Friday, January 20, 2017

Tour of Valley View Abode(that’s what we call our new house): Our Great Room

I think it’s time to start sharing some photos of our new house.  It’s taken me some time to be ready to share.  This house is our dream home.  We put all our thoughts and energy into building this. 

When we started this process, we started an Instagram account and named this house Valley View Abode.  We named it that because of the great views of the valley that we have.  If you want to follow along with what we did, you can follow us @valleyviewabode on Instagram.  I am still posting fun design ideas, and things that make me happy there.

How did this process start?  I sketched it out on a piece of paper exactly how we wanted our floor plan to be, and then we took that to a drafter.

She drafted it for us, and did an amazing job.  It’s exactly how I sketched it, except with a few of her suggestions that made things better.

Once your house is drafted, then it has to be engineered.  Then you pick or bid builders, and start the process.  That whole process, start to finish, drafting to finish build; took us about 20 months.


All along the way, we made every decision.  We decided where every light switch would be, and which direction our doors would swing.  It was an exciting process.

I am excited to show you some of the decisions we made.  I will just throw little tours of the house in here and there.  Today, I am going to share a tour of our great room:

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The feeling we are going for in our house is coastal.  We are trying let little pieces of our life in the Caribbean leave a mark on this house.  We chose colors for this house that reflect the colors of the ocean, and we did beams to represent driftwood.  We did tongue and groove ceilings because that's what they have in homes in the Caribbean.  I also chose champagne bronze/brass fixtures because they have a very nautical feel to them. You will see some stripes in a few of the patterns because I also feel a sense of being at the beach when I see stripes.  I don’t know why, but stripes also feel very nautical and coastal to me. 

This room is on the main floor, and at the back of the house to the left, once you walk through the entry way. 

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As you can see, we have this beautiful transomed entry way that you walk through to get to the great room.

…and you are welcomed by and adorable Yorkie!

A lot of people have asked me what transoms are.  In architecture, transoms are a horizontal crossbar separating a door from a window.  Most of the time you see transoms above doors.  Sometimes you have transoms in cased openings, or doorways, which is how mine are.  I have four here.  I will do a post that shows more of the entry soon.

You can also see the kitchen, as they are connected.

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We were so lucky to score some old wood beams from an old barn here in the valley that was being torn down.  My builder new I wanted beams in my house.  He didn’t disappoint when he brought me the real deal. 

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Between the wood beams, we did a tongue and groove ceiling out of pine.  I love how it looks, and gives the ceiling another texture. As I said before, the homes in the Caribbean have tongue and groove on their ceilings.  It also defines the great room from the kitchen.  I painted my walls a nice light blue/green color.  The color is Sherwin Williams Sea Salt 6204, but I had the color diluted by 75%.  I hope that makes sense, so it is only at 25% strength.  I wanted it to be very subtle.

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…And the Windows!! This house has a lot of windows. 74 windows to be exact!! I’m so nervous to call a window cleaner. Ugh!!  Natural light is super important to me, like I’m mean without it.  I am also not a huge fan of covering them up so I’m not one to do blinds.  I love these windows, and huge doors.  The big floor to ceiling windows in the great room are sliding glass doors that open up to a massive deck.

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When we were wiring the electrical in the house, I made sure to do three things in this space:

1. put an outlet in the floor here, because I knew I would want a lamp.  The outlet is hidden right under this table. Right behind the cute sleeping dog.

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(Lamp and Pillows TJ Maxx, Couch a local store called 8th & main, Lamp similar, Couch Similar)

2.  put outlets on the side of the fireplace for lamps, and Christmas lights. I also had them switched so I just have to turn them on with a light switch.

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(Lamps from TJ Maxx, something similar)

3.  wire for sconces.  I knew that this space needed some other lighting element.

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(sconces, ottoman-TJ Maxx one similar, Chair- 8th & main, one similar)

This great room light here came from one of my favorite lighting places.  It’s actually a local place here where I live.  It’s called The Valley Home Store.  Follow them on Instagram for some great inspiration. @thevalleyhomestore  I seriously got so many lights from them.  Every time I went in, I got so much design help.

