Tag Archives: decorating

Autumn Patio Daydreaming

Fall is my favorite season. I love sitting on the patio with a nice cup of coffee or tea and enjoying the early Autumn colors and sun. It’s a time of year when I like to reflect on what has passed and what will be. I am already well underway in my holiday planning and crafting, and I’m busy with all of the fall activities such as harvesting the last of the summer crops, attending back to school events, and getting into my literature and education studies. However, this year we are in the process of moving back to the States and to our beautiful home in Colorado. I’ve enjoyed my time living in Germany, but I am ready to return home. As I was sitting on my patio this morning, enjoying a hot cup of coffee and wishing that fall would hurry and arrive—It’s been unseasonably warm here in Germany—I started to daydream about my little patio back home and how I want it to look.

It must have the following items:

  • A large table with seating for up to six people
  • A sunshade/rain shelter
  • One lounge chair with a side table—for my morning contemplation

This is our current backyard.

View from the corner of the yard

We have plans to increase the size of the patio, but those are plans for a more distant future. As a homeowner, I’ve learned to prioritize and a patio renovation keeps getting pushed down on the list. In the meantime, I’ve found some awesome furniture that will last a long time, won’t blow away in the crazy Colorado wind, and works with several décor styles. I found this amazing table at arhaus.com that is made with real wood and concrete. I don’t think it will be blowing away in the wind, unlike our last lightweight wood one.

This is the Bourdeaux Rectangle Stone Dining Table from arhaus.com. It is simple, but can be set with a lovely centerpiece, pretty plates set on either chargers or placemats, and would look awesome in the evening with candles set along the center.

My dream table from arhaus.com.

Of course, this 84″ dining table is a bit large for our current tiny patio, but this is a daydream, so imagine this table on a large, gorgeous flagstone patio.

The patio would look something like this…only a bit smaller to allow for my veggie and fruit garden.

It would look like this if you compare it to the view of the backyard from the corner. Photo from dansonlandscaping.com

I sense a theme of natural woods and stone, so why not add in a little decor?

Garden Decor from arhaus.com

So now we have a table, a larger patio, and some decor. I think we need some chairs. I love the look of these Mississippi Dining Arm Chairs by Oakland Living from wayfair.com. I think the curved lines soften the overall look of the bold dining table. And they are wrought iron, so they won’t blow away!

Mississippi Dining Arm Chair by Oakland Living


Now we need the sunshade/rain shelter. My goal is to build a pergola when we redo the patio. However, I do realize that a simple pergola does not offer much shelter from the harsh Colorado sun or the rain. Since I am still contemplating it, we could just settle for a large Cantilever umbrella. I found this one on backyardcity.com. I like that it has a heavy base and support system without compromising style in favor of functionality. When the winds are strong, the umbrellas can simply be closed and secured.

View from the corner of the yard

All I need now is my little corner with a cozy chair or loveseat and a side table for my morning contemplation. I love the idea of a fully upholstered chair, but even in a daydream, I think about stains, weather, and bugs. I think I will go a bit more conventional for this particular item. I found this darling Carlisle Loveseat with removable cushions at frontgate.com.

Carlisle Loveseat in Onyx

I love the idea of adding more natural textures to the patio, so why not add an old tree stump? I mean, we are outside right? I love this one because it has legs that will prevent the tree trunk turned accent table from rotting at the bottom as it sits in water or snow melt.


I think we’ve covered all of the criteria on my list.


Since it’s autumn, and I love decorating, I think a nice fall decor is needed. Here some ideas I came across during a recent Pinterest binge. All links can be found on my Autumn Patio Pinterest Board.

Autumn Tablescapes
Autumn Lanterns

Now that you are inspired (hopefully), go outside and enjoy the beautiful beginning of autumn! I’m headed back outside right now to read a book and enjoy a nice hot cup of Earl Grey tea. I will just pretend that I am curled up on that cozy loveseat with a knit blanket draped over my legs.


Designing for a Teen Boy

When I ask my son, “how do you want your new room to look?” his reply is, “Meh, I don’t care.”

And yet, twice now he has shown me concept rooms and artwork at Ikea that he likes.  Decorating for this boy has been a challenge because he has so many interests. He loves WWII history, Science, Comics, some new weird music that I don’t get, and Formula One racing.

It doesn’t all fit together, and he seems to prefer an industrial/modern style with bright (mostly) primary colors.

So, I took his lead by creating a design using his favorite piece of art that he purchased with his own money from Ikea about 2 years ago.

IMG_20140604_100231 (1)

From this one item (and a similar print from Ikea that he likes) I came up with this room design:


The Items

1.  Inspiration Art work from Ikea.  The telephone picture is no longer available, but the Solmyra (I call it Shhh) is sold at most Ikea stores.

2.  Task Lighting. The rooms here are DARK! The ceiling lights do little more than cast a dull glow.  My son loves to read in bed, so I will mount two of these Kvart wall lights above each night stand.

