Friday, May 27, 2011

Does Your Space Rise Up and Greet You?

For about a year Ben and I debated on whether or not to move. We struggled with the same things everyone else does. Can we continue to grow in our space, are we in a good school district, do we like the neighborhood enough to stay?  With it being a buyer's market, and feeling that we really wouldn't get the price we wanted for our house, plus the added expense of Catholic private school, we decided to stay put in our sweet little 3 bedroom / 2 bath house. Although relieved that we finally had a decision on the matter,  what came next was the following question; if we stay here, what do we want to change to make our home more us?

I love Oprah famed designer and cutie Nate Berkus' design philosophy about your home; "Your home should tell the story of who you are and more importantly, who you want to become. It should rise up and greet you each and everyday!" What a great perspective.  If you asked me right now if I thought our house told the story of us, I would tell you yes. It's a warm home filled with things we love like, art, books, music, family, comfort, and fun. That said, who doesn't love a good makeover?!

The room we probably spend the most time in is our kitchen.So we decided that that was the first space we were going to update. Our kitchen space is a decent size, with a U-shaped cooking area, and a sitting / eat in area.  Last year we added granite counter tops, allowing us to add a bar.  By far, one of the most amazing improvements of the space. In addition, it forced us to start using our dining room space as the place to have family dinners, rather than huddled around a counter top, or at a small bistro table.

Since adding the bar, the sitting space hasn't really evolved into anything other than a place to set stuff. At present, we have an armoir/ desk that holds our computer and TV, a small side table and lamp, my college chair, the kids easil and Ikea table, barstools and a rug. Our briefcases and backpacks crowd the other space on the floor. Color wise, the kitchen walls are wood paneling that has been painted a light tan color. The cabinets are white, with brushed silver hardware, and we have white appliances. 

When we decided to update the kitchen, our first order of business was laying hardwood floors. At the time we moved in the kitchen floor had just been replaced with a white speckled vinyl tile.  After more than seven years of wear and tear, and two kids, the tile was looking awful and was starting to break apart.
Original kitchen floors before hardwoods.
Our speckled vinyl tile was an improvement over what once was there.

When we were planning to lay the hardwoods in the kitchen, we wanted to make sure there was a seamless transition into the hallway and dining room where current hardwoods existed.  This forced us to have the floors in the dining room, hallway, and our son's room, refinished.  The guys that did our floors were fantastic and the kitchen / downstairs area has a whole new feel to it now.

Transition between kitchen and dining room. 

New kitchen floors.

So, now that we have these beautiful new floors in place, its time to start evolving this room into a more usable sitting / den space.  We've been talking a lot about the paint colors and the furniture we want to use. I'm blessed to have a husband that is a graphic designer by trade to collaborate with. Ben always has a good eye for color and space.  We both agree that we want something that is bright, comfortable and immediately makes us and our guests feel welcome.

I've been looking around at a zillon design blogs, and magazines, and have come to the conclusion that I like the idea of a yellow, white and gray palate. Ben seems to agree this is a good direction to point ourselves in, especially considering that we have black furniture in the kitchen.  These colors will be complimentary, without coming across as "matchy".   So, these are just some ideas I've come up with that seem to align with our budget. We haven't committed to anything yet. 

1.  Wall color (option 1)- Benjamin Moore  American Heartland
2. Ikea Alvine Ruta Flat woven rug (like the idea of the pattern, but am not dying to have this rug)
3. Ikea Vejmon side table
4. Wall color (option 2) Benjamin Moore Cornsilk
5. Ballard Design Wood Wall Pocket (4 piece)
6. Koen Table Lamp-Mustard yellow
7. Cabinetry and trim color (option 1)- Benjamin Moore Dune White
8.  Various fabric options for pillows and / or cafe curtain
9.  Ikea Ektorp Love Seat-Suangy Gray

We still have new doors, light fixtures, and art to figure out, but we're moving in the right direction and I am so excited!

I'd love to know what you think... Carla

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