Fall 2015 Home Tour Blog Hop

BlogHop Fall Collage

Hi friends!  Have you already started decorating for fall?

I have joined some of my blogging friends to share with you a ton of ideas and inspiration for the fall season.  It is a Fall Blog Hop – My post will go live tomorrow and I will be sharing my living room space.  In the meantime, below are the links to the tours that are already live.  Everyday you can check back here and new links will be added.

I hope you enjoy it!

xo,

Maria


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Decorating a Fall Mantel

Decorating a Fall Mantel

Decorating a fall mantel?  I almost didn’t decorate for fall at all.  It just feels like so much trouble to get out fall decorations, when I know all the decorating I will do in the Christmas season.  But then, I started by decorating the front porch, and sure enough the next thing I knew, I was making pumpkins out of tulle for the whole house.  Well, maybe not “making them” and not out of tulle, and certainly not for the whole house.  But I did buy two ceramic pumpkins at Target, so kinda the same thing.

I was only going to decorate the mantel, so I stayed within the lighter fall colors to tie into the rest of the room.  Keeping the existing color scheme, I purchased some stems and pulled others from my stash in the garage and I already had this wooden bread bowl.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

I cleared out the mantel, which honestly is the key in decorating a mantel.  It’s easier to re-envision an area when you are not looking at the way it is already decorated.  Even professional designers lose perspective in their own homes.  You look at furniture arranged in the same manner for so long, that you can no longer think of new placement.  So definitely clear out the mantel and begin from scratch.

  • I left the lamp because I need a lamp in this spot.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

Start with the focal point or centerpiece (which is not always in the center).  In my case, I decided that the bread bowl would be in the center.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

Then I added one of the hydrangea stems to the bowl.  I didn’t cut them since I want to re-use them for other decorating projects.  I did the same with the other stems, just folded them over.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

Then I decided to use the pear and the pumpkin to fill in the empty spaces between the flowers.

 

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

And when I was done, it looked like this.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

I added a sanded wood grid as another elegant yet earthy touch, to bring the look together.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

I left this lamp in the same place because I love the gold underneath the shade.  It is such a simple looking lampshade with a little surprise inside.

 

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

On the other side, I decided to bring in two vases that were previously in my family room.  I didn’t even have to change the greenery.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

More pictures of the pumpkins, my favorite part.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

And another look.

Decorating a Fall Mantel

 

In the end, I was glad that I decorated (even a little bit) for fall.

Do you decorate for all the seasons?

Maria

 

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Decorating the porch for fall

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Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

It’s fall!  Well, I live in Miami, so it’s still pretty green around here.  Miami has no idea that it’s fall!  I want to share with you how I decorated my porch for fall, so that it would feel like we have in fact changed seasons, even if the coconut trees are none the wiser.

Fall porch decorating ideas 101:  add pops of orange!  This is an opportunity to mimic the colors that are naturally occurring somewhere else in the world.  Let me take a moment to say how much I love this Martha Stewart swing that we purchased at Home Depot a few years ago.  The only thing that could have made it better is if it came with a cold glass of sweet tea!  We sit there all the time, especially during this time of the year, when the weather changes (in Miami language, that means less hot).

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

 

The pillows on the swing are from Target and I purchased the initial pumpkin from Kirklands, three years ago on a mega-after-thanksgiving-sale, those are the best times to splurge on these items.

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

 

I added a little pumpkin to the plants that were already in my planter.  I considered buying mums or something more colorful but the little pumpkin infused enough color.  I then surrounded the planter with some more pumpkins.  These pumpkins are not real because pumpkins won’t be available for a couple more weeks over here, but the real ones are beautiful and I will probably switch them out later on.  I usually use these to decorate inside the house.

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

 

Then the door.  I have used these wreaths for years, and as long as they keep their color, I will continue to use them.  I love how they pop with the existing brown door.

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

Then of course, a little rug.  The finishing touch to any porch.  This one was less than 6.00 at Ross…crazy!

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

One last look at the porch!

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

 

So Miami may not know that it is fall, but my neighbors sure do!

Do you decorate the porch?  Are the trees already changing in your neck of the woods?

