Categories
lifestyle

The Living Room Saga – Part 2

If you’ve been visiting my blog for long enough you know I’ve been working to make our house more cute and cozy. I did a whole analysis of what was going wrong on this post and after putting on some though, I decided to take action.

In November I finally decided to buy a new table and chairs for our dining corner. The table was easy! Most tables from regular furniture stores are way too large for our space. We narrowed the search in just two stores, Structube and Ikea, the only ones that had smaller sizes. After a bit of consideration between a rectangular or round table, we opted by the Docksta from Ikea and we love it, it fits well in the space and it’s very neutral. I was not sure about the white at first but the table just disappears in the space. That’s exactly what I wanted.

Docksta Table from Ikea

But the chairs took a bit more effort… I wanted something delicate and modern at the same time. After getting to the conclusion that upholstery was the way to go, I visited many stores and check dozens of models. It had to be compact, light and allow me to create a fabric cover (I’m planning to sew them in the future). We finally opted by the model Polly from Structube in light grey.

Polly chair from Structube

Structube has amazing products but since the pandemic they’ve been facing some very slow deliveries. I was aware things could take longer but it was a lot… We ordered in November and received in March.

All the wait was worthy!

Notice below how our “dining corner” is so compact. The table and chairs fit perfectly and the set doesn’t look bulky. I can’t believe we finally have four chairs and it doesn’t feel it’s out of proportion. We definitely need to pull the table to use that chair in the corner but this just happens when we have visits, so no problem at all.

I’m specially happy about the metallic finish of the legs, the brass tone is very subtle and makes a nice contrast with the grey fabric. I also really like how the light grey goes well with the darker color of my sofa. Having a neutral base was really important and I like the contrast of the cool furniture with the warm tones of the house.

Spring is here and I’m happy to see the sun coming in through our new curtains. They made a huge difference and the room looks way bigger. The linen curtains made everything more cozy and since we are not allowed to make large holes in the walls, we used a pressure rod.

The wooden coffee table was a present from one of our friends and I love to keep it decorated and change the objects from time to time. It really helped organize the structure of the space. With more beautiful things to look up, there is less attention to the carpet. It doesn’t bother me so much anymore.

In the pictures above you can see the two pillow covers I knitted last winter (the gray and the graphite ones). After finishing, I simply stitched my work to some pre-made cover from Ikea and it looks awesome. The crochet napkin on the table is also my work.

I decided to always keep something over the accent chairs to help blending the orange color with the rest of the room. I crocheted this throw (it’s not ready yet!) and combined with a lumbar pillow, it makes a nice set.

The side table used to be green and I painted with white and brass spray, it looks way better and it’s not fighting with the rest of the furniture anymore. I noticed flowers and plants with round edges goes better with this decoration. Sharp and pointy ends fell more tropical and casual and it doesn’t give the cozy effect I’m aiming for. During the spring I’m using these hydrangeas from Pottery Barn, but I might change when the summer arrives.

My idea is to keep the neutral base and start changing the colorful pillow covers according to the seasons or events. Did I mentioned I started designing fabrics? I’m developing my very first pattern collection and it’s inspired by the movie Gosford Park. My idea is to print and sew covers for the cushions and also print some art for the walls above the sofa. I also thought about some textiles for the table, like a table runner or even a table cloth. Keep one eye on my portfolio for new illustrations and patterns.

Did you like the progress? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
lifestyle

The living room saga

I’m sorry I disappeared again. If you read my last post you know I got back from vacations and didn’t like my decoration – or lack of it. I started reorganizing things and since the basement got acceptable, I decided to organize my living room. I’ve been struggling a lot to decorate this house. In my old apartment we had 2 white sofas, the carpet was light and all doors were white, metals were chrome, balcony was concrete. There was a lot of natural light, decorating was really easy, everything look fine there. My decor was simple and informal and worked just fine.

Now here is a house, there is a tree just in front of my window (I love the tree but it’s a lot of shade), the carpet is a dark, old and stained camel color, baseboards and doors are dark coffee, all metals are brass or black and our balcony is a reddish wood.

Don’t take me wrong, I love living here. It’s great to be in a house, location is perfect, rent is fair and the space has a lot of potential. But I never had such a hard time finding the right pieces for a room. I think it all started with our decision to ditch our old white sofas. They were already second hand sofas and were very worn and stained. When we moved here, my mind was in some crazy mood and I didn’t think too much. We got a grey sofa from Structube and 2 orange chairs at Wayfair. I guess that was the begginning of all the problems.

