I hope you don't mind me popping in a home decor post here and there. Decorating ranks right up there with building my wardrobe, and I go about it in just the same way. The hunt..... the bargain...... when something comes together perfectly...... it's a thrill. Because of our recent move, it is a huge part of my life right now. Finding new ways to use what we already have, I hope I can share some good tips that others can use.
I've already shared my walk in closet, and seasonal mantle. Today, I am featuring our front entry / office. This was the first area we finished..... and also the one I thought our first fight would occur from. Remember how "involved" my hubby was when staging our other home? I dreaded disagreements that I thought were bound to occur as we settled here, but everything has been going wonderfully! It has been such a great bonding experience!
Our old home had a formal dining room..... that we hardly ever used. This area was set up as a formal dining room when we looked at the house, but I knew I wanted to use the space as an office / studio. Jon seemed set on the formal dining room idea, even though we have a bigger eat in kitchen area that will suit our family of (soon to be) 4 just fine. When we do have family or friends over, I am sure we will come up with an eating arrangement. I just didn't want to sacrifice space for maybe 2 meals out of the year! Since we had professional movers, I knew we had to tell them where to put the furniture when it came in. The night before they arrived, we were "camping out" in the empty house and Jon asked how much I had my heart set on making that the office. My heart sighed with relief - he finally agreed.
I should also add, that before we moved I tried to sell our formal dining room set (a corner cabinet, hutch, table & chairs) so that we could use the money for other things we wanted. But I am now glad it didn't sell as I am using the corner cabinet and hutch. But I'll get into that more later.
Our style is turning more and more into old things...... vintage...... worn....... character....... tells a story....... antique....... thrifted...... upcycled. This area ended up being a mix of pieces from our old studio, dining room, living room and upstairs loft. The desk and cream rug came from the studio. As well as the printers cabinet, dress form and assorted peacock suitcases and trunk (which were added to the studio after my initial tour post). The patterned rugs came from our upstairs loft.
The baby buggy is my Grandpa's (he turns 95 on the 15th). My Boyd Bear collection lives in it and it used to be in our dining room. The bench used to sit on Jon's Grandma & Grandpa's porch, and we stained and refinished it a few years ago. We had it in our upstairs loft. My parents bought the stained glass window in the 70's and let us have it a few years ago.
The skinny corner cabinet was in our living room, and I bought it at an antique store before being married. My Dad's first toolbox is on the floor.
The Kalamazoo Dairy crate I bought at Battle Creek's Charitable Union gift shop. The old duck decoys I got for Jon for his birthday last month, purchased at an antique store in Marshall.
A better shot of the printers cabinet (which houses all of my beads) with a family of wire peacocks on it. The trio of shadowboxes I made was posted here. The desk chair is a chair I bought in my single days as well and has a needlepoint seat.
The dress and shoe forms were a Christmas gift from Jon (he got them in Marshall). The wire peacock feather was found at Hobby Lobby for $7. It was a bright teal but we painted it a bronze color to fit better. See how simple it is to completely change the look of something into what works for you?
Since I still needed storage for our good dishes, using the corner cabinet from the dining set was a last minute decision. The original plan was to store the entire set in the basement until we could try to sell it again. I ended up using the hutch in the eat in kitchen area, so there is another tip : don't fret about "splitting up" matching pieces to suit your needs. At the end of the post, I will show how I changed out the knobs on the cabinets to give them an updated look.
Window seat detail. Peacock pillows in browns. Old laundry wringer.
We have tall ceilings in the front entry, and knew we wanted to find some large items to display. The weekend we were moving in, there was a sale up the road where Jon was able to pick up some old farm equipment really cheap. He got a saw, sickle and push lawnmower for about $30. If you price these things in an antique store, they are much more! That's the thing..... we have found so many great deals over the years, that it's hard to even think about paying more. You really have to be patient sometimes. Hitting up garage sales is your best bet. Antique stores (and even Flea Markets) know their prices. Just look at the show American Pickers (which we love)...... you see how much they pay for their items, and how much they are going to mark them up to make their living. We were really excited to go to the salvage store in our new downtown. It takes up the window fronts of 3 buildings! I thought for sure we would walk away with some things, but the prices were crazy.
Anyway, getting back to these farm items..... I wasn't too keen on hanging them inside the house, as much as I appreciate their coolness, but figured I would let Jon do his thing. I did ask him if he was taking out an extra life insurance policy on me, in the event that a hook didn't hold and I was accidentally beheaded. That's our sense of humor with each other, just so you know.
The lawn mower is outside on our front walk way right now.
Okay, so here is the update on the cabinets I reused. The picture on the left was one I took for trying to sell the set (this is the piece in our kitchen now). The knobs have always been a wood, where the stain didn't match. The ones on the drawer were larger, and left quite a mark in the wood when I took them off. So trying to find a large and small option that matched one another (and covered the marks) was a bit of a challenge when looking at Menards, Lowes, Hobby Lobby and a few online places. Sure, there were tons of cool ones out there - so many it can make your head spin and rethink your decision a million times! I ended up finding a great option at an independent hardware store in Marshall during the Witches Night Out I posted about. Not only was I glad to support a local business again, but the gal offered up a great suggestion of using a curved pull - rather than a knob - to cover up the marks! I have always admired this style of pull and was glad to finally find a use for one. The brand had a knob that matched so I was sold. Investing about $30 for a total of 2 pulls and 8 knobs for the two pieces of furniture was not bad at all considering how much is changed the look. You can see the comparison when I was changing them out in the middle, and the finished result on the right.
My learning experience from this move, and lifestyle in general, has been to use what I have available to me with little or no money spent. I was one of those girls who started their "hope chest" really early on and then add in 12 years of accumulating stuff while married. I've always been a collector..... some might even accuse me of hoarding. I've always been of the thinking that even if you are not using something right now, you may use it someday. This often conflicts with my moods of purging / selling / getting rid of whatever I can when I feel overwhelmed with stuff. True, it is good to keep things at a good level - you don't want to end up on one of those TV shows! But I am so glad now that I still have a lot of the stuff I once tried to sell. It is a really good feeling to use them again. Styles and tastes change. But always think about how you can reuse something. Can you paint it? Change out hardware? We are bombarded with TV shows or websites that show us new and interesting ideas for furniture and objects.
A phrase I picked up from a blogger I follow is "shop your house". As you redecorate a room, or even if you are just changing up decor for the season, odds are you have a stash of stuff in your basement you can pull from. Check out your options before running out to the store. I never have been, and probably never will be, the type of person to walk into a furniture store and buy everything I need for a particular room. It is much more fun to curate a space by collecting pieces over time, and makes for a much more interesting home!