Do your Kitchen Chairs have to be ALL the Same?

I know I have been keeping my kitchen area kind of quiet over the last couple of months since I started this little blog. I really have not shared too many staged pictures of the space, actually none for that matter. For one – it is always a working zone – with computers, cooking and kids stuff getting ready for the next event.So I have been apprehensive to make it perfect for a photo shoot and then the kids come home and everything explodes.

Kitchen table upclose web
Anyway, one of the favorite items in my kitchen right now are my kitchen chairs – they are a mix and match set – who ever said that all your chairs around a table need to match? They did not in the house I grew up in and they don’t all match in my dinning room either.
We bought our kitchen table from Value City furniture about a year or so after we moved into this house, so it is about 8 years old. I loved the mix of woods and distressed cream legs of the table – and it is starting to show it’s age – as soon as it is warm enough this Spring the table is going to get a freshly stained top – can’t wait to work on that with my sister.
Anyway, the chairs that came with the table did not last the lovely day-to-day wear and tear of our house. So when I closed up our office space last year – I brought these chairs with me – I could not part with them.

the pierone chair web
So I have two parson chairs that I covered in this fun, bright lime pattern from Pier One. It was actually the very first purchase I made for our office that I redid a couple of years ago and was the starting point for the design theme. I love the pattern and the chairs are super comfy and they just make my kitchen bright and airy.

yellow vintage kitchen chair web
Then we have two vintage yellow canned back chairs that I found in one of my favorite stomping grounds. They were our conference room chairs at the office. I bought 6 chairs for 70 dollars at the time. They had this horrible material on the seat, but looking at the chairs – their make-up was sturdy and I knew with some great material they would clean up nice!

fabric for the chairs web
At first I was going to paint this chair a watermelon pink – but when I got them home the yellow really grew on me and I found this wonderful fabric that had all the colors of our space – greens, yellows and pinks that just went perfectly with the chair.
Reupholstry was real easy for this project as all you had to do was unscrew the seat – staple the material around the seat area and then screw the seat back in. You just need a couple yards of material to really add a new look and feel to your space.

the two chairs together web
So the moral to this story is that your chairs don’t have to match your tables, they don’t have to be all the same – having an eclectic mix adds depth and layers of texture and a fun story to your space.

another view of the pendants web

Remember a key to the success of any room from a design perspective is a piece or pieces that tell a story – my chairs sure do tell some great stories in my book!

 

You’ve Got Mail……….

My Hubby and I love to watch movies – he has an insane recall for movie lines and actors’ names.  I one day hope all this great knowledge will somehow bring us some type of income on Jeopardy or something….anyway…we are both a fan of Nora Ephron movies….do you remember the cute movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan called “You’ve Got Mail”?

you got mail movie image                                                                                                                               Source

A couple of weeks ago when I was sick with my cold, it came on HBO and I so enjoyed seeing the movie again!  I also was struck by how much this movie introduced us to Vintage and French country décor.

First of all – I loved Meg Ryan’s hair in that movie – and I think I had it styled that way a couple of times…. Secondly, did you ever watch a movie and just say “boy, I wish I could live in that space”? That has happened to me a couple of times. The first time was when I saw “About last Night” with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore – it was an early 90’s movie and when I went to find images of the apartment to share with you I couldn’t find any online!  I guess that goes to show how old it is!

view of the you got mail apartment meg ryan                                                                                                                             Source

But I digress from “You’ve Got Mail”. I loved both Tom’s and Meg’s apartments in the movie for different reasons. Meg’s apartment was a prewar apartment I would say; a large studio with all this wonderful character and windows and nooks and crannies– who would not want such a quintessential NYC apartment?  I know I sure would!

youve-got-mail-flowers

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The set designer filled it very eclectically with the Vintage rustic table in the kitchen – with the big white breadbox underneath – which of course I would love to have…. Then the rustic table in the eating area – with the cute flower love seat (which by the way was the material I used at one point in time in our master bedroom.)

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To the wonderful wall to wall bookcases, the use of old signs, to the free floating desk where she would sit to hear those classic words when email first came on the horizon (you’ve got mail).

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Do you remember logging on to see if anyone would ever email you back? – Or was anyone out there?  Have times changed, our kids will never know that feeling.  They will always have mail.

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Finally, the piece that I think really influenced my design and my love for French décor was her headboard in her room. I have always loved fabric headboards and hers had a fabric insert with wonderful details of wood. I loved how it fit the space and how the room seemed all eclectic and yet at the same time, flowed so well from one part of the space to another.

So after I watched the movie and looked around our bedroom – which probably is the most concentrated area in our house of French country, I see the influence in our headboard, the eclectic mix and match of furniture, the fresh light that Meg Ryan’s apartment had in the movie.

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New master curtains setting area web

Oh to be a set designer – wouldn’t that be fun! What movies have influenced your design and had you ready to just want to crawl into the TV and curl up and read a book?

