Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take Two

So yesterday I mentioned my TV wall dilemma, and this morning I found two incredibly timely posts to consider...
As if we were reading each other's minds, Jenny posted this:

Her own swoon-worthy TV wall... Storage cabinets with a skirted stand in between... And most importantly, it looks like her cabinet also comes out over a window.

While this is totally do-able in her open, loft-style New York apartment, would it work in our small, not-so-open North Carolina house? 

An option that would undoubtedly work in our space, despite the lack of storage options, is this incredible idea from Brooklyn Limestone:

I just adore the simple, uncluttered feel.  And right now, I'm leaning toward this idea... with the thought that we can always add cabinets or bookcases down the road when storage becomes an issue.

As my professor said last night, there are times when you just have to commit and go with it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shelving Dilemma

What is it about spring that makes you want to grab that to-do list and get it all done?  For me, that to-do list mostly includes rearranging furniture and painting everything I can get my hands on!

I mentioned before that Sarah came by a few weeks ago to offer some suggestions on a few 'problem' spots in the house.  One of the the places I've struggled with the most is our TV wall. 

The space has looked like this since we've been married, and I've never felt 100% satisfied with it.  Mostly because I can't stand the unbalanced look of a bookshelf on one side and then nothing on the other.  I could hardly contain my excitement when Sarah suggested achieving some symmetry with built-in bookshelves around a TV stand.

Unfortunately, the hubs has vetoed this one.  Apparently, he is not game for adding the built-ins and shifting down the off-center windows behind the couch.

So now I'm considering adding another leaning shelf to achieve a similar look.  I did a quick mock-up of the idea... And would also consider adding a pretty linen skirt to cover the TV stand.  Thoughts?

I just can't get too excited about the double leaning shelves for some reason... If it were built-ins or even a pair of Lack shelves, I'd be running out today to get started!  But this just doesn't do it for me.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if I want to eliminate the great storage that comes with shelves flanking the TV stand (especially when we're looking for places to stash toys down the road).

What do you think?  Go for the leaning shelves, or keep brainstorming for that problem corner?

Friday, March 25, 2011

This or That?

After careful consideration and about a million different options, I have finally narrowed down my choices for spending the remainder of a few Crate & Barrel gift cards.  Sarah recently gave me some great advice on breaking up all the square/angular lines in our living room... So I've decided to use the funds to replace one of our current side tables with either...

Option 1:

Option 2:

I am kind of obsessed with both… I love the classic look of the Jules side table, but am crazy over the marble top of the Quarry.  Which one gets your vote?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Decision 2011

I bought a couple of paint samples for the sunroom... Okay, five.  But I'd highly recommend the process.  I generally just tape a paint card to the wall and go from there.  However, with my recent itch to change the wall colors in our house (yes, almost all of them), I decided repainting for a third time would most likely be out of the question.  So I better get it right!

Here is the line-up...

And while these two were cut pretty quickly, I think the color on the left will be the perfect smokey blue for our bedroom!

Despite all the choices & my general lack of decision-making, the winner was easy to spot!  Granted, I still need husband approval, but my vote is with Chantilly Lace (color furthest to the left in the top picture).

It's a little hard to see on the primer, because it's a crisp white.  I've been thinking about white walls since last summer... And all the bright windows in this space have me even more excited about the choice.  Plus I think white would look incredible with the dark floors I'm currently begging for...

{source unknown}

Can't wait to get the paint and trim up this weekend!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I have a new obsession (surprised?)  Sofas facing each other...

But I've also read that people can feel like this is a 'confrontational' room arrangement.  And if you know me, I try my absolute hardest to be opposite of confrontational.

{via Lonny}

So what do you think?  Intimate, conversation-enabling arrangement... or the set-up for confrontation mediation?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Two Weekend De-Clutter

Last weekend, I started the de-cluttering process by cleaning out my closet, dresser, and guest room closet (which was packed to the gills!)  With two huge boxes filled already, I hit the kitchen this weekend… I briefly considered having another yard sale, since we had so much.  But quickly realized many of the items were ones that didn't sell at our last sale in September (why did I bring those back inside?!)