I’m a very symmetrical girl, so having built-in book shelves on either side of the fireplace was a must.  I’m still filling them, and messing around with them, but they are here; and I love them.

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OK!! I know you are dying to talk about my shiplap fireplace.  I am too.  Yes! I do swoon and melt every day that I see it.  I love the design of it!! I love how it is different and unique!!

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(Mirror Hobby Lobby out of this one but this one is fun, Candlesticks World Market, Plants Homemade by me)

 I gave a picture of what I wanted to my builder and he was awesome about it.  I told my builder I wanted lots of shiplap in this house and he was so good to deliver.  In fact, he didn’t know what I meant by shiplap.  He has only heard tongue and groove so he went to a lumber source, and found out about it; and got me the real deal.  I love Shiplap!!

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  I also wanted a very deep mantle so I could put bigger things on it. 

He made it happen, and I am so happy with that decision.  For example: look how fun and awesome it is to put my putz houses on it at Christmas:

Christmas decor at our House at night-0195

I am just now figuring out what to put on my mantle, because for months, it has been seasonal stuff.

….and anyone swooning over the sea green glass tile surround in my fireplace too?  Yes me too.  This was the very first choice I made for my house.  I knew it had to go in my house.

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So the fireplace shape is repeated in the kitchen to keep it flowing.  The fireplace shape is repeated in the hood in the kitchen, and the glass tile is repeated in my back splash.

The piano managed to stay in this space.  The kids practice in here.  I’m grateful I painted it all those years ago, cuz it looks great in here.  I painted it by making my own chalk paint.

Chalk paint:

8oz paint color of choice(buy a sample), mixed with 4 T. Hot water and 4 T. Plaster of Paris

Yep!! That’s it!

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I love this print above the piano.  This scripture means a lot to me. Especially right now, I am teaching Gospel Doctrine in our church.  I’m grateful for this scripture, as I learn as study more about our Savior.

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I picked this print up at Swiss Days in Midway.  If you live in Utah, this is a must; it’s so much fun.

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Let’s talk carpet and hardwood flooring.  This carpet you are seeing in my great room is inlayed like a big rug.  We had it set in and the hardwood picture frames and wraps around it, and then hardwood throughout the rest of the main floor(mostly).  I chose a really fun diamond shape pattern carpet for this inlay.  It is the same color as the rest of my carpet, it’s just a different pattern.


For Hardwood, we did the real deal.  I wanted sand and finish hardwood.  So we picked 6 inch planks, and we picked a maple.  Maple is a really hard hard wood, and has a really fun character to it.  Our intent was to stain it a light gray and then finish it with a matte finish.  Every day when I would come to check the on the floors, I would get sick to my stomach at the thought of staining these beautiful floors.  Jonathan would come and feel the same way, but we were both nervous to tell each other.  When the stain guy came, he said the same thing. 

Just to make me feel better he showed me what it would look like with the gray stain.  I couldn’t do it.  I am so happy with our floors.  I love the look of the natural wood.  I might change my mind someday, but for now we have nice beautiful unstained maple floors.

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I think that’s it for now.  I hope you enjoyed your tour of the great room.  If you have any question about anything you have seen please feel free to email me, or better yet; follow my instagram that is all about our design process and what’s going on now, and leave your question there.

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Follow me @valleyviewabode

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Thanks for stopping by today!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Currently for January

Praying for: my children(they just need it right now)  It seems as though the needs of our children is always changing, and I almost can’t keep up with it.  We are constantly praying that we do what is right for each of them individually. photo Swenson Family Photos 2016-0011_zpskor0qpf4.jpg

Planning to: blog more and take more pictures

Wearing: anything that keeps me warm.  We have had negative degree weather lately 


Excited to: get back on my exercise routine, It has been a little lost since the move

Using: Elf lip exfoliator to help shed the dry lips this season, and I’m in love

Reading: The Magnolia Story.  You guys!! So inspiring.  Ok.  so I’m not reading, I’ve just read it.  What neat people they are.

Watching: Just finished watching lots and lots of Hallmark movies.  During the month of December I had my tonsils out!! I did lots of Hallmark movie watching.  Now, during January, I have promised myself that I will do less tv watching and more creative ME stuff!!

