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Jan 25, 2012

Change Is In The Air

Happy Wednesday!  In honor of today marking the halfway point til the weekend, I figure I may as well talk about how we're halfway through our kitchen reno.....well not really.  But we are finished with the decision making process, and you know what they say.....deciding what to do is half the battle!

Lately casa de Gardner has been abuzz with conversation after conversation about our mini kitchen reno.  Since establishing that the cabinets are getting painted we've been trying to figure out all the other pieces to the puzzle, like what color white, and what kind of hardware to add, and what kind of faucet do we want?  This "mini" kitchen reno may end up being a little more "involved" than Naomi originally anticipated!! 

One of the biggest issues I have with our kitchen is the fact that I feel like the wood grain cabinets make the room feel dark and heavy, even with all the lights on.  They cast crazy dark shadows all over the place.  Enter exhibit A:

Painting out the cabinets in white will definitely help simmer down the darkness factor, at least visually.  They are still gonna cast shadows but at least they will appear lighter and I wont focus so much on the shadows.  To tackle the heaviness element my initial plans called for the upper cabinet door panels along the wall where the stove lives being replaced with glass inserts.  This would help reduce some of the visual weight of the uppers and its fairly easy for newbie DIYer's like us to tackle on our own.  Then I fell IN LOVE with floating shelves. 

Holy smack! Why the heck didn't I think of this earlier?  They are so perfect for me and the way I cook in our kitchen.  And here's why:

1. I'm constantly reaching for measuring cups, mixing bowls, plates, etc while I prepare meals and I gotta admit, I'm kinda lazy sometimes. So yes, its annoying to have to open and close cabinet doors every 10 seconds. (I can't be the only one? Can I?) Anything that will help cut out any exertion of extra energy is good in my book. 

2. My biggest pet peeve of all time is when cabinet doors get left open.  O.M.G. Seriously!   With no doors to open (or to forget to close) my vocal chords will get a rest from yelling at the offenders of said crime. 

3. We wont be losing any storage.  Naomi was worried about this at first, but when I explained that we would be placing the floating shelves in the exact same place that the current cabinet shelves are, she was cool with it.  We currently have 4 rows of shelves in both cabinets flanking the stove, like so:

On the left side we house our plates, bowls, mixing bowls & measuring cups, and everyday serving dishes:

On the right side we house our spices, cooking oils & sprays, and liquor (which we haven't touched since our house warming last April, might I add):

As you can see we aren't even using all the shelves we have.  The top shelves at the current height are impossible for all 5ft 5 1/2  of both of us to reach without a stool so I don't use em.  Replacing the cabs with 3 shelves on either side will ensure that we have plenty of storage while only putting up shelves we will actually use. This concept goes back to my whole living with no excess resolution. 

The solution for this is the spices will be moved to the drawer to the immediate right of the cook top which now serves as the "junk" drawer.  This leaves the 3 floating shelves on the right to house the cooking oils, glass canisters of sugar and flour (which now live in the pantry on the other side of the kitchen), mixing bowls and prep dishes, and the kettle.  The 3 shelves to the left will still house the plates, bowls and everyday serving dishes.

4.  Having all of the things we use at least 5 times a day like plates, bowls, and my everyday cooking supplies, easily accessible to us just seems like a no-brainer.

5.  I'm thinkin' that eliminating the entire row of upper cabinets and replacing them with floating shelves will put an end to my problems with the heavy feeling I get from the existing set up.

6. Simply put: Because I like them.  Really, that's the only reason I need!

In addition to taking down the upper cabinets and replacing them with floating shelves, we are also nixing the micro-over-the-range combo we currently have going on.  I don't like it and Id rather have a shiny new industrial looking range hood instead.  As for the microwave, we are going to build it into one of the existing base cabinets.  How exactly we are going to do that is beyond me at this point, but we'll figure it out. 

When its all said and done I'm hoping to have our kitchen "cooking zone" go from looking like this:

To something a little more like one of these beauties:


I know open shelving is not every one's cup of tea, but I absolutely love them.  How about you?  I know the blogoshpere is chock full of posts about em, but since I'm a bit tardy to the blogging party, its all new to me. So what do you think, are open shelves a yay or nay for you?  Until next time......


