Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paint-a-Thon Week

If you follow me on Facebook then you probably already know that last week was a mega paint-a-thon for me.  It could also have been called a PAIN-a-thon seeing as I was SO very sore at the end of each day.  I am just not used to all that manual labor.  : )  We packed our kids off to spend a week being spoiled and loved on at their grandparents, and I stocked up on 7 gallons of paint and spent all day everyday working to transform our dreary walls into something brighter and more refreshing to look at.  

I've never really shown pictures of the living room area because it has been so drab and dingy and depressing to look at.  Let's take a look at some of the rarely seen "before" pictures.

This is standing at the edge of the kitchen looking into the living room.  The walls were an awful shade of orange that magically turned yellow in the bright light of day, but then turned almost brown by the time the darkness of night settled in.  That paired with the dark brown trim (that absolutely cut the room off and made it feel so much smaller) made for a depressingly dreary combination.

Notice the beam in the upper right corner of this picture?  I've mentioned this fact before, but I don't know if all of you have really realized it or not, but our home is not actually an old farmhouse.  It is, in fact, a 10 year old doublewide manufactured home.  So this beam overhead is where the two halves of the home came together and are connected.  It had dark trim on both sides that just visually divided the house right in half.

The ceiling in the living room had never received it's coat of paint after we scraped the popcorn off, so we've been living with this splotchy stained look for 4 months now.

This view of the living room is standing in the entryway from the front door looking in.  You can't even see the left side of the living room.

Ah, there it is!  Now we've stepped in a few feet and come around the wall to the left.  More and more orangenish.  My eyes just couldn't handle one.more.second. of it!

And notice where the arrow is pointing?  Whoever painted these walls didn't even take the color all the way to the ceiling!  They just ended wherever their roller could reach I guess.

Here's standing in the living room looking back at the entryway.  Notice the wall on the right side of the picture?

It goes to the weirdest set up for a dining room I think I have ever seen.  This odd 3/4 wall area was technically supposed to be the formal dining room.  Why you ask?  I have no idea.  But I didn't like the idea of the dining room being so separated from the kitchen (as well as being on carpet!) so we made what was really supposed to be the family room into our dining room, and this weird area has just been the "extra" room that we haven't known what to do with.

We've had a couple of ideas of what to do with it, but had never really decided on anything for sure.  But I realized on the first day of my paint-a-thon that the one thing all our ideas had in common all involved the wall being removed.  So when Hubby got home that evening I pleaded my case to him saying that I didn't want to waste precious hours painting those walls and painstakingly cutting in the trim only to have it all torn down later.  It really only made sense to just go ahead and take it out now while the kids were gone and not getting in the way.

And you know what?  Shockingly he agreed to my spur of the moment hair-brained idea!  He got out his sawzall and went to work, and a few days later we were left with this. 

We decided to just take the archways and the corner section of the wall out first and live with that for awhile and then decide if we want to take out the rest of the wall to the right there behind that cabinet.  But already we are liking it SO much better!  It really opened the place up and made it feel huge in there!

My goal for this paint week was only to get the upper trim addressed, I didn't even begin to touch the trim around the doors and windows and along the floor yet.  That'll be for another time.  
(I also have a new front door on my wish list.)

And you can also see that I didn't get to this little alcove yet either.  It still has its dreary orange color.  I had hoped to get get all the upper trim completed during this week, but was only able to get the living room side completely done.  I still need to get the top coat of white gloss on the trim on the other side of the room as well as edge in the tan color under the trim.  But even though I didn't get it completely finished, it's still such a HUGE improvement, dontcha think?

Almost a week later and the dog is still laying in the same spot.  :D  

A couple of you noticed the super chippy coffee table there in front of the couch.  It's a project I've never shown because I've never completed it.  I got it at a thrift store and stripped it of its Holly Hobby style paint job, but then we moved across the country and I've never gotten around to finishing it.  Someday though.

