Archives For -Dining Room

Dining Room Light Fixture

February 26, 2014 — 1 Comment

diningroom-light1 Progress on the Third Floor has ground to a halt for the moment. I am still busy sorting stuff for the craft room, including getting ready of 90% of my magazine stash. In the meantime, we had been procrastinating on installing a new light fixture for the Dining Room since the beginning of the year. But we finally got around to installing it over the weekend so it would be up for a certain little one’s 5th Birthday Party. And I am quite smitten! diningroom-light2 Previously we had a more historically accurate reproduction hanging here. Unfortunately the scale and height was wrong (too small and too high). I’ve been looking for a replacement for quite a while, but hadn’t found anything that I really liked in the right price range until this fall. I found this beauty at West Elm, while looking at their catalog.  I ripped out the page and looked at it for a month or so. Then as luck would have it West Elm was having a lighting sale. So I took the plunge. Of course it was backordered for a couple of months. And when it arrived it went on the back-burner while we concentrated on the third floor.  I really like the contrast of the modern/retro fixture with the more traditional aspects of the Dining Room. And I wasn’t the only who had the same thought. While I was waiting for our chandelier to arrive, two of the blogs I follow installed the same fixture in Victorian houses. Nicole used this light fixture in her daughter’s room and Anna used it in her Dining Room. Unfortunately it looks like they have discontinued the Mobile Chandelier. It is very large, but it actually makes the space feel more cozy. It will be getting streamers attached to in the next couple of days and I will take some more pictures. I’m off to brave the snow!

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I’m feeling behind in my holiday decorations and preparation! Maybe it is because I spend too much time looking at Pinterest and all of the beautiful decorations that I cannot even begin to attempt. Maybe I need to stop looking, but it is so addicting, and easier than actually getting to work. Fortunately I do have impatient children who actually want to decorate for the holidays! I have named Sam the official “tree fluffer” for helping reshape the fake Christmas tree. He took the low parts, which was a nice change for my back. I can’t be the only one who dreads getting their scratchy, bulky tree up and looking good.


Anyway, as I started getting the Christmas decorations out I realized that I had not photographed the Thanksgiving piano top. I like to adjust and tweak this small area whenever I get the chance (while ignoring the rest of the mess around it).  I kept a lot of the decorations from Halloween and just added a couple of later fall touches. I think my favorite new things are the glass blocks with the feathers on them. I bought them on clearance at Target and I immediately put them up. Now of course the area is in flux again as the fall orange makes way for sparkly Christmas decorations. Stay tuned for an update!

christmastree1Our main tree is up, lit and decorated in a beautifully messy way. This is the first year that we are putting up all of the fragile ornaments. So far only one casualty!  The kids relished putting up the ornaments, double and triple stacking them on the low branches.  I did go through after them and move some of the more fragile ones out of harms way. They also discovered how magical it is to lay under a lit Christmas tree.  Now I just need to clear away some of the boxes and toys and light the fireplace. Hopefully this weekend!

How are your holiday decorations going?

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Happy Halloween!

November 1, 2013 — Leave a comment


Another Halloween has come and gone. There are large quantities of candy in the house and the whole family is suffering from a post Halloween malaise. I hope everyone had a great time! The weather was warm here, which made for a much more enjoyable night than normal.


Elvis greatly enjoyed all of the attention! I wouldn’t be surprised if he started requesting to wear this costume out more often. If he was willing to sing in public I think he could start an act. He informed me that 54 people liked his costume during his Halloween Parade at school (not that he is counting or anything).


Rapunzel is in love with her hair (and I am greatly relieved that her hair is not normally this long).

pianofall-2In other related updates, I realized that I haven’t shown off the fall piano styling. It is one of the few things I have managed to get done in the house recently.

pianofall-1I inherited the orange chocolate pot from my grandparents recently and thought it was perfect for the fall. I added a bunch of Osage Oranges (aka Monkey Balls). They have a nice citrus scent and I literally pick them up on the ground at Maisie’s school where they are plentiful (and the kids like to throw them). Let here it for free decorations!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoys the extra hour of sleep! Tomorrow is the last soccer games for the season. I’m looking forward to some lazy Saturday mornings in our future.

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I have been holding my family extra close the last couple of days. I am so saddened by what happened in Boston and my thoughts have been with the families affected. I didn’t post yesterday and still feel kind of ridiculous posting today.


We are making progress upstairs but I thought I would take a break from showing you half finished walls and show you the latest decorations for the piano.