Jan 23, 2012

Ah-Ha Moments

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend.  I had a a fantastic weekend.  It was filled with kitchen dreams and scenes playing in my mind of casa de Gardner somehow becoming the poster child of a home worthy of a tribute by Martha Stewart.  Then I woke up.

I did, however, experience a few "ah-ha" moments over the weekend. Thank you Ms. Winfrey. Though they may not be monumental or ground breaking realizations, they are going to change the way we live here in our humble abode. 

 Ah-ha moment #1: We don't need a freakin formal living or dining room!  I know some of you may gasp at the thought of this.  But the reality is we just don't need one.  I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner.  I was going out of my mind trying to come up with color schemes, and design plans for a dining room when it suddenly occurred to me that we don't even use the formal dining room.  Just because the floor plan labels it as that doesn't mean that's what it has to be.

Coming into 2012  I told myself that I would start to live my life on purpose.  Part of that entails surrounding myself with things that I need and cutting our excess: No wasted space. Ive always wanted to live in a house that literally every square inch was dedicated space that we actually used everyday in some way.  We don't need a formal dining room, but we do need a library/office area.  Were lucky to have a really big dining area in our kitchen so as part of the kitchen redo we're gonna put a huge table in that area and that's going to serve as both everyday and formal dining.  I mean, why not?  When we entertain everyone always ends up in there anyway.

As for the formal living room, we've got some cool ideas for that space, too.  We aren't quite sure whats going in there yet, maybe a lounge area, or a pool table?  We'll figure it out along the way.

Ah-ha moment #2- It's my kitchen, I'll design it as I want to! Yeah, this one is a no-brainer right?  Wrong.  Well at least not to us.  As first time buyers we were warned against making any changes that were a bit too specific or personal. Because of this, we've avoided a lot of things (even in conversation) as we try to make this house our home.  The reality is: It is. our. house.  We cant predict the future, but we do know that although we initially only planned on being here about 5-6 years, we now know we will likely be here longer than that.

We have to cook in this kitchen everyday or the next ? years and it's gonna be a space we love to be in.  This goes back to that living on purpose mantra.  There's no point in paying for living in a home we don't absolutely love.  Sorry future owners but if you don't like that we took down a row of upper cabinets and replaced them with floating shelves in the kitchen, then you can just put them back up when this house becomes your home.  Until then we are doing what the heck we wanna do.  Hhhmp!

That felt good to get off my chest.  I know it was long, but, I'm a long winded person! (just keepin it real)  Have you had any ah-ha moments lately?  Do tell. Until next time......


Jan 19, 2012

Ive Got The Green Light!!!!

Hi everyone!

So I had a little convo yesterday that went a lil something like this:

Naomi: "Ok, we can go ahead and move forward with it"

Me: "Move forward with what?"

Naomi: "You can go ahead and paint the cabinets white and grey"

Me:  Emphatically jumping up and down: "Really!!!  YAAAAAY!!, wait...what made you change your mind"

Naomi: "Yes, really.  Because you have really great ideas, and I trust your judgment"

To say I am incredibly happy is a monumental understatement!!  I honestly thought we would be having the kitchen convo debate much longer, but apparently my powers of persuasion are better than I thought.  I'd like to think the fact that I have her wrapped around all ten of my fingers has a lil somethin' to do with it too, but sssshhhhh, dont tell her that!!

Anyway, the minute I got the go ahead on Operation Lets Paint the Kitchen Cabinets Because It'll Make Our Kitchen Look Way Better, I hit up an inspiration starved DIYer's best friend.  Yep you guessed it..Pinterest!! and Google, of course.  Needless to say, it took me only a few hours to come up with a design plan.  I tried my hand at the collage creator on Picasa and came up with this mood board. (Bare in mind this is only my first time :/)


I dont know how I feel about Picasa.  I found it a little cumbersome at times.  Do you guys have any good suggestions on software or websites I can use to easily create mood boards? 

Back to the subject at hand...Im really excited about our choices.  Cant wait to get started!!  Until next time........