So I packed up an entire car full (literally... including the trunk) and headed to Goodwill.  Needless to say, getting rid of it all felt great!

But what felt even better was moving out a few big pieces… Remember the china cabinet with kitchen items in our guest bedroom?  It found a new home at my in-law’s lake house, along with the yellow carpet that was in the same room.

I honestly really liked the china cabinet, but it was so out of place in a bedroom!  Especially given the fact that everything fit into the kitchen, with a little scaling down and sorting out.

By moving out the yellow carpet (purchased a few years ago at Habitat), we finally have a spot for the 8x11 rug that used to be in our living room! Yep, that baby has been rolled up and stashed in the corner of our bedroom for almost a year… True hoarder style.

With every room, I used the 'one-year' rule... If we hadn't worn/used/thought about the item in one year, it went!  All of the clearing out also got me thinking about 'cleaner' looking rooms... So stay tuned for a quick guest bathroom makeover (and paint job!)

Whew! Now on to the week… Hopefully picking out a paint color for the sunroom and getting at least a coat done one evening after work.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lonny Love

Right after I posted my thoughts on living 'smaller,' the March/April Lonny came out with total inspiration...

I adore this space... The neutral palette, navy rug, side tables and gallery walls on both sides (yay symmetry!)  A perfect example of how a smaller space can still be everything you want!


So I probably should have waited to post the sunroom update.  We decided last night to prime the entire room, while the floors and molding are not installed to make it a little easier on ourselves.

It's amazing what a difference it makes!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Columns Up!

We had such a productive weekend back around the house.  I kept telling Jeff that it was like we were trying to make up for our weekend out of town!

There was a lot accomplished on the sunroom.  My dad came over Saturday morning to help Jeff, and by Sunday the wall between the sunroom and the kitchen was almost finished!

{hard at work- framing the old window space}

{in progress}

My dad is a (semi) retired architect and had great advice for us on what to do with the wall between the kitchen and sunroom.  We had originally planned to keep the existing brick, add to it, and paint.  But in the end, we decided that even painted, you'd really be able to see the lines where new brick was added.

So we continued the bead board (obviously to be painted to match above) as a pretty accent on this wall.

The openings on the left and right will stay as half walls to keep the views & light from the windows.  There was so much to consider on this wall... And we were really limited by the existing steel header above this opening. 

It would have been almost impossible to open this wall up any more and keep the structural integrity.  So we tried to balance the structural needs of the header above (most important), how it would look best (with opening centered), and what would create the most useful space. 

Finally, the space to the right of the half wall will be built-in shelving for storage!  They won't be too deep, but a perfect spot for displaying a few pieces.

And for fun, a before (post-window removal)...

And after (as of this weekend)...

Now we just need to finish the drywall on the kitchen side, trim out the columns, and add molding to the entire room.  Then it's time to add flooring and paint... Then, we are (unbelievably) done!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mardi Gras Recap: Part 2

Now on to Mardi Gras day (Fat Tuesday)... Jeff was up at 3:30 am to secure our spot with his brother, Uncles Glen, Barry & Eric, and a few others. The rest of us headed into town around 8:00 to catch Rex and the truck parades, which last through late afternoon.

There were multiple grills going with hamburgers & hot dogs, snacks, and King Cake under a couple tents... Along with speakers for music and a platform for catching beads. It is seriously the most deluxe set-up!

{grills going}

{platform dancing}

Everyone dresses in costume for the Fat Tuesday parades, and we were 'Boeuf Gras' (a float in Rex). It was so fun to see our crowd of 30+ dresses as cows!

{cows up close}

{Jeff giving a little cousin a lift to catch beads}

{full view of the platform}

There is something that is so much more than the good time to be had at Mardi Gras... There is so much love in the Whittaker family, for each other and for their city. I don't think I could ever do the feeling justice in a post, but New Orleans is so alive and the pride that New Orleanians (including our family) have for it is palpable.

