Category Archives: Living Room

Coffered Ceiling Install

Our house has undergone quite a bit of change since we purchased it in 2012. Just recently we did a major update to our living room ceiling. This is what it looked like originally…

LivingRoomYou’ll have to forgive the photo quality. The only picture I have was taken with my cell phone. So as you can see it’s just pretty Plain Jane.

We hired a contactor, as we’ve done with numerous projects around our house, and I have to say he was THE best one yet. He, with the help of one other man, measured, cut and installed a complete coffered ceiling and put crown molding up in our entire kitchen all in one day. The guys worked from 8:30am until 6pm until the job was done. We had one piece of molding slip in the kitchen and when I called him he came back out within 20 minutes and fixed it. Now THAT is how contractors should always work. I would hire him again in a heartbeat.

Here are some in progress shots

This is how our living room looks today.

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I’m absolutely in LOVE with this ceiling. It makes such a huge difference. Originally, my husband and I didn’t even consider any homes that didn’t have a two story living room because we liked how spacious and grand they felt but I have to say that since we have had the coffered ceiling put in it has added so much grandeur and character to our home. We recently had a realtor walk through our house to tell us what he thought we could list it for and he said he’s only seen another ceiling similar in one other house that he has listed. We have walked through some new construction houses where builders have installed coffered ceilings but they used drywall and put up some whimpy molding inside of the drywall boxes. Let me tell you it does NOT have the same affect whatsoever. For those interested we have 9 foot tall ceilings in our living room and the molding inside of the boxes is 7 inches thick.

The molding is painted “Mystique” by Valspar.

The inside of the ceiling squares is “Sandy Clay” by Behr.

The wall color is “Toll Booth” by Valspar.

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Item details:

Pottery Barn: Floor Lamp, Floral Pillow Cases and Inserts, Urn by Fireplace

Arhaus: Crank Table

Art Van: Couch and Ottoman

Home Goods: Tan decorative pillows, Basket Tray, Mirror

We are about to have more of an update though because on Saturday we have having new furniture being delivered. I’m so excited to get rid of this green couch and ottoman!! So stay tuned!!

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Halloween Mantle Decor 2014

I’m IN LOVEEEEEE with my mantle. The pictures don’t do it justice I don’t think. It’s the perfect, sexy, vampire’s lair I was going for with my Halloween style. The best part? Everything was purchased at The Dollar Store or I already had.

Halloween Fireplace Decor
Halloween Fireplace Decor

The deep red vases were purchased at Michael’s on clearance and the flowers I bought years ago when we still lived in our condo from Hobby Lobby. I also have yellow flowers that go with these but decided to omit them because yellow seemed too happy for a vampire’s lair.DSC_0879

I draped several cheesecloth things I bought at The Dollar Store across my mantle. I used gray as the base and layered black ones on top of them.

To layer on top of that I used 2 skeleton garlands in black (also from The Dollar Store.) Here is a close up of the skeletons.DSC_0880

As you can see, the string linking the skeletons is tan. I think before I put this up next year I will color them black with marker or paint them so the string blends in better.

Here is the left side of my mantle.

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The only thing that is new is the red candle that I bought at Marshall’s Home Goods this season for around $5. I plan to have it out for the entire fall season. The crows, spider webs and spiders are all from The Dollar Store.

Here is the right side of  my mantle.DSC_0877

The only “new” thing on this side of the mantle are these two AMAZING vintage books. These are not photographing the way they actually look. The light gold color isn’t so bright in person. But the really special thing about these medical books is that they belonged to my grandfather who is no longer with us. They even have his name and address printed on the inner cover and some papers taped inside that appear to be study materials of the human anatomy. AWESOME!!! I love pairing vintage items with new and how special to own ones with family history and meaning? It’s the only thing I have (other than pictures) that belonged to my grandfather so they’ve become very important to me.

Have you incorporated any family heirlooms into your decor?

