April 23, 2015

Our Living Room

Hi all!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in several days.  Here in Michigan we've had rain, snow, sleet, wind and freezing temperatures.  The one thing we haven't had is sunshine.  So even though I've finished several projects recently it's been too dark and cloudy to take any pictures.  Today is not really bright but it's better than it's been!

Our living room has been through a lot of changes since we've owned our house. But recently I found a beautiful pair of Bergere chairs and was inspired to change it one more time.

The chairs were originally covered in a beautiful quality red and green plaid.  I'll share with you in the next few days how I changed them.

The love seat and Bergere chairs are all covered with drop cloths. I love the imperfect, nubby texture of the fabric.  It's the perfect balance between casual and elegant for me. And they are so affordable. Especially if you're wanting to cover several pieces of furniture.
I also made a casual slip cover for this round ottoman from the same drop cloths.
The cabinet in the hallway that leads to the entry hall has also recently received a make over.
I'll also show you in the next week or so how I changed it.

I slip covered our dining room chairs with the same drop cloths.  They're so easy to throw in the washing machine after having our grand children over for dinner.
There are still several things I want to do.  I want to paint this end table.

The truth is - I'm chicken!  It's in perfect condition and I love it but I think I want it to match the other furniture.  I painted the finish on those but I keep hesitating with this table.

I think I'd also like to move our piano downstairs.  There's a good wall for it down there, the only one who plays it is our son who's travelling the world right now (Australia, New Zealand, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kathmandu, Dubai, and then Europe!) and I'd like to use this wall for something else.
I'm also thinking about repainting our secretary - making it a little less white.  AND the biggest change will be taking the patio door out of this room and replacing it with a window that matches our family room.

The contractor will be here next week to start on the patio door in the dining room, a new front door and 3 new windows in our master bedroom and bathroom.  I'm very happy about these changes!

I'll be back in the next couple of days and let you know how I changed our Bergere chairs and painted the cabinet.

Hope you're having a great day!

love and blessings~

" She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

Paint color - Valspar "Natural" in Satin
Rug - World Market (sheds terribly)
Love seat, all chairs, table, ottoman - Second Time Around - now Furniture City
Desk - gift from family
Fireplace Mantel - built by my husband
Garden stool - HomeGoods
Blue and White - HomeGoods and Hobby Lobby
Mirror - antique store in Virginia
Art above fireplace - Kirkland's 10 years ago
Art above the piano - Joss&Main

I'm joining these Linky Parties:
From My Front Porch to Yours
Savvy Southern Style
Joy in our Home
DIY by Design
French Country Cottage
Common Ground
Imparting Grace
Cupcakes and Crinoline

April 16, 2015

White and Gold Table Setting

One of the many things I love about French Country is that it lends itself to bling as easily as it does to rustic.  Even though our table is chunky and more French Farmhouse, I love adding all the crystal and flowers that I love!
I started with a white table cloth and then added gold chargers and gold stemmed wine glasses.  I've read that white dishes always make food look more appetizing and that makes sense.  I layered my dishes and then added white flowers and linens.

I love crystal and add my water glasses to every table setting - no matter how casual.  My parents brought this crystal water pitcher back from Europe.

The little gold-edged butterfly dishes once belonged to my paternal grandmother.
And my mom-in-law gave me these beautiful antique gold rose candle holders at my bridal shower.

White is always so fresh and inviting - no matter what season.
Have a beautiful day!

Love and blessings~

 "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows."  Psalms 23:5 

I'm joining these parties:

Our New China Cabinet

I've been thinking about showing you our dining room for a while but the funny thing is that if I had shown it to you last week it would look completely different than it does today!

On Saturday, our local Salvation Army had a rummage sale.  I saw the sale on Facebook and spotted a china cabinet that looked remarkably like what I'd been hoping to find for a while.  The Facebook post said the sale started at 9am and it was 9:20.  I think I "strolled in" about 9:25.  lol

And it was just what I wanted!  For $100!  I didn't even bargain.  After all, the money was all going to the Salvation Army and the china cabinet was perfect!  And in excellent condition.

So after three trips from the church to our house, and moving our old china cabinet to the family room and our grandfather clock to the entry hall and getting the new china cabinet into the house and into the dining room - I have the china cabinet of my dreams!

And it fits perfectly!  If it was an inch wider it would have been too big.  I love that it has three shelves and that I have all this additional storage.  I love the French Country curved top and the beautiful inlay on the doors.

