Decorating Tips

Decorating From Photoshop to Reality

I don’t know how most decorators or just decorating-lovers plan their projects, but I have learned over the years that I am a very visual person when it comes to designing a room.  I usually have an idea of what I want, but it really helps me if I draw out what I want, make a mood board, use tape to “sketch” my idea on the wall or floors, or look at photos online of something similar.  I’ve been lucky enough to have used Photoshop for many, many years, starting in high school when I just had a hobby of making fangirl art of almost-celebrities like Jesse McCartney (facepalm).  Yeah . . . lame, I know.  However, this dorky teenage phase turned into something useful when I started my photography business because I already knew my way around Photoshop pretty well.  Now, when I really want help figuring out what I want to do with a room or a certain nook of our home, I turn to Photoshop and play around!

For example, I really wanted yellow-striped curtains for our living room, but I was really worried about how they would look with everything, so I Photoshopped them into a photo I had of our living room!

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Pretty cool, right? It was the encouragement I needed to go ahead with painting them.  here is the after with the real curtains:

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Obviously, they aren’t exactly the same, but that would have been nearly impossible.  For fun, I also changed out the ottoman with a gorgeous wooden coffee table and added a navy lamp to the console behind the sofa (with the fake rendered curtains):

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Here’s a little before and after gif so it’s easier to see the difference:

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I’m so excited to add some wood into this room because I just feel it makes it feel more cottage-like, adds warmth, and is just so beautiful!

Before we added the board and batten in the dining room, I played around with it in Photoshop as well to figure out the spacing of the battens.  Here’s the Photoshop version:

boardandbatten_only

And here’s the real deal:

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Pretty crazy, right?

Originally, we had meant to paint the dining room a darker gray than what was in the living room because we thought it would balance out all the white, but through color matching certain colors, the color ended up being almost exactly the same as the living room color (it is virtually impossible to tell the difference without knowing they are really two paints from two different cans).  Before we added the board and batten, I also tried out adding a darker gray paint color to see what it would look like along with the gallery wall I want to add, some curtains and a different light fixture (just for fun – we still aren’t sold on any curtains or chandeliers yet).  White curtains:

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Blue curtains:

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And gray curtains:

boardandbatten

We decided against the darker gray after seeing these renderings and after installing the board and batten.  We really like the lighter gray with the white (since the white pops so much more with the walls than it seems to in these renderings).

So, for fun again, here is the room with the lighter walls, the gallery wall, a fun chandelier, and different colored curtains.  Blue curtains:

boardandbatten_blue_lightwall

Gray curtains:
boardandbatten_gray_lightwall

White curtains:

boardandbatten_white_lightwall
And here’s a gif to see the difference between the blank walls and somewhat of the direction we are headed in:

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We also plan on switching out the black chairs for white x-back chairs and possibly upholstered chairs on the ends of the table, but for now it is just so fun to play around with all the possibilities!

I’m seriously slightly addicted to this!  I’m working on one right now for the exterior of our house to plan out some of the landscaping, but that’s not a project we plan on tackling any time this year, so I’ll probably share it later after stewing over it for a while.

So, what do you think?  Are you a visual decorator?  What direction would you go in the dining room?

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Two Dogs, A Messy Eater, and a WHITE Couch?

I think it is pretty obvious by looking through our blog at photos of our house that we love the color white in decorating. Although I love cottages filled with white walls, white furniture, white just about everything, I am also a huge color girl! I love pops of color! So, we use white in our home to balance out the color, to add more light (since white reflects the light from the windows and just makes our home so bright and happy), and to make everything feel very neat and clean.

Most of our favorite features of our home are white.

White entertainment center.
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White board and batten.
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White buffet.
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White kitchen cabinets.
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White closet system.
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No one has ever said anything about us being crazy with the amount of white we have. In fact, most people who come over or look at our blog comment on how bright and happy our house looks because of the white. And, we agree. However, there is one piece of white furniture that has some people scratching their heads and questioning our sanity. Any guesses?

Our white Ektorp sectional couch.
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Yes, our white couch.