The ceiling finally got its coat of bright white paint and just that by itself brightened up the place so much.  And all that trim took me 4 solid hours of tedious work to caulk, but the results were so worth it.  It all looks seamless and smooth and beautiful now.

I'm actually not crazy about our TV cabinet and I hope to replace it someday.  It came with our bed when we purchased it off of Craigslist, and it was a huge improvement over what we had before, but I'm not in love with it.  It's too slick and modern looking for my taste, plus the black color shows every speck of dust horribly and that doesn't go well with living on a dirt road....as well as my strong aversion to the chore of dusting. 

Here's the view from the entry way now.  You can immediately see the whole space without having to walk in and come past that wall first.  (Notice the shabby state of the back of the loveseat?  It happened when we moved.  Hubby said, "I don't know why you don't like it.  You like everything else to be old and shabby looking so why not the couch too?"  Then he snarkily used my line of, "It just adds to its character.")  :D

Now let's look at some side by side comparisons of all my hard work, shall we?

I shared the above pictures on Facebook and asked if anyone could spot a difference between the two that could give a little clue as to the secret project Hubby and I had suddenly taken on.  There were lots of really observant guesses, but no one got it quite right.  The difference was that the loveseat is sitting further back in the picture on the right because that wall had been removed and we were able to spread the furniture out further.

Notice how the beam now just sort of disappears into the rest of the ceiling?  It's much less obvious and the whole space feels more unified.

Ahhhh....my eyes are rejoicing now that the scuzzy orange sherbet is gone.  It all looks a little bit "vanilla" and boring right now with everything being the same color, but things will improve once I start to get some decor up on the walls.  And later on, if I decide I'm ready for a little more color I can always paint again.  But it's a good start for now and I am ecstatic to have the orange and brown (and all the mystery stains) gone.

So....you might be wondering what in the world we plan to do with the newly opened up "extra" room?  That's a mighty good question, and one I don't quite know the answer to yet.

But I have an idea....a possibility that I'm mulling over.

I'm thinking of turning it into sort of a library area, with "built in" looking bookcases on both sides of the window and a window seat/bench beneath it connecting the two cases.

I had also considered a shelf above the window, but the more I think about it I'm not so sure about that part.  It might be a bit too much.  I also really want to get a piano to place on the wall to the right so my kiddos can start taking lessons.  
(And my free, rescued-from-the-garbage, shutters make an appearance again!  They've been an easy solution for this big window until I figure out what other window treatment I want there.)

Here's a picture I found on Pinterest that has the same idea of what I'm thinking of for this space.  It'll probably be awhile before this can happen though, as I don't really want to build the bookcases over the existing green carpet.  I'd like to have the wood floors in place first, but that will be a good long while before we have the money to do more flooring.

(via Pinterest, but I couldn't find the original source)

All in good time I suppose.  : )

So, besides all the living room and extra room work I did, I also got both of the ceilings and upper trim painted in my kiddos' rooms as well.  All in all it was a very successful paint-a-thon week and I am so pleased with the results.  I'm also very happy to have my children back home with me.  I know they had a blast with their grandparents, but I missed their sweet giggles and cuddly hugs so much!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Quick Little Before & After

I just wanted to pop in real quick this morning for a short little before & after post in my daughter's room.  
Last week I shared my Fun Friday Finds and showed you this collage of items I'd found for my daughter's room.

I put two of the things to use right away and just wanted to show you how it looks.

This is how her bed looked BEFORE.  When we bought our queen sized bed we gave her our double bed so that her room could also function as the guest room when we have company.  Of course, none of her twin sized bedding would fit so she was stuck with a red and tan bed skirt, and one of the many quilts I've acquired.  It didn't match the rest of her pink shabby chic style decor at all, so I've been on the lookout for some new bedding items for her.

I was so excited to find that pink ticking striped bedskirt for only $1 at a rummage sale!  I swapped it out with the old red and tan one, and simply flipped the red and white quilt over to it's all white side.  I folded here old twin sized patchwork comforter and laid it over the end of her bed. I also added in the "new" 99¢ aqua pillow.

