How to Make a House a Home (decorating styles)

The thought of starting over both exhausts and excites me.  I am moving to a simple box of a home with an acre of wildness.  I asked a friend of mine who lives out there about wildlife.  “I suppose I will be back with wildlife,” I wrote.  “Deer?  Coyotes?” I ventured.

She wrote back, “Deer, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bears, mountain lions, hawks, owls.”

My chickens are toast, I thought.

pexels-photo

Outside of fencing in the chickens, the rest of the gardens will wait.  Fencing, soil, amendments, and careful planning over the winter’s months will result in a full fledged gardening and farm animal movement.  In the meantime, I turn to the house.

ISqtbqfghiaoh30000000000

In my mind’s eye, I see it burgundy with white trim, dark brown rustic shutters, and a wrap around porch.  I have no doubt that will come to be, but first, we work indoors!

How do you get the feel of a house?  How do you choose your decorating and design in a new place?  It is easy in old houses.  The old wood floors and crooked lines and personality shine through.  Doug was surprised that I liked the house we chose.  He commented that I don’t usually like new.

The house we spent eight years in after being married and when our children were young was an ugly bi-level in a suburb.  The photos of the place were on the internet as we peeked at real estate recently.  Gone were my murals and whimsical painted cupboards.  Also gone were the broken hand rails and the bare sub-floor.  That house swiftly fell apart the moment we bought it.  We were astounded by the new recessed lighting, sharp looking kitchen, soft carpet, and beige walls.  It was very rich looking and very…boring.  That house was all about homeschooling and raising children.  The downstairs was an art room and library with cement floors they could ride their scooters on.  The upstairs was open for entertaining and was full of color.  I don’t miss it though.  Once we made our exit to the country, I didn’t think I’d be back in the city!

IMG_2421

Back in the city, in a fancy apartment that looked out across the skyline of mountains that we rented for a year while saving up for a house, I decorated with eastern Indian motifs.  Golds and sharp pinks, black and white designs, and an area for yoga so that I could look out at the mountains and wonder how our life got turned so around that I was living in an apartment a few miles from that first house!  The colors were stimulating and inspiring.  A country look would not have worked.  And that was my calming place to get my mind right after so much loss.

Jpeg

My design inspiration for my current house.  I kept it on my fridge for a year dreaming of my own homestead.

Here in this home, that used to be a farmhouse, the design is simple.  We moved in with practically nothing and it didn’t take long to fill it with hand me downs and antiques.  It is colorful with chili ristras and my bright paintings, yet serene with comfy seating and lots of plants, thanks to all the natural light.  The decor is incredibly eclectic, bouncing from Amish country to New Mexican to old farmhouse.

20190715_074303.jpg

New house decorating inspiration.

We are now moving to a circa 1993 (my baby was born in 1993) home with brand new greige paint (the newest trend- grey/beige blend), and fresh floors, and newer appliances, and not a hint of personality.  But I can find it, harness it, use it to create a new home.

The house has an incredible view of the surrounding mountains.  The acre is filled with cactus and cedar and other southwest, desert plants.  Snowfall will create a breathtaking view.

We are at a different stage of our life now.  We want to have enough beds to host all of our children in hopes of big country Christmases.  I want the house to feel welcoming, calming, inspiring, grown up, with a sense of fun and whimsy placed here and there.  A homestead, but modern farmhouse style.  I will take the greige and use it as my base of ideas.  Creams, dark woods, and warm knits will give it a hygge (Nordic) feel.  A mix of industrial, Nordic farmhouse, and cabin elements with lots of light and coziness.

Clear the clutter will be my motto and striking single pieces will replace lots of stuff.  We have our eye on a large, tall book shelf complete with a ladder.  The high ceilings will allow it.  Image it filled with all of my brewing herbal extracts with suspended plants, and stained glass-like jars of canned goods lining the shelves.  I am painting my dark piano cream.

Our shelves of books will line a wall in our new office/sewing room with a pull out couch.  The guest room will boast a stunning queen sized bunk bed.  The television will sit on a roll cart that can easily be put in a closet.  I despise having to decorate around a blasted, ugly television!  An oriental rug in the slim kitchen and blackboard doors on the pantry.  The oil lamps keep getting knocked over by a very large farm dog, so they will be replaced (*sigh) with elegant lamps.  Whimsical vintage signs and things we love, like drawings from Maryjane, greenery, and photographs.  Yes, this will be a lovely home.

The inspection on our new house is today and I will take along a measuring tape and graph paper to measure and plan.  This is my favorite part of moving!

Here are a few tips on how to find the personality and decorating style for your home.

1- Find the story behind the house.  Use surrounding scenery and house style to find the personality of the home.

2- Where are you in life?  Raising kids or working from home will all change the needs of the house.

3- What colors make you perk up?  What design elements (antiques, old/new signs, plants) make you smile?

4- Can you reuse what you have?  What do you need to buy?

5- Decorate with what you love.  Even if they don’t “match,” you will find that they end up seamlessly working with everything else.

6- Check out design and decorating books from the library and cut out decorating ideas you love from magazines.  I keep a huge binder of them and look at them each time I want to redecorate or move.

7- Fill your home with visiting friends, laughter, great books, candle light, and a kettle for tea.  Music, less electronics, and joy will make your home a respite from the world.  I think I might turn in my smart phone for a home phone and a record player.

Jpeg

Living Space Makeover- Part 2 (after photos!)

When we moved into this house two years ago (my goodness, time flies!), the walls were a dingy, rental white with chipped grey trim.  I have never been a fan of white.  I rarely utilize white.  I adore color!