We had planned on buying this particular couch in this particular color a long time ago and knew it was the right decision for us, but I kept that decision from most people because I knew I would get feedback I didn’t want to hear.   Sure enough, after we bought it and people saw it or heard about it, they said things like, “You will need a new slipcover when you have kids.  White just won’t work,” or, “I would never have a white couch . . .”  or, “What are you going to do when your dog comes in and she is all dirty?”  I think people seriously thought we were nuts.

We have had our Ikea Ektorp 2+2 Corner Sofa in Blekinge White for about six months or so, and I think it is high time we did a little review on it.

 

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Let’s preface this by stating that we are “normal” people.  We make messes.  We have pizza dinners on the couch as a cheap date night.  We have two dogs.  While overall, they are very clean dogs (especially Clem who has magical fur that never traps dirt), they still go to the bathroom outside on rainy days and come in with messy paws no matter how much we try to keep them clean.  Our house has dust.  Our three new rugs shed all over the place and the fibers love to attract to anything touching the floors.  San is a chef.  Sometimes he comes home with food splattered all over his pants and then he sits down on the couch.  Life happens.  I am definitely not going to tell you that our couch stays clean 100% of the time and it isn’t work to keep it looking beautiful.

Dust, hair, and shedding carpet along the skirt:

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Some faint dirty paw prints by the pillow (even though it is white, dirt doesn’t show up that much on here):

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Some hair and dirty from paws in the middle of this cushion:

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Before this couch, we had two brown couches.  Let me tell you, with a dog with white hair, those couches looked gross most of the time when Clem’s hair would cover them.  They didn’t clean up very well, they were impossible to lint roll or vacuum, and it was just frustrating!  With a white couch that isn’t made of a material that hair naturally sticks to very much, we just don’t have that issue.  Lucy’s hair shows up a little since a lot of her fur is black, but it comes up really easily with a vacuum or a lint roller.  We have lived with both a dark couch and a white couch, and hands down, the white couch wins for us.  Because this couch has a custom slipcover that is tailored to fit it perfectly, it doesn’t pull away from the cushions when vacuuming or lint rolling, which makes cleaning it between washings so much easier and keeps the couch looking great most of the time.

Here are the things we love about our white slipcovered couch:

We typically follow these steps for keeping or couch looking nice:

I will be honest and say that the tag of the slipcover says not to bleach it, but I have read reviews (like this one from The Tiny Twig) that talked about how bleaching may break down the fibers over time, but with normal washing, it doesn’t seem to affect the fibers that much.couch7

To wash them, I simply unzip all the cushion covers and sort the covers into three piles: back cushions, bottom cushions, and frame cushion (that goes over the entire frame of the couch).  Three pretty small loads – not bad!  I then spray a stain remover on any largers spots of dirt or stains from food.  I use a gentle bleach, but am not shy about it and use the most they recommend.  I also use detergent with the bleach.  Normally, I wash it on a normal setting and then throw that load in the dryer.  If I go longer between cleanings or just really want the slipcover to shine, I will sometimes wash it again with a little less bleach just to make sure it is really clean.  Then, I always dry them for about twenty minutes and take them out when they are still slightly damp so they are stretchy enough to not rip when putting them back on the cushions.  Three loads of that and I’m done!  Seriously not a big deal at all!  I can do it all in about 2 hours, with time to do other things while the cycles are running!

I always sit and just gawk at our sofa after it is all freshly clean.  It seriously looks brand new every time and I haven’t noticed any breaking down of the fibers.  Even with two dogs who run back and forth on top of the cushions when they are on squirrel patrol, this couch has showed no signs of wear.  It’s awesome!

So, if someone were to ask me if I have ever regretted our decision to buy this sofa with a white slipcover, I would say, “Heck no!”  Honestly, with any other color, I wouldn’t be able to bleach it.  That means the stains would possibly never come out and would still show up sometimes (for darker things).  Or, there is always the possibility that it is not actually getting clean.  With our sofa, knowing it is bleached and that white will not lie about whether it is clean or not, I know our couch can be thoroughly cleaned often and look (and smell) gorgeous every time.  Sure, sometimes we have to live with some light brown paw prints on a cushion for a week or two before I clean it, but with dogs or children, no one ever is able to have a perfectly clean house all the time.  Our dogs are so worth it to me and knowing our couch is just three laundry loads away from looking perfect again is the peace of mind I love!  I often just clean the cushions and leave the frame alone because it stays cleaner longer, so really it is usually just two loads away from a pristine couch!