I've recovered my dining room chairs since you saw them last.  I had made slipcovers for the chairs in a white duck and foolishly did not pre-wash the fabric.  When I washed them, they shrunk so much that I couldn't get them back on the chairs!  So I made new slipcovers from drop cloths in an oatmeal color.  This time I pre-washed them and made them a lot looser.

I love our new china cabinet with the dining room table that my husband made.  It's the perfect balance between rustic and elegant.

We are waiting right now to get new windows installed in our dining room, in our living room and in our upstairs master bedroom.  So hopefully, I'll have that to show you soon.  I think it will make a big difference in the appearance of our dining room and living room.

I took these pictures on a cloudy morning hoping I could get better detail.  Essentially one wall of this room is a window and it makes very hard to get good pictures.

Here's the view looking into our kitchen. Our living room is to the left and I will show it to you soon.

Hope you're having a great week!

Love and blessings~

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38,39

I'm joining these parties:
Savvy Southern Style
A Stroll Thru Life
Posed Perfection
Stone Gable
From My Front Porch to Yours
Dixie Delights
French Country Cottage
Miss Mustard Seed

April 14, 2015

The ABC's of Decorating

No matter what your style is, there are some basic things that can help you make your home look and feel beautiful!  I don't have a degree in Interior Design but after years of reading books and magazines and studying what works, I've learned some basics.

Here are a few good places to start -

Your room needs to have:
-a functional lay-out
-a balance of height
-good scale
-a balance of visual weight
-good lighting
-a focal point

The lay-out of your room should be functional. You want to have clear walk-ways in your room.  But that doesn't mean that you should necessarily have your furniture pushed up against your walls. Pulling your furniture to the middle of your room and centering it around a focal point (fireplace or entertainment center) gives your room an inviting feel and can even make a room feel larger.

You want to have your seating close enough together for conversation.  If you're having a get-together and you've arranged your room more for watching TV, do a quick edit so that your seating focuses more towards the center of the room and lends itself to conversation more than watching TV.

An area rug anchors a room.  Furniture can look like it's floating until it's anchored with a rug - even over carpet - and it defines your seating area.   In my room, the two chairs and table by the window feel like they're separate from the seating area because of the rug.  If I pulled my rug over to them, it would visually expand the seating area.

Your area rug needs to be big enough so that your couch and chairs are at least partially on it.  Area rugs can really be expensive but I've always regretted when I bought the smaller rug to save money.

You also want to have a balance of color in your room.  I have blue all around my room because of my shutters but I also want to balance out the white of the chairs and sofa with the blue.  A chair in an accent color is a perfect way to bring balance.  Throw pillows on the couch bring the color all around the room.

You can also spread your color around the room with accessories.  Books, flowers, plants, pillows, throws and candles all make a room feel lived in and inviting.  If you don't have fresh flowers and don't like maintaining plants, a bowl of fresh fruit can add some color and life to your room.

To feel comfortable a room needs to have a balance of height.  The armoire on the right of the fireplace has great scale for this room.  It's very large and gives the room a grand feel.  I've balanced the darkness of the armoire with the mirror over the fireplace and I recently moved my antique china cabinet back on the left of the fireplace.  The clock was too small and I like it better in our entry way. It's more appropriate in size and function for that space.

It would look odd to have a low piece of furniture where the china cabinet is. If that's all I had, I would add the largest piece of art I had above it to balance the size of the armoire. My china cabinet is still smaller than the armoire.  You can add 'size' by hanging a picture above it or adding baskets or vases.

When I bought our couch, I knew the window behind it was 10' long.  So I bought an 8' couch.  Our chairs are also big.  Small chairs would look out of place in this room.

If you have a small room, you can make it seem larger by using larger pieces, as long as they fit, and by having fewer pieces in the room.  I prefer large chunky pieces of furniture that you can sink into.

What has helped me, especially since I started blogging, is to take a picture of the room.  It has really surprised me how differently a room can look in pictures and that some things stick out like a sore thumb when photographed.  So take a picture of your room and look at it with a critical eye.  Keep editing until it feels balanced.

Dark pieces have more visual weight than light pieces.  If I were to paint my armoire a light color, it would visually recede into the wall.  It would lose a lot of its 'weight.'  So you want to balance your dark pieces around your room to bring a balance.

Even if you're in love with a very light color scheme, or all white, you need to have some things in your room that are dark. This adds depth and dimension. Otherwise, it feels like the room is floating. Something dark anchors the room. I love the look of dark hardwood floors in a white room.

I have a lamp at every seating place.  My husband and I read a lot and good lighting is key.

