2011. The year that left this blog in the dust. Since last we spoke, uh, a year and a half ago a few changes have occurred ::
- a surprise pregnancy (discovered very shortly after the previous post on June 20), which led to
- a difficult, challenging pregnancy (filled with lots of stress, health issues, and more bed rest than anyone could shake a stick at), which led to
- a brand new and fantastically healthy baby girl (only two weeks early), which led to
- a shopping trip for the new family car (yes, we found this family of six eying up the dreaded minivan), which led to, of course
- a surprise home purchase! (wha?)
Yup, it’s a true story that has garnered many laughs these past few months; we left our lovely rental home one day to pick up a minivan and came home with a house! No one could have been more surprised than we were, but an unexpected opportunity popped up, and we suddenly found ourselves finagling our finances to make a down payment only two short weeks after extending our lease for a total of three years. Whoops! Amazingly, it all came together without a hitch, and suddenly, before we could even grasp the luck we managed to fall into, we became home owners once again!
There is so much to show and record as we make this new house our home. Since we moved in I’ve been itching to get back here to keep track of all my ideas, my progress, and the things that keep us busy during the day. 2011—well 2009 and 2010 as well, I suppose— were years full of transition and upheaval and I’m hoping 2012 is a year where some deeper roots take hold and keep us quiet and content for a bit.
But before I delve into the new home, let’s celebrate (or memorialize even!) a few things I did manage to get to in the rental. One of which was the breakfast room.
Ah, the breakfast room. In our two years for looking for homes here, it was rare the property we saw that didn’t have a breakfast room. It wasn’t something that was on our list, and as a matter of fact, we both felt it was a bit of wasted space, especially since we wanted a kitchen island with space enough for an eat-in counter. So when we saw this rental home, we weren’t thrilled to find one between the kitchen and dining room, although it was a “flaw” we were willing to overlook, especially in a rental. Also, that particular shade of brown wasn’t doing much for me and we couldn’t justify the cost they wanted to charge us to paint those four tiny little corner walls. And finally, one of the biggest problems we had with this little room was the fact that we had absolutely no furniture for it. Since we weren’t really fans of the breakfast room thing in the first place, we didn’t want to spend lots of money outfitting it for our needs. So, off to the thrift/consignment stores I went, just to see if I could find anything at all.
And I totally scored, let me tell you! See that table? Those chairs? Both the bookshelf and the corner cabinet? ALL from the same place, and all used, well, mostly! The table came with a bench seat as well as the six chairs you see here as well as a huge lazy susan for the center of the table that unfolds into a square that seats eight with a stored-under-the-top leaf. All of that for 100 bucks, and there wasn’t a scratch nor dent on one single piece. They were brand spanking new! I painted all the chairs to add a bit of color, the bookshelf and corner cabinet also got the spray can spray tan, and voila! We have a breakfast room for less than the cost of two dining room chairs.
As an added bonus the colors all coordinated with my fiestaware, which was a happy accident. We wanted to have all the pieces out where our kids could reach them so they could help set the table for mealtimes. I also added a bit of blackboard paint to the inside of the cabinet doors on both pieces to give the kids something fun to do on a rainy day or the mornings before I have my coffee. I have to admit, they really did enjoy being able to draw on the doors!
We had quite a few challenges to meet in this room beyond finding the furnishings. One, there weren’t really that many walls. The room is basically a pass through room that barely separates the kitchen and dining room. It also has a set of lovely french doors that open into the living rooms as well as a door that leads outside. That brown wall color really had me stumped until I came upon this post from Sherry and John of Young House Love. This was the first post I saw on their site, and I’ve been reading their blog ever since. That light! Oh that light!! I wanted that lamp shade in the worst way and it totally became the inspiration that brought this room together. If we had actually stayed in that house for as long as we originally planned, I would have owned that shade by now and it would be happily swinging above that table!
And one of my favorite elements in the room was our little family photo wall. Such a fun project!! I bought a bunch of tiny place card holder frame favors online for about a buck a piece, spray painted them with the colors I already had for the chairs, popped the stands off the backs, and stuck them on the wall using the 3m Command Picture Hanging Strips. They are similar to little strips of velcro that allow you to hang pictures on the walls without worrying about damage from nail holes; definitely a bonus when renting a home. I only had to touch up one little spot from when I pulled one strip a little too vigorously. All the pictures are food related snapshots of the kids and our extended family; it’s a great way to use some of those crazy baby feeding pictures, or jelly/spaghetti faces, family feasts, or little ice cream shop stops! I applied a little photoshop filter to fade the colors a bit and add a sepia tone wash which helped keep it from getting too busy. We all loved looking at all these pictures, and I am really looking forward to adding it to the new home, although it will have to wait until we get a bit more painting done! All in good time!
And in the end, the little room that almost wasn’t really became one of our favorite rooms in the house. It was open, in the middle of everything going on, bright with natural light, colorful and lively, and despite our best efforts, it’s where the kids would inevitably plop down their toys and crafts to hang out.
Ah, the breakfast room indeed!