I actually like our sofa and chairs, but that was not the best decision for the space. The room looked really dark. All my pillow covers didn’t work anymore. All the porcelain objects I had with white and blue started screaming in contrast with the orange chairs (complimentary colors can be quite aggressive). I didn’t want plain grey and orange decor so I decided to add some pink pillows and try an analogous color palette. That helped.

There was also the problem of the dining room. First I placed my table in the kitchen. I didn’t like the yellow and blue chairs so I started painting some chairs light green. I didn’t finish but decided to move the table to the living room. The green and blue chairs look awful with the orange and pink decor. To make things worse, I decided to paint an abstract picture and somehow I got carried on and transformed in a splatter painting and added blue. I can’t explain why and I hated the painting for many months.

So that was the state of the living room when I got back from vacations. Camel carpet, beige walls, grey sofa, orange accent chairs, black media furniture, chrome coffee table, wood old dining table, mismatched chairs in green, blue and black, bad taste artwork. OMG. Did I tell you I study architecture and worked in renovation for many years? How did this happen?

Anyways I decided to act. First I inverted the layout of the room and that helped a bit, now entering the room you see the sofa first, not the huge black figure of our entertainment furniture. This was way more inviting. I removed my old ugly artwork and I’m working on a new painting with light and brighter colors.

Then I bought a rug and that was a mistake, it just made my carpet looks even uglier. The rug looked like a white towel in person, very thin and very white. I returned the rug and try to understand what went wrong and why I keep getting upset about my choices.

So disappointing

This last week I just removed everything from the room and try to look again at it and really see the colors of the room and what will make it look prettier. I realized I’m just fighting with this house colors since I arrived and it’s time to make peace. The palette of this house is warm. My grey sofa, glass table and grey rug were cold, of course they will fight with the house. The orange chairs and all the other colors are too much and too saturated for this place, it needs a more neutral muted palette. The decoration needs less color, less contrast and more texture and layers.

First thing I did was to add some curtains (we cannot make holes in this house but I found a good tension rod that saved my life). I started knitting a cushion cover in light grey and I’ll get more pillows in neutral colors. I also had an old cocktail table a friend gave us and was not being used. That actually helped hide the carpet and gave more structure and warmth to the space. I moved the glass table to the corner, so this is how it looks like now.

I’m so happy about the curtains

Next steps are getting a lamp for beside the sofa, keep getting more neutral cushions and add objects on the shelves under the tv and on the table. Then put some art on the walls. I actually would like to make a cover for the orange chairs in a neutral color and actually even a white cover for the sofa but there is so much to do, so one thing at a time.

I’m just super proud of this, first time I finish a knit project. Now just need to sew into a pillow cover

For the dining room I gave up of my current chairs and table. I’ll buy some new ones and move the old ones to the kitchen. I found some light gray chairs I like and we are thinking about the white tulip table. I’m not quite sure about the white and the design is a bit more modern than what I wanted but I think it the round lines will help keeping the space cute. I simulated with my current chairs on the space, it’s seems a bit squeezed but it fits.

I really don’t like the open kitchen. I want to cook more and I avoid making certain foods because I know the whole house will be smelling for hours. So my priority now is to find a way to close the door (making no holes and keeping the budget!). Not easy but I have a few ideas.

I’m still dreaming about buying rugs. I would love a large sisal one for the dining room, covering that round cut on the carpet and making everything look larger… and of course a nice patterned rug for the living room. We will get there!

How about you? Do you have any room in your house that you struggle to decorate? How is it been? Let me know on the comments

Categories
lifestyle

The basement make up: Part 2

Do you get upset at your house when you get back from vacations? I usually love coming back home, but I went to visit some relatives for a few days and when I got back, I found my house dark and sad. That can’t be good!

I feel house decoration is always an ongoing project. Especially if you are renting and have a tight budget. How can you make it cute and cozy without spending a ton?

I started moving some furniture in the living room. Then we decided to move some things in the kitchen as well. The basement got loaded with random things and I thought, enough is enough.

Here is my new studio / sewing room. I got this machine just before the pandemic but so far I just made face masks. I want to make a quilt for my bedroom and some clothes for me, so it will be good to be able to move around the table.

The white shelves behind the desk have been traveling around the house. They started at the studio, moved to the kitchen and now they are back to the studio. I think it looks good here. All my art supplies are now in boxes and the mess is finally hidden. The clothes rack will be used to dry projects or hang works in progress.

