My home = Me

It’s been said, more than a few times, that our homes are reflections of who we are.

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As in, the current state of your home is a mirror of your current state of mind, what’s going on, on the inside.

If you’re honest with yourself, would you agree with that statement?

This maaaay or may not be something that’s fun to think about. lol

gulp.

How do we feel when our home is freshly cleaned, the laundry is folded and put away and there are no dishes in the sink? I don’t know about you, but that one time that happened, I felt pretty amazing! LOL

After a little thought and a little looking around my own space, this is what my home, at this very minute, is saying about me (good and bad, lol):

1.  There are a lot of areas that I want to improve (they don’t reflect how I currently feel about myself.)

2.  There are a lot of areas that need to be completed, they are unfinished/unrenovated. (I still have a lot of personal work to do.)

3.  I have done so much decluttering, but I still have a ways to go.

4.  I’m still working on defining my true, personal style (I got a late start, that’s a story for another time).

5.  I am most definitely a Creative Soul.

6.  I take risks in some areas and play it safe in others.

7.  I have a quirky, mischievous side.

8.  My colors truly reflect my personality:
loyal, trustworthy, dependable, passionate, energetic.

What does your home say about you? :-)

This exercise doesn’t have to be a negative experience, if we are willing to look at our personal spaces with fresh eyes, we can learn a lot about ourselves!

Think about it..

Ever known someone with an immaculate home where everything is in order without a speck of dust anywhere? I’m not talking about special occasions, I’m talking everyday life. Would you say that person likes to be in control? Would they follow behind you re-fluffing the pillows and putting a coaster under your glass? Their perfectly controlled environment is reflecting their desire to either be in control or appear to be in control.

Without getting too deep, those who have every square inch of their walls covered with decor are sometimes feeling the need to hide or cover up some aspect in their lives and will feel vulnerable or naked if their walls are bare.

The other day, I was looking for a pair of earrings and it struck me, just as I would never be found living in a home with a matching set of sofa and chairs (just my personal preference, not a rule for everyone), I also do not own any jewelry sets with matching necklace and earrings. Weird, right?

That absolutely isn’t a conscious decision. I don’t consciously choose to not buy matching sets of furniture or matching jewelry but when I buy what I like, not giving any thought to what others expect me to like, I naturally gravitate towards what coordinates vs. what matches.

This is my home and personal style reflecting who I am.

So, when I look around my home (that is a true reflection of who I am in this moment), as much as I may not want to admit it, I have some work to do. I understand that I am under construction and my home definitely reflects that.

But.. I also see objects, artwork and furnishings that I love to look at and be around. I bought them because they said something to me and I see myself reflected in them, and I’m at home with what I see.

Our homes are ever evolving, (hopefully) just like us. May we give ourselves and others abundant grace during the transitional times.

I would love to hear about what your home is saying about you! The good, bad and the ugly, all are welcome. :-)

 

Blessings,
Catrina

 

 

 

 

New Project: Dining Room Sliding Doors

A common problem with one-hundred-year-plus-old homes is a small kitchen.

One of the first projects we did in our home was to knock out the wall between the butlers pantry and the kitchen to expand it but it’s still pretty small by most standards.

The only time I feel the small size is when we have family gatherings. And boy, do I ever feel it.

Try as I may, try as I might to get everyone to hang out in the dining room or our spacious living room, everyone flocks to the kitchen and it instantly becomes 20 degrees hotter in there. No bueno.

After thinking about it for some time, my solution was to expand the doorway to double its size. This meant I was going to lose a 30″ lower cabinet on that wall, a small bookcase and a 48″ upper cabinet.

Catrina at Home kitchen

My kitchen, looking into the dining room.

 

Dining room

This is the dining room with the original swinging door to the kitchen.

I was also concerned about privacy. I was used to a door between the kitchen and the dining room and I wanted to be able to be in the kitchen with a door shut and not be visible from the front room or the dining room. I know that may seem strange to some but it was a non negotiable for me.