Maisie and I did a little shopping last Friday. She even picked out her first decorations. She is in love with the elephant and rhino (after all who isn’t) although she doesn’t understand why I would buy something like that and then not let her play with them. But the thing she actually picked out were the seashells. We were at Homegoods and she gravitated to the bag of pretty seashells and asked if we could bring them home. She then very carefully put them in the bowl.  I guess it is time to start having her help more often. She also insists on having a bouquet of felt flowers next to her bed.


I also finally picked out a side table for my chair. I originally ordered a metallic ceramic wood stump stool, but after the disaster decided I should get something that didn’t require shipping. I bought this metallic garden stool at Homegoods. It didn’t have a price on it, so they decided that it should be $49.99. I said sold, considering most of the metallic ones I have seen are over $100! Mr. S. said he still preferred the tree stump, but I am excited to have a place to put my coffee cup and wine glass.


So for my spring decorating I started with the brass elements and paired them with some nice bright blues. It was feeling a bit boring so I tried mixing a few of my more colorful kitschy items.


Who doesn’t want to be welcomed home by a picture of vintage apple computer and some wacky creatures?



I hope everyone had a nice weekend! We had a good one here. I am finally feeling better and some time with the family was just what I needed. So for once I actually have my decorations up early! I was taking down some more of the Christmas decorations and I decided to go ahead and decorate for Valentine’s Day.


Funny enough the inspiration came from a Christmas ornament. I ordered a couple of clearance ornaments at Urban Outfitters a couple of weeks ago. One of them was this LOVE one, no doubt inspired by Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia (a favorite of mine). I was getting ready to put it away for next year, but then I thought it might make for a good Valentine’s Day decoration.  I pulled out some red books from the Living Room bookcase and decided to leave out some of the pink Christmas ornaments. Finally I mixed in some white ceramics that I am starting to collect.


The tree stump ceramic box is new. I picked it up at 90% off at Target. It is actually from GamaGo (which is usually known for its cartoon characters and t-shirts). I had seen it right before Christmas and thought it was cool, but for $19.99 decided to pass. When I saw it in the clearance section it didn’t even have a tag so I brought it over to the price check machine and was happily surprised when it came up at $1.99. There was only one, so I quickly put it in my basket. The ceramic acorns and pine cones are also a post Christmas 70% off sale from Target. The squirrel unfortunately is not. He is from Jonathan Adler, we picked him up this summer on our trip to NYC. He usually lives on our desk.


I like to think that I am getting better at “staging” this area. I guess there is nothing like practice and spending some time looking through a camera lens.


Shattered Stool & Germs

January 11, 2013 — 1 Comment


I ordered this beautiful ceramic wood stump table (Silvia Stool, $99)over the holidays from Joss & Main, one of my favorite flash/private sale sites. Isn’t it kind of ridiculous? Unfortunately when it arrived the other day it look like this:


I knew it was a bad sign when the box was wrapped with an extra layer of bubble wrap on the outside. I was planning on using it back by the piano and colorful chair kind of like this:


Alas it was not meant to be. Joss & Main was really good about giving me a credit back for the full amount and shipping but they don’t have any extra. It is one of those purchases that I looked at a bunch of times over a couple of days before ordering. Mr. S. even weighed in on which one he preferred, so I was pretty excited to get it. I did learn that it was made by Statements by J who I see makes quite a bit of stuff for both J&M and One Kings Lane. So I guess I will be keeping an eye out for something similiar. I was planning on using it to hold my coffee cup for when I sit in this chair and talk to Mr. S. while he works on the computer.  Oh well.

In other news the stomach bug has struck again (this time it was me). Yuck! After Sam was sick on Saturday I scrubbed the house down with Lysol wipes and washed all of the sheets, towels and blankets. I guess it wasn’t enough. I spent yesterday in bed watching bad tv. I’m up today and except for being really tired and not very hungry appear to be mostly better. Now if I could just get someone to do all of the other work I missed I would be all set.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and may the bad germs stay away from you!

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Piano Decorated for Christmas

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. We had a low key weekend here, including an afternoon curled up watching a movie together after putting up the Christmas tree. As much as there is a certain amount of annoyance with putting up our artificial tree, at least the kids are actually old enough to enjoy hanging up the ornaments (even if it isn’t in an evenly distributed manor), and we don’t have to worry too much about hanging the ornaments up so high.  In addition to our big tree I also put up our little silver tree (that I picked up on clearance last year).

