Two Story Cottage

New Adventures

Dear Friends,

Do you know what I can’t stand?  Cliff hangers.  I don’t enjoy my favorite shows ending for the season with a giant “what the heck?” I feel like my life this fall has been all about jumping off the ledge without knowing what will happen.  For a planner like myself, taking risks doesn’t come easily but it does bring a sense of adventure.

When I started this blog, I specifically pictured myself fully engaged when both kids were in school.  The funny thing is I think I had more time with the kids at home.  School life is a lot of shuffling and running around like a dog chasing its tail.  Regardless, blogging has brought me a new opportunity.

A job that I could not have dreamed up if I’d tried.   Since school started, I’ve eased into my new part-time position as a designer with a small firm here in Charlotte that works on model homes.  There are so many aspects and there is so much to learn.  There are over 100 vendors that we have a relationship with and I’m in the process of getting a feel for each of those.  I’m learning new computer and software things.  I’m trying to keep up and my brain is working overtime all of the time.  For the most part, I work when the kids are in school but I can see that I’ll be walking the fine line of trying to balance my obligations.

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L to R: Caracole, Rowe Furniture, Wendover Art

I did get to go to the High Point Market for two full days.  It was eye opening.  And tiring.  No, I didn’t meet Chip or Joanna Gaines but I saw their showroom which really showcased the Magnolia Homes style.  Elsewhere, I saw plenty of fabulous furniture and things I’d classify as hideous but are sure to please someone.  I’m being challenged but am learning every day.  I’m knee deep in all things design which feels like a dream.

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Top Three: Miles Talbott Bottom Three: Magnussen Home, Ink + Ivy, Caracole 

It feels like a comic strip where I’m moving in slow motion but the days are in full time fast forward.  I don’t plan to abandon this journey because blogging has done so much for me.  I can’t promise regular posts but I intend to keep you updated.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy ride.

-Erin

 

 

This Little Piggy went to Market

Dear Friends,

Yes, I just referred to myself as swine in a public forum.  I’m punchy because it is the end of another long week but for once Sunday can’t come fast enough.  I’m having the ultimate wish granted for a design junkie like myself.

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 adorable painting from WaterInMyPaint

I’m heading to market.

Now if you have to ask what market I’m referring to, we might not be on the same wavelength. Because the High Point Market is the only market I know and I’m going this weekend!  You may be thinking I’ve wandered away from my design hobby because my posts have been few and far between.  However, quite the opposite has happened.  I’m knee deep in projects and have been so wrapped up that blogging got lost in the shuffle.

It happens.

Anyway, for me the furniture market is as good as it gets.   I’ve dreamed of browsing the endless array of vendors for years.  YEARS.  I’ve followed along on instagram and drooled over other people’s pictures with longing – knowing the furniture kingdom is less than two hours away.  A forbidden fruit scenario.

I know it is going to be loooong.  And tiring.  My purse will hurt my shoulder and my feet will feel like they are tied to cinder blocks.

But I’ll be smiling all the way through.

I can’t wait to share my very first experience with you guys.  And tell you about my new job…

Oops. Did I let that slip?

-Erin

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
-Erin

 

Potential Floor Lamps that Won’t Break the Bank

Dear Friends,

We are coming up on the one year mark in the city house which has shocked me into action on a few to-do list items.  I’ve wanted more lighting in the family room for awhile now but I can’t do table lamps on my garden stools.  I’ve started searching for the right floor lamp and of course there area a zillion options.

I’ve settled on the bridge or swing arm type to go next to our sofa.  A taller, classic floor lamp could block the TV from the kitchen (gasp).  The other adult in our household would not go for that and besides it wouldn’t work anyway.  The other option- a pharmacy type of lamp- just doesn’t have enough presence for that area.  I tried our old one there just to be sure.

I specifically want an adjustable lamp so that I can get the just-right height which may take some trial and error.   I’m also looking to spend around $200 but anything less than that would be even better.

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I’m sure I want oil rubbed bronze or black for the family room.  Many of the lamps do come in a nickel finish though. I’m stuck on the second lamp right now- the price is right and I like the style.  The last one is pretty fab but I’m not sure it will work.  I really want to make a decision on this instead of browsing all of the options and doing nothing.  I’m really good at spinning my wheels that way.

I’ll keep you posted!

-Erin

 

Fun Sheet Sets

Dear Friends,

This blog was born out of a love of catalogs.  That and a lot of daydreaming while I was tied to home base with a newborn and a two year old.   My days are no longer spent confined to nap schedules or legislated by nursing times but I still love to flip through a catalog with a wandering eye.

I’m a daydream believer I guess.