We love our home, and honestly, our couch is pretty much the heart of our home.  The dogs spend their days looking out the window, playing, and sleeping on this couch.  San and I spend date nights on this couch.  Friends and family come and we all sit on the couch.  It is where our memories are made.  Whenever we are able to have a baby, we will make so many memories with them on this couch, and I won’t have to worry about him or her spitting up on it, spilling, drawing on it, or anything else because it is completely cleanable.  This couch really does mean a lot to us, as corny as that sounds, and we would buy it all over again!

I never imagined I would ever get sentimental during this post, but now I have, so I’m off to go blow my nose because thinking about babies on this couch has got me all worked up.  I’d love to know what piece of furniture you or someone you know was apprehensive about you getting and what the outcome was!

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Dominating the Dual Decorating Style

I’ve always been a decorating nut.  When I was in elementary school, I dreamed of buying an A-frame house that I would decorate with boat-shaped bookcases and giant wooden bear statues.  Thankfully, over the years, my style changed, but my obsession with the art of decorating has only grown stronger.

I learned early on in our relationship back in high school that San likes joint decisions when it comes to anything pertaining to our relationship.  Truthfully, we knew we would get married even back in high school (which seems kind of crazy now), so we often talked about what our kids’ names would be, what dog we would get, and what our house would look like.  Before Pinterest, I hoarded images of beautifully-decorated rooms in a Photobucket account.  When I would see San, I would show him the newest photos I had saved and he would often utter a polite “yuck” or “ew” to every one.

I grew up in a home where my mom made the decorating decisions, my dad tried to talk her out of them because it meant work for him or change, but eventually he would come around and love whatever she did.  My dad is not a guy who cares about aesthetics, so my mom got to choose the decorating style she wanted and he never complained once it was done.  I was quickly learning that San would not be like this and that I would have to cater to his likes as well.

The longer we dated, the more our decorating styles started to mesh together.  Then, once we were married, we decided we both had to agree on every decorating decision we made.  We quickly learned what we both liked and what we didn’t and eventually we found a “style” that would work as our dual decorating style even though our individual styles are pretty different.

A few years ago, I gravitated toward pretty feminine rooms like this:

 

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Bryn Alexandra

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Coburn Architecture

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Laura Ashley

It’s pretty funny looking back at these because I wouldn’t consider them my style at all now, but I showed San rooms like this all the time while we were dating.  Poor guy!

San used to, in return, show me photos of rooms he liked, such as these:

San's Decorating Style

 Mojo Direct

San's Decorating Style

Ralph Lauren

San's Decorating StyleFour Seasons 

 

I think as we make decisions together, our style has grown closer and closer together, which is remarkable considering how far apart they were to begin with.  As you will see as we get further along in the renovating and decorating process, we gravitate toward rooms that look like these:

Our Dual Decorating Style

Pottery Barn

Our Dual Decorating Style

Vascusi Elson Interior Design

Our Dual Decorating Style

Vascusi Elson Interior Design

Our Dual Decorating Style

Flea Market Trixie

Our Dual Decorating Style

Better Homes and Gardens

Our Dual Decorating Style

The Lettered Cottage

Our Dual Decorating Style

Vascusi Elson Interior Design

Our Dual Decorating Style

 

Honey We’re Home

After looking at lots of photos, pinning away on Pinterest, and shopping together a lot over the past few years, we have learned that there are certain things that we really love when it comes to decorating that define our style.

Our style includes:

We like to say our style is like a bright, modern, cottage because we love lots of vintage elements, but we also like the room to feel updated and timeless.  We hope that made sense!  Our aim is for our home to be youthful, casual, inviting, and a little quirky (like us).  We have learned to decorate using things we both absolutely love and when it all comes together, it works because we are drawn toward alike things.  We can’t wait to get to decorating and will be sure to show you lots of inspiration that guides us along the way!