Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

My blogging friend Melissa Michaels just published a wonderful new book to help you “Love the Home You Have.” She focuses on simple things you can do to embrace the home you live in. With easy suggestions and achievable goals, she breaks down all the barriers you have when it comes to truly loving your home.

Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels

To help Melissa promote the book, I agreed to take on a quick little Love Your Home Challenge. Her book has 31 Small Challenges to help you love your home again. Each one is simple, quick and easy.

Love Your Home Challenge | Pretty Handy Girl

I decided to focus my efforts on our foyer. I still loved the little rustic IKEA hack chest, but the mirror was a little to drab. I’d been staring at the pussy willows all winter and needed an infusion of color.

foyer-before

Originally, I chose to work with the Day 30 suggestion to Paint Something. I removed the mirror and within 30 minutes I painted the wood slats with white chalk paint. Then I used some patina Rub ‘n Buff to give the edges an aged metal look.

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

Much better.

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

To continue adding some cheer to the foyer, I incorporated the Day 11 Challenge by Adding Fresh Flowers.

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

I didn’t spend a dime on my flowers or vase. The red bud branches were clipped from our tree. And I slipped a mason jar into the boot for a fun and quirky vase. I think it’s a nod to the saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers.”

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

A small collected birds nest and feathers add an additional nod to springtime.

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

I also painted an old frame with blue chalk paint and popped a piece of scrapbook paper into the frame for instant art.

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

My total cost was $0! I can honestly say that seeing this springtime foyer vignette has made me happy.

Spring Foyer Vignette | Pretty Handy Girl

Within an hour, I was able to love this corner again. What can you do for $0 in your home? Read more

Today you have been invited to take a house tour at my friend Holly’s home. Holly is a good friend of mine, so luckily I didn’t have to beg too much for her to let us into her home. But, before we go in I want to tell you a little more about her. She wears many hats. She is a wife and mother of two boys first and foremost. But, she also runs Storywood Designs, a furniture refinishing business and Framed by Storywood, her Etsy Shop. She has a wonderful eye for color and design (which is evident in her furniture pieces and home décor.) When I first walked into her home, I knew I could live there and not have to change a thing.

Holly and her husband bought their 1980 home a few years ago. There were plenty of touches from previous owners that she worked with or covered in a creative way. I scanned the real estate flyer (sorry about the quality) to give you an idea what their house looked like when they bought it. The changes they made are phenomenal and yet they didn’t break the bank to do it.

Are you ready for the tour? Wipe your feet and come on it. Do you like the initial on her door?

She sells them in her Etsy shop!

Here we are in the living room, but this is what the room looked like a mere 3 yrs. ago:

And here is the living room today!

I know armoires are starting to go out of style, but this one is gorgeous with the cut out panels! If she ever tries to get rid of it, I’m grabbing it!

They painted the fireplace white and it really brightens up the room. See, I can appreciate a painted white fireplace, even though I repainted ours to look like brick.


I love all her fall décor. Especially the lit pumpkins on the hearth.


Beside the fireplace are sweet built-in cupboards and cabinets with wood countertops. It adds charm to the small niche.


Now we make our way into her kitchen  — my favorite room and the most stunning transformation. This was the kitchen before:


Get ready to catch your jaw before it hits the floor.





The pendant light adds lots of warmth and texture to the space.


Adding corbels under the upper cabinets was a genius idea for adding instant charm. I am itching to do the same thing to our kitchen cabinets. When I do, you can be sure I’ll share a tutorial.




Holly and her husband made the kitchen table. The wood was whistling for my attention the entire time I was photographing the kitchen. And with lines like this, how could I help but stare?




By removing many of the upper cabinet doors they made the kitchen feel larger and more airy.




Did you see those little decorative tiles? Would you believe that they had hideous country scenes before. Holly simply painted over the scenes and added a stencil! What a smart idea!



Just in case you wondered (because I definitely wanted to know), the base cabinets got a coat of white sage paint by Olympic. (Holly says that Olympic discontinued the color so Lowe’s had to custom mix it in their kitchen and bath enamel paint.) The top cabinets and walls are painted Benjamin Moore Lancaster White.


Setting out a little lamp adds some warmth to this corner of the kitchen.


The breakfast area has built-in benchs on two sides. The pillows make the space feel cozy.



One of Holly’s frames turned into a chalkboard:


Okay, right this way to the dining room.


I really want to display my blue and white china like she has done on this wall.