Cooking:  Soups!!!  It’s that time of year.  This one and this one are my fav. right now.


Eating:  I just finished a month of eating lots and lots of ice cream.  I am glad my tonsils are healed and I can start eating more normal again.  I am ready to get off the band wagon of unhealthy Christmas junk, and start eating some salads or something(right after I link you too some unhealthy soup ideas) wink wink!!


Crafting:  I have enjoyed putting together little pots with succulents in them.  They are so fun to stash around the house.  They can go in any room. I will do a tutorial soon.


Loving: to sit in front of the fireplace this time of year

Dreaming: Of warm Caribbean waters

Feeling: blessed

Listening: to all things Apple Music it is seriously the best. thing. ever.

Celebrating: being settled in our new home


Enjoying: keeping a paper planner, it’s a little place for me to be creative, and plan {2 things I love; creativity & planning}


Do you prefer keeping a paper planner, or are a phone planner; or both?

Monday, January 9, 2017


If you noticed or even cared, I took a six month hiatus from blogging. 

It was for many reasons.  One reason was to do some thinking but, probably among the biggest reasons was building our new house, and moving.  It took a lot of time and energy.  We built a custom home.  I started by sketching out a design on paper, and ended by picking out every last detail inside.  Needless to say, we were here for every step of the process.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!  I want to share more about the process here, so more on that to come.  Here is a pic of the finished product:

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We moved in at the end of October, and had just enough time to get our front yard in.

If you want to follow more of the process, you can follow us on Instagram @valleyviewabode It has originally been a private account, but I have felt very led to make it more public, and have it be a design and creative Insta account for me.  I will still keep our family Insta acct. private however. 

After all those house decisions, my brain was a little tired.  I tried to tell myself that I would blog about the process.  At night, when I thought I would have time to blog, I couldn’t.  I could not think about one more thing.

I blamed my lack of blogging on no brain power.

Then we moved in to this new house, and settled in.

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  I realized that I was lost on this blog and the true me, long before that.

I lost myself somewhere between Pennsylvania and Utah.

When I look back over my blog posts, the frequency and even my heart seemed to diminish somewhere between Pennsylvania and Utah.

When I would sit down to blog, my heart wasn’t in it.  I was lost.

I went out a few days ago and took a few pictures after a huge snow storm we had, and I realized I felt a little like this bird.

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Why is this bird here in all this snow?

As I started taking pictures, I remembered how much I love having this camera around my neck.

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  I remembered how much seeing a scene through my view finder brought a quickness to my heart that I almost can’t describe.

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When we moved in this new home, I started feeling bits of the old creative me coming back, and wondered where she had been.

I am beginning to feel more like me again.  I haven’t been a full Andrea since we got to Utah. 

I’ve been half an Andrea.  I’ve been a mom and a wife, but not a photographer, a blogger, a creator.

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I think I figured out why.  Some of the reasons why are very personal, and I will keep to myself, and some are as simple as I forgot to find time to be creative.

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I need time to be creative and use my creative brain each day.

Sure, I have gotten away for a weekend here or there to scrapbook, but once I came home; I was lost again.

Now that we are in our new home, I have my own space to find myself each day.  I have my own craft room/office.  It is amazing how that space has brought me back to life.  I can just walk in to that room and my eyes light up. 

It helped me realize that creativity is so important for me.  15 minutes in there can do my heart good.

When I was blogging frequently, I used to make time for photography.  That was a huge outlet for creativity for me.  When we moved here, I told myself I didn’t need to work anymore so I kind of just tucked my camera away, and started using my iPhone.  That makes me really sad.  I need to use my brain, I want awesome pictures of my kids.

 photo Stella WInter Photoshoot 2017-0565_zpsqjudedvs.jpg

  I need to remember how to use my big girl camera, and stretch myself with it.  It’s what makes me happy. 

 photo Stella WInter Photoshoot 2017-0544_zpsx87netdc.jpg

{Photos of Stella from our impromtu photoshoot, on a snowday this week, oh be still my heart; this is true happiness for me.  My children + photography = happiness}

When I share my thoughts here, when I share a pretty picture here, or a creative idea; all these things bring me true happiness.  We all need to find what it is in our heart that brings us our personal happiness.

