Thursday, September 25, 2008

Help Needed for a House O' Dreams

Winter at Nob Hill-1

Oh -- did you think I was advertising for a maid? Honey, if I knew I could afford one...I am SO THERE! LOL

So... anyway...there we were, house-hunting, looking for a charming house -- a House O' Dreams. We were blessed to find this wonderful Cape Cod farmhouse... in an even more wonderful neighborhood, filled with good people. This house was built in 1987, which charmed me even more -- that was the year we were married. :-) We bought it, despite much updating inside that needed to be done. This home has been a blessing and a shelter to our family during all kinds of storms, weather or economic! We love this home. We are blessed. (Sorry for the wintry picture; it's the most current one I have of a full shot of the house. (sheepish grin)

After surviving a long jobless stretch, DH and I are starting to feather the nest, inside and out. One project at a time. I'm trying very hard to not let perfectionism take over, like the Nester talked about here. It's hard after waiting and dreaming so long... you get that feeling that with limited funds and with dreaming about it so long, it HAS to be just right!

So how's about a little feedback from the blogosphere? I'm constantly jealous depressed coveting amazed how beautifully decorated your homes are out there! There are some seriously talented, creative, design-savvy bloggers out there. Here are a couple of questions I have:

Living Room before

Living Room

#1. Where is the focal point in this room? The sofa? The piano? Where would you put a large piece of art? Sofa? Piano? If not, then what would you put over the piano? (BTW, the brown wingchair in the right corner -- its days are numbered.) (sorry for the weird lighting) (and for the nutty sounding questions)

Okay, next...

trash compactor

#2. What do I do with this? It's a trash compactor that currently doesn't work (belt problems, I think). Do I keep it, fix it and use it -- helping me be a little more 'green'? Do I get rid of it? Then, what would I do with that open space in my cabinets? Which also needs to be updated....yes, I know, the floor, too. (One thing at a time!)

I know I'm just a little blog, and I don't get traffic like the big girls, but I would love to hear from as many of you as I can on this. I appreciate your ideas and your feedback!


Pattie said...

Hi Wendy -

First, I LOVE your home! The dormer windows and wide front porch are just charming. I even like all the snow (reminds me of my Utah days!)

My first thought upon seeing your front room photo is that there are a lot of rectangles, you know? The couch, the love seta, the piano, the coffee table. You might think about replacing the latter with a round or oval table, to break up the rectangles. I can’t tell the size of the room from your photo, but could you move the love seat to where the chair is (keep it at an angle) and replace it with two chairs -- again, to break-up the long rectangles?

You've got a great opportunity here to add some color to the room: wall color, a rug, pillows, art on the walls, etc. It all depends on the style you want to create. You can go classic, country, modern… how fun, to have such a clean palette to start with!

Regarding the trash compactor... hmmm... would you use one? If so, replace it. If not... maybe a narrow set of open shelves for now, to add some doo-dads in your kitchen (cook books, a plant, decorations, whatever.)

These are just some thoughts off the top of my head. I hope they spark a few ideas. This gets to be YOUR style - and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Mrs. B said...

Hi Wendy! Oooh, I just love snowy pictures. Snow makes everything look so peaceful. You have a beautiful house, and how nice to be in a neighborhood that you love!

Now, about your room, I think you have a great start to the room with some good neutral pieces. You could do a large piece of art over the sofa (or a series of 3 medium to large pictures or something like that), and then do a cluser of smaller items over the piano, like a Nester style plate cluster, or a photo grouping. I think one large item over the sofa would work well because it looks like you have a window on the opposite wall, right? That way you'd have large things on the walls facing each other. You could even find some old shutters to paint and hang on the wall over the sofa and then hang pictures in front of them for some added impact. I agree that something round in the room would be nice (but you don't need to replace furniture to do it), so some round plates on the piano wall might be a good idea. You could also have something round displayed on the coffee table, like a dish with a cloche or a round tray with candles, or something like that.

Now for the trash compactor. If you'd use it, then go ahead and replace it (although I have no idea how much they cost). If you decide to remove it, I'd check with a custom cabinet maker to see if he can fill that space in with something to blend with the rest of the cabinetry. I know that custom cabinetry is very expensive, but maybe for a small space like that it wouldn't be too bad. Otherwise, you could fill it in with open shelves for cookbooks or display.

