Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Our Living Room (with Fall Touches)

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Happy Wednesday!  We've been experiencing one extremely hot day after another, and for the first time, I'm actually looking forward to some cool fall days.  :-)  I've been enjoying bringing in a few fall touches... I love pumpkin season and driving by the stands with their rainbow of pumpkins on display is definitely a highlight of the season!  

I haven't actually dedicated an entire post to our "new" (ha - two years later) living room, so this will be a little tour of sorts.  I'm also joining 13 other talented bloggers again as we share fall touches in the living room for the Seasons of Home tour, so you can also tour some beautiful homes by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Any of you faithful readers remember the dough bowls my father-in-law made me?  I love filling them with mini pumpkins this time of year.  Once again, my seasonal decorating is very simple.  I do have a few knick-knacks that I like bringing out, but mostly I gravitate towards real natural elements.  I think it's so important to mention that any seasonal decorating doesn't have to cost a lot of money or consist of rearranging your entire home... it's as simple as bringing in some pinecones or branches with fall colored leaves.       

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 When we first moved into our home, our living room really perplexed us.  Since it's open-concept with a fireplace, we were basically left with zero walls to place a sofa against.  Because the living room is narrow and receives a ton of foot traffic, we bought a sofa just for this home.  It's a full sized sofa, but with petite dimensions.  We initially placed the sofa centered across from the fireplace with two wing chairs on each side of the fireplace, but it left our living room feeling very cramped.  Then my husband actually had the idea to order an identical sofa so we could place them across from each other.  We measured and measured and then placed another order.  We've now had this arrangement for a good year and have been so happy with it.  I also love these sofas and highly recommend them if you're in the market, particularly one with petite dimensions... they were investment pieces for us, but so comfortable and well made.  (Channing Sofa by Rowe - we custom ordered them through a furniture store and chose the fabric.) 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 The rug is an indoor/outdoor rug from Ballard Designs.  Another purchase I highly, highly recommend (not sponsored - I wish!).  We actually have since ordered four more of their indoor/outdoor rugs for various areas around our home (inside and out), and we absolutely love them.  They are so easy to clean and hide stains really well, plus look pretty!  Since we have a dog, live on a farm, and have two girls that are constantly in and out of the house, I likely won't ever have anything but an indoor/outdoor rug in the living room.  ;-)  

The coffee table is vintage Lane (Acclaim series).  My mom actually had this coffee table in her attic.  She had purchased it at a garage sale for $5 and it was covered in paint.  She pulled it out when I mentioned that I needed a narrow coffee table, and Justus and I proceeded to strip it to see what we would find underneath.  As we were stripping it, I saw the name underneath and realized what a treasure we had!  I love this coffee table and it was absolutely worth all the hard work getting it to its natural state!

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 One of my favorite seasonal things to have around the house are fresh flowers.  Most of these are from our flower garden, with some wildflowers and herbs thrown in. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 The oak tree drawing above the mantel is one I found in a local antiques store, and it's definitely on my favorite finds list.  It was framed so beautifully.  I still love collecting little wooden boxes, and the brass candlesticks and the seasonal acorns were gifts from my mother-in-law. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Another inexpensive way to decorate for fall is with a little pot of mums (under $3, you just can't say no).  I placed the old piano stool that belonged to my father-in-law's grandpa next to one of the sofas and frequently use it for my coffee mug.  :-) 


Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 You may recognize this little cupboard from the one we had in our old house in the kitchen.  We do have some new furniture in this house, but placing some of the antiques I've collected over the years here and there has made it feel like home.  I keep all our board games inside the doors.  

We purposely changed the house plans around to accommodate our piano.  Both girls play daily and it gets a lot of use being in the main room of our home. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 One fall I may change my pillow covers, but right now I still love the touches of blue around the house. 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 I'm also loving little hints of brass and gold here and there!  It feels like it just glows, especially when the sun hits it, and we receive a lot of sunshine in this house! 

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

 Eventually I'll probably move some blue cinderella pumpkins into this room, but so far I haven't seen any at our market stands.  It's still a bit early, and we still have our pumpkin patch trip to look forward to.  ;-)  

I'm looking forward to turning on our fireplace before too long.  This was something we knew we wanted in this house, and it's been so nice when we have really cold days.  We had the fireplace wrapped in shiplap and kept the mantel design simple and more traditional.  Funny story, when they were working on the trim in our house, I walked into the living room and the top of the mantel was about a foot higher than this.  I was pretty much speechless!  I always feel bad having changes made after the fact, but there was no way I could have the mantel that high - ha!  


