Friday, September 19, 2014

New Stuff for the Old House

With all of my recent posts about our kitchen makeover, I feel like String of Pearls is turning into some kind of home design blog, but trust me--it's not!  Because I'm pretty much the last person who should be advising anyone on how to decorate her home.  My "style" tends to include lots of secondhand fixer-upper finds (let's call these pieces "vintage") and trompe l'oeil paintings of animals and exposed brick and whatnot on the walls (let's call that "art").  My house is a place where nothing really matches (let's call that "eclectic").

I love my "nest" dearly, after having spent over two decades feathering it in a way that suits our family.  But I realize that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. The kitchen would now probably pass muster with most would-be buyers (if we had to sell our home tomorrow); at least the very dated, very ugly 80's laminate cabinets have been 86'd and replaced with lovely farmhouse-style beadboard beauties.  But even so, some buyers might decide to gut the whole thing and start from scratch, just as soon as they could swing it after taking on the mortgage.  And other areas of the house (where woodland creatures and sea animals are painted on the walls, for instance) would probably have the female half of the house-hunting couple whispering to her hubby, "Um, let's keep looking."

But I do love my house.  It was a great house for raising five sons, and now it's a great nest for two aging lovebirds. This is our "home sweet home," and these days it's looking sweeter than ever.  Remember I told you about the $500 gift card that the folks at Home Depot gave us when our kitchen re-facing project was completed?  Well, we used it to purchase a new chandelier for our dining room and a small rolling island for our kitchen.  My husband assembled and installed both pieces yesterday (he's my hero).  Do you want to see them?

Okay, first I'll show you how the new chandelier looks.  The old one was shiny brass, which I've heard design experts call "dated"; I guess it "screams the 80's and 90's." ( I have a question, though: what's the difference between "dated," which has such a negative connotation, and "vintage," which is so hot right now?  Aren't they really the same thing?)

Anyhoo--the reason we finally switched that light fixture after all these years is that the dining room is gargantuan, yet the chandelier was quite small.  My mother-in-law noted this discrepancy before we'd even gotten our moving boxes unpacked 24 years ago, and we finally decided to make it right.  (On Home Depot's dollar.)

So here's the old light fixture:

And here's the new one:

Mom, you were right.  A larger chandelier suits this room so much better!  (This next picture really illustrates how tiny our old one was in comparison!)
We won't even address my wall paper borders, which I've heard are quite out of fashion.  I know I should take them down, but I just can't yet...

I'm a resister of change, you see.  The fact that I removed the border over the chair rail in the kitchen, since it no longer looked quite right after the revamp, is nothing shy of a miracle.

And now for the new little granite-topped island.  TA-DA!

It not only gives us some much-desired extra counter space; it also provides a surprising amount of storage underneath.
Hmmm....maybe this IS a home design blog.  It sure feels like one lately!

Before I head out, here is the most recent review of Finding Grace, posted by my Aussie friend Erin over at Seven Little Australians and Counting.  Erin read the book while in the hospital for the birth of her 10th child, and it pleases me so much that she says it will always be intertwined with memories of her youngest daughter's arrival!

A home design blog, a writer's blog, a grammy blog...I'm not sure what mine is.  But whenever I sit down to write a post for it, I feel like I'm right where I want to be.  I feel like I'm home sweet home.

OH, and lest I forget: today is my daughter-in-law Preciosa's birthday!  It is fitting that I would write about home décor on her day, because she's SO good at it.  I'm going to have to show you some pics of the nursery she's put together for our soon-to-be-born first grandson.  It's incredible!  So stay tuned...


  1. Oh I love both the island and the chandelier! They look great! Happy birthday to Preciosa!

  2. Love the island, my daughter is talking me into one for when we do build our new kitchen. and the in name for your blog is ...a lifestyle blog;)

  3. I love the new chandelier. And the island also... I think I'm "decorating vicariously" through you :) ! And I really really really really love your picture arrangements. I always had such fun putting that sort of thing together (I'm much too lazy anymore... but I like to look at what younger...... er, I mean OTHER ... people do!)

  4. Love the new chandelier!! And the island. And don't ever change ... I love what you write in your blog!

  5. I LOVE the new chandelier!! I love your island, too. And I don't know either what is the difference between dated and vintage. Whatever is arbitrarily in style, I guess. I also noticed your photo wall. It's much more interesting than mine. I need new frames or a new arrangement. :)