Some Halloween Living Room Touches…

This was my first year decorating for Halloween and I decided that I wanted my color scheme to be black, gray and deep red as my accent color (rather than orange or purple which seems to be popular now). I chose red because I don’t decorate with red for Christmas at all and I have alot of orange already going on in my basic fall/Thanksgiving decor.

So here is BEFORE I transitioned to Halloween Decor.

Before the Halloween Transformation
Before the Halloween Transformation
After Halloween Decor
After Halloween Decor
After Halloween Decor
After Halloween Decor

What did I change? I added some faux spider webs (from The Dollar Store). The plush red throw on the chair is actually something I used to have at the foot of my bed back in my college days that I recently found in a box in my garage!! The yellow pillows have been on my couch before. I switched them to this space because I thought the yellow on the couch was a little to “happy” for a Halloween couch. I thought the gray pillows that were on these chairs were a better fit for Halloween on my couch since my couch is more of a focal point than this space. The skeleton is a pose and stay skeleton (so it can stand up and you can lock the arms into place and whatnot). I bought this one at Costco this season and it was $38-$39 I believe. It was the cheapest one I’ve seen so far so I snapped it up. The black crow that is perched on the skeleton’s shoulders was bought this season at The Dollar Store. There are small wires on the feet that allowed me to secure it. I don’t have children or pets that will bother the skeleton at all so that small bit of wire was fine for me but if I did have children in the house I would have used more floral wire than what came on the crow. I really want to find a top hat for the skeleton and put a deep red feather in it but I didn’t put the effort in this year to look for one. Maybe next year! On the dresser in front of the candles is a burlap stuffed pumpkin that I got for one penny last year at Michael’s on clearance. I don’t actually like the pumpkin because it has ugly painted designs on it but I figured for 1cent that I could probably sell it for more than that at a garage sale and since I needed something small for that space why not use it? You can actually barely see the painted designs on it with the dark lighting in my room anyway so it’s fine.

Then just yesterday I decided to add this knitted cheesecloth type thing that I bought at The Dollar Store onto the dresser.

Added this Cheesecloth to the dresser.
Added this Cheesecloth to the dresser.

I was slightly disappointed with this skeleton. I was under the impression that I could pose him in more diverse positions. I really wanted to make him cross his legs and pose him holding a newspaper with one of those old timey cigarettes in his hand or holding a martini glass but the joints don’t really work like a socket works. They only move back and forth rather than rotating so I was only able to sit him like this or stand him up basically. Oh well. We can’t have everything right?!

New Weston Crank End Table from Arhaus

I picked up my new Weston Crank End Table from Arhaus on Wednesday. It came fully assembled. All I had to do was pull it out of the box and take the wrapping off of it. The crank is functional. I can raise or lower the table top to exactly the right position. It’s made of iron and has a black finish (but also comes in nickel) and I love that it’s UNIQUE. It’s not something you will see in many people’s living rooms.

I like that it’s sort of industrial and because it’s black it still feels warm. I also liked that the legs are curved which I think gives it a little bit of a feminine touch rather than being too stark and modern looking. I don’t know if I LOVE it with the current furniture in my living room or not but I needed a side table next to the couch in here and I plan to get new furniture in here anyway. I think it would go better with the size couches I have in my basement and I also think it would look great in my foyer area next to the nook in the stairs with a pretty chair next to it. I haven’t bought much new furniture for my home because I only want to buy pieces that are interesting, that make a statement and that I LOVE. So far this table fits the bill and it’s small enough that I could use it in multiple spaces within my home and it would work. I also love that the style of it goes with casual furniture, contemporary, traditional and modern so no matter what furniture I buy in the future it will coordinate.

But anyway,

This is my new table–remember to click to see it larger or click on the link at the top of this post to view it on their website 🙂

New Weston Crank End Table from Arhaus Furniture
New Weston Crank End Table from Arhaus Furniture
New Weston Crank End Table from Arhaus Furniture
New Weston Crank End Table from Arhaus Furniture

New Living Room Paint Color!!!