I finally came up with the idea to install to hanging/sliding doors in the dining room with privacy glass. Now I needed to find these doors.

Our 1908 Craftsman Bungalow has all the original architectural elements. Including the solid wood five-panel doors, eight inch baseboards and five inch door casings and crowns. I wanted to make sure we didn’t bring anything into the house that didn’t fit in.

My ever so resourceful husband found these barn doors on eBay from the late 1800’s.

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1800’s barn doors found on eBay.

What a guy!

But they needed a ton of work.

So much so that I started and stopped work on them several times over the course of two years. They needed to be reinforced and of course, patched, sanded and painted.

Enough is enough and I’m determined to have them done by Thanksgiving of THIS year! (2018)

Here’s an update video on how things are progressing since Monday morning:

 

 

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The trouble with ‘neutral.’

I have a love/hate relationship with trends.

It’s always fun to see ‘popular’ designers make their predictions for the year and  introduce new and tried and true ideas to the mainstream.

The trouble begins when we start listening to and following the ideas of ‘experts’ instead of our own intuition.

Then there’s the ‘pack mentality’, where we follow and copy the designs of those that we deem are ahead of said pack. They may be bloggers, you tubers or instagram influencers. But we find some we like.. and we imitate. Why? Because they’re popular and their homes get thousands of likes, so instead of figuring out what WE like and don’t like, we just adopt their style and claim it as our own.

Because at the root of it, we all want to be popular with our homes well liked by our peers.

Gulp.

One such trend is decorating in light neutrals.

Disclaimer: if you have done the hard work to figure out your home color story and truly love a light neutral palette, this post is NOT for you! Please don’t take offense where it wasn’t intended. :-)

Everywhere you look on Instagram and Pinterest you will find homes decorated in a light neutral palette. EVERYWHERE. It’s like these homes are mating and birthing new ones everyday. I’m serious! LOL

In every style you can imagine, with one thing in common, the lack of color.

(For the sake of this post let’s define “light neutral” as any shade of white or ivory, light gray or light tan.)

My concern, if you can even call it that, is that ‘going neutral’ can be a socially acceptable alternative to having to make tough choices about color.

There, I said it.  Neutral = non commitment.

It’s much easier to:
a.) copy someone else’s style on Instagram than to figure out what you really love, and

b.) buy anything and everything in white, gray or tan than to figure out your home color story.

Catrina At Home Ashley Furniture

Photo credit: Ashleyfurniture.com

Here are three common reasons for going with a (default) neutral palette:

  1.  Folks don’t know where to start with their home color story
    Figuring out a color scheme for your home can be difficult, I understand. But if you are drawn to color but are living in a (default) neutral home, this is work that’s worth the effort! I highly recommend looking up various colors and color schemes on Pinterest and finding out which ones speak to you. Take fifteen minutes a day for a few weeks to invest in this exercise and I promise, the colors you are drawn to will start to jump off the screen. Make a note of them!
  2. Folks aren’t brave enough to embrace their own choices
    I gotta say, this really makes me sad… and angry. lol Social media has made it commonplace for friends and family to give their unsolicited opinion on.. well.. everything, including your home, and it can make a person gun shy about stepping out of the norm.
    I encourage you to do it anyway.

    Life is hard enough without putting ourselves in prisons of our own creation.

    When thinking about what colors you want in your home, how they are going to be received by others should never enter your mind. This is your home. It should reflect you. When you put in the work to figure out your tastes and have the courage to embrace your uniqueness, your home will be a place you love to be in!

