...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I’ve had several requests from readers to add a house tour to my blog and I’d like to oblige.  However, I’m finding the whole thing quite daunting.  You see, there are still many things I want/need to do to my home (i.e., add a kitchen backsplash, extend our kitchen island, finish my boys’ bedroom, organize the master bedroom closet, install new flooring…the list could really never end).  Plus, I can’t fathom that there would ever come a day in my life when my ENTIRE house would be “picture ready.”  (Let the record state that I have 2 boys – ages 5 and 2 – that are pretty darn damn good at pulling this place apart.)  But then I got to thinking…and that’s sometimes not a good thing, but this time I think it was…so, I got to thinking that when I started this blog I wanted it to be about a real house.  A house that a family lives in, messes in, eats in, plays in and sleeps in.  A house that has no dire problems but needs a shot of personality.  A house that is being tweaked by people who:  1) do not have design, art or architecture degrees 2) must DIY on their time off from their day jobs 3) are on a budget 4) do not have access to high-end goods of the design trade 5) want to enjoy their children while they’re little.  I wanted other people to be able to relate.  That led me to an idea.  (Yes, this is all going somewhere, I promise.)

I came up with Feature Fridays.  On Fridays, I’ll be featuring one room in my house in its current condition even if there are some things I’d like to change about it.  If I do happen to improve something later, I can always revisit it when the time comes.  Plus, I’d kinda feel dishonest if I only focused on “finished” rooms in my house.  And if what they (the professionals) say is true, a room is never really finished anyways…you’re always tweaking it.  Concentrating on just one room weekly should give me some time to tidy it up a bit, too.  At least, I can throw all the toys into another room!

So, without further ado, I’d like to show you my living room – as is.  Our living room is the first room you see upon entrance into our home.  It’s a long, narrow room that is open to a foyer and a hallway (“The Landing Strip”) that leads to the back of the house.  It functions as a living room and office and offers additional dining space.  Take a look…

View from the front door to the back of the house (i.e. The Landing Strip) – The secondhand bench that I painted white is a good place for removing/putting on shoes


From the front door into the living room (I’d love to rip up all that carpet and put down hardwoods)


Behind the front door I invented a makeshift mudroom since there’s no closet – notice there are adult hooks and kid hooks


A basket on the floor holds items waiting to be taken upstairs


Into the living room from the hallway – because the room is so long, I tried to establish a seating area on this side of the room…separate from the office/dining area


A bookshelf holds magazines, books, toys and other miscellaneous items – the basket on the floor is actually a recycling bin conveniently located next to our desk for sorting mail


The desk where I blog, pay bills, sort mail and waste time – I pull a chair over from the pedestal table


Almost everything about this extra dining space is Craigslist…the pedestal base and chairs were both via Craigslist…the tabletop is from Lowe’s.  I’d love to add some geometric stenciling to the wall in the background – it’s so blah.


For fun, the lights on…


More “for fun” stuff…a textural HomeGoods planter (If you’re wondering what’s under the sofa, it’s my kids’ electronic keyboard; everybody has one under their couch, right?!)


IKEA curtains…


Etsy pillow covers…

Kid-friendly decor down low on the coffee table

So ends my living room tour.  Next week I’ll be making my way to the back of the house into our main living space. 




What a fabulous idea…I know I’ll be returning every Friday to see what’s next. This room is so fresh, I love it! Can you tell me what color you used in your foyer? Thanks!


KFehn – The wall color of the makeshift mudroom and the wall behind the armoire is Valspar (Lowe’s) Bonsai. The wall color of the walls behind the sofa, desk and hall bench are Dry Riverbed…I’ll have to check from which company…I think Lowe’s also? The Dry Riverbed is darker than the Bonsai. We love them both!

Love, love, love!!


Very neat! I love all of the throw pillows; they are great! I too can’t wait to see the other rooms! I took inspiration from your laundry room and have actually just finished up my laundry room project in our new house. I hope to post pictures soon; you know, when we get internet hooked up and all. I would love for you to stop by and take a look!


Lindsey – Pictures of your laundry room? Yes, please…let me know when you post them.


What a great idea! I’m looking forward to it. Any chance you could let us know where your couch and coffee table are from. The couch looks like a great size!


The room looks amazing!! I love your blog because, as you stated above, it is by someone without an art or design degree. I hate looking at blogs and realizing that they don’t have a day job or that their real job is design too! That is not real life for the rest of us! Love your blog!


Marissa – I purchased the sofa from Target.com. It was on sale and I got free shipping…the total with tax was under $450. I liked its straight lines, petite size (its less than 63″ long) and the price tag was pretty awesome too. The coffee table is West Elm and was actually a killer find from a Pottery Barn Outlet. It was originally a rusty red color and all dinged up but I loved the circular shape and simple design. I couldn’t pass it up for only $40!! I lightly sanded it, then primed and painted it white. A few top coats of polyurethane have held up perfectly against my 2 boys. Hope that helps you!


This livingroom is so well-put together. I think I would like mine to look like a cross between this one and YHL. Love ur pillows!


Sheryl J – Wow! Just being mentioned in the same sentence as YHL makes me giddy. Thanks for the compliment!

Your house is gorgeous!!

[…] week, you saw my living room.  It’s at the front of our home and you walk through it to get to the back of our house.  […]


Actually, my kid’s electronic keyboard is on the floor underneath our media cabinet, LOL! It’s funny he has the same one. I love how well maintained your house is with two children, I also have two 3yo and 8mths.

Love your blog, just found it! :)


Kenesha – Let’s hear it for electronic keyboards on the floor! Don’t let my pictures fool you…my house is lived in and gets totally messy. We just make an effort to have a place for everything so it can all be put away quickly and easily.


I love your house! I have two-year-old twins, so I’m always searching for ideas on how to decorate our pad while incorporating all their “stuff.” I’m in love with your living room pillows. Could you please share the etsy site you purchased them from?


JT – I was just thinking today that I should write up a lil’ post on the great Etsy sellers whom I’ve bought from. It’s in the works!


Thank you for sharing. I’ve found the latest additions to our living room…can’t wait for my new pillow covers to arrive!


Hi! I was wondering where you got your rug from? Thanks, love your site!


Amanda – The jute rug is from naturalarearugs.com. I don’t see the exact one now {I bought mine a few years back} but here’s a similar one…


I’ve bought several rugs from them and have always been satisfied with their, service, quality and prices.


hey Dana,

Your house looks great, and I love that blue grey chair in your living room. Where did you get it?


Regina – The dark gray chair is from Target.com. We actually have 2 of them. {The other one is in our master bedroom.} They’re from a few years back so not sure if they’re still available. I bought them when they were on sale AND with free shipping.


I love your style – I am so happy to have found your blog! I really love the subtle pattern of your curtains. Do you notice the texture or does it read as white in the room? I’m debating changing out my white sheers for the ones you have… I had debated bolder patterns but my room is full of slate blue, greys and cream… I don’t want to overwhelm the room with something too wild.


Farrah – The print of the curtains is definitely subtle although I wouldn’t say they read as completely white. I wanted something that flowed with the rest of the first floor {mostly white/ivory curtains or shades} but was a little different. These panels have worked perfectly. Even though the printed leaf pattern is black, it isn’t in your face…the leaf outlines are thin and delicate. It does add another layer of print, texture and interest to the room.


I just want to tell you I am and just about to graduate with a bachelors in Interior Design, and I LOVEEEE your house, it proves that you have a natural skill. I am buying a condo right now and your home is my inspiration. I always wanted to do grey walls but could never find one that didn’t look like baby blue or greenish, and Lowe’s no longer has the bonsai paint?!? Any ideas if they just renamed it and what it would be??


Ashley – Our local Lowe’s store still has the paint mix recipe for Bonsai in their computers, so try asking at the paint department desk.


I love how you did tons of different colors of pillows & how you mixed the blacks whites & tans. I could never had done that! Im horrible about thinking I have to stay with one single color & I can’t mix & match & my hubby came home the other day & said “What are we going all gothic now” (because of all my black, brown furniture) So I have since then been thinking non stop about that & wondering how to bring in more color to my home.. I may email you some pictures & have you help me pick out some pillow covers if you wouldnt mind?? : ) By the way your home is beautiful! I love it!!! This is the first blog I think I have ever followed but I will be from now on! You have done a great job! I have two boys as well, and a baby girl. (third time is a charm btw…lol) & i am working on how to organize & keep clutter away without it acutally being away…


I LOVE each and everyone of your rooms! Your home is beautiful in a comfy, casual, modern way! We just moved so in the middle of all our madness and chaos I “visit” your home regularly for not only inspiration but also for some tranquility! THANKS!


Love your house! can u tell me where you got the small dark rug with circles?


Kellie – The black rug with white circles at the front door was from a local Frontgate/Ballard Designs outlet. I was looking for something with a very low profile so it wouldn’t get caught up under the door every time someone opened it up. I also wanted something easy to clean. This slim, machine washable mat was the perfect find! I still love it after over a year of use.


Hi Dana! Love your style and I’m excited about your new digs. Looking forward to the transformation. Question–where did you get the large mirror over the couch in the LR?


Michele – The black woven mirror was a great buy from HomeDecoratorsOutlet.com and it wasn’t originally black. It was an ugly orange-y color {probably why it was so cheap…less than 30!} so I spray painted it with black gloss spray paint. Love it!


like to know your paint colours


What a lovely living room! Would you mind sharing the dimensions? I love your style! Q


Taylor – Room sketch and dimensions coming soon!


I love this idea. I, too, have a house that I’m trying to ‘perfect’ with a 6 and 3 year old boy destroying EVERYTHING in their path. I feel your pain…and your pleasure. I look forward to reading more about your house! (I’m here due to a search for ‘fandelier’…I’m about to purchase the West Elm capiz pendant while it’s on sale, but was wondering if the shells click a lot when the fan’s on, or if it just sounds pleasant? It’s beautiful!)


Sara – I posted all about the fandelier install and clinking shells here…


Hope that helps!


Hello! I was wondering if you could tell me where your white round coffee table is from?

Thanks so much! Love your blog,


Elizabeth – It was a scratch and dent find from the Pottery Barn Outlet. It was originally brick red but I primed and painted it white. Got it for $40!!!


I really like your choice of colours, although speaking from experience, cream carpet is pretty daring when you have children (especially boys) How do you keep yours looking clean?



We don’t live in this house anymore. It was a spec home so we weren’t able to choose any of the finishings. I would have never chosen light carpet! Rugs on top of the carpet were the only way I kept it clean with kids.


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Hello Dana

Could you please tell me how to watch the tutorial for sliding door, its exactly what I need. Could you point me to track supplier.

Thanks for inspiration (Caron, Manchester, England)