What has caught my eye lately is fun sheet sets.  They are just so- fun.  By all accounts, I’m a “grown-up” and probably less adult for using that phrase.  Regardless, I’m attracted to whimsical things and always have been.  Therefore, any cheerful print on a set of sheets is enough to make me smile.

If they would make me a morning person, I might actually buy them.

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Some of these are from kiddo stores but in most cases they fit all bed sizes.  Others are from your regular retail store but geared toward those of us that can’t seem to grow up.

Sheet sets are rarely inexpensive. Even my Target sheets seemed spendy at the time. Regardless, if you are like me and don’t buy new ones for at least 5 years (or more),  it seems like a decent deal in the long run.

I’m not much on thread count or the type of cotton – clearly I’m a pattern girl.  As long as it is comfy I’m sold.

Happy Hump Day,

-Erin

 

Lockers for Reid

Dear Friends,

I had a lucky shopping day at Hobby Lobby recently.  My local store isn’t particularly close so I’m doubly glad to hit pay dirt when I go.  I love their selection of knobs and paper crafts. However, this go around I got a bedside table for Reid.

Call it a nightstand or a set of drawers but Reid is quite proud of his new “lockers.”

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I just thought the metal baskets were too cute to pass up.  I got home and it looked like I had painted them to go with his room.

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Just happy luck and we’ll take it.  His room is slowly coming together.  I’ve got other ideas floating around in my brain.

Reid has decided to store his important sports stuff in those drawers which works for me.  I’m in with love anything that involves enthusiastic cleanup.   Now, if only I could get Lacey so excited to put things away…

-Erin

 

New Kitchen Decor

Dear Friends,

Christmas came in February this year. Back in December, I picked out a couple of marble cutting boards as a gift from my parents.  They ended up backordered and I got them two months post-holiday.  Honestly, what is more fun than a surprise gift that you’ve almost forgotten about?

I don’t actually need cutting boards but I was taken by the design of these.

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The cutting boards were on clearance at Wisteria.  I love that catalog.  They have the neatest things and they always have good sales.  Those boards are very heavy and are even better quality than I could have imagined.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but I knew they had called my name.  I propped them here and there but never found the right spot.  Also, I didn’t want them falling over on anyone’s fingers.

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A couple of weeks ago I decided to hang them and I’m sold.  I used gorilla hangers but eventually I might buy some fun little hooks to hang them from.

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I’m such a believer in things coming together over time.  Maybe if I wait long enough this kitchen will be just what I envision.  I’m pretty happy with it now though.  It is amazing what a difference a few small changes can make!

-Erin

 

 

 

 

This & That Monday: deals, dinner, and a work in progress

Dear Friends,

Happy Monday.  It is unusually exciting here because Mr. C is home after a looong business trip.  We did pretty well for the first several days but by day seven I was in survival mode. Kudos to all of the single moms out there. Or the Moms with husbands who travel on a regular basis.  It didn’t help that spring sports (softball & t-ball!) started this week plus we had a birthday and a time change.  The kids were overtired and alternating between hyper and cranky which was driving me to the brink.

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Last week our gas was turned off by mistake.  The gas company mixed up our account with someone else’s and bam, I had a notice on the front door that we had been shut off.  That involved a lot of phone calls and a gas man at my house at 9:30 at night.  All of that stuff seems to happen when Mr. C is not here!  Without gas there is no heat, no range, and no hot water and that is not good.  It did remind me to be thankful for that service although I was cursing them on the inside.

Luckily, peace has returned.  I’m looking ahead on the calendar to spring break in a few weeks! I can’t wait – we are traveling which is highly unusual for us but exciting all the same.  I’m thrilled and nervous because we are going on our very first cruise.  A Disney cruise which is a forever dream of mine.  I say mine and not ours because Mr. C isn’t sure about the whole cruise thing.  He is convinced we will be shipwrecked or get dysentery (Oregon Trail, anyone?).  Don’t forget food poisoning.  We watch a lot of Dateline around here so we are fully prepared.  He is being a good sport though and I know he will love it. He better because this is our vacation for 2015.  Remind me of that this summer when it is 105 degrees.

Any cruise tips for me?  I desperately need some cruise wear in the form of swimsuits or cover-ups or cute little dresses.  Not my favorite shopping to do but I guess a little pre-vacation suffering is in order.

 

target swimsuits

I got the kiddos a couple of bathing suits from Target. Last week they were buy one, get one half off.  If you missed that, this week they are 10% off with the cartwheel app.  I always have to size down with bathing suits for both of them – they are narrow waisted and we don’t want any hinies shining.

