Two Story Cottage

Family Room: New floor lamp

Dear Friends,

Back in the spring I did a round-up of floor lamps.  I was looking at the swing arm style for the family room.  Well, for once I actually placed an order instead of just virtual window shopping. I got the arched bridge arm lamp from Shades of Light. The price was doable at $179 and I wish I had pulled the trigger sooner.  I’ve had the lamp for a few weeks now and I don’t know how we lived without it.

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I use it in the evening to keep things light in the family room.  It is great for reading and a little ambiance.  It has a push button this sits on the floor – the kids love that you can turn it on and off with your foot.  Yeah, that was a fun game for a while.  Or not.


Because we don’t have room for a sofa table, the lamp helps create a more solid foundation between the family room and kitchen.  It softens the lines of the sofa and adds much needed height.


Look closely in the background and there is a sneak peek of a project I’ve been working on this summer.  I’m hoping it makes the blog next week. Summer is not a great time for blogging but it is a pretty good time for me to get some stuff done on the always growing honey-do-it-yourself list.

The striped pillows below are my original sofa pillows circa 2002.  I painstakingly picked out that fabric and those are still my colors.  I dug them out of hiding the other day – I’ll keep them around for summer anyway.


A floor lamp won’t solve the world’s problems but it has made my day to day life a little bit easier and much more pleasant.

Cheers to not sitting in the darkness.


Kitchen Fixture Re-do

Dear Friends,

I knew from the time I bought our kitchen fixture that I wanted to paint it.  That seems a little crazy with a brand new light so I let it be for a while.  And then the New Year enthusiasm got to me,  and as soon as normal post-holiday life returned I got out the paint brush.  I wanted to use a Modern Masters paint but not the shiny gold I’d used on previous projects.

I bought a nice coppery bronze from my local paint store.  I got the small size (about $14) to save money.  That stuff goes a long way!

I took off the shades which was easy enough — I just had to untwist the collar.  I didn’t even use tape for this project- the shade had the perfect lip that created a stopping point for the brush.


It took several coats but they went on easily.  I never worried about the finished product because I’ve used the paint enough to know how well it coats.



Isn’t it lovely?  I’m really digging it.   Funny, I’m not a huge fan of the fruit in our backsplash but it does seem to complement it nicely.  I got some glittery gold pinecones after Christmas for dirt cheap and I swear they sparkle with the new addition.  Also, the shades now look more oil rubbed bronze than black.  There are some hints of copper that come out.




You can see the edges aren’t perfect but we don’t worry about such things around here.  In fact, I didn’t notice until looking at the picture.

Before the roundup is complete,  I need a good before & after.  I’m not sure why the color is so washed out in the “before” but it helps the after look good!



Yep, I like it.

I’m keeping the boxwood wreath up in the kitchen post-holiday.  I like it there so it stays for now.  You may have noticed my gigantic candlestick holders posing as pillars in the pictures.  I’m still deciding if I like them.  It adds interest but now I feel like I need something else up there and I don’t want to start cluttering the top of my cabinets…

Can I just take a moment and pat myself on the back for already completing a project this month? I know it is small but this is encouraging, considering my lack of projects last year.   Baby steps, right?

Are you eager to work in the house this time of year?  I’m definitely feeling motivated.


The color is Modern Masters brass.

The original fixture was purchased here.





China Cabinet Project + Dining Room Lighting

Dear Friends,

I’m not going to be hanging any wallpaper on the ceiling in this house for now, but I still wanted to have some fun with my favorite decorating tool. The china cabinet is front and center in the dining room so I decided it deserved a wallpaper update. It also acts as a divider between the two sides or our dining space combination.


If you remember, we are trying to get a buy one get one free with our dining room by including a piano and sitting area. Ambitious to say the least.  Maybe crazy is a better term.


I felt like the china cabinet needed to be a focal point and now it is. I hung the wallpaper using command strips.  I tried two other versions of tape first but ultimately the paper fell. Now it is super secure and has been in place for over a month. The best part is that I can change my mind some day and not ruin my nice cabinet.


Yes, that is the exact same wallpaper I used at the old house.  Hey, at least it is in a new spot.  I’m boring but I figured there was no need to reinvent the wheel when I loved it and had an extra roll or two.