Jan 18, 2012

Home Goals 2012

Hi everyone!

Like most of you, I've been seeing a ton of posts by my fav bloggers lately declaring their home goals for this year. I've heard the adage "write it down, make it happen" many times in my life, and I've gotta say I really think there's something to it. I'm not necessarily linking this up to anything, but I think it will be a great resource for us to use throughout the year. I think it could be a really powerful tool to use to help us make sound financial decisions as well.

Our first year here at casa de Gardner has been really uneventful. Last years goal: make it through our wedding, which we planned ourselves. Since all that wedding jazz took up all our focus and attention there was no room for anything else. I'm actually kinda glad we did nothing to the house this first year. It really gave us the opportunity to really live in our house and see how we use our spaces. Now we know exactly what needs to be tweaked to better fit our needs. I would have hated to made changes just to realize that the changes we made were either unnecessary or not for the better.

We know making our house into a home is not gonna be an overnight process and its realistically probably gonna take us a few years to get everything done. With that being said we've compiled a list of things that we think we can tackle this year. So here we go

1. The "big" project of 2012 is revamping our kitchen. Nothing too major, just painting the cabinets, adding hardware, replacing the faucet, adding a back splash, replacing some cabinet doors with glass fronts, getting bars tools and organizing the pantry.

2. Laundry room re-do- this room takes a beating. It's our daily entry and exit into and out of the house from the garage so it's our dumping ground. Right now we have nothing but the washer and dryer here so we need to come up with mud room game plan that maximizes this all important area.

3. Formal dining room makeover- as of now all we have is a table in the middle of the floor. No chairs, no buffet, no window treatments, essentially no dining room! This is definitely a must do this year, especially since this is one of the areas that greets guests as soon you walk through the front door.

4. Entryway Gallery Wall-our huge blank entry wall needs some lovin.

5. Create a purposeful office space.-Our floor plan calls for both a living room and a family room. But since we aren't a living room kinda family we are using that space for a home office/library. Problem is its part of our "welcome to our home" area so shoving a desk in front of a window and calling it a day isn't gonna work. We need to devise a plan that's gonna make it seem as though our office is intended to be there.

6. Guest room remodel- right now the guest room is the room full of mismatch furniture and the previous owners' baby pink walls....it's time for a change.

7. Paint my sons room

8. Paint the kids/guest bathroom

9. Get other furniture pieces for the house.

Things I would love to get to but probably won't:

1. Powder room remodel

2. Glass tile fireplace surround

3. Replace sliding glass patio door with french doors

I think our goals are achievable.  Now with a little bit of luck and whole lotta discipline I'm thinkin we've got it in the bag.  And yes, we do already have our home goals for 2013 and 2014 mapped out. Don't judge us!

So what are you trying to cross off your to-do list this year? Until next time......

XoXo- Shavonda

Jan 17, 2012

Decor Obsession: The Mirrored Buffet

Happy Tuesday!!

You wanna know what makes me happy? Mirrored buffets.  They are absolutely scrumptious, aren't they?  I just love them and I MUST. HAVE. ONE.

I've been wanting one of these beauties for a few years now.  To me they are one of those pieces that "makes" a room.  They emit sophistication and glamour, yet they can be sleek and modern as well.  I mean, what's not to love about them?  I'll tell you what's not to love about them...the super high price tag!  These buffets can range anywhere between $600 to upwards of $4000!  I don't know about you, but I don't have $600 to drop on a buffet table, and if I did I'm not sure I would feel comfortable spending that much on one.

They come in so many different styles such as this more vintage inspired one from Horchow:


But, my favs are ones like these:



I have an empty dining room in desperate need of a makeover and one of these babies would be the bees-knees in there.  The contrast of the white against my teal wall would be pretty fabulous, I think.  But at $3500-it ain't happenin'!  I've seen versions of them at Home Goods for around $499, but even thats too much for the likes of me. 

Ah, but alas, I may have the perfect solution. Budget is my name and DIY is my game so that means...yep, you guessed it.  I'm gonna make a Shavonda version!  The plan:  scour Craigslist, thrift stores, and yard sales to find a piece of furniture with similar lines that I can transform into the buffet Ive been wanting.  Let the search begin...