Didn't it make such a big difference already?

Here's a little closer look at the old bedspread layed over the quilt and combined with the "new'' bedskirt.  
I love it!

A variety of pillows.

I still need to figure out what to do for another pillow sham so that she can have two pillows going across her bed instead of only a single line of them piled up.  : )  And hopefully we can get those ugly orange walls painted soon.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Fun Friday Finds #21

 Welcome back to another edition of Fun Friday Finds, where I share all my secondhand treasures I've found throughout the week.

I was able to stop in at a couple of yard sales and a couple of thrift stores this week and I came away with a few fun things.

I found this great little ironstone style bowl for $1.  I actually have a graduating set of 3 of this exact same bowl that my mom gave me and I love them.  Why not have one more?  : )

This cute milk bottle was at a yard sale for a dollar.  It has a sweet cow on the front and on the back it says "Pure Milk".  It's also marked "Made in Italy" on the bottom.

This is a collection of things I found for my daughter's room.  We gave her our double bed since her room will also have to serve as a guest room, so she's been needing some bedding updates and just decor updates in general now that she's getting a little bit more "grown up."  She wants more aqua added in with the pinks she loves so dearly.  We're going for a collected, mis-matched but yet still goes together, vintage kind of a vibe.  I found the great old mirror for $2 at a yard sale (it's heavy!!...and needs a good cleaning), the aqua Better Homes & Gardens throw pillow at the thrift store for .99, a pink ticking striped bedskirt for $1 at a church rummage sale, and the dainty sweet tablecloth for $9 at a junktique store.  She has two windows right together in her room so I plan to cut it in half and sew a long valance out of it.

I had a dentist appointment on Thursday and so had left my kiddos with a sweet older lady from our church who watches them for me from time to time.  She always tells me to take my time and don't rush back and to get a little shopping in before I come pick them up.  Sweet right?!?  Well, I had done a bit of shopping, had picked up lunch and went and ate with Hubby on his lunch break, and stopped and checked out some free kittens (we're on the hunt for one).  By this time I was running short on time and needed to get back to pick up said kiddos so my littlest one could get his nap.

But as I was sitting at a stop light I could see the other thrift store I hadn't gotten to yet.  It was calling my name...and telling me there was a treasure inside just waiting to be discovered!  Have you ever had that happen?  You just get the feeling that there's something great you'll be missing if you don't go?  I've had it happen before, and it's usually right.  So I decided that I would skip the clothing and just check out the "stuff" superdeeduperdee quick.  That's when I found the aqua throw pillow as well as this beauty.

A great old vintage tablecloth for $2.50!  It has very minimal stains and no tears so it's in pretty good condition.  At first I thought I might try to do something with it for my daughter's room since it has the pink and aqua/vintage theme going on.  But when I looked closer I realized it has martini glasses on it and I decided that wasn't quite appropriate for a 6 year old's room.  These style of tablecloths have always sold really well in my Etsy shop so I was excited to find it and have something else to get listed.

That's it for me this week!  
If you haven't already joined the Facebook Group be sure to stop in and do so.  Other readers have been sharing pictures and stories of their fun Friday finds, so come join the fun!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Choosing My Farmhouse Style

Have you ever struggled with knowing what your decorating style is?  Have you ever needed/wanted to redo a room, but you're really not sure what direction you want to go with it?  Have you ever been equally drawn to two different styles that don't really mix well and are actually quite opposite?

Well I have.  That's what I've been going through recently, and it's frustrating.  I plan to paint our living room in just a couple of weeks while my kids are on their spring break, plus I'll be inheriting some new-to-me pieces of furniture soon so I have got to decide what I'm going to do in there, but I've been so confused!

