7th House on the Left

Typically, carports are used to park you car. Seeing as how we rarely, if ever, park our car in the carport, it’s pretty much a big unused concrete slab. Way down the road, we may end up closing it in and making either a one-car garage or a bonus room (my vote is for a bonus room!), but for now it’s just… blah! Here’s a picture we took this past fall (hence the leaves!)…

The only thing that’s changed since this photo was taken is that the large piece of wood is now in the shed along with the small pile of extra bricks that were sitting next to the door on the right (which leads to the utility room). Otherwise, it’s still a big open space for the garbage can.

On the left side of the carport is an aggregate patio. Like the carport, there’s not a lot going on here at the moment. It’s basically the place where we stashed the 5-piece patio furniture set we used on the balcony of our first place. We’re anxious to give it a facelift in the near future… now, I’m getting ahead of myself. More on that in a minute. Needless to say, this area of the backyard needs some help as well. But, in an effort to not get too overwhelmed, we’re going to take on these issues in stages. The first stage: the carport. So here’s the plan…

Greg and I want to turn the carport into a comfy covered patio and outdoor entry area…

Our plan is to find a new place for the garbage can and move the patio furniture into the carport along with an outdoor rug to define a seating area. We also want to bring some green in this mini concrete and brick jungle by hanging a few plants/flowers from the beam that separates the carport and patio. On the right side of the carport, we’re going to add a large “entry table” of sorts with some storage for various outdoor essentials. We also plan on upgrading the lighting and adding some wall art. To help you see what we see in our heads, and help along our own thinking process, we put together this mood board…

1. This brick is similar in color to ours, but ours has dark bricks mixed in here and there. I’m always worried about clashing colors with the brick, so I wanted to make sure to keep this in mind while putting together the mood board. Image from here.
2. We’d like to have some storage for things like grilling essentials and a few outdoor toys when our friend’s kids come to visit. A few of these baskets from World Market along with our entry table we’re planning on adding (more on that in #7) will do the trick.
3. Above the love seat, it would be really nice to add some sort of vertical garden to the wall (found here). I’m not sure how we’d do it or if it would even be an option with our area’s climate, the lack of sunlight and my not-so-green thumb; but I love the idea of adding some sort of green texture art-like piece on this wall. We shall see what transpires!
4. Greg and I both love the idea of adding industrial/barn-like lighting. Two of these galvanized steel hanging light fixtures will work out well and be a great industrial touch.
5. Over the outdoor entry table (again, more on that in #7), we want to add a large painted wooden sign. We aren’t completely sure what we want the sign to say just yet, but I saw this sign at World Market the other day in the clearance section and loved it! The only problem… it was 5″ x 8″. We’re in the market for a sign that’s more like 4 feet by 6 feet. You know what that means… time for some DIY!
6. I realize mason jar decor ideas are a dime a dozen these days, but I love them. There’s something about the classic simplicity of mason jars. They’re great for storage and even better as candle holders or vases. I have an idea in the back of my head about using giant mason jars and faux moss as cute simple candle holders on the entry table when we’re entertaining.
7. Now for the entry table. We’d love to have something long, rustic and about 36″ tall – tall enough to use it as a project table when we’re working on projects and an outdoor buffet when we’re entertaining. We’d also like it to be dark espresso to really stand out from the bricks.
8. I love fun vintage touches in the house and I’d really like to bring some vintage charm in the outdoor living area. This clock may not actually find its way into the carport but is a good example of what I’m talking about. I love the vintage shape and the color is one of my favorites. Also, I think the color would look great with the bricks, dark entry table, #9 and #10.
9. I love pillows in an outdoor space – and lots of them. Greg and I both really like this pillow in particular because it brings in a pop of color but doesn’t clash with the bricks like an “apple red” pillow would.
10. Our current patio furniture is a light walnut color that seems to blend right in with the bricks. Rather than buying new patio furniture (which is something we’d like to do in the future), we plan on giving it a makeover by way of a few cans of espresso spray paint. It will stand out from the bricks and tie in with the entry table.

