Dining Room Drama and The Domino Effect

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us. You make a decision. You set a course. Then you change one thing… and it changes EVERYTHING. That’s the story of my dining room. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

For the most part my dining room had remained untouched since we moved into the house about a year ago. I had all the essentials… dining table, chairs, buffet… but nothing that really spoke of my style. I decided to do something dramatic. Being the lover of a good graphic punch, I mocked up this mood board in Photoshop.
dining room mood board That wall is not for the faint of heart, right? For the most part this design used thing I already owned. I would need to have some chairs reupholstered and buy a couple cans of paint. Not bad. And the “Wearstler Wall” was going to be amazing if I had anything to do with it. I wanted to use a blush color for the stripes and an even lighter blush color for the ceiling. I even found some sheers at IKEA in a beige-y blush color that worked perfectly for the windows. At $5 per panel I was able to load up the windows with lots of full fabric. I got to work and ended up with this.
wearstler-wall Not exactly like the mood board, but hey, I was working with what I had. You can see that I have no seat cushions here because all my seats and side chairs were being reupholstered. They came back looking spectacular!
striped-louis-chair For the most part the dining room was done. Ahhh…. don’t you just love the feeling of a room that’s done? Yeah, me too! But no sooner than I had completed this room, these fabulous designer drapes walked into my life and turned it upside down.
drapes The mother lode of designer fabrics in my book… Schumacher’s Chinois Palais designed by the ever-stylish Mary McDonald. I was offered the opportunity to purchase these drapes at the end of a show house event for a fraction of retail cost. I’ll have to admit, I thought of every reason in the book that I should get them even though I didn’t really need them. Things like “they go perfectly with my ceiling color” and “they’re already the exact length I need for the dining room” ran through my head, along with “I really should have a more grown-up design for my dining room.” That last one was a kicker. Being in my early 40s has really taken a toll on my design taste. I’m finally admitting to myself that I need to decorate my age. Ugh.

So I agreed to purchase them and the domino effect ensued. The drapes were way too formal to go with the “Wearstler Wall”, and I’d always felt the room was a bit flat. I love the look of grasscloth so I decided to try it on the main wall.
grasscloth I also switched out the mirror with my Chinese Chippendale Pagoda Mirror that was previously in my foyer. Might as well go full-on chinoiserie, right? I loved all the texture from the grasscloth, but the new lamps were really clunking. This is when I decided that the dining room was just going to have to be “pretty.” I gave up the idea of trying to inject modern elements because they just didn’t work. Another thing that didn’t work was the striped Louis side chairs. So I resurrected the Phyllis Morris chairs with an Ebay score of some Mary McDonald Firenze fabric in a blush colorway.
firenze-fabric LOVE this fabric! It’s pretty but it still has a strong graphic feel to it, which is one of the things I like so much about it. And of course it works perfectly with the drapes I’d be getting from the show house. Ebay can be an amazing source for designer fabrics. You can find remnants and end-of-roll quantities at deep discounts. My little bamboo chairs came back from the upholsterer looking ah-mazing!
chair At this point I started to get excited. I finally picked up my drapes at the close of the show house and hung them. After finding the perfect pair of Uttermost buffet lamps, the room was finally done!
dining-room Whew! Was that not the longest dining room story ever? I finished it just in time for the holidays and have been enjoying it ever since. One dinner party and Thanksgiving meal down, and hopefully many more to go.

So has the domino effect ever sent your decorating into a tailspin? I’d love to hear your stories!

The Great Color Conundrum

I’ve got a huge confession to make. We have lived in this house for almost a year now, and about six months into it, I got tired of living with so much bright color. There. I said it. It’s good to get that off my chest.

It’s not that I don’t like color or appreciate what it can do for one’s mood, but there was just so much of it all around me. After a while it no longer seemed to reflect mine and my husband’s personal taste. And let’s face it, the eye does need a rest after a while. Am I crazy for having a change of heart so quickly? For me, bright color is like the guy you thought you’d marry and love forever, but turns out you just want to date him on the weekends.

So about a month ago I made the decision to start removing the bright color from our main living spaces and injecting more neutral tones into the home.

First up was the living room. Here’s where we started.
colorful-living-room Nice and bright! The teal overdyed rug is was obviously the major source of color in the room (besides The Walken).  Step number one was to replace the rug with something that had a little more texture and neutral colors. Enter the Beni rug…
eric-on-beni-rug I purchased this rug on sale at RugsUSA.com and it’s honestly one of the best purchases I’ve made for our home. I knew it instantly when we rolled it out on the floor. It made the room feel so much warmer and more like home. Perhaps it’s because I had a cream shag rug in my last house and I just missed it. I don’t know why, but I love this rug. And obviously Eric does, too!

