We’re all moved in and mostly settled now. The boxes have been unpacked since almost day three, and we somehow managed to fit in a trip to Disney World with all this going on. We’re back now so it’s time to start thinking about making this place more like a home. One of our couches has been delivered as has one rug, and the desk for the office. We’re still waiting on some other pieces and I haven’t even finished ordering everything we need. For example we have no coffee table or footstools. I’m probably going to go with something dual purpose like this great ottoman from zgallerie.
I’m thinking I may want to get two since the room is quite large and I do have two full sized couches. Since these are soft and tufted and I will want to be able to use them as coffee tables as well, I’m planning to get some of those great trays from West Elm.
They sell them in various shapes and sizes, and in all sorts of colors and materials. I’m partial to the rectangular acrylic ones but they certainly have something for everyone. You can even have them monogrammed- and yes, that includes acrylic and mirrored ones! I really love the idea of a footstool as a coffee table, it just seems so practical. They can be extra seating, they’re soft (when my brother was three he cracked his egg on what we thought was a wooden coffee table with blunt edges…), you can move them to where you need them. The trays seem like a great solution to keeping any spilled snacks and drinks contained. These trays can actually go on stands West Elm sells, so they are designed for food. And I love that if I were to have guests I can style one and set it out only when I have to, putting it away after they leave. So you can still have a lovely styled living room that’s easily put away when kids are running through the place! I also love the idea of them on stands for a unique side table.
The sofas I picked have quite tall arms. A side table looks best when it’s level or near level with the arm of your seating. It’s also more practical. If you can’t reach your table because it’s down too low, how will you safely place anything on it? These stands come in at 31.5″ high, and that’s before the tray is placed on it! So often side tables are short, coming in at around 24″, 27″ if you’re lucky. So I’ll have to think outside the box for mine. I really like the idea of these though, and even better is that they can be folded and put away if you should suddenly need more space. There was also this really cool bar cart I liked from zgallerie.
This is also quite tall, perfect for entertaining, and you can place it where you need it. The only downside for me is that when I showed the catalog to my son he said “Oooh, car-car!!!”. Yeah, that’s what I was worried about. This kid has a real fixation with wheels. I can just see it now. I’ll buy this, my son will toss everything I’ve placed on it off, he’ll load it up with cars and dolls and use it like a stroller. No way. So while I’m not opposed to this idea, it’d have to come later. My son truly does not care how severely I’d punish him, if it has wheels it’s like he literally can’t stop himself from trying to push it. It’s best to just avoid something so tempting in the first place.
I’m going to be nice now and share a few shots of the house.
This is the kitchen and you can see the butlers pantry off to the left. The color is Sherwin-Williams Spirited Green should you be wondering. And it truly is Spirited, the space feels so lively and happy. My countertops are quartz (as is the backsplash) which is the new thing. Granite is kind of getting dated looking, and while I did have that option I’m glad I picked the white quartz. There are silver flecks in it so my countertops literally sparkle, I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with this space. I love how it looks empty, yet at the same time it feels too sparse. I really don’t want any appliances on the counters, though I do allow the rice cooker to sit out. I’m thinking about trying to put it away when not in use in the cabinet below. I have the toaster there now (that cabinet is totally empty save for the toaster, so there’s space for it) but I don’t know if it’d feel like too much work. We use it a lot, and I’ll keep the rice for a 2-3 days after I make it. So it wouldn’t have much time in the cabinet. The pink bowl is actually heart shaped and I got it a little over a year ago. World Market had them for Valentine’s Day and I bought two. They’re just so practical. With the point they’re great mix and pour bowls for different batters and they hold even straighter bananas well. In fact that’s what’s in there now. My son is a real banana fiend, I always have to have some in the house and I have to ration them otherwise he’d eat them all in a sitting. If you’re wondering what the weird line on the floor is, it’s painters tape. As you can see the kitchen is open concept, so keeping my son away from the gas burner while I’m cooking is a top priority. So aside from using only the back burners, and ensuring the handles are well out reach, I’ve taught my son not to cross the line when I say I’m cooking. Having that visual reminder really seems to work for him.
The glass cabinet feels just like dead space right now. There are things in there, but they’re not easily visible.
The tea cups and plates on the second shelf, as well as the ceramic egg tray above it are too short. The really pretty vintage inspired bowl on the top shelf is too transparent. Bottom line, the things I’ve picked for this cabinet just aren’t quite right. I think as I add to my cafe au lait bowl collection that shelf will improve. The same goes for my tea cups, I think they’d benefit from being stacked at least. I really should just put that egg crate to use. It fits a dozen. Just write the date on one with a Sharpie and use that one last. I bought this limited edition Cinderella tea set from the Disney Store.
I think it’ll look great on display in there, so I’ll be adjusting things soon enough. The chicken stays though. Every kitchen needs one.
The butlers pantry is actually something I’m not too displeased by. It still needs work, but things are happening there.
Yes I know this mostly empty space is thrilling for all of you.