A few details to make everything neat. I added cute lamps to the clothes rack and re-use some baskets as storage for my yarn. The plant behind the sewing machine hides the electric cables. White cardboard boxes hide most of my art supplies and work as “vertical drawers”. And I finally got a place for my brushes and they are not spread all around anymore.

The gym is still there, on the opposite side. The main change was this white curtain to hide the furnace (it’s actually a large table cloth hanging from the ceiling). I’m still thinking what to do about the floors, but that’s ok for now.

Nowadays I rarely use this computer, so I decided to make a vertical station . It looks neat and we can watch Netflix from the treadmill. My old framed paintings and canvas are hidden behind the bamboo divider and some of our books are now on those shelves.

Here is a panoramic of the whole space. It was a battle but I think it’s done for now. If you don’t remember how it looked like before, please check The basement make up: Part 1

I still would like to cover some walls with wallpaper or fabric and hide the floors a bit more but the other parts of the house need some attention and I have my illustration projects to work on. I’m happy for now. What do you think? Leave me a message in the comments!

Like this post? Share it! 🙂

Categories
lifestyle

Corona life

Hi! I’m sorry it’s been a while since last time I posted. How much things changed in just one month! Last post I was planning to sew a quilt, organizing things for my family visit and excited about new projects. In just few weeks I lost my job, all travel is suspended and I’m in saving mode now, trying to work on projects with materials I already have. No prospect of visits, not going out. Just waiting quietly at home for all this to pass and thinking I’m lucky because I have a great house, EI will cover me for a while and I have lots I can do.

I love my cozy house

I cannot avoid feeling a bit depressed about the whole pandemic situation, but let’s talk about fun stuff: what was done this last 4 weeks.

The basement upgrade – few updates

Before all corona crisis I was able to go to Ikea and buy a few boxes and other things to organize my basement. Take a look on these adorable boxes they had.

I love my new boxes, they are so cute!

I know I’m still hoarding so many art supplies but I’ll try to slowly use my art materials or give them away. We will see. I have extra time and I hope to feel inspired again.

Still there is too much information!

I thought about stapling some fabric behind the shelves to cover the computer cables, make some curtains for the base shelf and maybe add some linen to the drawers on the left, I don’t like how everything is exposed. I’m still thinking about solutions.

Speaking about hiding ugly stuff, I’m quite glad about the new visual behind the sofa. I used 3 blinds from Ikea and now you cannot see the laundry from the office. It feels more cozy and now I also have some space to hide extra shoes behind the couch. Take a look:

The laundry totally visible before
Ikea cheap blinds now hide the laundry
And I got some room to hide shoes and other stuff behind the sofa

The last upgrade I did in the basement was to find a box with some pieces of wood floor. I simply spread around an old rug and it looks like I have new floor!

I had just 12 pieces of wood, so that’s all I could do but it looks cool!

Later I’ll add more pictures to the walls, I have tons. So far so good! A bit at a time.

Small traditional crochet table runner

I got a fine thread the other day just for fun and I actually loved! I didn’t start too ambitious, I found a pattern online for a table runner made with squares so I tried a few squares just to see how the thread works

Kinda wonky beginning

I was not sure how this was going to turn out but I was persistent and decided to keep working. What a surprise! I loved it! I like the feeling of working small stitches and also the delicate result. After a few hours of work this is what I got:

I love it! Can’t wait to get more thread and make many new pieces. I want to add crochet on everything now, towels, dishcloths, make a cover for my bed, I’m obsessed with the tiny delicate patterns. Its fun and easy, it just requires a bit of patience. However I got a huge pain in my arm and I need to be careful with my posture when I’m working. But isn’t it worth it?

Cooking life

I also did a ton of cooking during the last weeks, some are not so photogenic but it’s been fun to cook with no pressure (I have lots of time now that I’m unemployed). My husband said he is very happy with this “pandemic food”. We need to find some reason to laugh, right? Here are some highlights.

A delicious trout with vegetables and butter/lemon sauce
This super cute home made burgers in a home made bun

There was lots of other food I did, like cakes, salads, stews and even a moussaka but there were not so pretty on the picture (although they were delicious). Food has been just fine!

The dance lounge

Before the whole corona crisis I was planning to create an Arabic lounge downstairs for some of my guests. It would be an extra guest bedroom but stylish and fun. Anyways those plans are over for now. But why leave the space totally empty? I found some old coloured lamps and some Christmas lights and voila, now we have a dance lounge to enjoy during the isolation time.