  3. Folks just want to fit in with the crowd. 
    It’s high school 2.0. No one wants to be the oddball or the outlier. Everyone wants to fit in, with the in-crowd.
    We are all created so uniquely, why do we try so hard to suppress those characteristics that make us special?
    So many neutral spaces that I see, lack personality and contain what so many other neutral homes have in them. If you’ve seen one, you’ve likely seen them all. I can tell absolutely nothing about the homeowner by looking at the photos of their homes. :-(
    I’m not talking about standing out just for the sake of standing out, but I am talking about embracing your unique personality and tastes and letting that shine through in your choices for your home.
    I realize this is harder for some than others, but we can do hard things. Oh, yes we can! :-)

Again, if you truly like a neutral palette, embrace it! But if you have defaulted into this color scheme because ‘everyone else’ is doing it, first of all, don’t beat yourself up. Secondly,  take some time to figure out who you are and what you really like and thirdly, start by adding in small touches of your color story to see how it feels.

Above all, remember that the journey of discovering your color story and your decorating style is a very personal exercise. Quite closely linked to your journey of personal discovery.
Our homes are reflections of us. In their current state. (Gulp)
The more confident we feel personally, the more confident we will feel in our choices.

We’re all in this journey together friends and our homes (and our lives) are worth the effort. :-)

Blessings,

Catrina

 

 

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The never ending story…

Are you who you were five years ago?

Probably not. And that’s a good thing!

I read a blog post the other day on this topic. Then I heard it mentioned on a podcast this morning. And just a few minutes ago I saw a Facebook post mentioning the very same thing.

In my world, this is called a sign. Three times is a confirmation. :-)

So naturally, I had to share it with you.

The topic is simply this- Your home decor is a never ending story.

Does that make you uneasy?

If you’re doing it right, your home decor should not be a one-and-done kind of deal. Decorating your home is not something you do, and then you’re done. And the number one reason for that is this- as you continue to change and evolve,  so should your home.

Renovation shows give us a false idea of how things work. A designer comes in, knocks out a few walls, decorates the whole place (in their style), and…. the end! Everyone’s happy and excited and they’re all done! Like forever.

Our homes should reflect us and if they truly do, they should also change as we change.

So how does one afford to pay for their ever changing personas?

Is this even possible?

Here’s three tips to help your home stay current with YOU:

  1. Never go all in on one style.
    This is my general recommendation for decor anyway (it dates your home), but having to replace a few pieces is much easier and much more affordable than having to replace nearly everything in your home when you get tired of it in 3-4 years. (Dang that was a long sentence, but you get the point.)

    I know it’s easy to throw out a common word to define our style, but just as your personality cannot be defined with a single word or short phrase, your ‘style’ should not be described in fewer than 5-7 words. When you fill your home with objects you love vs. what fits into a certain style, it’s easier to update by just replacing a few pieces over time.

    catrina at home : @dobbinstcoop
    Photo credit: @dobbinstcoop
  2. Shop secondhand.
    Y’all know I’m a huge fan of estate sales, garage sales, craigslist and second hand stores. While it’s true that I can find unique items (and furniture) for my home, I also save a ton of money in the process. 

    When I pay 1/4th of the retail price for a couch or 1/16th of the retail price for a rug, I don’t feel so bad about replacing it in 3-5 years. And of course, I sell my old one on Craigslist so the ‘new one’ is even more cost effective.
    This doesn’t mean I didn’t know what I liked when I bought the first one, I absolutely did, but I accept that I’m changing and growing and so are my tastes.
    I do find that the older I get, the better I do at choosing bigger items that are closer to who I am and how I want to be reflected in my home, which leads me to my next point,

  3. Don’t go trendy on the big stuff.
    There are some furniture styles that are classic choices. These styles have stood the test of time and are good foundational pieces in your home. These are pieces that (if they’re good quality) you can have for 10, 15+ years, regardless of the current trends. These classic styles/pieces are what you want to look for. 

    Textiles (curtains, blankets, throw pillows, bed spreads, table cloths), Paint, knickknacks, artwork and even smaller pieces of furniture are a great way to infuse your personality into your home, over time and without breaking the bank and will not cost you an arm and a leg to replace them. 

As you continue to change and grow, so should your home. You are not a stagnant being, you are learning, expanding and becoming who you were meant to be.