This is the side that gets the most use. I bought that book from World Market and just placed it there casually, I ended up liking it there so it hasn’t moved. The straw dispenser behind it is from HomeGoods and I absolutely love it. I almost always use a straw so having it right there is very practical since the fridge is right next to this spot. I got tired of fishing around for spoons when making my tea so I bought this cup little cup from Anthropologie. I don’t make tea everyday so I like having an airtight container to hold my sugar. The tray is a Royal Albert tray I picked up for very little on Amazon, just a lucky find. It’s the exact right size to hold what I need and the colors are a perfect match to my cup and sugar box. The space does still feel a bit plain and I know I need to do more with it. But it’s difficult, I almost feel as though the space is too large. For that reason I wonder if perhaps I made a mistake with my tray. A much larger one that could have also held a tea tin or two, maybe a few tea books as well would work better? The there wouldn’t be as much dead space. I could always take the tray over to the sink. I have need of another over there. I realize this is a nice problem to have of course, but it’ll take me longer to sort through these design ideas.
I suspect at some point I may wish to change out the upper doors with glass ones. It’s not something I’d do anytime soon, it’s something I’d do years into the future. But it is something I’ve thought on. I have a great many beautiful tea tins and I collect mugs, I don’t own two of the same. So it might be nice to see my collection. Although once you can see it, it not only has to be neat in there always. The colors and patterns must play nicely with the rooms nearby. I do know what I want for this house, design wise. And I’m not 100% that brightly colored Frozen and Winnie the Pooh mugs factor into that design…
As you can see, I kind of have things divided. I’m still unsure if I would rather have everything on one side, or keep them this way. I prefer to have such things on dishes, I hate it when soap bottles just sit in a puddle. They always get so gross don’t they? I like knowing that every so often I can just toss my sponge, put the bottles in the sink for a rinse off, and put what they sit on in the dishwasher. I got that cute little tray from Anthropologie and it’s lived in so many different rooms and held so many different things in the year I’ve owned it. It’s just a really great shape and size, it’s perfect for so much. I’m also thinking through what I want to do about the bottles. I generally don’t like commercial packaging. The Mrs. Meyer’s bottle is actually pretty cute, as is my lotion. But I really dislike the Method bottle. I only have a few of that scent left (it was a seasonal scent and I bought a ton of them last fall). So I need to think now about what I want to do. Invest in a pretty bottle to refill, or just toss it and go back to using just the dish soap when washing my hands in the kitchen. Yes, these are the decisions that keep me up at night. As you can see, I lead a rather tortured life.
Another big issue I’m having is cords. Every last one in this room bothers me, but this is hands down the worst spot in the entire downstairs. That Echo has a long skinny cord, the Kitchenaid has the usual thick and super long one that does not want to be hidden, and the wax warmer has a switch on it. I sort of wonder why the builder didn’t install the outlets lower, it would have made hiding the plugs so much easier. I’ve been thinking of trying to Pintrest a solution. I saw this one pin where they wrapped the cord with suede cording. It actually looked great and it’s not something I’d mind seeing. Although if I used white it’d actually blend and I might like that better. I also saw something where they wrapped an iPhone charger with pipe cleaners. And I think if nothing else it’d be a great tool for wrapping the cords into smaller bundles. I kept the little twist tie my wax warmer came with and it’s still folded and tied with that. But I feel like a fun pipe cleaner (or a plain one the same color as the cord) could be a better, more effective way to bundle the wire so that I can still access the switch and have it not look like I’ve just tied the thing in a knot. I’ll be sure to post updates if I find something that works. If anyone out there has any suggestions I’m open to them.
In addition to decor, I’m still working on some basics like organization. I have a rather large walk in pantry which is great, but it’s something that can get really out of control if you’re not careful. The Master Closet, Office, Bonus Room, and Craft room are still sitting unfinished as well. The Craft and Bonus rooms can wait, but I really need to do something about that closet. The office has a desk so that’s fine for now, and at this stage I need to prioritize I can’t deal with every room at once. So first up is the pantry. It needs to be functional and everything must be easily accessible. The space is so big I’m using it for food, cleaning and general household supplies, and our bags. So I need to get to Target and HomeGoods and start looking for storage solutions. The entire top shelf is just clutter, I need plastic totes or something to put my seasonal decor in. The bottom shelf is where I toss my pocketbook, and ballet bag, as well as my sons playcare backpack. We need baskets for these things cause it looks really bad having them just tossed on that shelf. Not only that those things don’t always stand up straight and I have things I might want to be sure I take with me when I leave the house. So if I have large enough baskets I’ll be able to toss in my bags, plus things like pre-filled playcare drop off sheets, things I want to return, coupons, etc.
It’ll probably take a while to complete the whole pantry. There are a lot of things I need to do in there. But I’ve taken a “before” photo and I’ll try to remember to take progress shots. The pantry really is big and houses a lot of different things, so I don’t expect this to be a quick project. But I’ll do a post once it’s completed. I won’t be posting my before shot now, I don’t want anyone seeing what a disaster zone it looks like without being able to prove I could turn it around!