Archives For -Living Room

Living Room with Built In Bookcases (by us) and Original 1888 Mantel.

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. The weather was splendid here this weekend! Sunny and not too hot or cold. This is the best week of weather we have had in MONTHS and it is long overdue. We have been sleeping with the windows open and the fresh air feels so nice in the morning when I wake up.

We spent most of Saturday outside between soccer and playdates and I spent most of Sunday cleaning and doing some rearranging in the Living Room, which brings me to today’s title. I pride myself on meeting deadlines and going above and beyond what is required. I don’t usually miss deadlines (although I do tend to run 10 minutes late a lot of the time now that I have kids). This week I had to let a deadline go which made me sad. Jen (and her husband) from Rambling Renovators are working on a new book called Blogger Style and they were taking submissions. It was a great opportunity to showcase our house and I blew it! I mentioned it a while back, hoping that I would be motivated enough to get the house picture ready. But alas life took over, as it tends to do, and the house wasn’t up to pare. I considered throwing some pictures together anyway but I was too embarrassed to submit them. Ultimately my family matters way more than this blog or our house, but it really hard to admit defeat. I am still trying to work on making my way through the house and make it picture worthy, but I have a feeling I will be at this for a while even though I would like to add a house tour to the website sometime soon.

Our Living Room.

So here is my Living Room as it stands today. I rearranged the books and objects by color (I know already totally overdone).  This proved somewhat challenging because we had arranged the book by height previously, so I had to arrange it by color several times across the shelves. I decided in general to follow suite with all of our miniature building, furniture and miscellaneous tchotchkes and arrange them in them the same way to correspond to the books. I think it does add some needed order to the bookcases and helps make them feel at least a little bit more up to date.

Bookshelves arranged by color.

I also wanted to keep our favorite art and architecture books together and within easy access so they are separated with a couple of my favorite items.

Our favorite art books on the lower shelf and our NYC souvenirs on the upper shelf.

We also have the kids toys in the lower right corner of the shelves including their mini play kitchen, which gets daily use. The one big advantage of using lots of color is that the kids stuff, generally fits right in. Of course I don’t think Maisie’s plastic pink castle will ever look quite right but the wooden kitchen has been happily living here for years. The pirates ships are also currently sailing on the hearth.

Kids area on the built in shelves.

The mantle has also stayed relatively the same. It houses our collection of nice snow globes and a few of our favorite characters.

The mantle complete with snowglobes and Helper and Little Helper

And last is our old sofa filled with pillows. Certainly not the most glamorous thing, but very comfy to melt into at the end of the day. And and you can tell, it is hard for me to say no to a nice patterned pillow.

Our old sofa with lots of colorful patterned pillows (from Thomas Paul, Ikea & Pottery Barn).


Woodpecker Lamp, $49.99 & Gold Woodgrain Pillow, $24.99 paired with my vintage wingback chair in a Paul Smith Maraham Fabric

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Target’s latest design collaborations. They became available on Sunday, so I was all set to run over to Target, since I had my list ready to go! First, though while I was still in my pjs, I looked online. And fortunately almost everything was still in stock (at least a 9 am). So I decided to place my order, figuring if I didn’t like something in person I could always return it. I also ordered a few items for Christmas presents (yeah!). Well almost everything arrived yesterday! In the meantime, I was in Target earlier this week doing some grocery shopping and I took a peak. They still had some items, but it was definitely already picked over and the lamps were missing their shades.  : ( Fortunately it looks like a lot of the items including the pillow and lamps are still available online.

The quality on the lamps seems pretty good. The only weird thing is that it comes with a fluorescent bulb. I HATE fluorescent bulbs. I guess it does because it is only rated for a 13 watt bulb! Eeeek, that is a really low wattage. I will be picking up an LED bulb when I get a chance.

