DIY Knitted Sweater Ornaments

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be calling them ornaments, because I am pretending that I am being seasonally appropriate and not decorating for Christmas yet, but I think we all know the truth… So, you may have seen that I … Continue reading

Cozy Sweater Pillow Covers

I’ve channeling all the cozy winter feels for this holiday season (even if the California weather has other ideas!) To create a comfy atmosphere, my first project of the season was sewing these pillow covers from old sweaters. (More on … Continue reading

Dining Room Rugs for Families – Form Meets Function

I’ve mentioned before that we use our formal dining room for most of our meals. This was a tradition my mother started when my sister and I lived at home, and I enjoy continuing it with our family.

I’ve posted about durable tablecloths and table runners to give your dining room a more formal look while still holding up to the kids. Recently, I have been debating about adding a dining room rug. I never even entertained (ha) this idea until the last few months, now that the kids are older and (a little) less messy. I really wanted the finished look of a rug, but I need to keep things practical as well.

I’m going to share my inspiration rooms, our current space, and the rugs I’m considering. There are literally thousands of options out there, and I’ve narrowed them down to my favorites.

First, here’s how our dining room looks now, without the rug.

So, you know I have a design crush on Amber Interiors. These are a couple of my favorite dining rooms designed by Amber Lewis and her team.

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The vintage rugs in these rooms feel accessible, because the complex patterns will hide small stains. This set me on a hunt for a vintage-style Persian rug for our dining space. While part of me would love to find a gorgeous high-quality wool rug, I am just too chicken – or too smart? – to put a few thousand dollars under my table for my kids to drop food on and my dog to lick… so, at least for now, I decided to look for an inexpensive synthetic rug that won’t make me cry every time something falls on it.

Here is my short list of rugs. My color scheme is greys and blues, and I was looking for something that had pattern but was still muted enough to feel neutral.

Rug collage

1 Unique Loom Rockwell Berkshire Area Rug

2 Safavieh Evoke Vintage Oriental Silver/ Ivory Distressed Rug

3 Freetown Distressed Vintage Inspired Gray/Ivory Rug

4 Willoby Vintage Oriental Charcoal Area Rug

5 Benson Bone Area Rug

And I have more rug ideas and inspiration rooms on my Pinterest board.

So, what do you think? Here’s another picture of the room currently. Our mantel is pretty busy, so I don’t want to add more busy-ness to the room, but I think it would really define the space and also show off the base of the table, which is a lovely Craftsman design.

I haven’t made a final decision yet, and I like all these rugs so much, that I might by more than one and put it in the living room or upstairs hallway…

So, whadya think?

“Jewels”

Console Table Makeover – Tall, Dark, and Handsome

I’m decorating our foyer and wanted to feature a beautiful console table. While I found some already-finished options I liked, I needed something very specific to help disguise a radiator – but not block it off – so I decided to dive in and customize my own!

I knew I wanted the feel of a lacquered Chinese table, but I couldn’t find one in the right size and shape. I looked for something else with simple lines and hoped that with a few tweaks, some paint, and new hardware, I could pull off a transformation!

I started by assembling the sideboard except for the lower shelf. I wanted to leave the bottom open for baskets or stools. I had to fill in a few holes with wood filler. I also filled in the holes for the hardware and drilled new ones to match handles I bought on Etsy.

After sanding for a smooth finish, I started painting. I really debated the color choice, because the hall is already quite dark. In the end, I just knew I had to go with the color I loved and (with credit to Tim Gunn on Project Runway) make it work!

The navy paint is Nocturne by Behr, which I also used to repaint our master bath vanity. After painting, I added several coats of a glossy varnish, both to create shine as well as protect the finish.

My plan is to use some light-colored and neutral accessories to balance out the darker table.

Finn, the rug model, and the new console.

Can’t wait to see the whole space put together!

“Jewels”

Tin Can Luminaries

I’ve had my eye on these tin can luminaries for a while. I love an upcycling project that doesn’t look like it would have been better off left in the recycling bin 🙂

I started off by collecting some cans, washing them, and filling them with water to freeze. This helps the can keep its shape while you punch the design. I found a lot of patterns online and printed my favorites. I then used rubber bands to hold the pattern in place while I made the pattern with hammer and nail.

I finished them off with some spray paint and put some LED candles inside. I made mine for Christmas, but the designs are neutral enough for any occasion (well, maybe not the snowflake…)

I love creating things from stuff around the house. I can’t look at my pantry the same way anymore.

