Entryway Update

I was inspired to update my entryway after reading Melissa Michaels book The Inspired Room. Specifically, to add a lamp and layer objects, using a newly purchased wooden red tray.

Before, a somewhat seasonal rotation of décor, no welcoming light for evening and night, a bit tired and bland. The grandkids are allowed one “gong“ each, per visit. But sometimes we get carried away anyway.

The red wooden tray was a find at Christmas and fun to use to corral a wintry scene. The sparkle of Christmas faded into a dull January and I knew I was ready for a change.

The whale’s tail hits the mark for Spring and Summer. Maybe I’ll replace it with a globe in September before the Fall pumpkins return.  

Can You Fall In Love With Fabric?

I don’t think I can confess to the amount of hours I spend looking at decorating magazines and blogs,, and searching the internet for inspiration. It is amazing how my style can be influenced subliminally by frequently seen images. For a very long time my favorite movie was “You’ve Got Mail.” One day I realized my living areas looked an awful lot like Meg Ryan’s apartment. 

Most of my redecorating involves paint, fabric and thrifty finds from yard sales, Craigslist and Ebay. Throw in some repurposing of furniture and moving things I already own from room to room. The chair pictured above was purchased on Ebay years ago…I loved the chair design but.the cushions that came with it were rather flimsy…I had lived with them for years.. A recent jolt of confidence in my skills prompted me to improve the chair to make it more suitable for our living room. 

I replaced the back cushion with a larger more substantial pillow. I looked online and found a site where I could order foam for the cushion cut to order (http://www.thefoamfactory.com/). I chose foam that was three inches thick, more than double the existing cushion. 

 Choosing the fabric at first left me a little insecure. I wanted something that was both traditional and modern, neutral but not solid. Looking at fabric for days online wasn’t enough. I couldn’t tell the weight of the fabric . So off I went to Joann’s to just browse….I was not ready to buy….this decision was going to take more time. Wrong! I browsed the bargain fabric first and nothing spoke to me. So I headed back to the upholstery fabrics. When I saw this fabric I knew it was “the one.” I loved the weight, the texture, the design. I walked away to look at other selections, but came back just two minutes later and decided this was it. A 40% off sale helped to seal the deal. I was in love and taking the plunge. 

My sewing skills are rudimentary, but I can sew a pretty good removable pillow casing. It was finished within hours of arriving home from Joann’s.  I put it on the chair when finished and took pictures to send to my daughter. Lots of pictures. It took a while longer but I managed to sew a removable cover for the seat cushion too, It’s not perfect but I love the results. 

 I am not sure about pairing the accent pillow with the chair (it was made from two placemats from Target) and I don’t ever decorate with teddy bears. It was a gift from a three year old girl for Valentine’s Day. So sweet.

 I do love the way my chair turned out. I already have plans to incorporate the fabric into slipcovering my Pottery Barn sofa without spending a thousand dollars. Stay tuned!

Ready for Spring

I need a little refreshing for spring but I need some advice. We recently moved the tv from above the fireplace to this wall and put this chest below it but I’m not loving the red color of it. Should I paint it lighter or darker, like a navy? Thank you in advance :)

These two look sweet in this picture but most of the time my house is a race track (mostly from Dillon the blue dog). My English Lab Rosalee is very sweet and lazy. 

OK so I’m taking everyone’s advice and I took the chest to a consignment store this morning because I ordered the table that Kristin recommended and it should be here sometime today.  Now I may need some help decorating it but I will update once I get it put together and in place. Thank you all again for being so nice but honest with your feedback!

