Friday, June 29, 2012

Library Chic

Even though I can't get into our new house yet to get started on any projects there, one fun thing I can do now is help set up Jady's office at the church.  He is so excited about his new space that I want to be sure to have it looking good by the time he arrives (only 10 more days!!).

For an office like this one, I love the look of a comfy leather Chesterfield sofa-- it gives the space the instant feel of cozy quietness of a library.

via Design Notes

Design Notes

While a new tufted leather sofa would make the space for him, I'm afraid it's not in the budget for now.  But it doesn't hurt to know your options!  Here are a few:

I love the soft, unusual almond color of this sofa from Anthropologie.  It adds a slightly more feminine quality to the traditional, professorial design.

I love this loveseat version from Home Decorators, and it's one of the least expensive out there.

via JuxtaPost

Happy Friday!



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Set the stage

Our journey to Narnia began in April. Our team joined together to dream up and think through "The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe," and when we came together it was clear we were truly inspired by this story. Floriana, a teacher at Parsons, had clear inspiration when it came to costuming our actors, and Jeremy, a model designer, was sooo moved. He and I had a little too much fun coming up with our elaborate sets. And--you know me--I like to work with what we already had, so I began collecting items throughout the church that would be perfect for our set.

Our scary trees started out like this....

The trees are made out of two by fours wrapped in chicken wire. We then wrapped the chicken wire in fabric and painted them in various browns and black. The branches are actually made out of foam and were drilled into our trees. 

The actors are a major part of our experience this week. They bring Narnia alive, and the children truly believe they are from Narnia.  Part of the magic has to do with their fabulous costumes. I love a bargain, so when Floriana found TDF, a costume company that rents soley to "small" productions at cost we were more then thrilled.

Like I said, I love using what we have around. Our entire set is made up of items from the thrift shop and church. Good looking right?!

Let me tell you, the kids are obsessed with the items on the shelf. The books are old and worn, perfect for our stage. 



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Slap a Coat of Paint on It

Yesterday I got to go back in the house again with our contractor and a couple of his guys to discuss in more detail some of the projects they are bidding on for us.  Any day now I will receive the estimates for all of the things we would like to have done, and I'm absolutely certain at this point that we will have to cut out half-- if not more-- of what's on that list.  Added to the group of things we will be doing is some behind the scenes repairing, which I know is to be expected in an old house like ours.  

Still, somehow it just doesn't feel as fun or satisfying to spend our money on extra insulation than it would on, say, gorgeous hardwood floors in all of the bedrooms or a pro style range in the kitchen.  Sigh.  Trying to be a responsible grown up can be such a drag:)

One way we're thinking of cutting costs is with the flooring.  The taupe, shaggy carpet running up the stairs and in all of the bedrooms must go-- no question.  I would just to install hardwood floors everywhere, but now we are thinking of some money saving plans B & C.

Medium-cost plan: we could have the floors installed just in the hallway, with new, low pile wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms, which gives a similar feeling to the upstairs without the cost of actually having the wood extend throughout.  

Super low cost emergency plan: Underneath the carpet we have old pine floors, which can be really beautiful sanded and restained.  Unfortunately, ours are not smooth enough to make refinishing an option... but painting might still be.  I have always been a bit intrigued by the look of painted floors, and with all of the other updates we're trying to do now, this might be our chance to try them out.

This whole project could cost us less than $150 for the whole upstairs!  I'm thinking that painted floors are suddenly my new favorite thing.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday in Narnia

The week started with a BANG. Our Creative Arts Camp is in full swing, and we have had over 70 kiddos join us. What has been so amazing is our volunteer effort. I am truly inspired.  Have you ever experienced friends joining together in one purpose and sharing their amazing talents?  That is exactly what we are experiencing this week, and our neighborhood kiddos are the beneficiaries.  

We have professional actors and designers giving of their time. This has been such a lovely event to put on, and luckily we have four more days left. 

We made spring trees from paper flowers, and our actors have literally brought Narnia to life. I simply made three large flowers per birch stem and wired them together. I used my handy staple gun and secured the wire to the trees. I am THRILLED with the results. These trees will not go to waste afterward. We are going to use them in our Sunday school rooms and will probably take a few home for Sophia's bedroom. 

Our crafts are sooo thoughtful.  Tomorrow we are making snow globes, and what kid doesn't love a snow globe? They are so simple to make. I used frosting spray for the outside, we bought lots of beautiful glitter for the inside and we have glittered twigs along with a lamppost. I will definitely take some snapshots. 