Adjacent to the dining room is her sitting room. Here is the before picture of that room:


She and I (well mostly Holly) just repainted the room a very neutral gray. I can’t believe what a big difference it made.



The china cabinet is a recent refinishing project that Holly just completed. The distressing on this piece is perfect!


Check out those layers of paint and glaze. Scrumptious!


And the bowed front and curved glass make this cabinet unique.


Speaking of distressing, here is another one of Holly’s tables that she refinished. This little table would make a perfect breakfast table or just a side table. It is for sale right now!

I’m jealous of her talent. Maybe I can convince her to take me as her understudy.


Thank you Holly and family for letting us tour your home. Your hard work really shows in your beautiful home.

As we say goodbye to February, I have one final guest blogger for you. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Erin from Two Story Cottage.

If you haven’t been in Erin’s Two Story Cottage, she gives her readers a warm open invitation to view her beautiful home.

Two Story Cottage Dining Room

Reading her blog is like leafing through the pages of a home design magazine! And she shares her decorating secrets with you! Her home can be described in one word, GORGEOUS! Be sure to accept her invitation to view her home today.

Please welcome Erin from Two Story Cottage.


Dear Friends of Pretty Handy Girl,

Hi! I’m Erin @ Two Story Cottage. I’m a catalogaholic who enjoys art and all things cheerful in decor. As a Mom of two little ones I’m working to achieve balance between my creative side and my responsibilities at home. I’m a DIY newbie so I’m a total work in progress!

Today is the last day of “Falling in Love with your Home” so I’m hoping that by now you are smitten. If not maybe creating a focal point will tip you over the edge. The goal of a focal point from a design perspective is to draw the viewer’s eye to a central point. Do you have a room in your home that needs some “umph”? Or maybe you are looking to focus attention away from something else? Creating a focal point may be your answer.

There are many great ways to accomplish this! I’ll show you some ways I have created focal points in my home.

A Focal Point Using Color
We have a TV over the fireplace in our family room which I like to draw attention away from. To do that I hung a large, bold painting on the perpendicular wall.  It draws your eye away from the TV wall for sure!


A Focal Point to Ground the Room
We have a living room/ dining room combination that felt like a bowling alley. To help define the living room I created a large focal point by adding a fireplace ( an ambitious project for a DIY beginner like me). The addition of the fireplace served two purposes. It took attention away from the looong space but also served as a central point to arrange furniture around.  I painted it white and used glaze to antique it for contrast so that it would stand out a little more while staying within my neutral palette.
A Focal point to distract from the obvious

My desk in the breakfast room is large and seemed to stick out like a sore thumb in our very open home. An unintended focal point! However, I did NOT want to get rid of my workspace so I decided to take attention away from its’ purpose. I took away all of my obvious office supplies and utilized the shelves to decorate it as if it were a buffet. I also mounted the hutch to the wall and added Ikea cabinets
underneath to store all my clutter.

A Focal Point to Create Interest
My dining room is very neutral and I love it but it needed something to jazz it up a little. Enter my accent wall. A few stripes and decoupaged plates took it from barely noticeable to “wow”.

Thanks for letting me guest post, Brittany.  You have definitely empowered me to find my inner DIY skills!

Thank you Erin! I hope you enjoyed her post on Focal Points. I realize I have some work to do in a few of my rooms now. How about you?


This concludes the “Falling in Love with Your Home” series at Pretty Handy Girl.

This is also your last chance to enter my 1,000 follower giveaway. Be sure to enter HERE,
because I will be choosing a winner on March 1st!

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Today, I have another special guest for you. Kim from Sand & Sisal is here to share with us some tips for using plants to decorate and improve our homes.

And the best news is that you don’t need a green thumb to care for many of these. She breaks down each plant’s water and light needs.

If you haven’t been to Kim’s blog, you need to surf on over there right now (get it? Sand & Sisal, Surf?! Ha, ha, I’m so witty. One of my favorite projects she has tackled was renovating her 1949 Bathroom.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After

Amazing transformation isn’t it?! Okay, now everyone kick back, and enjoy a guest post from my friend Kim at Sand & Sisal.

Hello everyone! I’m Kim from Sand & Sisal, and I’m so glad to be guest posting for Brittany’s “Fall in Love with Your Home” series today. Brittany and I are southern girls and actually live only a few hours away from each other, but we met through blogging and were Twitter friends. I was thrilled to meet her face to face at the Blissdom 2011 Conference held at Opryland in Nashville, TN.