It’s still messy but it’s fun!

So that’s how is how things are here at home. I’m sad about our cancelled plans, worried about vulnerable people and not very optimistic about the near future. But life goes on. I’m working on a crochet blanket and if I get motivated again I’ll paint the pictures I’ve been planning for my kitchen and bedroom for a long time. Keep in touch and stay healthy and safe. Good luck for all of us!

Categories
lifestyle

The basement make up: Part 1

This week I finally started to organize my basement. I couldn’t finish, it will take me several weeks. Here is some before and “during” the changes. I cannot call “before and after” since it’s still a huge mess!

Before
During (aka after)

I finally bought my sewing machine!! I’m so happy. It’s exactly the one I had back in Brazil and it’s just great and cute. Take a look:

I can’t wait to use it!

My goals were open some space in my desk for the sewing machine and transform one of my monitors in a “tv” for the treadmill. The monitor works amazing and now I can watch Netflix and hear the voices and music even with the noise of the treadmill running.

Yey!

So far I squeezed most of my art supplies in that wood crate but I couldn’t find a solution for my papers. I like the big crate to hide everything, I wish I had a cabinet with doors but that’s better than nothing. Look how was my office space before:

So many supplies

It was larger and brighter but my desk was taken with both monitors and notice so many supplies on the shelves. A bit overwhelming! Also my CPU was on the floor, what always bothered me. Anyways, the new solution might be a bit darker but so far I’m happy about having a monitor for the treadmill and having some space for my sewing machine. With time I’ll add some frames on the walls and hopefully things will look more happy.

So that’s it for today! Thanks for reading and I’ll keep posting.

Categories
lifestyle

A few updates

These last few weeks I’ve been busy with a few DIY projects. First of all I finally finished painting my nightstand. I was expecting it to be more cream/sugar color but I added a dark wax and almost ruined it! The end result was more yellowish and darker than what I desired but it’s not bad.

Here it is for now

It’s been a while I want to change my lamp and I also think a different knob for the drawer would be much more cute. The nicest and cheapest lamp I found so far was from Ikea.

I think it will be fine with the nightstand, more delicate and it looks more like a bedroom lamp. I also like the proportion, I think it looks tall and elegant, can’t wait to get it. As for the knob, look at this one from Anthropology:

So gorgeous! It looks so vintage and stylish, I believe it will change the whole look of the nightstand and make it more classy. After I do these 2 changes I’ll review my accessories, like my storage box and the picture frame. One thing at a time.

My plan is to make a fabric cover for the bed panel and change the bed linens for something more interesting. I would love to make a quilt cover for my duvet, I found some very nice fabrics the other day but I’ll go in that direction only after buying a sewing machine.

I’m in love with florals lately
I’m dreaming about a quilt bed with a light headboard

While things happen very slowly, I decided to do something even more slow. My new hobby is embroidery and I started the hard way, a table runner with waaay too many stitches.

I already regret some of the color choices but now I’ll just keep working on it, it will be nice once it’s done. Next time I’ll get less saturated colours.

Embroidery is fun and I’ve having a great time doing it, I’ll write a post about it another day, now it’s time to go! Thanks for reading.

Categories
lifestyle

The bedroom make up: Part 1

This weekend I started working on my bedroom plan. Our room looks so boring and dull and everything screams “rented house with Ikea furniture”. There is nothing on the walls and even my bedsheets are Ikea… Take a look

The view as you get in (sorry I made the bed after)
I didn’t have a nightstand (just bought one I’ll paint and share soon)
I absolutely hate what I call the 3 black towers

When we moved we had to buy a dresser but the budget was tight. I didn’t want this Malm dresser but that was what fitted our budget. I just hate this dresser, it’s heavy, it’s boring and looks very dark. To make it worse, this tv was giving us troubles so we bought a new tv for the living room and we put this one here upstairs. Now I have the big black tower! The TV is larger than the dresser and looks completely out of proportion. I still don’t know how to solve this. When I’m on the bed all I see is 3 black towers: the dark mirror, the tv and the closet.

This is the other side, with our closets.

I want my bedroom to be more romantic and cozy, and I want to add more personal touches. I cannot change the color of the walls or the closet and my contract doesn’t allow me to make holes in the wall larger than 1mm ( so no shelves or heavy frames). And as usual, my budget is very tight.

My plan is to cover the bed headboard with fabric, get new bedsheets in pastel colors, make a new duvet cover ( I’m thinking patchwork with blues and pinks), add some art to the walls, put some curtains, get a nightstand and a new table lamp, find a way to disguise tv. I started by painting one of my 3 towers, my mirror.

