Do I Have Too Much Stuff?

Lately, I have been longing for a less-is-more house,

so my filled-to-the-brim postal sorter may soon be a thing of the past.

I purchased it in the early 90’s to display my merch in my old retail store,

Heart in Hand.

Here it is in our most recent past house — the brick bungalow,

where it served as a humongous TV stand:

postal sorter in brungalow

In our current house, the Dutch colonial,

it’s on a wall in the dining room, just across from our table.

Here you can see how the dining room is open to our kitchen.

G.O. added a beam where the two rooms meet,

+ my beloved St. Louis bus station sign is hanging there:

postal sorter before 2

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The trunks underneath the sorter are filled with fabric + pillow forms + blankets:

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While up on top, I’m displaying my small bird house collection:

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We bought this chippy blue metal house last Fall:

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I think I love chippy red metal just as much as blue.

I bought this small birdhouse in a store about 20 years ago:

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My friend gave me the white bird house years ago:

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Come Spring, this trio will head outside, for mostly decorative purposes.

As much as I love birds, I kind of hate to attract them

as a murderous cat named Patty lives just next door.

  Meanwhile, the rest of my sorter is full of more of my treasures,

including this sweet, little pitcher that I bought in Soho, NYC:

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This lighthouse nightlight was originally our grandparents’,

then our late sister, Kathy, had it for years.

It obviously took a tumble in the past, + G.O. sez he’ll re-glue it for me.

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I bought the pair of black urns from Lowe’s a few years back,

+ the faux plants are from IKEA.

I have a yen to put them on our front porch steps — maybe later today.

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I love my heavy glass vessel from Pottery Barn, bought years ago;

currently, it displays a collection of old baseballs:

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Speaking of baseballs, here’s one signed by the great Brooks Robinson.

(Hall of Fame 3rd baseman for the Baltimore Orioles)

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How lucky I am, to have these old golf trophies of my dad’s!

I collect the Guy Wolff pots, + this one is from the late, great Smith + Hawken.

Coincidentally, this pot is resting on my Smith + Hawken garden book!

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Well, that’s about it.

I guess you’d never suspect me of wanting to go less-is-more, would you?

We’ll see — stay tuned!

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My Kitchen Design, The Sequel

Today’s the day when I finally spill the beans

+ share why our house has two front doors.

I mean, you were wondering, weren’t you?

doors of 2

Prior to our owning it,

the Dutch colonial had been divided into two apartments,

One up:

doors of 2

UP

+ one down, where we live:

doors of 2

DOWN

We were on the fence, re: converting the house back to a single family

versus keeping it as a duplex.

Some of our friends + one of our spousal equivalents

were/are naysayers about the apartment thing,

for obvious reasons which I shan’t list.

You can probably figure it out yourselves.

Turns out I have my own reasons for the apartment thing.

This guy:

scott income property

Scott McGillivray

+ his HGTV show:

income property

And ultimately, (fingers crossed), lots of these:
money

Believe it or not, neither G.O. nor I are getting any younger,

+ it would be nice to have a whipper snapper tenant nearby, if/when I fall.

Because this is pretty much me now:

liza

 Pass me the Boniva!

I jest, but seriously.

Another excellent reason to have a tenant on the premises is this:

ham-at-arbys.jpg

I suffer from a very strong case of wanderlust,

+ my plans involve seeing the US of A in our canned ham camper.

Perhaps you read about it, here + here!

If we are gone for extended periods

— let’s say between October 31st + May 1st, ideally —

 our tenant could oversee the place,

 mow + shovel snow at the appropriate times + cat-sit for the duration.

  • Anyway.

We’ve started the upstairs re-do finally, which is plenty exciting!

The bathroom was completed weeks ago:

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A hallway’s been repainted:

woodwork of gray

A living room, too:

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And, for the most exciting part, we’ve begun to work on the kitchen!

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A couple of years ago, we bought an entire display

of discontinued kitchen cupboards from IKEA.

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Just as I did downstairs, I’ve sketched the cabinet + appliances layout.

The sink cab is in its position, which is in the L to the right, here:

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Yesterday, because I’m a team player, I went with G.O. to look at appliances.

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OMIGOSH!  I DON’T CARE!

The only way I’d whip up some enthusiasm

is if we were springing for the red Smeg appliances of my dreams!

smeg refrigerator

And NO, I did not know that Smeg makes ranges.  Swoon!

smeg stove

 

I mean, really.  Who cares if we get a Maytag or a Frigidaire or whatever?!

Am I right?

Anyway, I have sent G.O. to shop again, on his own this afternoon,

so stay tuned!


CANNED HAMS IN COUNTRY LIVING

It’s always a good day when the new issue of Country Living lands in our mailbox.

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The issues grow thinner + thinner,

which I hope is not a bad sign or anything.

I read an article about how Millennials are ‘killing’ various businesses

because they don’t like the same things that older people do.

I recently joined a very fun FB decorating group, Nesting With Grace,

+ nearly all the girls are Millennials.

            It has been quite interesting to see their tastes in decor,

+ I was most surprised that the girls don’t buy vintage!

They love pillows but mostly go to Home Goods or Marshalls to buy them.

So.  Kay, you’re asking, what does this have to do with Country Living?

Well, here’s what.

I’m guessing that none of the girls buy the magazine,

which might be the reason why the issues are shrinking so much.

But I digress a bit — I still love Country Living,

so fingers crossed it won’t go the way of Cottage Living, RIP.

Let’s have a look-see at the new issue!

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This:

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Vintage campers are having their moment now, aren’t they?

We jumped aboard last spring + bought this little (new but looks older) charmer:

canned ham at arbys

We have big plans to travel around the country with it,

+ I vote for a Key West destination, later this spring.

But I digress again, just a little bit — back to the campers in CL!

What’s not to love about this ginormous one (compared to ours?)

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Look what they’ve named it — Trailer Swift!

Cute, no?

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Speaking of which,

it’s really cute when the camper’s name is posted on the back, like this:.

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“Rosie” is a project of freelance writers + bloggers Matt + Beau,

whose blog, probably this, is very cool.  Check it out.

Oh, + BTW, we’ve named our campter the “canned ham”,

+ I have plans to have some vinyl stickers made for it, soon.

canned ham in yard

Meanwhile, back the camper happiness in Country Living.

Who doesn’t love a vintage Airstream?

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Here’s another vintage (1966) Airsteam:

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It serves as a mobile pop-up shop

for small business owners + siblings, Austin + Amanda.

Look at how the interior’s been customized

for Amanda’s collection of vintage dinnerware merch!

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Looks like the duo will have their own HGTV show,

which sounds like it would be a “must watch”, don’t you agree?

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Anyway — I, too, have pop-up shop hopes + dreams for my own business!

Maybe this summer.

Our canned ham re-do is nearly complete,

+ if you’d like to see how we’ve customized the interior,

read this blog post + this.

canned ham bed straight on

 


Upstairs Progress With A Little Art History

G.O. has been a busy guy upstairs,

painting the walls white + the woodwork a neutral gray/beige (a.k.a. “greige”).

So far, the hallway has been transformed from drab . . . .

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. . . to FAB!

woodwork of gray

We chose Pittsburgh Paint’s Delicate White for the walls

Ghost Writer for the woodwork + wainscoting.

pittsburgh paint ghost writer

Yes, all this talk of gray + white

means it’s time for us to go down memory lane again,

with me, with my perm, + my gray kitchen cabs, circa 1985!

kay with gray kitchen cabs

I loved it then, I love it now!

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Please.  How stunning is our beautiful, original door hardware with the greige?

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Very stunning, especially so, considering its amazing before + after!

The beautiful pattern of that hardware is called Art Nouveau,

which was an art + architectural style in fashion between 1890 + 1910.

That makes sense because we think our house was built in that era!

Look closely!  There are ferns!

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fern

New England Today

Art Nouveau was inspired by natural forms,

particularly the curves lines of plants + flowers.

Well-known examples of Art Nouveau include the Metro Stations in Paris:

art nouveau paris metro stop

Yet more Art Nouveau awesomeness, closer to home,

is the former Carson Pirie Scott store in Chicago,

designed by architect Louis Sullivan,

who was Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor:

carson pirie scott store

Sullivan also designed my personal favorite,

The fabulous Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis:

wainwright building

This concludes today’s Art history lecture.

Did you know that I used to be an Art teacher, in grades 7 – 12?

Meanwhile, back at the Dutch colonial,

G.O. continues to restore the beautiful original woodwork,

literally one piece at a time!

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I’ll share more photos, soon — so stay tuned!


Are You Ready For Some Mushroom?

As I mentioned previously,

G.O. has been busily replacing all of our original woodwork upstairs.

Before:

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During:

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More during:

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Yet more during:

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And, in conclusion, even more during:

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My goal for all this beautiful woodwork?

I want to paint it gray with warm white walls.

gray woodwork living room

gray woodwork with dress

gray wainscoting and woodwork

gray woodwork -- fixer upper living room

This time I’m choosing a gray

which skews a bit more beige than plain Jane gray.

Something just like this,

which (my personal favorite), Country Living magazine,

is calling Mushroom:

mushroom staircase

A Pinterest search for Mushroom yielded this yummy photo:

mushroom country living

I have a Pittsburgh Paint fan deck upstairs this morning,

hoping to find the most perfect Mushroom.

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The good news is that I found 3 contenders!

The lightest — Swirling Smoke:

pittsburgh-paint-swirling-smoke-e1517352145332.jpg

Or perhaps something in the medium range, Ghost Writer:

pittsburgh paint ghost writer

Or the darkest Mushroom, Stonehenge Greige:

pittsburgh-paint-stonehendge-greige-e1517352192825.jpg

(Greige is another word for Mushroom, by the way.)

Here’s my inspiration photo again:

mushroom staircase

My 2 top contenders are the medium, Ghost Writer,

or, if I am brave enough, the dark, Stonehenge Greige.

Stay tuned!


Has Gray Finally Had Its Day?

G.O. has been busy with the woodwork upstairs,

so it’s now or never for me to select a paint color for said woodwork.

I’m thinking a medium to dark color with white walls.

kristen wigg

G.O. wasn’t on board at first, as he often isn’t.

The last time I had darker woodwork with white walls was in 1985,

when I chose a pretty gray

from the Benjamin Moore Historical Colors Collection.

kay with gray kitchen cabs

How 80’s of me!

Fun fact:  Benjamin Moore still has their Historic Colors Collection!

Back to my dark woodwork with white walls aspirations.

This:

https://www.remodelista.com/posts/workstead-house-fresh-take-old-south/?utm_source=Southern%20Modern%20in%20Charleston:%20A%20Fresh%20Take%20on%20the%20Old%20Sbeige dark woodwork with white walls.

Yum!  Notice the wainscoting,

which is painted with the same color as the woodwork.

Upstairs, we happen to have a pretty embossed wainscot of our own:

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Sad!

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I can’t wait to see that original feature shine,

once it’s painted something darker, with white walls.

My first thought was gray, which had me asking:

Isn’t there enough gray downstairs?

Is gray going to fall out of fashion soon?

Aren’t brown +/or beige making big comebacks?

surprised boy

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!

Anyway, within moments, I began my search

for a neutral that’s more beige than gray,

or, as the popular kids call it: “GREIGE”.

Speaking of which, check out these beautiful greige rooms,

in a charming Charleston, SC home:

beige on remodelista 2

beige on remodelista

 

It’s not just me —  you love it, too, right?

Meanwhile, I’m now back on the prowl for a greige paint that I love!

Stay tuned!

 


Our Long + Winding Road

Work on our upstairs bathroom is still crawling forward.

Our vanity light search took so long

that I’m calling it the long + winding road.

Thought I had it handled,

but the light fixture I wanted cost $104-something.

G.O. nixed it + said it was too expensive.

Buzz kill!

disappointed dog

People!  The struggle is real!

Once again, it was now up to me to find something stylish + nearly free.

Let’s begin.

I love these swing arm light fixtures:

swing arm light fixture in a bath

Yes, they are stylish, but wow, they’re expensive!

Everything I found + liked was in the $200 ballpark + up.

Until this happened:

Amazon has dozens that are less than $100!

See for yourself:

$49 on Amazon:

swing arm light fixture

2 for $99.99 on Amazon

swing arm light fixture pair

Way to go, am I right?

But wait.

I didn’t want to quarrel with G.O. about it, + what if it did look crazy!?

Long story longer.

I caved, as one does, + here’s what we bought at Menards for only $24.97!

upstairs bath light fixture box

I chose chrome because we have a chrome IKEA Runskar faucet

IKEA bathroom fauccet

I love those cross handles!

But wait.

menards-mix-and-match-light.jpg

In reality, the light fixture’s chrome was so shiny,

you could see it from outer space!

No can do.

BUT WHAT NOW!?!?

I punted + decided that the light needed to be black.

 We’ve got a lot of black going on in our bathroom . . .

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. . . + black light light fixtures + faucets are a “thing’.

The paint on modern fixtures is a matte — or flat — black . . .

black-faucet.jpg

. . . but neither our bathroom not our chrome fixture is modern.

Then I got an idea.

What about a shiny black, as in vintage porcelain shiny black, like here:

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Now I’m feeling more confident!

Fast forward a bit, + here’s our glossy black light fixture,

after G.O. spray painted it glossy black:

upstairs-light-fixture-frosted.jpg

Looks like I’ve jumped ahead to the shade portion of our light fixture saga.

As you can see, with this project,

you get to choose your fixture + your glass shade.

upstairs bath light fixture box

I narrowed the search down to two — one frosted + the other one clear.

I chose clear, because that’s what’s happening now.

Plus, the Edison-style bulbs are just fun, aren’t they?

upstairs-bath-light-fixture.jpg

There are other things to reveal about our bathroom,

but I shall share them at a later date.

Now you know why our light fixture search was such a long + winding road.


BEFORE, DURING + AFTER BATHROOM PHOTOS

Disclaimer:

I don’t know why, but I typically don’t take lots of before photos,

+ believe me, there have been really horrific ones, like this,

in our main bathroom downstairs:

bathroom -- main before

The befores make the after photos so much more dramatic!

bathroom -- main after

Wow — viva la difference, am I right?

Earlier this week, I forced myself to grab the camera

+ head upstairs for some epic before AND during photo ops.

Let’s start with the bathroom’s tub + shower surround,

which are already finished + are actually afters.

I chose white subway tiles because they are classic + timeless.

My design for the window surround turned out well, I thought, modestly:

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I’ve already shared the Sherwin-Williams paint we chose:

Unusual Gray (at the bottom) for the walls,

paint green sage

with Contented (third from top) at 50%, for the ceiling.

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Very neutral!  Very pretty!

But as often happens in a room’s during stage, it’s kind of a blah!

What does it need?

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I’m not sure, but here’s a start.

These IKEA cabinets in white contrast nicely

with the darker-than-I-thought-they’d-be Unusual Gray walls:

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I’ve already shared my love for the tall cabinet’s black legs.

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They, combined with the black in our floor tiles,

mean I need to repeat more black, for continuity purposes.

How about a black metal mirror for above the vanity?

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I’ve chosen this one, because it’s modern yet rustic at the same time.

Another disclaimer: this was $90-something from Target,

but they’re out of it online,

+ you’ll have to search for it in their stores.

mirror of black with shelf

We are going to Target right now, so stay tuned!

QUICK UPDATE:

Trips to 2 different Target stores ensued,

+ we ended up buying this one, which was $35-ish!

Have you shopped for mirrors lately?  That’s a great price!

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Now it’s time for G.O. to hang the bathroom door.

Here’s what that looks like, about midway though:

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He sez that all this wood stuff is called door casing,

+ it’s taking longer than I’d hoped.

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I have to remember that he is a perfectionist, so I shan’t ask him to work faster.

HA!  Most of the time, I don’t!

Here you can see where the finished woodwork will be positioned:

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Here’s a wider view, looking to the hallway + bath.

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What’s up with that embossed-looking wainscoting — you’re wondering?

Here’s a close up:

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It was surely very beautiful when the house was built,

but right now, parts of it are in rough  shape.

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Speaking of being in rough shape, notice our beautiful-but-sad staircase

+ how the wainscoting extends down those stairs!

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Back to our upstairs.   Right now, my goal is to find an even grayer gray/green.

I want something more neutral for the upstairs woodwork,

but I don’t want just gray; we’ve got that downstairs.

As always, I shall head to Pinterest first + see what others have chosen.

Stay tuned!

 


That Time We Almost Had A Green House

It’s official.

I am somewhat obsessed with green now.

You may recall my Pinspiration greens from Sherwin-Williams.

I recently blogged about painting our upstairs bath sage green.

paint green sage

We chose Unusual Gray (at the bottom) for the walls,

with a ceiling of 50% Contented (second from top).

Our bathroom, very much in its “during” stage:

My green obsession has me plotting to use a lot of sage green upstairs,

so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, I now have just a wee bit of color remorse

re: the exterior siding of our Dutch colonial.

surprised baby.jpg

How’s that possible?  I’m asking myself,

when I truly love the white + gray + black scheme that’s out there now?

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I was perusing some older blog posts the other day,

when I came across some siding choices from 5 years ago.

As one does, I’d placed some color samples on the house

for what I call “the admire”,

which is what I do when I am trying to decide ANY-thing.

Notice that there are 2 gray siding samples at left + 1 green sample at right.

siding of green long view

Even 5 years before my green obsession developed,

I was seriously considering green siding!

Too late now, of course, but for fun, here’s a close up of the green:

siding of green close up

I forget the name of the siding company,  but we bought it from Menards.

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Shall we look at some green houses + wonder “what if”?

siding of green craftsman

Found on Pinterest — source unknown

Check out the stunning details on this next beautiful home!

The Adirondack chair + container of blue hydrangeas are so “me”!

siding of green with white adirondack

Domino magazine — I must subscribe!

And, saving the best for last, this cottage charmer.

Looks like they used the same colors as we did in our bathroom!

Extra points for painting the front door + the window sashes

with the same (beautiful) darker color!

Disclaimer: I would totally fall on those steps!

siding of green round arch door

Found on Pinterest — source unknown

I still love our white house with the gray gables, though.

I think it’s timeless, + the white first story + contrasting color second story

is definitely a “thing” when it comes to Dutch colonials.

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ACHIEVING THE SUCCESSFUL OPEN CONCEPT

Earlier this week, I posted my musings about this week’s Fixer Upper episode

on my biz Facebook page.

I’m happy to report that it garnered a lot of interest, which I love!

fixer -- sister's house couch + kitchen

Fans of the show recognize this project

as what I named the retro / West Elm re-do for Joanna’s sister + family.

Nailed it!

That couch can be found at West Elm.

Same.  Exact.  Couch.

HAMILTON

open-concept-west-elm.jpg

I could fling aside  those back cushions + spoon with my Dachshund.

chloe in leaves

And, that color of leather is such a favorite that I named it.

Baseball glove brown.

cardinal in a bar with bears

Please.  Why do you think my business is called Red Bird Vintage Home?

Anyway, yes, I do love West Elm,

although some of my FB besties said they thought it was too modern.

Oops.

Never fear, though — even I had a slight issue (imagine that),

+ proclaimed that this particular open concept, while stunning,

skews a tad too “gymnasium” for me.

open conept sisster house

Don’t get me wrong — I embrace an open concept as much as the next person,

but this had me pondering how one achieves one more to my liking.

Off to Pinterest I dashed, as one does,

+ I saw some awesome photos of beautiful, open plans.

LARGE ARCH

open concept large arch

This is nearly as open as the errant gym plan,

but the small wing walls + beautiful arch visually create some separation.

Next method — CASE OPENINGS

Once again, this is very open, but the woodwork says,

I am a separate room!

Here’s my  fave version:

Isn’t it amazing what a little molding can do?

  Next version:  ISLAND COLUMNS

Is it just me, or does every homeowner on HGTV desire the open concept?

Seems like 99% of them end up spending $1,000’s on a huge beam

to keep the second story from crashing down.

money

I gotta ask why? — when a couple of columns on one’s island do the trick,

+ looking FABULOUS while doing so!

Exhibit A:

open concept brick gable

Exhibit B:

Surprise!  Here’s a pair of columns in a kitchen designed by Joanna Gaines!

open concept white posts with gingerbread

The decorative brackets add a lot of  charm, don’t they?

And in conclusion, what on earth did we do before Pinterest?

 

 


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