I am in for a busy week, but totally worth it, and you know here at Mel & Liza we LOVE a project! If you are in the area, join us!!!



Monday, June 25, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I hope you all had a great weekend!  This is a big week for us coming up, as we are waiting to hear back from the workmen with the estimates for the long list of projects I have asked them to price for us. Yikes!  I'm a little nervous, and we'll have to wait and see how many things we'll be doing ourselves...

One thing the new house really needs is a big kitchen island, and I realized that I hadn't put much thought yet into what kind of island exactly.  When starting from scratch you have some options: just a box to support the countertop?  Seating or just workspace?  How many seats or stools?  Cabinets, drawers, or shelves for storage?  

Since we're trying to keep the cost down, we will be forgoing features like a sink or appliances built into the island, which keeps things simpler.  Adding an outlet or two adds a lot of convenience for not much extra expense, so that's on my list.  And we definitely need some seating; I'm thinking for four around two sides of the island.  

Where I'm feeling stuck, though, is the STYLE of the whole thing...  Do we want something boxy, with clean, strong lines and a weighty, substantial feel?

Or would we rather have an island with more furniture-like elements... Or a combination of the two?

There's even the option actually to use an existing piece of furniture as the base for your island, too.  Just to keep me totally confused:)

Now THIS one I'm obsessed with.
House Beautiful

Any thoughts for me??

Happy Monday!


Friday, June 22, 2012

It is Friday....

What are your weekend plans? Jake and I have been gearing up for our Creative Arts Camp. We are psyched, with over 75 children registered-- can you believe it?!! We are going to be taking our kiddos through the Chronicles of Narnia. We have been building sets and crafts for over a month. I can't wait to see the children's faces as they arrive. We have been building trees out of paper flowers and birch branches, and they are sooo lovely.  I can't wait to share them next week.
So, our weekend is full, but in a good way. 

BTW, if you have NEVER seen The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, do check out this flick.  Jake and I cry every time. The film is so moving.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Day

After a loooong drive with the dog in the back and a Uhaul behind the car, I made it to Louisville!  Sadly, I had to leave the dog in a kennel and our stuff in the storage unit still, but only for a little longer, and then we can actually move in.

To that end, today is a big day, since I am meeting with the electrician, plumber, drywall guy, etcetera, to get some estimates on a few things we'd like to have done to the house.  For a house that I famously said you could move right into (if you had to), you wouldn't believe how long my list is!  But I'm ready to prioritize, and Jady and I are also prepared to do some-- or even a lot-- of the work ourselves.

One thing we are definitely not doing ourselves is sanding our ceilings.  All over the place in our house we have these textured, fan shaped patterned ceilings that aren't too noticeable when the lights are dim.  But ours are for some reason particularly deeply textured and shiny, so when the sun shines in or your lights are turned up to a normal level, it's all you can see.  

Fan patterned ceiling purists will gasp, but Jady and I agreed-- it has to go.  Another project (one that we'll most likely be tackling ourselves to save money) is that we've decided to install lots of molding, including crown molding, which will only add more attention to the ceilings.  Smoothing out the textured ceilings will really help to get the clean look we're going for.

It's going to be messy!  Can you imagine?  Everywhere in the house... So hopefully they'll tell me today that they can do it the moment we sign the paperwork and before we move anything in.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Oh Stella....

Last week we took a look at what D.R. was up to for 2013. Then I ran across some fabulous photos of a Stella McCartney's 2013 collection. I LOVE it!  Feminine design is back, and you know how much I love floral inspiration!  

I LOVE the lace and floral prints-- I just can't get enough. I do also love the menswear combo with such frilly pieces. Oh Stella, muchas gracias; I am inspired.



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kitchen Ideas

Today I am on the road, driving with the dog and a U Haul trailer to Louisville!  Unfortunately, we can't actually move the stuff, the dog or ourselves IN yet,  but I'm going up early to get some estimates on a little work that we'd like to have done once we close on the house July 2.

In particular I'm thinking about the kitchen.  Right now ours looks a little bit like a big room with some cabinets on the walls on one end, or, as Jady described it, like a big break room at an office.  Not exactly the look we're going for.

But something like this would be great... I love the color scheme, the crown molding on the cabinets and the pot filler (I would die to have a pot filler- don't ask me why), although I think one island is all we'll need or have room for.

These are great options, too.  It's so hard to choose!  

Can you tell I'm leaning toward white this time around? :)  



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