I saw the cutest shower curtain online the other day when I was browsing sales.  Reduced to $18.99 from $68 at Serena & Lily .  Adorable and not needed here but I know someone out there could use it.

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We have been working on a pretty big project that I can’t wait to show you.  Sneak peek for the week and that is Mr. C’s study if you can’t tell from the picture.  He is going to have a true man room.

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We had beautiful weather this weekend which gave us spring fever.   It is raining today though and I thought I’d squeeze another soup night in before winter is truly over.  I’m trying sausage corn chowder tonight.  I’ve gotten quite a few recipes from Mix & Match Mama and they have all been yummy.

Cheers to a good week, friends!

-Erin

Family Room Update: Game Table + Conversation Area

Dear Friends,

The just-right table is here.  She will forever be known as Three Hold Sally.  Some people name their cars- I name my furniture, especially when it has a story.  I’m so happy she is here and I must say Sally has settled in nicely.

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conversation_area

Those slipcovered chairs are a hot mess.  That is not news to me, friends.  They are a wrinkled, ill-fitting, tired pile of fake linen.  However, with a lack of storage it is nice to have a spot for my two extra dining chairs.  I’ve got ideas for new, tailored slipcovers with perhaps a little pattern on the skirt.

Pillows could work too.  I’d love a pop of color over there.

drop_leaf_table

drop_leaf_game_table

My kids actually played Memory at the table the other night.  I had a moment.  It really was truly functional.  Do I sound surprised? Also, there were no Memory cards playing hide and seek under the rug or yellow chair.  Who knew the table could promote fairness and prevent cheating?  Solving the world’s problems one accent piece at a time.

I wish I’d taken a picture.  A tried and true action shot but I’ll try to remember next time.

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I think there is plenty of space between the yellow chairs and our little conversation area.  It helps break up the room and adds an anchor to that area beside the windows.  It is no longer a lost alley of nothing.  I think the finish on the table brings together the different wood tones that I have.  I don’t plan on painting it but never say never.

Bring on the Monopoly.  I might need popcorn for that.

-Erin

 

 

A Tale of Three Tables

Dear Friends,

I’ve been ready to slap my credit card down on two different tables for the family room.  Both times I was giddy with “this is it” only to tuck the plastic back in my worn wallet pocket.  First off was a Grandin Road table that had me at hello.  The minute I saw it in recent catalog I was hooked.

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Those lines are just beautiful.

It is unique and chairs could tuck underneath which was my original thought with a game table.  I kept an eye on it but was waiting for a sale.  Well, bam, the sale hit and I waited until almost midnight to make the purchase.  All of a sudden my computer was loading and then it wasn’t.  And then it lost the connection and you know how that goes.  Honestly, I probably could have gotten it back in the cart despite being out of the official sale window but I was traumatized by the sudden disconnection.  I had lingering doubts about the width being too narrow for games or puzzles and I was sure the universe was messing with my internet.  Also, it was slightly out of my brain budget.  (the price point I’d been thinking in my head)

Enter the second table.


tiger_maple_dropleaf_tablevia

An antique dropleaf at the Tobacco Barn in Asheville.  The guys yelled “closing time” right when I saw her.  She was perfectly vintage and oh-so farmhouse cool.  And the drop-leaf idea was perfection for a game table.  The dimensions worked and everything.  Mr. C and I were trying to load it in a cart when a neighboring booth manager told us that the table was broken. Sure enough, it was but with antiques that is common.  However, when pushed for time I couldn’t commit to the broken table.  I deleted the picture off of my phone afterward because I was mad but she looked just like the one above.  Except there were cigarette burns and it was broken.

Yeah, that.

So I gave up.  Threw in the towel.

family_room_left_1

I told Mr. C I was putting my trunks back in that spot because the game table wasn’t happening.  I’d moved them at Christmas and never returned them thinking I’d find another solution. I had already given up on the console idea with ottomans underneath because of the dimensions.   I love that look but it simply wasn’t going to work no matter how many times I measured, hoping to magically gain a few inches.  I was back to the drawing board on all accounts.

Or so I thought.  The third time is the charm it seems.

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The perfect table was residing in a local shop here in town.  It was a drop-leaf, under $300, and had beautiful coloring.  My heart leaped when I saw it.  It was everything I had envisioned and was staged as a game table. Just what I had been scouring the internet for.  And she had not one, but TWO hold tags on her.

Spoiler alert. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

I put a third hold on the table, waited impatiently for my turn to buy, and thanked my lucky stars when the holding period was over.  I’m not sure why either party decided to pass on the table but I’m 99.9% sure it was fate.

Next week, I’ll show you how she looks in her new home!

-Erin

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