After replacing the rug I noticed that the wall color seemed a bit on the colder side of gray. It was the only gray color the builder offered at the time, and to tell the truth I think it really worked well with the brighter colors. But now that the color was gone the gray-blue hue stuck out like a sore thumb. The room looked cold and I needed to warm it up. So I turned to my Sherwin Williams fan deck and picked out a warm greige color called Alpaca. It had the exact same tonal value as the original gray, but the hue was slightly different. If I hadn’t told anyone that I repainted the room, they probably would have never noticed. Here’s a photo of the color as it was going on the wall. Can you see the difference?
paint-colors Even if no one else noticed the change, I noticed and it made me very happy. Michael requested that we keep the back of the house light and bright since we have all those lovely windows, and I think SW Alpaca was a perfect fit. So then the room looked like this.
painted-walls Ahhhh! Much better. So clean and fresh and full of possibilities! You may have noticed I switched out my colorful pillow covers for more neutral covers and some furry lumbars from Arhaus. When going neutral it’s important to add more texture. Texture gives a room life and keeps it from looking flat and boring.

The coffee table tray got a little makeover as well. It went from this…
coffee-table-tray-color To this.
coffee-table-tray The oversized tray is from West Elm and I love how large it is. It’s the perfect scale for my ginormous coffee table. I purchased a new one in the silver leaf finish because I have so much brass and gold in the room already, and this girl likes to mix her metals. The Kate Spade hot pink crystal vase was switched out with a vintage tortoise shell vase from Flair Vintage Decor, a new grouping of books were stacked up, and my little faux marble black and white Target tray was added for another layer of texture. Topping it all off are my vintage antelope figurines and my mother-in-law’s crystal votive holders which add an element of sparkle to the mix. Whether you’re creating an entire room or a simple vignette, it’s important to bring in a good mix of materials so that you have a variety of finishes. This grouping is great because I have elements of glass, metal (silver and gold tones), wood tones (in the vase) and paper.

So there you have it… The living room is well on its way to being a cozy retreat for the Julians. There are only two things left on the to-do list for this room: 1) install a larger light fixture, and 2) create different artwork. Both of which are in the works as I type. I hope to be posting on those updates in the next few days. Can’t wait to have photos of a finished room! Hope everyone has a great week!

The Needle Noses

I can’t believe it’s already April and this semester of school is coming to a close soon. I’ll be very honest and say that these past few months have been difficult. I decided to wait a few weeks to break the news just because I was so emotional about it for a while. We lost our sweet little girl Candy to heart failure on Valentines Day.
We knew the day would eventually come. She had been diagnosed with heart failure years ago but she fought it like a champ. She started coughing a little around Thanksgiving last year and we knew that was the beginning symptoms of the disease taking hold. It wasn’t until a week or so before Valentines Day that her symptoms started to worsen to the point that she was struggling to breathe. She would sit on the floor with her front legs spread wide to open up her chest so she could breathe, and her coughing at night was unbearable. We made a promise when we got her that we would show mercy and not let her suffer, and so we made the decision to let her go before it got any worse. The end stages of heart failure are scary and agonizing, and it would have been nothing short of cruel to let it go any further.

Candy was an angel and I still miss her terribly. She was bequeathed to me by my MIL and she was the best gift Betty ever gave me. Rest in sweet peace Miss Candy Well.
Candy-2 You may have noticed the title of this post is “The Needle Noses.” After we lost Candy the house was so empty it was unreal. This house was built with the intention that a greyhound would always live here, and it was a shame to let that big backyard go to waste. So we started looking into fostering another hound with the intention of adopting. We attended the GPANashville Winter Gathering and met several fine young hounds up for adoption, along with some Super Seniors as well. I swear I cried for the first 30 minutes we were there. Everywhere I looked I saw Candy, but eventually I got over it and the excitement of meeting new hounds overtook the sadness.

One hound in particular caught our eye. He was a three-year-old brindle with the sweetest disposition. He was full of energy and seemed to be cool as a cucumber despite all the chaos of other hounds around him. We knew he was the one. One week later he came over for a house visit and never left. I’m happy to formally introduce our newest family member, Gable Eric Julian!
Eric-1 Is that not the most innocent, sweet face you’ve ever seen? Haven’t you always wanted a dog to look at you like that? Like you’re the only thing in the world that matters to him? I hate to break it to ya, but he was staring longingly at the pig’s ear Michael was holding just above the camera. Hey, you do what you have to!

Eric has adjusted to his new lifestyle like a rock star. He had no social anxieties so we’re getting him out in public as much as possible. He’s very popular at our local bank drive-through, and he’s even made some friends at Home Depot.
Eric-3 So that’s our latest big news around here. Aside from all this, I’ve just been plugging away at design school and doing my best to keep my head above water. I’m hoping to be able to share some of my school projects with you, but until then I’ll be posting more updates around the house soon. And yes, they involve animals. Go figure.

Have a great week everyone!

This week’s vintage finds

Just wanted to pop in for a minute to show you a couple of vintage goodies I scored over the weekend.

Nashville has a little decor shop called Flair Vintage Decor and the owner, Caroline, has a great design eye. She has a mix of old and new pieces, which is just how I like to decorate my home. It’s always a balancing act! I love the look of some of the funkier vintage milk glass pieces and have picked up a couple over the past year. When I spied this little artichoke-style vase I knew it would come home with me.

milk-glass-vase It’s so different from a lot of the other pieces I’ve seen. Milk glass can go “granny” very quickly if you don’t do it just right. I find that a pop of pure white on top of my coffee table books is the perfect compliment to all the color going on in my home. They eye always needs a place to rest, after all.

