Friday, September 28, 2012

Drapes: the final touch...

It's amazing the difference curtains make to a room. Hanging my living room and dining room drapes this past week really finished both rooms ~ literally and figuratively. I designed both fabric patterns myself and my mom, bless her, made the drapes. They're fully lined and beautifully done and they look wonderful. The pink drapes made my large living room feel cozy instantly and gave the room a soft glow. They add a bit of drama, too, which I love. And the gray dining room drapes are perfect in that room ~ they really balance the gray of the furniture on the opposite side, which you can see here, and the pattern sort of mimics the wall design. I couldn't be happier with them.
What do you think?

I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Favorite find: A fab purple velvet chair...

Just wanted to share a few pictures of my latest find ~ a fab purple chair with a gorgeous velvet backing for the central hall/library area. It's really a dining chair, but it's comfy and lovely and fits perfectly in that little corner. It will be a wonderful spot to plop down and go through my cookbooks, most of which are on that shelf behind the chair.
The central hall, which has six doorways leading to different rooms in the house, really doesn't lend itself to seating, but I felt it needed a little chair in that corner. When I found this one, I just had to have it ~ I mean, how many times in life do you have the perfect spot for a fab purple velvet chair? It will be great to have an extra chair around if we have a lot of guests, too ~ I'll take any excuse to pull it out and show off the back.
I just finished painting the last bookshelf for this area and I found a new round rug that really sets things off, so I'll unveil the rest of the room here shortly. It's so great to have it done.
Hope all of you are having a wonderful week...

I am linking to:
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
My Favorite Things Thursdays at Silly Happy Sweet

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The beauty of butterflies...

This lovely butterfly was hanging out on my sun porch a couple of days ago and was kind enough to stick around and let me take some photos. It started off down at the bottom, on the screen, and then slowly made its way up to the glass. It was a beautiful sight.
Wishing all of you a restful Sunday...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, September 21, 2012

A dining room transformation...

When I started redecorating my dining room, my plan included new wallpaper, a traditional sideboard and china cabinet and a new finish for my old table. As you can see, things didn't quite go according to plan, mostly because I couldn't find the perfect wallpaper and then I fell in love with the beautiful round table above and some other rather country French pieces. But there's something to be said for following your heart, so I adjusted course. And, if I do say so myself, the room turned out beautifully. 
I'm still missing drapes ~ their arrival is imminent ~ and I want a large piece of original art for the wall next to the sideboard. I'm also due to get my mom's antique secretary at Thanksgiving, which will go in the one corner you don't see in these photos. But other than that, the room is done. So, without further ado, here's my redecorated dining room.


The dining room had green walls and was full of boxes needing to be unpacked. You can see my old dining room table and chairs, too.


The room is now a grayish blue with mostly gray and black furniture. The drapes will also be gray, created from fabric I designed to sort of mimic the pattern on the wall. This is the fabric pattern for the drapes:

I found this refinished vintage sideboard at an antique mall in Charlotte. The beautiful black Asian cabinet below is a family piece. For more on how I did the wall stencil behind the sideboard and cabinet, click here.


The dining room was really just a big blank canvas when I started. I love my French doors and hardwood floors ~ they're great building blocks. Through the doorway is the living room (which also still needs drapes as you can see below).


I found my hand-painted dining room table at the same place I found the sideboard and china cabinet (it really was a very good day). The chairs that came with it have seats covered in different colors of the same pattern ~ a pretty, slightly whimsical addition. 
The china cabinet is another old piece that's been refinished. The doors have glass behind the wire to keep the dust out, which I love. And the cabinets at the bottom have silverware drawers in addition to more storage space. I know the china cabinet and sideboard look like they match, but they don't. I actually bought them from different vendors in two different areas of the antique mall, but they coordinate nicely, don't you think? 

Since there is a touch of pink on the Asian cabinet and a little on the table, I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound. I am also linking to:
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Wishing all of you a beautiful weekend...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Adding pattern to the dining room...

You know that quote about the best laid plans? Well, my original plan for redoing the dining room called for wallpapering the room. The room is large and centrally located and visible from a number of rooms, so I thought it the ideal space for some pattern on the walls. Alas, after looking for quite a while, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted ~ a larger pattern, elegant, with birds. I found a lot of wallpapers that met the criteria, but none were exactly right. So, with time ticking away, a friend suggested I look for a wall stencil and perhaps go that route in the meantime ~ at least that way the room could progress and start to come together while I continued to look. After all, painting or wallpapering over paint is much easier than stripping wallpaper you've decided isn't right.
Normally I would have dismissed the stenciling idea out of hand because I associate stencils with a more country look, but the friend who suggested it had stenciled her entryway with a lovely, sophisticated wall stencil a few months before and it looked incredible. So, willing to entertain the idea, I searched and found this lovely pattern ~ birds included ~ and decided to go ahead.
I've never done stenciling before and I wasn't exactly sure how difficult it would be. It turned out to be fairly simple, just time consuming. First I painted the walls a grayish-blue with a slight green undertone ~ the color was Barely Jade ~ and then I did the stencil in an off-white with the palest tint of greenish blue. The stencil was easy to align and with a level attached, getting it straight wasn't too hard. I decided to just stencil the main wall in the room and I'm quite pleased with it. The pattern on the wall from floor to ceiling really sets off the room ~ a couple people, in fact, have initially mistaken the wall stencil for wallpaper. I've decided I like it so much, I've abandoned my wallpaper search for now.
Be sure to come back Friday to see the rest of the dining room ~ it's quite a transformation. Until then, wishing all of you a lovely week...