It has now become a priority for me to get some of the rooms in this house PAINTED!! Not only because all of the walls in our house are the same color, but also because it’s a bit bland and it’s crappy builder’s paint that can’t be washed. We do have some marks on the walls from moving in furniture and it’s just time. I’m also gradually changing all of the trim in our house from white to cream/off-white. The trim the builder put in is absolutely stark white (no warmth at all). It also needed to be painted because it had marks from the nail gun and I think it was the pre-finished moulding that just comes already white so it was a little dinged up.

I decided I wanted to start with the living room because the ceilings are low enough for me to handle without purchasing a ladder (yes, we don’t own a ladder yet lol). It’s also the room we spend most of our time in.

First step was moving the couch so I could get to the walls and can I just say, “ewwwwww.” It was dusty and I found some missing dog bones and whatnot. Marshmallow certainly had a good time investigating the debris though. DSC_0712DSC_0711DSC_0713

I had paint swatches taped to the wall for a few months before deciding on “River Bed Brown.” It’s a paint from Menard’s. It was a beaufitul color on it’s own but after I completely painted the entire living room and wasted a whole can of 30-some-dollar paint I decided the shade was exactly what I wanted…however it looked like it had a purple tint to me. My couch is olive green, the pictures on my walls have greens and yellows and oranges, the olive vase in front of my fireplace….everything seemed to clash with the pinky/purple tint in the paint. Here it is with some of the original paint color and River Bed Brown.
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First Paint Color. River Bed Brown.
First Paint Color. River Bed Brown.

I lived with the room being this color for about 24 hours before deciding I just couldn’t take the pink tint and set out to find the exact same shade but something that didn’t have any pink/purple tint and that would go with grays as well as browns. It couldn’t have too much warmth (yellows) because it wouldn’t look good with my gray accessories, but I wanted it to read overall as “brown” by anyone who looked at the paint. You’d be amazed at how many different browns there are that all have the pink or yellow warmth to them. Something I also considered (and you can call me crazy) but I also chose the paint color knowing that my Christmas decorations are chocolate brown, cream, gold and olive green. I want my decor to look beautiful with every season so I didn’t want to pick anything that would clash with my existing decorations. I went to Lowe’s and took my original swatch of River Bed Brown and found three new colors that looked almost exactly the same but that had just a different undertone to them. I took the samples home and painted them each on different walls of the living room so I could see the way the colors looked with the lights hitting them differently. Eiffle Tower looked like it had a blue tint, Lyndhurst Tan had a pink tint (slightly less pink that River Bed Brown) and Toll Booth looked like it had a gray cast. Toll Booth it is!!!

Here you can see the difference between the River Bed Brown and the Toll Booth with is on the left side surrounding the window moulding. I used Valspar brand paint in a Satin finish for this room. I chose Satin because I wanted a pearlescent finish and I wanted it to be as washable as possible because it’s such a high traffic area (not to mention we plan on having children soon so durability was important.)

The Difference between Toll Booth and River Bed Brown
The Difference between Toll Booth and River Bed Brown
I think here you can really see how the original color had a bit of a rosey undertone compared to the new color.

You may or may not be able to tell there was a change in the trim color. It’s difficult to see the way the room photographs but it’s so much warmer and homier in here. I’m seriously IN LOVE with this new paint color. I know alot of people are afraid to choose dark paint colors but DON’T BE!! They add such richness to a room. Everything pictured was already in the room (although you may notice a silver tray on the mantle that wasn’t there before. I recently inherited that from my Aunt Jan who is no longer with us, but little things like that around my house make me think of her. I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep it there or if it makes my mantle look cluttered but I’m going to live with it for awhile and see how it fits. Anyway, here are the before and afters.



