Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Five Tips for a Summer Refresh

Welcome to our porch! You're probably coming from Noting Grace's lovely home tour, and I'm glad you're here. We switched up a few things, let me show you around. I have Five Easy Tips for summer refresh decorating, they don't cost much and they're easy to do! I'd never want anyone to spend more than they can afford, or needlessly add clutter. Here's how I make summer as pretty as possible, while staying in budget.

1. Don't go little - go big!
Our old chairs were needed elsewhere, for extra patio seating, so we went hunting for something more comfortable. I hoped to find rockers, and these were at a local home improvement store. The colors are perfect for our porch We could have spent this money on pots, plants, rugs, candles and lanterns. Um nope. I'd rather go simple, and have furniture that we enjoy sitting on.

2. Add a new color, and repeat it a few times.
Julia's fiance, Ben, gave her this red geranium, and although red flowers aren't usually my thing, doesn't it look darling here? Julia is picky about how I take care of it. She doesn't exactly trust me with plants.

A peek of the potted lobelia, the brightest, richest blue flowers. They often fade in the heat of summer, I'm hoping these hold out since they're often shaded. A few flags from Target Dollar Spot fill out the pot and tie in the red and blue.

A flag, a fern, a blue ceiling, wicker rockers, and a rolling meadow to gaze upon.
All you need are the classics.

3. Add green, as much as possible, as cheaply as possible.
 This big fern was only $15 at Costco. All the indoor greens are free from our land. Branches, ferns, blossoms and leaves - they make every space lively and interesting.
We are painting, making, cleaning and planting to get ready for our daughter's July wedding. This old piano panel needed fresh paint, then simple lettering by my younger daughter. We'll probably use it at the wedding, with Ben and Julia's names on it.

The flag flutters in the breeze. Last year we didn't have landscaping or many plants. It's so fun to have these blooming shrubs and perennials. They're thriving so far, although several of the peonies didn't bloom. C'mon, ladies, I'm counting on you for all my giant-flower goals.


4. Add a touch of boho 
{Our living, dining and kitchen areas} 
I restyled the cabinet for summer, using a big frame that my husband made from vintage trim. Also tree roots from Lake Superior, a potted Prayer Plant, and an antique bottle cap press. My favorite elements of boho are the plants (sometimes weird ones), the pottery, the macrame and the fresh white to set everything off. I've added plants, macrame and white, but I'm still on the hunt for vintage pottery. 

And now that I've suggested adding this, that and the other thing - here's my last, most important tip:
5. Take away - don't add!
Most rooms need less stuff, not more. The easiest decorating in the world is to simply take everything off the walls and off the surfaces, and start over. 
Instead of shopping, try cleaning. A clean, plain house is a beautiful sight.
Then add your plants, a few pillows, interesting art and whatever makes your heart sing.
But your heart doesn't need to sing all the songs, all the time.
Just one song, maybe even a single note.

The two fotos above are from
my daughter's room, which she decorated completely by herself.
I like the elements of paper, art, live plants, and vintage treasures.

With Malachi on his fifth birthday, when we put a plastic tablecloth on the table and played with a water blob! Grab each summer, they are so precious.

Now click here to head over to Seeking Lavender Lane's beautiful and rustic home.

Below you'll find a list of all 13 bloggers in this Summer Hop. Our posts are short and simple,
but full of lovely ideas.  Enjoy!

Bees N Burlap
Don't Disturb This Groove
Farmhouse for Five
Honey N Hydrangea
 Love Your Abode
Nina and Cecilia
Noting Grace
 Seeking Lavender Lane

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Color for Spring

 March it is, and the weather outside is bordering on frightful.
It's about nine degrees, no hint of spring, no buds or any shade of green to be found,
except in the sod, where little brown mouse trails cut random rivers 
through the dull grass.

Weather notwithstanding, I'm welcoming you to my Spring Tour!
You're probably here from This Rustic Cottage's beautiful blog tour.
Welcome to our house in the country.

Our house is usually white, gray and cream, with green plants as the main accent color.
But last week I decided to make new pillows, and of course couldn't find exactly what I wanted (robin's egg blue linen), and this floral jumped into my cart.
Fabric: Jo-Ann, HGTV Garden Odyssey Fog

It feels like bark cloth, a nubby cottony texture.
Suddenly, these were the brightest things in the house.
Now I had my Spring palette - coral, yellow and a bit of blue.

