My Future Library Nook- How Should it Look?

One of the problems with my creative zeal mixed with my extremely overly analytical brain is that sometimes I cannot for the life of me make a decision!  This is especially true when it comes to shopping, which I’m sure has annoyed anyone unfortunate enough to accompany me on one of my excursions.  When it comes to interior decor, I think my indecision problem is two-fold.  One, I simply like too much!  There are so many beautiful styles to decorate with: traditional, old-fashioned elegance as seen at Arhaus, sleek contemporary lines such as at West Elm, the rustic charm featured in one of my favorite magazines, Country Living, and everything in between.  How’s a girl to choose?

My second problem occurs once I’ve made my decor selection: once I know what I want, I do not, I cannot, deviate from my vision!  By the time I settle on an idea, I’ve envisioned how I want the entire room to look- curtains, rug, furniture, accessories, colors, patterns- everything.  I even make little drawings of my rooms and the furniture/accessories/colors I want in there.  A little much?  Probably, but I can’t help it!  

The first room I'm working on decorating in our new house is the sitting room, which I want to turn into a library area.  Currently, it looks like this:


To help me in my decision making process, I’ve made two collages (courtesy of the handy dandy Picasa collage maker which I just discovered! Yes, I am way behind the curve!) featuring two different design ideas that I’m contemplating.  I love, love, love black and white, so my first design concept incorporates a lot of black and white with pops of green and pink:


My second idea uses a more neutral color palette, and also draws on my love of French inspired details:


When I started thinking about this, I thought I definitely wanted to go with a neutral palette.  However, after looking at these side by side, I have to say I am really loving the black and white combo!  I would love to know what you think- which one of these should I choose?  Do you have any tips or tricks for making design decisions? 

Painting an Interior Front Door- Simple and Stunning!


It’s been a long time since my last post!  I really underestimated how much energy moving takes.  The last few weeks have been filled with unpacking, cleaning, trying to fit old furniture into new spaces, and searching for new furniture to fill up this large house!  Whew, I am exhausted.   Of course that doesn’t stop my brain from swimming with style ideas (chevron or striped curtains? warm or cool colors?) every time I try to sleep. 

One thing I am sure of is our interior front door- I am absolutely, without a doubt, painting it!  I’ve decided that I’m going to go with a lovely, possibly robin’s egg (Tiffany’s anyone?), light blue.  I think.  

First, my sad little front door when we first moved in:


And how it looks now, after a fresh coat of paint and our beautiful laminate flooring:


I’d actually never heard of painting the interior of a front door until I stumbled across these lovelies below.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a house with a painted interior front door (maybe I live a sheltered life?), but it’s such a simple little thing and it makes a huge impact.

I love this yellow one:


This black one is so classic and chic:

 And finally, this little pale blue number, which pretty much leaves me speechless:
Sigh. So pretty, and I love the decor of the room.  Maybe a little too feminine for me to get the husband on board.  Perhaps for my home office though...filing this one away for the future:)

In the meantime, I'm so excited to try something like one of these on my own front door!

House Dreaming at Arhaus

What a busy few weeks...between family visiting and the Easter weekend, we haven't had a whole lot of time to work on the house lately.  Thus I've taken to daydreaming about how I want it all to look some day.  One of my favorite places to house dream/window shop is Arhaus.  I love that place!  Their furniture is so elegant and sophisticated like this beauty, (which will also set you back a cool $5,000...hence the house dreaming part) but they also have enough rustic pieces to keep everything feeling livable. 

Just look at this gorgeous chandelier- it's the perfect mix of rustic elegance. 


Or take this chair for example...the worn wooden legs keep the chic tufted upholstery from looking too stuffy.  This would look amazing in a library-esque area.


And finally, the headboard that will one day be mine!  (Or at least one like it ;)


In the words of Steven Tyler, beautiful, just beautiful.  It just occurred to me that all of these pieces are shown in pretty much the exact same fabric- not sure why that is, but pretty nonetheless.


Unfortunately for me, my bank account does not love Arhaus like I do, and so for now I must be content to dream!

Choosing Flooring: Laminate or Hardwood?

Ah flooring...such a fun thing to consider, right?  Ok, maybe not so much, but it will definitely change the look of a house, and that part is fun.  At least to me!  So we had thought that we'd made a decision on flooring after visiting Lumber Liquidators the other day and finding a few really nice wood laminates.  On a side note, I never thought I would like laminate, but after seeing it at a friend's house and loving it, I realized I didn't know how great wood laminate could look.  Combine that with the durability of laminate over real hardwood flooring (hardwood is prone to scratching, and we have a 100-pound dog!) and we were sold.
 
The trick is finding a laminate that doesn't look like laminate- for me, that means going with either a high gloss variety, or a non-shine finish that's been hand scraped to give it a real wood look.  We also LOVE the look of very dark wood floors, but with a dog that sheds light-colored fur constantly and a dark wood coffee table that has to be dusted every other day because of that, we knew dark wood floors were out of the question.  Booo.  Fortunately, we found some pretty in-between colors that will probably help disguise our fur problem, while still satisfying our love of darker wood.  We've been told that it's smart to go with at least a 10mm option when using laminate, so our top two choices from Lumber Liquidators were the 12mm African Thuya Burlwood Laminate (a very high gloss option) and the 12mm Toasted Chicory Laminate, a slightly less glossy laminate.

When installed, the African Thuya Burlwood looks like this:



The Toasted Chicory is a slightly deeper color, with a little less of a glossy finish:


But in the end, we went with neither.  After considering the amount of cleaning I would need to do every day just to make sure our floors weren't constantly showing smudges, we realized the glossy look, while beautiful, just isn't for us.  And let's face it, with our dog, plus just general use of a floor (walking on it is the point right?) smudges are inevitable.  That brings me to our final choice, which we found at Home Depot, Pergo brand Hand Sawn Oak Laminate:


While I've only seen it in the store, this choice seems to be the best of both worlds- it has a nice, grainy texture that makes it look like real hardwood, the color is a perfect blend of dark and light to hide dust and undesirable shedding, and the non-glossy finish won't smudge.  I can't wait to see what it looks like once it's installed!  Not sure what your experience is with laminate vs. hardwood, but I would love to hear about it, especially if you know of any tips or tricks for cleaning.