LAGNIAPPE

Weekend Project #8: Master Bath

The magazine photo that started it all.

A couple of years ago I was looking through magazines for decorating ideas. The photo above drew me in and I pinned it to my inspiration board until I had the time to focus on seeking out the paint colors and decorative pieces that would create a similar look. A year ago I began with the guest bathroom (see Weekend Project # 6 ). As I’ve mentioned before, these projects take patience and time. Here I am a full year later with my next project.

I was now ready to make some of the same changes to my Master Bathroom. I found the decorative carved woodwork to place above my garden tub window earlier in the year and purchased more of the same paint colors over the 4th of July weekend when the hardware stores were offering rebates. My timing couldn’t have been better, because my handyman advised he would be off for the month of August due to the heat, and would be available for the makeover.

Above is the plain looking garden tub window and the large contractor installed mirror before the make over. While I would have in truth preferred to replace the mirror with two framed mirrors and two overhead light fixtures, the cost for resurfacing the wall behind and the electrical work to change to two fixtures isn’t in the budget right now. It doesn’t mean I can’t do it sometime in the future. For now crown moulding was painted gray and framed the existing mirror. I’m still searching for a replacement light fixture. I don’t understand why they have to be so ugly!

The Water Closet.

My water closet window was framed last year, but it was only the start of the added touches that were made this year. It also bears the most similarity to that image I found long ago in the decor magazine. I lined the sides of the framed window with small hand made bird clay art made by a local artist. When I first moved into my house, I placed subtle bird touches around the house to represent my new nest. These small works of art were the first of that plan.

Tiny bird bath bowl filled with
dried lavender on the water closet sill.

As with the guest bathroom and hall, the walls are painted with a very soft gray (Silver Drop), while the moulding and door inserts are in a soft but medium gray (Graceful Gray). I don’t have the courage to paint the cabinets, but I think the contrast of dark with all of the light surroundings is acceptable.

The linens and rug in the shades of gray, lavender and purple add color to the otherwise neutrals of the room.

Looking back at the original inspiration photo, painting the side of the tub in the Graceful Gray is something I’m considering to possibly create a more custom look.

The garden tub window is of course the main centerpiece of the entire room. This window and the water closet window each (in addition to the guest bath window) have charcoal gray faux shades I hand stitched with fabric from two purchased curtain panels.

Bottles of bubble bath and lavender epsom salts.

This project took five full days, or in weekend terms two weekends (with one being a three day). This five day project included my built in desk area, but I haven’t figured out my shade for the window quite yet. When I do, I will once again share with you another weekend project.

LAGNIAPPE

Weekend Makeover #7: Breakfast Room

Most of us cannot buy all new furniture to revamp a room we’d like to update. Here’s some ideas of how to use unexpected hacks as well as update the items you may already have somewhere in your home like I did.

When I first moved into my house, my Uncle (and Godfather) presented me with a generous monetary gift to help me purchase something for my new home. I had decided before moving in that I wanted woven shades along the back windows in my living room and breakfast area. Yes they were pricey, but a friend recently considered putting the shades in her home and when we did a little research they had almost doubled in cost since my purchase. I was glad I decided to invest in them when I did. Including the linen shade for the back door (below).

The sun rises on this side of the house and during the months when the brutal summer temperatures averaging 90 degrees and more, the shades (that are lined but not black out) help to keep the heat at bay. I have to keep them completely closed until just a little after noon when the sun moves to the front of the house and I can draw them up and let the lovely natural light that I love in.

The black fold-out table was a very inexpensive find that I brought with me from my previous home. There I had a small dining area (a townhouse) and knowing I would eventually move, when I tossed out my chrome framed chairs with faux butcher block set from the 70’s, I decided to buy something simple and inexpensive, but functional – clearly not my dream dining room table.

I also purchased the two benches that originally had a dark black and white design fabric. I decided to recover them with an upholstery fabric I found at Hobby Lobby that resulted in a fresher, modern look. https://www.hobbylobby.com/Clearance/Clearance—Fabric-Sewing/Clearance—Home-Decor-Fabric-Trims/Iron-Galatia-Fabric/p/103873 Later I purchased two charcoal gray nailhead trimmed chairs from T. J. Maxx for more seating.