Woodpecker Lamp with Woodgrain Pillow

The lamp itself is not particularly tall, so if you are putting it on a side table you will probably need to place it on some books or something, so that you are not looking at the bulb. For now I have it on a side table in the Living Room. This is too precarious to leave with 2 rambunctious kids, so I’m not sure where it will decide to live permanently. Maybe in my imaginary cottage in the woods?

I am liking the fall feeling of these items. I also think that the pillow could work really well with some Christmas and winter items.

There are a few other things that I picked up that I will show you sometime soon.

Did anyone else pick up anything from Patch NYC or the Curiosity Shoppe?

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. We have been having some amazing weather here and I am looking forward to spending some time outside.

Leave a comment

First Peak at the old Heart Pine Floor

We are still adjusting to our new schedule here. Last night Sam had his first night of homework, which I have to say so far is as difficult for us as it is for him. After a long day, we usually want to hang out and have some fun. Instead last night after dinner Mr. S. spent 45 minutes with Sam working with him on his homework instead. By the time they were done, it was time to get ready for bed. Bummer! While they were working on that I had to keep Maisie away, because of course she wanted to “help” too. Phew! To all those parents who told me that it gets harder, you aren’t kidding. At least the kids were exhausted by bedtime and were asleep in 2 minutes flat.

Old Red Carpet (I have no idea where that giant stain came from, it was covered up and not nearly as visible in person)

So after that digression, I have some photos from our last minute weekend project. We removed the red carpet from our Living Room! This was installed by the previous owner (i.e. at least 12 years old). We have been covering up the majority of it for the last 11 years with a large Ikea wool rug, but the edges were exposed.

Living Room Before Carpet Removal (you can see the carpet around the edge of the room)

The carpet was actually in the front hall when we moved in as well. One of our very first projects when we moved in was taking that out.

Mr. S. back in 200 removing the padding from the Front Hall. Don’t you love the light fixtures and wallpaper!

Lately one of our beloved (but crazy) cats has decided that the corner of the carpet make a wonderful litterbox (sorry for that visual). Well, it reached the point of no return and we decided to keep Spot and get rid of the carpet.

Spot sitting in the Candy Land box (aka the Culprit)

We knew that there was at least one tin patch in the bay window area (which we could see below) but otherwise were not sure what we would find. The floor in our house is also the structure, so it adds an extra element of adventure (and gaps where you can see below). We started by moving the small stuff out and clearing half of the room. We started on the fireplace side and broke it into 3 sections. We have found that it is definitely easiest to cut the carpet into manageable sections and roll it up and tape it for disposal. First we rolled up the carpet. Then we removed the padding carefully, making sure to removal all of the staples as we went. Removing staples is a pain and tedious.

First Section of Wood Floor

Fortunately the carpet came out pretty easily and after a few hours of removing staples and nail strips it was done. We vacuumed as we went with our HEPA vacuum and gave the floor a quick wipe down and tried to remove any residue from the padding. We have 2 tin patches (fortunately currently covered by the sofa).

Sunlight damage on the back of our sofa that sits in our bay window. Notice the two rectangles that line up with our 2 front windows (which actually have the shades drawn for the majority of the time)

On a side note this is what direct sunlight does to fabric. The back of our old sofa is now SUPER bleached thanks to the sun. We even have translucent shades that are drawn most of the time. I am thinking that when we finally get a new sofa we will have to get a nice throw to keep at the top to prevent this.

Wood Floor near entry (there is some stubborn residue from the old padding here)

Now that the old floor is visible, it definitely needs some patching (fortunately we have a supply in the garage), which is tedious and slow. It will also need a new finish (which I haven’t researched yet). So I happy that the room is smelling fresh and not so happy with how it is looking at the moment.

The Living Room Back in Use with Spot making herself at home (the floor was being used as a racetrack)

Fortunately the kids don’t seem to care that the floor is suddenly harder (I need to order a rug pad) and immediately went back to playing on the floor. Here it is a couple of hours later with Spot showing her approval (please excuse her devil eyes).

