Tuesday, August 11, 2020

We Interrupt This House Tour To Bring You...

 ...a laundry room makeover! In my previous post (you can read it here) I mentioned that I'd ordered a few things to update and make my laundry room (actually, laundry closet) into a room I liked looking at. I got my order on Thursday but I was dog sitting for my daughter who spent the weekend at Disney World with her husband and some friends. I didn't want to make a mess in the house while having a dog underfoot (and I mean that literally; he follows me everywhere). So I decided to get started on the work Monday morning.

I started by taking everything off the shelves, hooks, and the top of the dryer where I keep a laundry basket. I took down the shelves and gave them a good cleaning.

I took the covers off the electric outlets as well. I thought about switching out this outlet; the color is so dingy, like much of what was in this laundry closet. Ultimately I decided I wouldn't tackle that project just yet, not because I don't know how but because I was doing this on a budget and I hadn't planned on it. The outlet covers are less than $4 which was no biggie. I took a quick trip to Home Depot and got the covers along with a saw for a project I hope to do at my daughter's house. 

I took a quick pic of the wall before taking the washer and dryer out. Y'all, it looked awful! I was really looking forward to covering all this nastiness. But, floors first.

I spared y'all the worst of it. This is after having scrubbed the floor and baseboards with Krud Kutter, which I highly recommend. This product actually cleaned the linoleum better than anything I'd tried before. The stains, unfortunately, are there to stay. I decided not to paint the baseboards because they're hidden behind the appliances. The floor is too, and I actually considered tiling only the front that would be seen, but it's such a small space and I didn't want the machines to be on an uneven surface. 

I used vinyl peel and stick tiles. They are easy to use, easy to cut, and look really nice. This part of the project took about an hour to complete, and I'm thrilled with the results.

Isn't it gorgeous?!?! I will say this, these tiles are not the best for a high traffic area. The instructions say not to use any additional adhesive, but I don't see how you can get away with just the adhesive that's on the tile. The edges do not stick very well. I had to stand on them and press hard, and even then some did not stick as well. Since these are going under my washer and dryer I was not overly concerned, but in a kitchen or hallway where there is a lot of foot traffic, these may not be the best choice. They look and feel beautiful, though, and it really did update the room considerably. Oh, the black marks on the wall? That's caused by the washer hose. I tried cleaning it with a Magic Eraser. It would not budge.

Next was the wallpaper. I didn't stop to take pictures of the process because it was hard and tiring. Thankfully my son E helped me with this. Word to the wise: don't try to do this without some help. It will go much easier if there are two people working on this. The wallpaper is also peel and stick; similar to contact paper but not as stiff. It is, however, extremely sticky and will stick to itself. On the bottom left hand corner there where it looks like a piece is missing? That's where I didn't move fast enough, the paper stuck to itself, and when I tried to unstick it, it tore. That was the hardest part. Of course the walls aren't square or straight but we managed to get the paper pretty level by drawing a line on the wall to follow. Even cutting around screw holes and fixtures was pretty simple. This paper is meant to look like wood boards, unpainted shiplap if you will. When I put up the first shelf to see how it looked, I did a happy dance! 

The wallpaper wall is an accent wall. I didn't want to wallpaper the entire closet; that seemed like too much. Once the second shelf went in and we put up the outlet covers, the washer and dryer were ready to go back in. Oh my gosh, I was so happy and excited! It looks so good! What an improvement from what it looked like before!

I know it's only wallpaper, but the difference is night and day. It's exactly what I wanted.

I put everything back on the shelves and I'm loving it! I might eventually switch out the plastic gray bins for wood ones. These were my daughter's from whenever she was teaching, and since she didn't want them anymore I decided I'd use them here, but I think I'd prefer wood or wicker baskets here. I'm in no rush; if I find something at the Goodwill I'll pick them up but otherwise these work fine.

As for the floors...

You just get a little peekaboo, but it makes me smile every time I look at it. There's space in between the washer and the dryer, so I'm glad I tiled the whole floor, otherwise it would have looked terrible. 

