Ever since we moved almost a year ago I've been meaning to invite you all in for a little tour, but getting ready for it has been a bit of a process. First we had to buy furniture. Then we had to recover from moving in. Then we had to decorate. Then we had to recover from decorating. And make a lot of day-to-day messes. And clean them up.
Then in February on a glorious day when the entire main floor was clean, I finally took pictures! But then I needed to sort through them. Bah. And touch up the ones that came out a little dark. Bah again. So they cured on my hard drive for a while. Until a few weeks ago when I finally found all of my favorites and put them all in the same folder for easy access.
And then they cured a little while longer. Some projects are like that, you know. They need time to sit in the back of your mind for a while.
But now on this cozy rainy morning we're enjoying, it's finally time to invite you all in for a little tour! So come on in! Don't bother taking off your shoes. We're really not those kind of people. Just come right in and plop yourself down on that big green couch. We're happy to have you here.
(House tour after the jump!)
Welcome to our living room! It's bright and colorful and a little on the crazy side, but I love it. The big green couch was something we bought last year on my birthday. We had seen it at Goodwill, I fell in love with it, but I didn't like that it was $200.
So I continued the search, but Craigslist and the other thrift stores (and even some real furniture stores) just didn't have what I was looking for. Or they were asking way more for something super ugly and covered in pet fur. So on my birthday we went back go Goodwill with a U-Haul truck and bought the big green couch. And I still love it just as much as I did then. (Also, notice those pillows. I have something to tell you about them in a minute.)
Big Green Couch: Goodwill
Creamy Off-white Armchair: Antique store
Orange Armchair: Antique store
White End Tables: Ikea
White Curtains & Curtain Rods: Ikea
Rug: some random little store I forget the name of
(more on the wall in a minute)
The piano was a Craigslist find. We bought it from a nice little old lady and paid a couple of mover guys we found on Craigslist to bring it over for us. It was such an ordeal, but it's here now!
Bryan is the piano virtuoso in the house. To my knowledge, all of the Lewis kids took piano lessons when they were growing up and their mom told them they had to practice "on all the days that you eat." So they're all pretty good. According to Bryan (while we were first dating and he was trying to impress me), he and his older brother both got so good that their piano teacher in Germany said that he had taught them all he knew. They'd have to go find one of the masters to learn from since they had surpassed what he knew to teach them.
Last summer when we were killing time before Bry started school he started giving me piano lessons. According to Bryan, I'm pretty good too. So feel free to invite me over to play really impressive songs like "Buffalo Gals" anytime. (Just give me a heads up so I have time to practice first, please.)
These fun little mirrors came in a pack of 4 (I think) from Ikea. These two were just hanging out as extras when we finished the big collage on the other wall, so we put them up by the door. Always good to make a little last-minute gunk-in-the-teeth check before heading out the door.
They're stuck on with the sticky stuff that came in the package with them. It's basically like 3M sticky tabs (which we use a lot and love a lot). Hopefully these stickies come off nicely when we move. Guess we'll see!
Oh, hi guys.
Let's keep going.
Oh look! Boots!
Believe it or not, we have more shoes in our bedrooms upstairs. But these are the ones we use all the time.
The basket is from the thrift store. So is every other basket you see in this house. Why people would ever pay $15-$30 on a basket when you can get them for $.50-$3.00 at the thrift store is totally beyond me.
Also, while we're talking about baskets, can I just tell you how much I love them? They are such a cheap, versatile storage item. They come in all shapes and sizes, they're great for storing on shelves (it's like having drawers you can pull out all the way!), great for hanging, and great for just sticking on the floor. Shoes on the floor? Messy house. Shoes in a basket on the floor? Clean house! Baskets. Seriously, guys. Love them.
We never watch TV. Ever. Number of times we've watched television on this TV: 0. Not kidding. I know a lot of people have their favorite shows, but to me, 99.9% of what's on television these days is absolute rubbish. And commercials--what a colossal waste of time. Anyway, that's how I feel about TV.
But. We do watch a fair amount of movies and hand-picked shows on DVD. We own the first 4 seasons of West Wing and watch those all the time. We own a small selection of movies too. And our local library has a better selection of movies and shows than Red Box. And it's free! So that's what our TV is there for.