So what about you?  Is there a particular piece you've been coveting lately?  Id love to hear all about it.  Until next time.......


Jan 16, 2012

Design Delimma: The Kitchen

Ahh the kitchen.  It truly is the heart of the home.  In our case this is true both figuratively and literally.  Our kitchen sits right smack dab in the middle of our floor plan (more or less!).  Amongst a million other things its where we cook, eat, entertain, make decisions, and do homework.  In fact, the kitchen was one of the biggest selling points for us when we chose this house.  We love it-for the most part. 

Now that we've been in our house for just about a year we  have a really good idea as to what works, and what doesn't work for us when it comes to the epicenter of casa de Gardner.  I'll start with the things that we both love about it. 

***Disclaimer-I'm sorry about the lighting and the picture quality.  We don't have a fancy camera yet so the ol Apple Iphone 3G is holdin it down right now!***

We love the size and layout of our kitchen.  We really lucked out because not only is it spacious but it's also very functional as well.  We love the L-Shaped layout and the open concept because it makes for a good working triangle. We also love that our cabinetry isn't your standard height.  Ours measure in at 42" which allows for great storage space. Speaking of storage, there are 26 cabinets and drawers in which to store things as well as a great pantry to store even more things. We love the double ovens and the gas cook top. And lastly, we love the island and the dining area. We like having the sink in the island and there's a ton of space to have lots of people in the kitchen area all at once.

Functionally speaking, we wouldn't change a single thing about it.  Cosmetically speaking there are a few changes to be made.  The best part about that is since all the changes we want to make effect the look of the kitchen, we can do all the work ourselves and save a ton of money. 

1. The floors. As of right now we have the builder grade linoleum throughout the kitchen, laundry room and all the baths.  This is a cleaning disaster for Naomi because where I'm a swiffer wet jet kinda gal, shes a "let me get down on my hands and knees like Cinderella and scrub the floors kinda gal".  This lino scuffs and shows dirt worse than a mofo, too. We both agree that dark toned hardwoods are going down throughout the house.

2. The counter tops.  We both agree that the counter tops stay.  Though they aren't quartz like we would like, they are solid surface Corian and they are a breeze to clean.  They are a decent neutral color so they are good to stay for now.

3. The back splash (or lack thereof). We both agree on glass tiles to give it that extra oomph.

4. The appliances. We both agree that stainless steel appliances are gonna find their way into this kitchen some day. And we also both agree that the microwave above the stove will be replaced with a range hood.  We will probably find away to build a microwave into the cabinets somehow as well.

5. The color. How we got to this color is a story in itself but basically this was Naomi's win.  We both wanted a granny smith apple kinda color and she picked this specific one out.  We know its not for everyone, but we really love it.  Its a lot more lime than this pictures are picking up and its pretty in the natural light.  The color stays. For now.

6. The cabinets.  Ahhhh here's where the boxing gloves come out!  Naomi and I are polar opposites about a lot of things and design is one of em.  In Naomi's corner: she wants to keep them as they are. She's always liked the color and look of them. She thinks they are unique. In my corner: I hate them!  I don't like the color. I think they are too dark.  I don't like the glazing effect on them.  I think they look way to "Italian villa" to me.  Now don't get me wrong.  They are pretty.  And they would be perfect in a house with more traditional homeowners.  Naomi and I are not traditional. 

I want to paint them white.  Or maybe even do a two toned kinda thing with white uppers and light gray lowers or even just painting the island grey and all the other cabinets white.  The problem is when Naomi hears "white cabinets" she immediately thinks country kitchen.  She has images of bead board and glazing and kitchens with roosters and cows swimming in her head!.  This is what she shes:

 But I see clean, contemporary, light, bright and airy like this:

I understand her concern (kind of) but I try explaining that there's no way our kitchen will look like a country style kitchen.   For one thing our cabinets have clean lines and no ornate woodworking detail in them. And the biggest thing is our design style is not country-simple as that.  I'm really hoping she comes around to the idea because the ol "I'm the one that does pretty much all the cooking so it should be how I want it" attempt DID NOT go over very well!

