Bring It On, Summer!

Apr 29, 2017

It gets HOT in Texas so all outdoor projects have a hard May deadline. The past month I've re-landscaped the front yard and spruced up the back patio. 

I added a pretty french blue color out here for the spring and summer. The fiddle leaf tree that was in this blue and white planter bit the dust so I tried it out here with a new bougainvillea that's still alive thankfully. I found the pillows at Pottery Barn and knew they would instantly go out here. I'm still shopping for a new outdoor coffee table since I'm not thrilled about the two ottomans pushed together. Once I find that and a new outdoor rug I can call this patio done!

I spend every weekend morning out here with my coffee while I watch Behind the Gates on AWE. If you haven't seen this show, you've got to check it out. Coffee plus fabulous houses makes the perfect morning!

All of the flowers are blooming and I couldn't be happier. 

This bougainvillea is huge! I made my son put his head next to one of the blooms for reference. He looks thrilled right?!

The weather is beautiful right now and we spend every minute we can outside. 

The boys are already in the pool even though the water was freezing this day. I went in Friday and it's getting warmer, but still too cold for me to get in all the way. 

Our new dining set is in! We are missing a chair in this picture, but we finally put it together. I found it online at Target and it's the same wicker as our loungers. Since the loungers held up so well the past year I decided to get the matching chairs.

I know this isn't how most people spend Easter, but we're not exactly traditional over here! We made a huge breakfast and enjoyed every minute by the pool. Just a couple of years ago the boys would be running all over the yard looking for eggs and now they are somewhat calmly enjoying breakfast. When they have bad table manners I threaten cotillion. If you live in the south you know that's every girl's dream and every boy's worst nightmare. It's a group of young boys and girls that have ettiequte classes and formal dances if you aren't familiar with it. I just have to say the c word and bad manners disappear.

We also installed these new outdoor lights from Costco over the dining area. I noticed it was a bit dark here even with the floodlight on and they definitely brighten up the entire space.

On to the front yard! It was a bit sad looking this year with dead plants and honestly just a poor design from the builder. All of our neighbors have amazing yards so I'm not sure why they skimped on ours, but we had to fix it. We consulted a landscape architect, but they wouldn't be able to work on it for at least a month so we decided to do it ourselves. Don't ask about the manhole with the circle of plants around it. I have no idea what the builder was thinking, but that drove me crazy to say the least. Don't mind my son out here playing basketball either. At least half the time I take a picture there is someone or my dog photobombing.

After! I just love my new maple tree. Even though I complain about the lack of landscaping from the builder, it's nice to pick out our own trees and plants. Most of our neighbors have oak trees and I like them, but I have always loved maples. The leaves are looking a little distraught on one side of the tree, but I'm hoping that's temporary. We also added junipers and roses. The flowerbeds are in the same shape as before to make it easy and we just replaced or moved plants instead. One day we'll get it professionally landscaped, but this is definitely good enough for now. 

Here's a closer look at the junipers and roses. The yaupon are so similar to boxwoods that act as a border. These were what was surrounding the weird manhole before.

We are finished with our summer projects with a few exceptions to the patio and we're waiting on quotes to come in for the balcony railing on the back patio retaining wall. I was all set on one contractor and then I never heard from them again. So, we're back to the drawing board, but at least it's not us sweating outside in the summer heat installing a railing!

New Artwork in the Dining Room

Apr 1, 2017

The new painting I bought for the dining room came in early! I actually wasn't sure if it was going to go in the dining room because I loved the gold mirror in there, but once I propped it up on the buffet I fell in love with it. The whole room just tied itself together. It grounded the mirrored buffet and the gray went so well with the drapes. I was worried it was a bit too traditional and that I would get bored with it so I had to live with it a couple of weeks. I can safely say it's going to stay because I still love it just as much as I did the day it was delivered.