So I hunted about, and found my daughter's vintage yellow planter, and filled it with new Baby's Tears, which have to be the cutest little greenery ever.

I stuck a candle in a tiny pot that our oldest son made, way back in grade school.

From there, it was easy to add pops of color, especially yellow.
Here's the view from a corner of the dining room, with the living room reflected in the round.
(Tree basket chandelier made by my husband, using copper tubing and painted pvc pipe).
Mirror: Ikea
 Fireplace brick: Nob Hill

And on to the dining room. Our main level is kind of a four-square, with the entry and living room at the front of the house, and the kitchen and dining room at the back.
(The laundry/mudroom/back hallway/powder room are along the left side of the house).
 I kept things simple for spring. I made the pillows, and I painted a few things.
The inside of this old card catalog was too dark, it was looking yellowish.
I painted the catalog, the dining room table, and a little piano bench that sits below the round mirror.
Everything got a coat of Origami White by SW. Honestly, painting is not my most favorite thing.
The table especially gave me fits.
I finally thought to add some Floetrol to the paint, and from there on the task went smoothly.

The fresh white, non-yellow paint made the room brighter and more cohesive.
I love styling this catalog.
The drawers are useful, they're full of candles, playing cards, 
movie dvd's and jewelry making supplies.

In a few months, I can fill this French Market basket with flowering branches.
Not now, my friends.
You get sticks.
Sticks is all I've got.

Honestly, the table still isn't perfect. But it's an old table and I'm okay with that.
I've always liked these little glass beakers in their springs.
The grain sack was found on Etsy.
Curtain panels: drop cloths from Home Depot
Curtain hardware: Ikea
Chandelier: Solento from Bellacor
Wall paint: Light Pewter, BM
Slip-covered sofa and chairs: Ikea

Now onto the kitchen!
Just a few pics here, since I didn't do much new decorating.
The range hood is made from wood and new copper, distressed with salt and vinegar spray till it achieved a verdigris finish. My husband (a master carpenter, he built our house) dreamed it up and made it. It's funny, for how picky I am about design, how many things he decided.

Faucet: Wayfair
Sink: Kohler
Range: Verona
Butcher Block: Boos Block

The bar stools badly needed another coat of light blue paint.
The planked kitchen ceiling is the same color, BM #715. 
Cabinets: Samuelson Cabinetry, Anoka, Minnesota
Cabinet paint: Chantilly Lace, BM
Walls: Light Pewter, BM
Island: Vintage Drafting table
Bar stools: Husky, from Home Depot

Now on to our master bedroom, which is upstairs near the two kids' bedrooms.
I love this room.
It's not fancy or frilly, it's just cozy and simple and comfortable and fresh. 
Walls: Chantilly Lace, BM
Ceiling: Ephemera, Ralph Lauren
Bed frame: West Elm

My husband made the shiplap wall behind the bed. I don't care what they say about shiplap and trends, I love it, especially in moderation. This wall is more comfortable than a wood headboard, it's easier to clean around, it draws the eye up, it adds subtle color (Chelsea Gray, mixed with water).
Bedding is Ikea
Euro pillow shams are Ralph Lauren
Lamps are Target

I pulled this old pillow out of our closet, I had forgotten 
how even fabric flowers cheer up a space so much!  
(Save your vintage buttons, that's what these are. And keep your eyes open for cool buttons at thrift stores, they're easy to put on a boring sweater to make it wonderful. I look for vintage, and Anthro.)

This gray dresser is usually packed with fotos of our five children.
It never, ever looks like this.
I thought you should know that.

Books and flowers and a cleared-off surface.
So calm.

And when you can't find a pillow for the little green chair,
 you just toss some birch bark on it and call it good.
Chair: Maine Cottage
Bench: found at an antique store in Elk River, Minnesota

Thanks so much for stopping by..

Now to continue with this Spring Blog Hop, head over to Little Glass Jar!
You'll love what you see.