If your home reflects who you used to be it may be why you no longer feel comfortable there. To feel encouraged and refreshed in your home it must reflect who and what you are right now or where you want to be.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate you!

Blessings on your home,

Catrina

 

 

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3 common mistakes found in living rooms

Please know that these “mistakes” have nothing to do with your style or personal taste and they have zero to do with how expensive your furnishings are. This is most definitely not a critique of anyone’s personal preferences. I get so many questions around “what is wrong with my living room?” that I thought I would put the 3 most common issues together in one post.

These pointers are not meant to add pressure on you to change anything in your home. But if you don’t like the way your living room currently feels, check these three things first. Here are three common mistakes I see people making in their living rooms.

Improper spacing of furniture
I see this everywhere.
It’s either too close (the coffee table is practically kissing the couch), or its too far apart (all the furniture is against the walls). Here’s some useful info to help you with your furniture arrangement.

Catrina at Home living room

Example of coffee table too close to couch.

  • Ideally, the coffee table should be around 18″ from the couch. Enough for decent leg room yet close enough to be able to put down drinks and appetizers. A coffee table that is too far from the couch (or anchor piece of furniture) is a useless piece of furniture.
  • Furniture should be placed in the room so that when seated, people are no more than eight feet apart from each other. This is called a conversation arc. When furniture is placed too far apart it discourages conversation and people feel disconnected from one another.
    Unless that’s your goal, lol keep the furniture within the conversation arc.

 

Wrong size area rug
I’ve seen this in million dollar homes and one hundred thousand dollar homes, it seems folks from all economic backgrounds need a little help in this area. Here’s the general rule:

  • Your area rug should be big enough so that the front legs of your living room furniture are able to rest on the rug by at least 6-8 inches. Keep in mind the ‘conversation arc’ mentioned above when determining how large your rug should be. Most living rooms need an area rug that’s at least 8’x10′.
  • When there is floor space between your furniture and the rug, the room can feel disconnected and uncomfortable. When the front legs of your furniture are resting on the rug it brings a sense of balance and coziness to the room.

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    The proper size area rug for this room. Photo: Decoholic.org

 

Artwork hung too high
I have racked my brain trying to figure out why people have a tendancy to hang artwork so high and I cannot figure it out! lol Here is the general rule for hanging artwork in your home:

  • The middle of your artwork should be at eye level, around 60″ from the floor.
  • If you’re hanging multiple pieces of artwork, i.e. a gallery wall, arrange the artwork on the floor and find the middle point, that middle point should be around 60″ from the floor. That’s it! Super simple.
Catrina At Home Gallery Wall

A beautiful gallery wall by Laurel & Wolf

 

Now, having said all that, remember, please remember, that your home is your home. Do with it as you please! Rules were made to be broken and your home is a fun place to throw all the rules out the window and do what you want.

If you have any questions or comments about these common mistakes I would love to hear from you!

Blessings on your home,
Catrina

The (un)original home

I was listening to a podcast today. Something I typically do when I’m cleaning one of our Arbnbs. It helps keep my mind off of dirty dishes.

The podcasts I listen to typically fall into one of two categories: Business or Home. I’m so varied I scare myself sometimes. LOL

Today I was listening to the Style Matters Podcast and the special guest was Heather Bullard who is an Editorial Prop Stylist and Creative Director who’s work can be found in many major magazines. Gorgeous work, by the way.

Zandra, the host of Style Matters was asking Heather about what her interesting job entails and one thing she does is find homes and rooms that can be photographed for magazines. How cool is that?

This is what struck me: Heather said that it’s getting harder to find original homes because there’s so much duplication.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment.
i.e. people have stopped creating original spaces and have started copying each other to such an extent that it’s getting harder to find original spaces.

She sites Instagram with the swipe up feature and Pinterest as the perpetrators of this ‘easier than ever to copy a look’ mentality that stifles our creativity.

Heather wondered if people have become less confident to do things original and on their own and feel a little more secure being one of the crowd, looking like everyone else. She believes there is a culture of timidity that’s paralyzing, where people are afraid to branch out and really do something that they love for their own home.

