7th House on the Left

I love putting together random mood boards as the mood strikes (pun totally intended). It’s fun to play around with styles you normally wouldn’t go with, be able to pull off in your own house or would love to have in your dream house someday. I haven’t put together a random board in almost a year. So, needless to say, it’s high time I post another one. This particular one was inspired by two things…

The first: Malibu. In general, I really miss California. I haven’t been out there since August, though it seems like it wasn’t that long ago. We’re planning another trip out there this fall, but it can’t come soon enough. I miss the perfect weather (and how everyone treats rainy days like snow days), being able to walk pretty much anywhere from the apartment in downtown Burbank, the quaintness of Disneyland, the place I get my hair done (haha)… Well, the list goes on and on. I also miss the laid back and relaxed atmosphere of Malibu – and the fact it’s only a short drive away. Shopping at the Lumberyard and dinner at Gladstone’s is definitely on our list of things to do as soon as we get into town.

The second: When I was a teenager, I really really wanted a surfboard. Not to actually use – no, no – to hang in my room. I thought it would be “like the coolest thing like ever” and was determined to find one. I ended up compromising for a working traffic light and then all was right with the world. Nevertheless, my inner teen still yearns for a vintage surfboard. Seeing as how that wouldn’t really jive in our 1970′s brick ranch, I’ll just express my surfboard love by way of a mood board…

Mood Board: Malibu Living // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Finishes: White walls, touches of blue, rustic wood accents and splashes of gold. // Club Spray Sofa // York Pendant // California Love Print // The World is Your Oyster Print // Claude Walnut Dresser (Look for Less: Take a Craigslist dresser and update the hardware with chunky brass knobs) // Seagrass Baskets (Look for Less: HomeGoods and World Market) // Pappelina Lisa Rug // Moroccan Gold Metallic Pouf // Taylor Chair // Wynne Coffee Table // 72″ Fiddle Leaf Tree // Reversible Cross Pillow // Triangle Cushion // Metallic Velvet Pillow Cover // Metallic Chevron Pillow Cover // Aztec Pillow Cover // Vintage Surfboards

So, what is everyone’s plans for the weekend? One of the things on our To-Do List is to hang a light fixture above the new dining room table. We have to cut/wire a whole new “socket” (actually, what is that called?), so it’s a little more involved than just hanging a new light fixture. Thankfully, we have my dad near by to help us with the wiring and all that jazz.

Hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Richmonders, enjoy the weather because they’re calling for snow again on Tuesday – I know, right?! Happy weekend, everyone!

Okay, so I really hesitated on posting photos of the new dining room table – basically since there’s nothing else in the room at the moment. It’s just one of those tables that may not look too spiffy on its own, but once we add chairs, curtains, a light fixture, color!, and wall art – it’s going to be a-freaking-mazing. At least that’s how I see it in my head. So, just be patient with me and try to visualize what this cake will look like with the icing, decorations and candles…

Restoration Hardware Flatiron Dining Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

We went with Restoration Hardware’s Flatiron Dining Table. After a bunch of pondering and measuring, we decided to go with the 112″ table and chose the rust finish for the legs. The top is made from amazing antique reclaimed elm doors and we’re kind of obsessed with it. I wish it looked as good in photos as it does in person, but I think it’ll get better once more things are added to the room. Another side note: taking photos of a pretty much empty room is extremely hard (mainly because the light has no where to go) – so bear with me.

So, here’s how we ended up choosing this particular table… Originally, we had our eyes on their Salvaged Wood Trestle Table. My parents actually have this same table in their dining room and Greg and I both love it. If you’ve seen it in person, you know what kind of love I’m talking bout. However, it’s one of those pieces that you own forever and ever amen and it came with a $4k price tag (including shipping). Seeing as how at this point in our lives, we’re pretty sure we aren’t going to live in this house forever, we didn’t want to buy a table and have to buy/build our next house around said table. In the end, it seemed pretty irresponsible to spend that much money on a table for this house. So, the search continued.

Once that was off the table – no pun intended – we searched everywhere for a rustic reclaimed wood table we loved. Local boutiques, big chain furniture stores, Etsy, out of town furniture outlets, local furniture craftsmen, antique stores… you name it, we looked there. I promise. We found a bunch of beautiful tables we liked but we had a really hard time finding one between 100 and 120 inches long. Our old table was 100 inches and we knew another table that size would fit well, but we could also lengthen it just a tad for more elbow room. We toyed around with the idea of building our own table, but we knew we couldn’t get that true reclaimed wood top we wanted without purchasing old barn wood which (around our neck of the woods) would ultimately cost more than buying one. Plus, neither Greg nor myself is a handy woodworker. We wanted a table that would last and wasn’t a DIY project we’d want to get rid of in 12 months. So, our search took us back to Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware's Flatiron Dining Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Over the past few years, I’ve seen their Flatiron Dining Table used in a bunch of different types of spaces (images from here, here and here). It’s so versatile, and I’ve always loved the rustic look of it mixed with more polished/modern finishes. It came in the right length, right width, and at the right price, and the delivery charge wasn’t astronomical like some of the others we looked at. We were also in love with the character and how it looks like a great table to have hours and hours of great conversation around. Like other RH products, this table is built to stand the test of time. Our thought was that if down the road, in our “forever home”, I get my huge home studio space I dream about, I’ll use this table as a meeting/project table and then maybe we’ll plop down a big chunk of change for that beloved Salvaged Wood Trestle Table for the dining room.

