...because home doesn't happen overnight.
11.28.12 / Well Hung

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. It was also my birthday. It was also the day HH hung a bunch of stuff in our house. He knows me all too well. I’ll take home decor projects over traditional birthday gifts anytime.

We finally added curtains to the picture window in the family room. It’s an improvement. What hasn’t improved is my ability to shoot directly into a window.

The curtain panels are from West Elm and you can find them here. I bought them over a year ago when they were on sale with free shipping and I had a stash of gift cards. The rod that West Elm suggests using with the panels doesn’t come long enough to work with our large window. Ideally, I was wanting a plain matte black curtain rod with enough thickness to it to hold its own above the big window. I finally found this less expensive simple rod that fits our window but the diameter doesn’t allow for the curtain rings to slide over.

I resorted to buying two $7 packs of metal shower curtains rings from Meijer to hang the curtains. I actually don’t mind the ring on ring action. It feels casual and undone. If I ever tire of the look, there’s enough length to the panels for me to remove the tabs & rings and sew a rod pocket into the top. By then, maybe our kid/guest bathroom will be complete and I can use the shower curtain rings in there??

One day we’ll add some textured woven blinds to fill the gap between the top of the window and the curtain rod. I’m thinking I’ll probably have to buy two or three narrower blinds to extend the full width of the window as a single blind that size would be crazy expensive and might sag. I’m also going to woo HH into building a window seat bench with open cubbies in it for toy and book storage. Or I might go all Ana White and bust it out myself. I keep asking HH to show me where all his tools are and how to use them but he keeps doing everything for me. I think he’s afraid I’ll mess it up. Which is highly possible. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world, would it? I should totally start wielding some power tools.

The curtain panel on the right is doing one of my favorite curtain tricks: hiding the big a$$ subwoofer on the floor. My feelings towards this piece of home entertainment equipment are similar to my feelings towards the surround sound speakers in/on the wall. As long as HH keeps hanging stuff for me, I’ll keep covering up his ugly speakers. Hehe.

Love the narrow ivory frame around the panels. You could DIY something like this with inexpensive gray curtains from IKEA by hot gluing narrow ribbon along the edges or even painting the narrow frame around the panels. In fact, you should do this. Don’t be lazy like me.

HH assembled and installed this shoe cabinet next to the front door months ago. I don’t speak of it because we don’t use it yet. Our original front door is, well, original and still out of order. Once we start accessing the house through the front door, this slim cabinet is going to be all the rage. Last week, I was feeling brave and ventured up into the attic to rescue the capiz mirror. It’s from a Ballard Designs outlet near Cincy and it used to live in the master bedroom of our previous house. It’s found a new home in our new old home. I love seeing the reflection of the kitchen in it.

Eventually, we’ll hang something on the other side of the window to balance out the mirror on the left. Not necessarily a round mirror though. That would be too matchy.

HH also hung a light over the dining table. Surprise! It’s the Hoyne pendant and it’s pretty much the most amazing light ever. We had purchased a really inexpensive FOTO pendant from IKEA and spray painted it matte black. HH had been trying to install it for months with no success due to a missing bracket part that IKEA was refusing to send us and HH was fuming over the idea of having to go buy one. After the snafu, I realized the solid pendant probably wasn’t a great choice for the room. The dining table needs direct light and the FOTO would have provided that but the rest of the room also needs lit. The ceiling light is the main artificial light source in the mudroom. There is a small can light in the laundry nook but it doesn’t provide enough lighting for the rest of the room.

This pricier pendant is the result of a new collaboration in the works {I can’t divulge all the details yet!} and it was my inspiration light. It’s the light I was dreaming would live in our dining room/mudroom and if I’d have had $350 burning a hole in my pocket I would have snatched it up before now. With the open weave of the Hoyne, the rest of the room recevies light – not just the dining table. The shadows that the light casts onto the ceiling at night are beautiful! And I like how the pendant lets natural light from the window and the french doors pass through.

Did you notice a change in the location of the dining table? When we moved, we thought we’d like to have the table over by the sofa for a casual place to eat. But after living with our mudroom/dining room for a while now, we’ve found that placing the table in the center of the room works better. We toss mail on it when we come in. I fold laundry on it sometimes. It’s multipurpose. Of course, we still need chairs around the table but having the table in the middle of the room makes the room flow so much better and keeps all the big furniture from tilting the visual weight of the room to one side. It reminds me of those fancy entries you see in magazines where there’s a big pedestal table gracing the middle of the foyer.

