simple is beautiful

Stairway Inspiration

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do you ever have one of those moments when you are surfing the blogs and you find a picture that adds a little spring to your step?  A couple of weeks ago I discovered the blog, Johns Journal.  And while there is lots of inspiration there, this image makes my day a bit brighter. 

I love what she has done with this stairway.  The gallery, the lantern, the Greek key runner, and the super large image on the opposing wall.  Be still my heart.

Here is my stairway.  Almost identical no?  Never did I consider hanging a lantern there.  Our upstairs has low ceilings and at the top of the landing there is a builder grade flush mount fixture.  Yuckola.  Good news...Mr. says that when it gets cooler that he can move the box over the stairs and we will be able to hang a lantern.  We have tons of photos that I would love to add to this space and I want to find the perfect one to enlarge on the opposing wall. And I'm on the hunt for a runner.  Any suggestions of where to look for budget friendly runners? 

Recently the trend has been to paint the rail black.  What say or white?


Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Where did you purchase the drum shades in your kitchen?

    Our drum shades came from came from Uttermost  and we converted canned lights with this kit.

    Are you a designer?  Do you have a design background?

    My background is actually in clothing and textiles where I spent several years working for a designer jeans company designing/merchandising shirts for men and boys.  Then I moved on to a large manufacturer of synthetic fabric where I designed story boards for the Junior fashion market.  Once our oldest son was born, I began working part time and quickly realized that part time work came with full time demands - only in less time.  My husband and I made a few adjustments and I have been home with our boys ever since.

    I need help with my house.  Do you ever do that sort of thing?

    Yes, occasionally I consult people locally with spaces in their home.  Interior design is something that I have enjoyed since I was a wee little girl and it is my passion.  While my training is in apparel/textiles, the two are very similar.  You can read about my services here.

    I love your front door!  Can you tell me the color?

    Ever since I painted the front door blue, I have gotten so many emails and comments about it.  Recently a neighbor was researching front doors online and came across my blog.  She recognized our front door and instantly knew who the blog belonged to so she contacted me for advice on her front door color.   Small world isn't it?  Anyway, our front door is BM Whythe Blue.  I love this color and have used in as an accent throughout our home.

    A New Rug

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    I recently picked out a new rug from ATGStores.  It was tough to decide because they have so much to choose from.  We really needed a rug for our sun room so, lucky for me I found this gorgeous indoor/outdoor rug by Loloi from the Zeina collection.  We have had outdoor rugs before, but weren't completely thrilled with the quality so choosing another one felt a bit risky to me.

    Let's just say that the quality of this rug far surpasses any that I have had in the past.  Often indoor-outdoor rugs have a shiny synthetic appearance, so I was pleasantly surprised. It has the look and feel of a soft cotton and is perfect for bare-feet.  My sister-in-law was here over the weekend and she even loved it and was considering ordering one for herself.  The colors and pattern were exactly what I was looking for. 

    This rug will eventually go in the sun-room once I paint the wicker furniture, but until then, we are loving it in the kitchen.

      Guest Blogger, Emily A. Clark

      Monday, August 23, 2010

      I am so excited to share my very first guest blogger, Emily Clark, with you.  Emily lives about an hour away from me here in North Carolina and while we haven't had the opportunity to meet in person, I always enjoy reading about her inspiring projects.  She has the best luck with Craigslist and today she is going to share one of her favorite finds.

      When I think of a creating a cozy living space, bookcases always come to mind.  There's something about a collection of books and personal objects that makes a room feel so comfortable.

      So, with that thought, I was determined to find a space for some bookcases of my own.  I had planned to buy a couple of Billy bookcases from IKEA when I found these little beauties on Craigslist:

      No, I'm not totally crazy.  They were the perfect size to fit right under our stairs, and when I saw those paneled doors, I knew I was onto something.  Oh, and did I mention they were only $20 a piece?

      Fast forward a couple of  months later (I may have procrastinated a little):

      After sanding through the eight layers of neon paint underneath the brown, they were ready for a few coats of white gloss paint.

      Once they were painted and moved into the house, I painted the backs a deep navy (Stunning by Benjamin Moore).  Painting or papering the backs of your bookcases is the easiest way to give them instant style, and makes them already appear more filled before you even start accessorizing.

      To style them, I used lots of old books (or took the dust jackets off of newer ones) and added in some favorite black and white family photos.

      I had several older accessories that were sitting in boxes in my garage, so I got them out and sprayed them white as well to give them a fresh look.  I like the way they pop against the navy.  If you don't have older accessories to use, one of my best resources is Goodwill.  There's always an abundance of brass candlesticks, trays, bowls and knick-knacks that can be easily updated with spray paint.

      Thanks to Rene for letting me share one of my favorite Craigslist finds.  If you would like to see the rest of this room and more of my furniture makeovers, be sure to stop by my blog.

