Posts Tagged ‘decorate

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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Entryway Update & Hidden Office Storage

It is almost laughable how excited I am to finally be able to share this update with you!  You see, in our last home tour video and blog post, we had started turning our second bedroom on the main floor into an office.

See?

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Little did we know that three days after posting that home tour, we would conceive our child, so needless to say, the second bedroom will not become an office anymore.  I definitely was excited about creating an office, but that was mostly because I needed something to look forward to when my greatest dream of having a baby seemed like something that might never happen.  Now that it actually is happening, I am very excited to move everything out of that room and design a nursery!

When I overhauled the now-navy lateral file cabinet in the photo above, I knew that it would have a use even if we got pregnant or adopted down the road.  Although we don’t have a space for an entire office right now since the basement remains unfinished, we need the capabilities of having an office on our main floor since I have a photography business and we do normal office-related tasks at our home such as bill-paying, budgeting, filing important papers, preparing our files for taxes, and so on.  So, we had to get creative about how we would make our living area, which is definitely not huge, function as a living room and dining room while also functioning as an office.   However, the office part had to be secret because we don’t want our home to look like an office when we have people over, so we had to get creative.

Enter our newest addition to our home: an entry way drop zone and little decorative nook.

We brought the file cabinet out of the second bedroom and placed it next to the half-wall on this blank wall that we see upon entering the house:

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Now it looks like this!

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The file cabinet does not look office-y at all and ties in perfectly with our navy rug in the living room.  We absolutely love how this little nook sets the tone of our colorful, quirky, happy house.

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On the file cabinet, we have a little pedestal vase filled with some decorative vase filler from Target.  Next to that, we have some candy for guests to take when they enter and leave our house.  I just love those little details!  Stealing the show is my favorite print we own that I got for Christmas two years ago.  It’s the Michelle Armas Trellus print.  I love how it ties in so many of the colors in our house and is just so vibrant!  I can’t help but smile when I see it, and now I get to see it all the time!  I also put a decorative blue frame San got me probably six years ago for my birthday from one of my favorite local stores, Patina.  It holds one of our engagement photos.  In front of that is just a little quote plaque.

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I am in love with decorating shelves.  We love the ones we have in our kitchen, but those do not get changed up very much because we love them just the way they are.  Because we don’t have a fireplace/mantel, I have always wanted a place to decorate for the seasons, to hang stockings from, and to change out whenever the mood strikes.  What a better place than in our little entryway portion of our living room?  Right now, the shelves were somewhat decorate for Independence Day, but the colors work in our house so I’m just leaving it for now.

Most of the little nicknacks were collected over time or were gifts from friends.  I grabbed some of our blue books to add some color and used nicknacks as book ends.  The red horse chess piece was a gift and the white ceramic owl (Owlfred as we like to call him) is from a cool Australian store that is in the Mall of America, called Typo.  The other wall plaque was a gift, the mason jars I purchased at estate sales and were used in our wedding, the vintage Pepsi-Cola can was found at a thrift store on our honeymoon, and the lantern was purchased at Target, I believe.

On the top shelf, the lantern with a candle was a gift, the Bless this Home frame was a gift and I just painted it with coral paint, and the silver vintage jug was also used in our wedding.  The flying pig is actually very special to me.  I have always had a thing for pigs (I’ve always wanted a pig named Disco), and I even had Vans shoes with flying pigs on them in high school.  I adored those shoes.  I don’t remember where I saw the ceramic flying pig, but I had to buy him that second.  We named him Edwin, naturally.  Anyway, he is signed by John and Sherry from Young House Love during their book tour.  Funny story, I was actually mentioned on their blog twice (once in photo form, and once I got an actual mention) because I posted a funny photo of myself holding their book in front of our gallery wall in our old apartment in my pajamas because I was so eager to pick up the book that I walked through our apartment building looking like that to pick it up.  I chronicled all the madness and excitement on my photography blog.

 

Here are some closeups of the decorative goodness:

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Now, the file cabinet is not the only way we conceal office storage.  In fact, our beautiful buffet we added during the renovation is full of office-related supplies, even a huge color laser printer (WHAT?  WHERE?), but you will have to watch the video below to see how we conceal our office supplies in the buffet (and you can see more of the entry way nook as well).

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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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