I’m finally getting around to posting updated den photos with the new rug + proper heightened fireplace. If you want to catch up, read all about this room here, the lowering of the fireplace here, buying vintage fireplaces here, the bookshelf here, and the new rug here. That light reading should about cover it!The new(er) rug is working out great. I’m so happy to have found something light that could hold its own next to those wild barkcloth panels in a complementary sort of way. Five months in and the color/shag/thickness is standing up as well as expected to daily Lego rounds and dog naps. The dog’s favorite corner is a little less bright than the rest and the shag is matting in high traffic spots, but no big deal. It was cheap and purchased to be ran into the ground. I’d say the rug is ivory. Not bright white, but not at all murky. The brown accent in here is weird…works for us but may not for everybody. Almost borders on plum colored. As mentioned before, it’s from Overstock (but also on Rugs USA and Amazon, prices are always flip flopping on rugs so shop around). And there you have it! Enjoy the weekend everybody and thank you for reading. xoxo Jenny
Christmas decoration goals: To have less. To have better (no junk). To have cohesion. Tasteful but tacky. Festive but simple. Easy set up. Big impact. Minimal storage. I’m not even close to there yet, but every year I try to pare it down a bit to the best of the best/things I love most. My house is already at my clutter breaking point, so extra stuff is hard…but I also have strong impulses to put Christmas crap everywhere…? I’m working on a December balance (that I’ve been working on for, like, 10 years and not limited to decorations, just consumerism in general). I’ve learned that having a few areas of “whoa, crazy Christmas time!” works better for me than stuff sprinkled throughout the house. How old/adult will I be when I finally get this down? Do you ever shout “grow up!” at yourself? I do daily.
The family room is where most of the action is at. I talked about our aluminum tree at length last time. I would love to have just gold, silver, orange over here but my kids want a rainbow and their decor opinions take priority at Christmas.
The other side of the family room has this cute little orange area and the rest is STILL stacks of wood flooring! The adjoining dining room with the unfinished hole in the wall, but newly hung grasscloth wallpaper. I always feel so sad when fall pumpkins get kicked to the curb, so I’ve decided to embrace them and extend their usefulness. (Are you wondering if I’m a smoker? NO!!! Smoking is the worst. But amazing ceramic ashtray sculptures are THE BEST.)
In past years, I’ve hung the stockings on the real fireplace, but I had the brilliant idea to try the fake one out this year and I love it! Check out the weird vintage stockings – I didn’t get a close up, but my favorite is the magical space Santa hovering in the sky.
Handsome dog alert! He is the family member that pees on aluminum Christmas trees and he also thinks this rug is his own personal giant dog bed. And I’m gonna be OK with it all because in the past few months he somehow instantly went from “forever puppy” to “old man Jackson”.
And last but not least, my kiddos’ room. They have a mini white tree in their room, mostly for fun but, as I mentioned last time, also to hold all the sentimental ornaments when we do full aluminum with our big tree.
Now, the plan today is to nag my husband until he puts the Christmas lights up. We are the shame of the neighborhood, as if our dead front yard wasn’t enough. Merry Christmas everybody! See you next year and thanks a bazillion for reading this wacky blog of mine this year!
Hey everybody! I’ve been doing so much painting around here and zero blogging, laundry, cooking, nail upkeep, vacuuming, or toilet scrubbing. Basically, me and my house are disgusting, but my fences are looking fresh. I spent the last few weeks repairing and painting a shared fence with our neighbor and then I got to looking at my backyard fences. They were so bad that I panicked and started to paint them before El Nino supposedly arrives. And then I found termites (live ones in the ground and the fence!) when prepping for paint so that’s added hours and drama. And then my thoughts turned towards my peeling house and my wonderful neighbor had the idea that I should just paint the woodwork myself (half is stucco and just needs washing, she noted, and it would be good for at least a few more years…genius! Thanks!!!) so that is on deck, and soon because people won’t shut up about how much rain is coming. Plus, I still have the dining/family room painting on my mind, though it may not happen ASAP with these new developments. Either way, here I am in the middle of a painting marathon. Yesterday I even destroyed a plastic kid’s chair (and my elbows) in my madness by Matt Foley falling/crushing it into a thousand pieces while trying to reach a high spot without getting out a ladder. All part of my future children’s book, If You Give a Jenny a Paint Brush.More excitingly, I’ve acquired some radical things recently, which means things are coming together. The most unexpected and thrilling was this vintage tulip coffee table. I made my kids eat dinner in the car so I could pounce on this before the competition saw it on Craigslist. I’m sure it’s a knock off and not an original Knoll (a Burke?), it has a chipped laminate top, and the base is scratched. But that’s all great by me. I’ve been looking for 2 years for a tulip dining table for the patio because that’s the ONLY table I want out there. I had finally accepted it as an impossible dream because my hands are physically incapable of parting with $500 for a table. Literally a week later, this coffee table showed up for ridiculously cheap and I think it’s my solution…I’m going to build a bigger white top for it (I’ll save the original, no worries) and possibly re-powder coat the base if I can’t clean it up. I love the idea of a coffee table as outdoor dining space! Why didn’t I think of that sooner? Now, I’m on the hunt for some chairs and I know exactly which ones. Wish me good Craigslist vibes, even though it’s lookin’ like I already have them.And then, as you may have noticed here, this lamp of my dreams entered my life. I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. Filling my house with things I unequivocally love is my idea of living well. I ridded myself of a few lesser loved lamps, so I’m all squared up. Welcome to the family, big guy.And then there was a big purchase: I finally bought a new rug for the den. The old rug (above) was cheap to begin with, small, thin, dirty and cracking. It may not look THAT bad, but it lived through 2 muddy Ohio winter/springs and was super gross. I didn’t like to hang out on it. Finding the perfect combo of pattern/color, size, material and price is daunting to me, so I never buy good rugs. But I am so happy with this purchase. The new rug, below, (which I almost bought on Rugs USA during their usual 75% off sale but found on Overstock cheaper, though their prices seem to change daily?) is huge and fluffy and CLEAN!