I decided to fill the shelves with almost all glass and crystal so as not to make them too busy with the patterned backdrop.


Also, I thought I’d show you our new chandelier. I needed something that wasn’t heavy because this space is going to be full of furnishings. I had to hang it high because it isn’t over a table so I’m glad it ended up working.

It is the Lourdes Chandelier from Ballard Designs. I just love it to be honest. I knew I wanted it and I saved a few months of Craig’s List and consignment proceeds for it.


I promise I will show you more of the room coming together. I’m saving for a banquette but I won’t make you wait until I have the funds for that.

I highly recommend the wallpaper backdrop because it took less than 30 minutes, is removable, and makes an impact.  All desirable qualities in my book!




Fun & Functional Mirrored Bulbs

I don’t know if you have noticed, but shiny things are all the rage right now.  Mirrors, brass, metal, and the list goes on.  Open the pages of your home decor magazine and there is a fab vibe of 70s chic with modern touches.   I’ll admit it – I want that look but sometimes I’m not sure about major changes based on the whirling trends of home decor.

How about a simple but dramatic switch for your lighting that is $6-$7 and requires zero effort?  I first discovered mirrored top light bulbs at Schoolhouse Electric.  I was drooling over something else and there they were.  Bam!  They were cool and I thought I’d give them a try.  I changed them out and people noticed.  I always get a ton of questions about them on the blog.  Whenever people see my pendant lights, they always ask about the bulbs.


Well, of course, I have see-through glass so the impact is there.  However,  they look awesome with any shade where you can see the bottom of the bulb.


The best part?  These bulbs have a function.  Imagine that.  They put the light up to the ceiling rather than have it casting down.  I stand right under my pendant lights while cooking (slaving over that hot stove) and this keeps my neck from feeling the heat.


It also keeps your light pretty.  In the world of confusing light bulb drama that is lighting today, I’m confident that these provide a non-weird, non-flourescent glow.


And they have that bit of funk.


Awesome sauce for sure.   And now I know you can get them on Amazon as well.  I’m all about my Amazon Prime so you can bet I’ll be ordering more mirrored bulbs.

Make a minor change here or there and you can update your look without breaking the bank.  Or perhaps you have commitment issues like I do – either way this fits the bill!



Decorate With Plug- In Sconces {On the Cheap}

Dear Friends,
   As you know, I have really focused on lighting in our house.  It was too dark to start with but now we have enough task lighting to make it manageable.  Of course, paint and decor changes have helped.  Lamps have made our house more warm and cozy which is a key factor for us.  Now that I realize how valuable extra lighting is, I want to keep going.

One way to do that?  Plug-in sconces.

  • They don’t require an electrician or electrical work. 
  • They can be moved on a whim.  Cough.
  • They add a custom look to your decor.  
  • They add dimension where you may need it.  
  • They don’t take up valuable floor and table space.

The best part? They aren’t particularly expensive. Starting at $38 below.

plug-in sconces under 100
Jerry Antiqued Bronze Wall Sconce  

Metro Ii Bronze Wall Sconce
Adair Sconce
Academy Task Sconce

plug-in sconces under $ 150
Charles Bronze Wall Sconce
Sumner Sconce
Sumner Sconce
Madison Glass Pendant Sconce
Barclay Arc Sconce
Adjustable Arc Sconce
Brocade Double Sconce
Academy Task Swing-Arm Sconce
Adelle Sconce
Clapton Swing-Arm Sconce

plug-in sconces

Peterson Task Sconce

Duncan Antiqued Bronze Wall Sconce

The above prices don’t include shipping or tax. OR coupons. 
Never buy anything online without a coupon code!
Prices are subject to change.

FYI, most of the sconces come in more than one color combination.

Right now, I plan on adding a couple of plug-in sconces to the family room. I’d love to do one in the hall and another in the living room (study?) but I’ll have to space it out for the sake of my pocketbook.

The cord is an obvious decorating concern but often there is an extension rod to hide it. Also, a cord can be hidden along moulding or behind furniture. It just takes a little creativity!

Do you have plug-in sconces? Are you a fan?

