A little (breakfast) nooky

… Um, a little breakfast nook action?  Er, wait…. A delightful little post about our breakfast nook!   BAM!

So, when we moved in, the breakfast nook was one of the very few areas of our home that needed little to no work…

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I loved the flooring, paint color, trim, and don’t even get me started on that awesome sunlight seeping through the french doors.  You can “oooo” and “aaaah” now. I won’t stop you.  😉   Of course, we are effectively thumbing our noses at the dated countertops and nose-cabinets in the kitchen portion of the room.  They continue to taunt me with their tacky ways and unflattering schnozzes, thus are destined for eventual renovation.

After moving in, we basically just plopped down some furniture that we already owned, which left it looking like this….

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That huge red artwork is my favorite. My mother-in-law made it and gifted it to us when we moved in.   I love the scale of it and the pop of color that it lends to the space.   It’s pretty much the definition of awesome.  The ceiling fan that we inherited in the nook was also pretty darn nice as far as ceiling fans go.  Although, from the get-go, I’d planned to move it into one of the bedrooms to replace one of the other fugly ceiling fans that we also inherited.   What I really wanted to do in this area was add a pendant light above the table.

My other dilemmas with the space included furniture + furniture arrangement.   Though they aren’t terribly offensive in pics, I was never a fan of that table and chairs in the photo above (in this space anyways).   The table was my previous craft table that I stripped and painted for our last house, and the chairs were craigslist finds that I refinished and recovered.   They both looked great in our last house, but thrown together in this house, I wasn’t jumping for joy.   First off, the space is a high traffic area.   It leads to the laundry room, which leads to the back patio and our pool bath, the french doors lead out to the pool, and the garage door (not shown) which is our main mode of entry to the house is located on the other side of the red painting.   So, a square table just wasn’t maximizing the flow of the space.   The nook was screaming for a round table, preferably a round pedestal table.

I also didn’t like the off-centered arrangement that we had going in the photo above.  It was weird.  After we moved in, it took me a while to get a feel for the flow of the space, so I experimented quite a bit with furniture placement.  And the arrangement above was one phase of said experiment.  One aspect that really threw me was the location of the ceiling fan.   It was slightly off-center and really close to the french doors, which meant that a table could never be oriented beneath it while still allowing outdoor access.  So, functionally, the table was in an okay spot, but visually, it really bothered me to not have the table beneath the fan.

After several months of playing with the space, I finally decided that the table needed to be centered in the room and that there was adequate space to be able to do that.   I found a round pedestal table on Craigslist, which I refinished (post coming soon… The table is now complete and curing in the garage looking all sexy and fresh).   I can’t wait to (1) finally get it into the space and (2) show you guys.

But, in the meantime, we’ve (waitforit) installed a different lighting fixture. And I’ll tell ya… It’s new.  And it’s specTACular.

Oh, yes.

See, my birthday was in April and although I said no gifts, Joey gave me the black metal hexagon lighting fixture from World Market

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I loved the shape and boldness of it, plus the price couldn’t be beat.   I’d mentioned how much I liked it a while back and Joey remembered.  Way to rack up the Husband-Points, Joe. 🙂 So anyways, after about a month of sitting in the box, we finally got it hung as shown by this lovely iPhone shot (it was only temporarily like this while we shopped for swag hooks)…

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We left the chain long, because we wanted to swag the fixture to a better location to allow it to be centered over the table.   We plan to eventually have an electrician come out to do a bunch of electrical work, including moving the junction box to a location above the pendant, but until then, swagging was a good, cheap, easy solution.   I purchased this swag kit from Lowes for about $4, then spray painted one of the hooks oil rubbed bronze to match the fixture….

Since the fixture would be hung from drywall only, these were the components from the kit that I needed…

The kit also came with a wood screw for securing into beams.   I began by screwing the anchor into the screw-thing (technical term escaping me at present, sorry)…

Then, I threaded on the hook…

I measured my location on the ceiling (centered in both the room and on the doorway to the laundry room) and used a 1/2 ” drill bit as suggested by the instructions on the package to drill a hole in my chosen location…

Next, I folded my anchor down and slid it into my hole…

Once it was through the drywall, I heard the spring mechanism engage indicating that the anchor had reopened.   I tightened the hook by basically pulling down to apply some pressure to the anchor into the drywall and screwing it in place. Which left this…

I swagged the chain, leaving the fixture approximately 30″ above the table which is a standard height.  Initially after swagging, the fixture looked like this…

It was okay, but I felt that the chain was too long and baggy, which resulted in a messier aesthetic than I was going for.

Cue the handy husband…

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Joey removed some chain links using a pair of needle-nose pliers and fed the excess wire into the junction box, which left the swag much shorter and less obtrusive…

Neater too, right??  From the front you can barely even tell it’s swagged now…

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And here’s the breakfast nook as it currently stands…

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It’s amazing the difference a lighting fixture can make.  I’m reminded of this every time I change one out, and yet I always put off doing it for whatever reason.

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Photo bomb!

And with the light on…

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I love the design that it casts on the ceiling.   Snazzy.   Plus, it draws the attention away from the plant I’m killing in the corner.   Ha!  Score.

So, next we’re finally moving the new table into the space and I’ll post about that once I get it photographed.

