Chair Rail In The Foyer

This is one of those projects that makes me insanely happy, because it is cheap, quick & easy, and makes a huge impact. 

"Quick & Easy" is a relative label because my husband did the measuring, cutting, and nailing. I did the caulking, sanding, and painting. But really, this is an afternoon project, assuming you don't run out of materials on that first afternoon. Did I mention my husband was responsible for measuring? Not sure what happened there. I kid...

This is what the blank, boring wall looked like before:

And after:

We used the same materials and measurements that already exist in the office and dining room, so it looks consistent with the rest of the house. 

The cost of this project was $60.00 including paint. Very affordable.

So happy about the chair rail, but now the vent is killing me. 

No, I can't remove it and board it up with drywall, because HVAC-blah blah, so he says. But when we  decide on a new wall color, the vent will be painted to match the walls. Hopefully it will blend in, rather than announcing itself in bright white

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My Favorite Navy & Indigo

In the absence of progress in the foyer,  I had a chance to take on some smaller things around the house that had been hanging over me.

The built-ins in the living room were never quite right, so I tweaked them on a rainy afternoon.

I just love the antlers against that deep navy color.

This is my favorite image of navy lately. 

Design Sponge

It reminds me of the shelves in the living room. When I question my decision to paint the backs navy blue, I revisit this image and fall in love all over again. That rug too. I need one of those. 

And this foyer is absolutely beautiful. Their entire home is beautiful. 

Switching styles...Amber Interiors and Emily Henderson consistently add the best shots of navy and indigo.

 Amber Interiors

Amber Interiors

Plenty of navy and indigo inspiration out there! 
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Project Foyer

I love a great foyer. These are pretty great.


Pottery Barn

Tara Pierce - EST

Our foyer needs some attention. When we moved in I threw a small rug in front of the door, and called it a day.

I would love to have a bench or a table in here, with some pretty lamps and art, but alas, it is too narrow to add any furniture. We would have to turn sideways and "thread the needle" in order to pass through the narrow walkway between the wall and the bottom of the staircase.

In this tiny corner, you can fit a chair, a small table, or a hippie.

Since furniture is not an option, I'm going to add detail on the wall. The first project of the year is to add a chair rail to the lower section of the foyer, which will match the existing chair rail and molding in the dining room and office. This will make it easier to decorate that massive sea of tan by breaking it up into sections. Hubby is thrilled. He is a good sport. He knows it will look nice when we're finished.

I would love to find a vintage Turkish rug with deep blues and reds. For that, I'm keeping my eyes on CraigsList and local estate sales.

Side note: you can see how badly these walls need a fresh coat of paint. I am avoiding that for so many reasons. I need to choose a color, and I haven't even started that process. A two-story foyer is not a small painting project, and the entire house is this shade of tan. But eventually we will have to tackle it. *hangs head low*

The plan was to complete the chair rail/molding project over the weekend, but we were unable to match the molding exactly. Today I called the homebuilder to track down the materials, and I'm in luck! Everything is in stock and the local distribution center is just around the corner from our house. So this project is happening this weekend!

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2015: I'm Ready For A Change

I am a firm believer in the power of a good New Year's Resolution. I know the idea of a resolution isn't for everyone. For me, for the way my mind thinks, resolutions work. I embrace a fresh start and a chance to begin the new year with new habits and convictions. The downside is that I'm not very successful at adopting a new habit on a random Thursday in May. The upside is that January 1st is a great day to adopt new habits, and that happens to be tomorrow.

My goals this year are mostly health and wellness related. My health and wellness affect everyone in our family, so it's a trickle-down effect. Changes that are good for me will in turn be good for everyone.

Aside from losing weight, probably the most obvious of all resolutions, I have some specific goals about changing our eating habits. I used to be such a health nut. Yoga, organic, whole foods, very few processed foods, little meat or dairy. Somewhere between Utah and North Dakota it all fell apart. I'm ready to put those healthy habits back in place. I've warned the kids, a hard rain is gonna fall this year.

I don't know if Jason realized what he was committing to, when he purchased all of the books on my Amazon wish list. They were heavy on whole, vegetarian, non-processed, and family-style cookbooks. He'll thank me later? He also presented me with a Ninja, so perhaps he also wishes for a healthier lifestyle...OR he wants many more delicious frozen drinks on the weekend.

I have a desire to focus more on family and to be present in their lives. In short, I need to disconnect.


I'm also on a mad organizing and simplifying tear in the home, as is usual in January. Bedroom closets, basement storage, kitchen cupboards, and the laundry room won't survive the next couple of weeks.