Y’all know how much and how often I harp on this but I’m not going to be done talking about this for a loooong time.

(Deep breath)

Friend, the easiest thing to do is follow the crowd. The path of least resistance is easy to walk down.

You are a unique creation as varied as a color wheel. Your home should reflect all your facets and flaws, where you’ve been and where you’re going, your personality and your personal style. You are unique!

I urge you, turn off the Instagram and Pinterest if you have to, turn off the ‘advice’ of a family member or friend, take some time to really figure out for yourself what you like and what works best for you and not what will get you the most complements or look the best in an Instagram square. (Sorry if that was too blunt.)

Be bold and courageous in your decorating! Have fun! Pursue the things you love and bring you joy! Who cares if no one else can tolerate the site of it, it’s not their home. :-)

http://allienyc.com/about/

Photo credit: Allie NYC

This is your home. It’s where you and yours go to be refreshed and inspired, nurtured and loved. When one walks into your home it should feel like a big ol’ hug from you because it so strongly reflects you.

I realize this is easier said than done. And it can take a long time to get our homes where we want them. But I always want to be the little bird in your ear that keeps reminding you and possibly giving you courage to… be you.

In your life and in your home decor.

Catrina At Home Milk Magazine

Photo credit: Milk Magazine, Graham Atkins Hughes

I, of course, do not encourage you to do the opposite of what you see everywhere just for the sake of being different but I alway encourage you to follow that gentle (or giant) nudge you feel towards a certain color, piece of furniture or nicknack. Explore it, play with it!
And most of all, think only of how you and your spouse feel about it.

That’s all for now, friends…

Thank you Heather for your insight!

Check out the Style Matters Podcast here and check out the episode with Heather Bullard here!

You can also find Heather on instagram here!

 

Blessings,

Catrina

 

 

 

 

 

Do what you can

As I was heading out the door today to clean one of our Airbnb’s, I realized the keys were missing. Ugh.. Then I remembered that I had the guest key in the lockbox. Whew!

Catrina At Home Keys

What I forgot when I got inside the Airbnb was that we recently put in a cabinet for our cleaning supplies, that had a lock on it. Even though it was clearly marked for staff only, guests were helping themselves to the previous cabinet’s contents, so we needed a new one. Double ugh.. I was back to square one, I needed the cleaning supplies to clean the house. I called The Husband and sure enough the keys were with him, it would be at least an hour before I would have them in-hand.

I was frustrated.

There were no guests coming in this evening so technically speaking I could come back later… but I knew if I went back home I would find a million things to do and the Airbnb cleaning would be put off, again.

I made a decision to do what I could till he got there.

I have a very specific order to my cleaning routine. It’s very efficient and I don’t like to change it up, it throws me off and takes longer.

But I had a choice to make, get upset about the keys not being where they were supposed to be or do what I could till the cabinet could be opened.

This got me thinking…

Isn’t this often the way it is with the work we want to do on our homes? We know what we want to do but frustration settles in as we are hit with roadblock after roadblock.

We can’t do this until we get that done and we can’t get that done because… X, Y and Z.

It’s one thing to be on hold because of fear of making the wrong choices but it’s another thing altogether to be stopped before we even get started because of someone or something beyond our control.

And so we don’t do anything.
Here are a few tips that got me through my mini setback today.