“Jewels”

Simple Christmas Branch

Last year, we celebrated a fabulous and fun retro mid-century Christmas with lots of over-the-top colors and decorations. This year, I’m going in a different direction with a pared-down Christmas.

I was inspired by pictures of simple branches hung with ornaments. I was going to do this in addition to our Christmas tree, but I’ve decided to do it instead of a tree, and it feels very liberating! This idea is great for people who live in small spaces or just want to simplify.

Our overall look this season is Scandinavian-inspired with touches of gold and glam, and our centerpiece here fits tight in.

Enjoy!



Hope you’re feeling cheerful and warm this season!

“Jewels”

DIY Gold Feather Table Runner for Fall

Thanksgiving at our house has been pretty small the last few years. Most of our family is not in town, so we enjoy a quiet long weekend with just me, Steve, and the kids. Sometimes, however, I crave the hustle bustle madness of a big Thanksgiving celebration. I’m excited this year because we get to host one of my new coworkers!

To help make our Thanksgiving dinner this year extra festive, I have some new decorations planned. One of them is this simple linen table runner.

I sewed the runner and used gold craft paint to add this feather design inspired by a rubber stamp Creatiate on Etsy.

Up next, a “stenciled” runner for our dining table. Red wine included 🙂

Happy Turkey Day! May your hearts be full of thanks!

“Jewels”

Planning a Room – From Inspiration to Finishing Touches

Did you just move into a new place? Or perhaps you are settled in your home but ready for a change of style. It can be challenging to plan a space from scratch, but it’s also a great opportunity.

For better or worse, Steve and I have moved a lot over the years, and on the “better” side, I’ve gotten a lot of experience designing spaces. Though I could have transferred our furniture and look directly from home to home, I used each move as an opportunity to refine our collection and re-consider our style. Of course, each home had its unique features of architecture, layout, and lighting, and adapting to each of these became an opportunity to try something new.

Here are some tips for creating your own dream room:

  1. Define the look you want
  • I like to look at magazines and online – Pinterest is perfect for this – and collect images of rooms I like. I start by collecting everything that catches my eye, and then I will edit the collection and look for common themes.
  • Once I have a collection of images that I like, I try to summarize the look in words, defining the color scheme and style. Having the style summarized helps keep me focused when I start decorating.
  1. Go slowly
  • I like to add elements bit-by-bit, to help me see how everything will fit together. I’ll often revise my plans as I go.
  • Don’t rush, or you may end up buying a lot of cheaper items to stay within your budget instead of focusing on slowly acquiring quality pieces.
  • Use what you have! I’ve had a lot of success re-using furniture in new ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the purpose of a piece of furniture. For example, we used this bedroom dresser as a dining room sideboard for a while, and more recently, I switched to using a former TV stand as our side board.
  • Other times, you can repaint or reupholster an item to give it a new look. For example, I spent quite some time looking for black dining chairs with architectural lines, only to realize that I could repaint our existing dining chairs, and by adding a whimsical chinoiserie fabric to the seats, they fit in perfect with our new look.

3. Make it personal

  • While most rooms work best with an overall vision and cohesive style, the unique and unexpected touches are what make a room feel complete. This could be an accent of an bright color or modern art displayed in a traditional room.
  • To make your room feel personal and warm, It’s also important to make sure that you use a mix of new and old items in a room, so your home doesn’t feel like they came straight out of a catalog. I like to find vintage furniture on craigslist like this wooden chest or our marble top coffee table. I’ve also found a lot of great vintage picture frames and ceramics at local thrift stores.

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A fun room to demonstrate this process is our living-dining room.

The style I honed in on for this room was based on a Hollywood Regency mid-century look. The main colors are silver/grey and blue. One of my favorite inspiration rooms is this one, by designer Elizabeth Gordon. I love the clean-lined feminine upholstered pieces, with touches of metallic glamor.

Source: Houzz.com

While I am well on the way to creating our dream living room, my rooms are never really done. I’m always tweaking things and looking for ways to change things around. One piece I have an eye on is this Chinese cabinet from the online auction site invaluable.com. They have a variety of fine art for sale, including paintings and sculptures that would make a great jumping off point for your inspired space! The folks over at invaluable inspired me to write this post, and I have big ideas for a cabinet like this.

chinese armoire

I would like to turn this into a bar cabinet, by adding mirrors to the inside and displaying glasses and bottles. The doors would keep clutter hidden, but the screens would allow glimpses of the glass and bottles on the inside. I think it would be a spectacular addition.

I’ve already been scouting out the accessories I would need:

I hope I will be able to do this project soon and show it to you!

“Jewels”