For you it might be soccer, or a good book, painting, or exercise.  Let’s not forget to make TIME. 

I have lots of things in life that bring me happiness; my kids, my husband, my church.  This, however, this one is about ME!!  This one is about spending time with me.  Doing what I love.  I kind of lost that for a while.  I let some of my anxieties, the world, some health challenges, being busy, and telling myself that I didn’t have time, take away some of that happiness.  I’m kind of tired of being lost.

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{Photo Circa 2011- taken by: Krysta Moes}

So… my camera is back around my neck.  My desk is a mess again, and my computer is open once again…. and your gonna have to listen to me ramble here at own little corner of the world wide web.

Well… I guess that’s if you want to. 

Thanks for being here.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What’s their story?

I have been avoiding being here.  It’s true.  I just keep putting it off.  It’s on my list of things I want to do.  I love blogging.  It clears my head, and I know God wants me to be here; but I’ve been avoiding it. 

I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head that sometimes it’s so hard to put them on paper, or computer, or the world wide web.

Even now, when I had a house that was full of peace and quiet; I was still avoiding it.  I went out and started weeding my flowers.  Yep!! I was weeding instead.

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Here I am tho.  After talking with my son today, I finally know the words I want to say.

I have had so many thoughts and feelings the last few weeks.  It has been an overwhelming June for me.

Summer hit me like a ton of bricks and I wasn’t ready.  I will say I had some big life factors that came into play that affected some of my emotions; but it’s all good now.  One of which was not being able to drink soda anymore.  That’s a big deal around these parts, and it affected me big time!!

After a good long heart to heart with Jex this morning about some of his own struggles with life and teenagerhood, I knew what I needed to share here.

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(umm.  ok.  He was nine in this photo.  he is almost fourteen.)

I knew how I wanted to sum up my life lesson, and I finally knew how to put into words how I had been feeling.  It’s funny.  I was trying to teach Jex, but somehow God was teaching me too. 

Jex is a teenager.  He is awesome!! We love him!!  You know how teenagers live in this bubble of not even realizing what is going on outside themselves. It’s a little bit about me and little bit about me!!

Today, we talked about taking a moment to ask himself anytime he comes into contact with someone, “What’s their story?”

It’s something that I have been thinking a lot about.  This last April during our churches General Conference meeting Sister Linda K Burton gave a talk titled “I was a stranger.” I have thought and thought about that talk. I keep hearing a particular phrase from it over and over in my mind and have for months.  I heard it again today.  

Sister Burton related this story in her talk: “Last summer I met Sister Yvette Bugingo, who at age 11 fled from place to place after her father was killed and three of her brothers went missing in a war-torn part of the world. Yvette and the remaining family members eventually lived for six and a half years as refugees in a neighboring country until they were able to move to a permanent home, where they were blessed by a caring couple who helped with transportation, schools, and other things. She said they “were basically an answer to our prayers.” Her beautiful mother and adorable little sister are with us tonight, singing in the choir. I have wondered many times since meeting these wonderful women, “What if their story were my story?”

That phrase, What if their story were my story, has gone through my mind many times.  It was brought to my mind again this morning as I was talking to Jex. 

I used it to remind him that everyone has a story.  Every single person has a story every. single. day. We wake up, and our story starts over.  Sometimes we have a good story one day , and sometimes we have a not so good story the next.  And over the course of a life time, those little stories add up to become our story.

It’s important to reach outside ourselves and ask what’s your story?  How are you? Have you had a good day? Can I do anything to help you today?

Jex really is very good at this.  He has also been very good at spotting when I have had a bad day without me even needing to say anything.  It was just a good reminder to him today, that sometimes we just have to stop and reach outside ourselves a little.  The use of electronics, becoming a teenager, and a little bit of worry about fitting in may have caused him to look a little inward the past few months.  That’s ok.  We all do that at times.  Sometimes we need to do that.  There are times when we have to take care of ourselves.  It was a good reminder for Jex and myself that it is so important to find true happiness by looking outside ourselves.