I am truly blessed to be part of it all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mardi Gras Recap: Part I

We're back from our Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans!  Here is a recap of the fun and festivities... Stick with me, because this is a two part-er...

After arriving in the city about 3 am our time, we slept a few hours before the girls headed to a bridal shower for Jeff's cousin.  The shower was in an old house (turned restaurant).  The food was delicious, and it was so great to have a chance to see the bride-to-be before her wedding in May!

{opening gifts}

{Jeff's mom, me, Jeff's sister Laura}

{we were under a tornado watch during the shower & the rain flooded the street in front of the restaurant}

Due to the rain, Endymion was postponed to Sunday evening.  We spent the night visiting with family and cheering on the Tarheels to victory over Duke!

The weather cleared overnight, and Sunday morning we were up early to head to Uncle Bruce's house for their annual party.  Their home is in a beautiful neighborhood with historic homes and tons of cute shops and restaurants within walking distance (aka my dream).

They are also right off the parade routes for Mid-City and Thoth.  We took in both parades and enjoyed one of my favorites, Aunt Laura's red beans & rice.

From there, we headed uptown to see Bacchus and Endymion (two of the largest parades).  The crowd was packed!  Fortunately, Jeff's cousin scored a prime condo rental right on St. Charles Avenue, which is part of both the parades' routes.  We were so lucky to have that set-up, since they didn't ended until around midnight.

{crowd at Endymion, extending all the way to the opposite side of the street}

Monday (Lundi Gras) was spent taking in the sights of the French Quarter... And there was much to be seen that cannot be shared on this blog!  We went to Pat O'Brien's, Johnny White's (a bar that has never closed it's doors, even during Katrina), and the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone.

{Pat O'Brien's}

{French Quarter balconies decorated for Mardi Gras}

Up next... Mardi Gras day!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Hope y'all have a great weekend... And do something extra-fun to celebrate Mardi Gras! 

I'm heading down to New Orleans for the real deal... And couldn't be more excited for lots of time with family, King Cake, and all the Mardi Gras festivities!

Just for fun, here we are 2 years ago in the Big Easy.  Everyone dresses up in costume to watch the parades on Fat Tuesday.  We were clowns then... This year: cows.

It should make for some pretty interesting pictures to share when we get back!  As they say in New Orleans, laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gray & Yellow

I absolutely love all of the gray & yellow I've been seeing lately... From nurseries to living rooms, my eye is always drawn to the color combination.  And then I saw {me}longings' recent post on a gray & yellow color scheme for her cousin's upcoming wedding!

I just couldn't help but pull together some detail pictures from our wedding with the same colors...

Since it was spring, we went with vibrant yellows, dark grays & creams.  I've definitely seen these colors done in so many different ways, and adored them all!  Our wedding was nothing over-the-top, but I thought it would be fun to share.

It's hard to believe that in almost 2 months, we'll be celebrating our 2-year anniversary!  Time absolutely flies when you're having fun... And renovating!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Less is More

For graduate school, I recently reviewed a book called What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption.  I couldn't have loved, or needed to read, a book more… The whole premise is the recent rise of collaborative consumption, or the move away from ownership in the traditional sense to borrowing/ sharing/ collectivism.

I really can’t do the topic justice in a blog post, but the authors discussed everything from product sharing services, such as Zipcar, to re-distribution services (my personal favorite), like Craigslist, and collective lifestyles, such as LandShare.  All of these services connect people who have a product with others who want to borrow it, buy it, or share it.

Thus, eliminating the waste associated with making a new product as well as the waste associated with throwing away an old one.  To get a great sense of the message, check out this YouTube clip:

For me the bottom line was:  We have too much stuff.  In America, the average home size has gone from 932 square feet in 1950 to over 2,400 square feet in 2005 (over double!) – while the average number of people per home has gone down from 4.5 to 2.6.

I’ve mentioned my recent home goal to start de-cluttering rooms.  But this is also a personal goal… Less consumption and greater appreciation for living within the space we need.

{all images via}

Part of this effort for me includes looking for great design inspiration for smaller spaces… Can't wait to share more, as I continue to explore!