Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home Improvements

I've been working on finishing up small decorating tasks that we've never got around to completing this past year. Yes it has taken us over a year to address things like... our mantel... hanging pictures... touching up paint. Heck Mr F just finally hung our screen door!

I would have thought that the new plan of moving would have put a damper on my desire to fluff my nest but it's been quite the opposite. Having gone through this once in our old home (preparing to sell that is) I know that these things will need to be done to sell... and... you might as well enjoy the improvements a bit before handing them over.

Before we left on our vacation Mr F and I had been having some serious pow wows regarding our state of mid decoration around here. A lot of things were just not working. Our number one problem has been that we are trying to work furniture and art that was picked out for our old house into a completely different layout. Unfortunately this hasn't been ideal... but... it's a financial necessity. Our plan of attack is to really think about how we can utilize things we already own (some spray paint may be involved with this) and finally finish these big awkward rooms out.

One of the biggest eyesores has been the mantel.
(Valentine's Day display '09... note how that painting looks terrible and the broken clock.. also terrible)

Not the blue... it's funky... and I'm sure I wouldn't have done it on my own... but it does add some character to the room. Plus it kind of ties in all the bright plastic toys into our color scheme ;) I will say it doesn't photograph well and that it is a bit more subtle in person (I think). Either way since it doesn't need painting repair, and since plenty of the house does, we're not repainting. We just need to find a way to tie it into the room more. The previous owner had a fantastic painting up there.
(previous owner's decor... note how huge that painting is... sadly we don't have anything comparable size wise)

It tied the blue in perfectly and it was a real show stopper. As I said we have to work with what we have. We've got a few big pieces and we've tried them all. We've settled on this.
In truth I'm over it. I don't hate it but I don't love it and wouldn't buy it again. I got it for an apartment I had over 10 years ago. It's been used in the playroom since then since it's big and bright and colorful. It just so happens to have some blue in it and red... which ties in the stain glass windows that flank the fireplace. So it will work. It kind of has too.

Well for the past year the mantel has looked like shit. We've had one piece of art up there or another with a hodge podge of forgotten tools (you know it's true Mr F!), old birthday cards, a broken mantel clock that looked terrible but for some reason Mr F entered "mantel clock = must put on mantel" mode and put it out, and at times some framed pictures (also put out by the tard). Why on Earth was he decorating the mantel anyway? I don't know people... but when I had come home from the cottage he had done it again and it looked horrible. That's when I decided I had to make an effort to come up with a mantel display. Number one, so it would look better. Number two, so he wouldn't have room to stash stuff up there anymore.

Adding to our problems is that a lot of our stuff (breakables, vases, etc) have never been unpacked. We just don't have the storage here to put them away properly. I knew I wanted to fill out the mantel and I would need some bold colors to balance everything out. All we have unpacked are our Fiestaware pitchers and a few vases. I hit Michael's with a great coupon and for less than $8 I took it from this...

to this...

Now, typically I'm not a huge fan of artificial flowers but for $8 I've got a display that no one is going to see up close, that won't die, and can take us all the way until Christmas. You can't beat it.

But since I didn't have the right balance of vases, pitchers, I'm still not loving it. See how it's kind of heavy on the left and not so much on the right? When I hit the store I had no idea what I was going to put things in so I just grabbed things that didn't look horrifically fake. Now that I've spent some time arranging them I have a better idea of what I need and the flowers that looked too big in the store... are perfect once up on our mantel.

This is getting better...

I think I need to go back and get a couple more flowers to try and work on the glass vases a bit more. I wish I had some solid pottery vases that would balance things out better... but I'm thinking some bigger bolder flowers might help things in that department.

But since I probably won't ever go back for more flowers (just being realistic)... whatever it may not be perfect ... but it is still a HUGE improvement. And still under $10.

Nobody ever comes to our house anyway.


HaleyBird said...

Very pretty!

You know, I was thinking that if you want to give the glass vase side more visual heft, you could fill the vases with river rocks, or even paint them... although I think it looks lovely as is. :)

Mrs Furious said...

They're Tiffany so... I think painting them is the kind of thing you could get killed for ;) Maybe I could line them with something though...

Dinah Soar said...

I think it works! Why? Because though you have 2 vases on one side and 3 on the other they balance each other-- the 3 are clear/see through which makes them individually light, but in a group they have more weight.... and the two are pottery/chunky and bright solid colors which make them visually heavy. If you were to add a third vase on the left it would throw the balance off.

