Corners of Shame

We moved in to our new house last October after doing extensive renovations. While I love our home and it has come a LONG way from where it was when we bought it, there are still some major projects that will need to be tackled down the road (like when we have money). There are also some small projects that I hope to accomplish in the next weeks and months, including planting some herbs and vegetables, putting together flower boxes for the front windows, doing something with our fireplace, and fixing up our corners of shame.

I call them corners of shame because they are two corners of our home, right out in the open, that are messy eyesores and not functional. Or in some ways, maybe they’re too functional.

Today I’ll address the living room corner. I could definitely use some ideas and help! The focal wall of our living area has a fireplace with three to four feet of space on either side.  Our television is mounted above it and a sound bar sits on the mantle (not my choice). To the right of the fireplace is my first corner of shame. Behold:



IMG_4807It took a lot of willpower not to clean it up before posting pictures, but hey, this is what it looks like on any given day so I’m being honest. Let’s review what’s housed here.

  • Baxter’s crate that he goes in when we aren’t home
  • Mason jar of dog treats (because doesn’t everyone have that?)
  • Wine fridge
  • Cable box
  • Modem
  • Telephone
  • Subwoofer for the sound bar
  • Router
  • That yellow and brown piece of “art” is a tree from The Lorax that Nolan made
  • Random dirty white balloon that we use to play the occasional game of balloon volleyball
  • Behind the crate are white plastic hockey boards in need of repair for Nolan’s hockey game

I stare at this corner for much of the day and it pains me. With few exceptions, we need all these things and we need them there. But what the area has become is just a tower of ugly. In an ideal world, I want a cabinet-type piece of furniture to house the wine fridge and all our electronic mumbo jumbo; however, we still need the remote controls to work on the cable box. The fridge needs to “breathe” so the cabinet has to have some sort of open back.

There are tons of armoire-type pieces on the market, but ideally I want something no taller than the mantle, which is about four and a half feet high. I also haven’t forgotten that any piece of furniture will require a new home for Baxter’s crate, and there aren’t a lot of options.

So readers, any ideas? Help!


Bathroom Makeover

When our house was on the market, it was listed as having 1.5 baths. As it turns out, that isn’t entirely true. It’s really 1.25. Apparently back in 1929 they didn’t think all bathrooms needed sinks! Here it is in all its unsightliness.

Brown splatter paint wallpaper? Check. Squishy old toilet seat? Sure thing. Fake stick-on tiles? You bet!

I thought about adjusting the picture so the lighting was better but then I decided against it so you can see how dark and dreary it really is!

This is part of the reason it’s so dark. This lighting fixture is worse in person, if that’s even possible.

Then there’s this. The giant wooden thing that covers a rusty, hot pipe. Jealous?

In a month or two we’re having a few rooms painted and some other unsightly wallpaper taken down. I want to use wallpaper in this bathroom, change the window treatment and replace the light fixture. The problem? I can’t choose! Actually that’s not true, this wallpaper from Ballard is what I want to use:

Pretty, right? It’s $119 for a double roll and I need four of them. I’m not really interested in spending $500 to wallpaper an itty bitty bathroom.

This one from Graham and Brown is similar but it’s a little more mod and I don’t know that I want that. It’s $60 for a double roll and that’s a lot more palatable.

Walnut Wallpapers has really unique and fabulous papers but they’re $156 a double roll. Here are a few I love:

I know it’s weird, but I love these whales. Especially for my tiny little bathroom.

Gorgeous green trellis is very Kate Spade/country club.

Parisian carnival, soft, airy, pretty.

On American Blinds and Wallpaper they have a few from INK that are ok:

These are all about $50 for a double roll so we’re talking less than half the price of the paper from Ballard. Hmmmm.

Which ones do you like? Leave a comment and let me know!

Our first Christmas and some before and afters

Now that Christmas is winding down I thought it would be a good time to snap some pictures of our house for the family and friends who haven’t seen it yet. Below are pictures of the living room from the day of our walk through, back in July.

The bay window was covered with vertical blinds (yuck), which we recently replaced with a double curtain rod to hang cotton panels and sheers.

Hey there previous owner! Thanks for not telling us about all the things that don’t work in the house! The dining room is no longer orange. I mean really, orange??

Another glimpse of the previously orange dining room. Oy.

Finally, the plastic blinds we were happy to replace with fabric roman shades. Our fireplace is not in working order (big shock there), but it should be within a week or two when we have the damper replaced. Aren’t the floors pretty?

Here are a few from right after Christmas:

Baxter is in the forefront, happy to show off his favorite room. Those are our new roman shades from Smith and Noble, and those large panels in front of the bay window give us privacy at night but easily open up for a lot of light during the day.

This is a secondary seating area that we use when people visit us (hint: visit us!). That little loveseat thing is called a studio sofa and it’s Nate Berkus for Home Shopping Network. Yes, I bought something from HSN. I ordered it online rather than calling the show to chat with the hosts.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…and in our case, push pins.

That’s my fake garland. Maybe next year I’ll splurge for the real stuff.

Stay tuned for more before and afters!

O Christmas Tree

In a moment of weakness, I let Matt convince me that we shouldn’t get a real tree this year. We have a 4-foot fake one from Target that is quite lovely, but one of the experiences I was looking forward to in our new house was finding a big, beautiful REAL tree to ring in the Christmas season. In his defense, he is totally right that getting a tree at this point is a bad idea.  It’s already December 6 (how did THAT happen?), we have electricians coming to do some major work in our living room this week, and we would have to get all the stuff that goes with a tree – the lights, more decorations, a tree stand, a bigger tree skirt … you get the picture.

To fill the void of having a big tree, I’ll just PINE over this picture-perfect one.

a traditional tree from Pottery Barn

Finally, a video I love about the process of getting, decorating, obsessing about, and disposing of the tree.