I see a lot of shopping, rearranging and DIYing over the next few weeks, but we’re SO ready to tackle this area and get it ready for the fall (when the Virginia weather is perfect for hanging out outdoors). The first projects we’re going to tackle will be spray painting the patio furniture and finding a solution for an entry table. Let the fun begin!

By the way, in case you missed it… click here to check out my first post as a contributor over at IHeart Organizing!


posted by Ashley  /  21 Comments

Plates hung on the wall. Love it or hate it? This is one of those timeless decorating trends I’ve been noticing more and more lately… But I can’t decide if I completely love it.

My first memory of seeing plates hanging on the wall was at my great grandparent’s house in Indianapolis. My Great Grandma Henderson was the original Donna Reed – her everyday uniform was a freshly pressed dress complete with an apron and heels. Coincidentally, Donna Reed also had plates hung in her kitchen. These days plates hanging on the wall can come across as super traditional and a tad old fashioned, but it’s becoming an interesting eclectic “granny chic” trend that I’m falling in love with. Plus, I think they’d be a lot of fun to collect over time.

Mix matching colors and patterns is a great way to make a plate collection look collected and unique. Also, a random cascading pattern can bring a lot of softness to an otherwise clean-lined room. I especially love the turtle plate! Image found here.

I love how the plate designs pick up on the Ikat pillows – making this is a great example of tying in the plate designs with the other accessories in the room. Image found here.

Displaying plates in straight lines all the way up to the ceiling is a great modern variation! I love how all of the colors really pop against the white walls. By the way, check out that molding around the door on the right! Image found here.

I really like how this collection is so closely grouped together then there’s one on the top a little farther away. Oh, and did you notice the black and beige bulldog plate? Great modern touch! Image found here.

I love pretty much everything in this room! One thing I really love is the plates hanging on the wall on either side of the window. They really help add some height and makes the eye move up toward the ceiling. Image found here.

There are so many things I love about this photo… the colors, vintage vibe, painted brick wall and most of all, the plates! Image found here.

This collection of white and gold plates look very smart and dainty. I love the idea of mixing in a few “guest book” plates with vintage ones! Image found here.

Black and white plates on a black wall = love! Gotta love some great contrast. It ties in perfectly with the all-white bedding and stark white lamp. Image found here.

I love the look of this plate collection on the dark gray walls. It makes the plates really stand out! …and gives me some thoughts about doing this in our dining room. Image found here.

This group of all white plates is a really great traditional look but the placement makes the whole thing look really modern. I like how they overlapped a few of them here and there to give it a really staggered look. Image found here.

So, what’s the verdict? Yay or Nay?

As I mentioned here, here and here, I spent much of last month in LA with my mom and brother (more about our crazy family arrangement in this post). Since being back in Virginia, I have to admit, I totally miss the California weather… and of course, my family. On the plus side, Greg and I just booked our tickets to head back to sunny California in January. (Yay!) While I had a lot of fun scouting out celebrities, seeing the Brady Bunch house, shopping at interesting stores and enjoying Sprinkles cupcakes, with the help of the fine folks at Target, I also managed to sneak in a fun room makeover a few days before I headed back here to Virginia.

While my dad is here in Virginia holding down the fort, my mom and little and only brother (Abram) are temporarily in LA while Abram writes/records (again, more about all of that in this post). While in LA, they are setting up shop home in a cozy apartment in downtown Burbank. My mom (also known as the best mom in the world, FYI) has a crazy talented way of making any space feel like home. So while the rest of the apartment was in tip top shape, Abram’s room was still in need of some TLC. All that was in his room was a bed and a desk. Abram and mom gave me what every interior design enthusiast wants… free reign! Here’s an idea of what the room looked like before…

Yeah. Not much to it. The walls were your typical “builder beige”, but luckily there was a lot of natural light coming in from the large window on the far side of the room. Since the whole reason for Abram being in LA is his music, that seemed like a good place to start. I didn’t want to go too far with a “theme”, though, and I knew Abram wouldn’t like that either (even though he lives and breathes all things music). I decided to put together a room that was borderline “techy” with a fun music vibe – rather than a theme. 

