Before and After, Home, My house

Before and After: New Landscaping

When we moved into our house a year and a half ago, we didn’t think much of the shrubs. Since we were coming from a townhouse where we didn’t own the outdoor space (and an NYC apartment before that) we knew very little about things that grow.  But after a year of not seeing much life around our house, we knew the shrubs had to go.

Here’s what the landscaping looked like the day we closed on the house. Overgrown in some areas and dead in others. And the only decent shrubs were the prickery ones on either side of the door. It was like saying to our guests, “Welcome to our home. And now we will prick you with our pricker bushes.” And that’s just not my style.

Sure, this picture was taken in the winter but I can assure you, not much popped up in the year that followed. (That is, aside from the huge row of forsythia down the side of the house that blooms beautifully in March each year. You can see them on their way out in the pic below.) So, we decided to rip it all out. And suddenly, it looked better already! You’ll also notice below that we had several of the lower branches on the tree cut off so that we wouldn’t have them hanging down in front of the house.

We worked with a landscaper who recommended trees, shrubs, and flowers based on our laundry list of requests. Even though we knew so little about this stuff, we highly considered DIYing it but I’m really glad we hired a pro.  I found that his price was not much more than the shrubs alone would have cost us and if I had added in the truck rental and mulch and the shovels and edgers, it would have been pretty comparable. And I’m sure we would have screwed it up somehow! (Local readers: We used First Class Landscaping right here in town and I highly recommend them. Just ask and I’ll give you Jeremy’s number.)

When they arrived to install everything, it was the morning after my 40th birthday so Pablo and I were in no state to supervise. But luckily, Jeremy and his team did a great job on their own. Here’s everything  in place getting ready to be planted. (There were also a few small perennials that were added in around the ones pictured below.)

They did such a great job with everything.

We were just smitten with the edging. (What is it about that? It’s so simple but it just looks so crisp!)

 Let’s take one last look at that scary overgrown and half dead “before” shot.

And now – TA DA! – the “after”!

There are still quite a few things I’d like to do to the exterior, like painting the door (glossy black? red? yellow? blue?), installing some new lighting and I might want to paint the shutters too. (They’re charcoal grey now and I think it would look much more better if they were black.) Suggestions welcome!

Have you done any landscaping lately? If  so, I want to hear all about it! Let me know in the comments.

XO

Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

What’s Wrong with My Bedroom

There are quite a few things that I like about my redecorated master bedroom but like most things in this house, it’s still a work in progress. Let’s look at how far we’ve come before we see how much farther we need to go.

Not bad but not quite there yet.  You see, I’ve conveniently hidden most of the flaws in my progress shots. (What? You would too and you know it!) Anyway, here’s the honest post where I reveal all the ugly blemishes.

Problem #1: The hideous flushmount light that came with the house. It’s not as bad as some of the other buzzing florescent “boob” lights which we’ve taken down all over the house but it definitely needs to go. So, why is it still there, you ask?  Because I’m not sure what I want to replace it with. Suggestions welcome!

Problem #2: The XL air conditioner that’s built into the wall. For a house with central air, I don’t really see why we need another AC unit in the bedroom. But since it’s BUILT INTO THE WALL, removing it will be a nightmare. So for now, our long curtains hide it.

Problem #3: The too-small headboard. Agreed, it’s got some mid-century coolness but the fact that it’s made for a full bed and we have it propped against the wall behind our king is a little silly. My old roomie found it in the garbage room of our first NYC apartment forever ago – I’m talking mid-90s here. It was free and I’ve used it forever so I think it’s time to spend some money on a grown-up bed. But in classic “Sue at Home” -style, I’m  looking to DIY a headboard (I’ve got a few tutorials saved on Pinterest) and you know I’ll share all the details with you once it happens.

Problem #4: It’s connected to the small, ugliest, “before” of a bathroom. I mean, who puts a half bath in a master? It’s the next room to get a full overhaul but we’re waiting until we can save up some funds. And in the meantime, I’m gathering lots of bathroom inspiration on my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest. (Check it out and tell me what you think!)

Do you have scary secrets lurking in your house? It’s okay. You can tell me! Leave your confession in the comments.