 We also opted to use brick as our fireplace surround.  We used the same brick as the outside of our house, and asked them to make it look as old as possible.  ;-)   

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

The gate leg table behind the sofa is a newer antique purchase.  I mentioned it when I gave a tour of our dining room, but we actually use this table for overflow when we have guests, and I love it so much.  

Keeping It Cozy Living Room

Besides obvious fall decorating like pumpkins and flowers, I also like to bring in a basket with some throw blankets.  It may be 100 degrees now, but we know cooler days are on the horizon!  

Living Room Sources (with links if available):
Paint Color (Walls & Trim): Sherwin Williams Alabaster
Lights: Pottery Barn
Floor Lamp: Target
Pillow Covers: Pottery Barn
Brass Lantern: Target
Windmill: Ballard Designs
Blanket Basket: Pottery Barn
 Other furniture and decor is all vintage and/or gifted

And finally, here are links to some beautiful fall living rooms for you to tour.  :-)  Thanks to Kristen at Ella Claire for hosting this tour! 


Ella Claire | Inspired by Charm | Handmade Farmhouse | Rooms For Rent

 
Julie Blanner | Craftberry Bush | Zevy Joy | My Sweet Savannah

 
Boxwood Avenue | Dear Lillie | Nina Hendrick Design Co. | Maison de Cinq

 
Keeping it Cozy | French Country Cottage

 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Seasons of Home: Fall Kitchen and a Tea

Fall Kitchen Decor

 I'm always a little sad to bid summer goodbye, and yet each season is such a gift.  Fall is no exception, and I love the subtle shift as the seasons change.  As our new school year begins, and the mornings bring a brisk feel, I love bringing a few elements into our home that welcome the new season.

I'm excited today to be joining a group of talented bloggers (all linked at the bottom of this post) in the first installment of the Seasons of Home tour (hosted by the talented Kristen from Ella Claire blog) starting in the fall kitchen!  For me, it isn't so much about the decor in the kitchen as it is the feelings, the smells, the colors. 

Fall Kitchen Decor - Keeping It Cozy

Fall brings about feelings of coziness, warmer colors, smells of cinnamon and pumpkin in the kitchen.  We are so fortunate to live in an area that we have access to so many local fruits, and while it's always a little bittersweet as the fresh peaches fade away, seeing the first sweet apples available instantly makes me excited for fall. 

Fall Kitchen Decor - Keeping It Cozy

It's not quite pumpkin season here yet, but just by adding some local apples, a candle, and some cinnamon spiced baked goods, our kitchen is slowly welcoming in a new season. 


 I love adding in little touches of brown here and there... a color that doesn't always fit in so well with other seasons, but is just perfect right now.


Do you find yourself spending a little extra time in the kitchen each fall like me?  There's just something about fall baking! 



The girls obviously have favorite things to look forward to each season.  During the fall season, they love our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, school activities with friends, the county fair, and so much more, but one of their favorite things we start back up in the fall is our little afternoon teas at home. 


 We started doing this several years ago.  We don't have tea every day or even always at a certain time, but we try to fit it in as much as we can, especially as the days get cooler.  The girls love helping me prepare all the tea fixings and sitting around the table together. 


 This year we actually prepared a tea tray, as we have tea often enough to keep everything close by, and I thought this might be a fun opportunity to share our little tradition.



 The girls love adding sugar cubes and milk into (decaf ;-) ) black tea (with British accents of course).  This is also an opportunity to actually use some of my pretty dishes!  ;-) 



 I always include a little treat with our tea.  Since the girls obviously already have quite the sugar intake (the sugar cubes are just too tempting - ha), I try to balance it with a "healthier" treat.  This apple snacking cake actually doesn't have any flour in it, but uses almond butter, which gives us some protein and healthy fats to help us last the afternoon.  I'll share the recipe below!  This is a delicious tea cake, just lightly sweet and very filling.  I like to add in chunks of fresh apple and some pecans.  We have been known to have scones with our tea, but for the most part, I usually try to have something that I feel is a little better for us.


 (Like I mentioned, the sugar cubes are the best part according to the girls!)


 The girls actually refer to our teatime as a "tea party", but as you can see our teas are very informal, and yet feel special with pretty dishes and time carved out.  We often sit at the dining table, but sometimes the kitchen island is a pretty perfect place to land.  We've even been known to read some poetry at our teatimes on occasion.  ;-)



 The sign of a successful teatime... there's always a mess to clean up, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  :-)

Apple Cake Recipe
Recipe from Pamela Salzman
Makes 1 Cake

Ingredients
  • Butter (for greasing pan)
  • 1 cup creamy, unsweetened, unsalted almond butter
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼” cubes
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round pie plate with butter. If you want to remove the cake from the dish in one piece, you can line the bottom with parchment paper. You do not have to grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Stir in apple pieces and nuts.
  4. Pour into prepared dish and bake until just set and a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs. A 9" pie plate will take 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool before eating.