I love getting organized every January, and once again before the kids begin a new school year. I love a good, solid planner, with pen & paper. I bought this guy at Target, and already have January and half of February filled in.

Sugar Paper

My Mini-me has the one below. We are cut from the same cloth.

On the home front, I haven't decided if I'll be able to embrace Marsala in 2015...

...but I already have three big home projects in the planning stages.

Here's to a healthy and balanced new year!
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Christmas 2014 In Review

Christmas 2014 was a whirlwind of stress and planning, mixed with shopping and procrastination. That is actually a legitimate description of me, on any given day. Stress, planning, shopping, procrastination, repeat. Throw in a bottle of red wine and a good playlist, and you have the recipe for Colleen!

This trip was bookended by a visit with my sister and her family, and Christmas evening with my Mom. My sister throws a high energy Christmas party with more than 250 guests every year.  I can't fathom the planning that goes into such an occasion, but she pulls it off each year and loves doing it.

In previous years we drove to Big Sky, Montana, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This year we chose Vermont, and my New York heart was full. I have missed the northeast for twelve long years. 

*Not a bad view to enjoy with the morning coffee*

We enjoyed family games, milkshakes at a lovely diner, a visit with the sweetest elf, family movie night featuring Elf, and a handful of visits to the local swimming pool. 

The kids say Jason is easy to spot because he's the only one wearing all black. He's Johnny Cash on the mountain. 

While in Vermont I wanted to see some beautiful covered bridges, quaint chapels, and anything else that screams Vermont. Miniature glass bottles full of 100% pure maple syrup, in the shape of a maple leaf? We bought three.

The weather wasn't ideal for snowy activities; it was 45 degrees and a slushy mess in general. But they had fun. Jason beamed when Owen's instructor said, "he's the best six year-old shredder I've ever seen." Ella was moved up to the next level and killed it on the highest mountain. Natalie and I left for some shopping after a trip to the clinic for what felt like strep throat, but proved to be a bad cold. She loves a small town as much as I do. She was happy to poke around in the stores, but got right back on the mountain as soon as she felt well enough. 

Jason was so sweet to drive me around in search of covered bridges and other Vermont charm. 

We referred to this handy map of the covered bridges to lead us in our search. I see this is a handy reference for all of the covered bridges, so I see a Sunday road trip in our future. I bet the bridges of Ohio are pretty too. 

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Handmade For The Holidays

This year, like everything else, I'm keeping the handmade gifts simple. 

I made several felted snowflakes. They come together so fast. This may look like a complicated project, but the pattern is easy to follow, and if you understand the basics of crochet, you're all set.
I would love to make enough of these to decorate the tree next year. 

I used the patterns found here.

When we hit the road this year, I plan to bring along my crochet materials and a couple of cute holiday patterns.

I'd like to share one more handmade holiday project...let's see if I can make that happen. Time is running out!
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Update On Natalie's Room

This room is the very definition of a compromise. Our taste in decor is very different. She likes teal, zebra print, and plenty of posters. That sounds like a lovely room for a girl her age, as it should be. So that is probably where this story will end, until she asks for my input in a matter of months.

Why spend money and time creating a room that she doesn't love? I read plenty (too many...) decorating and DIY blogs, and it always makes me sad to see a blogger create a ridiculous bedroom for her child just for the sake of content, when the end result isn't even kid-friendly. I want my kids to love their rooms, even if that bedroom isn't worthy of Pinterest. Because this is real life and I have real kids. If Natalie doesn't love her room then what is the point?

I shared several ideas with Natalie, but what she wants is a room that she has created for herself, and I have to respect that. She spends a lot of time in her room, and keeps it clean and organized and super cute. I have no complaints, and I love going into her room and seeing the pride she feels in her space. She is a nester too, unlike her brother, who spends as little time in his room as possible. He could live happily out of a drawer. That little dude is another story for another day. 

We changed the color of her walls, and that made her very happy. Pink to turquoise. We relocated the black headboard from the guest room. 

We hung her favorite posters, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. You won't see that on Remodelista. I love Remodelista, but Natalie loves Taylor Swift.

We updated her furniture arrangement, and organized her closet and precious belongings. We changed the curtains. She still needs a more functional desk. I'm checking CraigsList regularly for the perfect desk for us to fix up together.  

She would not love this room any more if I hung a beautiful grid of Rifle Paper Co. prints in perfectly coordinated frames. Nor would she appreciate an expensive upholstered headboard.

Animal heads and chevron are all the rage in blogland, but she is not interested. 

She would not be happy with white walls and bohemian decor. 

But I did make one final change, and it got her seal of approval along with hugs & kisses. 

I love her room because it is a reflection of her, and she is pretty amazing. 
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