Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Clark Griswold Moment

I shared with you a couple weeks ago about our design dilemma after having bought new living room furniture that we loved, but was not working in our space. You can read those posts here and here if you missed them. 

I really debated about switching our living room and dining room spaces because I knew the work it would take to get it done. And the chaos that would ensue.  But deep down, I knew that it had to be done to make our living and dining spaces right. It really never has felt right having our living area in the big room off of the kitchen and our formal dining room in the front of the house. I never could put my finger on it, and now that we have started the process of the switcharoo, it has become clear to me that this just works much better for us. 

It really is like we have played Fruit Basket Turnover with our furniture. Everything is in complete disarray. I mean, I'm having a hard time thinking straight in the chaos (and that kind of makes me want to go all Clark Griswold, but I'm reigning it in).  But, I wanted to share this process with you......the good, the bad, the ugly, and the Clark Griswold moments. 

First, we had to have our satellite provider come and install the cable necessary for us to be able to watch television in the new living room. (was the formal dining room) That was a fiasco in and of itself. The gentleman that came and worked on it ran into some snags and he ended up being at our home from two-thirty one afternoon until after seven pm after having been up since four that morning.  I felt so bad for him. But he persevered an didn't give up until he got it all worked out. Bless him! He was such a nice guy. 

Once we got that all worked out, we were able to start moving the dining furniture into the "new" dining room, and start the process of moving our monster of an entertainment center into the "new" living room.  

We had to take our entertainment center apart into three pieces, then reassemble it.  It may not look very large in the picture, but it takes up the majority of the wall. (That is a 55 inch tv to give you and idea of size.) Once I got it into this room, the blue that I painted in the back was too bright with all of the natural light that flows into the room. I am now in the process of painting the backs a classic black to tone it down and give me a more sophisticated and neutral palette to work with. I can't decorate and put things into place until I finish painting this........ 

........thus, all of the baskets and bins on the floor. As soon as the paint dries, they are getting put back in their home!

Currently, we have no window coverings in this room. The curtains that were in here got moved into the other room. (I took the navy ones that were in the other room down.)  I have ordered custom blinds, but they have yet to come in. 

My kitchen countertops are currently housing a lot books and accessories that will go on the shelves of our entertainment center. 

Here is where the Clark Griswold moment comes in. My husband turns into the raving, borderline psycho Clark Griswold anytime he has to assemble anything. (Like in Christmas Vacation when he "fixes" the newel post, or finally breaks down and rants "......hallelujah, holy crud,where's the Tylenol." You know....minus the profanity and name-calling.)  Anywho, when I ordered our new dining room chairs, I didn't notice the whole assembly required thing.  So I had to assemble six chairs with a husband who despises to assemble anything!  Like I said, he turns into some semblance of a Clark Griswold teetering on the edge of being in control and completely losing it. (I have a wonderful husband! He is so amazing to me and our girls....I just need to learn not to buy things that require assembly!) 

I love the way the chairs look. All of them are great except one.  The pilot hole was drilled into the wrong place and now we have a lopsided cross bar. I guess I will be on the phone with customer service at some point today to see how to get the problem resolved. I hope they don't tell me to disassemble it and ship it back.  That may put Clark, er, um, I mean Jared over the edge. I kid, I kid. 

I am going to be hustling this week to get our living/dining areas put back in order. I had to put progress in our laundry room on hold until I get all of this done. I'm looking forward to being able to cross these things off of my list. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Favorite Things: Target Edition

Every time I mention I want to go to Target, my husband gives me the eye roll of all eye rolls and asks why I want to go again. I don't think I can make him understand all of the great-on-your-budget-best-priced-home-decor-around-goodness of the place. So I endure the eye rolls and husband sighs of the century and promise to walk around Bass Pro Shops later with him (whilst giving him the best wifey eye roll I can muster) if he will just let me have an hour.  Just one hour of blessed Target time to hold me over until the next time I can meander the aisles with a cup of Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha in my hand.

Here are some Target items that caught my eye for this edition of Favorite Things

//Knit Geo Pillow//

My eye is drawn to geometric prints. I love the pattern of this pillow. It really pops!

//American Simplicity X-back Dining Chair//

These x-back chairs are timelessly beautiful and are a wonderful price. In fact, I am expecting a shipment to my home any day now with six of them to go with my dining room table.

//Young House Love Hexagon Decorative Picture Hanger//
I love the color and shape of this picture hanger. I could see just one in a small space or a group of three in a larger area to really make an impact. 

//Nate Berkus Patterned Ceramic Tray//
I probably could think of ten different ways to use this adorable tray. Love the design on it. 

//Safavieh Meadow Sunburst Mirror//
If you want a statement piece in a room, this sunburst mirror would definitely be the right choice. 

Have a great weekend! It would be the perfect time to get in a little Target time. 

This is not a sponsored posts. All opinions are my own.

A Story to Tell

I've always heard the expression, "If these walls could talk," but what I have wondered recently is what if this furniture piece could talk? What stories would we hear? What knowledge would we glean? What secrets would we learn? 
How many times had that item been in the presence of an I love you or a lover's quarrel?  How many times had it heard the pitter patter of little feet or the wracking sobs of loss?