Several years ago, my brother (who also loves to decorate) gave me this rooster as a Christmas gift. When I received it, I had no idea what I would do with it. My previous space was already cramped with things. So I set him on top of my refrigerator and there he sat until I moved.

As I unpacked and searched for a place he could stand out, I looked toward my breakfast table. What’s more representative of a morning sunrise and breakfast than a rooter’s cock-a-doodle-do? My rooster became my inspiration for the decor of the room. A couple of golden rooster placemats added to the table for a pop of color. Later a good friend who is a talented artist painted a colorful rooster as a gift that hangs on my wall.

A large wall stood before me blank and the room was is much need of a pop of color. As I searched for art I cringed at the cost of prints and framing. Again, while in my previous home I found this book of Botanical prints on the bargain shelves at Barnes and Noble. As I searched through the pages, I realized the size of the prints and the many colorful options it held, could be framed. I purchased the book (originally priced at about $75.00 for $20. I spent a lot of time looking through its pages to find just the right selection of six images to frame.

I then searched for an inexpensive set of frames, carrying one of the cut out images with me to Walmart. There I found four frames slightly weathered finish, already containing an ivory mat that blended well with each print’s background. I luckily found two more online to complete the set of six. The arranged, framed prints added the exact amount of color I was looking for and filled in the wall nicely without the high price tag.

I later replaced the light fixture to this weathered open lantern for a French country touch.

With all of the entertaining I wanted to host in my new home, I had over the years purchased a variety of white platters, bowls, plates, cake pedestals and baking dishes of various sizes. I was in need of something to place in front of the window where I could keep plants, that also provided storage for some of my many serving dishes. I found the piece below that provides open shelving, two drawers where I store placemats and two fold out leaves that I can use for buffet serving when needed.

A lamp with a French, European style base, centered on the table, draws in the design from the rest of the open areas to complete the look. In the future a fresh coat of paint will brighten up the room just when it is needed.

Lamp purchased at T. J. Maxx

As always with a little patience, a plan, focus and ingenuity a room can be pulled together by transforming items you own, using hacks to get the look of upscale art and as little as setting aside $50 a paycheck for a few months. I didn’t paint my walls yet, but remember that a fresh coat of paint is verify inexpensive and can transform the light and interest in a room. Simply break down the stages. Recover chairs or benches or pillows one month; search for art and framing for wall art over the next month or two, save for the light fixtures for a couple of months, and then an accent table if desired. In no time – you can have a transformed room personally designed my you.

LAGNIAPPE

Weekend Project #6 – Guest Bath Makeover

Updated window with molding and hand made shade.

My guest bathroom has been patiently waiting for a makeover. Without a plan in mind for the past five years, I finally decided to direct my attention toward this project and form a plan that would elevate the appearance of my plain small bathroom. It began with an image of a bathroom window I found in a magazine of French homes (below) and with the image as reference and inspiration I began my search.

For several months I searched through antique and repurposed furniture shops for a decorative plaque similar to the piece at the top of the window in the inspiration photo. Everything I found was either the wrong size, extremely heavy or very expensive.

The magazine photo that inspired my window treatment.

Decorative shelves turned against the wall to create a decorative crown for the now framed window.

I take my Dad to his barber every six weeks or so, and while he’s getting his hair cut I browse through the antique shop next door. During one of these visits, I found two plaster shelves with a lot of detail that caught my eye. While they didn’t match the width of the window, I felt I could create a mini crown of some type, especially for the low price of $25 for both. They are a lovely cream color with light gray highlights.

Next I visited the hardware store to select the molding to frame the window and mirror. I chose a crown molding with a simple design along the inside edge, along with a light taupe gray paint [Behr: Sliver Drop] for the walls and a medium gray [Behr: Graceful Gray] for the trim and ceiling. The painting and woodwork was set into motion by my terrific handy man Tim.

The selected molding

For color accents and decor, I purchased a brushed brass curtain rod that suspends from the ceiling of the bathtub and two curtain panels composed of shades of gray, cream and olive (that also passes for a golden mustard shade). Alongside the selection of curtain panels was a display of tie backs of various designs. The charcoal gray taffeta ribbon pompoms looked like a fun playful accent I could apply in some way. I bought several planning to somehow trim the shade in addition to using the pompoms as the tie backs they were designed for.