The sofa is staying put but I’m going to make a slipcover for it. And add pillows. Ahhhhh. Pillows.

So stuff is happening here. Slowly but surely. It’s starting to look and feel more like home with each tweak.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

48 Comments

28.November.2012

Happy belated birthday! This post made me smile on this rainy day. My birthday is coming up and I have asked for curtains :) I’m glad I’m not the only one who asks for home related things when it comes to birthdays and other special occasions.

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It’s all coming together so lovely! Thanksgiving was the day for my Hubby to work on his “Honey Do” list too. It was great until half an hour before I was set to take everything out of the oven, you know that crucial orchestration time of rotating potatos with casseroles and turkeys, and he decided to replace our garbage disposal. I could barely open the oven door with all the tools and gross old disposal junk strewn across the kitchen floor. I even had to rinse off the platter for the turkey in the bath tub because he wouldn’t let me use the sink in the kitchen! :)

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replied on November 28th, 2012

Happy belated DIY Thanksgiving!

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28.November.2012

I love all the changes! Everything is really starting to come together! I think it’s the little things that make a house a home. Where is the shoe cabinet from? I’ve been looking for something similar for our home.

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replied on November 28th, 2012

IKEA. It’s the HEMNES seen here.

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28.November.2012

Oooh nice! For the curtains, I actually like the ring on ring look, but if you don’t could you just cut through the original rings and put the shower clips through the tabs instead?

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replied on November 28th, 2012

We could. It would require cutting through the rings as they’re continuous with no way to remove them.

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replied on December 3rd, 2012

How about letting the silver rings drop toward the back of the curtain and putting the shower rings through the tab loop.

What is the width of your window? We have a 120″ window + 48″ in our living room and while I love all the light the room gets, I’m going on month 5 of no window covering for it because it is just so big and daunting (and if I get it wrong that will be quite a costly mistake).

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replied on December 4th, 2012

Michelle, that is such a great idea! It would be great to try dropping the silver rings back to see if I like the single black ring better. If I do, then I can cut the silver rings off at some point…or just leave ‘em be. I knew if I posted my conundrum someone out there would offer me a solution! Thanks.

Our window is 9′/108″ wide. The curtains are mainly for aesthetics. They make the window look even bigger and more substantial without blocking natural light. At night, we slide them over the window for a little privacy but we’ve never been ones to cover up all our windows in the evenings.

28.November.2012

Ditto – where is the shoe cabinet from?

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replied on November 28th, 2012

IKEA. It’s the HEMNES seen here.

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28.November.2012

Happy birthday ! I LOVE your light pendant over the dining table … I wanted something similar for our kitchen but my hubby isn’t quite enthusiastic ! And the narrow contrasting ribbon around the curtains is great too … totally DIYable :) Take care !

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28.November.2012

When shooting the window, try over-exposing by 3 stops. See if that works?

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replied on November 28th, 2012

Will do! Thanks Stephanie!

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28.November.2012

The shoe cabinet seems to be from IKEA, and is called Hemnes

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28.November.2012

Happy belated birthday! My teen’s birthday was yesterday–he was happy *not* to have his birthday during the Thanksgiving break for once!

The curtains look great, and provide good cover for the sound equipment. I’ll be curious to see how you deal with blinds for the large window–we’ve been in our house 3 years, and we still haven’t figured out a good blind solution for our similarly sized front window.

love that IKEA shoe cabinet, I’ve been stalking it for years.

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28.November.2012

Love everything about this space and the curtains :)

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28.November.2012

Love the light fixture! And happy belated Birthday! My hubby also gets points for the home decor projects/bday combo. We spent one of my birthdays building a router table so we could DIY some cabinets. I’m too afraid to use it and the table saw though. I’m going to slowly have to work my way up from our miter saw.

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28.November.2012

all your little “tweaks” look great!! Love the light you decided to go with and the mirror over the shoe cabinet!

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28.November.2012

Can you recommend a similar mirror to the one you have above your shoe cabinet?

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28.November.2012

Love that light! I’ve been looking at it for our dining room as well but it’s so not in the budget right now. Bummer.