  1. Get creative
    My tried and true routine was out the window.  I like order but sometimes there is none to be found. It didn’t take a lot of effort but I made myself look at the situation differently and work on the things that I could.
    If you’re not able to start where you want to, find something else that you CAN do with what you have right now.
    Sometimes that may be planning, prep work or work on another project altogether.
    Basically, if we’re looking for excuses for not getting started, we will find them and if we’re looking for opportunities to get started, we will find them.
  2. Get busy
    I’m the first to admit that it’s so dang easy to sit and complain (and do nothing) when we’re not able to do things the “way we’ve always done them” or the “way they’re supposed to be done.” Making a decision early on that you WILL start and that you WILL do something on your project regardless, will help you get moving. And movement is all you need to get the ball rolling, whether we’re talking about a bathroom renovation or a closet organization.
  3. Chose joy
    I wish I could say I always win at this but I don’t.
    Joy is a choice. Happiness is a choice.
    I firmly believe we are in control of our own emotions. So when we hit a setback, large or small, we have a choice how we’re going to respond. And that choice has the power to make or break our day. I had no control over the keys not being where they were supposed to be, but I had absolute control over how I was going to respond.

choose joy quote CAH

I confess.. I basically wrote this post for myself. lol
I can get caught in the gripe zone and sometimes it’s hard to find my way out. As my kitchen renovation slows to a crawl, I must make a conscious decision to do what I can on other projects etc. until we are able to tackle it again. This isn’t a path I would’ve chosen but this is where I find myself. What I CAN choose, is joy, even in the midst of a partially renovated kitchen.

How do you deal with roadblocks and setbacks? What are your coping skills for when things don’t go as planned?

Blessings,
Catrina

 

 

Five Gorgeous Fall Mantles

I gotta say.. it’s still hotter than hades in my neck of the woods, but I’M IGNORING THE HEAT and embracing Fall! LOL

I know up north they’re experiencing Fall temps, so I’m going to live vicariously through them.

If you’re wishing Summer would exit stage left or you’re actually living where the leaves are starting to turn, these beautiful Fall mantles will put you in the mood for all things pumpkin spice and everything nice. Or something like that. Lol

1. Neutral Simplicity
This pared back mantle gives me the warm fuzzies. Maybe I’m drawn to it because I think I could actually put something like this together or maybe it’s because I really like Eucalyptus leaves. Either way, it’s simple elegance is appealing and calming.

Catrina At Home Fall Mantel 1

Photo: @ Michelle_Janeen

 

2. Autumn Glow
This second mantle just makes me want to curl up in a blanket, sip hot cocoa and watch cheesy Hallmark movies. And I don’t watch Hallmark movies! LOL
All the colors and textures of Fall make this mantle warm and inviting.

Catrina At Home Fall mantel 2

Photo credit unknown

 

 

3. Sage with envy
What’s not to love about this stunning mantle from SoMuchBetterWithAge?
I absolutely love the coolness of the neutral/sage green palette paired with the warmth of the wood mirror and bronze sconce. Wow. This unfussy mantle decor proves that simple, when done right,  is not only attractive but inviting!

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Photo: SoMuchBetterWithAge.com

 

4. French Country Simplicity 
I love how absolutely opulent this mantle feels from French Country Cottage!
But in reality it has very few components. A couple of gold frames, some greenery, and grapevine pumpkins. Absolute brilliance. French + Country done right. Period. Ahhh..

Catrina At Home Fall Mantle 4

Photo: FrenchCountryCottage.com

 

5. Golden Opulence
The golden hues beaming from this mantle are gorgeous! And what says the end of summer better than a harvest of fruit and berries? Perfectly styled and packed to the gills with goodness, if I walked into a home with a mantle like this I would most definitely park myself right here to sit and stare awhile, desperately trying to take in all the opulent goodies.

Catrina at Home Fall mantel 5

Photo: Grandinroad.com

 

Do you decorate your mantle for Fall?

If yes, stop by my Facebook page and post it there so we can see it! (I’ll promise not to get too jealous since mine won’t likely be decorated. LOL)

(Almost) Fall Blessing!

Catrina

What Makes a Great Gallery Wall?

The gallery wall is a great way to fill a large empty wall space in your home or office with art work and mementos you love.

I recently mentioned in a video (on Facebook and instagram) that I finally bought frames  for many of the pieces I had been collecting over the years. (Thanks to a recent Michael’s one-day-sale of 50%-55% off on their frames. Woot, woot!)

