My Dream Living Room

I was recently asked by a new friend at Arhaus what my dream living room would consist of. My mind immediately went to a version of a Fixer Upper episode: including, but not limited to, neutral paint tones, industrial farmhouse decor, chippy-shabby-chic furniture, comfortable seating, softly knit throw blankets and pillows, lots of natural light, great art, and beautiful candle stick holders on a rustic mantle garnished by fresh greenery. You know the look:

(link to original)

I was going to gather pictures via the glorious world wide web to show you examples of my dream space; but I stopped myself. I stopped because I thought I could be a little more real with you.

Lately, my dreams have been changing. Especially my dreams about the perfect home. This year I’ve been reading/learning/praying a lot about not living a lifestyle of materialism and excess. A lifestyle of consuming without thinking. I’ve been recognizing that my dreams were being formed by a culture that constantly cries for more.

More stuff.

Better things.

I began asking myself questions like, “what is my heart crying out for?” and, “How can I stop the ‘I need’ mentality and be grateful for what I have?”

The question about my dream living room ironically came right after I had a declutter frenzy. I had just gone through every room, closet, drawer and space in my home where I pulled everything that I really didn’t want/need off the walls, out of hiding, and into give away piles. I felt lighter as I went from room to room, giving away nice things that I just didn’t need.

I was getting tired of this game. Tired of always being on the lookout for new curtains, softer blankets, a frame for a picture, new throw pillows, rugs, and so on and so forth. My mad purge became 6 full trash bags of stuff I sent to Goodwill (which is a lot since I haven’t lived long enough to have a ton of stuff to begin with).

I’ve decided that this year I will live with intentionality and buy with purpose and in consideration of quality. I want to save and give away all the money I would have frivolously spent on stuff I just don’t need while becoming more aware of the people in this world that have REAL needs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a home full of nothing. What my 26-year-old brain is contemplating is how to create a home full of items that are intentional, good quality, and will last a lifetime. A home that is within my means, has items that will last long enough for my children to inherit. A physical space that inspires, relaxes, and works to host as many family and friends as I can possibly pile into one space.

>>My Actual Home<<

To set the scene for those of you who don’t know me, this is the year anniversary of starting my own business and Dean and I are finally settled longer than 8 months for the first time in our marriage!

My living room is like a patch-work quilt made from items that are decades old and don’t quite match. Every item of furniture in my home has been thrifted or given to me. I’ve put my special touch on these items; all having been either cleaned, painted, or reupholstered.

Somehow, this bizarre mixture of stuff still feels cozy to me -each item having a story and serving a purpose.

I follow many talented bloggers, interior designers, and have friends with incredible style. I know the trends, and I know my current living room doesn’t quite measure up (I’d have to spend a ton to get it there). A couple of months ago that would have really bothered me… but not now. I’m pretty happy and blessed to get to dwell in this safe place every day. It’s a space I can welcome my friends into, and that’s so important to me!

Today, I want to share my “dream” living room with you. It’s just around the corner from me as I type. I snapped some pictures of it earlier in the cloudy morning light.

It’s not perfect or beautifully staged. I forgot to straighten the pillows. But, it’s functional and I count myself blessed to have so much in the name of comfort.  Welcome to my home:

This is my house. It’s messy most days as I run between the kitchen sink to rinse a drippy paint brush and my workshop in the garage. I leave water cups everywhere and constantly misplace my purse (which I seriously can’t find today), phone, and jacket. There is a faded red wine stain (from a really fun girls night), and lots of dog hair (from my overly-large dog, Titus) on my living room rug. You can make a mess in this place. You can spill a drink or track in mud. It’s okay.

Pictured below and to the right is our HIDEOUS plaether (plastic leather) recliner that I received for free while living at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS. We only had our couch then, and desperately wanted more seating for family and friends. This ugly chair is beautiful to me because it’s an extra seat for a friend to plop down onto as we visit after a long work week, (picture 4-6 twenty-somethings trying to figure out the world over a cold beer or cup of joe).

In this “dream” living room, you will see my big, comfy, and over-stuffed blue couch that used to be my parents’. This couch is like a hug after a long day or the perfect place for a rainy-afternoon nap. It’s deceivingly comfortable. Since college, this has been my go-to hide-from-the-world-and-sleep couch. My only regret is that Dean and I have a little too much booty to spoon on it comfortably without him nearly pushing me off… so eventually we will have to gift this and move onto a bigger and better sofa. When that day comes, I’m eyeing one that looks something like this from Arhaus. But for now, Big Blue will do!

My favorite piece of decor in my living room is a chalkboard I crafted out of an old window. It’s given me a place to express humor, faith, and practice my hand lettering. It functions as the centerpiece of my mantle, and, since it was used in my wedding decor, it’s extra special to me.

My mid-century-modern dresser (turned into entertainment center) was found on a thrifting adventure when we moved into our first home and literally had NO furniture. I took the top four drawers out of the dresser and built a shelf to house our electronic goods (all Dean’s). It’s been painted twice and has the best deep drawers.

I found the small floral mid-century chair on my neighborhood curb in Texas. My sister was kind enough to let me stop and embarrass her as I awkwardly shoved it in my Mazda 6. It was the first piece I upholstered and serves as a constant reminder of where I started and where I’m going.