To balance the color of the charcoal gray tie backs, I purchased two charcoal gray curtain panels made with a similar fabric. I then cut off the hem of the panels (that were the same width as the patterned panels) and hand sewed the band of color to the bottom of the patterned curtains. After carefully measuring the windows in both my guest and master bathrooms and then the remaining fabric from the charcoal panels, I realized I had enough to create a faux shade for both the guest bath, as well as the water closet and the garden tub window in the Master bath. That’s three shades for $20.

Custom drapes that hang from the ceiling are very costly. I found 108″ length curtain panels at Tuesday Morning that I selected for the color theme of my design and then trimmed the bottom with charcoal gray for a pop of contrast and to further extend the length of the curtain.

The drape hanging from the ceiling (shower liner on a second rod).
The painted walls and trim. The framed mirror and updated brushed brass
light fixture to match the curtain rod.
Before and after of guest bath window with framing, crown and shade with pompoms.

The original contractor placed a towel bar behind the toilet and I’ve never understood that location. So I had Tim remove it and patch the holes before painting. A marble shelf with brass brackets was added for decorative items (orchid, bubble bath bottles and candles). A new brushed brass towel bar was placed under the window, closer to the shower for guests to use when visiting. The towel bar and paper holders were also replaced with brushed brass pieces of the same design.

The towel bar on the wall behind the toilet was removed and replaced
with a marble shelf and brass brackets.

My helpful handyman painted the bathroom and the hallway, while I painted the molding and hand sewed the shades. When the painting was finished everything was hung and a brushed brass light fixture was installed above the mirror. When I stepped back to survey the finished room, I was pleased. It looks original and fits in with my other decor.

Below are the second and third faux shades I made from the two charcoal panels for the Master water closet and the garden tub window that has not yet been framed. The walls on this side of the house have also not yet been repainted, but are scheduled for a future weekend project.

The most difficult part of designing on a tight budget is being patient. A year later while browsing through my favorite store of antiques, home decor and repurposed items the decorative piece below caught my eye. I haven’t decided yet, if I want to put it over the garden tub window (above), or frame the window above a built in desk (below) that is visible from my kitchen and living areas. Looks like the subject of yet another “weekend project”.

Built in desk area where Blog posts are created.
Future weekend project.
LAGNIAPPE

Weekend Project – 4 & 5: Kitchen Backsplash & Lighting

I have three counter areas. The one above is beside my refrigerator
and typically used as a beverage station when entertaining.
The wall space here was large enough to insert two of the tin tiles.

The inspiration for my next “weekend projects” started when I found the tin tile shown below. I immediately wanted to incorporate the beautiful tile into my decor somehow. I circled the store with the tile in my hand for about a half hour when the idea of inserting it into a kitchen backsplash suddenly generated. The tiles were sold individually, but purchased by the store as a set of 4 with 4 different designs in each set. I bought the two tiles in stock with the same design and then went home to determine the spacing and how many more I would need. I realized I would need at least two more, and the shopkeeper graciously ordered more and called when they arrived.

The tin tile that inspired my kitchen backsplash design.
The LED track lighting was paired with a remote control f
or turning on and off.

The next task was to find the right tile and grout. I wanted something that was different from the traditional subway tiles, etc. that offered a unique, somewhat custom design while complimenting the rest of the open room’s decor.

The tile I had in mind was not available in the store, so I had to order it and have it shipped to my home. I started with ordering three or four different single tile sheets, holding them up to the wall and tacking with push pins both the tin tile and the sheet tile – attempting to imagine the final look and decide which would best suit the look I wanted. Afterwards, I was able to return the unwanted sheets of tile directly to the hardware store. Once decided I visited the hardware store to select the grout color, all pictured below.

It’s no surprise from my Blog, that I cook and entertain often. Under cabinet lighting was also a must. It has made a world of difference when working on my countertops. Not only does it brightly highlight my backsplash design, it also provides the much needed illumination for preparing mise en place, mixing batters in my stand up mixer, cooking on the stove, or simply making a sandwich.