You also need to have a place to set a drink at every seat. Your guests will always feel more comfortable when there's an obvious place to set their glass.

There are so many beautiful styles that I love.  If I had several houses, I'd have each one decorated differently and I think the style of your house should dictate your decorating to a certain extent.

The reason I loved our house when we bought it is I felt it could lend itself to French Country although I had to use my imagination because it had 80's fixtures and details.  If you're buying a house, keep that in mind when you're choosing. Farmhouse style is hard to pull off in a New York penthouse!  ;)

I saved pictures for many years of rooms I loved.  I've finally thrown them all away since being on Pinterest.  But if you start pinning pictures you love, you'll start to see a pattern.  It's been amazing to me how different our house feels since I changed my wall color from yellows to blue and changed from patterns to solids.  It's like the air in the house feels different.

And that's another thing you should consider.  Do you want a stimulating feeling in your room or a peaceful feeling?  Maybe you want your home office to stimulate your thoughts and keep you awake. Go with reds and yellows and oranges.  Or add accents of those colors.

In your bedroom, you may want to stay away from those colors and choose colors that bring relaxation - blues, greens, whites.  Color has a very strong effect on our emotions and energy.  (I've always heard you should paint your guest room yellow.  People can only take sleeping there about three days!) ha!

These are tips that can help your room feel balanced and comfortable no matter what style you choose.  Then have fun adding your personal mementos and souvenirs - things that express your personality and heart. Because when it's all said and done that's what makes a house ~ a home.

love and blessings~

"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness," Psalms 33:18 -

I'm linking up with these parties:
Cedar Hill Farmhouse -The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life -Inspire Me Tuesday

April 10, 2015

A Heavenly Ceiling

Happy Friday, All!  

It's been raining here in Michigan for a couple of days. There's something about a rainy day that makes me want to clean the house and make things sparkle. Then sit down and read a good book!  And I love a thunderstorm at night - and we've had some loud weather!  I'm hoping you're not in the path of any tornadoes!  

When I posted my chandelier make-over yesterday, I realized I had never mentioned our dining room ceiling.

When we bought our house 11 years ago, our dining room did not have a light fixture over the dining area.  Instead it had four pot lights like you see all over our ceiling.

I wanted a chandelier so my husband grabbed the wiring from one of the pot lights and took it the middle of the ceiling over the table and hung our chandelier.  He then took out the pot lights and covered them with moulding; forming a square over the dining room table.

Then I painted the square area of the ceiling over the table.  It was originally a different color but when I redecorated...out came the paint again.

I used Sherwin Williams Interesting Aqua, white and Valspar Metal and Patina Glaze in Gold.  I put the aqua in one side of this paint tray and a very small amount of white in the other.  You can get this divided sponge roller and tray and these paint products at Lowe's.

While the chandelier and ceiling medallion were off,  I started painting in the middle of the ceiling square and rolled out away from the center.  I added more paint to my roller as I went in whichever color I wanted more of.  I then added a small amount of gold to the white side of the tray and went back over it again, blending my colors until I had the look I wanted.  

When the chandelier's on, the light picks up the glaze and adds a pretty sheen to the ceiling.
But in the daytime it gives a very soft effect and adds some definition to our very open floor plan.
I think it's heavenly!  Have a wonderful weekend!

love and blessings~

"Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies."  Psalm 36:5

PS - My son just got up and informed me that we're out of milk.  Apparently I DON'T like to grocery shop in the rain!  haha

April 9, 2015

Changing a Chandelier from Modern to French Country

I was shopping with my daughter at Lowe's several months ago when I spotted this chandelier.  It was on clearance for $30 and they had about six of them boxed up and stacked in the center of the aisle.

I got so excited that as I was trying to lift one of the boxes off the stack I knocked the display chandelier on the floor!  The store employee was so nice as he picked it up, reassured me that I hadn't damaged it at all, and put it back on the stack. 

But the whole thing flustered me enough that I didn't realize that I should get two!  Also, my daughter had walked away quietly like she didn't know me.  Ha!

My husband looked very surprised when I carried it in to the house.  He knows this is not my style. But I had plans for it!

I layered on a beige paint with chalk additive and then a white chalk paint, giving it the chippy look I wanted.  I'm always surprised how well chalk paint adheres.  I didn't do any prep work - just painted it.

I then added tear drop crystals and a chain of crystals - all from Save-On-Crafts.  I keep a supply of these around for whenever I need to bling something up.

Et voila!

It doesn't even look like the same chandelier.  And I got it for $30!

love and blessings~

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:16

Follow me on  Facebook - Gates of Crystal