Sunday, September 29, 2013

Formal Living Room Makeover!

Hubby and I spent the weekend giving my favorite room in the house, the formal living room, a fab makeover. The room, which is supposed to be the female and formal living space of the BDH, is meant to have a Marie Antoinette/Victorian era vibe with some touches of 2013 (hot pink, mercury glass, shag rug) and Whitney (pug figurines, photos of my bridesmaids, my scrapbooks) with light pink, hot pink, pale blue and gold as the room's colors.


We had the furniture and decor all situated already - we purchased the vintage sofa and matching chair from an antique store in Smithfield earlier this year, hubby built the console table himself, we painted his old yellow oak coffee table white and distressed it, my mom bought two adorable vintage chairs for us from a coworker and I snagged two little white side tables from Joss & Main and an antique market for $40 and $25. We had my bridal portraits, a vintage mirror from Italy that we picked up at an estate sale, coordinating Italian sconces, my preserved bridal bouquet (thanks bff!) and a big gold painting (that I painted over to make more pink) from an antique shop in VA. Needless to say, the room was in great shape aside from the plain tan walls.

To jazz the place up, we decided to wallpaper the upper half of the walls and do cream wainscoting on the bottom half. When we went to Home Depot this morning to get 155 linear feet of trim to do the wainscoting, we changed our minds when we realized the thin little trim was almost $2 per foot! It would certainly be worth it, probably 10-fold, in added home value, but this was a low/no budget project. We already spent a good deal on wallpaper (its more expensive than we thought), wallpaper supplies and paint and still needed to buy trim to do the new crown molding in the room. We decided to wait on the wainscoting until we do it in several other rooms on the first floor at the same time. Instead, we painted the bottom half cream, which will make adding the wainscoting super easy when the time comes.

We started wallpapering Friday night and thankfully had the help of one of my best friend's moms (and one of my mom's best friends lol) who is a wallpaper GENIUS, not to mention kind of a genius in general. We watched her every move as she did the first few strips, and tried to soak in her expertise. We're happy to report that wallpapering is an adaptable skill, because after studying Beth we became pro's. Seriously, it's so much easier than painting! It probably helped that we (accidentally, but thankfully) bought the pre-pasted paper, but it seriously was a breeze. My mom and dad came to help out Friday night too, which made it extra fun. We wallpapered all night Friday night, a couple hours Saturday morning and all night Saturday night. Then we spent most of the day Sunday with me painting the bottom half of the room and Ross doing molding work on the top of the new paper in the two-story part of the room. Oh, and we also added a ceiling medallion to accent our vintage gold chandelier and tie in the cream from the bottom half of the room.

We're so pleased with the result! The Lady Cave is now a complete room, ready to entertain the female loves of my life, my fab female neighbors and their adorable little girls, and most often, my white pekingese Toula and I with a good book (we already re-read a couple chapters of House Bunny in the new room this weekend). Here are some photos of the before, during and after. What do you think barbs?

BEFORE (lots of tan!):



These guys weren't very helpful:
Thanks for reading barbs! xox

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuscan Design and Decor

Hello Barbies!

As each of you know, my love for European, particularly Tuscan, décor and design is no secret. I fell in love with (and frankly, first became aware of) this decorating and architectural style when hubby and I moved to Texas for me to go to law school in 2009.

Growing up in North Carolina, virtually every home I'd ever seen or been in was colonial, traditional or occasionally craftsman style, and always with décor to follow each of those themes. My mother always had a very traditional decorating style, as did most of my friends and their parents, but in Houston, Old World Tuscany had found its way into almost every home. From the architecture to the wall colors and finishes down to the use of wrought iron anywhere and everywhere, Europe was everywhere you looked... and I fell in love. How could you not fall in love with this look?

Tuscan décor is characterized by drama, romance and feelings of Old World Europe. Some people take Tuscany down a rustic route (like we tried to do with our dining room table that Hubby just built) with intentionally crumbling stone walls and distressed wood while others do the refined Tuscan look, with heavy crystal chandeliers, ornate wood working and tufted upholstered furniture.

What has been cool for me to watch is this style of decorating seeping into homes outside of the Southwest and California. For example, in NC I'm now seeing more dark bronze (or "oil rubbed bronze" as many companies refer to it) door knobs, fixtures and faucets. I've also begun to notice more East Coasters beginning to decorate with iron and tufted furniture, especially tufted headboards. First the iron appeared in gardens and on exterior walls of the house but now I see iron scrolls over doorways and iron balusters on staircases, just like they always were in Texas. Tuscan design is making a move! I love it!