Bowl of Ornaments and Small Silver Tree

I have changed up the top of the piano again! I guess in a busy house it is nice to have control of one area (even if it is a small one). It is also one of the few areas that the kids are good about not touching. I decided to put the cute little silver tree here and filled it with miniature ornaments that I have had since my apartment days. I wasn’t sure what to pair it with until I was strolling through the aisles at Target. I saw these cute (non-shattering) Christmas ornaments in lots of delicious colors. I decided that these were worth a try. I wasn’t sure whats I was going to do with them. I was considering making a wreath, especially after I saw this super easy tutorial by Eddie Ross, but then I remembered that I had this beautiful glass bowl (that is normally stuffed behind some stuff in an upper kitchen cabinet).

The 2 boxes of ornaments worked perfectly! Then I pulled out a cute cat figurine and a vintage angel candle snuffer. I think it could still use a few more little things, but for now I am quite enjoying it, especially because we spend so much time back in this area of the house.

Remember here is where I started this summer:

And here is this fall:

And here we are for Christmas:

I think my favorite thing about it is that the ornaments pick up on the colors from the chair (which I still really love).

How are your holiday decorations coming?


Fall Decorations for the Piano

I have to start by saying that I am not someone who typically does a lot of seasonal decorating inside the house. I don’t have the patience. Although lately I’ve been trying to pay more attention to my surroundings. I have found that the piles that creep into my house stress me out (I assume it isn’t just me) but having some nice things to rest my eyes on, even for a moment, does make a difference in my mood.

Fall Decorations

The area that I have been most continuously trying to keep clean and pretty is the top of the piano. It is the first thing you see when you come in the back door. I have also found that by putting a few nice things on top that I am much less likely to start piling things on it.

Piano area during the summer

I did have some birdhouses that the kids painted on top. I was recently feeling like I wanted to change it up with something that is a little more fall inspired. It also helps that I have been doing some shopping at Target.

Green Bottle, Target’s Threshold line on clearance (~$4.50), Marrakesh Bowl by Nate Berkus for Target ($7.99), Scarab (from Egypt), Woodpecker candle holder by Patch NYC for Target (on clearance)

I switched out the kids artwork for some metallic and green colored items. It started with the woodpecker candle holder by Patch NYC for Target. I had admired a lot of the items from this limited line but I had at least partially restrained myself and bought the matching lamp and pillow. Then Target started marking down some of the items a couple of weeks ago. So when I saw this one half off, I pounced. I wasn’t sure where I should put it, but then I saw the old bronze plate and thought some metallic in this area would be a nice change. So I scrounged around the house and found this scarab that a friend had given us. Then I saw the bowl from the new Nate Berkus line at Target.

I also literally picked up several of these “Osage Orange” from the kids daycare. They have a couple of Bois ‘D Arc trees on the property. For some reason I grew up calling them “monkey brains” (Did anyone else call them that?). They are a funny fruit, that is native to the US. They have an interesting history. They aren’t actually edible but they apparently repel bugs (good for storing in your pantry) and they smell nice like a mix of citrus and pine.  The trees are thorny and were used as “fencing” for early settler in the Midwest. And its name translates to “tree of the bow” since the branches make good bows. I am such a sucker for an weird and interesting plant!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. My thoughts are still with my family and friends without power.


One of my goals for last weekend was to pick up some plastic storage for the playroom. So on Sunday after spending too long looking on the internet I headed over to Walmart to see what I could find. On their website they had some storage that looked promising and was a lot less expensive then the Land of Nod colorful plastic containers. I ended up buying a couple of different sizes of plastic containers in clear and blue. Of course once I got them home I started thinking about how else I could use them, which led to me reorganizing the kids’ arts and crafts area in the Dining Room and using some of the new storage boxes here. I thought I would give you a quick run down.

Kids Arts & Crafts Storage Area in the Dining Room

This area is used a LOT. My budding artists are always looking for their supplies and I have been working on making them as accessible as possible, while trying to keep them organized.

Kvissle Letter Tray from Ikea, $20

1. Kvissle Letter Tray (Ikea, $20): I bought this a couple of months ago to help store the kids paper and coloring books. I quite like it. The only downside is that the “drawers” pull all the way out. I solved that by having it overlap with the cabinet framing by an inch, which acts as a stop.

