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It all began with a painting and a glass of wine...


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Sep 22, 2013, 10:54am   #1
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Three weeks ago our 4th child was about to begin his senior year of high school. He is our youngest and has a huge personality. I began to ponder over what the next year would be like in our home without a child living here full time. The thought of a quiet, perfectly kept house isn't quite our style. We love hearing the laughter, chatter and silliness of a full home!

As I sat in our living room that night I kept looking at the painting over our couch. We bought it about 15 years ago after a trip to Paris. I hadn't really "looked" at it this past year. Sometimes life is just so crazy that one forgets to stop and look at things just for the sake of looking. I was having a glass of wine with my husband and I realized that I needed to bring this painting to life, to help bring some extra activity and creativity into our almost quiet home. One glass of wine later, my mind was in a whirl...not from the wine but from my realization that I needed a change! Our living room needed a drastic happy facelift! I had to now convince my DH that WE needed to do this, for us.


I hope to share this project with you as I make a few fun changes to our home. Most of you might not like my style of decorating, it's a bit non tratditional. I love a home that makes me smile, it's far from perfect but I am happy with the little changes so far. Our budget isn't huge so I am being as creative as possible to make it all work.
Sep 22, 2013, 11:00am   #2
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This is our painting that started the project...
Sep 22, 2013, 12:24pm   #3
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How exciting. It is always fun to change things around and do something creative. I am forever moving furniture around, paint rooms and even switching rooms. Hubby just shakes his head and accepts this.
What are some of your plans?

Love the painting and the colors in it.
Sep 22, 2013, 12:54pm   #4
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This is what I also love to do! It's been such a long time since we have touched this area of our home. The past few years have been a bit challenging for our family for various reasons.
The changes in my personal life have really made me realize and appreciate how precious life is. Each day is a treasure to open, I want to live life surrounded by things that make me smile...even if they don't match at all!

Ok, so this WAS our very " safe" living room. Everything matched, boring.
The couches were about 10 years old, nice but too bland. The plates on the wall belonged to my grandma, they had to stay but need some company...Name:  ImageUploadedByPurseForum1379872174.221235.jpg
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The big black chairs had to stay also because they are so comfy! They needed a change however to go with the new couches.
We spent three days searching for couches. They ranged all the way up to $7,000.00 way over budget! I wanted a cozy fabric and finally found exactly the right one...I felt a tad like Goldilocks!
Sep 22, 2013, 11:41pm   #5
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Like your safe room. It does look very comfortable. Can't wait to see how you change it. I have changed things so many times I can laugh at some of the things I did. I am on a big quest to simplify my life. Did some major reflection on life and what I wanted out of it these past few years. Three years ago my dad passed away and last year my best friend of thirty years who was like a second mom to me. She fought cancer for 10+ years. She was big on simplifying her life and doing things her way with living and finally decorating her house to be perfect for her. She encouraged me to do the same. One thing I learned is that material things just do not have any meaning to me now. They are just possessions that I don't need to have in my life and can live without. My family is the most important and trying to live in a house that is full of love and laughter is the gift I want to give them.

I have gone in the opposite direction and am doing all white with touches of pastel colors. I just had my formal living and dining room done last year with whitewashed Pergo flooring and painted one room's ceiling light blue and the other one pink. Had chair rails, ceiling trim and trim put up around all the windows. Now I need to give everything a fresh coat of white paint because the paint on the walls is a creamy white that has a hint of tan. I bought white lace curtains and white IKEA furniture. I also bought a whitewashed armoire from Restoration Hardware and a huge wooden table from there too. I want to paint the table white along with all my misc. chairs. This is a project I hope to do the next few weeks. I have been slowly getting rid of all clutter. Had a big garage sale and I feel I can have another...... I want the rooms to feel very tranquil and relaxing. Funny things is now that I got the white Ikea chaise lounges and chairs it is the favorite room for everyone to go to. This was not my plan, it was supposed to be my special room since everyone always hung out in the family room with the huge comfy leather sofas and large TV. Now my daughter reads on the chaise lounge and my son likes to sit in there and much to my horror my hubby decided to take the huge white corner chair and do his work in there. UGH....this was supposed to be a no eating room too. I did this room for me because hubby took over the family room for his work--computer and paper work--he works from home. So now I have my beautiful room full of my favorite art and made up pretty and everyone goes in there. Think of the room uncluttered simplified shabby chic and the men in my house feel very comfortable there. It is supposed to be a girl's room......

