Create a Home: The Living Room

I'm so happy to have one room in our house completely unpacked, organized and decorated. It's only taken six months of living here, but we did it and are well on our way to finishing more! This room gave us a little grief on Saturday, watch Instagram for a few behind the scenes stories/pictures!

living room makeover

The Goal:

Every time I walked into our house before we moved in, the front room felt empty and boring to me, so I decided to add some character to it. When people come to our house, I want them to feel welcome and get an immediate sense of the fun family that we are. A lot of front rooms feel so formal to me, and while they are gorgeous, I miss the personality and charm that I know the family has and I never feel like I can get completely comfortable and relax while I'm there. So while I wanted to keep this room fairly simple, I wanted to add little pieces of our lives to the room as well so that people feel like they are part of the family and not just a temporary guest.

The Before Pictures:

entry way before pictures
front room before pictures

^^ This is the wall that is now purple ^^

Not pictured: A huge hole in the carpet between the front room and the kitchen, the really beautiful 80's light fixture hanging by the door and the strong smell of dog that ambushed our nostrils the first time (and every time) we walked in. When we first saw the house, the entire wall in the picture above was lined with house plants and that was all that was there. I had big dreams for this room and it was probably one of the least overwhelming rooms in the house so I couldn't wait to get started!

sitting room before pictures

The Plan and Process:

The main plans for this room were to paint and put in new flooring, but I also wanted to add some dimension and color to the walls. Joe, his dad, his brother and a friend all put a lot of hours into the demolition and my big project and I couldn't be more happy with the end result!

So much time was spent tearing out carpet and getting the tile out of the entryway. Once these two got a good system going, the tile didn't take terribly long, but it was slow going at first and Joe never wants to see tile again after having to take it up in three different areas of our house. He kept saying, "Before people put tile in their house, they need to think about how much of a pain it will be if they ever want to take it out!" (Except then we tiled all of the bathroom floors, put tile back in front of the garage entrance, put tile on the kitchen and vanity counter tops and in our master shower, so I guess he didn't hate it too much.) 

We also primed the floorboards with Kilz Max before we put the new flooring down so that we could get rid of the smell of dog and eliminate any odors that Howie might smell and decide to mark. When we first bought the house and would bring Howie with us to work on projects, he treated some rooms like they were outdoors because to him, that's what they smelled like. We sing praises to Kilz Max because of the noticeable difference it made to the atmosphere of the house by eliminating the stench and the fact that Howie hasn't felt the need to mark his territory anywhere that we primed with it (we didn't think to prime the concrete floor in the basement and regret that now).

Next we convinced the contractor to put our wood flooring in early so that we could get the board and batton put up before they painted. At this point, there was no power to most of our house because there were exposed wires everywhere from the renovations that the contractor was doing during the day, so at night when we'd come over to work, we had one lamp for light. Joe, his dad and his brother spent a lot of time cutting wood, measuring for perfectly spaced sections, gluing boards in place and stapling them down. This was one of the first projects that really made our house feel like home. Now I want to replace all of my baseboards and door casings with the same stuff that we put on the main floor, it looks so much more modern and I love it!

purple accent wall

The last big thing that I was insistent on having was my purple accent wall. Joe surprised me for my birthday and took me to pick out paint so that he could get the wall done by the next day. This was a project that he wasn't thrilled about, but he did it anyway because he knew how much I wanted it and he loves me. The paint went on Barney the dinosaur purple and we were both a little scared, but after a few coats and after it dried, it was perfect and added just the pop of color that I was hoping for!

The After Pictures:

entry way after pictures
front room after photos
front room after photos
sitting room after photos

The color scheme for the main floor of our house is grey/black, purple, and yellow with pops of bright blue. When I bought curtains for the sliding door in the kitchen (tour coming next month), Joe was so excited to point out to me that they matched my rug in the front room. It was like I planned it that way or something ;) The two things that people always comment on, within a few minutes of walking into our house are the flooring and the board and batton. We are really proud of all of the work that we put into our entire house, but this room especially has been one of my favorites to transform!

