Monday, April 20, 2015

When Remodeling Projects Snowball...

I think we've all been there.
You do one little remodeling project 
and the room next to it suddenly looks a little tired...

In our case, it was our kitchen that started this snowball rolling.
I know, not exactly a little project, but...

I love the way the kitchen turned out 
and was excited to have friends over. 
Until I looked at our living room.

You can see it's history here.
It had been recovered three times.  
And rarely sat on.
Because it was pretty uncomfortable.
But back when we bought it, I was in love with all 18th Century Design 
and this Chippendale Sofa was about the most exciting thing we'd ever purchased.  
Along with the Obligatory Wing Chair and the Butler's Tray Coffee Table.  
Imagine, a whole living room SUITE! 
We were thrilled. 
Thrilled to move from our tiny one bedroom condo into a whole house 
and to actually have a living room.
And to have furniture in it.

It was all so pretty to look at, but none of it was really ever used.
The family room was where we spent our days.  And nights. 
The living room was lonely. And did I mention uncomfortable?
You just can't relax on an 18th Century sofa.  You perch.  

Enter the new sofa.

And see the Snowball effect.

Apparently, when you buy a giant, comfy, stylish new sofa 
your old furniture suddenly shrinks and fades and looks dated.  
How else to explain that I had never even noticed the "ombre" fading pattern 
on the chairs by the window.  Or how tiny they were...

Fortunately, Darling Daughter is thinking ahead and loves the old furniture, 
She'll be furnishing her own apartment in the not too distant future 
and she really wants the old sofa.  
I'm thrilled that she wants it and I am happy to store it until she's ready.  
(Mr. Grand, not so much.)

Back to the snowball effect.
The big comfy couch started things rolling.
I wanted new chairs. Comfortable ones.
So that when friends gather here, they are comfortable too.  
We don't want any fighting over the new couch.

In fact, comfort was my mantra for this room.
For years, the living room has served mostly as a walkway to the porch.
It was a waste of the biggest room in our house.
I wanted to make it a room where we would like to hang out.  

These tired green club chairs used to "grace" our family room, 

before that room was redone in the makeover 
You can read about that here.

I saved them, to Mr. Grand's chagrin, because they are sooooo comfortable. 
We dragged them up to the living room to see how they would fit.
Not bad... 
(Bonus: Now that they're out of the basement storage, there's room to store the old sofa!)

I had them reupholstered for the living room 
in a soft caramel textured fabric that is -wait for it- comfortable!

I asked the upholsterer to change a few details on the chairs.
I asked him to make the skirts longer 
and the backs slightly arched to match the sofa.  
I also asked him to add taller legs so that they were more in proportion with the new sofa.  
A good upholsterer can do all those things. Without grousing about it.

I love how they turned out.
Now I can sit by the fire, in a comfy chair, 
in a quiet room and read to my heart's content.


Then I got really creative and I bought some floor sample chairs 
in a raspberry velvet that I'm afraid might have had slight "Bordello" overtones.
Excuse the iphone photo...

They were so soft and comfortable 
that I actually considered keeping them this color 
for about five minutes.  
But my sanity prevailed 
and I found this gorgeous, plush, neutral fabric to recover them in.
It's really soft and luxe.

I love buying floor samples to recover.  
If I had ordered these new, they would have taken 8 weeks to make and cost a lot more.
Once I had my fabric, these were done in 2 weeks!
They have a slightly modern line that I like. Transitional, I guess.
I think they turned out beautifully.

The new chairs all look so nice with the big, comfy couch!

We sprung for a new coffee table, too. 
It's bigger than the old one and the scale is better with the sofa.
And we had the room painted in Crisp Linen by Sherwin Williams.

You can see I'm going with a lighter, brighter, more neutral decor.  
Easier on the jewel tones, but I gotta have some color!
I can not do gray.

So I'm keeping my soft green drapes. 

And the camel colored area rug still works, too.

All accessories are in play, however-
Lamps, pillows, art work, knick knacks.
Anything might stay. Or go.

I'm playing musical pillows.  
They're a work in progress.
Pillows are easy to change, so I can switch them out 
without having to make major furniture changes.

I love this pillow from Birch Lane, but it is back ordered til the end of May.

I think a couple of these will look great tossed on the new sofa.
They would tie the colors together and add some pattern.

And I know that I need something a little larger for over the sofa.
Maybe something more three dimensional.  

For me, the fun is in the hunt for those things.

If you need, me, I'll be right here...

Linking to:
That DIY Party at DIY Shhowoff
Inspire Me Monday at Sand and Sisal
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace

I'm going to do something different today.

I want to share a book with you.
It's called "Ordinary Grace".
It's a really good read.

It's one of the best books I have read in years and I recommend it to everyone.

I read a lot.
Voraciously, in fact.
I'm in two wonderful book clubs. 
They are major highlights of every month.

I've been a reader all my life.

My favorite childhood Christmas present was from my Dad.
He gave me the entire set of Nancy Drew Mysteries- 
every single one of them, all at once.  
He worked for Time Life Books and he knew I would love them.  
My five brothers got the Hardy Boys series. They probably never touched them...

I was the only girl, and so I had all of the books, all to myself.
My favorite was "The Secret in the Old Attic". 
I'm pretty sure I finished the whole series by the end of January.
Best gift ever.

As a child, I loved summer vacation mostly because I could read all day.
And all night. 
I remember carrying armloads of books home from the public library.

I would read under the covers 
by the light of my angel nightlight, until very late at night.
With all those brothers, reading in my room was my refuge.
As soon as my Mom made me turn the bedroom light off, 
that angel nightlight came on and I could read to my heart's content.
I still like to read at night. 

And I still love a good book. 

"Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger is a really good book. 

Don't just take my word for it.  
It was a New York Times Bestseller.
It won the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel, 
The Midwest Booksellers Choice Award 
and the DILYS Award for Best Mystery. (I had to look that one up...)

We read this book in both of my book clubs and both groups loved it.
(And no, I am not being paid to say any of this!!! )

It's a mystery, but so much more. 
I don't pretend to be a book reviewer but 
words from real reviews include "luminous", "thoughtful", "captivating", 
"evocative", "moving", "extraordinary" and "superb".  
Plus it's a page turner...

 I contacted the author, William Kent Krueger, 
for his permission to post the Prologue page from Ordinary Grace, below, 
and he agreed.

Read this and see if you don't get hooked as fast as I did.

Here's a link to the Amazon page that lets you read reviews 
and take a closer look for yourself.

It's one of those books you never want to end. 
Fortunately, William Kent Krueger has written a number of other books, 
including the Cork O'Connor mystery series 
which I have been devouring one by one.

If you are looking for a really good book, read this one 
and let me know what you think!

I think it's Just Grand.

Linking to
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life

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