New Lighting {Kitchen & Family Room}

Dear Friends,
   My birthday came early this year.  The big day isn’t until the end of the month but my in-laws generously gifted us with the light that I was coveting for the family room.  So, goodbye fan.  I didn’t feel your cool breeze ten feet in the air.  And your light was stingy at best. You were certainly an attractive, craftsman style beauty (for a fan) so I’ll give you that.

Hello, Not-A-Fan.  I love your 15 bulb capacity.  And your brilliant light reminds us that no, we are not nocturnal after-all even if we do squint like little moles while we get used to your heavenly glow.

That light was a beast to put up.  We left it to the professionals and I still had to hide in the other room because I was having serious anxiety watching the cirque du soleil take place in my family room.  
I splurged on a new kitchen lantern after saying I wasn’t going to. I no longer had to save for a family room chandelier, so why not?  I can justify with the best of them.
Why, yes, that lantern was featured on Catalog Friday a while back.  🙂
I’m glad I decided to change up the kitchen light.  I really liked the other one but it didn’t fit as well with the kitchen’s new look. I’m selling it on Craig’s List along with the fan so I will be reimbursed for most of it.
Lighting for the new house?  Check.  It feels good to cross something totally off the list! 
Sources for the kitchen lighting can be found here.
Sources for the family room lighting can be found here.

Lighting for the Kitchen

Dear Friends,
      My kitchen is starting her makeover this Friday!  Yes, she is a girl, no explanation necessary. I’ve got paint and that is the first step for any transformation.  Like an after-breakup haircut, a brand new paint job will give her an all- new look.   Paint is the first step but if she is getting the full treatment we might as well swap the lighting and make it a package deal.

Over the island:
I’ve ordered a lantern from Ballard Designs.  It has a similar look to the iron that is on our staircase.  I am trying not to stray too far from the craftsman touches in our house.

I ordered the large Carriage House Chandelier for $199.  I had a 15% off coupon which made for an okay deal.

The mosaic pendants are super cool but they don’t mesh with her new look.  I’ve ordered replacement glass shades from Schoolhouse Electric.  Not having to replace the whole light is a money saver.

The hand-blown glass shade is just right.  My pendant has a 2.25″ fitter which coordinates with smaller shades.  This shade is slightly bigger than the standard “mini” and I love the shape!  Lowe’s has a great selection of pendant shades but they were smaller than I was looking for.

 Removing the shade:  I had no idea how to remove the shade but I lucked out because it was easier than I thought.  It is not often I say those words!

 I untwisted the round metal “piece” like I would the coupler on a garden hose.
 The washer came off with it.

One day soon, I’ll do a post on the many lights that were in contention.  I have a folder of potential candidates.  I struggled with getting rid of the current lights because they are nice. It was an easy decision in our cookie cutter builder-grade house but replacing quality is more difficult.  I decided that making our house home is good enough rationale.  And good enough works for me.  
Have you replaced any lighting in your home?

Lighting Options in the Family Room

Dear Friends,
            Oh, it is such a relief to return to home decor.   This week I’m looking at lighting in the family room.  When I showed you our progress, I bypassed the ceiling fan.  We are the owners of one seriously handsome ceiling fan. Attractive or not,  it just doesn’t put out enough light.  And having the fan so high in the air makes the purpose null.  The whole look I’m going for in the room would be pulled together nicely with the right chandelier.

         I have spent a booty load of time searching for the one since moving in.  The hitch is the size that I want.  Because the ceiling is so cavernous I want something with some presence.  But beefcakes don’t come cheap apparently.  The going rate is between $500-1200.  No kidding.

At 35 inches in diameter, this light will do the job.  A 15 light chandelier should help keep things nice and bright.   I looked at maybe 1000+ lights before I stumbled upon this one and it was love at first click.

I am still debating because of the price.  It will be around $400 after my coupon but it was originally $1200.  I have checked out the Restore and a couple of other places here in town but nothing is the size that I want.  I might end up shelving the kitchen lighting for a few months if I go this route.

Decisions, decisions!  I’m a waffler.

Here are some of the lights in the series.

All of these lights can be found at Bellacor and Amazon.   Below are some others that I liked that were a little pricier.

Do you have a favorite?

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