Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lighten Up!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living
No drapes and simple blinds let the the light shine in!

When we moved into our little Jewel Box® not only were we overwhelmed with the tiny size, but also the tiny rooms.  The small house, only about 1,200 square feet was divided up into little tiny rooms.  The first thing we did was knock down the wall between the living room and kitchen to create one large space.  Then we added light.
Photo Courtesy of Country Living
Living in a small space doesn't have to mean feeling cramped!  Sometimes small homes, especially older homes (which have tons of character and I simply love them-ours was built in 1947), have small rooms and even smaller windows.
 Photo Courtesy of Country Living
It amazes me how just adding light can open up a small space!  Whether it be through the addition of larger windows or adding glass-paneled doors, or just painting your rooms in a lighter color, the addition of sunlight and a feeling of bringing the outdoors in makes any small space feel larger!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living
I know you've heard me talk about the addition of French doors to our bedroom.  The project itself was tedious and messy but it was worth having the added light in our bedroom.  It feels like we gained square footage in addition to a brighter boudoir!

Photo Courtesy of Country Living 

Just enlarging small windows can also have the same effect.  Our living room originally had two separate, small windows.  Another messy project, but again totally worth it!  What was once two small holes is now one large, lovely picture window.

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Dressed or naked windows and doors are lovely.  But I encourage you to throw open your drapes, tear down the mini blinds and let the sun shine in today!!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Things I Hate About My Small House

Let me be honest with you.  I love my 1500 square foot house and right now - with my husband out of work - we are doing everything possible to stay here.  Still, living in a small house has challenges.  To be blunt, there are some things I hate about my little house.  Here is the short list.

The bathroom door to the powder room hits the toilet seat when open.

Isn't that special!  I could fix this by installing a pocket door.  But at $2000 for costs and labor, that isn't going to happen anytime soon.

The blinds in our second story hallway are always closed because otherwise the neighbors can see into our bathroom.  We are very friendly with our neighbors, but I don't want to frighten them!

My neighbors window.

View of the bathroom from my neighbor's window.

When fully reclined, the family room lounge chair hits both the sliding glass door and coffee table.   
 Maybe some day I'll design a line of furniture for smaller spaces so this kind of thing doesn't happen.

 My husband and I use the same small bedroom as office space.

Our chairs are generally only two feet apart.  Let's just say we bump into each other a lot and it's not always an accident.  And because my husband is a 'stacker' - he does not file papers but stacks them in piles - I never get to nap on my favorite couch.  See all the paper and magazine piles on the couch?  And by the way, I hate his chair - the black one - but he refuses to give it up.

I have to share a bathroom with my husband and two large boys, 16 and 20.  And that bathroom is a small 5 x 5 feet square.  Let me help you picture this situation.  Because there is no storage in the bathroom, I have to put all my make-up, hair accessories and 'lady stuff' elsewhere.  And manage to get it into the bathroom when I need it. Thank God my boys are average young men who pay little attention to anything other than food and friends.  Otherwise, there would be many more embarrassing moments in this household.

The family bathroom.

Thanks for letting me vent and enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Friendly Fridays - A Cottage Treasure

Doesn't this cottage look like it's right out of a fairy tale?  This is Sandy's little 9 x 14 foot Victorian studio in the Catskills that she rehabbed herself.  Sandy and I are both members of the Small House Society and for today's 'Friendly Friday' I wanted to share this beautiful treasure she created.

Sandy was interviewed just the other day by The New York Times and you can read the article HERE. Sandy is married, has a full-time job and still managed to create her lovely cottage retreat which we are visiting today.  And The New York Times article has now made her famous!  Sandy also has a blog called  Shabby Streamside Studio which is a wonderful must read for anyone looking to create a casual romantic look in a smaller space.   All photos today are from Sandy's blog and The New York Times article.

Let me show you more of Sandy's studio. Just look at this romantic interior!

This is Sandy's sleeping loft.  Isn't that chandelier fun!  And her little dog ZuZu is posing in front of the bed.

Here is Sandy's china cabinet with all her white Limoges.

Look at these lovely pink and white touches that pull this look together.

Here is a shot from Sandy's loft with a close-up of the chandelier.

And here is Sandy getting photographed for the New York Times article.

ZuZu peeking out from the chair while Sandy is photographed.

Isn't this a fabulous shot of Sandy and her husband? 

Don't forget to visit Sandy's blog at My Shabby Streamside Studio. 


Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Love

Lighten up this summer!  Literally.  I challenge you to take this season to become playful...in your home, your life, your heart.
 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Clean your windows!  Let the sunshine in.  Remove heavy curtains and hang something thin and fluttery.

Set out bowls of peaches and tangerines or baskets of shiny yellow lemons.  Daisies in mason jars?  Yes, please!
  Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Go on a picnic!  Pack a basket of sandwiches, brownies, watermelon and sun tea.  Essential summer eating.

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

A palette of color taken from English china-pink and pale greens, light blue white and peach.  Cool, light and airy.  Ahhhh....

Tuck a bouquet of dried flowers among the logs in your fireplace.

Go outside and play!  Softball...croquet...catch fireflies!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Have a campfire.  Mmmm...s'mores!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Remove all the coats, hates and scarves from their hooks and replace them with straw hates and a garden smock.

Go swimming at the lake or beach.

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Use quilts and vintage linens for your tablecloth.

Old flower creamers make nice vases for tiny bouquets.  Find them at yard sale and flea markets.

Flag down the ice cream man!  Buy something from his old-fashioned ice cream truck and reminisce about your childhood summers.

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Eat in the backyard.  Set a festive table or spread out an old quilt.  Everything tastes better when eaten outside.
  Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Seashells and bird houses make wonderful summer decor!

Lighten colors in your rooms.  Remove heavy quilts and spreads-use old fashioned white cotton bedspreads or light duvets.  Replace couch pillows with lighter colors, take up rugs and replace them with sisal rugs or just let the floor be bare.  Summerize!

 Photo Courtesy of Country Living

Grow something sweet smelling next to your door...like honeysuckle or lavender.  I have a big pot of rosemary growing on my back deck...just a slight breeze and mmmm....sweet smells!

Eat a popsicle!

It doesn't take much to bring whimsy and delight to your Jewel Box® Home!   Now go outside and play. 


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Fathers Day!

Here is my man of the house, finally getting a well deserved chance to relax in front of the TV.  Both boys are working tonight so he has the remote control to himself.  Notice that since I insist on a smaller couch for this tiny room - remember that furniture proportion is critical -  he can't completely stretch out his legs. 

But he is very happy with the tiny Jewel Box® bar next to the kitchen.  

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband father of our two sons!  
I love you!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Friendly Fridays

Welcome to Friendly Fridays!  Each Friday over the summer we will tour a 'real life' smaller house or space.  Today I'm excited to show you my neighbor Monica's house where she lives with her husband and three children.

Aren't these great colors she chose for the outside of her home?  The brick is a natural red, the siding is taupe and the shutters are black.  Classic is always in style!  This house still falls on the smaller side - under 2000 sq. ft. - but there is an addition over the garage and in the back.  Let's go inside.
Here is the living room.

And the dining room.

Notice the french doors to the family room.  These are always wonderful in a smaller house as they add light and create more visual space.

This is the family room, an addition to the back of the house.  How about those red walls.  Nice!

Here is the original galley kitchen. 

The master bedroom is part of the addition over the garage that created a bedroom suite.  Again, notice the french doors into the bathroom.

I'd love to have this bathroom.  Again, this is part of an addition.

Here is the girls' room.  How cute is this!

And the boys room.  Monica did a great job with decorating both childrens' rooms.  I wouldn't change a thing.  And notice that the children share rooms.  Which as far as I'm concerned, is the only way to go.  For my tips on raising children in a smaller space you can click HERE

A small very functional and practical study.  I love the colors and the serene feeling.
Down to the basement.  The perfect place to put the kids and all their stuff.  For more about where to put the kids when you have a smaller home click HERE
This work/play area in the basement is a great idea!  The overhead shelving is brillant.

This laundry room is part of the addition.  Wish it was mine!
And since it's Friendly Friday let me also welcome you into my back garden.

I have about nine feet of space between the back of my house and my neighbors' yard.  As you can see, there is not much room for planting.  But I have managed to cram a lot into the three foot strip of soil that is not paved over.

I have pear trees...

and peach trees...

and cherry trees with ripe cherries. 

I asked the neighbors to help pick the cherries before the squirrels and robins ate every last one.

The little boy on the bottom rung of the ladder is my next door neighbor.  He speaks fluent Chinese and English!

Buddy also enjoys the garden.  He likes to look out the back fence and see what is going on.

And sometimes he goes out to play with his friends.

Have a great weekend!