On looks: I was concerned it was a little too Moroccan-trendy and would look dated in a few years (do you love that I said that when the rug sits under a giant passé fireplace?), but I wanted thick white shag that kept up, but didn’t compete, with the other crazy stuff going on in here. The brown squares work so well in this weird, colorful room. I seriously spend so much more time in here now, which is how it should be because I love this room more than a person should love a room. I didn’t get a full room shot yet, but above shows part of the cozy thing, along with the Halloween “decorations” I barely mustered up the energy to put up because Weather has decided October in California will be so hot that you’ll be too tired to put out Halloween decorations. (Decorations that Domino Magazine featured on their site….WHAAATTTT?! Thanks Domino!!!) I’ll leave with an incredible tale of a not-purchase: Just days ago I found myself saying “I’m gonna have to pass on this vintage Saarinen womb chair and ottoman for $75”. What? (Above is a new repro version from Knoll.) An original! Black frame, vintage fabric and all. It undoubtedly needed reupholstering. And that’s where the problem popped up. I was thinking it would be a couple $100 to reupholster, which I was open to considering, but still not 100% sold on. Then my quote from my favorite good and honest upholsterer was $1500!!! Not including fabric. I made the mature decision to pass. Ouch. My instinct is to just buy it and wait until free reupholstering jobs are falling from the sky, but that makes no sense. My husband jokes that I am gonna leave him with a “reverse will”, where instead of inheriting my stuff, he inherits my list of things to acquire. This would have made my list in my college years, but I kind of got over it because it seemed so unattainable. And today I honestly don’t need or have a place for it, so it’s officially not on the reverse will…which is why passing it up was the right, but sad move. But it is still on Craigslist, so maybe this still isn’t over (cue Ryan G.)? Join me next time for the riveting conclusion.
Look who grew by a few feet! Like I said before, this fireplace’s cropped height was driving me crazy because its second flue was too tall by a few inches to fit below the ceiling. It looked nonfunctioning, even though it is (I’m that shallow). And now its fixed, but still nonfunctioning…if you call a centerpiece of a room lacking in function.
The options for solving this problem were 1. cut down the flue 2. cut down the legs or 3. buy and install new legs so as not to destroy the original legs. We went with the least invasive – #3. I bought some cheap steel legs from Ikea, painted them black, and somehow they ended up fitting into the existing screws in the base and being just the right height. The process took a bit longer than that; there was some engineering feats involved in interconnecting the pipes while having zero ceiling clearance. My husband is a wizard so he figured it out and here it is!
This bookshelf. Two things about it:
1. Books sorted by color are for sellouts – And I am a sellout. My sister teases me for color coordinating my books, and I fully deserve it. I like to think I have a decent dose of integrity. But in this case, I am 100% sure I will look back on this with the shame bad decisions documented on the internet deserve. I’m not sure why I tried this or then decided to keep it this way when those are my honest feelings and I am embarrassed to put pictures up of it. I might as well start saying “that’s my jam.” (Barf. I won’t.) I can offer no excuse other than it looks less cluttered than organizing them by subject. At least my books are all good colors. So there’s that.
2. Getting rid of books is hard but good – Our family used to have a lot of books. This entire bookshelf was filled. And I thought I would never part with them because book are precious and prove you are cultured and you may need to reference them in the future and owning the written word is the freedom of speech manifested and blah, blah, blah.
But once I had kids, I started intentionally minimizing our stuff. One of my favorite parenting books ever, Simplicity Parenting, was the catalyst. It talks a lot about the “extraordinary power of less” in your quality of life and I’m a believer. (The greatest irony is that I’ve never owned that book, only checked it out so many times from the library, based on the author’s advice. I should float him some $$.) I’m sure there are some book people who would choose their books over anything else. I’m not one of them. Really, do I need my anthropology text book from college? No. Do I need every novel I’ve ever read? No. Do my kids need the complete catalog of Dr. Seuss? No.
Over the course of recent moves I’ve whittled down our book collection. What remains is a solid collection that is either truly enjoyed by us or truly practical. A handful of our favorite architecture, design, photography*, economics (not mine!), reference and fiction books along with a couple of sentimental items is all that survived the cut.
*may I recommend The New West by Robert Adams, one of the most beautiful things ever created
Some books were parted out to other rooms of the house. Car manuals, woodworking guides and technical art books were relocated to the garage, where they are referenced. Music books and guitar repair manuals are stashed with my husband’s guitar equipment. Health related books (homeopathic remedies, etc.) were moved to our medicine cabinet area. Most children’s books are in their room. Now, the bookshelf books have room to breath and hang out with pottery.
You can see more of this room, the den, in this post.
I’d love to hear what you think of color coordinating books…tacky or timeless? (I’m so sure it’s tacky, yet here I am.)