Who Knew We’d Get Into HVAC Repair?

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone on the latest happenings over at the cottage. We now have (most of) a ceiling downstairs! With the help of our wonderful friends Andrea and Jonathan, we were able to get the ceiling up and installed. I’d like the thank the Minty Ninja for her not-so-flattering picture of us accomplishing this:

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Yep, we had two people on each ladder, got up close and personal, and really used those yoga muscles to get all the drywall up on the ceiling. But what’s cool is that now we have this too:

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Oh yeah! That’s lighting in the living room. You can see that we still have to mud and texture the walls downstairs, but we’re on our way. Plus, we now have a working air conditioner. It only took us a couple of hours to repair a part that popped, then to sift through the THREE — yes, I said three — documents that came with the HVAC unit itself, the vacuum pump, and the other gadgets we used. But it worked on the first try, so I could that as a complete success. The only problem is that we have to upgrade the solar power system to really reap the benefits.

Here are a few more pictures of our shenanigans around there:


Sexy Orange Decor

So continuing on in my series of chakra-inspired decor, we move onto the sacral chakra, the orange chakra. Creativity, procreation, directing one towards the self, food, sex, pleasure: these are the forces and influences associated with this chakra.

Once again, my search for decor ideas took me to Pinterest (don’t you love it?!), and boy have I got some great images for you, and yes, they’re all very sexy.

Sexy Bedroom

Sadly, I have no idea where this image comes from originally (the one drawback of Pinterest, in my opinion). It’s one of my favorites, though.

Isn’t it gorgeous? The plaster walls are amazing, and if you look at the floor, it looks like it’s half brick and half honeycomb tiles. Swoon! Is there anything more seductive in a bedroom than silk, lace, and a canopy bed?

Peacock and Tangerine

peacock and orange couch - Google Search

I love, love, LOVE this combo via Home Design Note. Hello herringbone hardwoods!

I wish this image was larger, I really do. The artwork above the rockin’ sofa would be interesting to catch a better glimpse of. These colors work really well because blue and orange sit directly opposite one another on the color wheel, and in these rich jewel tones, it’s not abrasive. Rather, it’s energizing and alluring.

Conversation Starter

If I walked into a friend’s home and found this chair sitting in the corner, I’d have to hear the story:

I'm obsessed with orange.

I found this one via Haven and Home. Pop over there in a bit and check out the other orange decor Marianne Strong loves. I’m so into this image for several reasons: the chair looks like it has a story (and you know how I love a good story!), but it’s not just that. The floor has a nice subtle glow to it that grounds the space with an orange hue, and the charcoal walls are a more subdued version of the blue-and-orange combo above.

Eclectic and Bold

Finally, I had to include this room, which I found when writing my red chakra post last month:

I love this eclectic living room. White, black and red but with so many patterns and textures.

I have always been a sucker for vintage advertisement posters, and if I could somehow jump into the picture to steal the rug, it’d be gone. This room is an amazing mix of modern, traditional, and even shabby chic. The glass coffee table (tables?) gives you a place to set a wine glass and helps to define the seating space without taking away from the gorgeous rug. I wouldn’t have thought to pair the tufted sofa with the very modern one directly across, and the mercury lamps on the rustic sideboard is a perfect combo. It looks like the room is very tall and the posters are just incredible next to the huge windows. I love everything about this room.

Do you decorate with orange? If so, how do you like to add it to your home?

Red Decor Ideas

I found this lovely image on Pinterest and it got me thinking:



Why not write a series of decor posts inspired by the chakras? Cool design inspiration, right?

Naturally we need to start at the bottom with the base chakra. This one’s red and houses the grounding spirit forces in the body. The color is indicative of our life force, self-confidence, courage, and security. (Who doesn’t love some security in their home?)

With that in mind, I found some wonderful examples of red used as a grounding force in the room. Let me know what you think!

Pretty Guest Bedrooom

I really like this first one: red, black, and white.


I tried to get the link for it, but I received a 503 message instead. Whomp, whomp. The red here provides such a great foundation and I love the fluidity of the large scale pattern under the white bed. This is a nice use of a white antler chandelier juxtaposed with the almost Regency bedside lamps. This space feels quiet and restful. I think it makes for a great guest bedroom.

Sexy Master Bedroom

We have Lushhome to thank for this sexy bedroom:

black and white themed bedrooms | ... ideas for bedrooms, black and white bedroom, black-white and red rooms

A bit of glam, a touch of pattern, and a punch of red. Love this seductive space!

Casual Dining Room

You know I love Scandinavian-inspired design, so when I found this over at etxekoDECO, I totally fell for it:

I love the shine to the red chairs and the bold stripes of the pillow on the rustic chair here in the bottom right corner. The sweet curtains in the background are a nice touch too!

Eclectic Artist’s Retreat

This is a room from artist Julian Schnabel’s home, featured in Vanity Fair. Follow this link to see more of the images. I’m so in love with the entire home!