Has anyone else been busy with last minute projects?

Leave a comment

Blue Loop De Loop Side Table from Urban Outfitters, $49.99 + extra shipping charge

I have been looking for a small sidetable for our porch (for next to our swing) for a while.  I have been back and forth on what to buy since the spring for the porch. I was leaning towards a ceramic garden stool, but could never seem to find one that was the right color at the right price. I had given up for now, figuring I would find something in the spring. I have also been looking for a new small table next to our wingback chair in the Living Room. The current one is getting a little unsteady thanks to 2 small children playing with it. So I was looking through the clearance section at Urban Outfitters over the holidays and saw a nice blue table. I was just reading my new Alexander Girard book, so this table really spoke to me! I was thinking it would be good for our Living Room so I decided to order it.

New Table in the Living Room

When I took it out of the package I was surprised at how heavy it was. It is definitely painted steel not aluminum (the description just said “metal”). I was not quite sure if it was suitable for the Living Room (which at the time was full of Christmas stuff). I did immediately think that this would be great for the porch or the backyard. It was also nice and sturdy and seemed like it could take having my kids sit on it (an important feature in our house).

New Table on the Front Porch w/ our Terracotta Colored Swing

So I brought it outside to take a look! And I really liked it. Then I brought it back inside to consider for the Living Room. It has now been living inside for about 2 weeks, and it has grown on me. So I ordered a second one and put it outside! Isn’t it funny how when you give up looking for something, the perfect thing suddenly appears. I also figured if I change my mind about the Living Room I can always use an extra table in the backyard.

What do you think?

P.S. Thanks Mom for the belated Birthday gift!


So here is it for those who were waiting patiently….

I would like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season!


If you are one of my family member and you haven’t received our card yet, they are in the mail (really!).

For this year’s card we decided to move everyone around the scene. And since Mr. S. & I still prefer the blocks to our kids it only seemed fitting that we should be playing with them.

The colorful blocks are the Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks by House Industries. These were one of the first things we bought for Sam (even before he was born). They are a little pointy on the corners so they only come out on special occasions. They have carved letters, hand silk screens puzzle and letters. Plus one side has the beautiful carved suns on it (one of the things Alexander Girard is most famous for).

Girard Blocks

Girard Suns

*To see all of our holiday cards click here. Does anyone have a favorite?

**I will be posting a few things next week in between all of the family time.


Holiday Card Part 4: 2010

December 21, 2011 — 1 Comment

Holiday Card 2010

Our 2010 card was inspired by Maisie. She was starting to get into everything including all of the Christmas lights and ornaments. Sam was very excited to be wrapped up in lights and make a face. Maisie was tricky to shoot since she didn’t want to stand still. She is dressed in one of my childhood dresses.

Interesting tidbit is that the “painting” over the fireplace is of Fonthill, where we were married. Our TV is actually mounted over the fireplace. We change out the “painting” depending on the year. In 2009 the painting was of George Washington visiting Bartram’s Garden (the 18th Century Home of John Bartram a famous naturalist and botanist) which is nearby in Philadelphia.

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

1 Comment

2009 Holiday Card

In our 2009 card we returned to our Living Room fireplace. The card was inspired by Sam’s love of music. Interesting tidbit is that Sam’s guitar is actually fake. At the time he had a little yellow plastic one, that was pretty ugly. That year he actually got a 1/2 size real electric guitar, which he still enjoys playing, although the only thing he has mastered is his rock face.

Christmas Morning 2009: Sam's New Guitar

Here is a picture of the kids rocking out last winter (a band is the works)…

Our Little Musicians in January 2011

As you can see, this is much closer to how the house normally looks with a 2 & 4 year old.

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

Leave a comment

One of the things that our family is known for is our holiday photo. We (I mean mostly Mr. S.) have been creating a holiday scene every year since Sam’s first Christmas in 2007.  We have tried a few different things in the last few years but have now set some ground rules.

