A Dining Room Revamp…

 After years of living in white-walled apartments I was both excited and overwhelmed at the decorating possibilities that lay before me after we purchased our 1929 bungalow.  No more horrendous brown carpet, eggshell paint, and New York City sized kitchens.  But as a self diagnosed “serial decorator” I was a little too eager to get this house looking spiffy.  I made A LOT of mistakes.  I was impatient, and on top of that we were completely broke for the first few months because I wasn’t working.  Broke AND impatient are not a good basis for any worthy design plan.  In the first week of being moved in to our new home I painted our living room a yummy shade of Pepto Bismal pink.  Then without so much as a blink, stenciled a purple Ikat pattern on the dining room walls.  It looked like I hired a 12 yr old girl to do my decorating for me.  I had some sort of ill decorating syndrome from years of living in bland apartments, which prevented me from painting or doing anything that wasn’t completely over the top-and WRONG.  Because I had never been able to choose paint colors before, I thought I was relegated to super saturated intense colors.  Why after years of being held back from decorating the way I wanted, would I choose barely there paint colors that you could hardly notice??? I wanted to make a statement-and boy did I.  

Case & point:


Hodge Podge is the word that comes to mind when looking at this photo.  This was right before we painted the living room Lily Lavender by Benjamin Moore.  (never mind the ghost lights or the folded laundry) Once we lightened up, everything started making more sense.  I still had lots of work to do, but that was definitely my turning point.  I realized that sometimes less is MORE.   And as much as I still hate things being “undone”, I understand now that it takes time, and I think the bottom photo proves that I learned my lesson.  

iphone 686

 Now you might think I’m just getting ready to share a dining room overhaul with you-and I am, but I’m also sharing a lot more…Growth.  I like to think of this as a sort of decorating coming of age tale if you will.  I’ll be thirty-one this year.  I’ve spent four years growing into myself-in this house that I adore, and this dining room signifies not only personal growth, but the growth I’ve experienced as a decorator.  The design was well thought out, yet also instinctual.  It’s bohemian, and glamorous, and super comfy.  It’s truly a space to “hang out” in, and that’s exactly what we do each night as we put on Frank Sinatra, light the candles, and enjoy a meal together.  

I’m sharing this revamp (more like complete overhaul) in three stages.  It would be far too much to cram all into one post, and I want to compare each area with the before photos.  So suck it

I’m not going to lie, I nearly had a panic attack when we started painting over the Ikat, but I instantly knew I would love having a dark and cozy dining room.  The paint color is Mark Twain grey by Valspar.

before after

corner sideboard view

corner view light off

booze close up

I removed the bar cart from the living room, and opted instead for this tabletop version.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect tray to sit underneath.  books DR close up

I nabbed the mid-century dresser on Craigslist for $70.  The brand is Lenoir House, which was a division of Broyhill.  Lenoir House sold the companies more modest priced pieces. I’m also still (after all these years) thinking of a way to disguise that plywood covered hole in the floor which use to be where the coal burning furnace was.

window seat view

The floor lamp is from Target, and the shade is covered in a cheapie Ikea stripe, which I also used for some euro pillows on the window seat.  I like the unconventional pairing of the table lamp on one side, with the floor lamp on the other.  The large oval mirror (also Ikea) reflects so much light and prettiness from the rest of the room.  

As with most things, it’s not 100% finished-I will undoubtedly change things, but the bones of this room are so right that I imagine it will stay this way for quite a while.  


Ikea does it again…

You know that ever popular hash tag #targetdoesitagain?  Well, Ikea needs one of its own, and hasn’t it for some time? 

I took an impromptu trip today with my mama, and came home with some delicious goods.  


I’m not sure why it took me so long to nab one of these black & white striped blankets, but I finally caved.  I also got a couple books, one is on entertaining, and the other about outdoor spaces.  At $8 a pop, they were steal.  And lets talk about those plates.  I mean, come on! Under that stack of stuff is a HUGE cutting board that was practically a gift with purchase at just $10! 