I did the kitchen all white with bead board paneling over the ugly wallpaper instead of taking it down. I had horrible grapes on gold background wallpaper with a hint of glitter gold that had to go. I took it down in part of the room and painted the walls. First mint green, then deep red (what was I thinking), tan and now white. I need to repaint the kitchen cabinet bases white and get new doors for them. The horrible cheap covered doors in some type of glued on thing is peeling off some of them. If they were wood it would be a easy fix to repaint. But I can't do this and it is driving me crazy to find doors.
Master bedroom will be painted all white with whitewashed floors. Need to paint then get the floor guy back in. So I have so many things to do and great ideas but need to do one room at a time. Need to repaint all the doors in the house, change out the hinges to silver and put new door knobs on them too. I have the stuff but just need to paint first.

I have tried to clear out my closet and finally have the last of my purses to send out for consignment these next two weeks. I literally am letting about 11 purses go with no regrets. I am happy keeping two, my LV watercolor Papillion and Proenza Schouler pouch. I also got a Chanel large flap and reporter bag in a trade with a relative that I am keeping because they are special to me from this relative. It is refreshing to let go and feel you are starting with a clean slate where you can just walk in a room and feel the lightness of it.

I love how your plates are on the wall. I have a few plates that were given to me as gifts from my sister and now I may try this in my kitchen.

I think as I have gotten older and perhaps wiser from experiencing death I realize that life is short and having it all is not what it is about. I have no desire to shop and buy things but work with what I have. Repurposing things, repainting and recovering chairs is making me happy. Giving things I don't need or use to others who may use it is also nice.
I emptied out over half of my closet. I don't need many things. A lot of my friends could not grasp my desire to simplify but it is working for me. I have no desire to go shopping which drives friends crazy. But I don't need or want anything that will clutter up my house. I don't need things to buy just because I go into a store. I have more fun with a can of paint or working in the garden.
Wow-I have rambled but felt in your post that you would understand where I am coming from. Both my kids are in high school now. The house will also be empty in a few years, not something I am looking forward too since my house is the place to hang out and everyone is welcomed here.
Last edited Sep 22, 2013 at 11:47pm.
Sep 23, 2013, 1:16am   #6
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Gillianna,
Oh my goodness, I wish you were my next door neighbor!!
First and most importantly, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad and your dear friend. My personal life changed drastically when my mom passed away a few years ago. She was my best friend, confidant and wonderful grandma to our kids. I almost lost my dad this past spring. His health issues have taken a toll on him, we cherish every day we have with him.
Your projects sound beautiful, please post some photos! It sounds as though we are both going through the same thing in life, how nice that we are able to share this adventure! I have also been cleaning and clearing out, it's such a great feeling to get rid of unnecessary belongings.
As I said in the title, "it all started..." the couches were the first decision then it snowballed. We have worked though the living room, dining room, our bedroom and two of our boys' rooms.
The painting has always made me feel relaxed and happy. I grew up in Italy, my memories of small cobblestone streets, pastry shoppes filled with wonderful aromas, etc... I adore these memories.
The shops were never perfectly put together but they always felt comfortable. My DH and I love to travel, our favorite spots are always the tine tiny out of the way hidden gems like the painting. The colors are great to work with. Another inspiration for the room came from my collection of Italian hand made glass candy. Many of the pieces are from when we lived in Italy, others I have collected on trips to Italy with our family. The bowl of Italian candies is always out and easily mistaken for the real thing when our kids friends are over. The heart dish was a wedding gift. I love having just the things that we adore, I am not a fan of Pottery Barn, Restoration hardware or chain furniture. I have actually found pieces set out by trash cans, a good can of paint can bring almost anything back to life! My dad has made unite a bit of our furtiniure over the years. Other pieces are antiques that have been in our family for years and years.
I am excited to share more pics as I work through this home project. We have been to Home Depot every day at least once a day for the past three weeks, they know us by name now.
Many thanks for sharing your story Gillianna, please keep me posted on your home adventure!
Sep 23, 2013, 1:18am   #7
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Here is the Italian glass candy...great colors!
Sep 23, 2013, 1:25am   #8
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This is the new couch fabric, black and white herringbone tweed. It's soft and durable and reminds me of traditional men's blazers. I think it will be a great neutral to work with and add color to.
We already have lots of black and white in our home, this fabric will blend well...I hope!
Sep 23, 2013, 11:11am   #9
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I know peope who went on trips to Italy and fell in love with the people and country there. They talked about the small quaint villages they went to and how friendly the people were. Not to mention tha fantastic foods and places to eat