"You can cut
all the flowers
but you cannot
keep spring
from coming."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

House Tour

 The story of our house began four years ago. That when Nate's parents found a beautiful piece of farmland that Had Everything. Water, woods, hills and meadows.
Two years later, Nate's dad died after a long illness. Nate's mom, Corrine, started talking about building a family house on the land. She was living alone (with 3000 square feet). We were living a bit cramped, with three of our five children still at home. We liked our house. But we didn't love the busy highway along our backyard.

(Door is Palladian Blue by Ben Moore)

We started sketching house plans. Corrine drew the plans, and Nate and I weighed in on changes. Quite a few changes. It's an unusual house. Corrine's part of it is like a loft above the garage. She has her own entrance from her garage (behind the ones seen here). Stairs off the back hallway and off the little library connect to her loft. It was tricky to get it right. Nate had lots of ideas about the whole house plan, since he would be building it. I had lots of ideas about ceiling height, windows, porches and where our bedroom would go (I wanted to be near the kids).

After a year of planning, we were ready to build. Excavation started in June 2015. My husband took an entire year to build the house, thereby keeping costs down to about $110 per square foot. Corrine moved into her adorable loft in December, we moved in with her a few weeks later (she's very patient), and on January 13, 2016, our CO was obtained and we moved into our mostly-finished house.

The house is 2400 square feet (plus a partly finished basement where our older daughter has her space). Corrine's loft is about 1000 feet. It feels like the right amount of space for our family.

Welcome to our house! When you look at these pictures, remember that there is no perfect house. It was hard for us to give up our single-family home. It was a big deal to decide to live on a family compound. (Nate's brother and his family also live on this land). You can love your family a whole ton (and we all do), these are still things to think about.

It turns out my favorite part about living here isn't the beautiful two-story that you see in these pictures. My favorite part is the land. The quiet, the wildlife, the big sky, the farming community. I used to feel sorry for people who lived in the country. Now I know it's the best place in the world.

(I'll give sources as I'm able, but a lot of the stuff came from family or thrift stores. Shopping for this house was stressful for me. I would have liked to find everything on the side of the road!)

Walking in the front door, go right to enter the living room. It's about 16'x16', same as the dining room. These square rooms lend a Craftsman feel to the house.

The walls are Light Pewter, the trim throughout the house is Chantilly Lace (both by Benjamin Moore).

I've hardly hung anything on these walls. Love the simplicity.
The curtains are drop cloths from Home Depot, on Ikea rods and rings.
I don't care for most lampshades, so I usually leave the wire frame bare.
Table from Chipping with Charm in Otsego, MN.
Grain sack from Junk Bonanza in Shakopee, MN.
Lamp from The Round Barn in Andover, MN.
Telephone from my childhood mission center in Yarinacocha, Peru.

It's the trim work (my carpenter husband's specialty) that sets this room apart. In bright sunlight it glows like a pearl. He stood around for many hours, figuring out what he wanted. I totally let him decide. And usually when it comes to design, I like to make the decisions!
The window above the fireplace holds a vintage piano window, found on Craigslist, held in place with a grid.
Fireplace brick is Nob Hill, available on Amazon.
Chandelier ("Salento") available on Amazon.

The first design change I asked for was nine foot ceilings. We've been in a house in Georgia that had 14 foot ceilings. That was actually scary. These feel just right.

The living room and dining room are the exact same size. Let's take a minute to acknowledge this ceiling trim. I would have been fine with something rustic, plain, maybe painted. But my fancy talented husband made this, and I do love it. He also made the chandelier (out of a vintage tree basket, pvc pipe, copper wire, and spray paint. Yes). Oh and he made the cabinet out of an antique card catalog. But he did not make that big mirror. No sirree. You can thank Ikea for that beauty.

I didn't have to buy too much for this space. Just the rug (Joss and Main), the drop cloth curtains, and the grain sack runner off etsy. Because this house NEEDED more grain sack.
The table is a great find from Ramshackled Treasures in Zimmerman, MN.
The chairs are mismatched, most are from my uncle Dick's sale in Robbindale, MN.
Pail from Chipping with Charm, my friend Laurel's shop. She has a booth at Antiques Downtown in Elk River, MN.

View from the dining room into the kitchen, with a glimpse of the back hallway at the left.
Bar stools are Husky work stools from Home Depot, found on clearance. I painted the seats BM #715 to match the ceiling.