In a post I wrote last week, A Collected Home, I mused over the difference between a home bought straight from a showroom floor or a home filled with things that are unique.

"I want to surround myself with things that I love, things that have character and tell a story.  I don't want a "buy it right now and settle for what I find" home, I want a "collected" home."

Over on Alabama Women Bloggers,  Editor Kari Scott featured Cultivate Create as guest blogger and had a wonderful write about the stories our homes or collected pieces had to tell.

We do have pieces in our home that tell a story. Pieces that have a history. But, there is one in particular that I want to share with you today. I want to tell its story, to share some of its secrets with you.  

This pie safe is probably one of my most favorite items that my husband and I have. It's a unique piece that people tend to gravitate toward and comment on when they are at our home. It was given to us by my father-in-law, and boy does it have a story to tell! I checked with my father-in-law and my husband's grandmother to make sure I had all of my facts straight so that I could share the story with you. 

So, the story goes that in 1936, my husband's paternal great-grandparent's house burned down. They had to start over with all of their furnishings, and Pawpaw Henderson's (my husband's paternal grandfather,) uncle had an old pump organ that no longer worked. He then used it to build a pie safe for them, as they were starting over again. This piece was something that my husband's great-grandparents, then grandparents, had in their homes, his dad and step-mom had in their home, and now we have it in ours. It's one of those pieces that has been passed down for years, and will continue to be passed down in the future.

But here's the cool part.

On the back of the upright pump-organ-turned-pie-safe, there is a stamp or carving into the wood that says, "Warranted ten years. Geo. P. Bent, Chicago U.S.A."

I was curious what this meant, so I did a little research. It turns out that Geo. P. Bent was the manufacturer of the organ that this piece was made out of. 

Here is a little history about the company and time period these organs were made:

"The company was located at 81-83 Jackson in 1883; Washington Blvd. & Sangamon St., 281-289 Wabash Ave., 323-333 South Canal St., Chicago, IL; Crown organs;
George Payne Bent started in 1870 as a sewing machine retailer, added organs and in 1880 began manufacturing organs and later pianos. Early instruments are marked Geo. R. Bent. In 1902 the factory had a capacity of 12,000 organs per year.
He was active in trade associations and after retirement was author and editor of "Four Score and More" a book which he published containing reminiscences of old-timers in the music business of puns on his name, he gave out his personalized cigars saying, "Have a Bent cigar." The company was renamed Geo. P. Bent Co. in 1908; probably discontinued organ production in 1915. Later acquired by the Adler Mfg. Co.Serial numbers: 1888 - 18253, 1901 - 8514, 1906 - 89519." (Via)

There is no serial number on the back of our pie safe, but I can deduct the approximate time frame in which the organ was made from this bit of information. Our piece is marked "Geo. P. Bent." According to the above information, the company was renamed that in 1908 and discontinued production of the organs in 1915. So our organ/pie safe was made somewhere between 1908 and 1915. It stopped working properly by 1936, then it became what it is today. This makes it around one hundred years old.

Here is some additional information I found, as well as some original pictures of turn of the century pamphlets and ads from Geo. P. Bent Crown organs and pianos.

"George P. Bent was one of the most well known piano and organ makers of the late 19th Century in America. Established in 1870, George P. Bent built instruments under both his own name and also under the 'Crown' and "Concord" brand names. His most famous innovations were his 'Orchestral Attachment' and 'Practice Clavier', which were special features operated by extra foot pedals. George P. Bent stopped building pianos in about 1929 when the Great Depression hit, but the Crown brand name was produced up until the late 1940s. George P. Bent and 'Crown' brand organs were also sold and distributed by Sears Roebuck & Company on a limited basis at the turn-of-the-century."  (Via)







How awesome to learn not only of the family history tied to this piece, but also the history of the original item itself. While it was remade into something useful after it was no longer in use, it still holds the intrigue of the original organ. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it is one of a kind.

Obviously, I don't have use for a pie safe in its original context; storing pies and other perishables to keep them safe from insects and vermin. I now use it to hold dishes and serving pieces.  

You see here that it is well worn, and has a few imperfections, but I wouldn't want it any other way.  It has had to repaired a couple of times over the years, but still maintains its original character.

The items seen behind the mesh doors are my great-grandmother's dishes, plates and platters given to me by both of my grandmothers and my husband's grandmother, and an antique tea set given to me by my husband's step-mom. 

Not only is it great storage, but also gives me a way to add decor interest in this room. 

Do you have items in your home that have a story to tell? I would love to hear all about them!  Share in the comments below, or if you are a fellow blogger, write a post about it and link up your post here. The link-up will be open until July 30th. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Decor Dilemma: Living Room Furniture Part 2

Last week, I shared with you my problem concerning my new living room furniture. Despite really liking the furniture itself, I wasn't liking the way it looked in what were using as the living room space. You can see that post here.

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to move the furniture into what was our formal dining room to see if we would like the layout and scale better than in the other room. We shoved all of the dining room furniture to one side of the room so that we could at least get a visual and feel for what it would be like to permanently make this room the living room.