      Thanks again Emily! 

      Happy Weekend and Fun Links

      Friday, August 20, 2010

      I wanted to leave you with a few pictures of the wildflowers that were blooming in the mountains last weekend.  The cooler climate and frequent showers make everything so much prettier there than at home - another reason I love visiting.  Just as a side note, the blonde horse never takes her eyes off of the co-editor.

      So tell me, do you have big plans this weekend?  This is the last weekend before school starts, ugh, the "s" word.  We have family here for the weekend and have lots to do so I won't be doing much blogging for the next couple of days.

      Inspiring Links:

      Hooked On Houses - Play Room
      Everything LEB - Tres Chic
      Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone - A Mod Beach Cottage
      Isabella and Max Rooms - Roller Shades Made Pretty
      Remodeled Cottage - via Green Street

      Have a great weekend!

      I am sharing this with Southern in My Heart.

      Everything I Love

      Thursday, August 19, 2010

      Everything I Love is a great little girlie store located in W. Jefferson, NC.  Picture a feminine boutique with old world styling and modern day touches.  It reminds me of Anthro only smaller and more intimate.  It is located across the street from The Artists' Theater - perfect.
      While Everything I Love has a wonderful selection of dresses, lingerie, and Frye footwear, I am always drawn to the accessories and the decor.
      I actually took this photo last winter of the ever changing window display.  Who knew tulle wrapped around a mannequin could be so beautiful.
       Everything I Love has....just that.

      Queen Anne's Lace

      Wednesday, August 18, 2010

      Being in the mountains last weekend reminded me of how much I used to love the wild flower, Queens Anne's Lace.  When I was a little girl, I would hop onto my bike with a banana seat and blue tires, and go in search of the flowers.

      As much as I favor white flowers now, my younger version preferred colorful flowers, so Mom and Dad taught me a little trick with food coloring.

      Over the weekend, we decided to try it again.  I used basic blue and green food coloring - then red and blue were mixed to make purple.  Simply follow the directions on the box.  1-2" of water was added to the glass.
      The next morning, this is what they looked like.

      This is a fun project for kids of all ages, even old ones like me.  Let me know if you try it.

      Just so you know, blue tires leave very cool blue skid marks on the road when you slam on brakes.

      Ashe County Farmer's Market

      Tuesday, August 17, 2010

      We are fortunate to have family in the NC mountains whom we visit once a month, most months of the year.  This week, I am sharing some of my favorite things about Ashe County, where the bulk of America's Christmas trees are grown - or so I am told.  Today I will share the farmer's market.

      It seems that mountain people have always had the right idea when it comes to growing your own food and recycling.  For generations, they have lived simply.  Every time I visit the Ashe County Farmer's Market, I am reminded of this.

      Can't you just hear Barbara Mandrel singing, "I was country, when country wasn't cool"?  I think that is why I like visiting this area so much.  When we go for the weekend, we unplug.  The simple life, if only for a day or two, is very nice.

      Most farmers have small offerings of hand grown and hand picked, organic produce - perfect in every way.

      Have you ever seen mushrooms for sale that are still on the branch?

      Two retired gentlemen tie flies to fill their spare time - truly an art form.  Fly fishing is big along the New River when the trout are plentiful.

      Another gentleman makes walking sticks and sling shots, a favorite of our boys.  No worries, they don't shoot animals, only each other.  Just kidding.

      Mom has a collection of these pine trees which are almost mandatory in a mountain home.  No two are the same, just like in nature.

      I couldn't resist snapping a picture of this bumper sticker on the way back to the car.  A man snickered when he caught me in action.

      The Artists' Theater

      Monday, August 16, 2010

        Over the weekend, Mom and I popped into a great new store/gallery in West Jefferson, NC.  The Artists' Theater is right down my alley with a perfect combination of old and new.  I walked inside and fell in love.

        While many antique stores have that antique feel, this gallery has struck a balance by using antiques, local art, and modern accessories.  Just to make it a little neater, The Artists' Theater is tucked into a building that was built around 1900 and has been everything from a Ford dealership in the 1920's to a movie theater.  The old wood floors reflect years of wear and have been covered in a satin finish, maintaining that old/new feel.  "Theater" style velvet curtains hang in between vignettes as a nod to the old theater it once was.

        This is the last full week before school starts, so I will not be taking on any major projects, but instead will be spending as much time with our boys as they will allow.  Most of the school supplies have been purchased, but we still need a few things, so we will hit the stores today.

        To make it easy on myself and to share a little bit of why I love Ashe County, I will be sharing some of my favorite things from the area with you this week.  If this isn't your thing, please come back next week, when I'm sure to be rambling on about fabric or paint.

        Have a great week!

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