Tag Archives: decoration

Our DIY Family Room Before and After (Now that it actually looks like we live here)


Almost a year ago we finished renovating our 70s-wood-paneled-sunroom-turned-family-room and I shared a before and after here on the blog. Well, more like a before and empty-room-after, which, let’s be honest, is boring!

The thing is that filling out a room takes time and effort! The family room has turned into one of my favorite places to spend time in our house (thanks to the bath of sunshine we get from 9 windows, and a constantly growing Netflix queue). While we’ve still got a bit to work on in this room, I’m happy with the cozy cocoon we’ve created. (Wood paneling be gone!)

The cracking linoleum floors, wood paneling, snake skeletons and rodent-poop-insulation feel (and are) a million miles away. (Thanks goodness!)

Just a reminder of where we started:

Lo and behold – it looks like we live here (finally!)


We get TONS of sun in our house – and with nine windows, this room is constantly full of light. And no window treatments. Because that’s how we roll. Hopefully for not much longer.

sunroom4We bought the hooked pillows this summer when we were in Portsmouth for the weekend. They are my favorite part! We finally kicked all our old college stuff to the curb (except for the IKEA Poang chair – that will never die!). We’ve bought all of our upholstered furniture from Boston Interiors – and I couldn’t recommend them enough!sunroom5

I’ve been pondering artwork for this room. It’s a tough place to hang anything because – oh yeah – we have nine windows and two french doors. In an act of impulsiveness I hung those woven starfish and they’ve been there ever since.sunroom6We originally bought these colorful monkey’s fists to hang off the wall… but I’m not sure if I like that idea anymore. So they are just monnkeyin’ hanging around waiting to find a home.

sunroom7I found this lovely red metal waypoint at one of those local discount curtain and bath outlets. Then this month I saw it in the L.L. Bean home magazine! It’s more expensive at L.L. Bean, but if you want one for yourself I thought I’d share the knowledge.

“They” (who are “they” anyways?) say that every room needs a splash of red – now that we have one, I have to agree.

This brings us to the empty side of the room:sunroom8Our current TV stand is obviously way too small for the space. We are (fingers crossed) really hoping to make our first attempt at furniture building with a new entertainment center – so until that happens this one will stay. I’m hoping this spring we can finally get to it! Ultimately we’d love a long, low storage unit that will span the whole width of the room.

And YES, we still have our TV in front of a window – what a strange problem to have – not enough wall space! I’m just glad it’s out of the main living room now.

A tough part in the winter as a blogger is when to take photos. It’s dark when I get home from work and the last thing I’m thinking of on a Saturday morning is to run around and take photos of all the things I want to post about. Lucky for you, I happened to snap a few on my phone – because after I (finally got my act together and) took pictures of the family room, we got a new rug. The tan one now lives in our bedroom, and all my braided rug dreams have come true.

sunroom9 sunroom10This was a HomeGoods find.

Truly, I feel pretty self-conscious about posting a room just full of stuff. There’s NO PROJECT to explain, but my BFF convinced me that everyone loves a good before and after. I hope that’s the case! I must say, I don’t miss the old room one bit.

So, now that I’ve shared our TV watching room of the house… any Netflix recommendations? :p

Read all about how we DIYed our Family Room:

Coffee Can Thanksgiving Centerpiece

As many good projects begin these days, I was perusing Pinterest and came across a photo of a twig vase. Lightbulbs flashed before my eyes and this project was born.

I saved a coffee can and went outside for some free twigs that are scattered all over our yard.

I tried to find twigs that were relatively straight and thin.

(While searching for twigs, you may come across a stick that strongly resembles Voldemort’s Elder Wand. You consider keeping it, but then think better of it and put it back down.)

Step 1.

Use gardening shears to cut the twigs all the same length. I used the height of the coffee can plus a centimeter or two. I also broke off any nodules or mini-twigs.

Step 2.

Like any good crafter, I went hot glue gun crazy.

First I removed the coffee can label and then I just started gluing on twigs as flat as possible. Some fit next to certain twigs better than others. It does NOT have to be perfect. Imperfection is charming.

Step 3.

After the glue was dry, I wrapped some twine and ribbon around the can a few times and tied a bow.

(I had purchased a fall-ribbon pack from the Target Dollar Spot earlier in the season.)

Step 4.

Fill ‘er up!

I opted to use some of my trusty rhododendron branches since I knew they lasted forever. I put a drinking glass in the can and filled it with water since I didn’t trust the coffee can not to leak or rust. Then I rubber banded my branches together and stuck them in the glass.

There are endless options – you could fill it with a potted plant, a chunky candle or even candy!


And that’s all! One hour and one dollar (ribbon) later, here we are.

Also, I can change out the ribbons and can stretch this project to last through Christmastime.

Hot glue guns are the best thing ever!


A few year’s ago I started attending my now-husband’s family reunions, where they served the most delicious coffee! After several of these reunions I had to ask them what type of beans they used. They just laughed at me and said they buy Chock-Full-O-Nuts Original. I have been buying it ever since.

What kind of coffee do you drink?