I chose small, thin, delicate, electric LED track lighting from the hardware store. The space below my cabinet is very shallow and I needed something very thin to avoid visibility. I have a terrific handy man, that created the backsplash design and lighting I imagined over a period of a couple of weekends. Remote controls also sold online are used to operate the lighting above and beneath the cabinets since light switches were not available during construction and would be costly to install. I did however have the forethought to have electrical outlets installed above my cabinetry when it was being built. My handyman, simply drilled holes in the back corner of each of the cabinet shelves. He then threaded the cord upward toward the outlet, where the remote box was used to plug in the cord for easy operation. I have high ceilings and my cabinets do not reach the ceiling. It was my mother’s idea to purchase LED rope lighting to lay across the top of the cabinets and the remote controls are used to operate this top lighting as well as the under lighting.

Rope LED lighting laid on top of the cabinets to illuminate the area above.

I was happy with the end result that in my eyes has an Old World – European look that I had pictured in my mind. I hope this idea inspires you to find a new and original way to design your own backsplash to reflect a style and interesting result that pleases and represents you. It only takes a weekend!

LAGNIAPPE

Weekend Project 2 & 3: Fireplace and Light Fixtures

I live in an area where local artists are plentiful and so is the inspiration.
While I don’t draw or paint regularly, some of the modern abstract art I’ve seen,
inspired me to create the panels on the wall in my dining area.

Whatever your personal aesthetic may be, it can be fun to inject your own personal signature style to your home. It’s seems like a simple concept, but I have met those who say they have no idea what their personal aesthetic or style is. If this is the case, I would suggest going to the local bookstore one afternoon. Grab several decor and home design magazines, buy a cup of coffee or tea and find a table and take your time to browse through the pages. When you a room design and/or a color draws you in, snap a picture of the page with your cell phone. When you find photos of vignettes or a decorated wall or bookshelf you like, take pictures again. If you find a picture (for example ) of a bedroom that you would love your bedroom to resemble, take that picture as a guide when shopping to find similar items. In order to stay focused, avoid getting overwhelmed, and on budget, you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment by starting with one section of (i.e. built in wall of book shelves) or one room at a time. The completed project will fuel and encourage you to move on to the next.

Use whatever skills you have to create your own window treatments, art and accessories. Also shop around, I’ve found something as simple as a small picture frame at a novelty gift shop with a price tag of $21, that I purchased (the exact frame) for $6.99 at Homegoods. Be patient and with time you can save a lot of money. When shopping, create a list of items you want from the inspiration photo – in addition to having the photo as reference. Shop for one item at a time. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all of the clutter of items (distractions) in the store, causing me to lose focus of what I’m in search of. Decide on one item, such as a lamp, and focus your search to lamps only, for a day. If you just happen to come across another item on the list at the same time and it’s within your budget to purchase – I call that a bonus and get very excited when a plan is coming together all on its own.

My home is decorated with a mix of French/French Country with Modern and Traditional touches. The changes I’ve made have evolved over time and of course when budget permitted. My goal was to emulate a high-end look with a lower budget, that became my weekend projects over a span of five years. As an example, here is an easy, inexpensive method for adding a little “French essence” to a Fireplace and light fixtures in my open concept living area.

Scalloped millwork

THE FIREPLACE- WEEKEND PROJECT 2

My fireplace below was simply painted white by the contractor. I would love for it to be made of cut stone, but the cost for that style is astounding. While browsing through one of my favorite shops I found this beautiful carved scallop and scrolled piece of millwork. It conjures up the image of a feminine version of King Triton’s throne in the Little Mermaid. When I saw it I had no idea what I would do with it, but I just knew I couldn’t leave it behind.

Several months later, during the holidays, my brother who also has an eye for decor, noticed the piece where I had set it on top of a stack of books on my coffee table waiting for inspiration. He asked me what it was, and I explained I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but I just thought it was so pretty that I had to get it. After a few minutes of looking around my room, he picked it up and walked over to my fireplace and held it up against the center of the mantel where it is placed below. Getting someone else’s perspective when your stumped can open your eyes to something you had failed to think of on your own. So if you find something you really love, but aren’t sure how to place in your design, put it where others can see it – they may help you find a creative way to place it within your own design. My flat screen tv is mounted above the mantel, so I have to keep the actual mantel shelf clean and clear of clutter, but for the holidays I do add a little decorative touch on the each end.