I got an email from Target telling me about their new tool called uStyler. The uStyler is a super fun tool that helps you put together a room using bedding, lamps, and decorative accessories from Target’s college decor line. While it’s mainly geared toward the college crowd going back to school, it’s also a great place to start when decorating a small space or putting together a room for a certain little brother living in LA for music and setting up a temporary home. Perfect!

First of all, I so wish Target had this when I was in college! There are six “zones” on the style board: bedding, lighting, clock/radio, wall accessory, throw pillow, and a furniture accent (floor lamp or chair/bench). You click on the “zone” then they give you a bunch of selections from the college decor line to choose from. A few clicks here,  a few clicks there, bada bing bada boom, you’ve got a completed room! Here’s what I came up with for Abram…

Pretty cool, right? When it came time to name the room on uStyler, we named it “Sound Bytes”. My favorite thing would have to be the colorful chevron bedding! It gave us a really good starting point for the whole design of the room. Oh, and you can click here to view/shop/customize the look online.

Thankfully, the apartment complex said it was okay to paint the walls. So we did! With the pops of color in the Target bedding and Abram’s existing desk, I wanted to paint the walls with something that would really make them stand out. So, I took the plunge… and painted it black. Chalkboard paint to be exact. I’ve always wanted to paint a room with chalkboard paint, and this was the perfect opportunity! Abram loved the idea, and mom was cool with it, so bye, bye builder beige!

We spent about a day and a half priming, painting and watching it dry. At that point, I was leaving for Virginia in 36 hours, so it was time to hustle. 36 hours of shopping, decorating and a little bit of sleep later, here’s what the room looked like…

Totally different, right?! The black chalkboard walls made a woooooorld of difference, and the colorful bedding and accessories we picked out using Target’s uStyler are the icing on the cake! I used Abram’s filing drawer that used to sit with his desk and repurposed it as a side table.

I’m no chalk artist by any means, but I thought this would be a cool way to bring in some DIY “artwork” and fun chalkboard action.

I took 12 of Abram’s favorite albums, put them in album frames and hung them on the wall in a grid pattern about two inches apart from each other. I love how the black frames make the albums look like they’re floating. They bring a lot of color to the black walls that makes them really pop.

On the other side of the room is what we’ve dubbed the “guitar corner”. I hung two of Abram’s favorite guitars using some wall mounts, and also added a floating shelf for a place to put guitar picks, notebooks and such.

I picked up the styrofoam head for $4 at a local craft store and used it as a headphone stand. As long as you don’t look at him right in the eye, it’s not that freaky, promise, haha!

Like with the side table, I love, love, love how the red desk jumps off the chalkboard black walls. Above the desk, I added a bulletin board for Abram to have a place to display his ticket stubs, passes and keepsakes from home. I also added a fun white table lamp for some contrast. Totally unintentional, but I really like how it ended up tying in with the white chalk art.

Speaking of white chalk art, to add some more chalk-related fun, I drew a sound wave across the whole wall behind the desk. It really helps fill up the wall without being too overpowering.

The red wall clock next to the desk and the clock radio both have a bit of a vintage feel (something Abram really likes) which speaks to the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin album covers over the bed. Oh, and a total bonus, the cover of the Billboard magazine coordinates with the room’s crazy color scheme. Score!

Oh, and I’ve got to highlight one of my favorite things in the room… the mustache pillow (also from Target). It’s the perfect graphic element to round off the bed and ties in perfectly with the black walls. Love it!

My brother’s dog, Packer (named after the Green Bay Packers), quickly claimed his spot in the new room. I think he really likes it, can’t you tell? ; )

A whirlwind of a project, but I’m really happy with how it came out with a little bit of elbow grease. Thanks to Abram for letting me take over his room and our awesome friends at Target!

Keeping it real: For this project, the super nice folks at Target sent me the items we picked out on the uStyler as well as a $100 gift card.