Ive learned that if I want to convince her of something the key is in my ability to make her see my vision. So I'm gathering pictures and bringing up the conversation everyday because I'm determined to convince her how awesome our kitchen would look with white cabinets.  I'm even loving the look of two toned cabinets like this:

(all images found on Google)

I'm thinking if I cant get her to agree to change them to white, its gonna be a hard sell to get her to agree to the two-tone!  But hey, a girl can dream right!

At the end of the day a decision will be made, hopefully sooner than later.  For now the kitchen will have to stay as it is, but eventually it will be a space we both can enjoy.  

What about you?  Is the heart of your home a haven or a headache?  Id love hear about it.  Until next time...


Jan 14, 2012

DIY Quickie -- Strike Bottom Matchstick Holder

I love candles.  Its actually more of an obsession really.  I love them scented, colored, tapered, short, fat, long and just about any other way they come.  I have candles in pretty much every room of the house, except the kids rooms.  I also have a box of matches to accompany them in just about every room as well.  Boxes of matches are like toilet paper.  You need em but they aren't the prettiest things to look at!  Does this look familiar to you?

Ive never really thought much about having match boxes stashed away in various locations throughout the house until I found this blog post by one of my favorite bloggers, Hilary.  Its pretty genius, I think.  Her instructions were super easy so I decided to give it a go myself.  I'm happy to say it was a success!  Take a look at how I did.  Here's what you'll need:

Jar or container of choice- I'm using a vase I had leftover from our wedding that we go from Ikea
Pen or pencil
Glue (or other adhesive)
Soda Can (not pictured)              

1. Cut out the "strike-on" sections from the sides of the matchbox.

2. Determine how much you will need to cover the bottom of our jar or container.

3. Cut the pieces to size.

4. Turn the pieces strike side down & tape them together.

5. Use the bottom of the soda can as a template. Trace and cut off excess.

6. Glue the piece strike side up onto the bottom of your jar or container (you can also just tape yours on as Hilary did if you don't want this to be permanently part of your jar)

That's it!! If you used glue, make sure you let it dry before using it. 

Thank you so much, Hilary, for that awesome tutorial and for the inspiration!

Does anyone else have a neat trick or cool DIY project to share.  I'd love to hear about it. Until next time.....


Jan 13, 2012

Craigslist Deal of The Day

Have you ever ran across a deal that seemed just a little too good to be true?  I'm pretty sure we've all been there at least once.  I had a "there's no way this is actually true" moment yesterday. 

I frequently cruise Craigslist for deals on stuff for the house so when I saw an ad for dining room chairs I eagerly clicked the link to check it out.  The ad read $7/chair or $10 for both. I wasn't expecting much because in all actuality, how good could these chairs really be if they are being sold for $10 for the pair?! 

Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise.  They were actually pretty perfect!  First I was drawn to the detail on the backs of them.  Then I was happy to see they had pretty contemporary lines.  A good sanding and wood filling, some primer, paint, and a cool fabric would make these babies look like a million bucks.  I wanted them: NOW!!  I immediately crossed off details in my mental checklist:

1. Is it affordable
2. Are they constructed of a sturdy material
3. Can they easily be repaired
4. Are they within a decent driving distance

As far as I was concerned they were as good as mine.  The only issue was whether or not they were still available.  I wasn't getting my hopes up for this one.  I immediately called the seller and found out someone else was on their way to look at them, so the told me if they didn't take them she would call me back.  Feeling defeated, I hung up the phone and went back to CL cruising because I just knew they were gonna get swiped up.  To my surprise the seller called me back in about 10 minutes and said they were still available!  Later that day (after crossing my fingers  and hoping no one else would scoop them up because I couldn't get to them until later) I went and picked up my 4 legged friends.  They looked even better in person than they did on the ad.

