Our Downstairs Floors: My Great Tragedy

I have a confession to make.

Despite all the time, effort and dolla bills we’ve poured into our home since we bought it about a year and a half ago, I’m still a little bit embarrassed when people see it for the first time.

I know this is stupid. Our home is lovely and we’re lucky to have it. I know this. But here’s the thing: our floors are frigging disgusting.

Tile hallway


Carpeted dining room with ghost chairs and Ikea Rast hacks



I should see all the things I love about those rooms. But all I see is nasty tile with dirty grout, and stained, smelly carpets. And they disgust me. Call me ungrateful and negative if you must, but I can’t help it.

I realize that there are things I could do to improve our floors. I could paint the grout. I could steam the carpets. I know. But the thing is, I hate them so much that I don’t want to spend any time or money on them. I just want them GONE.

Some day, somehow, we’re going to rip up all that tile and all that carpet, and our whole downstairs will be beautiful, beautiful hardwoods. I dream about it every day. Oh, how they’ll shine! They will always smell like lemons! I will have such colorful, beautiful area rugs and all my furniture will POP!

I have it all figured out in my head. Of course, I love dark, dark hardwoods – I mean, I’m only human.

But you’ve gotta know yourself. And I know I’m not going to clean my floors often enough to keep up with the dust and hair and dirt particles that are apparently attracted to dark floors like magnets. No, I need something a little lower maintenance.

Theoretically, it’d be nice if they sort of matched our upstairs floors. You’ve seen them. They look like this:

Office with lavender walls and hardwoods

They’re engineered, and Brad isn’t a fan. Apparently, they have beveled edges? I never would have noticed. What I do notice is that they’re a warmer and a bit more on the orange side. And I could get down with that. I love all of these:

But then I look at cooler, lighter floors, and I love those, too. These are some of my favorites:

White oak hardwoods via Little Green Notebook

Via Little Green Notebook (her flooring is from Lumber Liquidators)

Aren’t they airy and bright and wonderful? And I bet the dust just blends right in! But since I tend to decorate with cooler colors, I’d probably be better off with something just a tad warmer. I think these are perfect:

Hollywood Regency hallway via Lonny

Via Lonny

Of course, I have no idea what that is. Red oak, maybe? American cherry? With my luck, I probably want the most expensive thing out there.

So, ya know, I just need to dig up a few thousand dollars (or something? We haven’t gotten a quote yet), and then this thang is gonna happen. Any day now.

What’s the great tragedy of your home? (You know, that’s the thing that makes you say, “I would love my house, if it wasn’t for the [blank].”)

Beaded Chandeliers in the Bedroom

Our new light bulbs are helping to brighten up our bedroom, but I still really want to swap out our outdated ceiling fan for some kind of large light fixture.

Master bedroom with high ceilings via Glitter and Goat Cheese

I know ceiling fans can be really useful, especially in the south, but I actually feel like ours is too high up to do much good. Plus, it shakes when it’s on, and that makes me reeeaaal nervous.

I’m so antsy to get rid of the ceiling fan that I haven’t even bothered to replace the creepy teddy bear hanging from the cord. Can you see it?

Master bedroom with white beams via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Don’t you think a big rustic-y light fixture would just give the room some extra oomph? I want something elegant, but not too fancy. My dream is a beaded chandelier, like these:

The most affordable and attractive one I’ve found is the Large Beaded Chandelier from World Market.

World Market Large Beaded Chandelier

But at $269.99, it’s still not exactly cheap. I keep wondering if I could DIY it. I found a few versions that other bloggers have made:

All of the posts have great tutorials, but I’m a little intimidated. It looks like a really time-consuming project, and it could turn out looking really cheap. Bethany from Dwellings by Devore wrestled with the same issue, and she ended up just buying the World Market one. And look how amazing it looks in her dining room!

Definitely something to think about. And in the meantime, there’s a question floating around in my mind: Will hanging a chandelier make it more obvious that the beams aren’t centered in the room?

Ceiling fan and white beams via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Uggghhh. Our bed isn’t centered between the windows because the windows aren’t centered on the wall, and the beams aren’t centered with anything.

Ceiling fan and vaulted ceilings via Glitter and Goat Cheese

So, would you hang a chandelier in our bedroom? Should I save up for the World Market one, or give DIY a try? I’d love to hear what you all think!

By the way, there’s only one more day to enter my giveaway for a $25 Target gift card and a set of GE reveal® bulbs! Visit this post to find out how. The giveaway ends at 6 p.m. (eastern) tonight!

Planning for a Pergola

As I was gathering inspiration and ideas for the Home Depot Patio Style Challenge, I came to one realization pretty quickly: All the outdoor spaces I really loved had some kind of overhead covering. It made the decks and porches feel more like rooms, and therefore more like an extension of the house. Plus, an overhead covering allows you to hang things like lighting, plants, curtains … I needed to have one.

We have a covered front porch, but we honestly never use it. We much prefer spending time on our deck, where we can watch our dog race around our fenced yard and have easy access to snacks the kitchen. So, I started thinking about attached pergolas.

Roof deck pergola via Flickr

Via Flickr

At first, this kind of construction project seemed a little nuts – kind of like building a king-sized bed – but the more research we did, the more doable it seemed.

We gathered advice from all the construction-savvy relatives in our families, read countless tutorials, dug through the city ordinances, and priced out the project. Ultimately, we decided we should at least give it a shot.

Because my husband is amazing, he taught himself how to use Google SketchUp in a matter of days and created a to-scale construction plan. It has the hardware, dimensions, angled cuts and notches, and pretty much every detail you can think of. It’s kind of amazing.