The Little Details:

entry table decor

The entryway was one of the most difficult areas for me to decorate. It's a fairly large area, but the wall that you see when you first walk in the door is short and I couldn't decide what to do with it. I think I went through five different plans before settling on this one, and it wasn't a fully formed image in my head when I started, I just made it up as I went. The purple and blue bolo vases were something I knew that I needed from the moment I saw them online at Target and the same thing was true for the Threshold cabinet that they're sitting on. The black reed thing in the back was a random find at Gordmans this weekend and it was the perfect final touch for this corner. I still want to find something to sit on the metal platter or even replace it, but for now, I'm content.

purple accent wall

The accent wall was actually the most difficult to decorate, forget what I said about the entryway. I spent forever trying to decide what I was going to put here because I didn't want it to be too much, but I needed something that would pop and be fun against the purple. It's the first place my eyes are drawn to when I walk in the front door so I thought about this wall a lot. I told my mom from day one that I had the perfect place to keep her upright piano and give it a loving home until I can buy one of my own. I wanted to decorate the top of it but not with too much clutter and Joe found the perfect vases to match my room on clearance at Target. My sister in law gave me the 'L' for Christmas and just last week I decided that framing it and hanging it on that wall would be perfect. On my search for a frame I found the black one for only $2! It was regularly $40 but had some dings on it (that I easily disguised with a black sharpie), was priced at $8 and rang up for even cheaper than that. I was super proud of my find because it was perfect!

family picture gallery wall

The collage wall is my very favorite part of this room and I've been planning it since the time we saw the house but even my plans for it underwent a few changes. When my friend Annelise posted a couple of state string art pallets that she made for her house on Instagram, I told her that she should consider making them to sell because I would totally buy one. We started talking back and forth about it, I picked out a string color and she made one of my most favorite pieces of decor ever!!! She also made the cute quote that goes with it, I told her to surprise me with her font choices, and it couldn't be more perfect! I knew that it needed to be the centerpiece of my collage wall and picked some of my favorite pictures of us to go with it. I will change these pictures out or maybe even add more to the wall as our family grows over the years, but I think this will always be a prominent feature in our home. Everyone who comes over comments and admires the string art and I can't rave enough about how happy I am with how it turned out!

custom string art state board

Disclaimer: I paid full price for my wall art, but the minute I saw it, I knew that I needed to feature Annelise and her custom state string art on the blog because I loved it so much! Every time she posted another piece on Instagram I got even more excited to share mine with you and let you know just how talented this lady is! Her photography and all of her homemade creations have always been a favorite of mine, but this custom decoration that is hanging in my home really blew me away. Read more about Annelise, what inspires her creations and the motivation behind her business below and find out how you can purchase a custom board of your own. I promise, you won't regret it!!

What are some of the things that you have in your front room? Why did you choose to feature them in the first place everyone sees when they come over?

annelise woodward photography

How did you get started on this adventure with your business?

I've always been an artsy person. My first love is photography which I immersed myself in for many years. After obtaining a Fine Art Degree and branching out into other forms of art, I realized that I love making things with my hands! Any opportunity I have to use power tools, I take it! My passion for beautiful rustic wood and driving my husband crazy with the sound of a hammer led me to begin making fun signs and string art!

What makes you so passionate about what you do and what you sell?

Although it may seem silly, each time I hear the excited responses from a client or customer, I become extremely excited myself! This is a huge motivator for me. In addition to that, some unexpected life trials have added to that motivation.

Several years ago my husband and I learned that we have several infertility factors preventing us from becoming parents. The realization that our desire to become parents was suddenly very dependent on finances and assistance from modern day medicine led me to put my passion for creating to work!

Tell me what makes your business/product unique?

Each of my products is hand made by me from start to finish. Although I can't take credit for growing the trees, weaving the thread or forging the nails, I'll take credit or rather responsibility for the rest. :-D With each of my products, I take care to make them something special and do my very best to make them exceptional handmade piece of artwork with each customer in mind! Many people out there make signs, string art, and other home decor that is fantastic, but with my work, I focus on fantastic as well as quality! I want you to fall in love with what I create for you, each and every time you look at it!

What is one thing you want everyone to know about your business?

Each piece of string art is custom made for each client! You pick your color, state and specific location and I will make it for you. If you're looking for something even more specific, inquire with me and I will do my best to create it for you!

Currently I am taking direct order only, but in the near future will have the option for you to purchase through my very own shop.

The proceeds from each of my products go towards mine and my husband's goal of becoming parents!