Thursday, June 26, 2008

T.G.I.T - Living Rooms

Thanks SOOO much to everybody who posted on my last entry. Your support is enormously appreciated! It may be a rough ride for a bit, BUT:
I, Layla, do solemnly swear, to maintain a happy & healthy attitude and to continue to do my best to scatter joy & radiate love every step of the way! (Mental note: Read this post next month) :-)

Okay, now check out these Living Rooms! Can you say, "come in and kick your feet up" on this first one?? Wow! What a great shade of blue, and I just wanna touch that fireplace. Love those smooth stones!

And how about walking into this room, first thing in the morning.

I can almost feel what it would be like to have that glossy wood floor underfoot. Look at that beautiful pattern they painted on it! Genius!
And I adore their use of sisal, stone, raw wood and white slipcovers. If designed differently, it could've (unfortunately) become a pretty *serious* space, but the natural elements really help keep it comfy. Don't you think?

And between the floors, the ceiling, the amount of windows, and the shutter room-dividers, I'm not sure which element is my favorite in this space!
If I could have a space JUST to design Lettered Olive product in, THIS is what it would look like! (But, it would be inside of a red barn. And I would use different lighting, furniture and art.) :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The 1st Day of the Rest Of My Life!

Well, I did it.

You know that saying, "Don't quit your day job?"
Well, I quit my day job today.

I decided it was time to put a hundred and ten percent into Lettered Olive, the company my Mom and I are in the process of creating.

The craziest part- my husband also quit his job. (We worked together, at the same place) He is in a position where he can now work full-time as a professional musician again. And for him, that's the "dream job". Music is his refuge. It is the very central essence of him, and I'm so happy that he is going to be able to live his dream. Sadly, that means he'll be on the road at least 2 weeks out of every month, but the money is going to be better- and when you live in a fixer-upper, that's always a good thing.

We're both sort of in shock at the moment. But it's a good shock. An excited-but-still-a-little-nervous shock. We've done A LOT of soul-searching and praying over the past year, and it just feels like the right time to start this new chapter in our lives.

I believe in the products my Mom and I are creating for Lettered Olive.
They're beautiful, they come from the heart and they will make people FEEL.
I can't wait to share them with you all.
It won't be long now... :-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lettered Cottage - Partial Floorplan Layout

Other than the two Guest Bedrooms, the Guest Bathroom, the Reading Room, the Mudroom and the Laundry Room- this is a partial layout of our place.
I did this drawing in my "Plan 3D" program before I bought furniture, so that I knew I'd buy the right sizes. I've made some MAJOR mistakes in the past, and ended up selling some brand new pieces that were just TOO BIG for the rooms they were intended to go in. :-(

Here's a closer look at the Living Room. Keep in mind, it's not the right kind of fireplace, it doesn't have accessories, and definately doesn't show the correct colors- but as far as the layout goes, this is it:

And lastly, here is the Dining Room & Kitchen layout. I would have LOVED to have a big kitchen, with an island, that's open to the Living Room.
That being said, I think the people that built the house should have put the kitchen where the Master Bedroom is, and vice versa. We live on a pretty popular street, and it would have been nice to have the Master Bedroom on the back of the house, away from the traffic noise out front.

I should mention, our piano is actually facing the other direction. It opens up into the Living Room (not the wall), I just noticed it's facing the wrong way and I'm too lazy to go back and change all three drawings! :-) I think the size is a little off too, there's actually plenty of room to walk between the piano and the over-sized chair. Oops!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Heart Art!

As a child, animals were always my favorite thing to draw. As as adult, I love to paint them. Most of my clientele consists of people who are crazy about their "fur kids". :-)

Here's a few of the commissioned pieces I've done:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

T.G.I.T - Kitchens

Since I'm thinking about my Kitchen a lot right now, I thought I'd post some photos of three gorgeous ones I found while surfing the net.

I love the thickness of the porcelain sink in this first photo. And the olive green cabinets with chunky nickel pulls are perfection.

The double towel bar in this kitchen is one of the coolest things I have ever seen....if only I could have an island in my kitchen! :-(
And check out those quilted stainless steel refrigerator doors. Ooh la la!