Here they are in all their $10 glory:

They are definitely not without their fair share of scrapes and dings:

But their solid wood construction and detailing make them worth it:

The only question now is what color to paint them.  Here at casa de Gardner color is the name of the game so black or white is out of the question (at least to me).  I'm thinking of something along the lines of chartreuse or tangerine or brick red or maybe even grey?  Eh, who knows?  All I know is I'm excited to get my first furniture painting experience on! 

Right away I stumbled across some awesome inspiration pics of  a few painted furniture projects other people have tackled.  I especially love when folks step outside the box and choose bright poppy colors like in this gorgeous before and after.  Isn't that first yellow dresser AMAZEBALLS?!  The color changes the feel of the dresser completely!  It went from a traditional french provincial feeling piece to a modern wonder that easily fits into today's contemporary living spaces.  Some other great pieces I found are here and here

All I know is I cant wait to get started and I'm excited to see how they turn out. So what about you?  Do you like the look of painted furniture?  Have/Would you ever tackle a furniture painting DIY project?  Do tell!  Until next time.....

XoXo-Shavonda (and Naomi :))

Jan 12, 2012

If These Walls Could Talk

Dear Walls,

I hear your cries of loneliness and boredom and I promise you we are frantically working toward a solution to your woes of emptiness.  Please be patient with us as we devise a plan to beautify you so as to show our appreciation for the hard work you do keeping our ceilings from caving in on us. 

Your humble and ever-so-appreciative owner,

If there was a such thing as WPS (wall protective services) we would be in big trouble here at casa de Gardner.  We are guilty of neglecting our walls in a major way.  Almost every wall in our house, with the exception of the area behind the couch, and the space next to the front door, is empty.  Its not for lack of wall space, because we have plenty of it.  Most notably is the 161" alcove that welcomes you as soon as you enter the house.  Right now it's a long blue abyss of nothing-ness:

We love the space, even more so since I painted it this beautiful teal blue. The thing about it is I don't want to put just any thing on this wall (or any of our other walls, for that matter).  I'm sure the easiest solution would to be hang family photos up, right?  WRONG! Well at least in my mind.

I have a little secret.  I HATE photos on walls.  I know, I know, quit looking at me like that, sheesh!  But it's true.  This is one of my many design pet peeves.  I strongly feel that ART belongs on walls and PHOTOS belong in frames beautifully displayed on desks, tables, shelves, you get the picture.  Anytime I think of pictures on walls it instantly gives me thoughts of old wood paneled walls with waaaaaaay too many family photos all over them. *shivers in seat*  I can tolerate black and white photography, but for the most part, its a no-go for me.

I don't want to put up just any old art because I don't want it to feel too generic or art gallery-y when you first walk in, and you now know I'm not about to hang a ton of family pictures up either.  So where's the happy medium?  Naomi could pretty much care less as long as it looks good, so this gives me a pretty decent amount of creative license.

At this point all I know is whatever I do will involve the following: white frames, the letter G, ikat print, astrological signs, a mirror, and color.  We also have some amazing wedding pictures we would love to display so those will be integrated some how. 

Ive been busy pinning my heart away on my Pinterest and perusing Google images in search of inspiration photos.  Here are a few of my favs:

Not only do I have to find art for this wall, I also have to find a console table, a side chair, lamps and accessories.  Really, does is ever end? I'm thinking this "little project" is gonna end up taking a lot longer than I would like.  Oh well, at least I'm off to a good start in the ideas department.  Meanwhile, Ive got some great DIY art I'm about to work on for some of our other walls so I'll be sure to fill you all in on that as soon as I'm done. 

So, what are your walls looking like?  Are you guilty of any WPS violations as well?  I'd love to know.  Until next time....


Jan 10, 2012

Small Change, Big Difference

Like much of the world, with the New Year came our promise to get our house in order one project at a time. Amongst that list are the big projects like installing hardwood floors throughout the house, remodeling the powder room, extending the back deck and adding a pergola, and giving our kitchen a mini remodel. But alongside the larger projects are the small to-do's that inevitably make a home look, feel, and function better.

Our list includes things like (finally) getting dining room chairs, creating a photo gallery montage on that huge 9ft wide blank wall in the front room, switching out old photos with more current ones thorough out the house, organizing all the closets, hanging up some art, replacing the old loose kitchen faucet, and coming up with a better solution for our media wall. Seriously, just writing that list makes my head spin!

