After: the curtains

A year ago or so,  I posted our dilemma of what to do about curtains for the living room.  Then we got sidetracked with the upstairs renovations.  Then in August I mentioned that we were trying to figure out the curtains in the guest bedroom.  Well, I’m happy to report that our curtain cliffhangers are both now resolved.

We finally went for some cream curtains in the living room. I like that they have a very subtle stripe for a bit of texture.

The room feels softer, warmer, and more finished, but the curtains don’t compete for attention versus the art and antiques in the room.  We’re really pleased with how well they turned out.


In the bedroom we ended up going with the Meander pattern for the roman blind. The brighter green colors pick up the green in the artwork, and the brown picks up the brown stripe in the bedspread.

This also means the guest bedroom is almost finished — hopefully I’ll be able to post an After for that room in the next month or so!


Decisions decisions: dining room chairs

As posted previously, we’re pondering a new dining room table which of course means we will also need new chairs. The chairs are proving even harder to choose than the table.

We don’t want anything too formal. A lot of the modern but informal chairs either look too much like something from Beetlejuice for me, or too much like the plastic chairs you see in schools for Grimbil.  I’d really love to find some upholstered chairs with a cool pattern, but that is proving surprisingly difficult.

We could go for simple white leather and chrome, to go with the white and chrome theme in the kitchen. Something like this:


Or we could go for walnut from the same manufacturer as whichever table we pick. Perhaps something simple like this:





Decisions decisions: dining room table

For the past 3 Thanksgivings we’ve been bemoaning our lack of a proper dining room table. To be honest, we eat most of our dinners on the couch but we do also like to entertain. Having our friends huddle around the couch is getting old.

We know we want a table that is extendable. For everyday use we would want it to seat 6 people but for Thanksgiving and any other massive dinner party we’d love to be able to fit 10 or even 12.

We also know we want a wooden table. Walnut seems to be the best option for our decor.  It’s darker and warmer than oak but not as dark as wenge (the other popular options for dining rooms). So walnut it is.

We also want the table to have a bit of flair to it.

The contenders are:

1. The Omnia table

Pro: the legs are cool, and they remain at the corner of the table even when it’s extended
 Con: you can see the hardware when it’s extended, and it only seats 10


2. The Cinetic table

 Pro: The legs are even funkier than the Omnia, they stay at the corners, no hardware visible when extended, and it seats 12 people
 Con: We can’t see it in person before buying it  

Which will it be? I’ll leave you in suspense for now…


The plan: new furniture

As mentioned earlier, our big effort this year is to upgrade our furniture.  The previous owners of the house left behind everything, which has served us well since we owned very little furniture when we bought the house. But none of it is our style and all of it is cheap. Now that we’ve finished renovating it’s time to get the furniture up to par with the rest of the house. We made the first big step in this direction when we replaced the sofa. So, what else needs replacing?

The coffee table, which is not only the wrong kind of wood for our decor but also has broken slats:

The end table, which is too pale and frankly is a clutter / wire magnet:

The cafe table and chairs which currently serve as our dining room table. The wrong wood, the wrong size, and a tendency for screws to just drop out of the chairs make these a no-go:

The Ikea rocking chair which serves Grimbil as his video gaming chair. It just doesn’t have any style:

The dressers, which are again the wrong wood but also not quite the right size or style for our bedroom:

The bedside tables in our room are again the wrong wood for our bedroom, but they’ll work just fine in the guest bedroom. So we need new bedside tables for the master bedroom. There is also a bookshelf in the living room which is not only the wrong wood but is boring. I’d like something that has a variety of shelf heights.  We also need lamps for all of the beside tables, and a more attractive lamp in the living room.

Needless to say, Grimbil’s eBay account will be quite active this year as we offload the old stuff!

We’re baaaaack!