How to Pick the Right Pendant for your Kitchen

Last week I was so excited to share with you our new Pendants in our kitchen, I forgot to walk you through all the choices out there and how I narrowed down my decision. It can be overwhelming.

2014lights from above

I think when you are picking out light fixtures in your home you need to consider where they are going, how you use the space and what  mood you are trying to create.

Our kitchen is going to go through some major changes this year…from a look and feel perspective (I hope that is, if I get up the courage to do what I want to do.) Our kitchen is the main hub of our house, it is where I usually work during the day now, even though I have a home office, I love the light in this space. Emma does her homework here, we eat dinner here when we are home and it is just a gathering place when people come to visit.

view of the eating area kitchen web

So the mood in our kitchen is casual, with a little bit of funk in that our furniture in our kitchen is mix and match – modern with some vintage. From vintage yellow chairs paired with modern print parson chairs makes up our eating area. So I wanted something soft that would blend in when it came to lighting. Also, when you first enter our home you see right into our kitchen area, so I wanted something that looked good too.

Example of pendant light

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From the beginning I was drawn to a drum shade, at first I was thinking wicker, since I love it so and have a wicker lampshade in our family room area which I just love.

wicker pendant lampshade

 

 

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But since the color gray is starting play more within the space, I did not want to add too much brown to the area. Spoiler alert: the kitchen color is going to stay red, I think Peter will move out if I change it, and since I would like him to stay around, Brick Red by Laura Ashley is just going to get some freshening up later this year. So I thought linen or glass would be a good alternative for pendants.

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I love the picture of this kitchen, but of course this lighting was $400 dollars a piece, leave it to me to always pick out expensive light fixtures, like the chandelier that I would love to add in our dinning room is only a mere $800 dollars, that is not happening anytime soon.

Since I already have a lot of silver in the space, I did not want the cord to be silver, I wanted to add another layer into the mix and sometimes silver feels cold in the area and I wanted to create warmth. Don’t feel that all your metals have to match within a space – mixing it up adds some dynamic to the room.

You also have to consider do you want more of a soft light or a brighter light? Since I was leaning more on a cascading look and soft light, a drum shades were a calling…To keep myself organized on what I liked for Pendants I created a pinterest board. That way they were all in one spot. Also, I would Google the type of light out on pinterest to see if someone else posted a picture with that said pendant in their space and see how it looked.

So finally I went with this shade and conversation kit from Home Depot. It was very reasonably priced at about $30 plus per pendant. The bronze metal really pops on the ceiling and complements the chalkboard door as well as anchors the eating area. I really was impressed with the quality of the shade as well as the lighting is actually better than when we had the canned lights. I did order a couple of more lights just in case I wanted some choices, but we opened these first and never looked back.

pendant light conversation pendant homedepot

 

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So if you are in the market for pendant lighting I would check out Ballard Designs, HomeDepot, Potterybarn and Home Decorators and Lamplus. All great resources to find the right light for you. How do you go about picking lights for a space? Do you research, more gut feel or just go with what looks pretty?

Canned Lighting to Pendant Lighting in an Instant

light table pendant web

Our kitchen is now “en Vogue” – I finally have pendant lighting in our kitchen even though I did not have to hire an electrician! Do you want to learn how?

When the Hubby and I built both of our houses we avoided pendant lighting like the plague over our kitchen table and island. In both houses we had an open kitchen to the living room design and liked the clean look of recessed lighting – please – if memory serves me (and it is going) I don’t think there were a ton of pendant lighting options 15 years ago and even 9 years ago when we built House 2.0.

Today everywhere you look there is pendant lighting – and awesome options at that. So I guess I was feeling a little left out that I could not have pendant lighting in our house without hiring an electrician and then having to patch the ceiling etc.… It was going to be a “to do” – and the Hubby is not a big fan of that.

So about a year ago I was browsing through one of my go to magazines, Ballard Designs, and saw these conversion kits where you insert a device into canned lights and you can convert the light into a pendant fixture – I was like “how cool is this?” I filed it into my memory bank – and I told you my memory was going, and forgot about it.

Then I started seeing these conversion kits coming out of the woodwork, Home Decorators was now carrying them  – Lowe’s and Home Depot had them – they were now “en Vogue”, so I decided I would give it a try. I was reading how easy it was for Chronicles of Home to install the kit in her new kitchen and thought the Hubby and I could do this.

I love looking at lights – I could do it for hours – and of course I always pick out the most expensive light fixture – isn’t that always the way? In looking at our kitchen, I thought the best place to try out pendant lighting was over our kitchen table. Our ceilings are only 8-foot high so I was worried they would become bothersome over the island and we do use our island a lot.

In looking at the various sites and magazines that carry the conversion kits, I found that Home Depot had the best and widest selection when it came to the kits. I really fell in love with the looks of this pendant from Ballard, I just loved the shade and found one very similar at Home Depot for about half the price. The reviews were excellent saying the only challenge was getting them level…..more on that later.