After measuring to locate the center, I hammered in a small nail long enough for the toothed hook on the back of the scalloped millwork to catch. Glueing would have made a permanent change and I decided against that. This addition on its own, did not complete the look I wanted to achieve. To match the metallic gold on the millwork, I purchased a small glass bottle of model paint at a hobby and craft store. With a small brush I carefully painted the small horizontal decorative area at the top of the mantel just above the scalloped shell, the circular scrolls on each side and the very lower parts as shown above to balance out the affect. The gold was too bright, so I mixed some light gray acrylic paint and using a piece of an old cotton t-shirt, I wiped the light gray paint over the gold areas (after the gold had completely dried.) This toned down the gold to match the millwork piece. Something so simple delivered a huge impact.

This of course is simply an idea to share – that I hope will inspire you to look at your mantel and see if there’s a way to apply your own personal style. My neighbor whose aesthetic is a combination of Cajun country cottage with industrial touches (not farmhouse she would add) installed white shiplap all the way up the wall above her mantel as a decorative touch. Transforming the actual wall around the mantel rather than changing the mantel is another option. The options are endless.

LIGHT FIXTURES -WEEKEND PROJECT 3

I visited my home many times during its construction. Each time trying to look closely at what I could do to personalize it in the future. If you’ve learned anything about me from my Blog – you know I’m a planner and I start my research far in advance.

Early on, the open vacant space above the sink and bar area of the kitchen bothered me. The area looked “naked” and in need of pendant lighting, but would also create a visual separation of the kitchen and the living room. In addition, the only lighting in kitchen were the recessed lights, that created too much light and use of energy for every day, and the living room lighting was limited to a large ceiling fan with a light fixture. The contractor would not install electrical outlets in the center flooring of the open living area for lamps, I had to strategically locate lamps around the walls of the room to create adequate lighting, knowing I would never use the light on the ceiling fan.

My sketched in image of the pendant lighting
and chandelier to be replaced.

I searched online for “French Country” lighting. As I found items or pictures of light fixtures, furniture, rugs or a room design similar to what I hoped to achieve, I saved each on Pinterest boards I created for each room in the house. When I found the three light, shaded pendant below, it was love at first sight. A great Pinterest feature that it not only stores your ideas in an organized manner, but they also email you when the price of an item drops. I waited several months until I was able to purchase the pendant on sale with free shipping.

Internet comparison searches also provide the prices of various suppliers. If you have the model number of the item or full name as it appears on your original search, the comparison search lists the various sites selling the item and their price. This was instrumental in finding the lowest price and free shipping. A few months after moving into my house, I ordered the pendant (even on sale was a splurge) and hired the contractor’s electrician to install the fixture. It looks exactly as I imagined it would and it is still my favorite of all the light fixtures throughout the house.

Three light pendant over kitchen bar/ sink. https://www.kathykuohome.com/Product/Detail/2428-Maison-French-Country-Antique-White-Light-Island-Chandelier
Matching light fixture in foyer.
https://www.quorumlightingexperts.com/lighting/14-509-709-0-245189/Quorum_Salento—Four-Light-Dual-Mount-2706-18-70.htm?source=rr

As time passed, I replaced each of the fixtures in my open living area, one at a time. My dining, living and breakfast rooms all share the same space as my open kitchen. It was important to have some cohesiveness and similarity with each replaced light fixture. I searched for the same brand name as my pendant and was excited to find an entire line of French country shaded light fixtures of the same style and finish. I replaced the pendant above the front door in the foyer and the hall light fixture that leads to the guest bedroom, bath and my office with the same shaded fixture above on the right. The foyer light hangs from a chain just as the previous pendant did, while the hall light was placed flush against the ceiling where the height of the ceiling is lower. Fortunately the same fixture allowed for both options.

As I mentioned above, the living room had a large dark ceiling fan at its center, and whenever I attempted to use it, everyone complained they were cold. So I had the ceiling fan removed (and placed it in one of guest bedrooms that did not have a ceiling fan) and replaced it with the French Country chandelier above on the left. During the holidays, I line the limbs with Christmas tree branches and hang a large bow from the center. It looks very “grand” when walking into the room. (Below) The dining room fixture (original in the construction image further above) was replaced with the chandelier on the right above.

Living room chandelier dressed for Christmas.

The light fixture in the breakfast room (in the background of the picture on the left and the Christmas version above) was replaced with an open lantern style fixture. Below I found two lamps with the same rectangle shaped shades as the pendant that tied everything together. Many of the French designed rooms included a stone base, with cream shades. The lamps below were a thrifty alternative for the same look.