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home, My house

The Hunt for Master Bedroom Bedding

Last week, when I told you about the room that inspired our master bedroom palette, I touched upon the decadent, sumptuous, to-die-for bedding from Olatz Schnabel that graced her bed in our inspiration picture. I would have loved a full set of her bedding but I don’t have a spare $4000 sitting around so it’s not going to happen. But, that’s no reason not to dream a little and try to find a similar solution.  Here are a few shots of Olatz‘ bedding line. Let the drooling begin.

Olatz Schnabel (the person) draping her gorgeous self across her gorgeous bedding (from Olatz, the bedding line) on her gorgeous bed via Pursuit of Style (It’s just wrong to look that good.)

A clear shot of the full set via Olatz. The sham is only $300. Maybe I could just get one??

The pink and red version  in ELLE Decor with…wait. What is that? Yes. Yes, that is a MATCHING HEADBOARD. Just kill me now.

This famous cover is like a trifecta of style obsessions: Domino + Jenna Lyons + her Olatz bedding = my head about to explode! Throw in black painted walls and that fireplace and I’m dead. Dead. via Habitually Chic

The Bowery Hotel apparently has Olatz bedding in every room. May I move in, please? (This pic via NY Mag)

When GQ (my first job was the Fashion Closet Assistant there!) did a story on the best bedding, of course they needed to include Olatz bedding. Insert cute girl in bra and panties to GQ-ify it.

Little Green Notebook did a makeover on Joanna Goddard‘s bedroom and she had an Olatz-ish duvet made for the room. Perhaps this is an option for me? (Still can’t be cheap though…)

CarolynMAKING has a great no-sew (!!) DIY of the Olatz bedding. She did an amazing job but I feel like I could screw up something  even this simple.

The crazy thing is that I look at these pics and think, “Everyone makes duvets like this. I’ve GOT to be able to find something similar.” But the problem is the colors. You just can’t find that bright orangey red or that regal purple at mass brands. Pottery Barn makes a nice duvet and sham with a band of color. But in classic “Pottery Barn style”, the color choices are basically beige, beige and more beige.

I found our current duvet at Lands’ End about 9 months ago. They don’t have it anymore but I highly recommend their bedding. It’s super soft, really nice quality and priced very reasonably.

It’s frustrating to know there’s got to be something similar out there and just not be able to find it.  (Please let me know if you have a resource for me!) I might just have to try the DIY. If I do, you know you’ll hear all about it! Until then, I’ll live with my subtle stripes because let’s face it, that old way-too-small headboard is a much bigger problem than the duvet! More on that later….

XO

Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Family, Home, My house, Uncategorized

DIY Painting for the Dining Room

Allow me to reintroduce you to my dining room. Dining room, readers. Readers, dining room. You might remember that you met this room back in this post but here’s the recap. This was our dining room before we moved in. Simple. Subtle.

Cream and brown.

Here’s how it was recently.

The only big problems were 1) the too-short curtains that need to be replaced by something that goes all the way to the ceiling and 2) that weird art by yours truly. The curtains are going to take a little time to hunt down but I got to work on the painting yesterday. I was inspired by this picture I had seen on Amber Interiors but I wanted to do it with a gold background instead of silver. (Yes, I know that silver would “go” better with the gray walls but that’s precisely why I want to use gold. You get me, right?)

OK. So we’re all recapped now. Let the painting begin!

I used Craft Smart acrylic paints from Michael’s in Gold and Neon Pink. I actually had to make a run to the store to get more Neon Pink. That’s what happens when you share your paints with 2 little girls. (Who am I kidding?  I used it all myself!)  I made my first coat and I could still see some of the other colors through it. I liked it on the pink part but the gold was just looking greenish. (Also – please note my amazing art studio. It’s called laying-newspaper-down-on-the-living-room-floor-and-leaning-over-the-painting. Really fancy, huh?)

But luckily after a few coats later, it was finally covered – with just a little bit still showing through the pink part.

I actually like that little bit peeking through the pink. Nothing like a happy mistake!

So, it’s good…for now. I’m quite sure I’ll be changing it in a few months, but until then, I’m content.

And I’m not the only one who likes it.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. I’ve been working on my foyer and I’m thrilled with how it’s coming together. Then again, anything would be an improvement on what it’s looked like for the past 18 months:

Details and “after” pics soon…