Monday, October 21, 2013

Small House BIG Art

Wow, what a difference art makes!  While Martha is small in stature her walls are making BIG statements.  After waiting for about a month we had three great pieces come in one week.  They add so much to each room and are making it feel even more like our house!  Art does many things in a space but some of my favorite aspects of art are...  

it gives warmth...


and in some cases...a little humor!   

So, take a hint from Martha and don't forget to color your walls!  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tiny Toilets and Toile

You know when you are going through a house that you want to buy and you love it, and the neighborhood, and it doesn't really matter what the details are at this point, you just know it's the one?  Well, that's how it happened for us.  We walked in and knew it wasn't our style but we didn't care.  You can change paint and the furniture will be moved.  We were in house bliss!  Then we moved in and sat on the toilets...and realized we are big toilet people.  Big, tall, elongated seat toilet people and we have tiny, tiny cream (almond) toilets...everywhere!  Details, details... right?

I, of course, did not see this as a problem but rather a design opportunity.  I'm going utilize my first "opportunity" to change out our mini-loo's to big American toilets!  However, there are a few elements we have to work with for the time being.  One being the cream vanity, bath, and bath tile.

I immediately had a "great idea".   Here is a picture of the before and after of my first bathroom project.  I wanted to get white in there but still tie in the cream so I decided on wide painted stripes.  Due to my lack of funds after having the rest of the house painted I took this job on myself and I'm pretty proud of it!  I give mucho credit to the frog tape that kept my lines clean.  The room is about 75% complete.  I still need to hang the roman shade, shelves, towel bar, and accessorize.  We also need to switch out the toilet...but don't fear I have already picked out my "dream toilet".


All Taped Up

After - New Mirror and Light

New Rug

West Elm Pinch Pleat Shower Curtain

Tiny Tim

I used to have dream handbags and it's dream toilets... can't wait for Cimarron to arrive!

So, after this great accomplishment I have decided my next challenge will be wallpapering (after I tear down the current wallpaper) in the first floor powder room!  And my inspiration...none other than Miss Blair Waldorf herself.  

While her buttoned up clothes and structured trenches inspired me in my fashionista (pre-homeowner) days,  I'm now using my extensive knowledge of all things Gossip Girl in my decor.  And who didn't love that office!?!  More specifically the fabulous green toile walls and guess who found the source?  This girl!  Hoping it turns out as positively fabulous as Miss B herself! 

XO - Katie

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Martha's Base Layer

Well, we are officially moved in as of one week ago and slowly recovering from the extreme exhaustion that comes with moving.  My husband and I have decided this was quite possibly the most painful experience of our lives.  We hate to complain because we LOVE Martha and our new neighborhood but, WOW, moving with two kids is a challenge!  We thankfully had help from our wonderful parents and amazing new neighbors!

So... here is the first step in Martha's transformation.  We had the painters start the day after we closed and after 5 days of working we were at completion for phase one..."Martha's Base Layer".  In addition to the painters work, my husband replaced all the door hardware and hinges and painted the brick on the fireplace.

The brass hardware graveyard.  

Here are some pictures of our main room before.  We are going to call this the family room.

Martha decorated nicely in her colonial inspired look.

The day we closed, empty.

And... here she is with a new coat of paint.  The white is Benjamin Moore, Oxford White and the black is Sherwin Williams, Caviar.  It's quite a change!  The black trim was a bold move for us but white was going to be difficult considering the existing blue.  

Here are some images of the current state of affairs.  Our sofa and side tables should arrive mid-September.  Window treatments are here but not installed.

This is going to be my work space.  I have still not found the perfect work desk yet and I'm going to call this area the "living office".

Quick of picture of the entry with the black.

The dining room was also a complete transformation.  We added the boxes under the chair rail for detail.  Still searching for a new lighting fixture and the rest of the furniture is on the way!

This is probably my favorite room of the house and my favorite transformation.  I like to call it the sun room.  It opens up to the deck.  Lesson learned on this one... don't spray paint the inside of your fireplace without covering the entire floor!  We had a little mishap that left black paint dust all over the floor.  Luckily, it came up.

The master bedroom is still a major work in progress.  We are getting new furniture and need to add lighting.  The black ceiling was a "why not?" moment.  We also added the boxes on the ceiling.  I knew it was risky but like the way it turned out.  It makes the room feel special compared to the other bedrooms.  To lighten the dark ceiling we will add a pendant fixture in the middle box and lamps or wall sconces beside the bed (anyone know a good electrician in Northern VA?).  

The boy's rooms are the most fun!  They are both similar to their previous bedrooms but are looking fresh and new in the house.  I still need to finalize the picture placement and hang Max's antlers but they are close to complete.  We also hope to add crown molding to finish the rooms.

Max's Room Before

Little Max enjoying his new room.  This shot should look better with a swag pendant lamp in the corner and larger, more colorful artwork above the crib.

Max's dresser. 

Rocco's room before.

Rocco's Big Boy bed!

There's the update!  This is where we are one week after move-in.  It has been a hectic week and we are learning many things as we go...

1.  Moving with two kids is not recommended.
2.  It always takes longer than expected to complete a task
3.  and...nothing is ever easy
4.  It takes time to make things the way you want.
5.  It also takes more money than you would like to spend.

and...  All of this is OK!  It will get done...eventually!  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Modest Martha

I had my first personal home improvement project this week.  We officially became home owners on Tuesday and I was off and running Wednesday morning in what will soon be Max's bedroom.  My task...remove all the wallpaper.  While it made a perfect setting as a sewing room it was just not going to do for stud man Max's new pad.  I am not a novice in this area and spent many days helping my Mom remove wallpaper throughout my childhood home.  However, it was not nearly as enjoyable this time around.  I suppose in my mind it had been glamorized thinking about chatting with my Mom as we would take down the wallpaper bit by bit.  It never seemed to take that long...but Martha had a different idea.


I began Wednesday morning with high hopes of completing my task that day.  But, as the hours drew on I knew this was not going to be easy.  Poor modest Martha did not like being shed of her frocks from the past 20 years.  She hung onto those stripes and baskets like a mid-westerner at a Longaberger sale {20 years ago}.  I was patient though and after 20 hours and three day they were all gone!  I handed the room over to the painters this morning as they work on transforming it. 

Day One

My New Best Friend

Ralph Lauren Chevron Moderne - Spectator
 As I was doing this a few people asked if it made me never want to put up another wallcovering?  Like any good designer the answer is obviously, "No", because as I was pulling paper off I was dreaming of this Ralph Lauren wallcovering that I want to put on the wall behind my desk.  {possibly my second personal home improvement project!}