**Check out the following posts for how our breakfast nook looks now after refinishing a pedestal table and recovering the chairs/adding a few antique finds***

Tell me, does anybody else credit lighting fixtures with being life-changing?  Just me?  Shall I name it?  I do that, ya know… If you’ve followed this blog for long enough, you’ve met Drex, Fri, Kivvy, plus more! Perhaps they need a new friend? 😉

TDC Before and After
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Oh, the difference a year makes…

So, this week marks the one-year anniversary of Operation Home! Crazy, right??!  In this time span, I’ve published 127 posts including this one. That’s 127 posts mostly containing craft/DIY projects that I/we’ve attempted, along with several decor posts and a few personal posts mixed in.  This past year has been so rewarding thanks to this little blog.  It’s been an outlet that I’ve been lucky and grateful to have, and it’s allowed me to meet some really cool people whom I would’ve never met otherwise.  Plus, I’ve learned a ton!!  Not only about blogging in general, but about DIY… I’ve taken on projects in the last year that I’d never tried before and might not have had the courage to do if it weren’t for Operation Home.  So, thanks little blog and all of you lovely readers who support it!  🙂

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on updating Our House page in the bar above.  It contains updated photos with links to the most pertinent projects within each space.   So, check that out if you’re bored (or just, ya know, if ya just like me.  Nopressure).  😉

I haven’t really posted a ton about our backyard since the inception of this blog.  A few random posts here and there but not the full-monty, if you will.   So, I thought an updated tour could be fun since the foliage has changed quite a bit.  I mean, what could be more fun than watching plants grow? 😉

On that note, I’d like to take a moment to marvel upon the magic that is the Southern Wax Myrtle.   The most amazing shrub I’ve ever come into contact with.   Seriously, I’m about to justify this statement with pictures.   Just wait.  Wait for it.  Okaaaay.  Onward…

See, when we planted these guys in February of 2013, they looked something like this….

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By September of 2013, they looked like this…

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And now, one measly, piddly year later….

I know.  SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR.   They’ve flippin’ exploded!!!!   It only took a year and a half for them to begin providing privacy above the fence line.    That is, unless you count this from last September...

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I was so excited about “all that privacy” provided by those two little branches.   Heehee!!!   I was such a kid.  Now, I’ll admit…. there is one little runt bush that hasn’t quite caught up with the others, but he’ll get there.  No doubt.

The wax myrtles were a generous housewarming gift from Mac and Pop when we moved into the house.   (Need a housewarming gift idea? Buy a shrub.  You won’t regret it.)  And they seriously MAKE the yard.   In these pictures, they almost look a little messy because it was so incredibly windy when I took these shots, but in person they’re lush and warm and bring such a cozy dynamic to the backyard.   Our goal was to allow them to grow larger and then trim them into a privacy hedge.   The plant beds that Joey created with moss boulders are still going strong and look amazing.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for this sad, sad live oak tree (seen in the back of this shot)…

It’s alive.  Just not looking great.  The brutal winter really took a toll on him.   Maybe one day he’ll come back and be happy again (Ihope).

The other side of the yard looked like this last year after we’d planted a few crepe myrtles along the fence as well as another live oak tree (…who did remarkably well in the frigid winter. Way to take one for the team, tree!)…

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And now that side of the yard looks like this…

So, not a ton different, but definitely more filled in.  Sorry for the blurry pic.   It was far too windy for my lack-luster photography skills.

The rosemary beds looked like this before…

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And now…

And that’s AFTER Joey gave them a significant haircut.   As for the porch…

We got a new umbrella, which makes the space so much more livable in the hot Texas heat.  It’s from World Market in case anybody’s wondering.  We need to get a better umbrella stand, since the umbrella is leaning quite a bit.  It’s much heavier than our last umbrella since the rod is made of wood.  It’s an aspect that I neglected to think about when deciding to re-use our old umbrella stand to save some cash.   Sometimes, ya just gotta spend the money, I guess.   I love the colors and simple pattern the umbrella adds to the yard.  Plus, it helps tie in all of the colors from the conversation area nicely and provides much-needed shade over our newly waterproofed table.  As an added bonus, it blocks out some of the surrounding roof lines from inside the house.  Score!

Speaking of the conversation area, the space looks much the same from when I added the herbs and flowers.  Shockingly, they’re still alive.  Although there’s a chance that a few of them loathe me for adopting them (*coughcough*parsley!).  They aren’t exactly thriving if ya know what I mean.

See???  You can see the one little runt shrub in the background of this shot.  That’s really just a living metaphor for me standing next to my friends and family.  I can totally relate.  Just keep swimming, my little vertically-challenged friend!  You actually have the option to keep growing, so run with it!

I apologize for the lighting in some of these shots.  Our schedules as of late basically forced me to take these pics around dinner time… Not only was it insanely windy, it was pretty harsh lighting.  I totally know better, but sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do.  Here’s a shot from earlier in the summer to demonstrate the actual colors on our porch…

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It blows my mind just how much the shrubs have grown even since then!

Functionality-wise…

… the beverage fridge is the bomb. When we have people over we stock it with water, soda, beer, etc. it keeps guests from having to go in and out so much.  Of course, it doesn’t look like anything special as of now.   It *may* even be on the slightly fugly side.  Especially with the *meh* concrete.  But a few shelves above, maybe a little appliance paint? Or perhaps, a little wood facade… It could be a really cool little area.

In any case, I think we’ve (and by “we” I’m referring to Joey) done a pretty good job with the space so far, especially being that it started off here…

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Joey’s really outdone himself with the landscaping, in my opinion.   And despite me and my olive thumb, the majority of the plantings have taken off beautifully.  I think it’ll be a really charming (and private) backyard once everything matures and blocks out the view of the surrounding neighbors.

Anyways, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Thanks for stopping by my humble little blog!  I totally love ya’ll for it and hope you continue to visit for ANOTHER year of blogging! 🙂

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TDC Before and After