I use folk art chalk paint (dries super fast!)

For my mirror I mixed Folk Art Glacier with some white and black to reduce the vibrancy of the color.

Paint paint paint

I didn’t sand it or did any preparation. Usually when I paint furniture I sand, primer, sand and then paint, always sanding between coats. But we barely touch this mirror so I just painted 2 coats and just lightly sand in the end.

I love this part!

I protected the mirror with tape and paper, nice and easy to clean. On Monday evening I dissembled and painted the first coat, on Tuesday I did second coat, sand, waxed and assemble again. It took me about 4 hours of work total (I let it dry about 2 hours each coat).

Nice and polished

I always finish with a coat of wax, chalk paint looks very matte and the wax give a satin feel. It creates a protective coat that makes much easier to clean.

The final piece
It feels less aggressive although I don’t like the dark screws on the side, I might paint or change for something else.
Before
After

I put a piece of fabric on the window to simulate a curtain, it makes it more cozy, can’t wait to have some real curtains here! My husband didn’t like the blue mirror, he thinks it looks too much “beach furniture” what I kinda agree. I don’t dislike but it would be better if the walls were white, I feel it clashes a bit with the warm walls. When I buy the sewing machine I’ll make the cover for the bed and the curtains and then rethink about the mirror color. One alternative we talk is to simply paint it cream. It would look nice for sure, but for now it will remain blue.

I also don’t know how to decorate the area under the mirror. I had some pictures frames and a teddy bear my husband gave me but now it looks a bit baby room, so I just put a box and a plant.

So what do you think? Yay or nay? Leave a comment!

Categories
lifestyle

Updated decor and some recipes

Yesterday I put away all my Christmas decorations and since I was in the mood, I changed a few things around the house. Check it out.

During Christmas you come in and see our fun cute socks and I was using this cabinet as a sideboard. Here is another angle:

We never found the garland for the stairs as we wanted (I wanted some very fluffy ones). I also forgot to buy some red candles and didn’t find nice / affordable Christmas pillows. No problem! Our biggest challenge here is that our dining table was in the kitchen.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole table but there it is on the left of the picture. The good things about having the table there is that it’s wood floor and there are lots of space.

And there was space for the Christmas tree so it was all fine! We made some hand painted ornaments, like the cover of this post, it was fun! But I had to offer dinner for guests in the kitchen.

So yesterday I changed a bit. All Christmas is gone and this is the new deal:

The orange chairs are in the window and the sideboard became an extension of our tv rack. We are not using the balcony until the summer anyways, so I like the chairs there now. Definitely would love to put an area rug and curtains, also I’ll add a few things on the sideboard in the future.

Dining table is now squeezed a bit but it fits! Now I feel the chairs are way too mismatched, so maybe I’ll buy another one to match the 3 vintage ones and put the Ikea dark chair in another place. Maybe I’ll also paint all of them the same color, not sure yet. And now in the living room not sure if I’ll keep this green.

Dining room is a bit tight but at least it’s integrated in the living room. The worst aspect is the carpet, but this is a rented house and there’s not much to do about it.

Since that kitchen side was completely empty, I tried to fill it in, that’s what I got:

The white canvas will become paintings, I’ll do some botanical illustration. This table is not staying, I’m planning to get a small wood kitchen island in the future, if we get used to this layout. Those shelves were downstairs with my art supplies (that now are all over the basement!). I’ll think about the basement next week.

My simple hack for keeping the plates still: I used this thick double sided tape. If I like the new set up I’ll cut a small piece of wood and attach to the shelf to make it safer.

During Christmas season I didn’t cook a lot but I got a simple iron cast pan, look at this frittata, I loved it

I also found a ton of great Brazilian ingredients at Minas Steakhouse (their store is great!) so here is “dried meat in the pumpkin”. I even cook some home made requeijão (a Brazilian spread cheese). Both recipes were successful here at home.

And last but not least , one of our visits brought us flowers and in the last days I was keeping beside the oven and I loved, look how cute

Then I was checking kitchens I like in Pinterest and they all have an utensil holder with lots of nice wooden spoons exactly on that place, so I guess I’ll adopt a nice cute thing on the side of the oven always.

And that’s it for today! Tomorrow I’m back to work and our classes start this Saturday, so that means I’ll be busy again. I hope I can manage to still post from time to time. Thanks for reading!