Category Archives: House

decorating troubles

As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I’m in the process of trying to refurnish / decorate my living room.  (I have not purchased a sectional yet.)  To start with, we had a small sofa, a bookcase, a TV on a stand, a side table and lamp, and a rocking chair.  My vision for the furnished room was as follows:


In 3D:


(I am using Planner5D, which is nearly free – I think it’s $5 for a year or something like that.)

I decided that a teal ottoman from Anthropologie was going to be the centerpiece of the room.  I got a great coupon and some 20% off gift cards and decided to go for it.  See below for how it looks:


DSC02301 DSC02302

My issue is that it looks huge.  I’m not sure the photos really capture the effect as they were taken with a wide angle camera.  However, you can see that it nearly has the surface area of our sofa.  Now, I am not thrilled with our sofa because it is really too small to be comfortable for an average-sized human being relaxing.  (I have realized since purchasing that a lot of times inexpensive furniture is undersized and that you have to watch for this.)   It is possible that the ottoman might look better with a larger sectional.  It’s hard to say.  Overall, though, I just think it does. not. work.  Really, I think it looks semi-ridiculous in our living room, and I’m going to return it.  (Fortunately, I will get a full refund, including shipping.)  I’m sad, though, and now feeling highly uncertain of my decorating capabilities.  Experience is so helpful, and I obviously have none.

L LOVES it.  She thinks it’s the best thing ever.

See below for our planter of tulips.  They have grown rather well, so I think I’m going to plant a couple more this fall.


what I like

I’ve been reading lots of decorating books lately, and my latest suggests I make a list of things I love and then look for themes.

  1. islands
  2. linen
  3. blue
  4. wool
  5. tweed
  6. ireland
  7. a clear day, not too hot
  8. handmade
  9. neutrals
  10. a good book
  11. comfort
  12. birdsong
  13. carnations
  14. tartan
  15. babies and chubby cheeks
  16. whitewashed wood
  17. curves in furniture
  18. green
  19. citron
  20. numbers
  21. maps
  22. detailed carpentry / woodsmanship
  23. birch
  24. mid-century modern

Next, I’m supposed to pick out the themes.  There’s definitely a homespun concept in there – wool, tweed, handmade.  My color favorites are those that make me think of sea and sky, except citron.  I love the idea of Ireland.

Next, I’m supposed to pick out pictures.

Ikea rocking chair - I have wanted one of those ones for SO LONG, they are so so comfortable:

my scandinavian home: A Zen Swedish space:

Linen Bixby Chair -

Apparently I love chairs!


The Design Chaser: TDC Archive Series | Best Living Rooms:

Handcarved Menagerie Console -

I’m actually a big fan of wall paper, but I don’t think I’m brave enough to do it in my house.  We do have wallpaper in one room.  I’m not thrilled with it, so perhaps we could replace that with more wallpaper.  It’s interesting that it’s fallen so out of favor.  I wonder why.  Perhaps there is more variety in paint available now.

Wouldn’t you love to have this on your wall?

Bird Sanctuary Wallpaper -

I also have a soft spot for ornate things, like this mirror.

Rococo Mirror -

Lose the ampersand, and this is great.

Spring Home Tour - vintage cabinet decorating:

I can never resist teal and turquoise.  But I think this is better in theory than practice.

tea wall in moroccan hotel / sfgirlbybay:

I love this look.  In practice, though, I like my floors covered with nice, soft carpets.

Linen Julienne Chair -



jars of soap for bathroom... make soap in right color(s). :):





Do you have a sectional?  Do you like it?  Having finished with the playroom, I want to make some changes to the living room as well.  Currently, we have an 86″ couch (on the small side as couches go) and an antique rocking chair.  The latter is not the most comfortable seating in the world.  We have four use cases:

1.) H and I hanging out at night.  We both would like to be able to put our feet up.  We can’t do this with our smallish couch.

2.) The four of us hanging out.  This is really not an issue.

3.) Our parents visiting.  That means seating for four adults and one to two kids.

4.) Entertaining.  We rarely entertain more than one couple at a time, but we have some friends with older children, so that’s four adults and say three kids.

Our room is 15 x 15.5 feet with a fireplace on one end and a large, low window at 90 degrees to the fireplace.  The real estate photos – again, remember they take these to make everything look bigger than it is.

Note the sectional.  Every since I plopped down on that sectional at 8 months pregnant, I’ve wanted one just like it.  I’ve been using Planner 5D to model up options.

As far as sectionals go, there’s a sectional that is really just a couch with a chaise:

Axis II 2-Piece Sectional Sofa

However, that doesn’t have any more seating than a standard couch.  With regard to guests, some people might feel uncomfortable just coming in and putting their feet up straightaway.

Modeled up in Planner 5D with a chaise.  The white things on the left are the fireplace flanked by two bookcases.  The brown square thing is an ottoman meant to be used as a coffee table.  The white rectangular thing on the far wall is meant to be a daybed for extra seating in front of the window, and the brown roundy thing is a chair.  We want to have one stiff chair that is good for older people to sit in.