I know for certain that above all my style is Farmhouse.  That's just a given.  I mean come on, I named my blog The Cozy Old Farmhouse not because I actually live in an old farmhouse, but because that's how I want my home to feel.  But...."Farmhouse" isn't limited to just one style.  It seems to have become very popular as of late and so within that category a few different styles have cropped up: French Farmhouse, Rustic Farmhouse, Primitive Farmhouse, Farmhouse Chic, Industrial Farmhouse, and then what I call Cottage Farmhouse (and probably a few others I haven't thought of).

The two I'm torn between are Industrial/Rustic Farmhouse and Cottage Farmhouse, but my versions of them really are quite opposite of each other.  Industrial Farmhouse is more neutral, reserved, and toned down while Cottage Farmhouse is bright, cheerful, colorful and fun.

Let me explain.


This image from Pottery Barn captured my attention as soon as I saw it.  It has the industrial feel to me.  I love the monochromatic palette, I love the mixture of vintage items and black and white photos on the gallery wall, I love the worn TV console table, I love the clock on the wall (I have a very similar one already).  There's just something about it that I really like.  Though, you know me, I love me some red so I'd have to add a pop of red in there somewhere. 


I also really like this as well (minus the nature pictures on the wall, those aren't really my style).  The leather couch, paired with the wood and metal rustic looking vintage side table, the slightly industrial lamp, and the chippy coffee table.  It's a neutral color palette, but still warm and inviting.


This is another great one.  Notice all the arm wood tones with the metal accents, the worn brick on the wall, but with soft touches of plants and flowers.

(source: found on Pinterest, but the link doesn't follow
through so I'm unsure of it's original source)

This one also has the industrial vibe I had in mind.  It's a little bit "cold" and "hard edged" for me, almost military feeling, so I'd have to soften it up, but again, it's the combination of the worn leather couch, metal and wood, touches of black, and collected vintage items mixed in.  I can picture an old black Royal manual typewriter displayed, replace the typography on the wall with the Pottery Barn gallery wall, add in a thick fuzzy cable knit throw on the couch, some cozier looking pillows, and a warmer shade of gray on the wall and this would be an awesome room!


In the kitchen the neutral palette and wood and metal and black would play out something like this picture above.  I LOVE this kitchen!  I wouldn't call it industrial necessarily, but it's got that neutral toned down palette.  It just looks so warm and inviting, and very much worn and "farmhouse-y."


Here's another kitchen (from Farmhouse 5540) that I like a lot with a similar feel.

Whenever I'm at a yard sale, thrift store, or just see junk on the side of the road I am immediately drawn to anything wood and/or metal.  That kind of thing fits in perfectly with this style and it's what my eye is just drawn to.

Ok, so are you getting a handle on the kind of style I was thinking?
Industrial touches, but also warm and rustic and worn, with repurposed vintage items for a collected feel, and touches of black to anchor it all.

Herein lies the problem though...
 I also LOVE me some pops of cheerful color, and I love mixing up and combining patterns!  The following pictures are more what I would call a Cottage Farmhouse style.

Here's a bright and cheerful kitchen that I love.  It has a white airy background so to speak, but it's full of warm and inviting pops of happy color! 

Here's a living room that I like as well.  This just says "cheerful" and "fun" to me! 

This one is great too.  I love the big vintage sign on the wall, the ice cream bucket lamps, the wood furniture piece with all the drawers, the bucket of flowers on the coffee table, the cheerful quilt on the couch, and the feed sack accents with the red ticking stripe.  Bright, cheerful, happy, yet cozy.


Here's a wonderful red and white quilt thrown over the back of a couch (LOVE that quilt!), combined with an adorable and colorful feedsack pillow.  This is totally farmhouse style, but colorful and fun.


Dawn over at Creative Cain Cabin does an amazing job of mixing bright colors and patterns and always seems to pull off cheerful looking farmhouse styled rooms.  The above photo of her summer bedroom is one of my favorites! (That white blanket with the blue stripe on the end of the bed is actually a hospital blanket!)


I also love this colorful farmhouse bedroom by Kim from Savvy Southern Style.  The red buffalo checked curtains, the farmhouse pitcher with flowers, the lovely vintage quilt on the bed, the striped ticking bedskirt, the red bench, I could go on and on.  I just love it!