In all, these weekend projects were divided over a period of about two years. I donated the fixtures that were removed (still brand new) and a co-worker in my office who lived in an older home, happily took the chandelier from the dining room that I had removed to update her own. (Habitat for Humanity is a great place to donate slightly used items.)

There is a large selection of lighting designs available to match your personal style that is easily accessible online. Both of these examples are to illustrate that change as simple as a small piece of millwork and a tiny bottle of paint or a statement light fixture can change the entire appearance and atmosphere of each room, even if is just a special lamp.

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LAGNIAPPE

Kitchen Pantry: Weekend Project

My search for personalizing my home began months before the construction was complete. I spent hours looking through magazines and posting images from Pinterest as inspiration for each room in my home. Changing out the builder grade wall paint, light fixtures, etc., can transform a home from cookie cutter to a personalized haven. The first of my weekend projects, while not decorative, was about the functional organization of the kitchen pantry. While I’d found multiple “decorative” pantries, they did not appear to be functional for someone like me that stocks a lot of cooking ingredients, one because I entertain often and two because the shopping opportunities are about 10 miles away from where I live.

To begin, I measured the depth, height and length of the pantry shelves in the model of my home. With this information I began to imagine how I would organize the interior. I wanted to install a wine cooler in the lower part of the pantry and researched several affordable models in order to determine the height needed below the bottom pantry shelf. From there I asked the builder if they would install the lower shelf to accommodate the height of the cooler and paid a small fee for an electrical outlet to be added in the lower wall.

When moving into a new house, I have found that having a functioning kitchen ready for use early on is important. After a long day of unpacking, when mealtime nears, it eases the stress if the kitchen is ready for business. I was excited about this pantry (not previously having one) and made every effort to make it attractive and organized.  As soon as I had the keys to the house, I spent a full weekend unpacking cabinet and pantry items to begin my first weekend project.

This cooler stores 24 wine bottles on the wood racks and a lower area for canned drinks or other bottles.

Wicker Lazy Susans from T. J. Maxx served as an attractive method for displaying and finding smaller items. Below one provides easy access to bottled baking extracts, spices and variety of sprinkles. Shelf organizers in the back corners create sections for “like” items. In this case I store a variety of salts, peppercorns for refilling my cellars and mills and gourmet items such as French mustard or Italian Amarena Cherries in Kirsch.

Another stacking shelf below is used to organize teas (I currently have too many of them).  I re-purposed tins from Harney & Sons (Paris tea) and used a labeling machine to organize various teas.  French teas from Paris remain in their original tins, after all, they’re from Paris! Snuggled near by on the left are sugars, sweeteners, agave and honey, and on the right a French press and Espresso stove top pot.  Above are containers of coffee, hot cocoa, chocolates, crackers and condiments.

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A variety of spices fill another wicker Lazy Susan and spice rack, while below I created another use for the outlet I had installed for the wine fridge – an electric teapot or coffee maker fits easily on the shelf out of sight and without cluttering the kitchen counters.  I found pretty white ceramic canisters with a tightly sealed wood lid for cereal (instead of ugly boxes) and matching white pots for instant oatmeal and snack packages of nuts. Dollar or craft store chalkboard labels and a white permanent marker or a labeling machine were used to identify the containers.

TOP SHELF: Grains of rice, farro, flour, rolled oats & breadcrumbs. 
LOWER SHELF: SPICES

Deep lightweight baskets organize various oils and vinegars. (I may have a few more than the average person) and in another location I have things like soy sauce, gelatins, hot sauce, etc. on the third wicker Lazy Susan. I’m a cook, so I probably have a lot more in my pantry than most, and without organization I would not be able to find anything.

Oils: Canola, olive, vegetable, flavored oils (i.e.,grape & walnut) and
flavored vinegars (i.e. red and white wine, balsamics, sherry, etc.; spray oils, olive, butter, baking,

Wire wall baskets were used to store cheesecloth, mini containers, and other small items that can be hard to find.  These containers were purchased at Hobby Lobby. Every available space has a purpose.

Various pastas and quinoa section.

On the highest shelf items not frequently used are stored, i.e., fondue pots, a drip coffee maker, a hand mixer and other small appliances. An industrial style wood and galvanized metal ladder is stored in the pantry at all times to reach items located on the upper shelves.