The first order of business in my mind: tackling that total eye sore of a media center we had. When we first moved in Naomi was adamant that we mount the TV on the wall as we had in our previous apartment. I hesitantly went along with the idea because at the time we didn't have room in our niche to fit all three pieces of our entertainment center which included the tv stand and two media towers. So, we hung the TV on the wall and placed the towers in opposite corners of the niche until we could get a tv stand with the proper dimensions to fit between them. Thankfully we soon found one at Tar-jay (where we also purchased the entertainment center) because the dangling power cords running down the wall were driving me bananas! Unfortunately, even after finding a suitable tv stand we still had the issue of those unsightly cords.

A couple days later I went to Home Depot and bought one of those cord cover thingies that could be mounted to the wall and painted in the wall color to help conceal it. This solution was better, but I still wasn't feelin it. Over time the TV had slowly crept to the left throwing it off-center, so that ALONG with those pesky cords pushed me over the edge. I finally told Naomi the tv had to come down. Her immediate answer: NO, her answer 2 weeks later: NO. Her worry was that if we brought down the tv there would be too much space above the media center and it would look like weird dead space. I understood her concerns and got to work coming up with a couple solutions to help ease her worries.

I proposed a few design solutions including installing floating shelves which would be a good looking design element AND create extra storage, OR, we could simply add some art with the right proportions which would be another good looking design element and solve her issues the with dead space.  Through my powers of visual persuasion (I literally had to draw it out for her because unlike me she has no sense of "see it in her head" design ninja abilities and since shes an analytical kinda gal she has to "see it with her eyes" in order to get it) she finally agreed to take "allow me" to take it down. (insert happy dance here)  She chose option #1  and the only stipulation is we had to have the shelves on hand before the tv could come down.

A day and a quick trip to Ikea later, with LACK wall shelf in tow, I left the store feeling accomplished in the fact that I had won the battle over the tv placement. So as it stands, the home improvement stats at casa de Gardner are Shavonda-1, Naomi-0. Oh but this is only the beginning....I may have won the battle, but the design decisions war is far from over!

So here's the before: (notice the cord cover thingie hangin out amongst the clutter)


And heres the after:

 A million times better, dont you agree?  All it took was some spackle, sandpaper, and touch up paint to erase any trace of evidence that the tv use do reside on the wall.  This was truly a small change that made a huge difference.   Next up for the media wall, tackling the dead space and coming up with a better storage solution for our movies.  We may end up revisiting the storage shelves vs. wall art conversation, but more on that later.

Have you all made any small changes that have made a big difference in your home?  Id love to hear about it.  Until next time....

XoXo, Shavonda

Hellllloooooo Blogosphere!

Hi everyone! My name is Shavonda and I'm a design-a-holic. Whew! I feel so much better now that I've gotten that off my chest. I'm incredibly excited to be an official member of blogland, USA and even more excited to share my home with all of you. So let's start with a tiny bit of background, shall we.

  My wife, Naomi, and I purchased our first house 11 months ago on Feb 2, 2011. It's a 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom, 2,000-something sq ft(more accurate stats coming soon) California tract house and we are absolutely over the moon about it. We love our house. We knew the minute we stepped foot through the door that this house was OUR house so we immediately put in an offer and it was acepted within an hour!  The house was a short sale so it was a long, frustrating, oftentimes agonizing road to the finish line, but (6 mos later) we made it and we couldn't ask for a better start to our adventures in homeownership.

Our first year in the house has been pretty uneventful. With the exception of painting a majority of the house within the first 5 days, we haven't done much to it. Though we did have a few color choice FAILS(more on that later), we've been fairly hands off. We got married in August so all of our time, energy, and money was allocated toward that DIY project. Now that we are settled in and we've lived here for a year we know exactly how we live in our house and use our rooms so we are ready to tackle our project list, which, might I add, is about 3 miles long!! Hopefully you will join me as I document our attempt to take our first house from California tract house to our perfectly colorful home!