3. Malm Bed. Though the photo shows the white twin bed, it is also available in gray–which is what we will buy (eventually). Malm beds come with either a high or low headboard.  We want the higher headboard so that he can lean against it comfortably.

4 and 5. Malm dresser and night stand.  Ikea has several styles of dressers available in the Malm series, but my son only needs a small one.

6.  Micke Desk.  We love the Micke series! They are durable, yet cheap inexpensive. It’s the perfect desk for a small room.  He will be getting his first computer in September, so this is a must have item.

7.  Ikea PS magnet board. This is another must-have…simply because he requested it. This PS magnet board is an inexpensive way to display pictures, memos, or doodle ideas.

8.  Snille desk chair.  These Snille chairs are very affordable, and surprisingly comfortable.  They come in several colors including  basic black or white.

9.  PS Vago chair.  My son absolutely LOVES this Vago chair.  He said that all it needs is a comfy pillow and he could sit in it for hours.  I had trouble removing him from this chair on the showroom floor and felt kinda bad that I didn’t buy it immediately. Besides, doesn’t every teen boy need a “lounge” chair of his own? The chair comes in red, blue, yellow, black, and white.

Other Items

Some other items that I want to add are a picture rail, colorful frames, and the Bygel rail series.

pizap.com14018777917281bygel series


I’d like to throw in one or two of these, but that might be pushing it a bit…

LichtensteinLichtenstein Pillow Cover

On the plus side, my son hasn’t said “no” to any of my design ideas, on the down side–he hasn’t seen my design ideas.

Crossing my fingers & toes that he likes it! And I hope you liked it too!


Turning Drab Army Housing Into Our Home: The Coffee (and tea) Station!

As promised, here is the long-awaited article on my Coffee Station!

Welcome to the second post in the series: Turning Drab Army Housing Into Our Home! As noted in the series introduction and the first posting of this series, I am a coffee fanatic and am lucky to have the perfect area for a Coffee Station. Here is my first general draft drawn up on my Galaxy Note.

2014-02-20 17.49.45

As much as I would love to hide or move the water cooler, it must stay for two reasons: 1) There is nowhere else to move it that makes sense. 2) We use this water for making coffee and tea and for hydration.  I am looking into some creative ways to at least “hide” the ugliness.  You can read more about my ideas for the water cooler here.

Notice that my Idea drawing said “Wallpaper?” WELL…I couldn’t find any of that removable wall paper that was either cheap affordable or in my style.  I am seriously trying to avoid painting, but after taking over 60 photos of this area, I realize that it NEEDS more panache. Therefore, I will consider this space almost finished.

Organizing the Coffee Station:

I used Ikea’s Grundtal Kitchen shelving system instead of a separate shelf and hook system because it offers more versatility.

Grundtal Wall Shelf




The hooks are Fintorp hooks. I used these because they will not come off without unscrewing the Grundtal rails and the hooks have a sort of knob at the tip–which prevents the cups from falling off easily.

Fintorp Hook
Fintorp Hook


Grundtal Also has great storage add-ons for the shelf system

Grundtal Hanging Containers
Grundtal Hanging Containers


One of the things I love most about this area is the storage!

Here is the Coffee Station Cabinet–I hope it stays this organized!

Top Shelf in the Cabinet



Bottom Shelf
Bottom Shelf


Loving the Organization
Loving the Organization

I purchased these Krus storage containers at Ikea as well, but they are only available (as far as I can tell) at the Ikeas in Europe. They feature removable dividers and come in 3 sizes.  As you know from my Family Command Center post, I LOVE organization!

Which brings me back to my Grundtal storage containers–which by the way feature an airtight seal…

Coffee Beans & Tea
Coffee Beans & Tea


Adding Style:

These lovely airtight containers store our loose leaf teas.

Pretty Storage for Loose Leaf Tea
Pretty Storage for Loose Leaf Tea


And these lovely ladies are for brewing that perfect pot of tea.

Blue Ceramic and Brown Betty Tea Pots
Blue Ceramic and Brown Betty Tea Pots


It took me a few days to figure out where to put the sweeteners for tea and the coffee filters…but then I remembered that I had this cute little basket in my bedroom.

Storage Basket
Storage Basket


It was important that the cups we use every day were readily accessible–Hence the hook system.

Hooked on Coffee
Hooked on Coffee

Yup, those are Ikea cups…50 Cent Euro each 🙂

Magical Machines:

And now for the magical machinery that makes my addiction possible.

The Magical Machines
The Magical Machines


Because the only outlet in this area is a 220, we had to buy a new coffee machine, water boiler, and coffee grinder.  I prefer a mill, but can’t spend the 89 Euro just now. So, the tiny  grinder that you see peeking behind the coffee maker is our temporary solution.

I LOVE this coffee maker! If you a photographic memory, you noticed that the coffee maker in the first photo of this post was black and red. So what happened? A teenage boy, a ball, and a dog. Yup. The boy somehow managed to shove my coffee maker off of the counter and it slammed against the Command Center wall. After that…it didn’t work. So, we bought this one. And the bonus is that we now have two carafes! For some unknown reason the carafe was not inside the coffee maker when the boy had his little spaz moment.