Pergola plans by Brad

It won’t actually be two-toned – the different shades of wood are just meant to differentiate the new construction from the existing deck. To give you an idea of how it’ll look in real life, here’s a “before” shot of the back of the house.

Before photo of our deck

We sent the plans to our HOA first, and they approved it quickly. Woohoo! The building permit application was a little more complicated, but we got a cryptic email today that I think implies that it was approved. We’ll find out for sure when Snowpocalypse is over and the city offices open back up. Whenever that is.

So, I think this thing is happening! Get excited!

Have you ever taken on a major construction project? Any advice?

My Inspiration: Colorful, Laid-Back Patio Style

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few mysterious images.

Patio Style Challenge Sneak Peeks - January

You may also be wondering why I’m working on deck decor in January. I swear, I’m not crazy. Well, not totally crazy, anyway.

You see, as it turns out, I’m going to participate in the 2014 Home Depot Patio Style Challenge. I KNOW, RIGHT?! I can’t really believe it either. But I’m SO excited.

The majority of the heavy lifting (literally) for this challenge will take place in late February and March. Y’all know I can’t wait that long, though. Come on. We’ll save a lot of the big projects for then, but I’m already planning out color schemes, furniture layouts, and many, many DIY projects. And I may or may not be getting started on a few of them.

When it all comes together, I want our deck to reflect the style of our home. Those of you who have been reading a long time know that I proclaimed our style to be “modern rustic glam” back in 2011, and that still holds true! There will be clean lines; bold colors and graphic prints; natural/rustic elements like wood (obviously), warm bronze and lots of plants; and of course, some gold. I’m getting pumped up looking at photos like these:

Colorful patio designed by Nancy Pearson via Traditional Home
This deck, designed by Nancy Pearson for Traditional Home, is one of my favorite outdoor spaces of all time. It has everything – color, a live edge table, classic lighting, greenery, texture … It’s just amazing. Here’s another photo of it, up close:
Colorful patio design by Nancy Pearson via Traditional Home

Another favorite is by Kristin Jackson of The Hunted Interior, and it’s actually from last year’s Patio Style Challenge.
Patio design by The Hunted Interior via The Home Depot Apron Blog
Kristin has a great eye for mixing patterns, and doesn’t this whole space just look so welcoming? I absolutely love her DIY live edge table. In fact, I love this deck design so much that I keep catching myself subconsciously copying it, and that is not OK. Must work on that! It’s just sitting in the back of my brain all the time.

Because it’s me, there will be definitely be black, white and turquoise, like these patios (both via Ciao! Newport Beach):
Black turquoise and white patio via Ciao Newport Beach

Black white and turquoise patio via Ciao Newport Beach

And some fuchsia, like this:
Fuchsia orange and purple outdoor space via Kate Spade Tumblr

Kidding. Not quite that much fuchsia.

I’m just so excited to get started! I get more excited every time I look at the posts from last year’s Patio Style Challenge. The bloggers came up with such creative designs – I hope I can swim in that kind of talented pool!

What are your favorite outdoor spaces? Let’s see ‘em!

A Gold Gallery in the Stairway

I’ve always loved classic, ornate gold frames – whether they’re holding a mirror or an oil painting. Even before I became a certified gold freak, I consistently fell for aged detail with just the right amount of patina.

Awwww, yeah.

So, as you can imagine, when I saw this photo, I lost my mind.

My stairway isn’t quite that grand – a chandelier probably won’t be in the budget for a while – but it is quite empty, and desperately in need of decor. I went searching for more inspiration: gold mirrors clustered together, gold frames in a stairway, gold mirrors mixed with gold frames, etc. I was pleased with what I found.

Gold mirror gallery wall via Domino

Via Domino

My mom and stepfather got us off to a great start with this amazing Celtic knot mirror from Wisteria. It’s absolutely stunning in person.

Gilt knot mirror from Wisteria - Via Glitter and Goat Cheese

We hung it over the front door so we could see it from almost every room downstairs.

Next, we found this gorgeous antique-style mirror for a mere $60 on Craigslist.

Gold antique-style mirror via Glitter and Goat Cheese

And, uh, that’s all we have hung for now.

Gold mirrors in stairway via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Our canvas wedding portrait is still up, and I’m hoping it’ll work to leave it there. It’ll theoretically be the only non-gold item, which will make it stand out and look really special … ? Right? Does that work? I guess we’ll find out.

Gold mirrors and photo on canvas in stairway via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Meanwhile, I also have these two pieces on-deck.

Off-white wood mirror and gold frame via Glitter and Goat Cheese

The off-white mirror was a HomeGoods find long, long ago (you may remember it from this post). Since off-white is now a persona non grata in our house, I’m planning to spray-paint it bronze and then add some gold highlights with my trusty friend Rub ‘n Buff. If it comes out terrible, I’ll just hang it higher up. After all, we’ve got a two-story staircase to fill.

The smaller gold frame is from a fantastic antique market called Kudzu in Sandy Springs. I’m not sure if we’re going to have a piece of mirror cut to glue inside or if we’ll just leave it as an empty frame. With so much space to fill, I think using all mirrors could get really costly – and creepy – so a mix of mirrors and empty frames is probably the way to go.

Gray empty stairway via Glitter and Goat Cheese

The trick will be making such a large collection look cohesive and purposeful. Do we collect, collect, collect and then hang everything all at once? Or do we hang a little bit at a time and hope it works out in the end?

Gray stairway via Glitter and Goat Cheese

And where do we stop? Do we continue all the way around to the wall opposite the stairs? What about the wall opposite the front door?

Gray stairway with gold mirror via Glitter and Goat Cheese

I’m excited about this idea, but also totally intimidated by it. I’d welcome some suggestions!

Oh, and by the way – Happy New Year!