And the blue door in this last photo confirms that I have a serious addiction to pantries that have screened doors on them. And lets not forget to mention the wood walls AND ceiling, the amazing porcelain sink, the chippy white painted bar stools, the transom window above the doorway, the moss-covered plant pot to the right of the sink and the tin pendant lights with their adorable scalloped edges. Luscious!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Okay, before you watch this- you should know that I have not yet:

1. Installed a backsplash
2. Finished installing the flooring
3. Installed new light fixtures
4. Added all the accessories I'd like to add
5. Finished painting the kitchen cabinets
6. Finished adding trim to the top of the kitchen cabinets
7. Filled all the cabinets with dishes
8. Installed new countertops
9. Bought a new Dining Room table & chairs
10. Replaced the white appliances with stainless steel ones
11. Installed a stainless steel range hood with telescoping chimney
12. Figured out my window treatments
13. Installed french doors in the Dining Room
The list goes on and on....

But this shows where I'm at as of today! :-)

And let's not forget the BEFORE photo of the kitchen in all it's sherbet-colored loveliness:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dining/Kitchen Inspiration

I put together some things to inspire the palette for our Dining Room & Kitchen.
Since the two rooms are open to each other, I figured it would be nice for them to be in harmony texture/color-wise.

I love the look of dark rattan, burlap, seashells, sprout or apple green and creamy white dishes together. Oh, and let's not forget my metals- satin nickel & stainless steel. I am trying to photograph the rooms so that I can post pictures, but I'm not happy with the lighting in the photos. Guess I'll just have to do another video!

The Accessory Your Room Can't Live Without!

1. mirror
2. candle
3. plant/flowers
4. basket
5. tray

If you could only pick one, which of these five accessories would you say your room can't live without? I vote for #1, mirror. I love how they instantly open up a room, and for me, the more sunshine the better. Wouldn't be a cottage without it, right? But I must confess, I have a MAJOR basket fetish, so #4 is a very close second! Anybody else have a hard time resisting the little wicker wonders? :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Mom celebrated her 54th Birthday on Friday (yes, the 13th!)
So I sent one of these little buggers to the hotel she was staying at on the beach in Pensacola.
Aren't they cute?
(I sent her the one on the left) :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rock, Platter, Napkins

I had Kevin snap this shot of the latest napkins I bought on clearance at Pier One.
I'm going to research napkin-folding techniques on-line today. The in-laws are coming over for dinner Monday night, so I want everything to look nice. :-)
I found the creamy ceramic platter at Marshalls for $7.99. I'm infatuated with the little design around the edge. It reminds me of seashells!
The smooth, little "Be Mine" stone I've had forever...I don't even remember where I got it. But I needed something with a little weight to hold down the napkins, so it would look pretty in my china cabinet.

This is the look I'm after:

I'm crazy about the color Apple Green right now, so I'm considering splurging on some of these drinking glasses from Crate & Barrel. They're on sale for $4.95 each:

Well, I'm off to finish painting the Kitchen. I'll post the Before & After photos VERY soon. It's quite the transformation so far, if I do say so myself! :-P

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Every Thursday I'm going to post a few inspirational photos for everyone to drool over.
I found these while looking back at a Country Living issue from June of 2005. The house is owned by a woman named Michelle Joy, and it's located in Mauricetown, New Jersey.

The mirror collection going up the staircase wall is such a great use of space, don't you think?
It really keeps the room feeling light and airy.

The table in the Dining Room is an old barn door, topped with glass and set on porch posts from Home Depot. Genius! The antique library cases holding her creamy china were purchased at an auction for $200. Lucky Duck!

And check out her pantry door, I'm obsessed with it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Trash to Treasure Project

What do you get when you cross a really, really old, ugly green scale with a new enamel-coated metal bowl, marked "Sundries"?


I primed and painted the scale glossy white, and used a rusting kit on the face of it. The numbers where mostly rubbed off anyway, and I'm more of a "form before function" gal. :-)
Next, I used epoxy to secure the bowl to the top of the scale, and voila!
I'm not sure what I'll fill it with yet, or even which room I'll use it in.
Got any ideas for me?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Cottage Next Door

In case anyone wants to be neighbors with Kevin and I, here's a picture of the cottage that just came up for sale next door to our house.