It drives Bryan crazy that there's just a big empty wall above the TV, but I like it. The opposite wall (with the big collage) is so crazy that I feel like we need this empty wall to balance out the room. Maybe one of these days Bryan will win me over with his subtle pleas of, "Don't you think a nice big piece of artwork would be nice there?" But it hasn't worked yet.
White Shelf: Ikea
Red Lantern: Thrift store
Fake Pine Tree: Thrift store
Piano Lamp: Ikea
Red Stool: Made for me by my neighbor when I was a child
Pom Pom Garlands: Made like the ones in this tutorial
I know, I know, everyone else calls these "Christmas trees." But I'm an Oregonian. To me, it's just a tree. And I love it.
When I was growing up we had a neighbor across the street who liked to make little pieces of furniture like this. He was kind of a nice grandpa kind of guy. I don't remember how old I was when he made this stool for me, but I've had it for almost as long as I can remember. As you can see, it's been well-loved. It's a little more rickety now than it was when I was a kid, but I still love it just as much.
The bucket and fake plant are both from the thrift store. And it's a good thing that plant is fake because Olivia dumps the bucket off all the time so she can steal the stool. Little rascal.
When we bought the piano from the little old lady on Craigslist, the stool was covered in... some nice material. It didn't really match the feel of our funky living room, so we took it off and replaced it with this fun fabric that I bought from my favorite shop in Columbus. The top of the bench removes so you can store music inside, so this re-upholstery job was super easy.
This little house that sits on top of our piano is actually a little music box. Bryan sent it to me when he was serving a church mission in Switzerland (before we were married).
Inside the music box are a few little trinkets from that time in our lives.
Maybe I've just seen "While You Were Sleeping" a few too many times, but I've always loved globe lamps. So when I spotted this one at Goodwill when we first moved in, I snatched it right up. It was $15 which is usually more than I'd spend on a lamp at the thrift store, but it's one of those splurge purchases that I've always been really happy with. (It's really sweet when it's lit up too, but it doesn't photograph well that way.)
And do you spy what's hiding on the back of our couch pillows?
It's me! Haha. As a high school graduation gift, my sister Kendra made me this amazing quilt with a lot of pictures of myself on it. It's kind of humiliating, but in a wonderful sort of way. Well, she made these pillows to match the quilt and I found them last summer when Bryan and I were sorting through all of my things that I had been storing at my mom's house. I could tell by the horrified look on Bryan's face when he saw these babies that they were keepers for sure.
We did buy pillow forms from Ikea when we first moved in. And I still have every intention of making pillow covers for them, but it's hard to be too motivated about it when you have such fantastic stand-ins, you know?
Bryan spends his days turning the pillows around so the plain red side faces out. I spend my days turning them back over. Aren't my older brother and I so cute? Kendra and I are on the other pillow, but I was kind of going through an unfortunate phase with my hair at the time, so... I must have forgotten to snap a photo of that one.
Alright, the wall. Let's talk about it.
We had the unique experience of getting to tour our friends' apartment (which is in the same complex) the fall before we moved out here. So before we moved I had envisioned sort of what things I would put where and how I might decorate it.
In my head I've been planning on making some sort of big wall collage for years. And I've been saving some of these things for years.
Truth be told, I'm really not one to put things on the walls. Especially photographs. I want to love the things in my home and, quite honestly, I don't love having photographs up in my home. Even if it's of people I love. (And especially if it's me.) So if you've given us a photograph in the last four years, it's probably in the pile of framed photographs we have sitting in our storage room. Lame, perhaps, but true. It's just not me. Maybe someday.
But that doesn't mean that the things on our walls aren't meaningful. Some of the things on this particular wall are just random things that I like, but several of them have good stories or hold a lot of personal meaning.
(Update: Get the how-to on creating your own collage wall HERE.)
This doily is one that my Nana and Granddad sent me for my birthday last year. My Nana said she's had this one for a loooong time. My mom's parents are some of my very favorite people in the whole world. I love having my Nana's doily on the wall. Seeing it reminds me of my Nana and Granddad and all the things I love about them.
(I framed it in this frame with a double layer of glass. The doily "floats" in between the two layers.)
This mirror (and the one up in the empty frame) are the other two mirrors in the pack of 4 from Ikea.