Maria

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Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

Decorating a china cabinet.  You start with good intentions, a couple of pretty pieces you want to display, then a bowl that you can’t fit inside the kitchen, then pieces that have been passed down, then one day you don’t even know what’s in there and if you do know, it is way too much trouble to access it.  Sound familiar?  Well, I’m guilty too.  My favorite way to decorate a china cabinet is sparingly, only 2 to 3 pieces per shelf.  But you wouldn’t know that looking at the pictures I am sharing with you today.  A while back, I emptied the china cabinet and started from scratch.  I tried decorating with a few pieces, but I really needed the storage that the hutch provided.  My goal was to do away with the visual clutter.

Here is my china cabinet.  We bought it along with the dining room set ten years ago and I still love the style.  Sure, I would probably choose something more approachable and kid friendly now but I still love it.  My favorite thing about it is the profile.  My dining room is a square room and I wanted a piece that tapered so that it wouldn’t take over the space.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

These pictures were hard to take because the cabinet is mirrored so every piece looks doubled, but in reality it doesn’t look cluttered.  And I have…30 PIECES in that hutch (not counting the plate sets)!

So what’s the secret in storing so much without making it look cluttered?  Choosing a color and sticking to it.  I chose white since I have so many white pieces.  I pulled many of them from the hidden storage in the kitchen and displayed them here.  In turn, I used the closed cabinets to store what no longer fit in the hutch.

Here is a peek at what’s inside:

I collect cake plates.  Maybe not “collect” but I have quite a few.  White ones are my favorite.  Towards the back is a soup tureen that has a beautiful shape and added some height.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

Add a little bit of green.  It’s the finishing touch in most decorating projects!  Isn’t the little birdie cute?

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

Above it, I have a silver cake stand and some pretty platters.  The silver pieces are a nice accent to the white pieces.  The lady taking pictures in her pajamas is not a nice accent to the hutch.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

On the other side, more cake platters, stacked on each other.  Next to it is a ballerina, which is a gift my husband gave me about 15 years ago and it must stay here if it doesn’t want to get hit with a nerf gun!

Above it more silver pieces.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

More silver platters.  You would think I bake all the time and I don’t!  Like the people that have lots of pots and rarely cook.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

In the very top I have a fine china place-setting.  The thing is, I don’t own the whole set.  Years ago I saw the two sets on clearance and I purchased them to decorate the hutch, not intending to ever use them for entertaining.  I prefer using simple white plates that I can buy 10-12 of, and not worry about them breaking.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

Talking about white plates.  Here they are!  These are not used daily, so they don’t need to be in the kitchen.  The bottom shelf is the busiest but it also not as visible when the hutch it closed.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

This cow creamer pitcher adds a little charm! It looks pretty scary funny pouring out cream, I must say!

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

Here it is all lit up!  Picture doesn’t capture how pretty and simple it looks, but I tried my best.

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

One last look!

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

 

Hope this inspires you to move things around in your china hutch and make it look pretty without loosing the storage we all love!

Decorating a China Cabinet / Hutch

Until next time!

Maria

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Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

After sharing my master bedroom and my master bathroom update, I started thinking of ways that I could update other rooms in my home.  One area that I have wanted to change for years, is my dining room.  I wanted to change the color and the curtains.  I looked for different options for curtains and they were all either too expensive, or too casual for my formal dining room and existing furniture.  Of course, another option was making my own curtains, except I can’t sew.  I tried to figure out the easiest way to update curtains without sewing or replacing.

My curtains consisted of two panels and a swag.  I decided that if I removed the swag and kept the panels, the room would instantly look more updated.  The thing is that the swag was stapled to the rod and the panels hung from a separate rod that held the sheer.  Here is the BEFORE of the dining room.  The lighting is horrible but I started this project at night.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

I removed the rod and ripped out the swag and the 90 (or so) staples that held it.  This was the most tedious part of the whole process.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

I wanted the panels to hang from rings, except I had no rings.  I started looking for matching ones online and they were so expensive!  Especially the size and quantity I needed (20).  I eventually, found these unfinished curtain rings on amazon and I purchased 2 sets of 10.  Since they were untreated, I decided to spray paint them once they arrived.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Once I painted them and added them to the rod, I removed the sheer and the panels.

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Here is my husband removing the hardware, while telling me “When you told me you were updating the curtains, I didn’t think you meant tonight”.  Does this man not know me by now??  I had already waited 2 days for amazon to ship the rings!  How much longer was I supposed to wait?!

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

Then I placed the pinch-pleat curtains on each one of the new rings and VOILA!