I have been working hard over the last couple weeks to look out side myself. I know that is what God wants me to learn. All of the those things I have been working on, I think truly can be summed up just by asking myself, what’s their story? and even asking myself at times when I need to be even more sympathetic, “What if their story was my story?”

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Life as a whole can be summed up by learning to maneuver through relationships.  We have to learn to work with our spouses, and be the best parents we can be.

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We have relationships with our parents, our siblings, neighbors, and friends. 

Kristins Wedding 032

God wants us to learn how to be the best we can be as learn how to maneuver through relationships.  I think we could all do better in each facet of this if we took the time to ask, “what’s their story today?”  We can even ask, “What if their story where my story?” 

Most of the time people try to be kind and good.  We hope that people don’t go through life trying to hurt or ruin us.  When we feel like we are being hurt, it might be good to ask, “what is their story?” Is there more to this story, because I’m sure they didn’t hurt me on purpose. 

I learned a big lesson with this over the past month.  I let my emotions get the best of me.  I am going to call myself out on it, and tell you all about the mistakes I make. I do this in hopes that you know that I am real, this blog is real, and that we all make mistakes.  It’s important that we learn from them.

It was such a dumb mistake that I needed to apologize to someone that takes such great care of a few of my children.  I saw something with blinders on.  I didn’t ask myself if there was more to the story.  I just got sad and emotional(because we women do that sometimes), and then after the emotions got the better of me; I found out the whole story.  Boy!! did I feel dumb.  So I went.  I apologized.  I took her a treat, and hugged her, and said I am so dumb; please forgive me.  I ate my humble pie, but you know what?  It tasted good. It is good to be humble.  When we humble ourselves, God teaches us.  God taught me a great lesson about using my emotions to tell a story.  Emotions never tell the whole story.  I learned to ask myself, “what is the whole story, what is their story?”  The story is this woman is beautiful and kind and good. I am thankful that I can say that I know her better now, and I appreciate her even more.  I am grateful for her forgiveness.  I am thankful for the atonement that allows me to say “I’m sorry”, and that I know that I am forgiven.

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This has also had me thinking about “What if their story, were my story?”  It’s a good reminder not to judge right? It’s a good reminder to lend a helping hand.  This particular talk that I stole this line from is talking about the thousands and thousands of refugees who need love and support.  What if their story were our story?  It makes you stop and think about how blessed you are.  What more you can do for others?  How you can judge less?  How we can take the time to learn more about others, and were they have come from?

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I want to also take this approach in my parenting and my relationship with my spouse.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my own day and my to-do list, that I forget to ask, “what is their story?” Better yet, listen to their story.  My kids always have a story to tell, and am I really listening?  When they are grumpy about something, do I know the true source?  The story behind it?  It is hunger, are they tired?

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Did I take the time to catch up on my husband’s story today?  Am I meeting the needs of his story?  Did I really listen to what he was feeling, and then figure out how I could help?

During my summer month one(June) of soul searching, humbling myself, listening to God, and learning.  I decided to make a list of 10 habits to happiness.

These are my habits that I want to work on to be happy.  I shared them on Instagram.  I thought I would share them here too.  I thought it might get you thinking a little about what makes you truly happy.  These are not things I am perfect at.  They are habits I am working toward.   Now it’s going to have to be 11 habits because I need to add, “ask myself what’s their story?”

My 10 11 Habits to Happiness

1.  Be Humble

2. Boldly trust in God

3.  Say something kind to everyone I come in contact with

4.  Live in the moment/find happiness in the moment

5.  Put family above all other obligations

6.  Never Worry!! It’s not worth it!

7.  Expect the best of others

8.  Always be kind- never gossip

9.  Be proud of my kids in all things

10.  Believe I am deserving because I am His, but never forget to express gratitude in all things

11.  ask, “What’s their story?”

Monday, June 13, 2016

Designing on a Budget

As we have been building our new house, I have been thinking a lot about the best way to get the designer look on a budget.  What areas should I spend money and what areas should I be brave and bold in, and what areas should I play it safe in?  There are so many times that I have bought something for my house, and then thought weeks later, “well that was a mistake.”  I am hoping to avoid that as much as I can.  How can we do that?  What are some budget friendly tricks that I have learned in all the many decorating mistakes that I have made that might help me in the journey of putting the new house together?