Unfortunately, I had to admit the chandelier from the last post was just too small for this room. Here's a bad picture of it sitting on the table. It's really much prettier in person. This gives you an idea of how it all works together once I buy the correct size. When I try to save money, this is what happens.

I really did not want to re-pack it and send it back after putting on the crystals on so I decided to put it in the master bedroom along with the gold mirror. I'm going to try and find a similar one that's a bit bigger for the dining room soon. I'll update you on the master bedroom with the dining room cast-offs once my husband adjusts the chandelier. It's leaning to the side a little and it needs to be shortened a bit. At least he cut the cord too long instead of too short!

Here is the look I'm hoping for once the room is complete. I'm still not completely sold on the linen chairs at the head of the table since I don't really need them. I was completely sold on the rug until I saw the price. If price is an indicator of good style then I am a master at picking out lighting and rugs because I am always drawn to the most expensive ones. Champagne taste on a beer budget, story of my life!

Once I finish the decor I'd love to add trim work and do something with the windows. You can't tell from the picture, but the windows are hideous builder grade ones that are messing up my design. I've considered adding shutters (not my favorite look with this furniture), replacing the windows (probably not going to happen), trim work around the windows for distraction (but then I'd have to do the rest of the house and the windows are still ugly), or sheer drapes (does anyone do that anymore?). The view is very un-lovely of the fence and the side of the neighbor's house. I have a landscaping plan for that and it includes very tall Italian cypress trees. One problem solved!

I've been trying to get the backyard ready before summer is here so I haven't had much time to think about chandelier or rug shopping. We've been getting quotes for a couple of outdoor projects and just getting the quotes is a project! I'm hoping to be done with all of that by the time the boys are out of school so I can go back to finishing up the dining room. By then, it will be too hot to do anything outside so I'll want an indoor project. I'm spending as much time as I can outside right now with this great spring weather. Have a great weekend!

Dining Room Plans

Mar 14, 2017

I can honestly say I don't have one finished room in my house. The past year and a half, I focused more on filling up the rooms with furniture instead of on any details. It's now time to go back and completely finish each room, and I'm starting with the dining room. It's mostly because I couldn't take that builder grade chandelier a day longer! I also bought these new white marble lamps for the buffet for such a good deal on Overstock.

I might add a bit of gold rub and buff to the silver areas later, but we'll see how the room turns out. I say that because I just happened on this artwork from ZGallerie I absolutely love. I hate to replace the mirror because I like that too, but this is just so perfect to go with the room and the gray drapes.

I've had my eye on a Restoration Hardware crystal chandelier for a couple of years, but the price made me hesitate. I also knew I was going to have to shell out a ton of money for someone to hang it. The dining room ceiling is about 20 feet high, which means we will need to use scaffolding. I did see a knock-off on Overstock of the same chandelier, but the reviews were terrible with people saying the entire chandelier needed to be re-wired. I found another one on Overstock from a more reputable company, but it was smaller with less crystals than I had wanted so I held off on buying anything. 
Once I decided I needed to buy something I went with the smaller chandelier. It came in last week and it's absolutely beautiful! I'm happy about having less crystals because I like my bling in small doses. I am still not completely sold on the size. The width is the same as what I have now, but it's quite a bit shorter. I knew that when I bought it, but I didn't realize the one long chain at the bottom would make up five inches of the height so it's even shorter than I thought. If I didn't have such tall ceilings it would be fine, but I'd prefer a longer chandelier. It's just sitting on my dining room table right now. I keep going back and forth every day about it. If I hang this one it's going to stay after paying for the labor!

I made my husband hold it up to see how it would look. He looks thrilled, right?

I also moved my bedroom rug in here to try it out. It would marry the gray and blue I have in the room, but it's just too light so I decided against it. I just have to try and talk him into helping me move it back to the bedroom now.  That should go well.

I decided to mock up my different design plans on an app. This is something I did when picking out furniture and was so easy. I could be in a store and paste it all together instead of having to go back to my computer. It's not the prettiest, but it gives you a quick idea. It also saves my husband's patience for the all of the other things I ask him to do every weekend.