. Love the bowl of glass candy. My sister has started to collect some beautiful glass pieces given to her as gifts and they do make a stunning accent piece. The couch fabric looks very crisp and I would see it working well with your other furniture. What about the windows will you do anything different? Are you going to change the furniture around, can you even do it? I am forever doing this.... Sometimes once a month. I think with your picture and the glass candy you can bring so many rich colors in to the room. Are you going to paint the walk? I love to paint which is why I am always repainting things but finally settled on a pure white and need to get rid of the tinted white on the wall because it sticks out against the pure white trim and curtains.
My best friend who died redid her house from white painted and stenciled French Shabby chic to white wicker and antiques painted white. All her furniture was found at Goodwill or garage sales and her house was stunning. We had the best thrift stores down there and then when people moved they exactly gave things away. I miss that. Nothing like it here.

Today I thought I would work on the front door/entrance area. I want to clean the siding there and scrub the concrete. Need to replant the white trim and bought a deep sea foam green for the front door. Might be able to start hat project next weekend. Want to get it done before the weather starts to get cold.
I looked up cleaning siding and found Landry detergent and oxygen bleach with hot water on a late bucket and a good brush will work out well. Bleach and water is the worse and everyone uses that with pressure cleaners. I thought it would be nice to get outside versus ironing and folding clothes. I could do that later tonight.
Sep 23, 2013, 2:10pm   #10
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Yes, yes, yes to white paint!! Our walls were "Cottage White", we have switched to pure white and love it!
About once a month I venture up to the garment district and end up coming home with bolts of fabric.
I made the trip a few days after I made the decision to start the home updates.
These are the fabrics that I selected. None of them match with eachother but I adore them all together. ...kind of like a family!
There are a few other pieces that I am working around in the living room, our chess table, and our two giraffe chairs.
I found the chess table about 20 years ago at an antique shop in Oregon. It didn't come with the pieces so I made some...out of antique salt and pepper shakers. I collected them over a few years, forever searching for just the right ones. Our 2nd son has been an avid chess player since he was about five.
I am now working on a second one for him for Christmas. We found a table last year and the set of salt and pepper game pieces is almost complete.
The windows will be the same, can't move them but all new window treatments. I love the fabric for the new curtains.
It's funny how you start with changing one thing and then the thing next to the new one suddenly looks awful and tattered...one thing leads to another, and it goes on and on....
It's a fun adventure that I am enjoying.
Sep 23, 2013, 2:15pm   #11
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Originally Posted by gillianna
I know peope who went on trips to Italy and fell in love with the people and country there. They talked about the small quaint villages they went to and how friendly the people were. Not to mention tha fantastic foods and places to eat