Like the rest of your home, a gallery wall is a great place to infuse your personality.  We should look at your gallery wall and find hints into who you are, where you’ve been and what you love.

But more often than not though, I see carbon copies of what’s popular.

How sad is that?

Just like Rome, your gallery wall cannot be built in a day, e.i. you don’t want to stroll through the isles of your favorite (craft) store and pick out 6-10 items, arrange them on a wall and call it done.

Well, I mean you can, of course. LOL But what’s the fun in that? Maybe I’m just weird, but I don’t want my gallery wall (or my home for that matter) to look like anyone else’s!

Your gallery wall, much like your home, should be one big fat expression of you and yours!

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

My maiden name is Vargas. I found this old poster at an estate sale for $18 of an actual Circus that used to come through town. It’s an old-school El Paso thing. I knew I had to have it instantly! The colors were perfect for me, it has my family name on it and I got her down to $18 from $22 so win, win!

Catrina At Home Circus Vargas Poster gallery wall

You better believe it’s going on my gallery wall! Just looking at it makes me smile. And my family is a circus, so yeah, it’s perfect! Lol

I took this next photo back in 2013 when we had the privilege of visiting Israel. It was taken at the Western (wailing) wall. I remember it was crowded there that day, I saw this woman praying, there was a brief moment when the crowd parted and I quickly pulled out my iphone and snapped a pic.

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This photo will be on my gallery wall. When I see it, it reminds me of my love for Israel, the  prayer I wrote that day and stuck into the wall and how special the trip was for me.

Here are a couple of gallery walls that for me, ooze personality!

Catrina At Home Gallery wall

Photo credit: @Imwdecor

Can you tell by looking at that gallery wall what the homeowner likes? Is there any doubt? Lol
This stairway gallery wall is a place I would probably park at for a while, if I was visiting this home.
I would pour over every piece, wondering what the story was behind it.
I don’t know this lady but looking at this collection makes me want to know her, if only because she was confident enough to decorate her home with things she loves, that have meaning to her. Trendy run-of-the-mill items be hanged! Lol

Catrina At Home Gallery Wall

Photo credit: @_lisa_dawson_

How about this corner wall gallery?  The creator sticks to a natural hue for the frames of interesting works of art. Amazing.

corner
Photo credit: unknown

What makes a gallery wall great isn’t what’s popular or trending but pieces that speak to you that you love to look at. I encourage you to find those pieces and then display them where you can see them every day. Looking everyday at images or things that you love and inspire you, will change your life and your home. I guarantee it.

I have been arranging and rearranging my gallery wall on the floor in my basement for about a week now. I have one issue I have to resolve and it should be ready for my dining room wall.

I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile now, so I’m getting excited. I’ll be sure and pop back on here and show it to you when it’s all said and done.

Do you have a gallery wall?
Do you want one but are struggling with a few points? Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page if I can help you in any way.

Blessings,

 

 

 

5 Tips To Survive Your Home Renovation

Reality is never quite like its depicted in the movies or tv shows, right?

And this couldn’t be any more true than during a home renovation.

It takes much longer and is much more of a pain in the butt than you will ever see in a tv show. Is it worth it in the end? Absolutely. But let’s talk about a few things you can expect during your renovation to better prepare you for what’s coming.

Let’s keep it simple and discuss the renovation most folks would be doing, a kitchen renovation.

A. It’s going to be a mess

This is an absolute guarantee. Not only the mess of having to clear your countertops and move all of your cabinet contents to another room and having to live like that for a few weeks, but the fine dust from any sheetrock or wood work (that seems to get everywhere). You will think that hanging plastic or drop cloths will help contain the mess, but you would be wrong. You will still have to dust and vacuum everything when it’s all done. So just plan on it.
You’re basically going to be living on a construction site, if you’ve never been on one, it ain’t pretty. If you can tell yourself ahead of time and remind yourself often that its going to be a mess, and not fight it or try to control it, you’re going to have a much better renovation experience.
Just embrace it, (yes, I realize how difficult that can be) clean up when you can and remind yourself its part of the process. No, really!

