Tag Archives: home decor

An ottoman project, office update

Late last winter, Chip and I started searching for a storage ottoman for the office in our house. Along with my old desk, we also have a leather reading chair Chip bought years ago at a garage sale. This chair has stayed in great shape over the years and we thought it would be great to have an ottoman to accompany this chair for an optimal reading environment. However, while we were shopping around for one, we realized that ottomans aren’t cheap. As in the average price of what we were seeing was at least $60, which we weren’t willing to shell out.

So while walking around Hobby Lobby one evening for who knows what other project we were doing, Chip found a storage ottoman at a great price ($25 to be exact). I had initially walked by this ottoman for a good reason… it was covered in camo print. While this would have been great for a boy’s room, I didn’t see it matching our house. But Chip was inspired; we could just buy some fabric and I could reupholster it. I know this sounds like a simple idea, but I have never really worked much with fabric (except for my Pinterest jewelry board, I had never even used  staple gun before). But Chip was hopeful. If I was really nervous about messing this up, I could just give my friend Haley a call (she’s a project pro). So we decided to buy the ottoman and several months later, I found some fabric at the Crate & Barrel outlet store in San Marcos (agreeing on a piece of fabric was much more difficult than we had anticipated).

We bought the ottoman last winter… I purchased this fabric this past May… and didn’t get to this project until a few weeks ago… just a small delay. I would say intimidation was a factor. My inner perfectionist was going through a serious fear of cutting the fabric incorrectly and then not having enough, or ruining this little ottoman or just doing a sloppy job. You’d think this was a bigger project than it really was!

My original plan was to remove the camo fabric and then recover with the new fabric. Well, the staples that were used for the camo fabric were pretty intense and really small. I even tried using a staple-remover tool from Haley and we couldn’t get anything out (she tried, too, and when she couldn’t get it, I decided it was time for Plan B). So the new plan was to just staple the new fabric down over the old camo print. Luckily the Crate & Barrel fabric was nice and thick so it covered everything just fine.

Taking the ottoman apart

After taking the ottoman apart, I was finally bold and cut the fabric (luckily I measured everything fine and had enough fabric for the whole thing… phew!). The top of the ottoman was pretty easy to cover, so I moved on to the second piece. This was a little trickier for me, but luckily Chip offered his help. Together (amongst laughing and the occasional staple gun threat) we were able to get this bottom part all nice and covered. Sure, the seam down the side could have been neater or done better, but for my first time covering anything, I’m pretty pleased.

Recovered top

Working on the rest of the ottoman

Ta-da!

We’ve done some other small projects to this room. Chip had been dropping pretty big hints that he wanted our desk cleared up a bit (I’m really good at keeping clutter on a desk). Along with cleaning some of this stuff up, we also talked about our printer. It’s pretty big, takes up space, doesn’t look good and doesn’t get used that often. We decided that a small table would be great to put between the desk and the wall to hold the printer and that way the desk would be more clean. We did some searching around at Target and Craigslist but didn’t have much luck….

All for Mr. Wrigley

Until we went to Home Goods one evening. We love Home Goods and we’ll sometimes go there on date nights after dinner and just walk around. We found a small black shelf with whicker baskets that had dog themes. We had also been wanting to get Wrigley’s crate out of the office, but I had been using it as a make-shift table for a lot of his things (his flea prevention medicine, his Christmas sweater, etc.). We also wanted to get his leash and other items out of the laundry room, so this seemed like a great way to get all his stuff in one place. It fit perfectly in the office and now holds our printer, too.

We’re still trying to figure out what to do with the crate. Wrigley now sleeps in our room, so he doesn’t use it every day, but we have used it whenever we have a foster dog. So we just need to find a place to keep it when it’s just the three of us and then bring it back out whenever we have a foster. The easy solution would be to put it in a closet, but our little old home is lacking in that regard.

We’re happy with these small changes we’ve been making to the office, but we still have some other stuff in mind. We’d love to get a smaller and wider bookshelf in here to replace the super tall one we got on Craigslist last year. It’s been fine with this current bookshelf, we just feel it’s too big and interrupts the flow of the space of the room. We’re also hoping to get a tall lamp behind our reading chair and eventually get rid of those plastic blinds and replace with some nicer faux-wood ones. In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying spending more time in the office, reading and checking out the neighborhood with Sheriff Wrigley.

Cluttered desk, hidden camo ottoman and fabric resting on the printer. Lovely.

Office decor doesn’t get any nicer than a crate, right?

Ah, that’s better.