2. Scrapbook Paper: I don’t scrapbook (I don’t have the patience) but I do like the paper. When I see cute packs on sale at Michael’s or JoAnn’s I will pick them up. I have a pack that I picked up in June for Sam’s party. I still have a lot left over. Fortunately the paper fit almost perfectly at the back of the cabinet. I just used permanent double stick tape to put it in place. You can’t see but I have a stripe in the same color at the back of the bottom shelf.

Kids Puzzles packaged in baggies: They take up a lot less space now but are easy to find

3. Sterlite Latch Box (1.55 Gallon $3.75): I like the size of these containers (11.5″x15″x 3.25″). They will fit a piece of paper and are shallow enough not to loose stuff. They also fit well in the Expedit shelves. So far I have used 2 of them. One for puzzles and one for smaller arts and crafts supplies. I heard rumors that Walmart is discontinuing this model (of course now that I found something I like). So I am considering picking up some more. I really like how the handles keep the box snapped in place. They also stack well and are designed to stack with the smaller sizes. I also picked up some that are 1/4 this size (so 4 fit nicely on top).

Cork Liner, Home Depot $9.95 for 18″x48″ piece

4. Cork Bottom/Liner: I had some leftover cork from a project a few years ago. It had started to dry out and crack so I wasn’t sure if it was going to be useable, but after removing the gross 1970s wallpaper that was covering the bottom of this shelf I decided that cork would be perfect here. The bottom was pretty gross and I was going to either have to do a lot of prep to paint it or just clean it and glue down some cork. Fortunately the old cork adhered pretty well and the cracks mostly disappeared once it was glued in place. I need to buy some more for the top shelf, but fortunately it is quite reasonably priced.

Drawing Bucket from the $1 section at Target

5. Miscellaneous Open Storage: I also have a mix of plastic open storage buckets and boxes. Most of these came from the $1 store or target. These red buckets that store the kids everyday coloring and drawing stuff is a favorite. They are good about pulling these out and putting them back when they are done.

We also have other arts and crafts supplies stored up high (where little fingers can’t reach)that are only for when they are supervised (including markers, paints, specialty paper and stickers).

Does anyone else have good storage ideas for the kids arts and crafts stuff?


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Our Desk Alcove (with Spike)

So this is where I work (most of the time). It is funny that it has taken me this long to show it you. I guess I spend too much time oogling other peoples offices and somehow felt that ours was a little lacking. I actually quite like our little alcove. I have a nice view of my overgrown trees and plants and I really like having our desk downstairs. Both Mr. S. & I spend a fair amount of time here and it is nice to be with the rest of the family. Unfortunately it tends to get cluttered up with paperwork and toys. For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to purge a lot of the papers and reorganize all of the “stuff” while also adding in some of our favorite tchotchkes.

Desk Area made out of an Ikea Wood Counter

Our desk area is the only “addition” to our house. We moved a couple of walls at the back of the house when we switched our kitchen and dining room. Our back porch and refrigerator room became one space and we added this 3’x7′ bump out to fit a desk. The space sits directly opposite from the piano and abuts the back french doors. The desk is made of the Numerar Oak Counter top. It is in a size that is no longer available (3’x6′). We cut a little bit off of the width and used those pieces to fill the sides to make a custom fit. There is also a 2×4 structure supporting it with joist hangers (it is a pretty heavy counter). We also have some low office units from Ikea (which appear to no longer be available) sitting below the desk. I made the valance and cut the Ikea roller shades down similar to the adjacent Dining Room. I have also added 1 vintage saarinen office chair and am still on the lookout for another reasonably priced one to replace our red Ikea office chair.

Wall Shelves

As part of my goal of making our space more pulled together (but still personal) I switched out some of our boring storage boxes and mixed in some favorite items including a Ben Franklin bust (our favorite Philadelphian), a vase painted by Sam a couple of years ago, a Missoni box, a Robot print and a small race car. On the upper shelf I added a couple of the green storage boxes that we really need and a small trebuchet that I bought Mr. S.  I also added a couple of his vintage albums.

My current favorite grouping

I really like that there is a mix of practical items with fun whimsical things that bring a smile to my face.

Photos, Ceramic Squirrel & One of my husband’s favorite photos by Leif Skoogfors

I have also been working on adding some personal photos to the desk. I am still on the lookout for the perfect tray to layer in below them, but I like being able to see a couple of our annual holiday card photos. We also picked up this awesome squirrel  from Jonathan Adler on our mini NYC vacation last week.

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