Restoration Hardware Flatiron Dining Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Since this particular table is made from reclaimed antique doors, no top is the exact same. I was expecting the top to be substantially rustic but our table ended up being a tad more rustic than the one in the store – or maybe it’s just because it’s surrounded by “normal” smooth surfaces rather than gigantic beautiful rustic pieces in the RH showroom. Either way, we still love it. Unlike our previous dining table, we don’t have to worry about scratching the table in a heated game of Spoons. Oh yeah, that happens.

Restoration Hardware Flatiron Dining Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

The table’s description on the RH website says, “Given its previous life as an antique door, tabletop may have holes from hinges or door knob, or remnants of the original hardware.”. So yes, the table is rather rustic. That’s a shot of the “most rustic” area of the table top. There is even a spot of where remnants of masonry has been left in the cracks. With that being said, if you’re looking for a rustic(ish) table with a bit of character, this table is not for you. It’s downright rustic with loads of character.

Coming in at 112″ long, the table top is huge (at least comparatively), so I need to add something decorative to the top to break up the wood – as awesome as it may be. Down the center of the table, I’m imagining maybe a fun grouping of mercury glass hurricanes – some holding candles and some with flowers – or maybe three large glass vases down the center with some sort of seasonal foliage. I saw something like that on display at Crate & Barrel a few weeks ago and it was really pretty. I wish I had a photo!

Now… one thing we’re kind of stumped on is whether or not to seal it. Like most (if not all) wood RH tables, the top is made of unsealed wood. Even though the table is very rustic and has – what I assume to be – old oil spots here and there, I’m constantly worried I or Greg is going to spill a drink and then have a huge stain on our hands. Restoration Hardware has a sealer they recommend, but my parents used it on their table and the table turned out to be a lot darker than they thought it would be, so we’re really hoping to find an alternative on our own. We want something that will protect the surface but not have a shiny finish or turn the table too dark. I know that probably sounds a lot to ask from a sealant, but I’m determined to find a solution. That said, I’ve  talked to some other RH table owners who haven’t sealed their tables at all, and they haven’t had any trouble. Until we make a final decision, coasters and placemats will be the name of the game!

Restoration Hardware Flatiron Dining Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Okay, so there isn’t just one thing we’re stumped on, there’s two. Chairs! The only thing I know so far is that I want different chairs for the ends of the table. But, when it comes to dining chairs, I’m super picky – which is why I’ve already warned Greg that it might be a while before we actually buy the chairs. Even though the style of our last dining table was super traditional, I loved, loved, loved the comfort and quality of the chairs. They were perfect for long talks after dinner with friends and game nights. I want the same comfort and quality but with a modern rustic style. Is that too much to ask? Probably. But I’m on a mission to find our “perfect” chairs that are just right.

Oh, the paint swathes in the above photo! I almost forgot. Long story short, we’re currently shopping around for a sectional for the living room. The top one on our short list is a dark gray and we think it would look really nice pilled up with loads of colorful pillows. Although… we think a dark gray sectional along with the current wall color would be too dark and gloomy – especially since there aren’t any proper windows in the living area. That being the case, we’re toying with the idea of lightening up a bit (or a lot). So, that’s that.

Wow, who knew I could write 1,354 words about a dining table? I’m shutting up now.

Do you ever have those days when you feel completely unorganized? The ones when you wish you could just stop time for a day, get your act together, then resume business as usual? It’s an awful feeling and one I like to nip in the bud as soon as it starts to creep up.

I specifically remember a day like this a few months ago. My to-do’s for the day included two projects to wrap up and send over to clients, a handful of very important emails to return and a bunch of print orders to package/ship. It’s a doable list for any given day, but everything I did felt like walking through quicksand to get it done. That’s when it dawned on me, the root of the problem was that everything felt unorganized and disheveled. I needed to regroup.