They arrived before the weekend, and I have to say it put a huge smile on my face, since I just got back from the Dr’s with a sinus infection and the lights just made me feel better.

So on Friday night, the medicine really worked fast and I was feeling up to talking the Hubby into giving this a try.

Hubby figuring out the light feature web

I think it took him about 5 minutes to install the first one. It was as easy as we thought.

Steve looking at the converter web

steve danciing w the light on the table web

The directions were very straightforward….

lights up steve walking away

The cord hanging down was a little kinked from being in the box so we decided only to put one in and see if the height changed as the cord straightened through the night.

The next day the cord did indeed look straighter so we thought we would give the other light a try. It was easy to put in but I would have to say there were a few tense minutes and a few flavored words back and forth between the Hubby and I trying to get the two the same height.

straight on view of light web

Though, like Steve, I do like to “wing it” and not a fan of the tape measure – I just suggested that this might be an easier method to make sure both shades were the same height since they were off by a ½ an inch of so. But about 20 minutes later they magically aligned and looked awesome. Thank goodness!

view of the eating area kitchen web

I am really glad I went with the pendant shades; they offer a very nice light at night over the table. The shade is linen and matches well with the other textured elements in the room like the curtains and the rugs.

showing the bending of the cord pendant web They totally change the dynamic of the eating area of the kitchen making it a touch more formal and they don’t distract or block the view of the living room or heaven forbid the TV!

2014lights from above

So if you are looking for a quick and easy alternative for lighting in your house and you have recessed lighting – do try these conversion kits! They are truly a quick and easy game changer in your space.

The Color Gray is on the Move….

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I really don’t have much gray in my house. Love the color – but really have not used it in a decorating sense. Well that has sure changed.

rugs in the kichen web

So it all started around Christmas when my sister gave the Hubby and I each a runner for our Kitchen. With our lovely dog, Linus, runners last us about 1 to 2 years. These were from Ballard Designs and I loved the chevron print. They were $50 dollars apiece and I think she was able to get a 20% coupon as well… Any who I picked gray for the kitchen to tie in with the mudroom area and our chalkboard door (which is a very dark black) that I love. Even though in the mudroom I have the same runner in brown….

door open to the basement web

Since the chalkboard door is such a deep black – gray really is becoming a nice accent color in the kitchen to balance the richness of the door and the brick red on the walls.

old curtains kitchen web

Last year I was tired of the curtains in our kitchen, they were nice lined curtains for Pier1 with more jeweled color tones, they were great at blocking out the light from our patio door but made the room rather dark. So one day I bought these linen ones from Pier1 as well. They had that popular front print all over them but they were really thin and did not do a great job at blocking out the light, and our house is on the corner so as night people can look right into our kitchen. Watch out world!

sitting area logo ht

So since I loved how my upstairs bedroom curtains turned out, I thought I would give it a try and make lined curtains for the kitchen as well.

material for windows kitchen

I have been courting this material on Onlinefabric.com for a while. I just loved the chain link pattern with the silver gray thread, so elegant but classic at the same time. I thought they would look awesome in the kitchen but the fabric was over $30 dollars a yard which would make each panel $70 a piece. Now I love a spurge but I was trying to be reasonable since my tastes change on a dime.  But I loved the fabric and decided to take the plunge and buy the fabric.

The material is just awesome!  I ordered 180 inches, which is about 5 yards. I was making the curtains about 84 inches from the curtain rod to the ground.Like last time I bought two creamed colored twin sheets, this time from Target because Wal-Mart was out – they were a little more expensive: about $10 dollars a piece.

ironing the sheet kitcen windows web

So what you do is take the sheets, give them a good iron to get the wrinkles out. Then line it up on the material that you cut to size.

sheet on mateiral kitchen web

I allotted 2 inches on the top and the bottom to turn over for my seams. Since the material is linen I did iron my seams before I sewed them so I would have a good edge.

folding material kitchen curtains web

Then you sew all the edges – ironing and measuring really takes the time – maybe about an hour for both panels. Sewing is the easy part you as you just sew straight lines. Since this patio door is the entrance and exit to our outdoor space I wanted to make sure the curtains easily moved on the bar – so I used curtain rings to hold up the curtains. They easily slide from one side to the other. I bought 2 packets from Wal-Mart in silver to use with the curtains and probably need to buy one more packet as well to give it more support.

antoher view of teh curtains web

curtains for a right angel web

So making lined curtains is really easy…nothing to be afraid of if you are a beginner sewer like myself.

full view of the windows web

The silver gray fits in really nicely into the space and works well with the runners we have in the kitchen.

view of table and curtains web

I know I have not really spoken much about our kitchen…. it is on the TO DO list this year for some major changes… I can’t wait to share some of my ideas with you!  I, by some miracle, was able to get the hubby on board, now I need to work on Peter, who does not like change either.  Peter told me as long as the kitchen “stays red” he is OK.  We shall see………