Living Room Design Ideas

Happy Friday!

We have been sharing lots of home updates on Kindly Kentucky recently. In case you missed it, Jay and I bought a new house this summer. After some renovations and few cosmetic updates, we're (FINALLY) moving in today!

Even though the house is larger than our previous house, we can furnish most of it with things we already have. However, we don't have furniture for the living room. Here's a look at the living room before we bought the house. 

Now it is a blank canvas. Our architect was kind enough to sketch out our entire floor plan, so here's the space. I plan to get a couch, a set of two chairs with possibly a third accent chair, a coffee table, a couple side tables, and a large rug for the space. I have a couple different furniture arrangements in mind, and I'm waiting until we have our upholstered pieces in before I decide exactly how the furniture will be placed. 

I gravitate towards rooms that are understated and comfortable. There's a formal marble fireplace in the room, which is really pretty but not necessarily what I would pick, so I was challenged trying to find pieces that worked with that. I've already ordered the couch and Almada chairs because they are more decorous and structured but incredibly comfortable and don't look too stuffy. 

 
 
  Spool Chair  (Still deciding on a fabric for this piece)

Spool Chair (Still deciding on a fabric for this piece)

While it took a few weeks of visiting every furniture store in town and mulling over online options, I'm pretty set on the big pieces of furniture. Now I'm down to the smaller details, accent items, and artwork, which can sometimes have the biggest impact on the room. I love unique artwork, but those are the pieces that usually break the bank. Fortunately there's a Black Friday Art Sale coming up in Lexington in early December, so I'm hoping to support local artists and find some good deals there to finish out the room. Fingers crossed that it will all come together by the beginning of the year, and I can share the final update with you.

Cheers to the weekend! Hope it's a great one (any you're doing something more fun that moving)!

Kitchen Inspiration

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re currently on the hunt for a little more spacious home in Lexington. Luckily we aren’t in too much of a rush to move, but there haven’t been many good options in our preferred neighborhoods. Since we aren’t in a hurry to move, we’re thinking more and more about buying a house that might be a fixer-upper or something smaller than our desired size that has space to add an addition.

The biggest thing on my wish list is a larger, workable kitchen. Our house is severely lacking in that, and as someone who cooks dinner most nights a week and likes to entertain, this is more of a need than a want.

Ideally, I’d love to have white cabinets with a carrara marble countertop. I also really like butcher block countertops, but I know those require more maintenance and care. I think white or light blue or gray subway tile backsplashes look great with white cabinets. While it is less common in the older houses we’re looking at, I would love for the kitchen to have a large island and open up into the family room.

If we decide on a house that requires some remodeling, these are a few kitchens I’d use for inspiration.

 Image  via

Image via

I love that this kitchen incorporates a butcher block countertop on the island.

 

 
 Image  via

Image via

 

This rug makes the kitchen, and I hope to find something fun like that to add to our future kitchen. I also appreciate the cabinets that go to the ceiling and make a good use of the space.

 
 Image  via

Image via

 

The colored subway tile backsplash sticks out to me here. I like it, but I can't decide if it might not be as timeless as a white backsplash.

 
 Image  via

Image via

 

While it is lower on my list of priorities, I think a small workspace in the kitchen would be really handy.

We're hoping to check out a few more houses this week. Wish us luck in our search!

 
 

My Old Kentucky Home Renovations: Foyer and a Plea for Help

You may remember the December bucket list I put together about a month ago. I'm happy to report that I completed everything except creating a piece of artwork to hang in my home. Time just got away from me, and this goal fell by the wayside. When I wrote that to-do item down, I envisioned making a large statement piece to hang in our foyer because it is lacking in organization, inspiration, cohesion... You get the picture. Anyways, over the next couple of months, I'd like to whip our foyer into shape. Unfortunately, it has become the "catch all" spot, and you can see the mess from almost every other room in our house. It has a lot of square feet and really great lighting, so it has the potential to be a great entrance to our house.

I'm hoping that I can share some "after" pictures with you by the end of February. Here are the "before" pictures in its current state.

As you can see, we're doing a little work on the plaster above the fireplace, so it is a little more messy than normal. It is a relatively blank canvas, and I painted it in Sherwin-Williams Drift of Mist this past winter.

Here are some challenges to the space:

  1. Budget - I'd like to keep everything under $300.
  2. Attachment to existing items - Jay has a sentimental attachment to some of the furniture, so we'll have to come of with a creative way to create a cohesive look. Did you see that little orange school room desk? Yikes!
  3. Little wall space - While the space is large, there are 4 doors or hallway entrances, 2 windows, and a fireplace.
  4. Visibility - Besides being the first room you encounter, it is visible from everywhere on the first floor except the kitchen, so it needs to match the rest of the house.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how to improve this space!

Cheers!

Laura

My Old Kentucky Home Renovations: Survival Tips

Last night, I was walking through our house enjoying our Christmas decorations and appreciating that we were able to decorate the entire house this year. Last year during this season, we were in the thick of home renovations, and I didn’t want to put up too many decorations because it meant extra stuff to dust daily. Anyways, those who know me well know that I have slight anxiety issues when I’m in messy and unorganized spaces, so the months of living in the house during renovations were really difficult and stressful. Since it was a dark time, I didn’t take too many pictures, but I found a few in the annals of my iPhone. I could literally feel my breathing shallow and my blood pressure spike when I pulled them out to share with you.

