Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Little Quirk

Well hello! We are almost done with school here and all of us are pretty excited about that. I'm ready for two and a half months of no packed lunches. Yes! 

I've been in a mood to decorate the house lately -- I get in grooves with certain things, whether it be DIY, organizing, decluttering or decorating. Rarely am I in the mood for all of them at once. :) Lately I've been more interested in the last two and I think it's because I know the three of us will all be home all day here shortly. I want to get the house decluttered again and looking pretty for summer. (Even though keeping it that way will be a constant battle.) 

As I've been addressing certain areas of the house I've noticed that a few of my favorite pieces (and some I get asked about most here) are those that have a little quirk factor. I LOVE things like that -- to me that means something that may be a little old, maybe a little out of place with the rest of your decor. Or it can just be something totally fun and cute that add some whimsy to the house. Maybe whimsical is a better way of describing them?

I think these items go a long way to making your house unique -- and that's the kind of stuff that gets me most excited about decorating. 

One of my all time favorite additions to our house are the metal spoon and fork set above the kitchen pantry: 

glass door on pantry

Actually -- there are a few things about this corner that I love. The utensil set is one, the dinner bell (found at HomeGoods) is another. And the glass pantry is one of those little things that adds some character to the house. You can see more about that here and how I covered the glass here

They are small projects (OK, the door was a bit more involved), but they each add some interest where there wasn't much before: 

fork and spoon art

Another favorite in the kitchen is the cutest planter I found years back at a local shop. It had to come home with me: 

beadboard backsplash

I'm not even a big animal decor in the kitchen person -- I think all that stuff is adorable but I don't add a lot of it. But this little piggy is the sweetest and I love him: 

piggy planter

Last year while looking through another one of my favorite shops I found these brass men and women signs:

black interior doors

I got them a local shop (here) and get so many compliments on them when we have people over. The bonus is people know exactly where the bathroom is! ;) Ha! They are nice heavy brass which I love too. They are a more modern addition but that's another thing -- don't be afraid to stretch your comfort zone a bit. I think that makes for the most interesting home. 

I shared my favorite toilet handle (you don't have one??) years back: 

oil rubbed bronze toilet handle

I got this one at Lowe's and they are crazy easy to change out (I share how to do it in that post). It throws visitors for a loop at first but they quickly figure it out. :) 

I have a small obsession with brass animals -- they are my favorite item to look for at thrift shops. You can usually find some at Goodwill and I always find them at thrift/antique shops: 

brass birds

I use a little brass polish to get them cleaned up. I love the darker brass look they get with age: 

brass cranes

One of my favorite finds of all time are these brass elephant bookends: 
brass elephant book ends

They were more than I wanted to spend so I left them the first time I saw them -- but couldn't get them out of my mind. You know they were meant to be when you go back to the thrift store days later and they're still there waiting for you. ;) 

The elephants are in excellent condition -- I think they are probably in the top five favorite of purchases I've ever made. And aren't elephants supposed to bring good luck? I love them. 

For a person that doesn't like a lot of animals in the kitchen, I sure make up for it in the rest of the house. I came across these ADORABLE stuffed birds recently: 
pillow birds with clip
I'm telling you what. I got them home and clipped them in my big money tree and may have giggled a bit and then may have squealed. Come on…those are the cutest! And they aren't in your face cute -- you'd only find them if you really looked around our house. Quirky and fun and exactly what I'm talking about. (I got them at a local sale but I'm guessing you can find them online here.) 

If we're talking quirky and whimsical then I can't leave out one of my craziest ideas ever -- changing a rarely used closet to a book nook for me my son:

book nook closet

I shared more about the nook here. A sweet reader sent the pirate metal art that sits above it -- again, one of those unique pieces that is really special to me. There's not a lot in my home that I get too upset about if it gets ruined (with four animals that's not rare) -- but if something like this were to break I would be a little heartbroken.

Do you have any unique items in your home that you love? Or do you have quirky parts to your house that you've made work for you? If I were to build a house from the start again it would have all kinds of unique little spots in it. These are the fun parts of design and decor! And they aren't always from the antique shop -- plenty can be found at regular department stores, you just have to think outside the box. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Ugly Side

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! We did equal parts laying on the couch and playing/working -- so it was a successful one for us. :) 

I got a TON done outside. I think I said I was done with outside projects for awhile? I was mistaken. I planted about 20 plants -- some where purchases from weeks ago that really needed to get in the ground, some were plants I replanted. And then I finally got the garden in the ground which was another 15 or so. It was a dirty weekend. :) 

I'm so thrilled to have that done though! I wanted to get it all done before the heat of the summer hits, and was congratulating myself out loud to my husband when he mentioned the "other" side of the house. 

