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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Transforming My Favorite Space

When we bought this house 12 years ago the "it" factor that sold it was that it was different.  The main room in the house, which is quite different now than it was then, was a two story open room with an open stair case and a loft.  I loved that about this house.  I had always wanted to create spaces in our home and around it that felt like a retreat or like we had entered a different place.

I've never really examined that too closely, but maybe that had to do with having been born and raised here and wanting to carve out a unique space that represented the bigger world out there.  At any rate, when we bought this house, I saw very clearly how much fun that would be in these unique spaces.  My mother always said I had the ability to notice every detail in a room and still look past the problems and envision what it could be. 

In creating the family room space in our open room with a loft I was inspired by Spanish / Italian traditional decor and really strove to bring into those rooms special items that gave it that vibe.  However, it was equally important to me that those items were special and reminded of me of special people and places or even hobbies.  The paintings in the room were created from images we took on our trips to Italy.  They were painted by a friend of mine, a local artist Marcia Musson.

Other items were things that I brought myself from places I've traveled.  My great aunt Delores had lived in many places around the world as the wife of a  military officer in her first marriage.  She had an amazing collection of items, each one representing some place she had lived or visited.  Before we were married, we always admired her collection and Tim was always determined we would let her collection that represented her travel inspire one in our own home, and it has. 

And one of my favorite pieces in the room, a buffet, was a $250 dollar deal from eBay and my parents delivered it here to Nebraska for me for free.

It all came together eventually, the stone fireplace, the art work, the furniture, to create the exact feel I'd hoped it would....a comfortable homey place that we could gather with family.  And then we decided to change it.  That seems crazy, because I love it just the way it is, but my husband is a hunter and in a weak moment I broke down and told him his African animal trophies could go in that room.  Yikes, animal heads.  I made it 22 years without a single one in my house and that was an accomplishment being married to an avid big game hunter.

My real dilemma was how to keep the feel and warmth of the room that I loved and change the decor from Italian to African without changing everything about it.  The transition is easier than I imagined it would be, thanks to the last lodge we stayed at in Africa.  It was very similar to my own home in terms of color and Spanish influence, and I realized all of the colors, furniture, and basic elements of the room didn't have to change at all to accomplish my goals. are some'll have to wait a year or two to see the animals in place.

See the chair above?  Another example of my thrifting fun.  I bought the pair of them off eBay for 15 dollars for the pair.  My dad traveled through the town they were in going back and forth from Oklahoma, so he picked them up for me.  They were blond wood, with greasy fabric on them.  I think they had been in a shop or something.  I decided for 15 dollars into the chairs, and the fabric I bought on sale for $15, I could afford to mess up.  So I tore the fabric off, used it as a pattern, and then put it right back on.  I also roughed up the wood and stained it dark.  What I ended up with were these beautiful "fireside" style chairs I'd had my eye on but would have never purchased at $900 a piece. And mine were really just $30 for the two.  Yep..that's my kind of bargain.

This pot was found at a Lazy Boy store near where our daughter and her husband live in Olathe, Kansas.  For you bargain hunters out there, they have a great discontinued accessories area in their store..and GREAT prices.  Really.  This huge pot was under $40 dollars and I had been looking for one for years, but refused to pay $200-300 dollars the home and garden stores were asking.

Another hobby, scrap booking, has been transformed by online sites that cater to that and digital cameras.  I love Mixbook myself, because of the scrap book like feel, and I create one every time we travel anywhere.  We actually printed two of these, one smaller one for my husband's business, and another one that is a coffee table book in our family room "gone wild". 

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