And last, but certainly not least, please visit the following bloggers for some beautiful fall kitchen tours and inspiration!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Our New House: The Dining Room


It almost seems comical to post a dining room tour since our living room, kitchen, and dining room are actually one large space, but those three rooms seemed too large to tackle all in one post!  So welcome to our dining room, which is also our eat-in kitchen - well loved and well used! 


The dining room sits between our kitchen and living room, so as you can imagine, it gets a ton of daily use.  I've kept the space pretty neutral in the hopes that everything flows nicely from one space to another.     


Here's a picture that shows the living room also, so you can get an idea of the layout.  We all absolutely love having an open floor plan, but it has presented challenges that I never considered.  For example, the lack of wall space, which makes furniture placement a challenge, as well as creating spaces that all flow together (especially including a kitchen that you can see from the living room!).  It's definitely still a work in progress, but I love that although I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I can still feel like I'm with everyone else!  

 

The drapes are linen, and were made by my very talented mom.  The gray-blue matches some of our cabinetry in the kitchen.  


We purchased the table and chairs a few years ago from Costco.  We absolutely love them.  There are two leaves that we can add to the table and seat about 10 people.  So this table has been a workhorse for sure! 


 

Last year I found this old gate leg table at a local antique store and it has been a wonderful addition to this space (and also one of my favorite antique purchases ever!).  It anchors the living room from the dining room, and creates additional seating when we have a large crowd.  We've used it several times now as a table!   I also love the idea of adding at least one antique furniture piece to each room.  It can add so much character and warmth, don't you agree?



 On the opposite side of the wall, we incorporated some wood shiplap to add some character.  All the walls and trim in this space are painted the same color, Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.  I have since painted a few rooms in our home, but I'm not sure I'll ever paint this main room as the creamy white seems to help balance everything and enables me to change our drapes, pillows, etc. as the mood strikes!     


This cabinet is one of my very favorite things in our new home.  We eliminated the pantry that was in the house plans and instead asked our cabinet maker to make a built-in dining cabinet.  One of the things I loved most about our old farmhouse was the built in cabinet in our dining room (see pictures here).  I showed him pictures and asked him to create something that might give that similar old home feel... and house all my dishes - ha!  I love, love, love what he created.  When I first saw it, I was almost speechless.  Although the cabinet color is the same as our kitchen, we purposely used different hardware and a different cabinet design (like inset doors) so that it felt more like a dining furniture piece versus kitchen cabinetry.  

This cabinet is huge (9' tall) with deep shelves, so it actually fits my entire collection of dishes (much to my husband's dismay).   I use the drawers for storage, like cloth napkins, tablecloths, extra silverware, etc. 


Do you recognize these shelves from our previous home?  Justus made these and I could not bear to leave them behind and was insistent that they make the move with us.  I still love them and couldn't imagine our home without something so special.  

I just last week purchased the rest of the set of Johnson Brothers Staffordshire Bouquet to finish my collection and placed a lot of it here on these shelves as I love it so much.  This was a totally unplanned purchase, I promise, and I truly tried talking myself out of it.  I actually recently broke one of my saucers in this pattern, so when my mom and I were strolling through a few antique stores, imagine my surprise when I found an entire set with an amazing price - ha!  I couldn't not leave without it though, and while my husband was totally shocked that I could possibly feel the need to purchase more dishes (said with love), I'm sure you understand.  ;-)  


The console table was purchased our first year of marriage (15 years ago!), and eventually I'll replace it, but only when I find something really special and unique for this space.  This wall felt like it needed something simple, like lanterns, versus artwork, so we hung these here and added some timed candles that add a warm glow each evening. 

Thanks for touring our dining room space!  We eat together as a family every night here, so it's a well loved space.  It's such a simple thing, and yet means so much.  It's not just sharing a meal, but sharing about our day, our thoughts, our feelings.  

Let me know if you have any questions - hopefully I covered it all! I hope to share some more room tours in the next month or two, including the kitchen and living room.  :-)

 Dining Room Details:
Paint Color: Alabaster Sherwin Williams
Table & Chairs: Costco (I don't see these as being available right now)
All lighting: Pottery Barn
Lanterns: Pottery Barn
Framed Landscape Art: Ballard Designs

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