Beneath the bottom shelf, two free-standing shelves units, one with basket drawers stores various types of baking morsels; dried fruits, baking powders, and spices specifically for baking. On the lower shelves, refill stock of rice, sugar, and flour, packs of dried beans, a variety of cookie cutters, rolling pins and baking vessels all neatly hidden away. Dish towels, storage bags, foil and plastic wraps as well as other appliances are also organized in this area.

I quickly grew tired of reaching for the light switch multiple times on a day when I was preparing for an afternoon or evening of entertaining. Solution… install a motion sensor light switch.  As soon as you walk into the pantry the light turns on and about 30 seconds after you leave it automatically turns off. I plan to have these installed in my walk in closets and laundry room as well.

Vessels for organizing your pantry, cabinets or closets can be found in various places. It can be all in one matching color pallet or an eclectic collection of various types of containers and turntables. It depends on your budget and how you want to invoke your own personal style. Guests have come to my house and are excited when they see my pantry. Some have been inspired to go home and organize their own pantry. An attractive, organized pantry is pleasant to walk into and saves time and money. If you can see and locate what you have, it prevents duplicated purchases of items already in your possession.

Every few months I resort and occasionally discover a new organizing item or method for improving the visibility of stacked items. With all of the “organizers” now in social media, every now and then a different product is revealed that I decide would be helpful. Below are stacked turn tables for can goods, that make all of the cans easily visible with a simple spin. The turntables do not however accommodate all sized cans.

The idea and intention of this project is to achieve a neatly organized method for displaying and locating items needed at a reasonable cost. In my case, I started with an empty pantry because my house was new, and the Kondo method would encourage you to take everything out to start as well. This enables you to check expirations dates, etc. and dispose of items that should no longer be in your pantry. The storage baskets, turntable and containers I used have been purchased over time. Shoe boxes or other items you have around your house can act as temporary storage vessels until you gradually find and can afford to purchase more decorative baskets or clear bins you may prefer. If you have wanted to organize your pantry and didn’t know where to begin, I hope that some of these ideas will inspire you. Start with one small section at a time, or make it your next “Weekend Project”.

LAGNIAPPE

Botanical Prints & A Rooster

This rooster was a gift from my brother one Christmas many years ago.
When I first received it, I didn't have any idea what I would do with it.  
It has since become the theme of my breakfast room.
This rooster was a gift from my brother one Christmas many years ago.
When I first received it, I didn’t have any idea what I would do with it.

It has since become the theme of my breakfast room.

If you look through any variety of decor magazines, you will find images of walls decorated with framed botanical prints. Whether they are vintage or reproductions, they remain a classic way to dress up a room with a high end appeal.

Magazine pages of rooms with botanical art.
Magazine pages of rooms with botanical art.

When I decided I would like to achieve this look, I discovered how costly it can be. Between the purchase of the print and then the framing, a grouping like the one I wanted was very far out of my budget.

One day several years ago while searching the budget books section at Barnes and Noble, I came across this large book of botanicals originally priced somewhere between $50 to $75, on sale for $20. I located the same book and other versions here: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Botanical-Prints-Complete-Plates/dp/1435100182]

The book contains 367 copper plating images presented in the order of the four blooming seasons. For this weekend project, I browsed through the book multiple times and tagged those in the same color palette that I was interested in, which happened to be shades of red. I measured the size of the pages and then estimated the addition of the matting and frame. I then created four templates cut out of newsprint (packing paper with no ink) and tacked them to the wall to establish how many framed images I would need to form my grouping.

I had to edit through my selection of prints and determine the top six images to use. I carefully carried one of the images to various stores in search of affordable framing. The black, slightly distressed looking frames (below) with a built in white mat that matched the print was found at Walmart. The inside top and bottom of the mat was larger than the print by millimeters, but once the print was inserted and hung on the wall, unless I brought it to someone’s attention it went undetected. [The glass insert is 18″ x 14″]. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Distressed-14×18-Picture-Frame-Black/45066783. ]

A beautiful rooster painted by a friend.
White blossom botanicals are in the bedroom.

I encourage you to search decor magazines for inspiration. Whether you’re looking to achieve your own botanical grouping, or some other subject matter, i.e. vintage automobiles, farm animals, maps, etc. check out the budget sale book sections at book stores or old books at consignment shops for the images and apply your own creative twist to achieve a high end look on a low budget.