As a rule, I don't like rooms with themes that are easily outgrown like Spiderman or Starwars, etc. but I do love the nautical motif in a little boy's room. This is something that will grow with them, and if you just work on the motif through accessories you can change them out when you get tired of them if you keep everything else neutral or interchangeable. For my three-year-old's room I have used the Serena and Lily George duvet shown in the first photo and have found some interesting objects at antiques stores to adorn the walls, etc. I did buy the ship drawing featured in the above pictures (for $50 framed!) and the kids love examining for all the details it has. If you wanted to spend a little more, you could invest in an oil painting (the one of the marina is by my good friend Jennifer Smith Rogers) or for a lot less a gallery poster (the one in the picture is by my friend Shannon Smith and can be purchased at the Smith-Killian Gallery in Charleston). smithkillian.com
With the change of seasons I am starting to get the itch to plant something new. Yesterday I couldn't help but stop by my favorite local plant nursery when I saw on the sign "New Fall Flowers." I decided not to buy anything because I decided that more careful planning was needed, but I got some great ideas by some of the containers they had arranged. I love the ornamental pepper plants and million bells. They said they would have a lot more variety to choose from in about two weeks. After all, we are still not out of summer temps here in the Lowcountry. I really can't wait for cooler weather.
I am always looking for new ideas for saving (or not) kids' art projects and have made a few posts about this in the past. The last few days have kept me home nursing kids with the flu, so I've had a bit of time to complete a couple of projects I had meant to do over the summer. When my kids come home from school, if they have a piece of artwork I might display it on our mudroom bulletin board for a week. After that, if it is worth saving, I place it in a box in their room that is meant to store these kind of things. Over time, I whittle the pieces down until I have what I consider real treasures. From here, there are lots of possibilities--the easiest would be just to keep the art in the box. However, I have found that looking through the collection in this form gets messy. So, I decided to buy one of those old fashioned scrapbooks with paper pages and I glued the art in it. Will helped me with the gluing showing me that he has pretty much mastered this skill for the most part. Some people like the idea of taking digital photos of the art and then making some kind of digital photo book. I love this idea, but I also like having a tactile experience with the originals. This project only took me about an hour and by the end I had a collection of all Will's art from the preschool years. A good number of pages are left in the scrapbook so I can probably eventually glue in his stuff from kindergarten (so far he comes home with much less worth keeping). I will do the same for Julian when he is finished with preschool.
Collecting vintage trays is fun because they can have so many different uses. Just recently I have hung one in my kitchen between the cabinet and counter top and am using it as a bulletin board of sorts. It's a nice place to post a recipe or reminders for the week. You can find these trays at almost any antique store or easily on Ebay or Etsy. Usually they cost between $15-$20. I attached this one to the wall with a regular picture and plate hanger, but another idea would be to use 3M tape. If you have a wall space large enough, you could even do a collection of trays! I also like to use these trays just as decorative pieces to hang on the wall. The smaller ones are great to put on a side table as a collecting place for cell phone, keys, etc. The ones in the bottom three pictures I found at the local Antiques Market.
One of my favorite blogs is PinkWallpaper, created by interior designer Shannon Darby who happens to live in Mt. Pleasant. She has come up with a "sister blog" to her own called "The Designer's Attic." Not only does this blog show how she is decluttering her attic, it is a great resource for people interested in interior design. Through her new blog, she is selling some things she has purchased and has not been able to use--fabrics, lamps, etc. She posts a picture of the item itself accompanied by a picture of this item in a certain setting, for inspiration. If you are interested in purchasing any of the items from her attic, you can contact her and pay through Paypal. Kudos Shannon! This is such a great idea. thedesignersattic.blogspot.com
I probably love a cottage style house because that's what I grew up in and that's what I live in now. When we first moved back to Mt. Pleasant a few years ago, I was really hoping to buy a little bit bigger of a home. Ours now is roughly 2000 square feet--just a tiny bit bigger than our first residence in Atlanta. When we bought this house, we thought "Oh, it's a great neighborhood, a good investment, and we'll stay here for a couple of years." Now with the downturn of the economy and the crash of the housing market (I don't think we could get what we paid for this house right now), we are staying longer and maybe forever. I read recently that for the first time in thirteen years, the average size of the American home has shrunk to 2,200 feet. It seems that the desire for bigger and better McMansions has waned and that we have realized that sometimes less is more. Often with more house comes more headache especially when you think about cleaning it, paying the utilities, etc. Our neighborhood is an example of what is happening--the builders who built bigger houses in the last phase of development have struggled to sell. House after house sits unoccupied and sometimes even unfinished. The next phase of development, however, will focus on smaller "cottage style" homes. The developers are really trying to promote this idea. I will say, a smaller house has made me stay on top of clutter (we don't have space for it!) and organizing. One day we hope to build a house to our specifications and with my husband's design skills and experience but it probably won't be much bigger than ours is now. It's all in how you use the space, and I can say that we use every square foot of ours right now.
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!