Palazzo Chupi

This is a gorgeous use of blue against the red terra cotta tiles and the elongated red damask chair. I can haz?

Cozy Kitchen

I have no clue where the next kitchen is from, but I kinda love it. Let’s just get rid of that rug in front of the sink…

Loving the wainscoting and the red cabinets.  Am I getting old?

Roosters are SO not my thing.

Chic Patterns

Here’s a pretty little room that was featured on Style At Home:


Again, this is a great use of blue and red together. Isn’t the glass coffee table to die for? I’m also loving the little end table; it reminds me of Moroccan architecture.

Have you used red as a grounding force in your home? If so, send me pictures!!

Unique Wall Decor

Walls need decoration! Art pieces are like the jewelry of a room. They can make or break it, and the perfect pairing yields amazing results. Yet, the last thing anyone wants is a room to look like it’s straight from a big box furniture store. Generic is so boring. Your wall decor should be meaningful and it should communicate something about the people who live there.

So I did some Internet searching for unique wall decor to help get those creative juices flowing. Then, you’ll find a gallery of some of the decor that graces the walls in our home, because I’m all about sharing.

Fun Wood Art

Let’s get started with these beauties:


Although similar painted wood slices can be found on Etsy, creative types (I’m looking at you, readers) can make these to coordinate with the colors already in your space. Check out The Bloomin’ Couch for more DIY ideas!

String Art – YES PLEASE!

Can we just stop for a second and regard the awesomeness that is string art?! I absolutely love it. Let’s just say that if someone felt compelled to make a piece for me, I wouldn’t be upset. (No pressure!) Check this one out, featured on Urban Bedou Girl:



Funky Danish Inspiration 

I honestly don’t know how I feel about the next option, but I present it as an example of truly thinking outside the box when it comes to adorning your walls. Vtmonen.com features this interesting take on wall decor:

What do you think, fair readers? It’s interesting and I think in the right room it would work, but its playfulness suggests that maybe a game room or casual study would work best. It definitely feels a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place.

Pretty Paint Chip Art

And last but not least, this awesome space featured on Houzz: I LOVE the juxtaposition of the modern paint chip art, framed in curved moulding to reinforce the arch. The pared-down furnishings with the traditional light fixture , hardwoods, and marble floors make me want to sigh at the beauty. Did I mention that I LOVE this room?!

And Now…

As promised, here are some of the things that adorn our walls at home. Each has its own story and each is well loved:

  • The window was found in the goat house over at the manor.
  • Mike collected stained glass for a while, and these pieces are two of my favorites.
  • The tree painting was painted by my deceased grandmother. It hangs in my office against the book page-covered wall (more on that later!).
  • The black jade eagle is something Mike picked up on his travels.
  • The Geisha scroll is a souvenir from my stay at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, and the fan was something I picked up while I lived in Japan.
  • Directly opposite the fan hangs a replica of a calendar found in King Tut’s tomb. Mike picked it up when he visited Egypt a few years back.
  • Finally, the branch and frame hangs over one of our couches. We salvaged it from the manor and the guys were about to saw it up before I stopped them. It’s one of our favorite pieces. I love how sculptural it is!

Rustic Scandinavian Design

So it may not be the “official” name for the style, but you know what I mean. This style is crisp and rustic all at once. There’s lots of brightness, white finishes, and natural elements. It looks like a rich girl’s Ikea. Colors like navy blue and chocolate brown work their way in there. I’m so in love with the rustic Scandinavian style.

Just look at this beauty:

Rustic Scandinavian House With Character

You can find the rest of the rooms here at Decoholic. My favorite room is…well, really, how can I have a favorite room? The living room (above) is extraordinary, but I’m kind of in love with the second story office that feels like a tree house.

Check out this home featured on Skonahem.com. Don’t you just love the natural elements?

The grey and white look so fabulous when combined with the furs, rough wood accents, and antlers. So great!

Here are some of my favorite finds that would make excellent additions to your Scandinavian-inspired room. The links are listed below the gallery:








Here Comes the Sun…and AC!

We were SO happy to have Matt back in town for a couple of weeks. There were lots of Munchkin games, a bunch of dancing, and much general silliness. There were also several projects completed. Check it out!

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We finally have a proper rack for the solar panels, and room for two more! It took all three of us to move the panels around (it’s a good thing I’ve been workin’ out lately!), but the hard work was SO worth it. Mike & Matt planned the rack out and Matt just took care of it. And in record time, too! He’s a pretty awesome carpenter.

We moved ahead on a lot of the drywall, upstairs and down. I’ll get a picture next time I’m out. We have almost one full wall completed downstairs, and I’m nearly done building the half wall out on the second floor, with help and a lot of laughs from our buddy, Cori.