Here's another one with a great vintage quilt, red buffalo checks (noticing a repetitive pattern here?), light airy wall color.


This one has a more subtle mix of colors and is a tad bit more "fancy" than my style, but it still appeals to me none the less.  (And again with the red buffalo checks!)

So how do I know which style to choose?!?
Do you see how they seem to be almost polar opposites from each other?  One is more monochromatic and feels reserved, the other is colorful and bright and not at all toned down with it's mixture of colors and patterns.

What to do?  What to do?

Something I've read about discovering your style is that you should go into your closet and take a look at what clothes you're drawn to.  Have you already been naturally drawn to a neutral color palette in your clothing?  Or do you have a mix of bright happy colors?  Do you have simple styles with only a hint of basic pattern, or do you have an eclectic mix of all kinds of bold patterns?  Your clothing can give you clues as to your decorating style.

So off I went to analyze my closet.
And do you know what I found?

A closet full of bright colors and lots of different bold patterns.  
Funny how I had never noticed that before.

One of my favorite shirt combinations to wear is this plaid shirt over a paisley printed cotton tee.  It's fun and interesting, and coordinates without being too matchy matchy.  So here again, it's that colorful mixing of patterns.

Another clue that struck me recently was when my kids and I went to a local quilt festival.  I absolutely love quilts (it's border line obsessive really) and there were easily several hundred of them displayed throughout the town that day.  Out of all of those hundreds of choices do you know which one was my hands down instant favorite?

This one, with it's white background, mix of bright colors, and mixture of patterns.  It was the only one that made my heart skip a beat.  I wanted it with much wanting!
But with a price tag of $250 it had to stay there.  

So, I'm discovering that my style is more of the Cottage Farmhouse, with a white background and lots of cheery color and fun patterns, but I'm having a hard time relinquishing the worn industrial vision I had going on.
 I really liked it too.

I showed Hubby this post and walked him through each picture explaining my quandry of style.  When I got done and asked what he thought, he immediately said, "I know exactly what style you are, you're the Cottage Farmhouse.  You like color!  I never would have picked those first few pictures as being something you liked, it doesn't really seem like 'you'.  You're just confused."  And you know what?  He was right.  It took him all of 3 seconds to solve a dilemma I've been agonizing over for months now.

The neutral industrial look had that reserved, more sophisticated feel to it to me.  But who am I kidding?  I'm neither reserved nor sophisticated.  No one has ever accused me of being too proper, having too much etiquette, or being...well, sophisticated.  I am none of these things.  I am unique.  I like to have fun and I laugh too loud sometimes, occasionally I even snort.  I'm too down to earth to be fancy, I like to keep it real.  I live in denim and cotton, and feel uncomfortable being dressed up.  I'm a bit rough around the edges I'll admit. I have diarrhea of the mouth sometimes and don't seem to know when to shut up, especially when I feel awkward around someone.  (See?  Case in point.  What classy person says "diarrhea of the mouth?")  Sophisticated, reserved, and neutral I am not.  I think one too many fancy-shmancy Pottery Barn magazines have affected my brain.  Don't get me wrong, I love lots of things from Pottery Barn, but their overall style infiltrated my head and had me believing I was something I'm not.  But all along the happy cheerful mix of colors and patterns and a style all my own was waiting for me to realize I needed it.

And so, even though I don't yet have a complete vision of what I want, I shall set out to create a bright and happy space, full of fun and cheerfulness, combined with the warm rustic woods that I love and loads of repurposed vintage items.  It'll be somewhere in between Cottage and Industrial.  How do you mix those two styles?  I know not.  But I can guarantee the journey will be fun.

And I can guarantee it will be a style all my own, snorts and all.

How about you?  Have you ever been in a style quandry?  How did you go about choosing which one you liked the best?  Was it painful to leave another style behind?  Are you currently style confused and looking for solutions?

I'd love to hear all about it.

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