Thursday, October 16, 2014

Walk to the Park

Here are some pictures from an afternoon at the neighborhood park back in September.

Lucy loves this raincoat so sometimes I have to hide it so that she doesn't insist on wearing it on non-rainy days. Apparently I forgot to hide it this particular sunny day.

It was red day at school for Avvie.

I gave Avvie a choice of colors for her sneakers this year and she chose red. These are the reddest shoes I've ever seen! She loves them. They are pretty beat up already thanks to her love of puddles and mud but they are still rather bright.

Both the girls love to mother Lucy and helping her with the slide is one of their favorite ways to do that. In addition to lifting her off the slide I sometimes find them picking her up and trying to carry her around. Much as I still think of her as our baby, she really isn't a baby at all so she's not thrilled with being toted around by her (not much) bigger sisters.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Oh, Lulu

Lucy loves to get cozy in the big bed! She can be quite a ham when she's happy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Living Room Update

We recently made some major changes to our living room. I don't normally blog about befores and afters in our home but since a few of you have weighed in on design decisions either in person or over email or text or Pinterest and have asked to see pictures I thought it'd be fun to do a before and after post. I still have some more I'd like to do (the walls are still a bit bare for my taste, I'm thinking of staining the trunk a darker color, haven't yet settled on what, if any, window treatments I need) I feel like all the major work is done.

I don't have any great "before" pictures but here are a few to give you an idea. They are from the day we closed on the house so it's completely empty.

When we moved in and over the past three years we did nothing to the room. We had the movers stick the piano in the corner and we have two love seats, a large rug and at times a leather chair from our first home that we kept moving around in there. None of it was to scale for the room nor did it go with the wall color (which was fine because I knew we wanted to change that). Eventually one of the love seats migrated to the basement and another to the family room. The leather chair made its way to our bedroom. The rug also ended up in the basement. Suddenly we had an almost empty room except for a couple months when we stored some outdoor furniture in there. We decided it was time to do something because we had this lovely space in the center of our home that was being used as storage! We had dreamed of having a fireplace put in so we had a friend in the business give us an estimate. We were very excited that he was willing to take the ideas I had from Pinterest and design blogs and make them happen so we decided to go for it. In case you don't feel like reading the entire post, I'll say upfront that we love the work Steve did and highly recommend him and his business (Alpine in Spring Lake Heights)!

To help us save some money my dad offered to do the painting with my assistance. It was a huge savings and blessing to have that help! I initially planned on going with something more gray but in the end decided to keep it slightly warmer so it's more beige with a slight gray undertone depending on the time of day. And we painted the molding white so now the entire house has white molding (except for the family room but I'm not improving anything in there since that's practically a playroom these days).
My dad spackled and taped and caulked and did an excellent job!

I tested out several "greiges" for the walls and also a couple dark blues for the fireplace. The walls ended up Balboa Mist and the fireplace is Newburyport Blue (with Hale Navy a close second but at night it read almost black and I wanted it to still have more blue to it).

I spent a lot of nap times painting molding and doors and up on a ladder painting and scraping the big arching window.

When Steve framed the fireplace I was SO excited. I could tell even with just the metal that it was going to be perfect.

I made Andy hold up the Moravian Star to see if it would be big enough. I wouldn't mind it a touch bigger but this was the largest one I could get (well, I saw a few bigger ones but the price was exorbitant on them).
I had my heart set on marble tile for the hearth and surround. I showed Andy some pictures and he was on board. I thought about having the surround tiles set in a chevron pattern but decided when the trend fades (I think it already is) I might tire of it but subway tile set horizontally is pretty classic (in my opinion). The hearth is a basketweave pattern. I love it! The man who did the tile work was very nice, efficient and did great work. If you ever need someone for tile work, I'll send you his name.

And now for the finished (well, almost finished) product.

I painted the fireplace to save some money. It went relatively fast (using a tinted primer helped) but when I was at the top of the ladder straining to reach the top and cut in carefully at the ceiling I was a bit nervous! It took a few naptimes to complete. Adding sconces was Andy's idea and I had my heart set on using antique brass in the room so I was happy to find these. I said NO TV but then I surprised Andy for Father's Day and it has been nice. The kids are not allowed to use it and we're being careful not to have two TVs going on once with us all spread out, but it's been nice as an occasional treat for Andy to be able to relax and watch some golf while the kids are being rowdy in the family room and I confess to folding a lot of laundry in front of last night's Tonight Show episodes while the kids are playing (or sometimes watching TV...) elsewhere!
The rug was from Overstock and in my opinion a great deal for such a large, wool rug. It was a risk, though, since if I hadn't liked it I can't imagine what shipping costs for the return would have been. I really love the look of an antique Heriz rug but that was definitely not in the budget.
To the right of the picture over the sofa I'd love to come up with a grouping of smaller pictures to fill in the space a bit more but that'll take some time to figure out.
The view out to the closed pool is not very pleasant, but I do like all the natural light. I may do an unobtrusive window treatment at some point to the soften the view but I don't want to rush that decision.
I have some more tweaks planned for the foyer but I love having it and the hall to the bedrooms painted. I'll share more of that when I have the time and budget for the rest of the updates.
Did I mention we are smitten with our new fireplace?! That's why I have oodles of pictures in this post...

Generally I've been keeping the mantle bare, but for fall (and I'm sure for Christmas, too) it needs a few things!

Can you believe I found pumpkins with just the right blue accents in them?

And now here are some night pictures. I didn't have a lot of time to fiddle with exposure but I will assure you it's much glow-ier and prettier in person. It's such a cozy space.

The actual function of the fireplace is great, too. You can have the lights on or off (or at various levels), the fire has a ton of settings (one or two (or no) flames on, height of flames, thermostat, blowers, etc.). It's all operated via remote control. We are excited now that it's finally getting cool enough to use.