Updating my Kitchen/Dining Room To Be Kid Friendly

Yesterday we came to a crossroads in the battle of Henry vs. My Decor.  While most of my previous choices have been okay (and some changes made already, like my ottoman)- some have not. Namely the grasscloth in my dining area off the kitchen.  Last weekend I made Henry blueberry pancakes and blueberry juice ended up splattered on my paper.  After an incident with mashed beets and a close call with a crayon I’ve decided its best to replace it with vinyl grasscloth- which has gotten SO much better looking in recent years!  Sometimes its hard to tell the difference between the real deal and vinyl.

And while we’re at it, we decided we want more room in the dining area for Henry since he seems to love playing in there.  I loved our dining table set up and style since it’s our only dining area and currently provides some sense of formality- but we’re going to get a corner banquette instead so we can push the table into the corner and gain more floor space.  Since we NEVER have dinner parties there’s no point to having anything formal! So now basically I’m re-doing the whole room!

A reminder of what it looks like now (at 5:30 this morning- pardon the lack of light!).  We had to remove a window in order to make our garage big enough so I hung Ballard window-style mirrors there instead to make the room feel more open and reflect light.

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Prepping Our Home for the Holidays!

While I’m crazy busy right now with work, Henry and life in general, I still wanted to get our house a bit festive for the holidays so this weekend I popped over to some of my favorite garden shops, grabbed some greenery and got busy both inside and outside.  Having a now teetering (somewhat walking) toddler around makes things a bit tricky but we made do!

A little glimpse of our tree decked out in Frontage’s stunning blue and blush ornament set, ginger jar set (sadly sold out, similar here) and Crate & Barrel’s glitter stars :)

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My Guest Room Refresh with Crane & Canopy Bedding (and More!)

As I’ve mentioned before, after seeing the pictures of my house non-stop after book one, I’ve been dying to update some spaces in my house to give them new life.  The guest room was the easiest to start with since I loved the big pieces of furniture still (bed from Crate & Barrel, old WS Home nightstands I painted white (similar here), the Bling flushmount fixture and Hudson Valley sconces,  white silk drapes and IKEA dresser I hacked with big brass pulls. )  So I started with a color scheme of light greenish-grey (lightening the walls using Farrow & Ball’s new color Cromarty– LOVE) and warm darker grey.  I also knew I wanted it to be a little more traditional as I’ve been feeling more in tune with my classic New England roots these days.  As you recall,  this was the guest room before, and this is it today:
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Things I Wish I Had Done Differently: Home Renovation Edition

I may design homes for a living, but that does not mean I’m immunized against making mistakes.  Actually, I make the most mistakes when working on my own homes- mostly because I’m overwhelmed by options and ideas and make decisions on the fly instead of with careful consideration, as I do when working for someone else. “Ehhh, that’ll fit- we don’t need to measure” is a phrase that now gives me chills.

This weekend I began cataloguing some of the things I wish I had done differently in my renovations.  Most of them are from our first phase of the renovation right after buying our house, I think I had learned a lot by the second phase (still obsessed with my master suite).  But in life some of the best lessons come from examining your failures as to not repeat them again! So here we go:

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1) My Kitchen Faucet

From the beginning Andrew wanted a pull down spray faucet with a single lever instead of the separate hot and cold handles.  I, of course, love the look of widespread handles and went that direction- beauty over function, a common designer downfall. Now with a baby (and after a couple years of use), I fear I maybe should have listened to Andrew. The issue still stands that finding an attractive single lever, pull down spray faucet is very hard- but there are some good options here, here and here.  This is tough to remedy now that we have four holes drilled in our countertops so I think I’m stuck for now. At least it’s pretty (and MAN do I still love my Blanco sink– the BEST!)

Marble Mantles New & Old

Since we bought our house three years ago I have wanted to redo the surround on our fireplace badly. I tempered the heinousness of our current brick and terracotta tile situation with several coats of black masonry paint, but the time has come to really do it right. And by right, I of course mean marble. Because marble is always just so right.  I don’t mind our actual mantle and I’m also not made of money, so I’m not going to do what I’d REALLY like to do which is to replace the whole thing with an antique salvaged mantle.  Instead I’m looking at remnants of Statuario, Calacatta and Danby marbles (my faves) to cover the brick and replace the hearth. We also plan to convert to gas because our flue is old and small and our wood fires leave the house smokey and smelly.  Oh, and we need to get rid of the shiny brass doors too.

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Above photo by Michael Partenio

So here are some inspirations of both antique mantles and new marble surrounds to inspire you and I!

Hello lovah.
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