Easiest Way to Update Curtains

I won’t show a full picture of the AFTER yet, because my next post will be about the new color I chose for this room (not the one in the pic…stay tuned).

I haven’t decided if I should add another sheer, or some other option.  For now, I left it open.  What do you think?

Maria

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Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

The last two weeks we have talked about the master bathroom, and shared ideas about creating storage in small bathrooms, I also painted my laminate cabinets and organized under the sink.  But now, let’s step into the master bedroom.  Creating a master bedroom retreat is our project this week, and I want to share with you some decorating ideas.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

The master bedroom should feel like a hug.  Creating a master bedroom retreat is so rewarding because after a hectic day, you want to go into a space that says “peace”.  My favorite bedding is all white because it has a casual, welcoming feel.  I never try to make my bed perfect, I even like the wrinkles.  I don’t think I have ever said those words before, but I do.  They add to the casual, inviting feel.  And it works because my boys always seem to feel that they are “invited” into our bed.

I purchased this bedding from Ballard Designs and I LOVE the large monogram.  The sheets are not fussy-looking but they feel luxurious.  Monogramming has a bad rap for being stuffy, but when paired with cotton, it’s just an elegant touch.

The “Graceful Order” wasn’t monogrammed into the sheet, that was editing. 😉

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

 

On the foot of the bed, I place a throw.  Honestly, we rarely use it but I think it warms up the room.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

 

Our bedside tables are large and thanks to that, we opted for a sitting area instead of a dresser.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

 

I love this lamp and shade, both from Target.  In this picture the lamp was off, but the sunlight was flooding in.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

 

My husbands nightstand has a valet box where I store all the little papers and receipts that he brings home.  Otherwise, the nightstand would be covered with receipts and business cards.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

 

I love having an Oil Diffuser in the bedroom to disperse lavender and eucalyptus.  Bring the spa-feel home!

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

 

Right now, the Oil Diffuser is resting on my jewelry cabinet.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

There are a few steps in creating a master bedroom retreat.

  1. Clear the clutter from the night stands.  They become the “catch-all” in the bedroom and get messy fast.

  2.  Clear items from under the bed.  I used to store stuff under the bed and I have to admit, it was just a big dust magnet.  Most of the stuff I had under the bed, I should’ve either thrown away or made space for it in my closet. If you can, clear out this area and it will be so much easier to keep the room clean.  I am glad I did this years ago.

  3.  Decide what “look” you are going for and get rid of decorations that don’t match the “look”.  Sometimes you need to shop-your-house and bring in items that you already own and love into your new space.

  4.  The biggest investment (besides furniture) and the one that will make the biggest difference, is the bedding.  Splurge on nice sheets.  They last longer and therefore more economical in the long run.  I look for a comforter that is washable since the boys love to jump on our bed.  White comforters are my favorite because I can always add color pillows if I want to add a pop of color.  For now, all white is my favorite.

  5.  Have the books that you are currently reading out on your nightstand, but not an entire set of encyclopedia next to your bed (do you still have those by the way?  I do).

  6. If you are going to go all out and paint the walls, choose a color that is relaxing.  Skip “Peacock Green” and “Magenta Madness” for this project.

  7.  The next thing on my list (which we still don’t have) is purchasing a nice rug for under the bed.  We have wood floors and I would prefer stepping onto a plush rug when I get out of bed.  I know it will be a finishing touch to our bedroom and also add an added layer of comfiness.

Soon we will talk about creating a seating area and how to use ottomans in bedrooms.

Until then, please share with me your favorite color scheme for the master bedroom.  Is your bedroom decorated in warm neutral colors, do you prefer cool tones, or just pops of vibrant color?  I look forward to reading your comments!

Maria

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Office Makeover – Before and After

You all know that I love a good “before and after” and I know that you do too!   (Before I start sharing the pictures with you, I want to apologize in advance for the before pictures.  The angles are horrible.  I took them with my smartphone’s camera, before I even decided to share them on the blog.  Also, you will notice some strategically placed squares that hide private info.)