Still working on this side

One of the first pictures we took together

One of Sheriff Wrigley’s favorite lookout spots

Curtain Call

I am a pretty big fan of curtains. Chip… not so much. It took a bit of convincing to get him to agree to some olive green curtains in our bedroom, so I knew it would take some work to have him agree to some red curtains in our living room. Luckily, this was an easier task than the other curtains were! Here’s a little bit of background to how we got to our living room curtains… to start with, neither one of us are fond of the miniblinds our home came with, so we’re hoping to get them all replaced throughout the house some day. They’re fairly flimsy and the ones in the front living room were really taking a beating from our sheriff Wrigley. One of his favorite spots in the house is on the couch while looking out the front living room window like this:

Sheriff Wrigley on duty

Wrigley takes his sheriff duties very seriously growling or barking at any movement he sees. Heaven forbid a squirrel or the mailman cross our lawn without his permission! The biggest perpetrators were the stray cats of the neighborhood. Nothing gets him riled up as much as a cat strolling across our front lawn and basking in the sun. In these instances, Wrigley will lose all composure and lunge forward onto the window and in the process has torn up our miniblinds leaving us with this:

Blinds post-Wrigley

This picture really doesn’t capture just how terrible our blinds looked. We hated how the bottom quarter of our front windows looked so… not classy. Really, it was slightly embarrassing whenever we had people over. We really wanted to do something about this sooner rather than later, but knew that updating all of our window fixtures will take some time to save up for. So in the meantime, I came up with a solution. Take these destroyed blinds down and put curtains up (genius, right??). So with this decision made, we went to Lowe’s and bought some curtains after spending an hour at Hobby Lobby last Saturday for my Pinterest project. It wasn’t until this weekend that we actually had time to put them up, but it was definitely worth the wait!

Farewell, old blinds

First up was getting the flimsy blinds out of here! We were probably more excited about this part of the project than we should have been, but we were so ready to see these things go. It was really easy to take these down, so now we just need to practice self-control on not taking the rest of the miniblinds down throughout the house until we can save up for new window treatments.

With these blinds down, it was now time to put up the base layer of sheer curtains. We wanted to have this sheer layer so we could still have sunlight come into the house during the day without having our little house on full display to the outside world. Now I would like to use this time to brag about what an awesome job Chip did on getting these curtains up. This was the smoothest project we’ve done in our home so far; we didn’t have to re-drill any holes and got this done much more quickly than I had anticipated, which is saying a lot since I tend to have some crazy, unrealistic expectations about projects. :)

Getting started on the curtains

With the sheer layer up, it was time to hang up the rods for the accent red curtains. We chose this color since our throw pillows in this room have red accents and we thought it would be a great way to add color and warmth to the rest of the room. Here’s what part of the living room looks like now with the completed curtains! (I couldn’t get a full shot of the room…) We’re so happy with how this turned out and love how it has really given the finishing touch to this room. One room down, several more to go :)

Hooray for curtains!

Wall Art

Check it out… a non-dog related post! :) All joking aside, one thing I enjoy writing about almost as much as my dog posts is house projects. It’s probably the task-oriented side of my personality coming through!

I have to admit, it’s been a slower process than I had expected to finish setting up our house. I also now realize that I had very unrealistic expectations on what this process was going to be like. In my mind, it originally seemed very likely that we would have everything completed in our house by the end of summer, giving us a couple of months to get this done. That goal soon changed to “by Thanksgiving,” which has now changed to “eh, it will all be done some day!” We got most of our furniture set up pretty quickly when we moved in after our wedding, but I really think it takes having items up on the walls to make a room feel complete. So after slowly putting things up over the last nine-ish months, we got a little more serious the other weekend and put up a bunch of items.

While we were on our honeymoon, Chip and I bought several paintings from different street vendors. We didn’t realize that it would be such a project to get these canvases framed! (please click here for the story on our learning process) Anyway, we finally got these paintings framed at Hobby Lobby and were so excited to finally get these up on our walls.

Florence

The first one we put up was the painting we bought in Florence, Italy. We chose to put this one up in our front living room since the overall colors here are lighter, so we thought the wood frame would match the space well. We also had a very large wall free of any type of art or pictures so this larger painting seemed like a good way to utilize that wall.

Here’s what this side of the front living room looks like now:

One side of the living room

We already had one of our wedding canvases up on the other side of the room, but I felt that it looked empty on its own. So after a very long process of convincing Chip that sconces would look great on the wall, we finally put them up!

Wedding canvas and sconces

Next up was working on the office… we chose to put up one of our favorite paintings from our honeymoon up in here, which is an image of the canals of Venice. This really was one of our favorite cities from the cruise, so this painting means a lot to us. We also had some free hanging shelves/cubes from Target that we wanted to put up in here. I’m pretty sure Chip is someday going to ban be from buying more shelving from Target since the last couple of ones have been big pains to hang up correctly. But luckily he was very patient with me and got everything up perfectly :) We also had a couple of framed pictures of San Antonio we received from our friend Peter for our wedding that we wanted to have up in this room. Peter took these pictures himself and we love how they capture some of the city’s landmarks.

Venice

Diligently reading the hanging instructions

Office wall

There is also one other very special item hung up in our office. It’s a painting of Wrigley! One of our good friends, Christie, is an extremely talented artist and did this painting herself based off of one of our favorite pictures of Wrigley. She did an absolutely wonderful job and we wholeheartedly believe it captures his curious spirit perfectly.

Hey, Wrigley!

Another talented friend of ours also gave us a painting for our wedding, which is shown below on the left (our friends are so artistically gifted!). Lindsay, we can’t tell you how many compliments this gets hanging in our dining room! It honestly strikes up way more conversation than the painting on the right does, which is one that we had bought in Rome.

Dining room art

We still have two more paintings left that need to be put up, but we’re saving them for the guest room/entertainment room. We just need to work on furnishing that room first!