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Inspiration Friday at At the Picket Fence

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Time to sit on the porch...

The enclosed sun porch on the front of my house has always seemed to attract people, especially in the autumn, when it's so pleasant to be outside. Friends will stop by and eventually everyone moves to the porch to sit and talk and watch the activity in the neighborhood, which usually prompts the neighbors to come by as well to see what's going on, and before you know it, I've got a porch full of people enjoying a drink and talking. Someone once said my porch is the perfect spot for sitting around telling stories, and that seems to be the case as people congregate there for hours.
When I moved back in May, the porch floor was terracotta, as you can see directly below. Nothing wrong with it and it went fine with the green, but orange in any shade just isn't me.

So I painted the floor a dark oatmeal, thinking that will blend not only with the siding on the house but also with the new, yet-to-be-named paint colors for the front step and front door ~ the porch is off to the left as you come up the front steps. I've provided as much seating as possible (there are two more chairs that aren't shown) while trying not to overwhelm the space, along with places to set down drinks and things. The only thing left to do is install the new ceiling fan and maybe add another plant or two, and then it will be all ready for autumn and my guests.
What have you been up to this weekend?

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rainy days and autumn on the way...

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here the last few days ~ I can feel autumn in the air. It's been cool with no humidity, which has meant a break from the rain. It has rained so much where I live this summer, it seems every two days we have had a deluge. I love the rain, as a rule ~ there's something so beautifully melancholy about it ~ but I've been caught in it more times in the last three months than I think I have in my entire life, so I'm ready for it to stop.  
I snapped pictures of one of the storms last week from my front step and thought I'd share; you can actually see how heavy the rain is coming down in the photos. We have lots of lovely old trees in my neighborhood and when it rains really heavy like that, it creates a wonderful soothing noise hitting the trees and falling to the ground. It makes me want to sit on my porch and take a nap listening to it, even if it is a little loud.
Wishing all of you a lovely week...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday thoughts...

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.

~ Emma Goldman

Personally, I'd rather have both. But flowers are cheaper. :)
Happy Monday, all...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, September 7, 2012

The beauty of a pink living room...

After more than three months, the redecorating on my house is nearly complete. There are a few loose ends to tie up and I'm still waiting on drapes for a couple of rooms and a couch for the TV room, but it should all come together by the end of the month, fingers crossed.
I've been showing you bits and pieces as I went along of the living room redo. Today I thought I'd show you the entire thing. Excuse the naked windows; the drapes are coming. And I haven't had a chance to change out the awful brown ceiling fan, but that's on the list, too. Other than that, the room is finished for now. (One day I plan to wallpaper the great pink wall in the same pattern as my drapes.)
As you know, pink is my favorite color. When we decided to move, I dreamed of a soft pink living room, but grown-up, not girly. I wanted feminine elegance and comfort. I wanted a place where people would want to gather and talk, with no interruption from a television. I also wanted classic style that would last and that suited my 60-year-old house.
Since we decided to buy new furniture, I was able to choose pieces that I really wanted instead of having to make something work. The dresser on the back wall and the old chest I'm using for a coffee table I already had, along with the armoire, though I did redo the armoire. I also had been collecting the art in the room for quite some time. Everything else in the room I've picked out over the last several months or designed myself, as in the case of the drapes. I also repainted the room, including the walls, ceiling and wood trim. It was a lot of work and intimidating at times, but I've had a ball doing it.
So, without further ado, here's my new pink living room.





See how I redid the fireplace insert here.

When I have company, the computer gets tucked into a closet so the desk can be used as a little sideboard for drinks or snacks, and the chair pulls out into the room to add another seat.



 See the side table makeover here and the armoire makeover here.


For those who would like to know, I ordered the sofa and two matching chairs from Strobler in Columbia, S.C. The rug came from one of the many rug outlets in Gaffney, S.C. The large photograph above the fireplace I bought on Etsy, from Carl Christensen. A lot of the art in the room, including most of the Wall of Women, is by Janet Hill. Several other pieces of art came from Etsy as well, but I'm afraid I don't remember the shops. The fab flower floor lamp and the chair by the fireplace came from Pier 1. The desk/mini-sideboard came from Target. The other bits and pieces in the room are things I picked up here and there over the years.

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Mod Mix Monday at Modern Vintage Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully