...because home doesn't happen overnight.
12.14.12 / Recent Purchases

Here’s the deal. A photo shoot will be taking place at our house right after the new year. I know. What?! Who in the world would want to come take pictures of our house in the state that it’s in?

Our front door doesn’t work properly. The garage is completely dysfunctional and in disarray so we have resorted to entering/exiting through the mudroom’s french doors at the back of the house. There are some baseboards still missing in the hallway from our water leak scare. One full bathroom is gutted and awaiting finishes. The TV area above the mantel is open to the cinder block walls. All of the interior doors are installed but need paint and a few still need hardware. The laundry nook looks like we stuck the washer and dryer in a corner. And I haven’t done any real decorating other than Mabrey’s room which I wouldn’t consider finished. Don’t even get me started on the outside of the house.

Luckily, the photo shoot will only focus on three rooms of the house. But even those rooms need a ton of work before they’re camera worthy. With the holiday season in full swing, we’re in a rush to check off a bunch of projects on our to-do list. Nothing like a photo shoot to light a fire under your tush!

The good news is I’ll have a bunch of decor-related posts to share in 2013 but the bad news is you have to wait until 2013. And since I can’t postpone Christmas or the photo shoot, the blog is pretty much taking a back seat to everything else in my life. Which sucks. Because I really enjoy blogging. I write mental posts in my head all day long. I have 4,188 unpublished posts just sitting in my brain taking up space. In fact, that’s why I started this blog. To empty my brain. Oh, my brain is so heavy right now. My neck can barely support it. THE AGONY.

We’ve been fortunate to have a little financial help in the way of a photo shoot budget. The money is going towards projects and decor that we had planned on funding already. We’re not doing or buying anything that we wouldn’t have done or bought otherwise…just getting to it sooner than we had anticipated. This ‘recent purchases’ installment includes some of those photo shoot items AND some other random stuff. I won’t tell you which is which. Because I like surprises. Especially when I’m the one doing the surprising.

recent purchases dec 2012


1 – Endless Topography 4 I found this amazing original artwork via the Aldas Project on etsy. The plan is to hang it in the kitchen. HH and I are stoked about incorporating some real art into this house. We were drawn to the colors and movement of this abstract piece.

2 – Seagrass runner This rug is for the hallway that leads back to the bathrooms and bedrooms. I wanted something durable and simple. Seagrass was the way to go.

3 – Navy linen I bought 7 yards of navy linen to DIY a slipcover for the petite sofa in the mudroom/dining room. I had an interesting conversation with the employee at the cutting table. Of course, they always ask what you’re planning on making with your purchase. I told her a slipcover. She said I was braver than she was then said she never sewed anything without a pattern. I told her I was the complete opposite. I have never sewn anything according to any pattern. Not because I’m a particularly expert sewer. It’s just that if I have a pattern then I see all the things I’m doing incorrectly. If I make it up as I go, there’s nothing to tell me I’m doing it wrong.

4 – Tulip side chair We actually bought four of these for the dining room. They’re modern, comfy, kid-friendly and easy to clean…everything we were looking for in a dining chair. They came with plain white seat cushions. I’ll recover them at some point.

5 – Moravian star mirror I found this gorge mirror on a whim while perusing a Joss & Main event last week. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted a pair to hang on either side of the TV above the mantel. They are just the right size and shape to work around HH’s boob speakers. I’ve decided the best way to deal with the orbs is to just decorate around them. We’ll see.

6 – Stainless steel containers I bought four 3-packs of these containers to organize our herbs and spices. When we moved in, I threw all of my cooking spices into the cabinet above the microwave. What was I thinking?! Obviously, I wasn’t. I have to get up on a stool every time I need my oregano. Which happens quite often. Because I love tomatoes. And nothing goes better with tomatoes than oregano. I’ll be editing my spices and what makes the cut will live in these round containers on the side of the fridge.

7 – Chevron runner Nate Berkus. Chevron. Dhurrie. ‘Nuf said. This handsome man lives in my kitchen now.

8 – Batik pillow cover Have you been over on etsy lately? Seriously. Is it just me or is etsy just getting better and better? I couldn’t get enough of this vintage Hmong textile cover. I added it to my favorites and visited it several times a day for a week or so until I decided to go for it. It’s one of those decor items that I would totally wear if it were in clothing form.

9 – Velvet pillow cover I have been wanting a velvet-covered something for a while now. I love the texture velvet brings to a room. The bright pop of chartreuse is unexpected and fun. I’m going to try pairing this velvet cover with the batik one on the leather couch in our family room. No matchy-matchy pillows here!

There it is. My bounty. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some weekend warrioring to do. Yes. The weekend officially starts NOW. Go!

Click here to see who won this week’s giveaway.

images: polyvore collage by Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

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