Light, light, light up the sky…

As promised: a post about lighting.

I’ve gone a little crazy about light fixtures lately. Basically it all happened when I saw how ugly the ones that came with the house are. I am sure they are fine to most people, but I want something a little less standard.
So I started researching like a MAD WOMAN, trying to find lights that met my standards. At the same time, Nick started freaking out thinking of how much all of this will cost 😉 But we will do it a little at a time…I think I have my Valentine’s, anniversary and birthday presents already lined up 🙂
So, since I plan to use this blog as kind of a home improvement blog (my own little small-scale version of Young House Love, Thrifty Decor Chick and Bower Power, all of which I am thoroughly addicted to), I thought I would show some of my plans for future lighting.
First up, our tiny lantern on the garage. This would be fine if it were about three times the size.

But since it isn’t, I’m thinking something more along the lines of this:

or this:

The outside entry. Oh my, this little light is pathetic.

You’ve gotta admit, something like this will be much better:

Ahhh…so pretty 🙂

Next up, the entryway. In my opinion this light is pretty awful. Probably the worst of the whole bunch.
I want to do something a little more old world, upscale, lantern-like. Ya know, straight out of the Pottery Barn catalog (thats what you would call their style, right?)
I am torn between these two:

Today I am leaning more towards the first one. It is more modern and I think it will work better with more styles whenever I get the urge to redecorate.
This is the light that currently hangs above the kitchen table in the breakfast nook:
Again, it is between two options.
Option A looks like a group of mason jars, which I love. It is very upscale cottage (maybe THAT’S how you would define Pottery Barn’s style!). I’ve recently gotten really into the idea of repurposing antique mason jars. I just bought a kitchen soap dispenser and salt and pepper shakers that look like mason jars. But that got me worried that maybe those accessories plus the light fixture would be a little overkill. Which leads me to Option B.

It gives the same vibe without being quite so obviously a mason jar. It is also Nick’s pick because he thinks it would be a simpler installation. Also, as I was talking about with the entryway light, it is a little less taste-specific…meaning once I decide to redecorate, it will still probably work with whatever style I decide on.

Now for the dining room:
I am really excited about the dining room. It was actually the only major piece of furniture we have had to buy for the house, since the house we are in right now does not have a formal dining room. So we recently got a dining room table which I LOVE. I am going for this vibe for the dining room.

The table is dark and chunky like this picture’s, and I bought some white slipcovers for some chairs I already had (similar to the end chairs here). The table came with four dark brown wood chairs with a light brown suede upholstered seat. I wanted something with more contrast, so last night Nick and I tried our hand at reupholstering for the first time, and we redid the seats using a white fabric similar to the slipcovers. I will post before-and-after pictures eventually 🙂

But anyway, as you can see, the light fixture that is in the dining room now most definitely does not fit the vibe I am going for. I LOVE the round chandelier in my inspiration picture. I haven’t found a silver one, sadly. But I found one at Home Depot that fits my idea pretty perfectly. I think its going to look great!

So that’s it for now. There are also two pendant lights hanging above the kitchen bar counter that I want to replace, but I still haven’t really found an idea I like for those yet. Stay tuned…

Looks like we’ve made it…

We are slowly starting to pack, which means…our house is ALMOST DONE! So done that we can hardly think what they will be working on until January 14 (our closing date).

The only things I can think of that are lacking is:
– Shutters
– Grass
– Sprinkler system
– Fence
So here are some picture updates!

They finally installed siding on the front porch and painted the doorway.
I love, love, LOVE the door and window combo now that the door is a nice rich brown color. The white trim really pops! And I love the cute little bricks lining the bottom of the doorway. I am already dreaming of replacing the awful porch light fixture, but I will save that topic for another post 😉
We had them clear out a bunch of the trees in the back yard. What a great problem to have…too many trees!
Here is the before… to me it looked a little too much like an unkept forest (I imagine most forests are generally unkept!)

And here is the after…a lot more manicured. Still a TON of trees (I think around 12).
Basically we had them remove all of the super-skinny trees, and the cyprus trees (which look a little straggly to me). Unfortunately we also had to remove a nice big oak tree that I would have LOVED to keep because we were pretty sure it was dead. 😦
I love the way the yard looks now.
Okay, now for a look inside. First stop: our bathrooms. Beautiful dark wood counters with white countertops and ceramic tile floors.
Worth mentioning about the bathrooms: I had planned to eventually take down the builder-grade mirrors and replace them with framed mirrors for a more upscale look.
Ya know…something a little less this:
And a little more this:
I didn’t ever mention this to our sales rep because I figured I had made enough change orders already and didn’t want to seem too high-maintenance 😉
Well, a few weeks ago I was talking with her because we were trying to figure out a way to avoid having mirrored electrical outlets (TACKY!!). I mentioned that one day I planned to replace the mirrors and she told me that they could just not install the mirrors AND give us a $430 credit (the cost of the builder-grade mirrors). I should’ve asked from the beginning! Now it will save us the HUGE project of removing the builder-grade mirrors later, plus we are saving money…I can’t imagine that we will spend anywhere near $430 on framed mirrors! So I guess the moral of the story is that it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Okay onto the kitchen.

