Let me start off by saying that my house does not always looks like this. Actually, quite rarely. Most days Rody is galloping in the middle of the living room and Noah’s Ark and the accompanying animals are waiting to trip you. Most mornings Max is busy building a tower in front of the slide so he can fly down it and yell “BOOM!” while Jemma stages a tea party on the coffee table.
Yep, that’s right – there is never staged prettiness on my coffee table. Except for today. Today is special. It’s living room tour day!So, welcome my friends! If you were popping over for brunch with your munchkins this is where we’d settle. The toys would erupt from baskets and the little ones would would make a pillow pit with all the couch pillows. Fine by me, I’m second guessing these pillows anyway …
I’d serve you some decaf with a packet of Stevia, scoop of coconut oil and a hefty splash of cream — my new favorite. Well, unless it’s a warm morning, then we’d have lemonade. Not fake lemonade though, the real stuff. The good stuff.
Our whole house is a work in progress. I would assume most houses are unless you’ve employed Jeff Lewis to whip everything into shape in one fell swoop. We’ve taken things one room at a time, as time and money have allowed. It’s been slow, but steady. There is always a project or two in progress around here.
Would I love to rush out to West Elm and order a whole room to be delivered, assembled and placed all picture perfect like — yes, yes of course. But, reality is, we’re a normal family with a normal budget and that means our space will be constantly evolving and growing. And that’s okay. I’m happy this way too – gathering bits and pieces at a time; letting my style change and adapt to our family. We do a lot of living here so it’s all comfortable and kid-friendly, and it’s filled with favorites because they make me smile.
One of the first projects we completed in the living room was the under stair space — now dubbed the JAM Hideout, JAM standing for Jemma and Max. It was our gift to Max for his 1st birthday. He doesn’t really like it :/ Jemma does though, and I’m sure it will grow on Max. I came up with all the ideas and Dominic turned it in to a reality. He’s a real good project partner :)
Our big focus was organization and thanks to IKEA, Target and ThirtyOne most things make it back to their designated place at the end of the day. Most things. Most days.
If you look back at the first glimpse of our living room you can see how much things have changed. First, we moved our newlywed sectional upstairs to the School Room/Man Cave and found the leather couch and loveseat at Costco. Leather has been amazing with kids around. Super easy to clean and they’re breaking in nicely. Next up was the end tables – scored those at a going out of business sale for $40 each. I asked the owner their origin and found out that they were a World Market design. After some back and forth with World Market I located a matching coffee table – on clearance for $70 (originally $300!) – in New Mexico. World Market shipped it for $70 which still brought me in way under budget for the 3 pieces. The other option I considered was pushing $1,000 for 3 pieces! Happy I waited for a deal to find me :)
The collage wall is my favorite. I’ve wanted one forever and finally gathered my frames, filled them and used those magical Command Strips to puzzle piece it together. My sister said I should have diagrammed it to make sure it laid out right, but I just started with the “B” and the big family photo and kind of let it grow from there. That’s the wonder of Command Strips – less commitment, more creativity.
My next favorite, well – maybe tied for most favorite – are the wood shelves between the windows. Dominic made them. And, being the blogger husband that he is, he photographed each step so he could share a little tutorial soon :)
Everything was feeling complete, with the exception of one problem – the window, curtain, blinds saga. In the last year we’ve tried out four different curtains. The ones right before these were dark brown, they blended in with the couch and were just … blah. But, we needed something dark to cover the windows decently because we hadn’t put up blinds yet. Here’s a fancy PSA — filling a house with blinds cost money and that is one elephant of a project we’ve taken slowly. As we’ve settled into each room, we’ve outfitted it with blinds. So far, that’s been the school room and two bedrooms upstairs.
I really wanted to ditch our dark brown curtains and go with something lighter and brighter to open up the living room. Dominic agreed … if we got blinds. Marriage is all about compromise, so I ordered new curtains and Dominic installed 2″ Fauxwood Blinds :) Blinds.com graciously supplied our living room blinds and an awesome vertical shade for our slider in the breakfast nook. They have been the most efficient part of our living space – they provide privacy while allowing light in and truly transform the room. Plus, since we don’t have AC they’re already proving to help keep the house cool on warm days. I never thought the day would come where I’d be saying, “Today is such an awesome day, I got blinds in my living room!”. But, that day has come. Blinds make me happy. Real happy.
Amidst living we eat, of course, because what is living without a snack or two? The living room flows directly into our breakfast nook which is actually our every meal nook. Before our vertical blackout shade the sun glared in here big time. So much so that Jemma hated eating at the table because, “The sun, the sun … it’s shining in my EYES!!!” The Bali Verticell Blackout Shade fixed that problem in a jif and is 1) super durable – Max has tested that 2) easy to clean – again, Max and 3) really functional – it glides easy from open to shut and everywhere in between.
The learning tower was a Goodwill find (I know, I know – the greatest $12.50 I’ve ever given Goodwill) and remember the dresser I painted for storage in the nook? Last, but not least – my chalkboard platter. It’s where I sketch what’s on my heart … or at least what I want to tuck away in my heart.
Next living room projects are a custom entertainment center designed by my love and a fresh table top for our nook table. And I may be scheming some paint options too … we’ll see :)
My Little Buffalo and Blinds.com have special offers for you if you’d like a custom family portrait or blinds to spiff up your space. Use promo code “MAMAG” for 10% off any order at My Little Buffalo or use promo code “mamablinds” for 10% off any order at Blinds.com. Promotions end May 31, 2014.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway
In exchange for my review I received product from My Little Buffalo and Blinds.com, no other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.