Category Archives: Our Starter Home

Lighting Upgrades

After we moved in six years ago, I began making changes to the house that would update things a little without spending much money.  Round two of changing things has included spending a little more money to get things that I really like.  I’ve done a lot of this type of upgrading in the living room with a new chair, rug, lamps and tables.

Most recently, I have gotten a few new lights.  Bradley has installed them all for me without any grief.  I purchased two flush-mount lights that I have had my eye on for a while for the upstairs and downstairs hallways.

In the foyer and guest bedroom, I chose semi-flush mount lights with touches of crystal.  Based on the lamps I got for the living room and the teardrop mini chandelier in our bedroom, I guess I can officially call myself a fan of the updated crystal/chrome mix.

Help around the house

We finally got around to hiring some help for a few house projects.  All included projects high up off the ground that we A) don’t have a ladder to get to and B) don’t have a desire to do ourselves.  Years ago, I purchased a pre-owned light fixture to replace the gold and glass stairwell light.  It wasn’t anything special – this isn’t our forever home – but it was a step in the right direction.  Until now, it had been collecting dust on top of the cabinet in our laundry room.  I had a hard time photographing it.


Last year, I started patching all the dings and settling cracks throughout the hallways and stairwell.  The paint color in these areas was the last remaining one from previous homeowners.  We bought paint from Sherwin Williams color-matched to the Toasty Grey color I had used in our spare bathrooms and laundry room.

Here is a picture of the color before.  It was more of a greenish khaki:

Finally, a couple of pieces of decorative trim from the highest gable on the front of our house had come off during some fierce winds a couple of years ago.  Bradley’s dad had brought his extension ladder over and put it back up for us last year, but when another storm came through, it popped right back off.  Hopefully it is fully secured up there now.

Office on the Move

I finally had to admit something to myself.  Even though having a separate dining room was on our wishlist when we were looking for our first house, we have only eaten in there a handful of times since moving in six years ago.  On the other hand, Bradley uses his office for doing freelance work at our house every day.  I hated that he was tucked away and secluded so much of the time.  So I asked if he would be interested in moving his office downstairs.  He could have easy access to the kitchen and when I’m home, we can see each other more.  We decided to give it a try.  

We did not repaint this time and we haven’t changed the light fixture, but we did move the bookshelves around to better accommodate his L-shaped desk.  I got his orange curtains up and all of his vintage cameras on the shelves, but we haven’t worked on changing out the art yet.  We still have three large Ikea frames that we purchased years ago for his office, but never found artwork for them.

I wasn’t ready to throw in the dining room “towel” yet, so for now the table and chairs are acting as a crafting table in the abandoned upstairs office.  I bought a wooden folding table for that rare occasion that we would need a place for guests to eat.

New Rug

I’ve had my eye out for a bigger rug for the living room pretty much since I bought the wonderfully inexpensive one two years ago.  I also thought it would be nice to bring in some more color with our next rug.  Up until recently, the least expensive rugs I found that I really liked were over $600.  About a month ago, I found a nice 7.5 X 9.5 green hand-tufted rug on Tuesday Morning‘s site for $299 with free shipping.  That would give me an extra 27″ width and 24″ length over my current rug.  I knew I would never find another large rug for such a good price, so I ordered it.

Initially it has shed a lot, but I love the pile and it still looks great.  I love the added color, and that our rug now goes under the front legs of both couches and the side chair.

Bradley got a new camera that is somewhere between  a point-and-shoot and a DSLR that should make taking pictures for the blog easier for me, and make keeping up with (and actually using) a camera on trips easier for both of us.

For comparison, here is how the living room looked two years ago.  Lots of changes! Pillows, tables, lamps, chair, and now the rug.

Houndstooth in the Living Room

I talked about one of my favorite fabric designers earlier with a teaser about some green and white houndstooth fabric.  I have finally finished the projects using this fabric  (with the help of my mom).  The fabric is  Square Pegs Kiwi by Robert Allen.  First I decided to recover the seats of our bar stools after I had someone comment about making them pop with color when I did the kitchen redo reveal.

My mom was kind enough to make some 21″ pillow covers for the living room.  I don’t like a lot of throw pillows – they always just end up tossed aside or on the floor, but a few can really help add a little color to the living room.  I have a few drab pillows that I bought when we first got these couches from Bradley’s parents, but they look deflated, cheap and lifeless – although they are really soft for laying around, so I keep them, just not for their looks.

I have been seeing a lot of articles recently about using throw pillows and the takeaways for me included using larger sizes (18″ is the very least), over stuffing them with feather inserts (I used 23″ inserts in these 21″ covers), and not doing the ‘karate chop.’  I didn’t realize I had been committing such a faux paus!  I got my feather/down inserts from Crate & Barrel.  These couches have such a strange lined pattern with an odd color scheme, so finding pillows that don’t totally clash is hard to do.  I like the houndstooth with it though, it is fun.  I have enough fabric left for a third pillow, so I am thinking I will make one more.