Hmmmm. He knows we don't talk about that side. The bad side. The side I choose to ignore and I have no idea why. I showed you the GOOD side a couple weeks ago after I installed the landscape lighting (and shared a tutorial): 

landscaping lights on house

I added a few more plants over there this weekend and it looks even prettier now. :) I still have projects to do, but overall I'm really pleased with it when we drive up:  

DIY landscaping lights

And the husband loves it so much, he's wondering when we I can move on to the other side. The lawn is his baby -- the plants are mine. Totally convenient right about now. 

This is the area with the plants I loathe, where I pile up trash that needs to be hauled away and where I generally tend to ignore things. I'm blowing this one up real big for ya to see all the goodness: 

It may not look too awful at first glance, but let me show you around. 

First of all. I HATE the plants over here. Well, most of them anyway. I have a rose bush that's been in the ground for about ten years and has produced all of about ten blooms. I've never understood why because it gets great sun. 

Soon after we built the house I planted these spirea plants and they SUCK. I'm not going to hide my feelings: 

spirea plant

:) I really do hate these plants -- no matter what I do to them they look half dead. I picked them out because they are cheap and fast growing, and they do get huge quick. But they look like butt and I can't wait to tear them out. (This is the nicest one of the three by far.) If anyone has had success with these, let me know your tips and I'll try them! 

Let's move on to my favorite part -- the trash pile. Keeping it classy! This a metal pergola we had over a section of the deck for a long time. I took ripped up fabric part off last fall and on a nice day back in March I took the rest of the structure down and left it over here: 

Yes it's been two months now. I have held off on getting it hauled away because I thought we might have more stuff, but we're calling to get it taken care of this week. Until then…classy

My watering station leaves a little to be desired: 

For two years I've been planning to build another DIY hose holder, I just haven't gotten to it quite yet. I think maybe this will be the year? My neighbors can hope. 

We had a hail storm that destroyed the siding on this side of the house years back and last year we had the siding fixed -- it looks a million times better. We keep forgetting about the screens on these two windows though: 

The gashes are pretty, yes? 

Overall the solution for the ugly side is basically clean up and plants -- not too bad. I've had bigger plans for this side of the house for some time now, but more on that in a minute. 

Since this side gets the hot afternoon sun, I need to be careful with what I plant over here. No hydrangeas. :( Wahhwah. 

But I can add another one of my favorites, the knock out roses: 
knock out bushes
These are so easy to grow and add color from May till fall. My plan is to add a line of them up against the house, mixed in with some evergreen bushes for year round color and some burning bushes -- they do great in full sun and are just stunning in the fall! 

I started a trend in the back that I want to keep going everywhere else -- I love the mix of purple and red flowers and I think it looks great up against our house. I'll add some of this salvia as well to go with the knock out roses: 

blue salvia
I think it will be just beautiful. Since we live in a suburb and there are houses right next to us, I'd like to add a tree outside one of the windows as well. (We've used some "lighter ones" like river birch in the back that aren't too obtrusive but still give some shade and privacy.)

My dream plan for years has been to add a section of fence on both sides of the house, but it would not extend all the way back. It sounds a little odd, but we really don't need the back fenced with the trees we have back there. The little section on the sides would make it easier to let our little dog roam and would add a ton of interest to the sides of the house. 

I've dreamed of something like this:

side yard gate

Doesn't that feel like a secret garden? Love it. 

I would love a gate with a curved top like this: 

gate with curved pergola

But one like this would work too -- I'm not picky!: 

gate with pergola

Wouldn't that be lovely? 

Of course in my dreams it would be covered in clematis and be crazy gorgeous like this: 

gate with curved top and flowers 
It gets me giddy thinking of all the possibilities around a fence!

I love the addition of a paver detail under this one too: 

gate to garden

Um. Do you SEE those hydrangeas? 

My husband will regret reminding me of this side of this side of the house. :) Buwhahahaha. 

The fence would only go from the side of the house back to the trees we have in the side yard, on both sides. I think for budgeting reasons we may have to do one side of the house at a time though.  

I'm guessing maybe a third of this will happen this year. I'm just aiming to fix the window screens and getting the junk hauled away for right now. Baby steps. But I can see it looking just fantastic some day, right? 

Any recommendations on plants for afternoon sun? We don't have a lot of spaces that have it so this is fairly new to me. Have you done anything fun to your side yard? It's a forgotten space for so many -- but as you can see the potential is huge!