We dropped off the face of the internet for a while, due to vacations and holidays and work and general laziness. But now we’re back! This past Christmas and New Year’s we visited family in the Pacific northwest, and seeing how well decorated their homes were has inspired us to make one last push. We’ve declared 2013 the year of new furniture. Good-bye Ikea left overs from the previous owners, hello furniture that actually reflects our taste.  After all, what’s the use of knocking down and re-doing every wall in your house if the furniture looks like student housing left overs?

The furniture that came with the house

 So for the foreseeable future we’ll be blogging about our evolving interior design.  And of course, Otto will make appearances as well.

In progress: The master bedroom

The building work is finished, but now the hard part remains: decorating the master bedroom.

So far we have warm-toned wood floors, a couple of warm-toned persian rugs, wedgewood blue walls, and a new bed that flips open to store lots of stuff below. I’m very happy with how well the painting over the bed goes with the color of the walls:


So what’s left? White shutters on the windows, new bedside tables and lamps, new dresser, full length mirror, some sort of dressing table and chair, and new bedding.

The grey of the current bedding doesn’t quite work; it’s just different enough from the color of the walls to look like a mistake. I’m thinking something more brown to go with the chocolate of the headboard and the warm tones of the floor / rugs. And perhaps a dark wood for the tables and dresser, like this:

And maybe bubble table lamps like this:

Once we have the dresser etc set up at this end of the room, we’ll be able to hang more artwork too. I think our Thai silk screens would go nicely.


In the meantime I’ll have to content myself with how awesome our closet is.


In progress: The guest bedroom


The renovations to the guest bedroom were pretty minor: we made it a bit bigger, painted it sage green (though you can’t really see the color in these photos), and replaced the ugly carpet with wood floors. But it feels like there is a lot to do as far as interior design. I’d like the look to be clean and modern but more colorful than the rest of the house. Since it’s a guest bedroom we won’t be spending much time there, so it’s also a chance to play with pattern more than we normally would.

I’m struggling to figure out which curtains would look best. Right now the contenders are this vine-y pattern called Meander:

versus this more floral pattern called Wisteria (I’d go for the purple):

I prefer the pattern in Meander but the colors are not as good. The background is actually beige-ish and the green is a lot more yellow whereas the green of our walls has more blue/gray undertones. Wisteria’s colors are more in line with what I’m looking for and I like that it brings in touches of purple, but I’m worried that pattern is too old lady, or too big for our window.

And then there’s the conundrum of what the heck to do for the bed. I don’t want more floral patterns so I’m trying to find something geometric instead. I’d love to incorporate quatrefoil, but I haven’t found a duvet cover in this pattern that has the right colors and gets good reviews. The one below is only available in blue and the fabric is evidently so thin it’s see-through.

This would be perfect, if only West Elm still sold it:

Or maybe a damask pattern, either oversized or in a block pattern. Again, the colors below are wrong for the guest bedroom.


So the search continues….




If I had a hammer…

Between the two of us, we’ve inherited / collected a pretty sizeable collection of artwork. Previously we’ve hung it in a rather boring way, just one or two pieces to a wall. Now that we have all of our building works finished we’re trying our hand at more interesting arrangements. I’m not sure they qualify as gallery walls, but at the very least we could say they are groupings of artwork.

Today we put together this combination in the dining area:


The central piece is a framed copy of our wedding invitation. The photos above and below it were wedding presents, photos of Maine near where we were married. The big pieces on either side are temple rubbings we picked up in Thailand on our friends’ honeymoon. So there’s kind of a wedding theme.

Our biggest effort so far is this collection of etchings of Boston (which were done by Grimbil’s great-great grandfather) above the TV:


I wanted to find a way to make the giant TV blend in a bit better, and the etchings seemed an easy way to do that. Easy until all the measuring and the attempt to trace out the locations of each piece on a template…


…and then use said template to pinpoint the locations for all the picture hooks on the wall…


…did I mention this is how we spent part of our Christmas vacation? It was worth it in the end though.