Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Musical Inspiration

Before I can post anything about each room in our house, I need to share a special detail about our house that I will be mentioning in all of the posts.

Since the very beginning of the house building process, I've had my mind on the interior design. It's a fun and creative, but it also is a concrete activity that can kept my mind occupied whenever we had trouble before and during construction.

Even though it was a fun distraction, it wasn't always distracting in a good way because there are so many choices out there, and I didn't know where to start. It got to be a little overwhelming trying to make decisions. 

But Chris solved the problem one night last summer. We were still living in Suffolk, and I was talking to Chris about colors for the living room - OK, it might have been more like whining or complaining about it. Regardless of what it was, at that time, a light bulb went off in Chris's head, and he asked, "Why don't we use our favorite albums to do the rooms?"

I adore my husband - the brilliant man. It was a perfect idea. He suggested we pick an album for each room we wanted to decorate and then use the album artwork to inspire the colors and decor. It would narrow down our choices, and it was a way to make the rooms very unique to us. It also guaranteed we picked color combinations we liked (cause we already love them on the albums).

We went through and picked an album for all of the rooms we knew we would be using a lot (the living room, for example), and we decided to keep the other rooms neutral for now (plain old linen white paint on the walls).

Now that all the rooms are painted, I'm so happy with how they turned out. It is a special way for us to make the work of decorating easier while also displaying our passion for music, which is one of the things that brought Chris and I together when we first met. 

So here is the list of rooms and the albums we picked for each. We made some bold choices, and I'm so glad we did. 

"Chase This Light" by Jimmy Eat World

"The Everglow" by Mae

"Bleed American" by Jimmy Eat World

"The Crane Wife" by the Decemberists

"Stay What You Are" by Saves the Day

"Deja Entendu" by Brand New

In each of the individual room posts, I'll talk more about the album choice and how it inspired us. And of course, I'll show off the semi-finished product (a lot of the rooms don't have furniture or accessories in them quite yet),

In closing, I highly suggest this technique for anyone who has no decorating experience or finds it overwhelming. It made the process if picking paint, furniture, decorations, etc., so much easier. Also, it made the house even more of a reflection of who we are and gave us the opportunity to choose things we love. Additionally, there was only one time that it was a problem, but you'll hear all about that soon enough. :)


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The level-headed office

Having an awesome office in our home has been a priority for us even before we decided to build our first home and we were still looking to buy. 
Since we first got married and moved in together, we have had a space in our home dedicated as an office, and we knew we wanted to continue the tradition in our first house.  
The Plan
The office has been in our house plan since since Day 1, but it had a different shape when we first designed it with the help of FIL.
Originally, the office was going to have two massive closets - one of each side of the door as you walked into the room - for comic book storage and a ledge near the ceiling running around the whole room where Chris could display his collectibles, like his Bowen Marvel busts (nerd alert - I know!)
However, early in the house design process, we decided to ditch the formal dining room (because we didn't want to knowingly add - and spend money on - a room in our house that we knew we would use once or twice a year), so the plan for the office changed. Although we don't want a formal dining room, we recognize other people might if we ever decide to sell our house. So we deleted the closets from the office and moved the comic book storage elsewhere in the house (this was an excellent decision - more to come when I cover the FROG). With the deletion of the closets, the office is now a simple room that gets some of the best light in the house, especially because it has a beautiful trio of windows at the front that faces the street. These windows just let the light pour into the room.Now, the office can act as a formal dining room if we ever sell or if we ever find ourselves in need of one.

The Office Under Construction

FIL working outside of the office windows

The Construction
The office has the distinction of being one of the rooms on the front of house. It might seem a little odd, but we didn't want the kitchen or living room in that location, so the office got placed there by default because that was the only choice - except the half bath - YIKES!
Throughout construction, rooms seem to fluctuate in size based on how complete they are - they can look bigger or smaller, squarer or rectangle-y-er (???). However, the office never seemed small to me. As soon as the guys started framing the house, the office has felt like a huge room. It's always remained consistent.
Additionally, unlike other rooms in our Big Blue House, the office has not been a problem child. It might be perhaps because my no drama husband has taken the lead on this room, but it most likely is because it just has required any special attention. It didn't require special wiring like the living room. There wasn't any tiling to worry about like in the kitchen and bathroom. It didn't have special architecture accents like the master bedroom and FROG. It's just a simple square room.
Additionally, the special details for the office aren't going to happen until after we've moved in. The ledge I mentioned before is still completed as a father/son project by FIL and Chris after we are in the house. There is also a plan for FIL to construct a desk and storage space in the office, but that will take place later also. So for now, it remains our level-headed square room.
But the office does have something eye-catching about it. It's at the front of the house and it greets you as you walk in, so like a well-mannered middle child looking to get Mom and Dad's attention with a new nose ring, the office got some funky paint.
We had a hard time picking an album as a theme for the office. Nothing popped out in our minds immediately when we thought about it. Finally, we sorted through our vinyl collection, and an album spoke to Chris: Jimmy Eat World "Chase Our Light." 
It fit both of our requirements for picking it as a room inspiration. I absolutely love his album; we both do and it has beautiful album art. But... well... I was still a little worried about picking it because it's a bit loud.

Am I right? A little loud? Still, Chris and I both really like it, and we agreed to pick one color from it and make it a statement piece in the room. So we picked the green that peeks through the feathers. We agreed it was a good choice and moved on.
I felt confident with the choice until the paint came. When I saw the small green paint spot on the can, it screamed out at me. And I got a little nervous. This room was going to be seriously green. Too green? As you'll see in later post, we picked a lot of bold colors through out the house, but this one really stood out - even among all if our colors. But I decided not to get too worked up about it because my mom raised me to know paint can always change (she also taught me to never buy full price paint, but that lesson went out the window with the album art idea).
Well, when the paint went in the walls, I was very pleasantly shocked. The paint is beautiful! Sure, it's bold (and everyone who sees it says the same thing, "Wow, that's really green!"), but we love it, and it looks amazing with the white trim and crown molding and with the dark flooring. It's also a very sunny room, and it makes for a very cherry atmosphere, which I love. I should know by now Jimmy Eat World won't let me down - even if interior decorating.

The boys installing the front windows

The office with the walls up (and a ton of duct work in it)

After the drywall was installed

The Final Product
The office has been the middle child of our home since day one if construction. It's easy-going and doesn't need constant attention to ensure it doesn't get unruly and act out. However, it did go trough a phase of self-modification that had us worried. But our level-headed office didn't let us down. It looks beautiful, and I think we are going to love using it (even it does become a dining room in the future).

Standing in the foyer looking to the office (and living room)

Looking to the front of the house from inside the office 

A panaromic shot of the (semi-)finished office