When a pantry could be so much more!

Ready for a Remodel

We down-sized to a smaller home recently, and I knew right away that this 9 door pantry had to go.  Don't get me wrong, nine doors sounds like a lot of storage space but they were so deep that you could lose a small child back there.  There was also wasted space on each side, so even pull-out baskets weren't really an option.  To make matters worse, the entrance to the kitchen was only 2 1/2 feet wide and 7 feet tall.  It felt like another bedroom entrance.   Ugh!  My last house had a huge kitchen open to a living and dining space with lots of natural light.   Immediately I began to problem solve.  I envisioned 4 cabinet doors with custom pull-out drawers to be the base cabinets.  Four others would go all the way to the top of the 10 ft. ceiling and be used for party and holiday items that I wouldn't use often.    Perfect!   Another problem was on the opposite wall.  It stuck out so much that the refrigerator door couldn't open completely.  So, I hired a contractor to widen my opening to 8 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.    Now the fridge functions properly and it feels a lot more spacious.  Read on...
A few weeks later,  we had the subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern, added black granite for a classic look, hired Daniel (my favorite electrician) to do electrical work for the coffee maker, new barn light, and open shelving.    SO MUCH BETTER!   Of course, it's never ending.  We now have new wood floors and baseboards.  Time to paint all of the cabinets white, and pick a color for the walls.  I literally have four paint colors on the kitchen walls right now.  I'll share more pictures when that is finished.  Honestly, I'm in no hurry because I think I just got all of the dust cleaned up.   Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!  Happy Home Life!

If you love fabulous kitchens as much as I do, check out my collection on Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/shutson/kitchen-fabulous/

5 Tips – Styling with Pillows

Styling with pillows!  Load up on some soft, fun pillows for your sofas, chairs, and beds!   Who doesn't love the color and comfort that they add?  This is an inexpensive way to change up your look for the seasons also.  Since the rug in this photo already had a large design, I went with solid-looking colors.  The brown is actually a velvet print on print, and the cream ones are actually a cream and white mix.   Don't go crazy with too many patterns is my suggestion.   

Here are 5 tips that I use when working with pillows:

Tip #1 Use pillows that are at least 20 x 20 inches with down inserts on a sofa

Tip #2 Layer 2-3 pillows on each end to give a very inviting, comfortable look

Tip #3 Give each pillow a little "karate chop" right in the middle to make them look plump.

Tip #4 ​For beds, use 2-3 European pillows as a backdrop for your standard or king size pillows with shams layered in front. White pillows always look clean and classy.

Tip #5 A rectangular or oblong pillow looks great as the "middle" piece since it is smaller.   Think tall, medium, short as you layer on sofas or beds.

Bonus Tip #6 Don't have room to store lots of pillows?   Buy pillow covers and just change them out when you feel like it.  Etsy.com has nice ones.  Poppin Pillows is another great place that you can order online.  I actually sewed the brown velvety ones myself!  I think I spent about $12 on fabric.   Good find!

​Have fun styling with your own pillows.  I hope you found this helpful.

Decorate with No Money!

After I took down all of the Christmas decorations and cleaned all day, my living spaces were a blank canvas.  A few days later, my son and I spent half a day shopping (mostly looking) at The Shops at Clear Fork in Ft. Worth.  They have several home furniture and decor stores there.   One that I absolutely love is Arhaus.  The employees there are so friendly and everything is like eye candy.  Walking around, I began noticing how they used branches and twigs to decorate large wall spaces.  The photo above is one of the walls that inspired me to make some changes in my own home.

First, I gathered a bunch of branches of different sizes from the two trees that my husband had chopped down.   (Always sad to see trees die!)  I brought several into the house and began to play with them.  This metal basket is pretty much the “collection” of them in case I want to use more.

I put several in the yellow ceramic pitcher that we’ve had for years.  This was given to us, and it’s a perfect size for general decorating.  The white wood mirror was behind some Christmas decor, so I just left it there.

Finally, I put a branch or two on the fireplace mantle, adding another layer to the display.  Do you like the simple gray “wave” on the gold framed art?  Previously that was a mauve matte with mauve, green and country blue flowers – a cottage look from the 80’s.  Rather than get rid of it, I simply painted everything white and added a gray wave with acrylic paint.  My inspiration for that came from Pinterest.  Overall, I think I spent $2-3.00 for some paint.    Adding a bit of nature in your home is always smart and practically free.

Cocoa and Coffee Bar

So living with a husband and two grown sons means I’m the one who decorates for Christmas. Last weekend we all shopped together and found this year’s tree.   They helped haul it in and get it in the stand.  My husband is passionate about watering the tree which is great because I find it tedious.     0nce I put up all the lights and decorations, I had to find a fun Christmas movie to watch.  Check.  Then I needed some delicious hot cocoa.  Check.   That made me long for a cute corner for all of the hot cocoa we’d be drinking this season.  So Ta-Dah!   Just a short time later, I came up with this.  My favorite topping is whipped cream which didn’t make the photo, but trust me, it’s in the fridge!  Do you have a spot in your home that feels warm and cozy?

Mini Makeover Winner

A couple of months ago, I offered a free mini-makeover to one person in a Facebook contest.   Michelle P. in Arlington was the lucky winner, and she chose to update her den.    THANK YOU MICHELLE FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHOWCASE YOUR ROOM!  She has a great house which gives us a good base to work from.   She told me that she’d like to lighten things up and maybe add a splash of color, giving some life to the brown in the room.  We used her artwork above the sofa which had some blues and brick red tones in it.   We chose to keep all of her existing furniture in the room, just scooting two chairs closer together.  The ottoman became a coffee table when we added the tray, and now the pillows give color and personality to her leather sofa.

The brick fireplace is the focal point in the room, but hadn’t really been updated in a while.  Again, our goal was to lighten things up, so we layered some white wood pieces on the mantle and brought in a green potted plant.  Easy!  Remember tall, medium, and short for table tops and mantles when grouping items.

Even though I used my own basic camera for the photos, you can see how we brought together some of the newer accessories to give the pops of blue and white into the bookcase beside the fireplace.  If your books are a hodge-podge of colors, flip them around to see the white/creamy pages. Also, taking a book jacket off the book can give a cleaner look.   Stack accessories to vary the height.  We incorporated a mirror on the lower shelf, which not only hid an electrical outlet, but also reflected light at that low level.   

For the side table, we wanted to move the clock down a few inches so it didn’t feel lonely, but it was not going to budge off of that wall, so we just improvised.  We found a creamy distressed-looking tin from her back porch to give some weight to the configuration, placed a bread basket (from Magnolia Market in Waco – love that place) in front with green “foliage” balls, and kept her tall lamp.  The table had some beautiful accessories before, but especially in photos, smaller things seem more like clutter.   Remember, items smaller than a cantaloupe don’t photograph well.  I know, I know… we all have things that are smaller and we all have photographs of our family in our rooms.  That’s perfectly fine when you’re living in and loving your space!   If you’re marketing your home to sell it though,  those things are a no-no.    And no, Michelle is not selling her house.   The new look definitely gave her some inspiration to look for accessories that not only had pops of color, but allowed her to consider using white.  

Cozy Up to Fall

The weather has FINALLY felt like fall.  With the approaching holidays and cooler weather, I tend to put more accessories in my rooms.  It gives them a warm, cozy feeling.   I’ve learned to appreciate splashes of orange, but I don’t go overboard with it.  Learn to mix in the seasonal colors with the everyday colors that you love.

 Take a few minutes to enjoy the season and count your blessings.  I’m thankful for family, friends, my church, morning coffee, evening campfires…..I could go on forever. 

Obviously, you would not keep these pillow on the hearth if there is a fire in the fireplace, but soft pillows can lure you in, and invite you to sit a while and relax.  A basket of soft throws or blankets look nice and are convenient for chilly nights.   Here’s to fall!   

Shana

FRESH LOOKS

Create a Tablescape

Begin with a table runner going down the middle and falling off each end.   Next, add chargers for the plates to rest.   A festive, cloth napkin adds a sense of celebration.  Layer on another plate or bowl, depending on the type of food being served.   Add a special touch by putting a place card with the name of your guest.  Be creative by adding it to a pinecone, ornament, candy cane, individual pies, etc.  In the middle of your table runner, think high, medium, and low. You can’t go wrong with this formula.  Unscented candles always bring a welcome glow.  Cheers!

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