Mama’s got a brand new room

June 1, 2012

It all began with a snowstorm.

Sometime this winter we had a week’s worth of snow days. The kids and I (with a teeny tiny baby) were cooped up in these four walls trying to entertain ourselves after getting bored with hours of sledding and making cocoa and playing Legos. Something in me snapped a little being inside my house for that long. It all had to change. The living room as we knew it was not long for this world. The walls, which I had painted a lovely apple green (previously dubbed Jessica green) six years ago were getting on my last nerve. I could suddenly see every stain on the two overstuffed couches, and my! Suddenly I realized they were waaaay too big for the room. And what was with all that clutter? I had no idea where to put it.

Well, as you can imagine with four kiddos and one real income, we try to live on a reasonable budget. A budget that doesn’t include a line item for Jessica’s redecorating whims. What’s a girl to do when she really wants to re-design her space?

Side note- I must digress here to add the philosophical bit about STUFF. I totally think YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU OWN, and that LESS IS MORE, and that me even having the ability to contemplate changing my decor is like, such a ridiculous first world privilege. However, I also believe that living in a smallish (relative to American standards) home means being smart about what you have and don’t have, and that good design really does influence how we feel and how we use a space. When you have six people living and moving under one roof, it is best to think about your space strategically. Especially when one room must function as a space to relax, play, do homework, read, practice piano, fold laundry, entertain, and have family movie and game nights. And what’s more, I’m all about upcycling, baby. Some of my favorite furniture finds I have trash-picked from the side of the road (much to Mr. Uhler’s chagrin). Really! Some of them are still sitting in the basement!

My mission was to redecorate my living room by selling what I currently owned and buying used. Another motivation for me is simply to get rid of as much Stuff as I can. For years we just collected stuff- a free sofa here, an inexpensive IKEA lamp there, and sort of made do with whatever furniture came our way. Nothing wrong with that, but it kinda led to a hold-onto-it-in-case-you-need-it-later approach to Stuff. And people, Stuff wears me out. You have to find a place for it, and clean it, and dust it, and maintain it, and sometimes repair it. So I’m trying really hard to not bring anything into our house that’s not useful or beautiful, and to get rid of everything extra. Because really, WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED. And also, there are people starving in the world. (Don’t worry, we try to help them too.) Ok, we now return to the regularly schedule blog post.

So, I decided to wander around Craigslist a while, and see what I could find. Turns, out, quite a bit. Once I sort of figured the best ways to search and stuff, I was a Craigslist fool. Oh, and my friend Erin at Clementine and Olive helped me hone my vision and come up with a plan. She’s the best. Guess how I found her? She was selling a gorgeous mid-century table on Craigslist! Guess what else? Turns out we are neighbors! Like, down the street neighbors. Now my daughter is her dog-walker and mama’s helper to her adorable twin boys. (I love how small this town is.)

The room is mostly done. I need some window coverings (burlap, perhaps? super inexpensive textural element) and I’d like to change out a couple throw pillows to some geometric and ikat prints. And as much as I adore that little mid-century coffee table, it’s a teeny bit too small for us (not homework or board game sized). My favorite transformation was the paint! And I couldn’t have done it without my good friend, Shelley! Whew, that was an adventure unto itself. Let’s just say that if you like a paint sample that uses flat paint (and they all do), you better not buy eggshell sheen or you may end up with a baby blue room. Thanks bunches, my dear Shelley.

Anyway, you probably want me to get on with it, so without further ado…


Not bad, but a little crowded, a little country.

Hey, look! The banner I made for our winter solstice party was still up!

We moved this cool old door all the way from Georgia, yo!


This cool barrel chair I found in an alley. It now lives in our bedroom and is super comfy. Maybe someday it will get recovered. Now, are you reaaaaddddyyyyy????

THE AFTER (duh-da-da-dah!):

Ahhh! The room can breathe! And those silver walls…well, i just want to lick them!

Don’t even get me started on how much I love my white, vinyl, Hollywood Regency settee. And think at one point I was going to spend a small fortune on an IKEA loveseat. Mr. Uhler, I know you don’t love it (yet) but just think of how much money I’ve saved us. Isn’t it Faaaaabulous?

Baby sold separately.

I love these amazing mid-century chairs so much, but they will cost a fortune to recover. For now, we’re going with the fabric tuck. I just can’t part with them. (Sorry, Holly).

You guys, that surfer chick was my mom! And my Dad made that longboard. Pretty cool, huh. Now if you’ll excuse me, I may or may not have a gazillion hours little bit more trim to paint. Hope you enjoyed the tour! Now to figure out what pictures to print for the walls…


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