With my original paint mistake, the new paint and supplies it cost around $90 to update the paint color and trim color. I think it was well worth it. What do you think?

Quick Living Room Update

I went to Home Goods today to return some shelves I bought for my laundry room that didn’t work out because they were too wide and also because they were damaged when I bought them and I didn’t notice it until I got home. With the money I got for returning the two shelves I bought some new pillows and a beautiful throw for my living room.

If you saw my previous living room post you’ll see that I have some ikat print pillows on the two chairs under my picture window. Those used to be on the couch and since moving them I’ve thought my couch just looked bare. I wanted to get some pale green pillows for Spring/Summer but all of the green pillows they had were too bright for me and I wasn’t sure they would work in my room. So, I defaulted to a brownish gray color that came as a set of two, BONUS (they’re cheaper when they come in pairs) lol. And they’re the super cushy down filling that I love.

I also found a coordinating cable knit throw blanket by Nicole Miller who I adore. She makes the most beautiful home decor items. Even my silverware is Nicole Miller lol. I especially love the colors she chooses. For instance the throw isn’t the typical brown exactly. It has alot of gray in it which I think looks more modern and fresh compared to the browns with alot of yellow in them.

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New Taupe Pillows and Knit Throw
New Taupe Pillows and Knit Throw

Try not to stare too intently at the ugly pillows in between the two printed pillows. Those actually go with a couch that my brother in law Leonard used to own and then gave to my husband who used it throughout his bachelor days and up until we moved into this house. He refuses to get rid of them and claims they’re the most comfortable pillows he’s ever laid on. I asked if I could recover them and he said no. So, one of these days I’ll have to sneak them out somehow because they have barely any filling in them and they’re UGLYYYYYYY haha. I think I need some solid pillows next with some pretty trim around the edges. I’ll be on the lookout.

Spring/ Summer Living Room Decor 2014

Hi All 🙂 I’m very excited to show you some of the changes I’ve made to my living room over the past month or so. Here is my living room as it looks overall today (remember to click on any of the pictures you want to see larger)…

Spring/ Summer Living Room 2014
Spring/ Summer Living Room 2014
That’s my sweet puppy Soleil in the picture (hence the name of my blog).

The changes I’ve made are subtle but perhaps the most dramatic change is the color of my ottoman. If you scroll down to a few of my previous posts you’ll notice it used to be warm colors. This year the fabric was ruined when we put the vacuum on top of it to vacuum the dust off of our ceiling fan. The roller in the vacuum actually burned through the fabric and ate away at it leaving brush marks. We lived with it like that for months and I’ve wanted to recover it but I haven’t found a fabric I think will work with our living room that I care to spend money on.

I ended up buying a cheap fabric drop cloth from Home Depot for around $13 near the paint department and sewed a cover for it. I haven’t yet secured it to the bottom of the ottoman. I had planned to use upholstry pins and just tack it into place so that if it ever was dirty or stained that I could throw it in the washing machine. The upholstry pins didn’t work because they have to screw into material and the bottom of our ottoman has wood in the way so they can’t be pinned in. I think I’m going to get some Velcro one of these days so I can Velcro it into place and let it still be removable for washing. You can’t tell from the pictures I’m going to post but the drop cloth has a nice texture and actually has a few colors running through it but it’s very subtle and the camera wasn’t picking it up. I’ve never dyed fabric before but I may even try dying it a slightly darker taupe color because this color blends into our carpet a bit much for me. Here is a close up.