I LOVE the cabinets and I am actually pleasantly surprised that I don’t hate (or even dislike) the granite. Remember my huge ordeal with the countertops? I wanted dark brown countertops for nice contrast, but they only offered three options, none of which were even close. Well I have been surprised that the New Venetian Gold granite does provide some of the contrast that I was looking for. From certain angles it even looks brown…kind of 😉
I am SO happy that we paid extra for the glass cabinets. I LOVE THEM. They may be my favorite thing about the entire house.
Also of note, the fireplace:

Just because this is my venting blog, I will rant about the fireplace here. (Sorry)
I am not a fan of the mantle’s moulding design AT ALL. I am going to try to live with it for a while, but I know that the first chance I get, it is coming down.
I am kind of annoyed that we were not asked to select the mantle design. On the “Selections” paperwork, it is indicated that we supposedly “selected” this design. This would have taken place on the same day that we selected granite/flooring/paint colors, etc. My rant is that I feel like the guy doing our selections meeting was in such a rush to get us out the door so he could go home that he didn’t even ask us about this, he just put something down. I thought that we would get a mantle design similar to the ones I had seen in other homes built by the same builder, which is why I didn’t ask about it.
Here is a picture I took this summer from a home built recently by the same builder. I love this mantle design:
Again, as with the mirrors, I should’ve actually asked. But I was trying not to be high maintenance. Oh well, I guess that will be a project down the road. 🙂
And you may have noticed in the pictures that the laminate wood floors have been installed. Remember that was a huge issue to me during selections? I wish I could say that I was happy when I saw it installed in our house, but… well, you know me: picky-picky. It looks fake to me in person. However, in the pictures it looks quite nice, so my attitude has improved a bit since I first saw it. I am looking forward to the day (many years down the road I am sure) that we can replace it though.
A quick story about how I saw the floors for the first time: The workers were still in our house one day but they appeared to be wrapping up, so we thought we’d go look in the house that is being built across the street from us while we waited. Already we had seen that they selected EXACTLY the same counters/countertops as us. Dark brown vanity/white counters in the bathrooms, and white cabinets/New Venetian Gold granite in the kitchen. This is not really a “typical” choice I would say, since most people do their bathroom and kitchen cabinets the same color. Plus the dark stain and white stain are both “upgrades,” not standard selections. So I already was saying we must be destined to be friends since they have the same design taste.
That day we walked into their house and saw they installed wood floors throughout, just like we did. The most beautiful DARK BROWN, wide plank wood floors. Exactly what I envisioned. I got really excited thinking that maybe this is what our floors would look like. So that is why when we walked into our house and saw it was definitely NOT the same as theirs, I was a little upset. I may have even cried a little. It was like a slap in the face to me, they had EXACTLY what I had envisioned.
I was really upset that the selections guy didn’t tell me this was an option. So I told Nick I was going to email him and (NICELY!) tell him so. Mainly I wanted to know how much it would have cost us to get the same floors. Nick asked me what price would it have to be in order for me to not feel bad about it. I said $8,000. Well, the selections guy emailed me back and told me their floors were a special order hardwood that cost over $8,000. So I felt much better after that, because that price just would not have been feasible for us right now.
But now I am even more convinced that I am destined to be best friends with our neighbors. We obviously have the same great taste! 🙂

She’s a brick house…

They put up the brick today! I am still getting used to it and trying to decide if I like it (I tend to overthink things, can you tell?). It is a bit darker than I expected, but I think I can live with it for the next 20 years 🙂
They also painted, and this is something I am HUGELY relieved about. All summer I had in my head that I wanted to do a “white-on-white” type of color scheme. Ya know, something like this:
Very trendy. Who would’ve ever thought white paint would feel so risky! I was worried that it would look like I was dull and boring and had no design-sense.
Immediately when I saw it today though, I knew it was the right choice! I love how the white of the trim and the white of the walls actually contrast against one another (just the look I was going for). Not every room is going to stay this color, but they wanted to charge $90 per room to paint them different colors, so I said ‘I will do it myself, thank you very much.’ Geez these builders sure do seem to be out to nickel-and-dime you!!
The cabinets also arrived! I LOOOOVE my white kitchen cabinets with the glass. That was totally worth the extra money we paid. I don’t regret spending that money at all. It is so “me!” The only thing I am regretting is that I had originally selected a very bright white (similar to the door trim), then I chickened out. I worried they might look cheap, so I changed to the more creamy white. Now I feel like the cabinets “clash” with the door trim. But I know it really isn’t that noticeable to anyone but me (you probably can’t even tell from the picture). And anyway, we will be painting the kitchen walls when we move in, so that will probably make them look whiter.
I’m also really happy with the dark brown bathroom vanities. Can’t wait to see how they look with their crisp white marble countertops!
And ya know, its the little things in life…like these bricks they added below the patio door…that just make all the difference 🙂