I’m also not allowed to use power tools. I staple gun my finger ONCE (not even a power tool!) and all of a sudden I’m “dangerous”. Then I pull a Maverick reference from Top Gun and say “That’s right…I am dangerous”. But it still doesn’t work and I’m stuck with a tiny screwdriver, batteries, and my toddler’s toys. Ah well.

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28.November.2012

Where did you get your dining room table? Also did you add a finish to it?

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replied on November 28th, 2012

The dining table is a family hand-me-down. It’s at least 30 years old and was in rough shape when we first saw it. We were all set to sand it down and refinish it ourselves but my stepmom took the reigns and surprised us by DIYing it for us. She’s pretty awesome. She sanded and stained it. If I remember correctly, she used a combination of stains to get the final color. I don’t know which ones. We sealed it ourselves.

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28.November.2012

We hung a 96″ blind from blindsgalore.com on our large living room window about two months ago. It came with a lot of brackets to prevent sagging. Also, it was expensive, but we are so grateful to have the privacy it provides in our main living space! My inlaws put three smaller blinds together and it’s always as hassle to move them up and down but we just have one cord :)

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28.November.2012

I am in LOVE with the HOYNE pendant and have had my eye on it for months! However, I have always veered away from it because it only has one bulb. Does it let off enough light that you don’t feel the need for more lights in the room? Is it dark and dingy? Thanks!

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replied on November 28th, 2012

The pendant can supply up to 150W which is good enough for our modest dining room/mudroom along with the laundry nook can light. Right now, I just have a 100W bulb in it because that’s what we had on hand. Even at 100W it lights pretty well so I’m anxious to see it with the 150W. For exposed bulbs, I try to buy ‘soft white’ ones. I’ve thrown around the idea of two mounted sconces flanking the little sofa in the mudroom/dining room but that’s mainly for aesthetics. Not sure if I’ll actually go through with it anytime soon since they aren’t necessary.

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replied on December 3rd, 2012

Where did you get that little sofa? I love it! Thanks!

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replied on December 4th, 2012

Target.com a few years back.

28.November.2012

I absolutely adore the light in the dining room – SO gorgeous! And those curtains make a huge difference too – it’s all coming together so well!

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28.November.2012

Love the little couch – where’s it from? I’ve been looking for something very similar for my family room.

Thanks!
Heather

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replied on November 28th, 2012

I bought it on Target.com about 3 years ago. It was inexpensive and has held up really well. It’s not a TV watching couch for lounging but works great for sitting upright in a room that doesn’t see as much action.

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28.November.2012

You could buy the 5 by 1 expidit bookshelf from IKEA and use it as a window seat. I have three in my kitchen/mudroom and they work great with a cushion on top.

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replied on November 28th, 2012

Oh yes! I’ve considered the EXPEDIT turned on its side. It wouldn’t run the entire length of the window but it could work. Thanks for sharing!

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28.November.2012

Love those curtains! Which length did you buy? Happy Belated Birthday!

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replied on November 29th, 2012

The window wall of the family room meets the vaulted ceiling at 9′ so I bought the 108″ length.

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29.November.2012

Love that your window sills are painted black! Not sure how I have never noticed that before, but it adds a great little punch, especially on those big windows.

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replied on November 29th, 2012

The sills are slate. They’re one of the original details we kept. I LOVE them!

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In love with that light. Such a nice balance with the table under it!

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29.November.2012

Handsome light! Do you like the chain from the ceiling, or have you thought about a solid tube channel or other material, which might showcase the wire geometry of the sphere? As someone else said, every tweak adds polish, making the Underdog look more and more like a winner. (Also, love that capiz mirror.)

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29.November.2012

You need a cooler bulb.

http://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/category/products.jsp?categoryId=cat550006

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replied on November 29th, 2012

Very cool lights indeed.

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29.November.2012

I guess I’m the only bad girl who snorted at the post title. ;-)

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replied on November 29th, 2012

Finally! Someone noticed. Snicker, snicker.

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29.November.2012

LOVE LOVE LOVE the pendant!!!

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02.December.2012

Ohmygoodness that was a lot of amazingness in one post! i love it all… the light and everything! So many changes!

I think your handy hubby needs to talk to my latin lover about this birthday arrangement. I’ve started my list…

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05.December.2012

I hide my husband’s subwoofer with pretty curtains, too! Thanks for representing!

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05.December.2012

Do you remember what the bench was called? Or know of a similar one like that one?

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replied on December 6th, 2012

What bench are you referring to?

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