. Love the bowl of glass candy. My sister has started to collect some beautiful glass pieces given to her as gifts and they do make a stunning accent piece. The couch fabric looks very crisp and I would see it working well with your other furniture. What about the windows will you do anything different? Are you going to change the furniture around, can you even do it? I am forever doing this.... Sometimes once a month. I think with your picture and the glass candy you can bring so many rich colors in to the room. Are you going to paint the walk? I love to paint which is why I am always repainting things but finally settled on a pure white and need to get rid of the tinted white on the wall because it sticks out against the pure white trim and curtains.
My best friend who died redid her house from white painted and stenciled French Shabby chic to white wicker and antiques painted white. All her furniture was found at Goodwill or garage sales and her house was stunning. We had the best thrift stores down there and then when people moved they exactly gave things away. I miss that. Nothing like it here.

Today I thought I would work on the front door/entrance area. I want to clean the siding there and scrub the concrete. Need to replant the white trim and bought a deep sea foam green for the front door. Might be able to start hat project next weekend. Want to get it done before the weather starts to get cold.
I looked up cleaning siding and found Landry detergent and oxygen bleach with hot water on a late bucket and a good brush will work out well. Bleach and water is the worse and everyone uses that with pressure cleaners. I thought it would be nice to get outside versus ironing and folding clothes. I could do that later tonight.
I now also need to clean and organize our entry way...you inspire me! I am going to try that cleaning solution recipe on my siding by our front doors. Our home is white, it shows everything!

We will keep the furniture in the same place only because it's really the only way it fits in the room.
I thought about flip flopping the dining room with the living room but the couches, two full size didn't fit well.

I adore sea foam green, what a beautiful color! Please share a pic if you can:)
Sep 23, 2013, 2:46pm   #12
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Here are the bolts of fabric that had to come home with me.
Our kids love the giraffe chairs, they are fun and fit in with the look I am attempting to achieve...

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Sep 23, 2013, 2:54pm   #13
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The chess table is a gathering spot and a conversation piece. The black and white check look can be found all over our home and yard. There is something about the bold black and white that I adore. It's simple, matches every season and looks beautiful with sunflowers...my favorite flower!
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Sep 23, 2013, 3:20pm   #14
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Just came in from cleaning the front do0r area, storm door, moving right to the garden area and did one of the two garage doors. I worked as high as a extension broom brush could reach but hubby now tells me we have a bigger brush about 12 feet tall. Got wet with water and the soap liquid dripping on me. It does look clean. Now about the front door. I have a white double front door with glass stained brown. White storm doors and white wooden trim around it. I think the doors and storm doors would need to be painted that dark sea foam green to blend it all together. It would be easy because the glass on the storm door comes out easy with side hinges. But to paint correctly I would need to remove the storm does and paint them in the back yard. No problem unscrew the hinges. Then put them ack up and ain't the front doors so they can sty open for the whole day to dry. Only problem is hubby does not know I bought this beautiful green paint to do this. I am sure he might freak out over changing the previous owners ugly stain n the doors because it was there first it should just stay the same color. But there is nothing special about our entrance. A neighbor painted their doors and storm doors burgundy and it looks very pretty. Need to repaint the white wood trim around the doors too. I hope to start some of this in two days. Give everything a day to dry off tomorrow. The concrete steps entrance needs major cleaning. Probably a pressure cleaner will be best. Also the metal railings need to be sanded and painted. I feel I need to do one area at a time. We have been here for ten years so it is time to do the entrance back to looking perfect. It does not bother hubby if it looks this way but I hate it.

I love your fabrics. Black prints seem to me. I did black toile curtains with sea foam green walls in my daughters room and she has a Paris vibe going on in there. I have bolts and bins of Laura Ashley fabrics from their regular Home store from years ago when all their stuff was from the UK and not licensed out like now. I like to sew curtains and pillows but need to get my sewing machine repaired. You can do anything with fabric and paint.
Sep 23, 2013, 5:16pm   #15
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Wow you accomplished quite a bit, good for you!
Yes, the black and white is a running theme around here...notice my avatar?
The black and white toile and sea foam green sound beautiful.
Bolts of fabrics are like candy to me!
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