So there you have it, my Coffee (& tea) Station! Simple, practical, and down right awesome*!

*Not tooting my horn–I am just so excited to have this in my kitchen!

 Coffee Station Reveal



Coffee and Tea Station Main


Cost Analysis

cost analysis

Now come on over and enjoy a hot cup of java or a lovely pot of tea with me in my little sitting room.

The sitting room will be next week’s project 😉



Pinterest Musings: Water Cooler Disguises

My current problem is an ugly water cooler.  after several searches on Pinterest, I couldn’t find a solution….So I started an inspiration board after a simple Google search: “how to hide a water cooler”.

Here are a few things that I found. Clicking on the images will open a new tab to the image link.

Mod Boxes

Mod Boxes are simple covers that fit “90% of bottle-type coolers on the market” and is available in unfinished Birch or Oak.  The cover has no backside, so changing the water bottle is simple.

finished black 2


Water Cabinet

Roundtree Furniture offers an interesting item called the Water Cabinet.  The cabinet offers the same ease of use concept as the Mod Box, but features a cabinet style door to cover the water spigots (or is it spouts or faucets?).

Cooler Cabinet



Wood & Tique

Wood & Tique offers a cabinet for the water cooler as well, however their product is a full cabinet with a storage shelf.




The Water Bottle Cozy

Another option available is to do it old-school wiht a water bottle cozy…






My Solution:

Since I am not a fan of the Cozy and I do not have hundreds of dollars for the furniture style covers, I have decided to enlist the hubby’s help in building a custom water cooler cabinet of my own design.

But until then, I will just live with this…



Turning Drab Army Housing Into Our Home: Organizing Our Lives

As promised, here is the article on our Family Command Center.

Welcome to the first post in the series: Turning Drab Army Housing Into Our Home! As noted in the series introduction, one of my priority tasks was to turn a blank hallway wall into a practical and usable space that will keep my family organized and on task.

As you may know if you’ve been following my blog, I have two teenagers, two dogs, and a very busy husband and I have ADHD (also know as forgetful).  I will be attending intense 5 week courses through the University of Maryland soon and I’ve just picked up a part-time job on post. Life is about to become chaotic again–Yay! No, really–I’m happy about that!

As it is now, the kids bicker about chores–who did what and when (so does the hubby), so I spent hours cataloging the various chores that need to be done around here and created an amazing (at least I think so) spreadsheet. Here is what my first rough draft and testing center looked like for about a month.  It worked out very well, so I decided to forge ahead and finish the project.

2014-04-27 17.40.40


I spent several more hours pondering what the space would like, what I needed to buy, and how I wanted the space to function.

I printed out my pages and slipped them into plastic page protectors and then taped them to the wall.  It worked out well for a test run.

Because I live in Germany now, and am not familiar with the best places to shop, I ordered almost everything that I needed online.  Some of the following images are links to the items that I purchased online (photos that are links are noted).

I printed out my final spreadsheets and framed them. I use a wet erase marker to write on the glass.  Each Sunday, they get erased and I change the dates, notes, and menus.

8.5″ by 11″ Frames Opens Link in new tab To Product information at Target.com

We are a family of “fairsies” so this requires alternating kitchen duty. I know that I have kids and most people with teens assign kitchen duty strictly to the kiddos, but we are all very busy (well maybe not me right now) and feel that taking turns lessens the burden. So, I came up with this chart.

20140508_144415 (1)
4″ by 6″ Frames Links to Product information at Walmart.com

The kids only argue when they together, so they have been paired with a parent. It’s working out very well.

And because I am a control freak by nature, I also create a task list for kitchen duties and a monthly task list.

Organization to the Extreme
Organization to the Extreme

After most of my products arrived and a trip to Ikea, I laid everything out on the floor along the Command Center wall.


I purchased the dry erase calendar and wet/erase markers (which I prefer) at my local PX (it’s like a target).

After taking care of sick kids and getting over the bug, I finally started mounting everything to the wall.

I’m going to share the OOPS moment with you so that you don’t make the same mistakes!

I mounted all of the frames to the wall using a level to make sure the frames were all very straight.  I wanted a unified look, so I installed them flush against one another.


20140522_154120 (3)

It was going to look fabulous! Except that I forgot that the only way to insert the glass is to flex the frame corners! I could not get the glass in there if my life depended on it! So, back to the drawing board I went.

I needed a spacer so that each frame was lined up as exact as possible–because I’m a perfectionist.


The solution was a dvd case.

*Hubby and I were NOT born in the 80’s–we were born in the 70’s, and this dvd has some cool highlights that we both sort of remember and remember well.

Anyway, here is how I used my “spacer”


All that was left to do was fill in the frames, mount the calendar, and add a hanging file system and my Ikea finds.






Only one thing remains: A large hook for my purse that will be mounted under the files.

One project down, several more to go. Stay tuned for the finished Coffee Station project!

2014-02-20 17.49.45