PHC & SS

The Opryland Hotel has 9 acres of lush indoor gardens and even though there was snow outside the tropical foliage and flowers brought a touch of paradise that melted any vacationer’s wintery chill. Below are some pictures I took in their gorgeous Conservatory.

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Springtime (thankfully) is approaching fast here in the South, but you can have a taste of spring by bringing a bit of the tropics indoors! One of my favorite plants to have around the house, and had also covered Opryland’s gardens, is the Peace Lily. Its lush green foliage, beautiful white blooms, and low maintenance make the Peace Lily a household favorite.

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The Peace Lily requires low light and should be watered to keep soil moist but allow the soil to dry out between watering. The Peace Lily is one of the top 10 plants that clean the air in your home. They are known to reduce formaldehyde and carbon monoxide levels.

Do you have an empty corner that just needs something? I have several! The Majesty Palm, another “clean air plant” is what you need!

majesty palm

Majesty palms thrive on bright light and minimal water but I have found they do quite well in moderate light. I have several that are all on the north side of my home. Water these palms once a week but make sure they are not sitting in water or they will yellow and drop dead quickly.

Need a pop of color? The Flamingo Flower comes in red, pink, white, or lavender. It blooms year round and requires medium light with moist soil. I have found the Flamingo Flower to be an easy plant with a showy blooming performance.

flamingo flower

Another plant with bright, bold color is the Croton. Croton’s start out dark green but will develop bold color as they mature and are allowed to have bright light and cooler temperatures. So if your Croton is lacking in color, then move it to a bright window but don’t let it get overheated. It loves to be moist so this one requires watering at least once a week. The Croton is another top “clean air plant”.

croton plant

Plants not only help clean the oxygen in our homes but add a sense of tranquility and comfort to our indoor spaces. Choose an empty corner or a lonely tabletop and add lush plant, and I promise, you’ll smile, and maybe just breathe a bit better!

Kim

Thank you Kim! I love decorating with plants! They offer such life and texture to my vignettes.

After reading Kim’s post, I’m ready to try my thumb at a bigger species. So, I’m off to the nursery to buy one of those gorgeous majesty palms. I had not idea I could grow one of them in my home.

How about you? Do you have any plants you love to decorate with?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts on “Falling in Love with Your Home” in February. We’re in the home stretch (yes, pun intended) now. Today I have my roomie from Blissdom, Sandra from Sawdust and Paper Scraps. She and I love our power tools, and LOVE to build things. I think it would be a blast to work on a collaborative project one day. She’s definitely my soul sister.

Please welcome the lovely Sandra from Sawdust and Paper Scraps who is going to show you how to disguise an ugly view!

Good morning Pretty Handy Girl fans! I’m Sandra from Sawdust and Paper Scraps, here to share an easy and inexpensive project to transform and beautify a window with a less-than-stellar-view!

(Or a window where you want privacy without blinds or drapes like a bathroom or shower.)

We have a basement and even after I added casing, trim and paint to the inside of my window… it was still really unattractive- outside!

So I went to Lowe’s and bought a $14 roll of frosted glass vinyl window cling!
Before installing, I made sure my window was as clean as possible.  I had to clean AND scrape off some paint because SOMEONE was a little sloppy!  (uhem-me)

I installed it on one window by myself and it was something like a scene from an I Love Lucy rerun.  Vinyl flopping down over my head, sliding off one side while I was trying to smooth out the other…
Definitely easier to install with 2 people. But do-able with only one!

The instructions for the stuff I bought said to spray the window and the sticky side of the vinyl (with a liquid that you can purchase separately. But, you can also use a soapy water mixture in a spray bottle).  You have to peel off the backing which I did just a little at a time while person 2 sprayed and then stick it to the window.

After you put the vinyl on the window, use a utility knife to trim off the excess and a credit card or little squeegie to smooth out the wrinkles and push the extra liquid out from under the vinyl.  While it’s wet, you can pull it off and reposition it- so keep it all wet until you have it placed just right.  Then let it dry.  That’s it!

Easy.

I think it’s a big improvement for relatively little cost or effort.

This particular room is my daughter’s playroom so I also built some shutters,


a wall of storage,

and a playhouse. If you’re looking for another project to whip up!

But it all started with the window-well.

And a little vinyl cling!

Thanks for having me Brittany!  And thanks for letting me share with you all one thing I did to help me “Fall in Love with My HOME!”

Thank you Sandra! Great tutorial. I love how easy and quick that solution was. If you haven’t been to Sandra’s blog, you need to zoom over there now. She is the Queen of built-ins and decorative mouldings. Plus, she has just enough crafts to keep you creative!