If you're as captivated by Tuscan design and architecture as I am and you're looking for books and style guides on the topic, I highly recommend The Ultimate Tuscan Home Decorating Guide by renowned European decorator, Patrice Walker. To order it, click here . This e-book really is a fabulous source  for Tuscan decorating and design tips. Even if you don't end up incorporating any Tuscan touches into your current house, the pictures are just mesmerizing to go through! My favorite parts of the book were the tips on using existing and new lighting sources to create the Tuscan ambiance and the section that teaches how to faux paint your walls (on the cheap!) with Tuscan painting techniques. Ross and I are toying with the idea of doing an accent wall in our lower hall in one of the faux techniques from the book. It also has tips on picking out curtains and furniture with Tuscan undertones.

Some of my other favorite things about Tuscan décor? THE DOORWAYS! With all of their iron and beveled glass, aren't they just breathtaking?

I also love all of the courtyards. Italians are famous for their love for outdoor living - and they sure do it in style.

How about the Tuscan kitchens? We tried to model ours after this style in many respects, including iron scroll on the oven hood, using the distressed white cabinets, using distressed cream colored stone tiles for our backsplash and incorporating our giant iron chandelier, but we certainly fell short of these amazing Tuscan kitchens. I'm sure my horrible cooking would just bring them down anyway.

And the pools! Ahhhhh! Such great pool inspiration!

And if you dream of Tuscany but want to start slow, you can always buy art or tapestries that exude the Old World Italian vibe until you're ready to go all-in. This one is a cute example (sorry barbs, don't know where this can be purchased).

Thanks for indulging my love for Tuscany barbies! If you have your own favorite Tuscan design books or architectural elements that define Tuscan design for you, be sure to comment below and share your ideas. Thanks for reading barbs! xox

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Decorating at the BDH!

Hello barbie dolls!

I sure hope you're enjoying fall as much as I am. At the BDH we've certainly gone overboard, with this being our first decoratable (I just made that word up - decoratable - adjective : a season that one can really decorate for) season since moving into the BDH. I love summer as much as any girl, but lets be honest, there's not much you can do for it in the decorating realm. A couple bright colors and prints here, an American flag there, but that's about it. Fall, on the other hand, is a season where a girl with a new house can go off the deep end with pumpkins, earth tones, raffia, mums, leaves and burlap... and this girl has done just that.

At the risk of making the BDH look like this excessive pumpkin palace, I've been putting touches of fall virtually everywhere.

Here are a few of my favorite fall things from around the BDH:

I've also been indulging my love for fall via burning pumpkin roll scentsy in every scentsy warmer in my house for two weeks straight. Last Saturday we also invited my parents and grandma over for chili (vegetarian and non-vegetarian - thanks for the recipe Ranita!) and pumpkin bread.

To those of you interested in jazzing up your own dream houses for fall, here are a few inspiration photos from some other fab fall-lovers. I'm absolutely OBSESSED with the pumpkin place settings. You could even cricut on your monogram or that of the guest who will be sitting there. Adorbs.

This weekend I'll probably pull out our seven tubs of Halloween stuff! The giant spiders, bats and skeletons have a tendency to freak me out, especially when I'm up in the middle of the night and forget they're there, but I guess that's what Halloween is all about

Aside from fall, here are some other things I'm really feeling these days:

Prints on prints on prints, also known as "power clashing" makes me swoon.  It takes a lot of skill to execute it well, but this decorator definitely did.

I'm in love with this burlap bow pillow. Seems like it could be DIY'd pretty easily.

I run into this photo on the web constantly, but it never gets old. Love everything about this, especially the striped wallpaper. Hubby and I will be wallpapering the formal living room in pink stripes this week/weekend. We're major wallpaper rookies so wish us luck!

Of course I adore this chevron and burlap frame. Again, it could be easily DIY'd. Could be a good Christmas gift for the gal pals.

I'm in LOVE with my Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Pink and Proper. It's probably not appropriate for fall, but I can't help myself.

I bought this tunic from Target of all places this weekend and I'm obsessed. I'm wearing it with black tights, tan boots and a tan scarf. This picture totally doesn't do it justice, but its gorgeous. The sleeves are sheer with buttons at the wrists. LOVE.

Lastly, I'm loving my weekend breakfasts on the back porch with hubby and our pups. This fall weather is so nice, especially in the mornings, that I feel awful not being outdoors (and that says a lot coming from someone as not-outdoorsy as me).

As a parting gift, here are some fab photos of fall for you barbs! Enjoy whatever you love about the season, from the pumpkin lattes, to the boots and scarves to the 10,000 pumpkins you want to adorn your house with (notwithstanding your husband's objections). xox!

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