fireplace, doors)

DSC_0581.jpgThe living room before move in. The wall decals were interesting, but I decided that they weren’t exactly my style… ha! You can see here that even the dogs aren’t quite sure about what is going on.

Living Room

  1. Deep Clean
  2. Replace fireplace tile – I’ve ordered some samples for this and have a good idea of what I want. Budget is the only hurdle.
  3. New furniture and rugs for living room
  4. Paint (everything… walls, ceiling, trim, fireplace, doors)
  5. Replace ceiling fan with accent lighting

DSC_0584.jpgThe dining room has this awesome board and batten detailing. When we finished painting it all white, my mom said it felt like an old house back when one of the only paint color options for inside was a clean white. I kind of love that idea!

Dining Room

  1. Deep Clean
  2. Purchase dining room furniture/rug/art – We got the table last weekend… making progress!
  3. New light fixture
  4. Paint (everything… walls, ceiling, trim)

Outside

  1. Powerwash deck
  2. Fix gate
  3. Powerwash porch
  4. Powerwash driveway
  5. Paint entire house
  6. Remove rocks (there are a bunch in the backyard)
  7. Add fence to enclose back door
  8. Landscaping
  9. Patio furniture

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DSC_0594.jpgThe guest bath was painted this lovely shade of teal, which made it very dark in there!

Guest Bath

  1. Clean
  2. Paint (everything… you know the drill!)
  3. Replace tile
  4. Paint vanity
  5. New counters
  6. New faucets/bath hardware
  7. New Mirror
  8. New hardware (towel rods, toilet paper, etc)

DSC_0608Pros of this bathroom – High ceilings, two sinks, big shower. Cons? Basically every finish. I have big plans to change this room eventually!

Master Bath

  1. Clean
  2. Paint (everything… you know the drill!)
  3. Replace tile
  4. Paint vanity
  5. New counters
  6. New faucet
  7. New Mirror
  8. New hardware (towel rods, toilet paper, etc)

DSC_0598

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DSC_0604.JPGAll of the bedrooms need lots of paint and new window treatments. Eventually we will also take out all the carpet. I’m looking forward to that day!

Bedrooms

  1. Clean
  2. Paint – Painted the Guest. Office needs to be painted still… soon enough!
  3. Window treatments
  4. Closet systems
  5. New lighting/fans
  6. Furniture
  7. Eventually replace floors with wood

Quick poll… how many of you own your own homes? Did you have a list this long when you moved in? I was never into the idea of building a home before buying this one. I might understand the appeal now!