In the center of this room is a half-finished Lane cedar chest. Dean wanted a cedar chest so badly that it was a little weird. We found this one for $30 when we got to Maryland and since then, I’ve been slowly transforming it into a coffee table. I plan to glaze and stencil it -more on that in a blog post to come.

The giant blank wall to the left used to be a gallery wall…. It looked so pretty and had beautiful pictures of my family and friends all over it. That was until I realized I needed a blank wall for staging furniture for my business, and this would be the best one for the job. I said goodbye to my gallery for now. The emptiness is a constant reminder that I’m following my dreams and have room to grow.

In conclusion, this messy patched-together space makes up my dream living room. Real life happens here: date nights with Dean, dinner parties with friends, weekend naps, puppy-petting, popcorn eating, Netflix bingeing, and good conversations over coffee. All this happens in this space where it’s okay to kick up your feet, be messy, and figure out life.

My encouragement to you would be to embrace what you have, set goals for what you want, and be patient to achieve those goals. Once you’ve thought about them long and hard, you’ll be ready to make that investment in your home with NO buyer’s remorse!

I was looking through the Arhaus furniture collection after they contacted me and gave me the challenge of considering my dreams in regards to my home. Let me tell you that they have some INCREDIBLE looking pieces. If you need to dream and want to set some goals for your future space, check out their website here. You will definitely be inspired.

Don’t chase the latest fad or buy the next thing without asking “why?”. Look into your heart and decide what’s most important to you, then go create a space that reflects that.

Home photography is not my talent, I know these pictures aren’t perfect, but I hope you are hearing and seeing my heart on display here. One day, we will be able to afford new, quality furniture and gift these pieces to someone in need. Until then, I’ll practice living with intentionality, dream big, and keep creating new life in forgotten treasures.

-Beth

Galley-Style Kitchen Cabinet Update

Happy Saturday, friends!

I find you with two cramped-up shoulder blades, an aching bicep (yes, just the one), a screaming lower back, and the happiest heart. And coffee. Two cups of coffee.

The last 11 days have been insane for me. Non-stop. While my husband is on a temporary deployment for a month, I decided to take on the project of painting a client’s kitchen cabinets. Everything was OK until I rehung all the doors by myself. My weak little arms could hardly hold the shaking power drill by hour six. But I DID IT! #womanpower.  I’m a firm believer that a woman can do anything a man can… but sometimes stuff is just heavy! (okay, okay, complaining over).

The project started by taking the doors down and the hardware off on January 17th; it ended yesterday (the 27th) by drilling holes for new hardware, mounting doors that were so finicky they were like a jigsaw puzzle (yes each had its EXACT place that I failed to remember), and finally,  stepping back and taking in the finished product.

This was a big challenge for me and I learned so much. You can ask any of my friends how tired I was and how all-consuming this paint job was. My greatest take away was NEVER hang cabinets by myself again… at least not until I become a super human and my super power is incredible upper-body strength. But enough about my lack of muscle or the fact that I can barely lift my arms above my head; without further ado, here are the before and afters:

 

These were the pictures that started the conversation about painting my client’s kitchen cabinets. These were taken on a phone as the dreaming process commenced. Looking back, I can’t BELIEVE how incredible everything turned out. Before, the kitchen boasted yellow walls and dark laminate cabinets. This family definitely needed some more space and a bright, updated look.

Mad props to my client who creatively found space when there was none. She is a dreamer and her home is so balanced and beautifully decorated. Her eye for design definitely landed her a beautiful new kitchen! She had a contractor come in and install new upper cabinets on either side of the narrow galley kitchen.

This definitely gave them more storage on both sides of the kitchen.

These were the only laminate cabinets left!  ⇑

Products used as pictured above: Zinsser B-I-N Shellac for a primer, General Finishes Snow White Milk Paint, and General Finishes High Performance Top Coat. When you use all three of these products you can transform a kitchen from the above into this:

I’ve painted so many white coats of paint the last 11 days that I dreamed of it last night. Worth it. This kitchen was transformed from dark  and cramped, to bright and open.

Even I, after painting for 50-something hours, have a hard time believing this actually happened! It turned out beautifully!

Yes people, laminate can be painted. Sand the heck out of it, clean it, prime it, and paint away.

All new hardware was added to the upper cabinets! Also, painting with a brush really gave the cabinets some texture, which I love!

The bottom cabinets are actually two servers/buffets pushed together with a granite counter top and baseboard to pull them together. Such a good idea for storage!

*Big exhale* So glad this one is in the books, y’all. I hope you enjoyed the transformation. I’m enjoying it a little more now that it’s finished and I’m sitting on the couch by the fire! A big thank you to the family who gave me the opportunity to transform their home -I’m grateful for your support.

Thanks for reading, now go transform the world with your creative spirit. 🙂

-Beth

A Week of End Tables

Last week was literally the week of end tables. I started on three at the same time, so it made for a bit of a mess in my garage! Lots of knobs and drawers scattered about -which made unloading groceries an extra-exciting obstacle course. All three tables were custom jobs for clients and I’m super happy with the way they turned out.

These first two are for the same home. Though different in design and style, I used General Finishes Antique White on both just in case the client wanted them in the same room. Check it out! Continue reading “A Week of End Tables”