Perhaps the most exciting part–because it gets hotter than Hell down here in Texas–is the ductless AC/heater unit we’re installing. It’s not operational yet, but will be shortly. Check it out:

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When I lived in Japan, these units were EVERYWHERE and they work really well. The above picture is the outdoor unit (with its ridiculous amount of hoses and wires). The image below is the unit inside. We had to put up part of the wall to install it, and we’ll have to pull the unit down to finish out the ceiling and the wall behind it, but we’re not going to fry this summer. And really, that’s the important thing.

2014-03-26 16.17.05


Get Ready for a Shower of Compliments!

Get it? Today I thought I’d bring you a load of fun and funky shower curtains, because:

  1. We need ’em
  2. They give us the opportunity to think outside the box

Let’s start with some flowers, because it’s Valentine’s Day!

Colorful shower curtains liven up a grown up bathroom for the little ones without costing a fortune

Can you believe this Gerber Daisy shower curtain can be had for a few bucks and a trip to your local Wal-Mart? Believe it.

Flowers Shower Curtain

This beauty is available over at Joss & Main. I love the big, abstract flowers featured on this curtain!

Amsterdam Flower Shower Curtain by CubaJunky2

Nab this one over at CafePress! So fresh and cute.

Here are some chic patterns for the sophisticated showerer:

DIY DECOR TIP:: (two shower curtains and a valence makes a boring bathtub elegant !!!). | interiors-designed.com

Two curtains and a valance are used here to up the wow factor of this shower featured on Interiors-Designed.

Zigzag Shower Curtain (coms in different colors)

Oh Urban Outfitters! How my inner hipster loves you!

For that matter, here are a few others from Urban Outfitters:

Shower curtain!

Who doesn’t love a happy elephant?

Plum & Bow Forest Critters Shower Curtain

Or, you know, foxes?

And here are some designs from Anthropologie:

Octopus Garden Shower Curtain  #anthropologie

(Insert “Release the Kraken” joke here:____________)

Jardin Des Plantes Shower Curtain

Love this Jardin Des Plantes shower curtain!

And ModCloth has this beauty for all those shower singers:

Singin' In The Shower Curtain - LOVE! Watch out, future children, you just may see this every day in your bathroom =)

Do you think Gene Kelly would approve?

And finally, this literary-inspired gem found by the writers of BuzzFeed:

A literary shower curtain. | 22 Things That Belong In Every Bookworm's Dream Home

So which curtain is your favorite? Please feel free to share photos in the comments!

Meg Winkler is a writer from Dallas, Texas. Her works include interior decor articles, luxury lifestyle publications, and cooking advice. She is also the author of Wake of Darkness, Transmissions from Dating Land, Revolution 2, and co-author of Ruins of North Texas.

Design Theory: Transitional

So what the heck is transitional decor? Basically it’s a mix of traditional and contemporary styles, but it’s not that simple. I thought it might help to have some visual aids as I write, so I pulled some pictures from Pinterest to help illustrate the interior decor style. Be sure to follow me over there for up-to-the-minute posts!

Unfortunately, I don’t know where some of the pictures are from, but if you do, please let me know! I like to give credit where it’s due.

Transitional decor borrow the formality of traditional and then makes a left turn. The style offers a lot of flexibility. In talking with interior designers, transitional homes give you the opportunity to style a few rooms in a formal way while allowing other spaces — like the family room and the kitchen — to relax a little bit.

This living room is such a great example of  transitional decor. Note the formal arrangement of the seating juxtaposed with the very linear silhouettes of  each piece. The tufted ottoman bench grounds the space and reduces the formality of the room. The sofa’s clean lines are reminiscent of contemporary designs, but in that 1920s kind of way. The light fixture is playful and the decorator/designer has even set a vase on the floor next to the corner lamp. The color palette is pretty contemporary; each hue is closely related to the other. Nothing feels over-done in this living room.

This dining room was created by interior designer Tobi Fairley and was featured on Traditional Home. The transitional state of this room is a bit more subtle. The tufted walls suggest Hollywood Regency style, but the pillows and draperies are very linear. Without the surrounding furnishings, they would definitely have a less formal feel. The chairs and the high-gloss table, paired with the AMAZING light fixture, are what really stand out here. The table and chair combination is a gorgeous example of Mid-Century Modern influences, and the space is probably one a modern-day Betty Draper would kill for. Here we’ve got similar colors in the chairs, tufted wall, and paint color. The color of the table top is reinforced by the brown stripe in the draperies and matching pillows, so it creates a soothing yet formal place to gather. Did I mention the light? Do want!

Would you look at this bedroom? Gorgeous! Grey-on-grey with white mixed in, and then the pop of that yummy coral and hot pink. I love the acrylic legs on the bench (no, you don’t have to have a tufted thing if you’re doing transitional, it just worked out that way here) and I love how they coordinate with the fun chandelier. This space is a little less formal than the living room and dining room presented above, but you can see the similarities here for sure.