Then there is the small L-shaped option.  With a wedge, this starts to look a bit better:Detailed View

I think that you can argue that four people could sit on this comfortably.  After all, our current couch is only 86 inches.  This thing is huge by comparison.  The room starts to look more crowded, but not too bad.  (Ignore the difference between the sectional appearance and the photo.  The dimensions are correct.)


Alternatively, some places sell options with a “bumper” which look like this.  The bumper is the chaise thing on the right.

PB Comfort Roll Arm Upholstered 3-Piece Bumper Sectional with Corner

This thing is bigger – 110″ by 102″ – but the low chaise doesn’t block the view into our living room the way a couch with a back does.  It looks like this:BumperLivingRoom

However, I think it really sticks out too far and makes it hard to enter and exit the room.  The chair would need to go on the other side, perhaps.

I’d appreciate any input from people who have sectionals.  I’ve never lived in a house with one.  H and I would really just like to be able to sprawl out together on the same piece of furniture in the evenings.

I’ve found an ottoman and chair on Anthropologie that I love, but they cost a fortune.  I’m sure I can find some cheaper alternatives, but here they are nonetheless:

Oh, I should add, I found my sectional plus ottoman inspiration in a book, but here’s something online that’s similar:

Pacific Hillside




Our new house has an entry-way.  This is the first time I’ve lived in a house with a real entryway.  Our last house opened straight into what I think was supposed to be a sitting room, but what we actually used as our guest bedroom (with the help of portable dividers.)  You can see a picture of it here:

This is the real estate picture, which naturally makes it look like a ballroom.  It’s actually not all that big.  Presently, we have a rather utilitarian green rug in front of the door and nothing else.  You can kind of see from the picture that there’s a place next to the stairs for a small table.  It’s about 24 x 48 in terms of floor space.  I think with our dogs plus kids lifestyle putting anything in the middle of the floor is a no-go.  I’d like to put a table and something to sit on.  I’m either thinking a very small table – say 24 x 24 plus a chair, or a longer table with a stool / ottoman pushed underneath it.  Our primary means of entry is through the garage, so this would mainly be used by guests.

Perhaps something like this:

Tanner Console Table - Bronze finish

Perhaps something like this ottoman:

With a really simple table.  There are lots of inexpensive options on Amazon, like this one:

On top of the table would go say a plant and a clock.  I’d like to have a lamp, but I don’t have easy access to power.

Right now, when you walk into our house, you really don’t see much except our mostly empty front room which we have filled with our double stroller and a couple other messy-looking items.  I think perhaps dressing up the entry might help with the currently unkempt feel.

This is my inspiration, from Pinterest, for the ottoman under console table look.  I don’t have room for the pictures or the tree, but I still think it could look nice.

A warm and inviting entryway designed by Kelly McGuill and recreated for less than $2000 for Copy Cat Chic by @audreycdyer:

I would put a basket there as well for people’s shoes as we generally take our shoes off in the house.

Alternatively, I can see using a nice table with just a chair alongside it, like this table, with a simple wood chair:

Weldon Side Table:

The table is pottery barn, but I’m sure there are a million options on Wayfair and Amazon.

lottery tickets

I ended up spending about $650 on the rug, including tax and shipping.  (Tax is 10% here – it’s a killer.)  I have actually been agonizing over rugs since Thanksgiving, so I’m honestly just glad to have finally pulled the trigger.  This was the last major purchase needed for the playroom.  I do play to buy some kind of tent or tee pee and some pillows or bean bags, but that should be pretty cheap.  Here’s the rug I picked:

Tile Rug - Porcelain Blue

I have never bought a lottery ticket, but I actually went up to H yesterday and suggested we buy some.  He informed me that Powerball had already been won by someone.  Nevertheless, we spent some time talking about what we would have immediately bought.  He wanted a house with a view.  Personally, I like our house and I have no desire to move.  But I would:

1.) Hire a housecleaning service

2.) Give our nanny a big raise

3.) Buy a really expensive rug that I liked

4.) Buy a nice sectional and maybe some other furniture

5.) Consider hiring a driver to make my commute to and from work easier

6.) Hire an on-call babysitter that would be available to come take the kids whenever we were sick or just needed some extra help for some reason

drapes redux

Seriously, folks, I need to pull the trigger on curtains for our master.  I actually went so far as to price linen and linen blends and blackout lining with the idea of making them myself, but it’s actually not that much cheaper than just buying them.  I had a look at the ones we did buy, and making curtains is not as trivial as you might think.

I’m pretty much down to two options – solid blue, or white with blue stripes.  The problem is that I just do not trust my own judgment.  When interior decorating talents were being handed out, I was at the back of the line, and they ran out before they got to me.  H is no better.  Any thoughts on the pros and cons of solids versus stripes?  Keep in mind that we are looking out at grass and fir trees – basically a wall of various shades of green.

Riviera Stripe Drape, 50 x 84


Emery Linen/Cotton Pole Pocket Drape, 50 x 84

I intend to keep our current drapes and may use them in the winter.  I’m not really interested in a blackout shade as my longer term plan calls for a sheer linen drape behind the outer drape.

Our master isn’t really decorated like anything much, but I prefer light colored woods – “natural” is usually how they are described.

And here is a photo of B for taking the trouble to read this far: