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Lessons on Décor, Inspiration, and Style

Lately, I have been on fire about décor, through rearranging and decorating. Talk about inspiration and motivation! I think it’s because I tend to get passionate about whatever is consuming me at a given time.

Many of you might not know that for the past several years I’ve been working on finishing my Bachelor’s degree. There have been some breaks, like when we moved, but it’s been a huge distraction for me.

Since mid-November until early April, I’m on a school hiatus. After that, I have two classes to finish in a six-week period, and then I graduate in May. I can’t wait!

This hiatus has enabled me to focus on our home for the first time since we permanently moved in 2 years ago.

I have décor goals, which I’ve shared here on the blog and on Facebook and Instagram stories. Between now and when I return to school, we will have our living room walls textured and painted. That IS happening. Maybe I’ll get to our guest bathroom, too.

First Lesson Learned

After taking down Christmas, though, I got seriously inspired. We rearranged the furniture in our living room and I love how it looks! I learned something important from that. 

When you walk into a room, what you want to see is what you like most.

Seeing what you really like is important because it gives you a good feeling when you enter a room. Your mind sees is as an overall impression of the room.

Inspiration

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like our reclining leather sofas. One of them was the first thing you saw when you walked in the room. Since we rearranged our living room, I see my upholstered chairs and a cabinet that came from my grandmother’s house first. I love it!

 

I think I might even love it enough to keep these leather sofas a few more years. At least until my grandkids (and future grandkids) get out of the really grubby hands stage. Leather is so easy to clean. I have my heart set on light-colored fabric sofas or a sectional.

 

Second Lesson Learned

Another thing that I’ve learned is to go slowly. When faced with a table, buffet, shelf, or a room that you want to decorate take your time.

When decorating a specific area, start with one item and add complimentary objects (colors or a theme) slowly to see the overall effect.

My dining room buffet looked so empty after taking away the Christmas décor. I love to repurpose or “shop my own home,” so that’s what I did.

Inspired

When you have a style reflected throughout your own home, it’s easy to take objects from one room to use in another. When I exhausted that option, I turned to Home Goods, Target, and Hobby Lobby for décor.

 

Third Lesson Learned

I’ve also learned to stay true to my style. When I selected the leather sofas, it was because I thought we’d go with a “lodge” theme in our living room. That brings me to the next lesson I learned.

If you are going to experiment with a new style, color, or theme, do so with accessories or inexpensive furniture.

If I would have saved myself so much furniture grief if I had done that.  Ironically, when it comes to color, that is my motto. I love to buy colorful pillows, table runners, throws, and inexpensive drapes/curtains.

I am strictly an amateur decorator. But, hopefully you’ll benefit from these three things I’ve learned.

We used a designer and it was a great experience. She was instrumental during our kitchen remodel and I’m not saying I won’t take that route again. I think what’s given me the courage to try this on my own right now is that I really liked how our last house looked, and I get so much inspiration from Instagram.

Decor Inspiration

Speaking of inspiration, I just started reading this book, The Inspired Room by Melissa Michaels. I’ll share what I learn from reading the book as I apply it to my home. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Inspiration

 

To see the before and after photos of our home remodel project: http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/05/03/our-hour-before/ http://thefeatherednester.com/index.php/2017/05/06/our-house-after/

Stay inspired my friends!

PS, let me know in the comments if you’d like to know where I got a particular item pictured.

Let’s Get Decorating, Folks! The Decor Before…

I haven’t done a decor post for a while, and for good reason. I’ve been more focused on school and less on home decor. So, it’s been stagnant decor-wise around here.

New Stuff

I bought new Buffalo Check pillows, the chairs are less than a year old,

Decor

and created a wall gallery

Decor

though I didn’t finish this side of the room…

and more recently, I did some fall decorating!

Decor

But, guess what? It’s time to get some REAL stuff done around here.

 

Let’s Get This Started!

I’m talking about retexturing walls, electrical work, painting, new window treatments, and some interior decor and design.

Finally!

So, this is what I have to work with:

The room has high, vaulted, tongue-in-groove ceilings and wooden beams.

The texturing the two main walls is in terrible shape. Many years ago, the wall on the right had a walk-through opening and you can see the difference in texture if you look closely.

The brown “trim” on the hearth is child-proof padding to protect our grandkids against falls. We converted the masonry fireplace to gas-log about a year ago. I love the iron rustic surround we chose.

That is the front door to the far left and a hallway on the other side of the half wall behind the sofa. The sofas are not as dark as they appear. There’s little natural light in this room.

I have two regrets with this room:

One is the rug.

I had a few musts when I bought this rug: at least 12 x 14 to fill the space, wool for durability and stain resistance, and something neutral-colored.

This rug was a great deal. I got it from Wayfair for under $1000. My dislike is the middle of the rug. I thought it was a light tan and it’s a light mocha color. But, it was huge and I felt it was too much work to send it back.

I though the rug would look this golden, but the middle is more mocha colored in my room.
My second regret is the sofa placement in the room.

I saw similar sofas at the home of some friends and I loved how they looked. She has similar decor taste, french country, and they fit in decor-wise.

I made a grid of our room on quadrille paper and carefully measured the walls before going to the furniture store. Once we found these sofas by Bassett, we double-checked the measurements and ordered them.

When delivered, the sofas did not fit together in the space like I wanted them to. Linear-wise they were fine, but their depth did not allow them to meet in the corner of the room (where the side table is in the corner below) the way I’d intended.

So, we had to move the sofa to the opposite wall. The two chairs are where I wanted the other sofa at.

I feel like it’s thrown off the dynamics of the room.

I really like symmetry.

Case in point, it has been driving me crazy that since I moved a photo from this wall gallery, it’s not aligned with the chairs or centered on the wall.

Decor

 

Decor We Got Right

It’s hard to get a good picture of it, but the one thing we love is our fan. Photos don’t do it justice.

 

Decorating

We love the iron and glass fireplace surround we selected. And, I love the chairs, even though they don’t really go with the sofas. Likely, when this is complete one will go in my office and one in our guest room.

Moving Ahead

In the next post, I’ll share some of my plans for this space. Spoiler alert: possible wall sconces on the two main walls, a new mantle over the fireplace, changing out the blinds, and maybe even getting a new rug, lol! In addition to the retexturing and painting.

I hope you’ll share your ideas with me, too.

The TV will stay above the fireplace, and I’m keeping the sofas for a few more years (at least). After that, I plan on getting a roomy L-shaped section that will finally fill the left side of the room.

Please take the time to leave me some comments, suggestions, or advice! I would so appreciate it.

See last year’s kitchen/dining room/game room remodel here: BEFORE and AFTER

Happy Six-Month Anniversary!

So excited! We are celebrating an anniversary! The Feathered Nester blog is officially six-months old today. First Post! I have had more fun with the blog than I ever imagined.

The Beginning

I started the blog on the heels of our spring break trip to Florida and the Caribbean. Oh gosh, what a trip it was! On our 7-day cruise, we had the Penthouse Suite of our ship. Not only did we have this lavish suite, but we had a hot tub on our balcony!

Blog

The suite was an amazing deal and I will have to share my story of how we scored it in a future travel post.

Anniversary
Living Room
Dining Room

Bumps Along the Way

A few months into the blog, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. I haven’t posted an update on my condition lately, but I am happy to report that my condition is stable and manageable with diet and medication. It’s been months since I had a severe vertigo attack.

Through trial and error, I’ve been able to resume my morning cup of caffeinated coffee and have a glass of wine or two with dinner. Sodium does not seem to increase any of my symptoms, though I feel better when I avoid sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.

Plans for the Future

I would like to share more decor stories on the blog. It frustrates me to no end that I don’t have the time to tackle decorating projects around the house right now. But, I am almost done with school. The New Year will be bringing great changes around my house and blog.

Upcoming project! An Outdoor Kitchen – this photo is just an example…not a plan 🙂

 

Menu plans or weekly recipes? I’m still not sure where to go with them. Personally, I like the ability to print off recipes and I haven’t mastered that on the blog yet. So, the recipes are a work in progress. I may take on a “Top 5” recipes weekly format. Or I might start posting recipes every other week. Given me feedback on this!!

So Happy Anniversary and Thank You!

So, thank you for your readership. Let me know what you’d like to see going forward.

Lifestyle Icons and Decorating

In my eyes, the original lifestyle icon was Martha Stewart. It’s hard to believe that she started this huge trend back in the 90s. I still have several of her books on decorating, cooking, and homekeeping. I credit her with my early success as a homemaker.

Thanks to Martha, I learned how to fold fitted sheets neatly, the best way to remove stains from clothes, how to cook and carve a whole chicken, and decorating for the holiday season.

Decorating

Of course, this was long before Instagram and Pinterest. I believe that technology has been both a blessing and curse. It’s enabled us to share our decor adventures with others and to enrich our homes because of it. On the other hand, it has also created unrealistic expectations for us to live up to.

I for one, though, love seeing decorating ideas on IG and Pinterest. They really inspire me! I can’t wait to finish school so I can work on some of the things around my house, like painting and decorating.

Keeping it Real

I enjoy blogs where the authors are real. One of my most favorite, must watch IG accounts is “The Home Edit.” Their IG stories are so funny and real (unfiltered?). If you haven’t seen their IG Instastories, do yourself a favor and check them out.

I enjoy writing and sharing information. That’s why I created my blog. I never want to put myself out there as any type of role model or expert on anything. But, if something I know can help someone else, I am happy to share.

Blog Ideas and Decorating

Cooking has always been one of my passions, and it’s one of the things I post most about. Mostly because as a full-time college student, wife, mother, and grandmother, my time is limited.  Cooking is something I do almost daily, so it’s easy to share with you readers.

meal plans

 

Going forward though, I have so many plans for our home! And, I’ll be sharing them. They include decorating our living room, repainting rooms, learning how to chalk paint, putting in an outdoor kitchen, and much more.

It’s time for me to get cooking. Today, I am making this:

Photo Credit: A Taste of Home

It will be one of next week’s menu items. Check back over the weekend!

It’s Mon-YAY! Did I Seriously Just Say That?

What’s New This Week

I’m taking a break from posting a menu plan for this week for a few reasons. September was a crazy month because we were gone from home so much. Between that and school, it seemed like all I wrote about was menus and recipes. So, I’m changing things up this week.

We returned from our 10-day Maui trip at almost midnight on Wednesday night. It felt like Heaven sleeping in our own bed!

Mon-YAY

The following morning, it was back to normal. We took care of our grandson, Dillon, that day, picked up our dogs from our daughter’s house, and I did school work. One thing that made the day so much easier was coming home to a clean house.

Sadly, I did not come back from Maui with a new purse. It wasn’t for lack of trying. I posted a picture of the limited edition Louis Vuitton Hawaii tote, which I thought was really cute.

When I went back to Louis Vuitton with my husband, I’d decided on the new Graceful or the Favorite. Unfortunately, they were sold out in both Maui stores and even online. I’m still looking though. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Makenna Turns One!

On Sunday, we celebrated our granddaughter’s first birthday! Makenna turned one during our vacation. She and I are both October babies.

Mon-YAY
Dillon, Makenna, and Mason

 

It’s Truly Mon-YAY!

I am now a Monday lover! I never, ever thought I would love Mondays.

When I started my Bachelor’s degree program, my homework was due on Tuesdays, and then on Mondays.  That changed several weeks ago. Now, everything is due on Sunday nights, so Monday feels like my Saturday. That’s why I’ve been doing more posts on Mondays lately. It’s my first “free” day of the week.

This Week’s Goals

My main goal this week is to make my house look more fall-like. I love fall! Usually as soon as Labor Day hits, I am all over fall decorating. But, we were gone to San Francisco that weekend. Then we left for Michigan a few days later, and to Sacramento for a wedding a few days after we got back.  A week later we went on vacation until October 4th. September was a blur.

I am hesitant at setting any other goals, besides getting my homework done. I actually sat down with my planner last night and started to prepare for the week ahead. I’ve been using this planner:

Mon-YAY

But, I’d really like to have one that’s more like this:

Mon-YAY

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Have a truly blessed week. Time permitting, I will post later this week.

A Convection Steam Oven. What’s That?

Picking out appliances for our kitchen remodel was more challenging than I anticipated. This would be my dream kitchen in our forever home, so I put a lot of thought and research into it. I chose the cooktop first since it would be the hardest working appliance. In a post about my range top (see HERE), I discuss why I chose Thermador. The selling point was their star-shaped burners and the ability to easily clean under the burners.

The control panel

 

It was at the appliance showroom that I discovered convection steam ovens (which I will call steam oven for short). Our salesperson told us that they could do everything a microwave does, except reheat coffee and pop popcorn. While I was mulling over getting a steam oven instead of a microwave over our wall oven, I attended a Thermador lunch and learn. They prepared the food served in the steam oven (one of the benefits is that flavors don’t inner-mix). The pork tenderloin and dessert were amazing. After that, I was pretty sold on the steam oven.

A Rough Start

From the beginning, I had a hard time getting the steam oven to operate in the steam oven. After a few months of ignoring the issue, I finally did some troubleshooting. This led me to believe that it definitely wasn’t working properly. Ultimately, Thermador replaced the unit for a brand-new one, only for us to find out that it was an electrical problem! For some reason, the electricians installed the wrong type of electrical cord during the remodel.

steam oven
The 24″ steam oven with stainless steel surround to fit a 30″ opening.

So Easy Peasy!

The steam oven has been working for few months now and I LOVE IT!! It is so easy to use, and everything I’ve made in it comes out perfect. Steam ovens are widely used in commercial kitchens. Steam creates amazing crusts on bread, and restaurants use them to reheat food. A steam oven reheats food so that it tastes freshly made. Most items can be reheated within 10-15 minutes. I use the reheat feature several times a week. It takes a little longer than microwaving but the food comes out tasting as good as it originally did, and it stays hot longer.

The oven can steam soft-boiled eggs, corn on the cob and other vegetables, rice, custards, and much more. There is a combination steam-convection setting to use for chicken, pork, and baked goods. One thing I really like is that it also doubles as an a convection oven. Since it’s smaller, in the summer I use it to avoid heating my bigger wall unit. While it is smaller than a traditional oven, you can fit a 14-pound turkey in and it’s ready in less than 90 minutes! A few weeks ago, I made a pork tenderloin and it was delicious.

What It Makes

steam oven

 

One of the reasons I’m sharing my steam oven with you is that there aren’t a lot of reviews on them online. Believe me, I searched high and low before I decided to invest in this little oven. If you missed it before, here are the links for our kitchen/dining room/family room remodel: HERE and HERE. In the posts, I share before and after pictures of our remodel and give you the highs and lows that occurred during the process.

steam oven
My kitchen. The Thermador convection steam oven is at the top left.

 

Just in care you were wondering,this post is not sponsored by Thermador or anyone else. It’s just my opinion, based on my own experiences. 

Worth the Splurge? I Review, You Decide.

Deciding on the topic for this “Worth the Splurge” was challenging! As I was laying in bed one morning, though, I thought – I should do it on sheets! Did you know that we spend 25-30% of our lives in bed? Wow, that’s a lot of time when you think about it! The most comfortable place in our house, then, should definitely be our beds.

sheets

Cotton Fibers and Sheets

I decided to do a little research on sheets and their materials before writing this post. Do you know that there are six types of cotton fibers used in bedding? They are Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton, Supima, Sea Island cotton, intermediate staple cotton, and short staple cotton.

Egyptian cotton has the longest staple in the world and produces fine, luxurious fabric. Pima cotton is one of the best quality cottons grown in America. It has a long-staple, and provides a luxurious, strong fiber. Supima cotton is a trademarked product that means that the item is 100% American Pima cotton. Sea Island cotton is the finest of all cottons. It’s very rare, silky, and white, with an extra-long staple. Sea Island cotton is grown in the West Indies and the islands off the Carolinas and Georgian coast. Intermediate cotton is used for bedding with up to a 230 thread count. Short staple cotton is commonly used in bedding originating from Asian countries.

Linen, Silk, Modal, and Bamboo?

Cotton is the most common fiber used in sheets. It’s all-season, easy to care for, and affordable. They also come in a variety of other materials such as silk, linen, modal, and even bamboo. Linen bedding, especially Belgian linen, is becoming really popular. The quilt and pillow shams on my bed are of Belgian linen. A set of linen sheets is high on my “wish list.” I’ve heard that they are great in the summer.

sheets
Belgian Flax Sheets from Pottery Barn

 

How Important Is Thread Count?

Most people think the most important factor when evaluating sheets is the thread count. Thread count is useful information, but the type of cotton fiber they’re made of is more important. Longer cotton staples are stronger and feel softer than shorter ones.

When buying sheets, it’s recommended you look for sheets made of Egyptian, Pima, or Supima, and a minimum of 200 thread count. If you’re looking at thread counts over 400, be sure to get them from a high-quality manufacturer. Less reputable manufacturers increase their thread count by piling the yarn which creates an inferior product.

My Quest For Perfect Sheets

I bought my first set of high-thread count sheets from Costco. They were a good bargain for such a high-thread count, but not really what I was looking for. They were thin and came untucked easily. My next set was from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. This set was similar to the Costco ones, though. So, my quest for the perfect sheets continued.

Enter Pottery Barn. I’d long been a fan of theirs and owned a fair amount of Pottery Barn table linens, towels, and bedding. One day, I ordered a set of their 400 thread count sheets. At the time, they were a splurge. When they arrived, I noticed they seemed about twice as heavy as the Costco brand, even though the thread count was the same. Over time, they became softer and velvety. Although I had other sets of sheets, these quickly because my favorites, and eventually I quit rotating them. I would wash them in the morning and put them back on the bed that evening.

sheets

Loving These New Sheets

We upgrade in size to a Cal-King bed when we moved into our new house. This meant I needed to purchase all new bedding. So, I looked online to see which sheets I’d bought previously from Pottery Barn. I was really surprised to see that they were already 6 years old! Luckily, I was able to get them in the size I needed. It only took a few months of used and washing for them to feel as soft and velvety as our old ones.

For tips on how to make your bed look stunning, visit here: https://www.potterybarn.com/tips-and-ideas/how-to-make-a-bed/. By the way, I am not affiliated with Pottery Barn and receive no absolutely no compensation from them.

So, what do you think? Do you feel that quality sheets are “Worth the Splurge?”

 

A New Dining Room Rug

I originally posted A New Dining Room Rug as a page instead of a post, so its being moved to the proper location.

A Little Background…

Nearly two years ago, we bought the home we are living in now. Buying this home was the beginning of a huge transformation in our lives, which I’ll talk about in a future post. A year ago, we remodeled the area that included the kitchen, dining room, and game room area. You can see it HERE and HERE. We used an interior designer, Tiffany, who helped us with design and decor and introduced us to the contractor who oversaw the job.

When the remodel project was complete, I wasn’t sure about a few items. One was whether we needed a rug under the dining table. My husband didn’t want one but I thought we needed one for aesthetic reasons. I remember that moving the chairs around on our old rug was a pain, so I shelved the idea for a while.

Time for photos!

The reason I’m telling you all this is that last week I ordered a sisal rug from Pottery Barn. It’s being delivered today. I am going to post before and after pics and see what you think of it. I think that the rug will be thin enough (it has a latex backing) to let our chairs slide easily and that the light tones will help break up the dark-on-dark tones we have going on between the table and floor.

Dining Room Without Rug

Dining Room Rug

Dining Room with Rug

Dining Room Rug

So what do you think?

Which looks better? With or without? If I keep it, should I scotchguard it? I don’t even know if you can scotchguard sisal?

Let me know in the comments below and follow my blog! As soon as I have enough followers, I am going to start having some great give-a-ways.

Our House – Kitchen/Dining/Family Room Reveal

A few days ago, I posted about last year’s remodel of the kitchen, dining, and family room. The biggest surprise when planning the project was the importance and cost of lighting! There is little natural light into these rooms, and only in the morning. They replaced and added to the ceiling lighting plus we added the post and wall sconces. I never thought I would spend over $5,000 on lighting, but it was well worth it.

Issues, You Say??

The demo took place in early April and the project was complete by late May. We had hiccups along the way – for instance during the appliance installation, we discovered that our lower cabinets were a little shorter than standard with wood flooring butting up to them. We had just assumed they were “normal” height, so when they were installing our slightly taller dishwasher and beverage fridge, they didn’t fit! After discussing the options, we wound up having the wood flooring taken up in front of each appliance for the installation and replaced. We were so thankful that the previous owners left us a partial box of wood flooring so that we could order more. We kept enough to do the same procedure if we need to remove either of those appliances. Here are pictures:

Taken after they put the appliances in, but before they had to chisel out the planks to replace them with new ones. See the top of the page a post-chisel pic.

Drum Roll, Please…..

Now for the Reveal

 

As you walk into the three room area. Speaking of lighting, I just realized that I forgot to turn on the lights under the cabinets and above the sink *shakes head*

 

Thermador 27″ Masterpiece convection steam oven and 30″ wall oven (top and bottom left) and Kitchen Aid counter-depth side-by-side fridge (right)

 

36″ Thermador Range Top with griddle

 

 

The former family room area is now a game room and bar area.

 

 

The bar area of the room. It is still a work in progress. I need to move our glassware (from the dining room buffet) into the lighted display area and we need to get the shelf for the alcohol display area.

 

Home Remodel
The dining room area. I did a post on the new rug recently.

 

Remodel
In the design plan, this area – around the wall scones and above the buffet – is framed out with molding. We are waiting until we have the walls in the living room re-textured (in the next few months) to have them done a the same time.

 

In case you forgot, HERE is the before. I’ll be doing an appliance review on my Thermador appliances in a later post. My beloved 36″ Thermador range top with griddle was the one appliance I had to have. And, yes, that is a steam oven above the wall oven.

What do you think? Leave your questions and comments below. 

Our House – Before

When we relocated to our new city, we’d known for a few years that we would be moving here. My sister’ lives here and our daughters came here for college. We’d lived in a really small town before, so our girls loved how much a big city had to offer and they settled here after college.

My sister, Rachelle, was our realtor and we’d been very casually looking at homes during our visits for a few years. My husband and I started to get serious about looking in early 2015. Rachelle and I came together to look at this house first, and within 5 minutes, I knew my husband had to see it. He loved it as much as I and we put in an offer right away. The house became ours around Father’s Day that June. We didn’t settle in here full-time until November.

It’s Ours!! What Now?

As much as we loved our new house, especially our neighborhood and landscaping/outdoors, there were some things we didn’t like.The red paint against the cherry cabinets in the kitchen did not appeal to me. Several of the rooms had walls painted bright colors and I’m more of a neutrals colored person. We decided to do the kitchen modifications first – replacing the appliances, counter tops, enlarging the island, and repainting. We got a referral for a great interior designer, Tiffany, and decided to have her help us tackle the kitchen, dining room, and family room design.

Initially, our ideas were fairly simple, but as we got into actually planning it, the project grew (of course). We found a contractor to oversee the remodel and got started. These photos are of the kitchen, dining room, and family room when the house was listed for sale:

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Kitchen, before

 

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Island, before
Kitchen, before
Let’s Do This!

Eight months after we bought the house, the remodeling began. Here is the early demo (sorry for the poor lighting):

 

 

I really, really wanted a gas range top and I am so thankful they were able to run a gas line into the kitchen! You can see it in the pic below:

Well, that’s all for now. Look for more of the remodel and the “after” reveal later this week! What do you think so far?

Leave me comments below!