In this case 2=3. I think it's perfect as is. (I enlarged the pic to get a better idea.)

BsOnlyToots said...

I agree with Dinah Soar, it looks balanced to me, If you are not completely happy looking at it though, maybe try putting the bigger solid color on the right and the bigger clear on the left then you have a mix of solid and clear on each side, it may help. OR if you want to fill the clear vases, a REALLY cheap fix is tissue paper! You'll have a huge variety of color/patterns! And its easily interchangeable.

Mrs Furious said...

Dinah Soar,
Oh good. I'll leave it. I've been staring at it for so long it's become hard for me to remain objective.

Mrs Furious said...

I was thinking tissue paper. I might try it and see how it looks. It could be good for a change up down the road.

Anonymous said...

Just an idea. I fill a lot of my clear vases with clear or colored marble looking stones from the Dollar Store. You can get them at Michael's too!

Supermom said...

I love the way it looks!!!!!

Psst, I've lived here 5 years and still haven't really hung any art up.

We are going to do an "Asheville" wall though. Behind the TV. I ordered a poster size print of this COOL photo taken downtown in the 50's.

I will just go from there. LOL

Elizabeth said...

if you make the flowers themselves look a little more 'solid' on the right (which you've been moving towards already I think) it may help.

You've got the more spindly flowers on the far right, and while they do a nice height thing, I think you could use a little more bulk there.

Mrs Furious said...

Yes exactly. Before I replaced the pitcher on the right the spindly effect was more in balance. Now that it has the bulky flowers in it the vases are looking meager. Well more like they don't belong with the rest of the arrangement. I'm going to see if I can mix a few stems out of the pitchers into the vases. I like the height for sure.

Daisy Girl,
I happen to have a huge bag of marbles. I might see how that will look.

Hey It took me at least 5 years to hang stuff up in our old house.
I think the Asheville wall will look cool.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Love the painting! How about keeping the vase and flowers (the tallest arrangement) on the right of the painting....remove the others but put a couple tall fat candles of different heights on the left side of the picture. Remember that old saying...less is more. lol Just a thought. But it looks so much better than how it looked when you moved in. Good job!

Missives From Suburbia said...

"also put out by the tard" made me guffaw so loudly I scared the baby.

I'm a fan of asymmetry. I would ditch the glass vases altogether and leave the pottery vases the way you have them. They are gorgeous!

(Mr. F would be pleased to know I filled our giant white space in our living room recently. I know it bothered him.)

Mrs Furious said...

Golden to Silver Val,
Yes I thought candles would be good for rounding things out. Of course when we moved last year we decided it wasn't worth paying to move them and gave them all away. I've been regretting that for quite some time ;)

Word. I'm going to just put the vases someplace else. Cause on their own they are a rockin' display of faux chinese laterns ;) No seriously... they kind of are. I'm going to sit with all that extra blueness they'll leave behind. Maybe it'll feel right. Plus it's the easiest option. ;)

Mr F hates empty spaces... he feels compelled to leave alarming amounts of tools and bits of hardware in them. I broke my baby toe yesterday after walking through the door and immediately into his toolbox. "No, no, don't stress yourself... leave it right there 2 feet in from the fucking front door."

P/F said...

I get it Mrs. F. I've been here 5 years and we're still not settled in because I was refusing to face the fact that we're really here.

Since we made our escape plan, I'm putting up pictures, art, finishing projects. Now I'm looking around and feeling like I'm loving the house (but only the 'house').

Elizabeth said...

also, you could try getting some of that blue somewhere else in the room via pillows or curtains or (but this is more obnoxious to do of course) painting.

Tell us what you do!

Missives From Suburbia said...

Interesting. I've always just said my husband was a slob, when really, he simply hates white space. ;)

Amy said...

I'm with Gold to Silver. More is Less. I've looked long and hard and I think you might do well just to get rid of all but one vase of the spindly yellow/orange flowers and put something mid-size but not bulky on the right, like a small collection of something you might have. Candles were suggested but you said you didn't have any.

Something else occurred to me. When I moved into this house, I had a similar problem with needing a very large picture that complemented the colors in my room. At a loss and not wanting to pay a huge amount, I went and bought a few paints, a large canvas and painted an abstract painting of my own (yeah, my first). It's not professional and it only suits this one space but it was fun, and it solved my problem. It was a very cheap project. Just a thought...

I love mantels - the potential is just so awesome if you can somehow manage to avoid cluttering it with mismatched collections and random junk. Nice job!

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