This whole project cost me under $65 but to me, the transformation is priceless. It proves that it's possible to have a beautiful home on a budget. Which reminds me, the master bedroom tour is next, and that's gonna show some of my best frugal skills, so come back soon! God bless y'all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Let's Take A Tour - The Laundry

If I could point to one space in my old house that I didn't like, it would be the laundry area. My washer and dryer were in a corner in the hot, humid, dusty garage, underneath the water heater.


I loved the washer and dryer themselves; I bought them from Lowe's in 2016 after my washing machine, which was original to the house, finally gave out. These front loaders worked so well and were wallet-friendly, since they use less water than the old style top loaders. But I was constantly having to clean them because of all the dust in the garage. I knew in my new house I would want both a garage and a washer/dryer, but not together.

Thankfully, I was able to get just what I wanted in my new house. Sort of...



Down the hallway next to the kitchen, adjacent to the dry bar, is the a/c unit on the right, the master bedroom straight ahead, and on the left a laundry closet. Not a room, just a closet, but it's not in the garage so that's a plus.
 
It has a working washer and dryer (though older models), and wire shelving above it for storage. I was very thankful for it, but I didn't love it. Heck, I didn't even like it. It was very dirty. The laundry closet is a forgotten space; if, like the previous owner and myself, you don't have a need to do laundry daily, you don't give it a second thought. It's a utilitarian space and nothing more. Until you're moving in your stuff. That's when you start to notice things. Like how sticky the wire racks are because of years of laundry and humidity in the room. Or the amount of dust inside the brackets when you try to clean said wire racks. Then there's the washer and dryer themselves, covered in sticky dirt. I tried to clean them; I used soapy water and microfiber cloths on everything. The washer and dryer I was able to get fairly clean, but those wire racks were a whole other story. No matter how much I tried to clean them they were just as sticky and gross. This needed more than just some basic cleaning. This closet needed a makeover.


I took the wire racks down and replaced them with wood racks that I found at Home Depot for $9.99 each. They aren't solid wood; these are covered in laminate, which is why they're so inexpensive. The brackets were the most expensive part of this makeover. They were $7.47 each but I needed 6 of them to make sure the shelves were secure. They look so good! And they're much easier to keep clean. On the wall I put up hooks to hang my mop, broom, and plastic bags. 


Outside the closet I put up this cute Laundry sign that I picked up at Hobby Lobby for just $9.99. It gave color to this otherwise neutral space.


I changed the light fixture here in the hallway in front of the laundry closet. This was one of those white glass ball fixtures that contractors use in new construction, except this house is over 30 years old and so was the light fixture. I picked this one up from Walmart.com for $16.34. I wanted something in oil rubbed bronze and that wasn't closed, since those tend to get dirty and full of bugs. Can anyone say yuck?! I don't have that problem with this light fixture. 

Just recently I made a few more changes to the laundry hallway. I had this picture on the wall that I got years ago from Kirkland's:


This has been a favorite of mine for years, and I knew I wanted it in my home, but I had to admit it looked small on this particular wall.


I thought about maybe doing a gallery wall here, though I'm not fond of gallery walls. Thankfully my daughter offered me this gorgeous painting:


She had bought it for her bedroom but decided on doing a different color scheme so she asked me if I wanted it. I knew the colors would work with the master bedroom so I said I'd take it. When I saw it, I knew it was perfect for the hallway just ahead of my bedroom.



The size is much better on this wall. I added the runner, a steal at $14.97 from Costco. The colors work beautifully with my decor.

Most of the makeover was done back in March, right before quarantine. It's been a great improvement, but I knew there was more I wanted to do. For starters, the smoke detectors in this house are so old they've yellowed. I don't even understand why there are 2 smoke detectors in this small hallway, but both are dingy looking. I want to get those replaced or at least painted. The bifold doors are another project on my list; they're metal which makes them creaky, and they also have yellowed. I want wood doors, or at least something that looks like wood.