Last Minute Thanksgiving Decor

Like millions of other people this week, we are traveling to be with family on Thanksgiving day. However, that doesn’t mean I was going to let a holiday-related decorating opportunity to pass us by!

With the exception of Christmas, I tend to be a seasonal decorator rather than for specific holidays. I’ve had a bit of fall decor up for a while.

Per usual, I begin with what I have, like this orange book, black wire cake stand and white ceramic apples. Once I added a few fresh gourds, voila. Instant fall centerpiece. I actually bought these gourds before Halloween and they are still going strong.

My fall mantle, which I forgot to share with you (shame on me), consisted of the tin apple sign (Christmas tree shop), pumpkins and a wooden witch and ghost (castoffs from my Mom). I just traded them our for Mr. Scarecrow (another castoff from my Mom) and insta-Turkeyified the living room.

The greens in the middle are from our rhododendron in the front yard. The clippings last forever! I had them inside for a month before they started to turn yellow.

We still have up the Nearly No-Sew Autumn Bunting I shared with you earlier this fall.

Lastly, I put together a centerpiece that I will share with you next!

Like I said before, I like to use things that I already have.

For my fall decorations I spent $15 on pumpkins and gourds (highway robbery!) and the tin apple sign was $3 from Christmas Tree Shoppe.

I usually really like decorating for the fall, but lately I just want to get all my Christmas decorations out! One more week!!



Shelf Life

I have a friend who recently moved and is currently in the abyss of decorating her built-in bookshelves.

When we moved in I filled my bookshelves with all kinds of junk. Then I proceeded to spend 5 minutes a day adding, removing, rearranging items for the next several weeks.

I realize I’m kind of crazed. I probably think about things more than I should and over-analyze the placement of items. I also have a plethora of books.

(No, really, far too many. I tell this to myself every time I move. NO MORE BOOKS! Then I see one little used book sale and come home with armloads more.)

Suffice it to say we have four bookshelves in this house. And I still don’t have room for them all. There, I said it. And I’m not ashamed.

I don’t think I’ve ever shared my living room here before.

Here she is in all her pre-painted, just-moved-in glory.

Here she is now. (By the way, while sanding the mantle I discovered that it was once painted teal. Crazy huh?) This was our favorite room to paint. (Read: easiest job to do because it required the least spackling, sanding and prepping.)

And yes, our humongous television is in front of the window, but we don’t have much of a choice. There are 5 large windows, two built-in bookshelves, one fireplace, two doorways and one radiator (we already removed one!) to deal with. Not to mention furniture. It was here or over the fireplace. And we weren’t really feelin’ that. Plus, I don’t think we will have our tv in this room for long. Next to this room is an amazing 70s wood paneled sunroom we will tackle. But until

So, back to my being crazy and analyzing how to balance out our bookshelf decor.

Here is a close-up of our two built-in bookshelves side-by-side.

As you can see, it’s not totally finished yet. Some of the photo frames are still empty. And most of them are filled with the first photos I could find in our move. I’ll get back to it someday. I have since been distracted by IKEA pendant lamps, evil kitchen cabinet hinges and cleaning up from Hurricane Irene.

There were three rules of balance I used when decorating and fiddling with my bookshelf decor.

1. Color

Color-coded bookshelves are all over the map. This is likely because it helps a huge stack of books look a little less sloppy and slightly more presentable. I should add, I totally judged a book by it’s cover. If I didn’t like the spine of the book, it didn’t go on these shelves. My “uglier” books (aka: most of my paperbacks, how-to books and chick lit are upstairs).

  • Whites: white, cream, yellow, silver, gray
  • Darks: black, brown, navy
  • Reds: red, orange, pink, maroon, purple
  • Blues: blue, teal, blue-gray
  • Greens: evergreen, lettuce green, you get the idea

2. Elemental

The elements of the world are earth, wind, water and fire. The elements of your bookshelves will depend on what you are putting on them. Mine are paper, wood, metal, glass and organic material. Yours could be pottery, plastic or ice cubes.

  • Paper: books, obviously
  • Metal: photo frames and other collectibles
  • Wood: sentimental knick knacks made out of *shocker* wood
  • Glass: vases
  • Organic material: woven straw, rocks, seashells, etc.

3. Impression

I am not sure if I really know how to describe this one.

While I was arranging by color and by element, I was also trying to balance out the impression certain piece gave. I distinguished them by graphical, weathered and photographic.

  • Photographic: I think this is obvious. Photos.
  • Graphical: A lot of these are book spines with graphic text on them. As a graphic designer I pay a lot of attention to type, so this would bother me if everything was arranging sloppily. (Did I really just admit I arrange my books my typography style. Eek.) I am also including any frames or vases that are a solid color into the “graphical” category.
  • Weathered: I also own a lot of older books (Hi, my name is Kat and I have a used-book-purchasing problem.) so I wanted to group a lot of these together. Other weathered items include driftwood, a carved buoy and pieces that just looked old.

Perhaps the easier way to describe this step is to balance out your antique (that word for me is kind of a stretch) and new items.

I think I’ve reached a new level of nerd-dom in this post.

Please tell me I’m not the only one?