20181231_072133

Before

20190102_084936

After

I have kept a notebook of magazine clippings of loved décor for the past fifteen years or so.  As I flipped through the worn pages I discovered something; every single room had white/cream walls.  All of them.

“I’m surprised you are painting the walls white,” Shyanne responded on text after I sent her the first wall completed.

20181231_072120

Before

20190102_085216

I am still working on organizing this corner, but it will be a sweet little space for writing and dreaming.  I moved the desk so that I could put up a folding table to hold more plants under the window.

As soon as we moved in two years ago, I painted the walls warm yellow with a library brown trim and they were lovely.  This house is nearly one hundred years old, adobe, build in a proper style where the windows and eves are set just right so that in the summer the sun is above the house and in the winter, the sun floods through the windows.  I can touch the ceilings.  This house wasn’t built by tall people, y’all.  The result is that it feels almost cave-like sometimes and remarkably cozy.  With all my bright colors and plants though, it felt cluttered.

20181231_072147

Before

20190102_085234

So, what the heck, right?  I went and chose a crisp with a touch of cream, white paint and set to work New Year’s Eve.  It is amazing how dirty walls get over the years and the white paint was like a cleansing.  All of the colors of my southwestern things just pop against the new gallery walls and the space feels bright and wintery.  Cool and enlivening.  New and fresh.

20190102_085111

Finances and a very large puppy mean that we aren’t getting new furniture very soon but these pieces, dingy and a bit torn as they may be, become transformed with a few bright blankets.

20190101_131039

“What do I want to devote space to?”  A very good question for the new year.  For me, it is my work.  With all my beautiful items at the ready, I don’t have to be digging through closets and bags to find what I need for ceremony!

Message_1546373457611

Next to it I placed a table with my curiosities.  My bird nests and feathers.

20181231_072211

Before (found my husband!)

20190102_084659

After

With the house nice and bright and filled with southwestern color and all my bright paintings displayed, I feel light and calm, happy and inspired.  So white was the right color for me all along!

20190101_131017

With a bit of paint, some blankets to use as throws, and a rearrangement of furniture, you can have a whole new living space designed for what you want to make space for.

 

Happy New Year everyone!

 

The Farmgirl Bath; Before and After

This is one of those cases where paint really did save the day.  No fancy remodels.  Just paint and fresh towels.  If I could find a few vintage floral prints to hang up, that would really make the room.

To start, the bathroom was full of spiders and dirt.  Whatever kid lived here last had pizza on his fingers and left marks throughout the house.  The bathroom was dingy and plain.

bath-8

Now, I am one that would prefer to count blessings over wrinkles so I do not want bright white light with bright white walls.  A light shade of rose tones the space down and gives a glow of health and less wrinkles to anyone who peers in the mirror.

The key to making different colored rooms appear seamless is the use of a color throughout all the rooms.  In this house’s case, I am using that lush, dark brown as trim throughout.  It was also used on the bead board in the bath.  The dark brown instantly transports me to old hotels we have stayed in and makes the bathroom go from frilly pink to all grown up and slightly French.

After two weeks of packing, moving, rearranging my shop, and painting, I am ready to try out that new bath tub!

Home Sweet Home (decorating to create a home)

IMG_2421

An ordinary apartment.  But after being homeless for the first time in my life, the word HOME means a whole lot to me.  So this rug spoke to me.

We started with a blank space.  Cream colored walls and cream soft carpet makes the sunlight that pours in the many windows soften and glow and the aura is light and sunny.  Hand me down furniture works beautifully.  But how can you make it go from plain to wow and homey?  Just a few simple tricks can transform an ordinary place into a HOME.

Color- I didn’t realize that was the main thing missing!  Boy, the moment I hung up some paintings the whole room started to dance.  I painted these paintings (they are for sale) but any great painting or framed poster does the trick.  The special paintings came from my granddaughter, Maryjane Rose.  The first one was painted a year ago.  The new one she instructed me on how to hang it and what it is.  “It’s the Dark Side,” Emily noted.  Uh…I don’t really want a picture of the dark side and what is a two year old….  “Starwars,” Emily clarified, reading my mind.  Maryjane confirmed it was Starwars and told me which side was up.  Priceless.

Flowers- Doug snuck out at 11:00 at night after I went to sleep Valentine’s Day eve to pick me up beautiful raspberry colored tulips.  They look lively on the fireplace mantle.  Each piece infusing more life into the space.

Pillows- and creativity.  We received kind sized mattresses from a friend when she bought new ones.  Our bed that had been given to us before is a double.  I had the mattresses in the living room to dispose of.  But then Maryjane and Emily spent the night instead of driving an hour plus home one night.  They will likely do so each Friday since Emily closes and then opens Saturday morning.  So, I have a spare bed in the living room.  Not real magazine ready.  But, with Maryjane’s painting of her farm (after all, she was named after the magazine, Maryjane’s Farm) that she has claimed as her own and her Mother Earth News magazine, and piles of comfy pillows, it is now more of a respite and calling place to read or nap or lounge.  Books and my guitar nearby add to the vacation-like atmosphere and the fake moose head adds whimsy.  Board games await.  Sunlight streams in.

IMG_2415

Blankets- blankets add texture and color and invite warmth and comfort.  A few change the whole look of the living room.

Rugs- the front door rug, the rug as you enter, and the rug by the chairs by the front door hint to take your shoes off!  Whitish carpet needs slippers.

Beauty- using what pleases you, what makes your eyes open a bit more, catches your breath.  For me, this Laura Ashley-ish comforter called for me.  Paired with two side tables, one old crate, and one cat carrier with a floral curtain wrapped around it, makes a lovely place to read and end the day.

IMG_2411

Any way you decorate it, there is no place like HOME.