I put together a list of survival tips. I geared them towards OCD folks, like myself. Here they are...

How to Survive a Renovation If You Don't Like Messes

  • Create renovation-free zones and keep them organized.

I can’t tell you how many times I escaped to our upstairs guest bedroom for a couple hours or closed the doors in our living room, so I wouldn’t have to look at the mess. Having a mini-haven that I could keep neat and clean inside the house was necessary to my survival.

 
Bedroom mess
Bedroom mess
 
  • Buy Swiffer Dry Cloths in bulk.

If you’re like Danny Tanner (or me) and can’t stand dirt, these are a lifesaver. I typically like to use microfiber dusting cloths and washable dusting mop pads, but it was worth it for my sanity to use disposable dusting sheets. I used the dry cloths to dust the floors and multiple other surfaces most evenings. Sorry not sorry, Mother Nature.

  • Multiply the estimated project timeline by four.

Getting into a renovation project, I knew that it wouldn’t be finished on time. Have you ever heard of a construction project finishing on time or ahead of schedule? No. However, I thought it would only be a couple of extra weeks. One of the most stressful things was not knowing when the project would be done and when workmen would come. I had my hopes up pretty much every week, and our project ended up taking four full months instead of the four weeks we were told. If you’re starting a project, multiply the completion time by four because then you might be pleasantly surprised if it gets finished sooner.

  • Realize that you’ll likely go over budget.

Along the same lines, every project that we’ve done has pretty much gone over budget. In our case, the investment in higher quality items was worth it since we were already making a large investment, but we definitely considered where to save and where to splurge. For example, we used higher-end tile in our shower, but we purchased our towel racks from the hardware store (with a coupon) instead of the fancy bathroom showroom. My advice is to know what you can realistically spend and lowball your budget when talking to contractors. You’ll likely end up spending your entire budget, but maybe you won’t go over it.

  • Have patience, and if you don’t, just leave the house.

I consider myself a fairly patient person, but that went out the window during renovations. The time, the mess, the workmen leaving trash throughout the house (even in places they weren’t working), etc. definitely shortened my fuse. I really tried to have patience, but like I mentioned, my anxiety took over, and it wasn’t pretty. My biggest advice is to leave the house. I went for a lot of runs and walks to get out of the house, and I actually looked forward to business trips. If you can plan a vacation during a particularly rough renovation, by all means, leave that mess and enjoy yourself.

 
 can of Dr. Pepper = Construction worker was here (Can see no other visible progress)

can of Dr. Pepper = Construction worker was here (Can see no other visible progress)

 

If all else fails, just pour yourself a big glass of wine. Cheers!

Laura

My Old Kentucky Home Renovations: Master Bathroom and Closet

The most dramatic change to happen to our house over the past year was the addition of a master bathroom and closet. We eliminated an existing bathroom in a different part of the house to build an office nook, so we were down to one bathroom with an antique clawfoot tub and no counter space or storage under the sink. It was pretty tight, and I can’t tell you how many times someone almost electrocuted himself because a hairdryer or curling iron in the sink since there wasn’t room for it on the counter. Additionally, we didn’t have a real closet in the house, so we desperately needed one of those as well. We eliminated a bedroom that was adjacent to our master bedroom and serving as an office to put in the master bath and closet. The space was rectangular, which helped make the design easier. Most of our rooms have catty corners, so we were fortunate that this one did not. However, it had a fireplace and two large windows that we had to work around since we didn’t want to eliminate them.

 
overview1.jpg
 

Ezra, our architect who also happens to be a friend, did a great job with the design, and he was really patient as we worked to find the best design. He put together several options for us, and I can’t tell you how long it took us to pick one and then how many times we kept coming back to him with changes and minor tweaks. I originally wanted a separate bathroom and closet, but he convinced us to go with a combined bathroom and closet. It was definitely the best use of space, and when I’m getting ready, I don’t feel like I’m putting makeup in my closet. If you are looking for an architect for a large or small project, I highly recommend Ezra Sword Designs.

Our tile came from The Tile Shop, and I really love how the shower came out. I think the marble fits well with the age of the house, but it still looks fresh and clean.

We went with a Carrara marble for our vanity counter, and again, I love it! I was really picky about the vanity color and countertop, so I drove to Stone Gallery in Nicholasville to pick out the exact slab that they used to make the counter. We had a minor (what seemed like major at the time) renovation nightmare with the stain of the vanity, and the Amish carpenters who built the vanity and other storage pieces had to keep coming back to install, uninstall, reinstall, etc., which was a hassle considering they lived over an hour away and had to hire a driver each time they made a trip to the house.

Since the space doubles as a bathroom and closet, we wanted the toilet to be in a separate room. We struggled with space and structural issues, but we finally settled on a barn door for the water closet. I didn’t want the barn door to look too rustic, so we finally settled on this hardware and had the door custom built.

Before the room became a master bath/closet, the room had a built-in bookcase with an antique ladder from a pharmacy in downtown Lexington. We kept the ladder to access the tall shelves in our closet, and we use it almost everyday.

The biggest lesson I learned from this project is to avoid cutting corners in a renovation project, which we were considering when we were in the thick of the renovation and progress was happening at snail's pace. We use this space all the time, so I’m really happy we focused on each tiny detail.

Cheers!

Laura