7 Things to Do (Right Now) to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

While I didn’t have the time to spend hours organizing/labeling/washi-taping everything in sight, I knew if I tackled just a few minor things, it would make me feel better, and I could accomplish what I needed to more efficiently. Over the past few months, I’ve found a “formula” of small tasks that instantly make me feel more organized. These tasks aren’t ultra-complicated or revolutionary, but when grouped together, it’s an instant solution to feeling more in charge, at peace with your surroundings and ultimately more productive.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

01 // Clean out and organize your purse. This is a simple one, but you’d be surprised at how much this step helps you feel a bit more organized during your day-to-day activities. Go ahead and throw away (or file) old receipts, trash the gum wrappers, be sure to check all of the little zipper pockets and put the random dog toy back in the toy box. I actually did this earlier today and found one of our missing cordless house phones. I also like rearranging my wallet from time to time to make it more convenient (like moving the Starbucks gift card up towards the front so I’ll remember to use it, and throwing away used/expired gift cards, debit cards, coupons, etc). 98% of our readers are gals, but if any of you guys are out there, apply the same principle to your work bag, car glovebox or wallet.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

02 // Tidy up your computer files and desktop. Especially when I have a lot of projects going on at one time, my computer desktop can get rather crazy. If I need to clean everything up in an instant, I make a folder called “Stuff” and throw everything in there and plan on going through and organizing things later. When this is done, it feels so good. Once you’re all finished, change your desktop image. This (along with the organizing action) will make your computer feel new and refreshed. At the moment, I’m sporting this lovely one. Obviously, if you’re a tablet- or phone-only user, you can apply the same idea there.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

03 // Organize the junk drawer. Truth be told, every house probably has more than one junk drawer (we have two at the moment), but take about 10 minutes and tackle the most commonly used junk drawer. Throw away expired coupons, put the birthday candles back where they belong and divide the pens from the notepads. If you don’t have any dividers on hand, use a few small shallow dishes or Rubbermaid containers until you have time to get to the store and buy one. Check out my latest junk drawer makeover here.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

04 // Update your phone contacts. Updating and organizing the contacts in your cell phone can make a day out running errands go so much smoother – especially if you use your phone often as I do. To start off, go through your phone and delete the contacts you don’t need/want anymore. This is basically the phone’s equivalent to throwing away gum wrappers in your purse. Next, organize the contacts. This is something I’ve been doing for a long time and I love the handiness of it. What I do is group numbers for take-out places, medical-related places/people, shops, florists, and such together in their respective categories. So, for our florists, I add “Flowers | ” before the name of the florist. So, when flipping through my phone, the contact would read “Flowers | Strange’s (West Broad)” and all of the florist-related numbers would be grouped together. If there are multiple locations (like our favorite florist), I add the location after the name in parentheses.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

05 // Organize your social media pages. This can pertain to everything from Facebook to Tumblr, but I’m going to specifically mention Pinterest. For the longest time, I had a Pinterest board called “House Candy”, where I just stuck everything house-decorating-related. A few weeks ago, I went to my Pinterest board to find a photo of a specific bathroom I remember pinning a while back. It took forever to go through the entire “House Candy” board just to find that one photo. That’s when I made a note to set aside some time to organize my Pinterest boards. I decided to go through and re-categorize everything until there wasn’t anything left in the “House Candy” board. I think it took about a little under an hour total to organize all of my Pins, but it was totally worth it. Now, my boards are all categorized and it makes inspiration that much more easily accessible.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

06 // Make a meal plan for the rest of the week. The question, “What are we having for dinner?” always seems to pop up around 3:30 or 4:00. Normally, that’s also the time of day where I’m trying to wrap things up, answer the last few emails, etc. Taking a few minutes to map out what you and your family are going to be eating over the next few days can smooth things out nicely. I don’t have a fancy meal planning calendar or anything. I just jot down “D:” on the last line of each day on my weekly planner page in my binder and write what’s for dinner. On the menu tonight, we’re having chicken and spaghetti squash and watching Frozen. When it comes time for the big question, “What’s for dinner?”, it’s right there at my fingertips.

7 Things to Do to Make You Feel More Organized TODAY // 7thhouseontheleft.com

07 // Start a “Thought Notebook”. I have what I call my “Get It Done Binder” that lives on my desk and I use everyday. I love it, like, a lot. I also have a small spiral notebook that I carry with me everywhere I go. I use it to jot down post/print/project ideas, websites to check out, grocery lists, notes I take while I’m on phone meetings, random doodles of dogs… yeah, pretty much everything. Since doing this, the sticky note collection on my desk has been cut down tremendously, so my desk looks and feels much tidier. Having a designated place to write any thought or idea that comes in my head is oh so nice and in a weird way, freeing. Basically, it just keeps me sane. For these “Thought Notebooks”, I love using Staples’ Sustainable Earth notebooks (photographed above and available in store) and Poppin’s medium spiral notebooks.

Hopefully this list helps you regroup and refresh on “those days”. Do you have any helpful tips to add to the list? Anything that makes you instantly feel more “together” and easier to be productive? Be sure to share them with us in the comments.

By the way… Check back tomorrow for my ramblings about our new dining room table!