1. We always take the photo in our Living Room in front of the fireplace. (I suppose this means that we can never move.)
2. Create a different scene each year.
3. All members of the family must be included (including Spot and Spike).
4. Try to have fun!
5. Shoot the photo the weekend after Thanksgiving so that we have enough time to get it finished.

It takes quite a bit of planning to come up with a theme and to get everything set up. We have also reshot some of our photos when things haven’t worked out. It also requires LOTS of patience to get the kids to stand still long enough to get a shot (this year involved bribing them with waffles and snacks). There is also of course some Photoshop magic thrown in to complete the scene. I am not going to unveil this year’s card quite yet, since we just got them back from the printer’s yesterday afternoon, and no one except us has seen it. I thought I would put each year up individually. Enjoy!

Anyone else have any fun holiday photo traditions?

*To see all of our holiday cards click here.

Leave a comment

Mood Board: Early Fall

October 11, 2011 — 2 Comments

Early Fall Mood Board

I decided to take a mental break and put together a mood board for early fall.  I’ve been focused  a lot on work (both at work and at home) lately and have been feeling like I need to let my own style peek out a little more.

Kite Hill by Paul Octavious

First Snow by Paul Octavious

I am in LOVE with these 2 photos (Kite Hill & First Snow)  by photographer Paul Octavious available on 20×200 (each $50 for 11″x14″). I like the comparision of the 2 seasons but also the bits of color and whimsy of the children paired with the strong horizon. I used these as my jumping off point (which is kind of funny since it is currently fall not summer or winter). 

English Arm Chair by Hickory Chair

I next chose a comfy chair by Hicory Chair to contrast some of the brighter colors of the space. I love the beautiful “english arm” and deep leather, it is exactly what I want to sink into now that the weather has started to get colder.  I paired this with a beautiful pillow from Etsy that brings out the colors from the photographs but in a more sophisticated but still playful way. I also used a beautifully textured throw from Terrain but no longer available.

I decided to make the big pop of color on the floor. This is an amazing rug by Angela Adams. I have admired her use of pattern for some time but really like the texture and pattern of this hand tufted yellow rug. To continue with the texture and to contrast with the smooth leather of the chair I chose a paper-maiche side table by Stray Dog design for West Elm ($149). It is crafted out 100% recycled materials.

For the walls I chose a moody blueish gray painted on a textured wallpaper. I really like the concept of textured wallpaper, although only recently have more modern patterns been available. This one is from Graham and Brown. Finally I chose a curtain in a similar but slightly darker color and a nice heavy weight (West Elm, $29-69).

What do you think? Would you like to sit here and read a book?


The Chimney Update: Day 4

April 14, 2011 — 1 Comment

Checking for level


Installing the Bluestone Cap

Gas logs in Progress in the Living Room

My chimney guys are back and they have a nice dry day to finish things up! So far this morning they have install the bluestone cap on top of the chimney (this sits below the pretty new fancy caps), started installing the logs for the fireplace, and started scraping the painted stucco on the chimney. I picked a paint color for the chimney (portobello). The chimney should end up a little darker and a warm grey as opposed to the yellowish/tan color it is now.

Things left to do:

-Install the Fancy Chimney Caps

-Finish scraping the chimney to get it ready for paint

-Prime and Paint the Chimney (tomorrow)

-Finish installing the gas logs in the Living Room

-Remove Crane (next week)

-Replace Fence (next week)

Things left for me to do:

-Go back on the lift this afternoon to get measurements for the King’s Post (to see if I can pick up a piece of wood this afternoon)

-Tonight my neighbor/carpenter is suppose to come by to look at the King’s Post

-Pick out a new fireplace screen for the fireplace. I found a pretty good price on a custom one from Northline Express since none of the standard size screens come close to fitting our old fireplace. We are thinking of having it fit just inside the opening.


The guys are done with the chimney and the gas logs (except for the paint)!

Installing the Chimney Pots!

1 Comment