Our new puppy

I am pleased to introduce you to our new Weimaraner puppy, Sunny. We got him two days before Christmas and he has been so much fun to raise so far. Unfortunately, we had the sudden loss of our beloved 8.75 year old Great Dane, Jolly, in early December. This left an opening for a new dog to join our family and he has helped us heal, somewhat. Sunny has just graduated puppy kindergarten on Feb 20, and will be 4 months old this Friday. He is growing like a weed now, as you can see by the second photo! Hope you enjoyed meeting the little guy – he is a snuggle bunny 🙂

Hanging Wall Clocks

I have always like hanging wall clocks, but they can be expensive and hard to find the style I like: vintage style.  I have a few standing vintage style clocks around the house that I didn’t know what to do with.  I found 2 decorative wall brackets in a nicely large size at Hobby Lobby on sale for around $7 bucks each.  So with 4 appropriate nails, a hammer and screwdriver I used a ladder to mount the brackets up on both sides of the entrance to my kitchen;  I then used 2 S hooks to hang two clocks up.  Now one can see the time/tell the time 5 times in my kitchen because now it has one wall clock, two hanging clocks, one on the microwave, and one on the stove.  But one doesn’t hear the ticking sounds from clocks or digital clocks.  And the 5 sources are in sync at telling time so all is good.  //(~!*)\

New Home: Needing Advice

My small family and I moved into this home a few months ago and we are so excited to get started on renovations. We painted the inside and put in hardwood floors and a set of french doors to the patio. Our next project—in the coming months—will be the exterior paint colors including new windows, shutters, and window boxes. I need advice on paint colors. We are considering painting the brick too since it only goes halfway up. I love a cottage/farmhouse look and all things white and ocean colors in the inside. Please let me know if you have any suggestions! Thank you!

New Adventures

I an new here to Home Love stories but am so excited to be here. Do you see the beautiful home above? In one month it will be our very first home and I can’t be more excited. However, since it is 2,100 miles away it will be quite the adventure getting there especially with five kids. My husband accepted a new job opportunity so we are relocating far away. I am so thrilled that we will have our own home and can roll up our sleeves and get to work making it ours. We are purchasing it from a very nice older couple who are trying to retire in Florida. This was their second home and it does have a unique style right now including floral wallpaper and doll wallpaper borders. I have so many lovely ideas and just can’t wait.

Does anyone have any experience with the best paint colors to go with oak? There are beautiful Amish made fireplaces and a stairwell banister that I want to leave as is. I am thinking perhaps a soft sage green for the entry with the banister. Do any of you know what undertones would be best to avoid?

My Quirky Toilet Makeover

My Quirky DIY Loo

I live in Auckland New Zealand, in a 1920’s “Californian Bungalow”that I’ve been DIYing for the last couple of years with nothing but my paintbrush and a bit of creativity.

Our home has one bathroom between five people, with a separate toilet which is very common in older New Zealand homes. Although we spend a lot of time in the smallest room in the house (a.k.a. the toilet, the loo, the john, the W.C., the can), this room is usually boring, bland and functional at best. Even without the dribbles on the seat and puddles on the floor left by lads who need to go to Aim-Your-Weapon School, the loo is usually a pretty uninspiring place to be. I had a cunning plan to change all that, at my house. What I needed was a window of uninterrupted DIY time. It‘s my Mom DIY philosophy that “it‘s better to ask forgiveness than permission“. 

Some ideas are just too hard to explain to the people you share a house with. They will probably not agree that your vision to wallpaper your toilet walls with pages torn from 1950‘s school annuals is a good idea. They may not be visionary enough. So you need to show them rather than tell them… I found these beauties at the school gala, being as I am drawn to all things vintage. Classically cheesy and so cutely quirky… at some point (perhaps while making a papier mache pinata?) I conceived the idea to use the books‘ pages as wallpaper in my ugly, boring loo. I‘m no expert at wallpapering, but this I reckoned I could do. 

A layer of “wallpaper“ would disguise the butchered wall surface, left from when I scraped off the 80‘s vinyl wallpaper the last owner left. I‘d done my best to fix it, but sanding and patching and paint can only do so much when your walls are that bad. And as The Nester says: you can‘t ruin something you already hate. So take a risk. 

 Now all I needed was for my decoratively conservative hubby to be away for long enough so I could complete the project and show it to him, fait accompli. You know me. Always impulsive. One day last week up to my ears in the middle of Paris Party Prep, I was undercoating my old whiteboard with Resene Smooth Surface Sealer (to turn it into a sidewalk blackboard), and since I had the brush in my hand and the tin of paint open, I impulsively undercoated the toilet panelling. I‘m crazy like that. 