This piece was a Goodwill find. No sentimental value. I just like.
No, I did not steal this stop sign. Unless you count taking things your step brother leaves at your house as stealing.
My step brother Josh worked as a flagger (you know, the people who stand next to road construction and flip the stop/slow sign around to direct traffic) and this was the stop sign he used. I imagine he was supposed to give it back, but it just ended up at our parents' house. So... now it's mine.
(It's stuck up with 3M sticky tabs. And, yes, the other side does say "slow.")
This piece remains one of my favorite pieces of art in our home. My sister-in-law Anna made it and gave it to me as a graduation gift when I graduated from college. Everything about it reminds me of Anna and all of the things I love about her. Especially, it reminds me of how much I love to be around Anna. She's just one of those people you love and love and love. And, obviously, she's funny.
The empty frames on this wall are from a stuff swap that the women in our church did when we first moved in. So they were free. Score! (Actually, maybe I bought one of them at Goodwill. I don't remember now.) The mirror is from the Ikea pack. The L was a sidewalk sale buy. (Our last name is Lewis, hence the L.)
FYI, in case of an earthquake or something, the top edge of the mirror is stuck to the wall with a 3M sticky tab. But I think the L is just loose. (L for loose!)
This is a portrait that Bry did of baby Olivia. Sometimes he sells these custom portraits (done from photographs) in his shop, but not when he's crazy busy with school like he is right now.
(But he does have a school break coming up soon. E-mail me or contact him on Etsy if you're interested. His time is going to be filling up fast.)
Clock is from Ikea. No sentimental value. I just like it.
This vintage Risk board was a yard sale find. Yes, it still had almost all the pieces. Yes, I bought it with the intention to put it on our wall someday. Yes, Bryan still wants to play it. (But don't worry. We have another Risk board. And, yes, I always lose. Always.)
Big Blue Art: Goodwill
Empty Yellow Frame: Free at stuff swap
Empty White Frame: Goodwill
L: BYU Bookstore
Risk Board: Yard sale
Portrait of Olivia: Made by my husband Bryan
Gold Star: free at stuff swap
Portrait of Katie the Graduate: Made by my sister-in-law Anna
Licence Plates: From our sad, dead cars (may they RIP)
Stop Sign: From my parents' basement via my stepbrother Josh
Framed Doily: From my Nana and Granddad
Well, now that you've seen the living room, come take a look at the dining room!
Not as crowded and exciting as the living room, but still a lovely little place to be.
All Plates On The Wall: Thrift store
High Chair: Free (See more about the highchair in this post.)
Wooden Chairs: Goodwill
Red Basket: Given to us (originally with Christmas treats) by Bryan's cousin Emily
White Tissue Paper Pom Pom: Homemade by me
The plates. They are funny and maybe a little creepy all at the same time. We bought them all in one fell swoop from the thrift store when we first moved in. So, maybe a little creepy that we probably bought a deceased person's collection of plates? I don't mind though.
The funny thing is that every time someone comes over for dinner they see the plates, see that we're not old people, and they sweetly/hesitantly say, "Oh, fun! Are these all places you've visited?" They usually seem pretty relieved to hear that we just got them from the thrift store.
In truth, I've only visited a few of these places. I just picked them out because I love the classic look and bright, bold colors. And plates seemed awfully appropriate for a dining room, don't you think?
My favorite one is maybe the little Illinois plate with the red cardinal on it. Especially since it makes me laugh about how clueless I am sometimes. Didn't even notice it was an ashtray until it had been on our wall for a few weeks. (And we don't smoke.)
The little pom pom up in the corner of the dining room (and the one you'll see in the kitchen in just a minute) are ones that I made for a 4th of July party we had last summer. Umm... I just never took them down. But now I kind of love them. They'll probably stay up until we move. Unless the one over the stove catches fire.
This chandelier plagues me. It is so hideous. But at least with the old lady plates in the background it kind of blends in a little better. At least that's what I tell myself.
We tried to see if we could replace it with something more "us," but when Bryan tried to peek up in the ceiling to see what the electrical situation was, he, umm, kind of made the light not work. So the nice maintenance guy came to fix it and we haven't touched it since. Whatevs. It's only 3 more years with my golden chandelier.