I thought it might be good to write a few ideas down.  For myself, and I thought you might benefit from them too!

I think when decorating any space it is good to start with a budget. 

It is so important to be realistic about the budget as well.

Do you need new furniture in the space?  If so, the budget will need to be higher? 

I like to start by making a list of what I need for the space with a rough estimate of how much it will cost for each item.

Where should you spend your money?

I think it’s good to put your money into your furniture.  It’s like a good pair of jeans.  You will wear them every day.  With that being said.  Don’t buy furniture that will date itself in 2 years.  Buy neutral furniture and spice it up with fun pillows. 

We had this gray couch for over 8 years and it has seen it’s share of colors, and patterns.

LIving Room 1

(Ok Y’all this is like Circa 2008.  When we first bought this couch and I thought the chair we bought to go with it was awesome.  You know when RED was awesome!!)  This was the very first home we owned in Arkansas in a place where it is cool to say Y’all!!

Living Room

Then as then months went along it was easy to switch out the pillows and add a new color, because my couch was neutral!!

Living Area (3)

Then I changed that paint on that red wall in the back, and went a completely different way with the pillows and decorations, but I kept the couch.

….and then we moved, but the couch came with us:

New house in PA (18 of 35)

This was our rental house in Pennsylvania. Then we moved to our current house in Utah, and once again we brought the couch:

House tour Kitchen and Great Room-0287

and that’s changed too:

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See what you can do with a neutral couch?

Spend your money on good furniture, that has a nice finish, that will last through your children, and can stand the trends!!

It has been so nice to just be able to change the pillows, or the room decor, but never have to worry about making room in the budget for a big piece like a couch.  This couch has been through 3 homes and several different styles; all of which worked.

We did just get this fun new furniture set for our new home.  Navy is the new neutral so I was so excited to find this with the brass nail heads.  It will fit our coastal home style very well.  Which brings me to my next point. 


What is the feel you are going for?

If I wanted a very modern feeling home, this is not the furniture to buy.  Buy pieces that fit the feeling you are going for.  You want modern, you want clean lines.  Do a little research about the style you want, and go with a list of specific elements that you need to fit that specific design. Then you will never have that buyers remorse that I mentioned earlier.

I love coastal, so I know that I am looking for pieces that have the driftwood feel, brass, navy, stripes, beach glass blues, pebbles, chipped wood and paint, glass, or lanterns.  Anything that would remind me of the ocean.  This mirror reminded me of that coastal feel.  I loved that driftwood feeling that it gave me:


What if you need new furniture but it’s not in the budget? 

Well say this couch was older and I wanted new but couldn’t afford it?  I could use my budget for new pillows and fun new throws to just freshen it up.  Our home is coastal so I picked up this fun coastal throw. 


A throw and new pillows can really enhance a couch that you may not love.  I have been doing that for the last few years actually.

Making inexpensive changes like this can enhance things that bother you.  You could also invest in slip covers.

Another great idea is to paint furniture when you can’t buy new!

We recently had our kitchen table repainted and also this buffet.


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You can hire people to paint for you.  Which I did in this case because of my neck, but I have always painted furniture myself in the past. 

Here is my favorite paint recipe:

mix 4 T. of plaster of paris with 1/4 C. of Hot Hot Hot water until the plaster is dissolved

then add:

An 8 oz. paint sample from home depot(color of your choice)

then paint by hand with a nice brush

no sanding needed!!

I painted a FREE piano that I got so that it matched our home.  It was also pretty ugly and beaten up, but now I love it.

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(This was a Christmas time)

When redecorating my sons room, I didn’t have it in my budget to buy a new bed for him.  We had a bed that my sister had given us.  I didn’t really love it so I just took out some metal pieces that were in it that I didn’t like, and then painted it gray; and now I love how it looks in his room.

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Another neutral that I spend my money on is comforters!

I like to buy white and gray comforters.  Then I can just keep them for a really long time and just switch out pillows.  All the boys in my house have gray, the girls have white, and my master is white. 

