Dining Room

Our Little Cottage in the City: The Final Home Tour

The day has come, my friends, to show you our final home tour on our little cottage in the city.  It is definitely bittersweet to share this post and video with you, since so much love and hard work has been poured into this home.  We were definitely never intending to sell it only a year and a half after we purchased it (if we had known, we never would have bought it in the first place), but opportunities much too grand to let pass by came up that we just had to jump on for the future of our growing family.

I explain in the video a lot of what we did as well as why we finished the basement right before selling, so watch that if you would like more detail.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the video with before photos, an emotional update, and a full home tour of the house at the time of selling.

Upstairs Floor Plan Before and After

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Entryway/Living Room

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Dining Room

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2014-11-26_0006Kitchen

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2014-11-26_0009Bedroom/Bathroom Hallway

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2014-11-26_0030Upstairs Full Bathroom

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Back Bedroom Upstairs

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Front “Master” Bedroom Upstairs

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Stairway Down to Basement Family Room

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Basement Floor Plan Before and After

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Basement Family Room

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Basement Full Bathroom

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Utilities/Storage Room

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Back Basement Bedroom

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Front Basement Bedroom

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I hope you enjoyed the final home tour!  We are very sad to leave this home, especially now that it is almost exactly how I envisioned it would be for us over time as our family grew, but it is just a house and now someone else can enjoy it.  We would greatly appreciate prayers for a quick sale close to asking price so we can move on to a new home hopefully before little Celia arrives.

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Gallery Wall and Curtains

Remember my big plan for our dining room after the board and batten was installed?  I planned on adding a gallery wall above the board and batten as well as finally adding some curtains and changing out the chandelier.  Before we did the board and batten, I made a Photoshop rendering of what it would all look like:

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Last time you saw the dining room, it looked like this:

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Of the three things left to do, we can check two of them off the list: adding a gallery wall and curtains!

It now looks like this:

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We ended up going with simple navy curtains after trying out quite a few in this space.  I found some that I loved (finally), but realized that the standard 84″ panels were just too short.  The curtain rod would have sat right across the trim at the top of the window, which just looked horrible.  I have learned years ago about hanging curtains high and wide to make a window seem bigger (and to let in more light), so I definitely wanted to go that route.  It’s funny that we don’t have tall ceiling but somehow standard curtains do not work for us. Maybe our windows are higher than normal?  I’m not sure.  We ended up going with my favorite and most affordable option – Merete curtains from Ikea.  They don’t seem to have the navy panels online, but they were in the store.  They are actually the same curtains we used (only in white instead of navy) in our living room that I painted stripes on.  I like the style and the way they lay.  They were about $30 for two panels, which as a huge deal compared to the other ones we were looking at!

The reasoning behind the gallery wall is simple.  I loved our gallery wall we had in our hallway right when you entered our last apartment.  I would stare at it often.  It was such a beautiful reflection of our marriage and life together.  So, I really wanted to add one to our home.  Why the dining room?  Well, first of all, the wall opposite the buffet has two eyesores on it: a vent and a smoke detector.  Not exactly beautiful, and definitely not easy to work around.  Sure, we could have painted the vent, but it is not recommended to paint smoke detectors, and the positioning of them made it nearly impossible to spread any other kind of art out in a way that would look nice on the wall.  So, instead of working against the eyesores, we worked with them!  By filling the wall up with frames, the vent and smoke detector go unnoticed by most who enter our house.  We plan on changing the smoke detector out for a white one (it is currently cream) so it blends in even more, but it works for now.  We also decided to do this in our dining room because it is the center of our home.  It connects the living areas (kitchen and living room), it is where we spend a ton of time, and it is visible from most places in our living area.  We love that where we come together to spend time together houses a beautiful collection of photos, art, and special keepsakes that we adore.

Now for more photos!

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I’m not going to go through every piece of art, because most are photos from our past, our wedding, or photos I have taken.  Some were cut out from magazines.  Some were created by me in Photoshop.  Some are paper goods from our wedding.  Some are stock photos I found online for free and printed.  Some are special pieces I bought for San.  Some are pieces of art or greeting cards we have accumulated over the years.  There really is no way for me to source everything, but if you have a question about something you see, ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!

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At the center, I placed a wide, thick frame I believe we picked up at a garage sale years ago.  I thought it would be the perfect frame to have in the center and to build all the other frames off from (if it looks uncentered in other photos, it is simply because I used a wide-angle lens and am shooting at an angle – the frame is centered on the wall).  I thought it would be fitting to create an “established” sign with our last name and the year we got married since that is what this wall is a reflection of – our marriage.  I simply measured the frame, found some nice fonts and created a document in Photoshop.  I then sent it to Staples to be printed for $7.  It’s perfect and we love it!

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As for the frames, they are mainly Ikea, but many are from dollar stores and garage sales.  I simply bought some Krylon white spray paint that can be painted on any surface and gave them all a couple coats so they wold match.  I love the diversity of size, shape, matting, and design.

In our last apartment where most of these hung previously, I used the method of measuring the space I was using, laying all the frames out on the ground to see what they would look like, and then hanging newspaper cutout replicas of the frame on the wall to make sure the sizes would work on the wall.  This time around, I didn’t bother laying them out on the ground first.  Instead, I traced them all with newspaper again and assigned them all a number.  Then, I hung all the cutouts on the wall, shifting, adjusting, and rearranging as I went.  Then, starting in the middle, I started hanging them.  I started in the middle because I knew for sure I wanted that long frame there, so if frames didn’t end up looking good next to it, I could change them before getting half way through with the whole project and having to start over.  I changed a lot as I went, so I’m happy I did it this way so I didn’t have to feel locked in to a certain configuration.  At the end, I looked for gaps and then measured those areas and searched for cheap frames to fit.  The dollar stores and stores like  Menards and Home Depot were great at helping me gather the last frames (some of them very small) without spending  a ton.

 

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We just love how it turned out!  We have plaster walls, so I have been intimidated ever since our renovation about hanging anything on them for fear that they will just crumble to pieces.  An employee at Menards tried to convince me that I would need to anchor every little frame, even the tiny, light ones since I was working with plaster.  I’m so glad I didn’t listen!  I simply used a picture nail for most of the small frames and anchored only the larger, heavy ones.  For the small ones that were likely to shift, I cut the Command picture hanging velcro in half (so each strip could be used twice instead of using two strips on one frame) and stuck it to the bottom center of those frames and the wall to keep them from shifting.  I haven’t had to adjust any of the frames even once in the two months since I tackled this project!

Since photos are great, but a video is much better for showing what a room actually looks like, I’ve included a video!

Where do you keep your sentimental photos/keepsakes? Do you display them or keep them hidden away for safe-keeping?

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:

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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:

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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:

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Gray curtains:
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White curtains:

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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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