Maybe with gray chairs and a gray rug? The artwork doesn't come in for a couple of weeks so I have time to figure it all out!

A Romantic Valentine's Day: Le Meurice in Paris

Feb 11, 2017

I did a Valentine's Day post once before about this hotel and it is still one of my favorites. When I went to Paris several years ago this was definitely not my experience! My husband had Marriott points he wanted to use for our hotel. It was nice, but definitely not what I had imagined. I keep saying we need a Paris do-over. I know exactly what to do now if we go back!

A hotel with an Eiffel Tower view is a must.

The hotel overlooks the Tuileries Garden. The location is in the heart of Paris.

A floor to ceiling marble bathroom!

I would love to have breakfast here before walking around the streets of Paris or spending an afternoon at The Louvre.

What to wear...something special that's not quite a gown, but a bit dressier than a typical cocktail dress.

Have beautiful pictures taken so you will always remember a once in a lifetime trip. French Grey Photography is just one of many that has photo packages for visitors.

Don't forget the pink champagne! Happy Valentine's Day!

My Blue Master Bedroom Reveal

Feb 1, 2017

I haven't shown you the master bedroom since we moved in except for a few peeks the new furniture via Instagram. I had big plans for it that got pushed back because the main areas of the house took precedence. Instead of re-inventing the wheel with a fabulous design I settled on something that required no manual labor. Anything that requires paint or woodwork these days is a stretch with our schedules. That's funny to me considering how much DIY we did in our last house, but I also didn't work nearly as many hours as I do now. My weekends are now dedicated to family, friends, errands aka shopping,  and dining out. It makes up for the other five days of work, work, work. One good-bad thing about moving into this new neighborhood is that my husband has found new weekend golfing buddies. He's not interested in giving that up to put trim up in the bedroom. I can't say I blame him!

The furniture was fairly easy to pick out. Actually, I just happened to stumble across it on Restoration Hardware's website and said done! I wanted something a bit more traditional for this house that wouldn't go out of style because I know from experience that my bedroom is going to be the last room to get a makeover in the future. I settled a bit on the bed because the four poster bed I had in mind was way over the budget after spending so much on the dresser and nightstands. 

The hardest part for me is always bedding. I hate duvets with a passion, but I can't seem to stay away from them. They are always a messy, lumpy, wrinkled mess that could have something to do with the way we sleep instead of the actual bedding itself. I prefer coverlets, comforters and throws. Trying to find a decent looking comforter is almost impossible these days and coverlets just aren't heavy enough for me. I happened to see an Yves Delorme outlet when I was driving through San Marcos, TX on the way home from a wedding this past summer and went bananas. Of course we had to stop! I spent an hour putting together a complete bed with the sales woman. She also happened to be French like the bedding itself, which I thought was charming. My husband was not impressed by any of it! He had been looking forward to going to Lockhart for BBQ. The place he wanted to go to sells out many days and he looked at his watch with a big sigh every few minutes. Don't worry, I got my bedding and he got his BBQ!

I absolutely love this coverlet! It's amazingly soft and heavy at the same time.

These pillows shams are what sold me on the bedding. I haven't seen anything else like it.

I have new lamps in mind that will go with the gold hardware on the nightstand so even if I change things up they will still work in here. I'm not in love with the gold starburst mirror since it's too small, but it needed a little something for pictures I took recently so I stole it from my kitchen vent hood. Sometimes you just have to improvise! It will be going back to the vent hood soon.

I love the large scale size of this dresser. The tiny one I had before looked like it belonged in a dollhouse. This one fits the space so much better.

The bedding is exactly what I don't like, thin white fabric and a duvet. It was just too pretty and unique to pass up. I decided it will do for now until I'm ready to change the bedding, the rug, add trim and paint the walls. It really could be another year or two before that happens so just making it pretty enough was the plan!