This is the wall behind the washer and dryer, just below the shelves. I didn't realize how stained the wall was until I put the new shelves in. I thought about painting it, maybe even in a contrasting color, but I've decided on something else: wallpaper. I found some on Amazon that I've ordered. Hopefully I can start on this next week. I think it'll give this laundry closet a boost. That, and the flooring...


Again, no one looks at the dingy laundry closet floor but the homeowner, so it's never a priority. But I look at it and I hate it. This linoleum has been here for over 30 years. I took the washer & dryer out and tried to give it a good cleaning, but it's just too old. The color has yellowed and the dirt is encrusted into the grooves, so it won't come out. To take this out and put in ceramic or porcelain tile would be tedious, expensive and unnecessary; only a small piece of the flooring actually shows. Instead, I've found a better and easier alternative: peel and stick tile. I looked at Home Depot and Lowe's but ultimately found what I was looking for on, you guessed it, Amazon. I'm excited to get this project started and to see my vision come to life.

I'll try to remember to take pictures this time as I work on this area ;-). Next up in the home tour: the master bedroom. I can't wait to share this special space!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Spared Again

Praise God, Isaias went from category 1 hurricane to tropical storm, then missed South Florida completely! Hallelujah!! It came close enough to give us some showers but nothing out of the ordinary. There were also a few gusts of wind occasionally, but again nothing for concern. I'd brought in my patio furniture on Saturday in case the storm got closer; Sunday morning it was back outside. 

We are still praying for this storm to either dissipate or head out into the ocean. It can still become a hurricane again, since the waters are warm this time of year. The Carolinas seem to be the possible target, but we know that the weatherman doesn't direct the storm. We are so thankful this morning for our faithful God, and we trust Him that He will take care of our friends in Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, and anywhere else this storm may be headed.


 Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. - Psalm 89:8-9

Friday, July 31, 2020

Not Another One...

We interrupt this house tour to bring a special announcement: Hurricane Isaias is the first hurricane of the season to threaten Florida. This is significant for two reasons: one, the height of hurricane season is September - October, yet here we have a hurricane headed our way that should reach us by August 1. Two, it's July and we're already on letter I of the alphabet. That means there's already been eight storms in the Atlantic and we haven't hit peak season. 

Forecasters predict that hurricane Isaias will brush along the eastern border of Florida, but that's just a prediction. Hurricanes rarely do what the weatherman says they're going to do. While it's only a category 1 at this time (late afternoon July 31) it can potentially strengthen to a category 2 or weaken back down to a tropical storm. Either way I've decided it's best to be prepared. I've brought in my small plants to allow them to acclimate to the indoors, and tomorrow I'll bring in my patio furniture. Thankfully it isn't much. We're blessed to have hurricane shutters on most of the windows, though I doubt I will have to use them since it's a weak storm. Still, we haven't been through a hurricane in this new house, so we don't know what to expect. Will the power go out? Will it take long for it to be restored? We're experiencing a heat wave right now, with temps in the 90's but "feels like" temperatures above 100 degrees. The thought of no a/c is frightening. The water levels in the canal behind us have been lowered in anticipation of heavy rainfall, but will there be extensive flooding? It's too soon to know anything, but I'll try to update regularly.

We are praying for this storm to go out into the ocean and stay there, where it won't affect anyone. If you're reading this, I hope you will pray with me. "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16b). Thanks. God bless you.   

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Let's Take A Tour - The Kitchen

The heart of the home. I always wondered about that. Why is the kitchen the heart of the home? Why not the living room? Isn't that where we do our "living"? It would seem to be, yet no matter how small a kitchen is, it's where everyone congregates. I guess it's because that's where the food is.


My kitchen is just beyond the dining room. Unlike many new homes, my kitchen is not open concept. The mirrored wall separates the kitchen from the rest of the living area. This was one negative in this house for me, since I'd become accustomed to having my kitchen open to the family room. Once inside, though, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.