Which meant of course, that now I‘d started I had to finish the job before hubby returned from England on Friday. Because I didn‘t have enough projects on the go, already right now, aye? I fitted in a couple of top coats on the paneling in between party prep, food dispensing and kid-wrangling (using a can of mis-tint white enamel I scored from Resene). The night before Hubby‘s return, I mixed up a batch of cornflour glue* and got the rest of the job done… It took me from 8.30pm til 11.20pm to paper the whole loo with the pages from the annuals. (I have three annuals – I used all the pages from two and a couple from the third.) 

 To say I was pleased with the result would be an understatement. The boring-est room in the house is now the most interesting. There‘s plenty to read while you‘re doing your business, no matter which way you look… Quirky? Yes. Awesome? Yes! A big hit with the family? YES! But the question you all have burning in your minds: did hubby LOVE it or LOATHE it? Did the risk pay off? 1000 times YES. He LOVES it. On the day he arrived, he‘s no sooner got in the door and dumped his bags when the kids insisted that he “use the facilities“ asap. When he pushed open the door, this is what he said: “Oh WOW! that looks AMAZING!“

So yeah, my risk paid off. But I‘m pretty sure that if I‘d told him what my idea was, he‘d have thought I was off my rocker. Other loo pronouncements: “Mum, our loo looks like it belongs in one of those cool restaurants….!“ “I just love going toilet now – it‘s so interesting! So much to read!“ “Hurry up! I need to go toilet!“ “Hang on I‘m just finishing this story…” So yeah. I‘m super-glad I took a risk with my loo-decor. 

 The Cost to turn my loo from “naff“ to “fab“?? $8 for a tin of mis-tint enamel paint, and $1.50 for three retro annuals at the school gala. Wood Paneling Undercoat – Resene Smooth Surface Sealer (my tin from the kitchen makeover is still going strong) *Wallpaper Glue: cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with boiling water to a runny consistency and applied with a small paint roller. 

 METHOD: I rolled the glue onto the wall and then positioned the pages, starting from bottom-left above the wooden paneling and then working left-to right, row upon row. I was very careful when removing the pages from the binding to not tear the edge; they came out very easily (they are OLD after all). I used a craft knife to cut around light switches, piping etc and patched any gaps with extra pages, cut to roughly fit, then trimmed with the craft knife once in place. The cornflour glue dries hard, just like papier mache – no special wallpaper glue needed! I LOVE my quirky Loo! 

 P.S. I am gutted I don‘t have more “before“ pictures to show you. I could have sworn I took some, but I can‘t find them anywhere. You‘ll just have to take my word for it that before was BAD. And very very boring. like my “before“ bathroom, but small.


Vintage suitcases

My Vintage Suitcase Obsession

My Old Suitcase Obsession

I have been ahead of my time for about 20 years now.  That’s how long it has been since I started to collect old suitcases.  Especially Samsonite suitcases.  And now….they are a thing.  But they were a thing to me a long time ago and they still are a thing.  So much so that I have them all over my house. I can’t even tell you why I love them so much.  I think it’s the history and the idea of travel a long time ago.  

When you enter my house you will see a pretty aqua blue suitcase under a handmade wooden table.  I love to display my favorite things on top of them like my vintage leather camels.  I painted this one with chalk paint and sealed it with white wax because it was a not so attractive brown color with stains.  Looks great I think, and it was easy to do.  

I also used two smaller cases under my buffet/tv console to hide wires.  Not the ones to the left though.  🙂

Another fun thing I do is place a small case on top of my dresser and then place pictures and other items in a small vignette.

My last home had 18 ft. tall ceilings and my dining room had a wall with a ledge on top of it so, I would display a couple of my suitcases up there.  I opened one of them and placed some old cameras and an oil painting in it along with other items to create another vignette.  As you can see,  I’m all about vignettes.  I worked as a showroom designer in a furniture store so I can’t help myself.

These are not all of my suitcases.  I have several more in storage just waiting to be used.  Whenever I’m out at yard sales, estate sales, or flea markets and I see one at a reasonable price I snap it up!  They’re uses are limitless.  But…they are getting harder to find.  I have seen them in a lot of design magazines recently so I think they are catching on.  Darn!!!