Office Organization

A couple of weeks ago, my friend asked me to help her fix up her office space at work.  Her husband owns an automobile business and she was helping her husband with the office work…except, the office didn’t work.  The men thought that the office was perfect.  They thought that it didn’t need a thing changed.  Why mess with perfection? The thing is that perfection looked like this…

Office remodel

and this…

Office Organization

These men were so dedicated to the sales, maintenance and growth of the business, that the back office space was just not top priority.  The store front was beautiful and we needed to make the back office match. With the help of IKEA, a screwdriver, and lots of good conversation, my friend and I embarked on a mission.  To prove the men wrong To make the office beautiful.  To create a space that was welcoming and practical. We started by painting the walls with a color called “Cloudy Day” by Sherwin Williams.  We painted the moldings white.  We also purchased white IKEA furniture that would be easy to clean and to customize. Here is the “after” picture of the wall pictured above. Office organization

We chose open cubicles in the bookshelf for binders and we installed drawers in other cubicles for office supplies.  The idea was to leave out the practical and pretty and put away the practical and unsightly. We purchased new filing cabinets, a desk, and the lamp from IKEA.  I found the clock at Target. Office Organization

Of course, we had to add a little “pretty”, while keeping in mind that the office had to remain somewhat masculine.  There went all my washi tape dreams… We decorated with modern, inexpensive IKEA plants, like this one. Office Organization

And this one that I found at Target.  It was kind of short for the cubicle, so I lifted it with a car part.  I am not even sure what it is, but I loved the end result. Office Organization

I love decorating with practical items, such as these little IKEA buckets that hold all the pens and pencils. Office Organization

So one more time…We went from this,

Office remodel

To this,

Office Organization

The men at the office LOVED it and even asked for their own coffee station on top of the new cabinet.  No one misses the dark furniture and my friend is a happy camper. With a little bit of paint, some new furniture pieces and a lot of focus, any space can be transformed.  It’s important to feel comfortable where you work.  Maybe you can’t transform your whole office, but you can transform an area.  Anything to help you laugh while you work.  Actually, don’t laugh, just smile, abrupt laughter could scare co-workers. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and please share with me what is your favorite thing about your workspace.  Is it wall color, your desk, accessories, or your comfy chair?

Until next time,

Maria

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Design Corner – Tray Chic

I am starting a new section of the blog, titled: Decorate.

I am not a professional designer, but in my head, I totally am.  In that part of my head, I am also a skilled ballerina, so I don’t know if that tarnishes my credibility as a designer somewhat.

I love design books and design blogs, and I am constantly moving things around in my own home, until they are “just right”. I figured I would share some of the things that inspire me to not only organize my home, but decorate it.

Every couple of weeks, I will give a new decor suggestion. They will be easy to implement and hopefully will inspire you to continue adding touches to your home, so that your home feels like you.  So that your home makes you feel how you want to feel.

This week I will share one of my favorite decorating ideas…using trays to decorate, cradle, and anchor miscellaneous items.

Traditionally, trays are used for serving food items, coffee and tea.  I keep my nicer, sturdier trays for this purpose.

Decorating with trays

But I also use them all over the house.

Starting with the coffee table in our living room.

This is actually a cake platter from Ballard Designs, that I inverted to use as a tray.  It is perfect for this small table.

Decorating with trays

In the dining room, I have a gray, narrow ottoman (Target clearance…yay!) that is nice on its own, but needed some jazzing up.

Decorating with trays

This gold croco-embossed tray was perfect to anchor the plant that sits on the ottoman.

When you have a soft surface, such as an ottoman, adding a hard element, such as a tray or a stack of books can add structure and interest to an otherwise boring piece of furniture.

I also love the gray and gold contrast.

Decorating with trays

In the family room I have an enormous tray that I found at ZGallerie (also clearance).  It is also croco-embossed.

I should have named this post “The Clearance Crocodile”.  I see a running theme…

Trays are great for tables with miscellaneous items that may not go together.  Once they are on a tray, they look organized and somehow tied together.

This is a great idea if you collect perfumes or figurines.  If they are on a tray, they will look more like a cohesive collection, and more visually appealing.

Decorating with Trays

Lastly, on the kitchen table we have a tray that corrals our vitamins, napkins and ceramic trivets.  When I need to clear the table, I simply lift the tray, instead of all the items one-by-one.

Decorating with Trays

Trays can do more than carry a tea service, they can add beauty and function to a space.

So I encourage you to dust off the trays that you have tucked away in the garage, or in the very back of the china cabinet.

If you already use trays, please share with me how.  I love to hear from you!

I hope you enjoyed this new section of the blog!

In a few days, we will return to the Kitchen Organizing Series but for now, I hope that you enjoy your weekend, your family, your home.

– Maria

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