Our table was a Craigslist find. It was only $20 or $30 and it has a leaf that goes in the middle to make it bigger, which is really nice. It was advertised on Craigslist as being "whitewashed." In actuality, it's just a really trashy paint job. The lady we bought it from seemed a little on the not-quite-all-there side and I'm pretty sure she painted it herself.
Anyway, I actually really like the kind of funky paint job. The thing I don't like is that every time we wipe a mess up off the table, it takes the paint off with it. (And I'm just talking about a wet washcloth, not heavy chemical cleaners.)
We bought it with the intention of painting it white (and painting the chairs red). Last summer it was too hot and we were too exhausted from moving in. This summer we have friends with a power sander. Maybe this summer it will happen.
And, last but not least (okay, maybe it is the least, but there are still some things I like about it), is our kitchen!
The island thing in the middle there has the oven/stove in the middle and drawers and cupboards on either side. If I could change only one thing in this kitchen, it would be to have an outlet right at the end of the island (above Olivia's little footstool). It's the most natural place to plug in a mixer or blender and... no outlet. This is another one of those "it's only three more years, I can handle it" sort of things.
Also, I have a hard time ever really being upset with this kitchen because it is so, so much bigger than our last kitchen. And it has a dishwasher! And a regular size oven! And counter space!
So I'm a happy girl.
Psst. That's the other tissue paper pom pom above the stove. Hasn't caught on fire yet! And, in case you're curious, it's being held up by a magnet that hides up inside the oven vent thing.
This little wall is perhaps the best/most helpful thing I have to show you in our kitchen.
Top left is our family birthday calendar. It was a Christmas gift from my sister Kendra several years ago. We still use it. (Though nobody would believe it. We hardly ever send out birthday cards.)
Below that is our shopping list. When Bryan was working at a wood mill one summer he made this for me from some of the scrap wood. It's fashioned after the grocery list holder that hangs in my mom's kitchen. It's basically just a little frame with a dowel that runs through it. The paper is receipt paper. It's super cheap and it lasts forever. We just add things to the shopping list as we think of them and then rip off our list when we're heading to the store.
Next to that is Bryan's school calendar. In theory this is helpful. In reality, I still ask him what time he'll be leaving and coming home every day.
And, above that, is our big mac daddy calendar. It's a desk calendar... on the wall. Plenty of room (and lines!) to write down all of the things we have going on. Love these calendars. I could never survive with the pretty kind.
And while we're talking about the calender, I should probably admit that I am kind of a pen nazi when it comes to writing on the calendar. There is one pen and one pen only that is allowed to make any kind of mark on this calendar. (It's the one you see attached there.)
It's not so much that I care about the pen (though I do like that kind) as it is about visual clarity. I am very much a visual person and if someone writes something on there in other crazy colors, that's what my attention is immediately drawn to. Which is not very good when I should be paying attention to whatever is coming up. So, now you know. Bryan's family loves to tease me about it. I don't even care... as long as they don't write on my calendar with a different pen.
Our aprons hang on a little nail hiding just on the other side of the wall behind the calendars. Behind the aprons is our little nook of baking goods.
From left to right, the jars contain: chocolate chips, brown sugar, white sugar, white flour, whole wheat flour.
(This was before we started eating really healthy. Now a few of the jars' contents have been switched out for other things.)
All of the jars are from Walmart.
This classic little bread plate was a wedding gift from some of Bryan's family's friends from Germany. I really like it.
Under all those baked goods is this weird little spot. I don't know why there are no cupboards here. I found the little drawers and rolling cart at the thrift store for a couple dollars a piece and they've made this space a lot more usable.
The drawers hold all of Olivia's plates and cups and bowls. This way she can help get her own things and set the table with them.
The little rolling cart holds a variety of things. In this picture it's holding chips and bread. Right now it's holding onions and potatoes and... I don't remember what else.
The big basket on the counter holds a variety of fresh fruit.
The paper towel holder is from Ikea.
And now, in place of the towel on the counter, we have a small dish rack that lives in the left side of our sink.
This is our stove. This picture is to document the one and only time we've lived here and these counters and the stove have all been clean at the same time.
Thanks so much for stopping by! It was fun to have you here. Please come back soon!