Home Goods Tray
Home Goods Tray

Because it just looked like a sea of plain, light fabric to me I decided a solution to that would be to put a tray on it with some pretty accessories. Off to Home Goods (my favorite store on the planet) I went. I was actually really lucky to find this giant tray style basket for only $16. It’s a pale gray wood with dark gray rope handles. I bought the “bird cage” looking potpourrie container because I was specifically trying to find decorative pieces that weren’t vases or candle sticks. I tend to buy alot of the same types of things and then have a problem with the way my staging looks because it’s too monotonous. So, that was a good find. The metal looks like an old weather vane, like it’s been aged by the sun and lots of time which I love about it. I’ve never bought potpourrie but it actually makes the living room smell amazing and doesn’t involve me having to burn candles or Scenty wax. The silver mercury glass “genie bottle” I already had on my mantle but put in on the tray for height. I like to group things in threes which is why I bought the jar candle (also from Home Goods). It smells good; I like the silver lid which adds a bit of glam to the more rustic basket and goes with the mercury glass bottle. I also threw some Restoration Hardware magazines in there. You can’t beat free decor right?

Now– on to the mantle. Here is a close up.

Spring/ Summer Mantle 2014
Spring/ Summer Mantle 2014
You may also notice the paint swatch on the wall to the right. Yayy!! I finally picked a paint color!! I’m procrastinating with the paint because I have to paint all of the white trim in here cream and I HATE painting trim and after painting lots of the trim in this house I’m OVER ITTTTTTTTTTT. I’ll get around to it…eventually…lol

Here are the details a bit larger.

Left Side of Mantle
Left Side of Mantle
The large glass vase is from Home Goods along with all of the balls inside and next to it. The antiqued silver candle holder was given to me by my mother. She received it as a gift I think and it sat in our basement for years before I stole it for my house. It actually was bright silver but it’s tarnished since it’s been in my house and I actually LOVE the tarnish. Every now and then with it becomes TOO tarnished I’ll wipe it down a bit but I always leave some of it on because I prefer it that way over the bright silver. The cream vase and flowers are both from Michael’s.

The Right Side of the Mantle
The Right Side of the Mantle
On the right side of the mantle I have two cement containers that I bought from Home Goods and I was surprised at how inexpensive they were. They’re super heavy, excellent quality and they remind me alot of Resoration Hardware. I’m obessed with owls and I’ve had that guy for awhile; he’s from TJ Maxx. The books are all from the Salvation Army. Those are a recent find of mine and they were only 20 cents a piece!! The little cream vase is from Michael’s and I’ve had it forever and it’s never been on display in my house. The other side of it has a bunch of butterflies and things on it but I liked the plain cream showing better with my color scheme. Then there’s the section in front of the fireplace.
Solid Wood Candle Stick
Solid Wood Candle Stick
The distressed solid wood candle stick is another Salvation Army find. It’s heavy and I love the carvings on the sides. It was already beat up and distressed which I like about it. I may distress it a bit more around the carvings a bit to make them show up better from further away. Or not. We’ll see. The green vase with the flowers has been out since we’ve moved in. I just normally have two of them on either side and I removed the red, orange and gold flowers from it now that I recovered the ottoman. I’ll bring them back out when it’s fall.

This is also a new addition for my living room.

New Living Room Furniture
New Living Room Furniture
The two chairs were part of our 4 seat dining room set we used in our condo. For the past 2.5 years we’ve lived in this house they’ve been sitting in the basement unused. The antique dresser has also been in my basement for quite awhile. I bought it to use as a nightstand in my guest room but my guest room is at capacity with all of my scrapbooking supplies while my scrap room is under construction so I haven’t been able to use them. I’ve been sick of staring at this side of the living room being completely empty for some time and it suddenly occurred to me that I could use these items to fill up the space and put them back to use. I plan to refinish the dresser because it has alot of orange undertone to it that I don’t love. I’d like to make it look like a white-washed gray with some of the wood grain still showing through so that will be a project on my To Do list. I plan to leave the antique gold hardware as is because I LOVE IT. The pillows I put on the chairs were previously on my couch and I just moved them over there. The dresser is staged with more Salvation Army books, bronze candle sticks and candles I got from my Aunt Jan who recently passed, an a distressed cream vase from Michael’s.

So…all in all, I really like the result of the changes I’ve made so far. What do you think?