Isn't it delicious? It's needs some work, but don't you think it could be the cutest little thing?
It's for sale for $85,000. It's 988 square feet, has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a roomy kitchen, a small formal living room just inside the front door, and a den in the back of the house- overlooking the woods. Here's a photo of the woods behind our house, right next door:

Occasionally, when I'm too exhausted to work on the house, I enjoy sitting on our deck, sipping Riesling from a tiny antique wine glass, and reading Cottage Living magazine. The birds serenade me, dappled sunshine falls all around me through the branches overhead... it's so magical.
So if you can't move in next door, at least stop by and enjoy my deck with me next time you're in the area. :-)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Guest Bedroom Renovation

Here's a little video of me and the "husbear" renovating our Guest Bedroom. We found the GREATEST wood planks (running horizontally) on the walls in the closet in this room, so we figured it MUST be under the drywall in the bedroom itself too. A little dancing, a lot of dust and sho' nuff! We uncovered a wall of wood paneling in perfect condition! In addition to ripping out drywall, we also ripped out carpet, refinished the wood flooring that was under the carpet, added new trim, and painted. We're going for a very cozy, coastal vibe in this room.
Enjoy the show!
PS...The yellow flowers in the window sill were a birthday present. :-)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world who would spend 8 months deciding which cabinet knobs and pulls to use on their kitchen cabinets.
First I thought I wanted to use glass knobs, so I bought a sample of each of these:

The one on the left is $9.00, the one in the middle is $3.76 and the one on the right is $3.76 ( I went back and forth on oil rubbed bronze bases, or satin nickel, or polished chrome. Last week I finally decided on satin nickel. (Don't ask me why, or I'll start to doubt myself again) THEN, I changed my mind about the glass when I saw these on Ebay for 89 cents a piece:

So I ordered sixteen of them and I think they look pretty good, don't you? :-)
(This picture will give you a clue as to what color I painted my kitchen cabinets!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Living Room - During are a couple of "During" photos of the Living Room.
Still no wood front door with windows in it, no travertine tile on the fireplace.
But you see where I'm going.

Notice, the opening between the Living and Dining room is bigger in the "during" photos. We decided to pull out the reciprocating saw (you know, the one that looks like a meaner version of the electric knife you'd carve a turkey on Thanksgiving with) and Kevin went to town on the wall one weekend. We crossed our fingers the ceiling wouldn't cave in. So far, so good.

The floor under the carpet we ripped up was mostly wood, but partly concrete.
You see, the previous owner added a Master Bedroom & Bath, Laundry Room and Kitchen on to the house before we bought it. So, unfortunately, we couldn't just refinish the hardwood flooring. :-(
We opted to go with laminate wood flooring by Shaw in a chocolate umber color.
It's super durable, cleans up in a snap AND cost 84 cents a square foot. I found it on Ebay and we road tripped to Georgia to pick it up. We are on a TIGHT budget people!

Anywho, let me know what you think of the progress....I LOVE hearing your comments. Makes my day!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The big 3-4

So I woke up this morning and the usual stream of thoughts started rushing through my head:

Which Pottery Barn bedding patterns do I want to get for our Master Bedroom?

Wonder if Max went to the bathroom on the Dining Room floor in the middle of the night?

Wonder if Kevin is still not feeling good? (He went to bed sick)

I need to get trim for the Living Room, but I'd LOVE to get the Pottery Barn bedding for our bedroom. Oh yeah, but which Pottery Barn bedding patterns do I want to get? Hmmmm.....well, it IS my birthday today- so maybe I should get BOTH the trim and the bedding.
Oh my gosh- it's my birthday.

I am 34 years old people! (:-O

I remember when I was younger and would think about being in my thirties, and it seemed SOOOO far away.

I specifically remember a day when I was about thirteen, or fourteen, and I was walking home from school. We lived on a private (dirt) road, so the school bus dropped my brother and I off about a 1/4 mile away from our house. We lived in a big old farm house on a 7-acre patch of land, complete with 5 barns, animals galore and lots of flower & vegetable gardens sprinkled around the property, thanks to my Mom. I was walking home that day (by myself, for some reason) and I just stopped.
Right in the middle of the road.
I stretched out my arms and took it all in.
The corn fields on either side of me, the blue sky above me and the S P A C E all around me. I told myself (outloud) to, "Always remember this moment. When you're older, remember this moment." I stood there for a few minutes, just soaking it up. It was very spiritual. It was a put-things-into-perspective-kind-of-moment. I'll never forget it.
Especially now that I'm "older". :-)

Thanks to those who sent me birthday wishes....I love you all,


PS...Max DID go to the bathroom on the Dining Room floor. > :-(

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dining Room & Kitchen - Before

Here are some "before" shots of our Kitchen and Dining Room.

This next one is looking from the Kitchen, across the Dining Room, back into the Living Room:

This one is of the little "mudroom" off the Dining Room. I'm going to use it as a "Paint/Tools/Pantry/Cat & Dog Food Station Room":

As you can kind of see in this next picture, the kitchen was added on to the house in 2003. The curtains the previous owner left us were added on to the house in bad taste.

Yes, I ripped them down within seconds of ownership. :-)