Two things that jumped out at me right away were the fact that the scale of the furniture worked really well in this space, and that it felt more cozy and "homey." I also like that the walls are gray, so instead of having a color palette dictated for me already, I am free to add color and texture how I please. 

The pillows that came with the couch are very pretty, and are a well made, thick upholstery fabric. BUT, they just don't flow with the colors in my home. I have pops of blues and greens everywhere, so I will not be using them in this space.

I threw the pillows I currently have laying around onto the sofa just to get a visual of what some color would look like in the space. While, I don't plan on a strictly blue and green color palette for this room, it does, however, let me visualize the room with pops of color and not just gray.

Now that my husband and I have made up our minds about switching the dining and living room spaces, it's time for the fun part. I get to take the neutral canvas, add curtains, a rug, textures, and accessories to make the room come alive. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

From House to Home Community

 Happy Friday, friend! I just wanted to take a moment and tell you about a community I host on Google+ called  From House to Home. If you are on Google+, head over and join the community. (If you aren't on Google+, you have to go check it out. I love it!) 

Anywho, more about this community.  It is a place where you can get tips, tutorials, and how-to's for making your house a home.  And you don't have to be a blogger to share or participate in discussions.  

Here are the categories that are in the community. Lots of ways to get new information and inspiration and to share to inform and inspire others:
Home Decor
Cleaning Tips
Budget/Frugal Living
Thrift Store Makeovers
Furniture Makeovers
Seasonal Decorating/Recipes

Here are some examples of what others have shared in From House to Home:

5 Things To Do With Old Tree Stumps

Outdoor Upcycles and Creations


The Dedicated House Feature Roundup


Free printable
Head over to see more about all of these projects and much more! It's a lot of fun turning your house into home!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Decor Dilemma: Living Room Furniture

The Dilemma
Let me tell you, there is nothing like finding furniture that you really like, buying said furniture at a great price, only to bring it home and find that it just doesn't work in your space like you envisioned it would.

Nothing like it

Except maybe getting a root canal. Or waiting in line at the DMV. (Wait, have I ever mentioned that I do not like waiting in line at the DMV?)

Here is the lovely new furniture that I have waited a while for.  It's a gray color that would go with just about anything.  It has a little tufted detail on the back cushions. And it's comfy.

The only problem is that it just looks really awkward in the space to me.  Our kitchen is open to our living room, which is quite large.  There is room for a breakfast table and a sitting area in the large room. This new furniture just doesn't quite "fill up the space" like our sectional did.  If we could return the furniture and pick out something else, we might not be in this pickle, but that isn't an option.

We had had this sectional, square ottoman (which is wonderful for small children), and oh-so-comfortable-but-not-so-pretty recliner for a few years now. The couch had seen better days and the frame had broken on three different occassions. (Thankfully, my hubby is good at patching it up.) But we knew it wouldn't last much longer and it was time for new furniture. 

 Here is another view of the old furniture and the large living room. (Yes, it was from Christmas. I couldn't find another photo from this angle.) 

Here is the new furniture in the space. I love the round, teak side tables. But from this angle, which is the only way we could configure the furniture to look right, the table doesn't fill up the space between the couch and chair like I would like it to. I tried to stick a Band-Aid on that problem by adding the stool with a stack of books there, but it just looks off. 

Same thing on this side of the room.  We did have to angle this chair for the ottoman and the coffee table to both fit. It still just looks weird. 

It looks better from this angle, but this is not what you see when you walk in; the other side is. 

View from kitchen

So basically here is the run-down:
*The scale is too small for the room
*Awkward placement of furniture
*When my children eat at the breakfast bar, which is directly behind the sofa, they turn around without thinking and rub their food-stained hands all over the furniture.  (exasperated sigh)
*It just doesn't feel right (that's a legitimate basis for wanting to flip-flop your whole house isn't it?)

The Solution (or at least I hope it is)
If I am really honest with myself, our current living space hasn't ever felt quite right. I don't know if it was because of the furniture or the large space.  I have been toying with switching out our living and dining spaces for a while now. I have always been on the fence about that, but now I am convinced that it is the thing to do. 

These pictures of our "formal dining" space are a little old.....before I added curtains or anything, but they give you a good idea of what the layout of the space is. On one side is the office, and the other side is the foyer.  Actually, this room was originally the formal living space and what we use as the office was the formal dining space. We really don't need a formal sitting room so we decided that this would be our dining room. 

So, my idea would be to make this space the living room. I would move all of our dining furniture into where our couch currently is.  A switcharoo, if you will. A great big flip-flop. One that, by all accounts is going to take a little bit of logistical planning to execute. I feel like it will be a much cozier living space and more functional dining area that way. I have to find a way to get blinds for that huge window (Lowe's doesn't even cut custom blinds that big), we have to get our satellite provider to run cable to this room, and we have to figure out how to move our humongous, heavy entertainment center that we semi-built. 

If anyone has any other suggestions, I am open to hearing them.  But for now, that is the way I am leaning on the situation.  Hoping to make the final decision soon and get to work on it!

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