Pictured below is the most perfect light fixture, that will replace the one I’m tired of in the kitchen.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It has a vintage feel, and is much larger than it appears.  They also have this fixture in a slightly smaller accent lamp style.  


So basically this whole post was a public service announcement to get your asses to Ikea, and pick up some cool shit at reasonable prices.  Your welcome. 

This week I’ll be sharing a holiday wreath DIY that is nothing short of amazeballs, and a recipe for pasta with caramelized onions, and a Gruyere cheese sauce.  


We’re Back…

Hello Friends.  Its been awhile.  We found out the hard way that blogging is difficult. Period.  Blogging while working full-time, and juggling kids is even more difficult.  So we did what lots of people do, we got sucked up into the gusty cyclone of our lives, and let our passion slowly slip into the periphery.  I wish I could say that was it, but the truth is that we’re afraid.  Blogging is a party, and our invitation was lost in the mail.  We’re terrified of showing up late and no one answering the door. Luckily were more afraid of what will happen if we don’t throw everything we’ve got into living our dream.  We are still deciding what is practical as far blogging intensity, the type of content we want to focus on, and somehow launching a full on design business in the process.  For now our main focus is going to stay the same, showcasing our design philosophy/aesthetic through our own homes and projects.

This time I just want to share a fun little project that resulted in quite a few changes to our living room.  We scored this Melissa & Doug train table for free, which replaced a glass Ikea one that we had for about six years! Yeah, It was time for a change.  So we painted it in white enamel, with chalkboard paint on one side.  It resulted in a very chic, durable, and fun table that the kids love, and with more surface area to display my magazine/trinket collections!  Tomorrow I’ll be back with the changes that stemmed from this coffee table DIY.  Xo-Tara                                                                                                                                                                   



IMG_0695 I have a problem.  Have you heard those stories about crazy ladies who rearrange their furniture while their husbands are at work, and then their husbands come home at night, tripping and falling all over the lack of familiarity?  That’s me.

An entrance to my home is often followed by a long pause, a survey of what has since been changed.  I suppose it’s a rather inherent quality, OK I guess its more of a hindrance than an actually quality per say, but who’s keeping track.

The inoperable (for now) fireplace has been an issue since we moved into this 1920’s bungalow two years ago.  It was always the nerdy kid in the corner  watching everyone else enjoy the party.  With the door being just feet away, flanking chairs seemed bulky and awkward, but it was apparent that we needed something to fill the space.  We had always talked about built in bookcases, but aren’t things much more fun when done on a whim! So here’s the story about how my mom said, “You should do those built-ins by the fireplace,” and so we did…that weekend.  It all started with a trip to Ikea for some Billy bookcases.  Ohhh, did I forget to mention that these bookcases are totally removable, and for all intents and purposes, FAKE?! I know what your thinking, I’m a total genius, I absolutely agree. After another trip to Lowes for a sheet of MDF, and some trim pieces, the engineering began.  Well at least it did for my husband.  I come up with the brilliant ideas, he makes it happen.  That’s our system, however unfair it may be.  He has his gifts, I have mine, it just so happens mine involve a lot less physical labor.  So basically you sit the bookcase in your opening until you have a proportionate amount on each side.  We pulled ours closer to the front of the fireplace, to give the illusion of more depth. Then you box it in using your MDF for the sides and top, and add trim/molding pieces to give it a more finished look.

bookcases no ceilingThe great thing is that the top is totally removable, allowing access to the outlets behind that we did want to re-route, and should I ever one day tire of these fantastical beauties, all I have to do is slide them out.  All of the MDF, and molding is secured directly to the bookcase, making it one continuous piece.  Amazeballs, I know.  Obviously, I added new sconces,  roman shades, and did something a little traditional with the mantle styling, and the hot pink magazine files from Target are totally killing it, but more on that later.  In closing I would like to address that little white Spackle blob above the  right sconce.  I would love it if every time I shared a photo on our blog, it was this perfect flawless image.  But lets face it, everyone’s life is in need of a little Spackle, both literally and metaphorically.  So there.


Keeping it real in Ohio.