Midwest is Best

A midwestern guide to all things homemaking

Archive for the category “Household”

Home Styling

Last night, Aaron and I had a great dinner at his parent’s house.  It was great for several reasons:

1. I didn’t have to cook!
2. It tasted really good and had a homemade pie to go with it!
3. We sat in their family room which has large windows on three sides.  With the snow falling down all around us – it felt like you were sitting in a snow globe!

Anyway, Aaron’s mom and I got to talking about home interiors.  She explained to me how they came to own most of the furniture they have in their home.  They favor Ethan Allen for its traditional lines and great quality but were able to furnish most of their pieces through auctions rather than paying the big bucks and buying directly from the store.  As we moved through the house, it was really neat to hear how each piece had its own story behind it.  Some had been refinished others were perfect as is.

As I went home that night, it really got me thinking about our own home interior. We’ve been blessed to live in a house that had been in their family for several generations.  As such, many furnishings came along with it.  Aaron and I really haven’t had to purchase too much.  We have some wonderful Ethan Allen couches that we snagged off of Craigslist (they were a steal!) and a table in the kitchen that is a hand-me-down from my folks, but most of the other furniture was already there.  Side note – we have a fairly modest house so tons of furnishings aren’t really needed.  Also, we have a lot of practical storage needs due to our photography studio and office also being located in our house.

As we chatted away last night, I realized that Aaron’s parents had a good eye for items that fit into their home.  They know their decorating style and see how each piece they come across will fit in (or not).  Aaron and I haven’t really defined a style for ourselves yet (I suppose because we haven’t really needed to). But being the Pinterest junkie that I am, I have pinned plenty of interior shots that speak to me.  And I know that we’ll have some definite rules of thumb when picking out pieces in the future.

1. Purchase real quality wood furniture.  Aaron is very handy at painting and staining.  I figure with quality wood pieces, if we get tired of one finish we can try out something different.

2. Aim for lighter, antiqued looking wood.  I’ve learned the hard way that dark wood furniture and living in the country don’t mix well.  The dark finish shows EVERY speck of dust while lighter wood is a little more forgiving.

3. Look for pieces that are slightly abused.  Aaron and I are (relatively) young.  Which means any furniture we buy from here on out has a whole lot of living to do with us.  I want furniture that can take getting a little nick or scrape.  Those beautiful glossy finishes are ruined with the tiniest of scratches.  My furniture needs to be able to take on a little character.

4. Mixture of textiles.  If there is one thing I’ve learned from the decorating blogs I follow (Centsational Girl is my favorite) it is not to underestimate the importance of adding texture to any room.  I favor more natural textures so I lean towards seagrass and wicker over wrought iron and stainless steel.

5. Elbow grease goes a long way.  Aaron’s mom revealed to me that she had made her own family room pillows and several other fabric pieces throughout their house. A light bulb went off – I have been searching for the perfect sofa pillows for almost 2 years now.  I’m just not happy with anything I find in the store!  Here’s a great thought – why not make my own?  (Though I’m sure I’ll have to get a little assistance :))

I found this great blog post that is about finding your own personal design style.  I haven’t started on it yet, but it looks great!   You can check it out for yourself by clicking here.

I’ll leave you with a few images of home interiors that I favor.  Hopefully, as Aaron and I work on some of our bigger house projects we can start to define our own style! (New carpet and whitewashing our wood-paneled living room is on the honey-do list for this summer!!)

living room

What a beautiful, casual living room. So inviting!


Great for a casual eat-in kitchen!

living room 2

Wonderful mix of textures! Plus, it will age beautifully!


Great place to do some catching up on emails!


If my bathroom looked like this, I wouldn’t ever leave! Love the antiqued wood console!


Best of Intentions…

Hello.  My name is Katie and I am addicted to Pinterest.

Whew!  There I said it!  I am a Pinning addict… I can freely admit that now.  There are very few days that go by without logging on to Pinterest and most days consist of checking it multiple times! I am sooo addicted.  I recognized it sometime last week when I was getting frustrated by all the pins that I had already pinned and couldn’t find many new ones!  Pin overload alert! I decided to go back through a few of my boards and look at the old pins I had already decided were worthy of a click (not hard in my book). 🙂

I realized that while I do a decent job of trying the recipes I pin (or at least using them for Pinspiration), I am terrible about following through on any of the other pins!  So last week I tackled an easy one… Create a weekly menu (which I already do – usually scribbled on a post-it lost somewhere in my purse) and a weekly cleaning schedule.  I am a fairly neat person but I HATE doing dishes! Honestly, I’d rather mop the floor, clean the bathroom, and scrub the toilet over doing the dishes.  Therefore, the kitchen is usually my least favorite chore.  And I have a tendency to put off easy chores – like a quick dusting in the living room – until it is unbearable. I thought a weekly cleaning schedule would be handy to serve as a reminder of what needs to be done regularly. So I pulled this menu/cleaning list together on Sunday night and thought “Here I go” for the week.

The results… well rather lackluster I must admit.  I was lazy on Monday night so switched Monday and Thursday’s dinner menu since Thursday’s meal seemed easier than Monday’s.  The living room didn’t look that bad so I put off cleaning it on Tuesday and then completely forgot all about the bedroom.  Wednesday we were busy bringing all our photo booth stuff up from the basement for an event that night… (you get the idea how the rest of the week went). As you can imagine that left me cleaning the WHOLE house today (plus lots of dishes – UGH). I had the best of intentions but I think it might take another week or two before I actually get it down.  Gosh – this Pinterest idea seemed like the easiest!  What am I going to do when I start tackling the harder pins!?!?!

Have you tried any ideas (from Pinterest or elsewhere) that seemed so simple and turned out to be a complete flop? (Speaking of flops… making kale chips which everyone says is sooo easy… harder.than.it.looks.)

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