The second find of the weekend was scored at Make + Model’s pop-up shoppe at the home of Brandy Adams. I swear that woman needs a storefront, she had so many goodies! Vintage furniture and home decor items were flying out her front door so fast, it was like a frenzy. I happened to spy this cute faux bamboo lamp that looked lonely, so I decided to give it a home on my brass Z table in the living room.
faux-bamboo-lamp Believe it or not, I didn’t really have much yellow going on in that room. But now I certainly do! Michael came home from work and commented that he liked the color, so I’ll take that as a confirmation that I made a wise purchase.

That’s all I have to report for now, but check back soon for another post about the most important recent addition to the Julian home. Hope everyone has a great week!

2014 In Full Swing

Rather than begin this post with many apologies for being MIA for a few weeks, I’m going to just bombard you with a bunch of stuff that’s happened around the Julian Home since the beginning of the year. How’s that for sweeping it under the rug? We’ve had some good stuff and some sad stuff, but today I’m going to keep it all on the bright side.

I Started Design School!

Some of my close friends know that I started interior design school back in January. I’ve been in some form of the design industry for nearly 20 years of my life, so this seemed like a natural move to make. I’m a Gemini and I tend to like change more frequently than most, but I have to admit that this experience has completely turned my life upside down. I’m learning to draft by hand and have spent many hours at my desk breaking my back to get homework done. I’m also learning all about the history of art and architecture, which I find fascinating. But believe it or not, my best class by far I think is Spanish. Go figure! After this semester I think I’ll be taking on classes in smaller chunks (since I’m in no big hurry) so I can enjoy and absorb everything and still be able to work and make a living. Letting go of a steady paying job has been the biggest adjustment–one that does not suit my personality type well at all. So after this semester I’ll be going back to work in some sort of design job, just not sure what kind. Only time will tell!

The Fireplace Wall

We’ve added a few things to spruce the place up around here, and also have completed a couple major projects that had been on the list since we moved in. First up is our fireplace wall. We finally ordered the stacked quartz veneers from NorstoneUSA and had them installed. It was a small change that made a HUGE difference in the room.
stacked-quartz-fireplace If you recall from earlier posts, this wall was never straight to begin with, so during installation my tile setter tore it down to the studs and straightened things up a bit before applying the cement board. Now that it’s done we could not be more pleased! The living room was full of hard, flat surfaces, but now the rough quartz has added some much needed visual texture to the room. The difference in the feel of the room is like night and day. So much better now!

The Walken

Next up is a little art project. Every year I give Michael something Christopher Walken related for Christmas. It’s a little tradition we started several years ago and it’s become sort of a joke, but we truly do love all things Christopher Walken. (Side note: Michael was an extra in the movie At Close Range starring Christopher Walken and Sean Penn. Anyone remember that movie?) This year I decided to do something a bit more personal, so I created this WPAP (Wedha Pop Art Portrait) of CW.
the-walken (It was created in Adobe Illustrator, and if you’re a graphic designer interested in creating WPAP for yourself, there’s a great tutorial here.) I had an oversized giclée printed (36×36) and then framed it with a bold chrome frame. We placed it where the Elvis painting used to be because it fit that space a lot better. We have since nicknamed this piece as simply “The Walken” and we absolutely love it. Our home has a long hallway from the front door that extends down to the living room, so if you open the door it’s the first thing you see staring back at you from the back of the house. Creepy? Maybe. Awesome? YES!

Faux Bamboo Chairs Are Done!

Remember the poor little Phyllis Morris faux bamboo chairs I rescued from the old Spence Manor Hotel? Well they got a sandblasting, a new powder coat and freshly upholstered seats. Look at these babies now!
phyllis-morris-green-bamboo-chairs They are so cute now! The spring green is just so bright and fresh, and the watercolor Katmandu Multi fabric adds the perfect pop of color these chairs needed. They are currently being used as extra seating in the dining room, and the third one is still being rehabbed. I’ll post again on that one as soon as it’s finished.

Barclay the Greyhound

I’m a huge fan of Brandy Adam’s vintage finds, so when I spied this vintage greyhound statue in her Make + Model store last month, I knew I had to have it.

barclay Barclay (yes, we named it!) had a little bit of damage but had been repaired nicely. As you can see, Michael likes to use him as a resting place for the lead at the front door. There were two of these in the shop, and I do believe the other one (which is in excellent condition) is still available. I’m a rescuer of hounds, so of course I had to rescue the one that had the roughest life. :)

Lastly, on the topic of vintage finds, Make + Model is having a Pop-Up Shoppe event here in Nashville this Sunday! If you’re in the area and want to see the best curated vintage finds all in one place, don’t miss it! Details below.
M+M-Lady-Square Hope everyone has a great week! I’ll do my very best to post more frequently. Promise!