December 19, 2013

our holiday decor

I'm not a big seasonal decorator so I usually keep it pretty simple, but now that we have a house I like to make it feel a little festive, especially in the fall and winter months. With the cold weather and short days, we spend a lot more time indoors, so why not make it feel happy inside? I was late on the Christmas decor since the month of December seemed more like a week, but I finally got it done. The fall decor was warm and colorful, a lot different than the Christmas stuff, and I kind of miss it: Fall Decor Post

But enough about that. Since I had no time to plan or make anything, I reused the pine cones we already had and decorated with ornaments and lights. Maybe next year when I do a little more planning I'll have something more thought out like my friend Meghan at Meggie Frue, I love the rustic, outdoorsy feel, and I can't believe I didn't think of decorating with cinnamon, genius!

When we first moved into our house last year, we had an empty house except for a real tree and wreath, so we decided to do the same this year. Besides that, the decorations were kept to a minimum: I wrapped the banister, added something to the dining room table, and of course did a lot of outdoor lights. That's our favorite thing to do, I mean, favorite thing to look at, doing the outdoor decorating isn't exactly fun when the sky is dumping snow every day. I'll leave the outdoor lights to the imagination, I need to leave something for my family to look forward to seeing when they come for the holidays! Disclaimer: It gets dark out early, so I'm testing my nonexistent indoor/night photo taking abilities here. You'll have to trust me that everything does not have a yellow tint to it in real life.

Here's the tree and wreath! The trunk was too big for our stand so the husband stood there holding the tree while I went out and got a different stand. Lesson learned, bring the stand when tree shopping. We got the basic wreath, so I added some pine cones and a bow.

I had three hanging flower pots on our porch all summer and when I took them down, it seemed empty. So I decided to do something with them for the holidays. I got poinsettias and styrofoam cubes at Jo-Ann's Fabric and Craft Store, and basically stuck the flowers and leaves in the cubes. It was really simple, inexpensive, and took at most ten minutes. This picture doesn't do them justice, they added some much needed 'Christmasiness' to our porch.

I added some table centerpieces, a sugar cookie Yankee candle (obviously), and banister lights. I guess it's not a lot, I've been to homes that have something holiday related on every shelf, but I don't have that kind of inventory, less is more, right? I also realize that my reflection is in every close up shot of the ornaments, yup, can't take pictures of shiny balls. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

December 17, 2013

bar carts and consoles

I've been thinking about bar carts recently, I think they're pretty fabulous. I associate them with fancy cocktail parties, the holidays, and Mad Men ... all of which I love. I've been seeing them at West Elm and Crate & Barrel and really liked the idea of having a little bar area, and when my sister mentioned she liked the look, I was sold. They look classy and I thought I had the perfect spot for one, an underutilized corner of our dining room. The only problem was the price, for such small pieces of furniture bar carts are pretty expensive. I fell in love with every single one I saw, but none were just right:

1. This one's pretty close to what I wanted but it's just too large for our corner.

crate & barrel

2. The size is good, but it's too much wood and is kind of outrageously priced.

crate & barrel

3. Loved this online but it looked kind of cheap in person, so I didn't bother taking it home.
Threshold™ Wood and Brass Finish Bar Cart

4. This is technically not a 'cart' but it's really narrow and seemed to be the perfect fit.
Rustic Acacia Console
west elm

I had some discounts for West Elm and ended up ordering the wood console, which I really thought would look good in our dining room. When it came in, the husband and I put it together and moved it in the dining room and then living room. The console was way too narrow, a little wobbly (not risking bottles on top of it), and it was an awkward height. There was something off about it.

I was sad to see it go, but I realized we needed something really small as our mobile bar. We wouldn't have space for necessarily mixing drinks and storing many bottles on the cart, but the idea was to keep some of the favorites handy. Instead of looking for bar carts, I began searching for just carts. I checked out World Market, a store previously recommended by my friend Lauren who works at Arhaus, which has a rustic but 'clean' style (kind of like mine). I ended up finding not one but two carts that I loved and went with a metal one that the husband chose.

world market

It looks pretty cool and rustic, but a bit sad and kind of under-cooked in a corner. I obviously didn't think this through because alcohol bottles and an ice bucket wouldn't fit on the intermediate shelves. So I put the bottles on their side and moved the bucket to a cabinet in the kitchen. There was something missing, so I got a few Ikea plants and stuck them on the bottom and intermediate shelves.

I like that it fits everything and squeezes nicely in the corner, anything bigger than this would make walking around the dining room table a pain. I also love that there's now some green in the room (even if it's fake). The wall to the left of the cart needs something, but I haven't quite figured that out so I'll leave it alone for now. A few more bottles, and we'll be ready for the holidays!

December 3, 2013

hallway corner decor

Our upstairs hallway is tiny and there's not much space for anything besides walking to the rooms and opening doors. That's what hallways are for, circulation, but now that we have pictures all along the staircase, it seemed a bit empty. I pretty much forgot about it since there are other parts of the house that still need some TLC. Here's the lonely corner:

One weekend when I was returning something at HomeGoods, I saw this bright turquoise corner cabinet that immediately made me think of the empty hallway corner. On my way to find someone to help me, I stumbled upon an identical one in a more muted color, an blueish-greenish gray. I knew I had to bring it home to see if it fit, and I could always return it if it didn't.

It looked really empty above the cabinet, so I thought I'd just imitate the staircase wall and hang some frames randomly. I used the same style white Ikea frames and hung them in a similar pattern to the staircase.

There was still something missing. I thought a small lamp might brighten up the hallway at night and make the cabinet look less useless, because let's face it, it's just filling an empty corner. I got the ivy plant from Ikea, and found the lamp on sale at Target on a very successful shopping trip with a friend.

Here it is at night:

The hallway and staircase are complete! Now let's hope I can keep the ivy alive ...