The kitchen is where my design dreams took off. I asked Nate for a planked, blue ceiling. He created it so beautifully, I wish I had asked for more ceilings like this. It's painted Benjamin Moore #715. The name of the color is not poetic and I don't enjoy saying it, so I give you a number.
Nate also made the wood hood with its verdigris copper trim. He sprayed salt and vinegar on the copper for about four days, till it was the color we wanted. It's still changing hue a bit. I love it because it's like art in my kitchen.
The center island is a drafting table from Nate's parents' old pole barn. All it needed was sandblasting, painting, whitewashing (we didn't care for the bluish paint treatment), and a Boos Block top. Oh and our carpenter friend made two wonderful drawers on the sink side.
The open shelves are fir, sandblasted and painted Chantilly Lace (BM).
The lights over the sink are from Menards, I spray painted them.
Cabinets are by Samuelson Cabinetmakers in Anoka, MN. They're a full-overlay Shaker style, painted Chantilly Lace by Murphy Brothers Paint shop in Blaine, MN (They painted all our enamel trim, doors and cabinets).

Standing in the back hallway, with a glimpse of the powder room on the left. This tiny powder room is my second-favorite thing about the house, after our master bath. I love that the Entire World is no longer traipsing into my bathroom. (But all you friends of Isaac and Caleb reading this - I MISS YOU!)

The cabinet is an Ikea hack. Nate spent four hours sanding it, so it could be the Bark stain that I hoped for. What a guy. I mean seriously. First he built a whole house (he says it's "just a house"), then he spent many weeks customizing furniture for it.

The floor is luxury vinyl tile from Menards, something Nate wanted. It hides all dirt, was a great price, and comes with a 50 year warranty.

I'll give you the upstairs tour now. This is where the house gets quite unusual. To be honest, I didn't understand how the stairs would look till they were done. The area at the top of the stairs is our little library and an office. The camera is in the little hallway at the top of the other flight of steps, off it are the three bedrooms and two baths.

One of my favorite features of the bedrooms are the angles in the ceilings. The kids have true dormers, but the angles in our room are just for cuteness.
This is our teen daughter's room, decorated entirely by her. The bed was her Gramma's childhood bed. The doilies were made by my Gramma.

Our daughter installed her shelves. She also installed every curtain in the house!

Curtains are Lenda from Ikea.
Wall color is Gray Owl by BM.

Our little boy's room. Bed made by Daddy, stained Bark.

The other side of our little guy's room.
All curtains from Ikea.
The closet curtains are hung on pipe. (We did this in both kid's rooms and the laundry closet).
Wall color is Gray Owl by BM.
Wall art is Little Toot pages from a vintage book.
Cart is vintage.
Pouf from Aldi.

Our room, mostly white, with a headboard wall (real shiplap) made by you-know-who.

Walls and trim both Chantilly Lace
Headboard shiplap Chelsea Gray (BM) in a thinned wash
Vintage linens on chair
Bedding from Ikea.
Euro shams from Ralph Lauren, found at Marshalls and Ebay.
Lamp from Home Depot.

Our ceilings are painted Ephemera by RL.
I like to hang curtains as high as possible, so I trimmed the hems of these panels with gray velvet from JoAnn.

The Last Picture.
My favorite room.
Because I am all about peace and quiet.
And though I adore my family, if things get too loud, you'll find me here, hiding. Reading. Maybe brushing my teeth.
I wrote this post over three days, with so many pauses. I finally got into the groove when I was alone with two of the kids, and they were napping in the basement. So adorable, because one is four, and the other is 21. I love the calm of No Possible Interruptions.

But it didn't last, and now the house is getting busy again. This is my season. I used to go a little bananas in the old house, because it was chaotic and crowded and loud. Now I sometimes long for those days. I miss my grown kids.

You never get time back. If you're in a season of wishing things were different, try to hold onto this: you are in the house, in the place, in the family, in the space where you are intended to be. Maybe it's not entirely comfortable. I get that. There are things in every season of my life that have made me uncomfortable. But someday I will long for this season again. It will seem beautiful and precious because it is gone.

Thanks for coming along on the house tour.

Carpentry: Nathan Murphy 612 239 4888
Design: Laura Murphy
House plans: either contact above