A cozy “reading” room

Ya know what’s a fun post to write??

A post that you had no idea you were writing until right now.  At this very moment.   As you’re typing these words.

Why, you ask?

Because I’m super excited when a space starts to go in a direction I like.  A direction where I finally start having visions of where the room needs to head.   Sometimes it takes a long time and many, many different swaperoos for this to happen.  For me anyways.

But, then it clicks.

And I just.can’t.contain.myself.

I do the Ashlee Simpson jig and whip out the laptop.

Which brings me here.

Typing to you rightnow.

So, anyways, the room in question is the “hang-out room” (which also doubles as our guest room)…


A room that started off like all of our others.




After changing out the carpet and windows, painting the space gray, adding a magnificent egg-chair, and tweaking a bunch of stuff, we ended up here…

Which wasn’t a bad place to be.   It just didn’t feel RIGHT to me.   It felt a bit impersonal and, well, square.  Yes, very square.  LOT’S o’ square going on here.

Also, for such a dark room (it’s one of the darkest in our house thanks to our shady backyard), it felt like a LOT of color.   I was craving something a little more toned down.  I like to read in this room because it can be pretty cozy, so I wanted a more relaxing vibe.

I’ve always had the idea of adding a picture rail next to the window for some much needed dimension and my opportunity came when we pulled our workout room together.   I decided that that green “Make The Time” painting was better suited for that space.  Aaaaand the other painting next to the window ended up in the workout room as well (I moved it after my last post… and it looks GOOOOOD).

These swaps left this room with blank walls (insert mischievous finger tapping).

During our last trip to The Mothership  (which most locals refer to as “Ikea”), I picked up the Ikea PS 2014 picture rail for 10 bucks (…that’s seriously it’s name!   No hard to pronounce Swedish words here… it’s not online or I would’ve linked it).   I mounted the rail (with Joey’s help), rehung my mirror from the front room, swapped out some end tables, and ended up here….

🙂 (SMILES) 🙂

Sorry for the lighting, y’all…  it’s an overcast day and waiting on a sunny day to manifest wasn’t gonna happen with my current excitement level.   Eventually, I’ll retake these with better lighting and add them to our House Tour page, so be on the look out for those if you’re interested.

Aaaaaaanyways, now that these changes are complete and the inspiration’s sparked and flowin’,  I know exactly what I want in terms of rug, pillows, etc.   Not to mention, a fun pouf to act as a foot-rest for mi amore of an egg-chair.  Now, it’s just a matter of tracking these things down so the room can move forward.

But for now, I’m basking in this…


… this, as in: small, inexpensive changes that pack a punch and induce happiness.

NOTE:  We are effectively ignoring the fact that the picture on the left is still boasting the picture it came with.  I’m planning to display art in that frame with similar colors, which is why I left it for now.  Just to give myself an idea.


I adore how the quatrefoil mirror and round rattan end table instantly make the room feel less square.  And the more neutral palette still has enough color, but is way more muted than it was before.   I’d love to get a legit coffee table at some point to replace the ottoman.    Maybe something on casters so that we can easily move it, being that the sofa (Ikea’s Friheten) pulls out to a queen-sized bed for guests.

In any case, the texture and dimension that the picture rail adds to the space has me all googly-eyed at the moment.  And for ten bucks, I have to wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.   Now, I can play with art (sans hammer) until the cows come home, which I’m sure makes Joey (and our walls) very happy as well.  Haha!   😉

So, anyways, this is where we’re at so far.  It may not be finished, but it’s mine.  And I can’t WAIT to continue pulling it together now that I actually have a clue of what I want.  🙂

So, anyways, do you guys ever do this?   Feel stuck on a space and then one change makes the difference?  Spill it, friends.  🙂


Our foyer is such a diva

She takes forever to get ready.

Like, for real.

Remember when the foyer looked like this??

Well, she looks very different now.  And it all started with five dollars.  Are you noting a theme here?? I find a cheapo thrift store find, and before I know it, I no longer recognize the space.   It’s totally a thing.  A sickness. An addiction.   Totally.

See, I found this mirror for $5…

It needed a little love, but I was a huge fan of the shape (and the insane price).  Once I got it home, I simply used wood filler to fill the dents, dings, and seams.  Waited for it to dry, then sanded to a smooth finish (although this was taken pre-sanding)…

Then, I gave it several coats of Valspar’s metallic spray paint in gold (which is becoming a new favorite of mine)…

After a day or so, I hung it above our lawyer’s cabinet in the foyer…

…but it was looking a little… lonely.  So, after a few attempts at photographing it, I just couldn’t do it.  It needed SOMETHING. Something more.   So, I dug though my stash, and came across this lovely print (sorry for the reflection on it)…

After hanging it up to see what I thought, I LOVED IT.  And suddenly I had this vision of an asymmetrical gallery wall with grays and blues and a touch of red to tie in with the rest of the house.

In no time flat, my foyer looked like this…

And I thoroughly gave up on doing anything else productive that day.  Laundry be damned.

My technique to create this gallery wall was pretty involved.  Haha.  Not really.  Have you met me??   I simply punched a bunch of holes in the wall…

Not kidding.   It looks like Swiss cheese behind those pictures.   I just started hammering.   There was a LOT of hammering.  I played for DAYS and swiftly learned that once Lucas is asleep hammering will not wake him. #momoftheyear

Do I recommend you do the same should you attempt a gallery wall? Probably not.  Planning is not overrated.  I’ve planned gallery walls before, as I outlined in detail in this post.  But somehow this worked for me this go-around.  I just patched and painted any visible holes when I was done.

At one point, my wall looked like this…

But it was WAY too busy.   It annoyed me every time I walked past.  Just too many THINGS.  I felt claustrophobic when I looked at it.  So, I scaled it back and ended up here…

Much better.   The arrangement can breathe now.   And I have to say that this wall completes me totally compliments the lawyer’s cabinet and just feels “right”…

I’m seriously tired of apologizing for and/or explaining the presence of the boob light and the fact that I hate it and did NOT choose it.   Seriously, I’ve gotta take action on that.   Aside from that anatomically-correct replica hanging above our heads, I’m enamored of our foyer.  Like, big time.

Here’s a bit of a closer look at what we’ve got on there…

From the top, we have a pic of Lucas when he was almost 2 years old, a watercolor that he did at school when he was three, a pic of Joey and I in Paris in front of a cool metal sculpture, and a photostrip that we took when Lucas was deep into his ninja turtle phase.

The other side holds a pic of the cake topper from our wedding cake (made by my Joey’s parents), a print from New Orleans that reminds me of college, that blue print, and a shot from Lucas’s newborn pics (taken by my talented friend Susie).   All in all, it contains a good smattering of stuff, and totally represents us, but I feel like it’s not too in your face with family pics either.  I like my subtle nuances when it comes to art.  Fun candid shots along with others that hold meaning.

On the opposite side of the foyer, I hung my new best friends…

I found these chrome beauties at TJ Maxx for about $10 a piece.   And they turned out to be my new favorite medium from which to hang my brother, Alex’s, dog tags.

They’re perfect for this spot as they add dimension, but they don’t stick out far enough to impede traffic..


And here’s that side of the foyer now..


It’s coming together!!!   We still have a big blank wall to address across from the front door, but I’m not sure what to do with that yet.  I have an idea, but we’ll see how it plays out.  In any case, walking through the foyer is now a much more pleasant experience.

So, have you ever attempted a gallery wall?  What’s your favorite technique?  Are you a planner or a “just do it” sort of person when it comes to projects like that?

TDC Before and After