B. It will be inconvenient

You don’t realize how much you use your kitchen sink until you don’t have one. You also don’t realize how difficult to is to cook without a sink. My best advice is to plan your meals way in advance for the days you will be without a sink and countertops, than add a few days so you don’t lose your mind when the schedule gets extended. Also, get paper plates, cups and plasticware and plan for as few meals as possible where you don’t have to use the sink or stove. (You want to be real careful with what you allow to wash down your bathroom drain.)

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I set up a few tables in my dining room (during our reno) with the dishes and cups etc. that we use most often but I ended up using disposable items the majority of the time.

Catrina At Home Kitchen renovation
Also, you will want to set up a table with food and items that you use everyday, like vitamins, cereal, bottled water, snacks, etc..

C. It’s not going to go as planned

This is probably more important than anything else I write here. The reason things will not go as planned is because you’re working with humans. Plain and simple. LOL
Get a schedule laid out with your contractor of what is happening and when, but understand that it will likely just be a guideline.
Let me give you an example, today is Wednesday, I typically write a post every Wednesday night in my downstairs office. But right now I’m in my dining room and the guys that were supposed to install my countertop on Monday (a date we set three weeks ago) are walking back and forth from my front door to the kitchen, installing my counters.
They didn’t work on Monday because it was Labor day, we found out on Monday. Then they called to say they weren’t going to be able to make it on Tuesday either.
So here we are on Wednesday, it’s after 5pm and I’m a little concerned. Why you ask? Because the guy who is coming to spray the exterior of our cabinets is coming at 6pm today and they still have a ways to go, plus I still have to tape off the cabinets in the kitchen. My painter/cabinet maker is coming today because he could’t come yesterday as planned.
These are all great guys, they do good work and we recommend them to others but things come up and other jobs take longer than they should and that means it might take longer to get to your house than planned.
Don’t take it personal, expect that there will be hiccups, plan for possible delays and you will sail through your reno like a pro.

D. If you are a DIYer, know when to hire out

There are no brownie points for killing yourself. I totally understand saving money when you can but know what your limits are and hire out when you can.
Another example, I knew we could handle sanding and painting the inside of the cabinets and shelves but I knew right from the start that I wanted the outsides to be professionally sprayed with lacquer paint.

Catrina At Home Kitchen renovation

I also knew we could handle floating the walls but wanted to leave the cabinet crown molding to our cabinet guy who does it every day. I wouldn’t let anyone but me touch our 100-year-old doors and casings that needed to be restored but we will likely hire out the floor refinishing.
It would be better to save up to have someone else do the jobs you don’t feel 100% qualified to do than to waste a heck of a lot of time and energy and still have to hire someone to come in and do the job properly, after you ‘finish.’

E. ‘Install day’ is going to be crazy

Install day is when your cabinets and counters are installed. If you want to help the process go smoothly, try to stay out of the way. lol
Don’t hover and watch their every move, let them do their work so they can get out of your way. Stay close by if they have any questions but this ain’t their first rodeo, trust them to get the job done.

Catrina At Home Kitchen renovation

Having said that, don’t settle if you don’t like the way something is going. Find out who is in charge and politely ask questions if something is different than what you agreed to. You don’t have to live with poor craftsmanship, communicate your concerns before they leave for the day.
Install day is also going to be when you want to go back and read A. again.

Remember, things often will look worse before they look better.

It’s going to be noisy, dusty and crazy pants. Your cabinet guys and your granite/countertop guys are all going to be coming and going and tracking dust everywhere. Try not to focus on it, it’s part of the process, let them finish and then you can clean to your heart’s content.

As with everything, keep your eyes on the prize! Don’t get distracted by the dust and inconvenience, much like it is, I’m sure with having a child, once the child is born the pain of childbirth is long forgotten.

I hope these tips have been helpful!
Have you been through a kitchen renovation? What would you add to my list?

Blessings,
Catrina