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Room colors can be switched around easily that way. 

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In fact, I don’t have to buy any new bedding for the new house, but the kids will have new bedroom decorations.

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That saves a lot of money!

The other place that I like to spend my money is on items that I see and love right away!

Something that I know right where I want to put it, and something that is unlike anything I have ever seen before.  Those statement pieces are worth snatching up, and usually are worth the money. I fell in love with this unique table.  Once again it was the fun wood, and I had never seen one like it before.  I have never regretted getting it:


One way that I love saving money is by finding ways to make things myself! 

For Example, I love this Brass Geometric Himmeli Wreath which sells for $185:


It’s one of those show stoppers right.  Like, the I gotta have this right now kinda things. Well, I learned how to make it myself.

You can buy the brass kit to make it for $65 dollars, or you can make it like I did out of cocktail straws for like $5; then spray paint it brass. This is mine:

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(once again at Christmas time)

This is another example:

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I really wanted a succulent planter from a store for $100.  I made mine for $30.  Read more about it here.

There are lots of ways to stay with in your budget by doing DIY.

As you budget for your space make sure you shop online for sales(amazon, and overstock are favs), and even hit your local TJ Maxx and Home Good Stores, they often have the best finds!  If you find something you love, but don’t think you can afford it:

1) Save for it.

2) Shop around and you will probably find something so similar for a much better price. 

3)Never Settle when it’s that one true love

What I mean by that?:

when it’s in the case of that one true love:  If you met your one true love, and then the average guy came along and you settled for him; you would always be thinking about your true love.  That will always be true about your furnishings.  So it’s almost always better to just buy it the first time because you will end up spending more money.  You will settle for something that you hate and go back to the thing you love.  If you can’t afford what you love, and can’t find anything similar enough at a cheaper price, it is worth it to wait and save. Because then you will have bought two things.   UNLESS!! and I mean UNLESS!! this means that your family will go hungry for the next three years while you save for this $10,000 couch you love.  You have to be reasonable about the item too.

The Details there should be room in the budget for the details:

I can usually find the last little tiny finishing details at those little shops.  The little things are the pieces that you don’t want to spend much money on.  They are the things that you will cycle through your house more, but they are the details.  The details are important too!  I don’t spend more than $20 on these items. Like $3-20.  Check your thrift stores, Target,  garage sales, and vintage markets.


I also hit my local thrift stores for old books, or old dishes for styling shelves.

Make sure you don’t forget to budget lighting in there!

Make room for lamps.  Lamps can get expensive.  I like to make sure that I buy matching lamps.  A set of two usually always looks better.  If you don’t have the money for lamps, you can always repurpose by spray painting ones you have?

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If it’s time to replace your overhead lighting too, that is another great place to invest your money.  Those are the details that stay.  Trust me. 

I have had so much fun, and so many headaches picking out the lighting for our new house; but I know the difference it is going to make.  In fact, if you are doing a remodel on a space and need a new light, I encourage you not to go for the boring builder grade.  Save some money somewhere else, and put that money in your lighting.  Buy yourself a fun light!!! It doesn’t have to be through the roof expensive, but it will make all the difference in your space.

Wanna see the ones I am ordering today?



These are the sconces for our breakfast nook, and great room by our fireplace.  See they have brass and stripes; very coastal.  I found them here.

So to recap:

Be BOLD with your lighting!!! Save money for lamps. 

Buy neutral furniture and budget for that.

Buy neutral bedding.

Use pillows and throws to change the look of beds and couches as the years go on.  Don’t buy new bedding or new furniture as often.

Shop Sales!! Hit Thrift Stores

Don’t spend a lot of money on the little detail items.

Learn to DIY

Repurpose when you can

Stay true to your budget

Never Settle when you are in love with something, unless it means you’ll starve Smile

If any of you are working on remodels of rooms of your own and need a little design help visit this great company who can help you design your dream space in about 10 days.  They come up with all the products with the links and sources you would need to buy them.  It looks like a pretty cook way to have someone help you with the design process if you are a little bit nervous about it yourself.  Check them out at:

Laurel and Wolf and their great designers also have a few tips for mastering your Decor Budget:

Decor Budget

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