And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. Don't be too hard on yourself. I get envious of all the beautiful blogland homes too. It makes me want to completely remodel my whole house(especially my kitchen) and spend money that I don't have.

The Nester said...

Pull out the trash compactor, have your husband put in 2 or three shelves and put rectangular baskets in there!

Elena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elena said...

Okay, let's try that again. I had so many typo's before, I just couldn't stand it. You have very similar problems as to what I have. I just don't know where the focal point should be. I like Mrs. B's suggestion of a large work over the couch and smaller over the piano. Have you tried moving the piano to the wall opposite the window? I honestly am no help when it comes to this. And you got a comment from the Nester herself. How cool is that!?

The Quintessential Magpie said...


I happened onto your blog from a link on another, and here I am about to give my two cents. It's Saturday, and I woke up rearing to go; so "hear" goes. But first...

Love the snow scene of your pretty home. Snow is something we rarely, if ever, see in Florida. I've seen it exactly twice here over the thirty-something years I've been here. ;-)

Nester solved the compactor problem. So I'll address this to the other question. I liked Mrs. B's suggestions about bringing in color in fabric and art. Also the idea of bringing in some round shapes to offset all of the rectangular ones as Pattie suggested, too. And I think that Elena, Pattie, and Mrs. B all three said to bring in one large art piece. I could go for that. It needs to be scaled to the size of the room and the wall on which it's going. But I also like a collection of art over a sofa. Not family photos, though. Those are best in studies and bedrooms IMO.

I think one thing you might want to do is get one of those graph charts (they have them online, and those are really fun to work), measure the pieces you have, and move the corresponding online pieces around on your cybergraph. Be sure to allow room for people to walk around the furniture. This chart/graph saves you from hefting around pianos and such.

But even before you do that, you need to ask yourself HOW you are going to use this room.

The piano indicates to me that someone enjoys playing. Do you have your friends or church group over for fellowship? If so, then you need to think of what would be the most comfortable arrangement for entertaining them. What makes sense.

That aside, right now, I think the coffee table might be too far from both sofas to be really practical. I forget the standard, but there is not supposed to be too much space between the sofa and the coffee table.

I'm with Pattie (and the advice on Nester's blog). I would consider moving the loveseat out and getting a couple of comfortable chairs to replace it. Maybe wing chairs or comfortable club chairs. Could you use the loveseat in a bedroom or the family room? Or even in a breakfast nook? I love a cozy kitchen with a sofa for hanging out if you've got the space.

If you don't want to do that or if it's impractical for you to buy something at this point, then consider doing what Mrs. B said by moving the loveseat at an angle to the sofa.

That solution still leaves you with a coffee table dilemna in terms of where to place the one you have. But it squares up the room as far as conversation area is concerned. It also closes it off a bit, but it does define the space.

The window is definitely a focal point, and I would rather see two chairs with a wonderful table in the center (might want to use a round skirted one here or even a really neat antique) to break up the expanse of window.

What color are your walls? What are your favorite colors? Do you prefer pastels or jewel tones? Those are key questions, too. What style do you like? Country? Formal? That's another. What paterns do you prefer? Do you like florals? Plaids? Stripes? Yet, another.

Look through shelter (decorator) magazines and look for rooms that are shaped like yours and take cues from them. That's always a help. Sometimes you can find the magazines online, and the library is a good source, too. Look through catalogs, like Pottery Barn and Ballard Design for ideas as well.

The most important thing is, don't be in a hurry to do this. Take your time to find what you want.

If you are decorating on a budget or if you just like a good deal, shop thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army or whatever is in your area (the Humane Society and Women's Shelter in this area have thrift shops that are wonderful); discount stores like Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, K-Mart, and Wal-Mart; and craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and Jo-Ann's (which is also a fabric store).

Look over on Rhoda's blog (Southern Hospitality) and see if she has anything that appeals to you in her redesigns. Look at the Nester's and other bloggers, too. If you find things in stores and want your readers to take a look, post them on your blog, and you'll get opinions. ;-) There is always the other alternative of paying one of these ladies to do an online consult. That would take a lot of the stress out of it for you.

All the best in decorating your home,

Sheila... who needs to be cleaning her own nest that really, really needs it instead of causing eyestrain with really, really long posts!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, and don't forget to shop my personal favorite... antique shops/malls.