As you enter, there is a small walkway that I decorated simply. On the left I have my plate rack. I bought this years ago from Kirkland's, but the plates it came with have those same fall colors that so much of my old decor have. They are lovely and I do plan on using them in the fall, but for summer I wanted something a bit more cheerful. However, I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I found nice decorative dessert plates for $12.99 at TJ Maxx, but that would mean spending $39 on plates. I got the whole plate rack with plates for $20. That was a no. I looked on Amazon but the cheapest I found were $20! I was about to give up, when I thought, wait, what about the Goodwill? I found these lovelies for $2 each. They have cute pictures of fruits on them, apples, pears, berries, and they make me think of summer days at the park. I like that I now have options for my plate rack.


On the right hand side I had the same issue: a fall color picture in the middle of summer. This is one of the items I found for half price at Hobby Lobby and I couldn't have been happier. I love decorating with pitchers full of flowers. I currently have five of them throughout my house! This was meant to be in my home, and at $8 it was a bargain I couldn't pass up.


This is the first thing you see when you walk into my kitchen. This baker's rack was in my old home next to my pantry. I bought this off of Amazon years ago and I love how it serves a purpose while also being decorative. The clock above it is from Walmart. Notice the pitcher filled with Dollar Tree florals at the top :-). 


This artificial olive tree is a favorite find. I was at Hobby Lobby just a couple weeks after they'd reopened, and as I was checking out I noticed they had some trees on clearance for $30. They looked so realistic and I knew that was a really good price, but I was already paying and I didn't want to hold up the line to go check them out. So I left, but I couldn't stop thinking about how nice a tree like that would look in several places throughout my home. I was also thinking of the arches for above my front door. I decided to go to Hobby Lobby to get the arch, and if they had any of the trees left I'd get one. There were two olive trees at the store entrance, and they'd been reduced to $24.99! I picked that up faster than you can blink! The little basket is from the Target dollar spot for $5. I feel like wherever I put this tree it gives life to the room. Oh, and the little plaque above the tree that says Home Sweet Home? I found it at Hobby Lobby for $4, and I put it there to hide the hideous old phone jack in the wall!

As you turn the corner you walk into my new kitchen:



This kitchen is definitely smaller than my old kitchen, but it's laid out so well I don't miss the extra space. It's been remodeled, and I love the finishes the previous owner selected. I'm pretty shocked at how similar our tastes are! But honestly, I believe God knew what I wanted as well as what I needed, and He was happy to oblige. 


I have a small coffee station in the corner of my kitchen. Since I'm the only one that drinks coffee, and I typically only have one cup per day, I don't need a whole lot of space. I put up the "All I need today is a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus" sign that my old boss gave me right above my coffee corner. The Keurig was a clearance find at Walmart - just $50. It was brand new in the box; I think someone got it through the website and returned it to the store. Since this particular model or color wasn't in their stock it got relegated to clearance. That was four years ago and it still works beautifully while adding a pop of color to my otherwise neutral kitchen. Underneath is a K-cup holder my son gave me that Christmas. He also gave me the mug:


My kids have a running joke about who my favorite child is. They know they're all my favorites, so this is done in fun.


Beside my Keurig is my sugar and creamer cannisters. I have issues with dairy, and I don't like flavored creamers. Refrigerated creamers don't get used fast enough in my house before they spoil, so I use powdered creamer instead. I bought these cannisters from Kohl's several years ago. They match my dishes that I bought there as well. The little clay princess was a gift from a cousin, and the cake stand is from Target.


Above my sink is something my heart desired but I didn't think I would get in a townhouse: a window! I had a window above the sink in my old house and even though it faced the neighbor's house and a blank wall, I loved how it brought light into the kitchen. Most townhomes we saw had galley kitchens in the middle of the home and no windows at all. I was thrilled that this house not only had a window above the sink, but it has that wonderful canal view! The windowsill is narrow, so I can't have my orchid or any large planter here. Instead I have this small cactus my daughter gave me for Mother's Day, and some artificial cacti I brought from my old house.

 
On the other side of the sink are my toaster oven and utensil holder. Actually, that's not a utensil holder. It's a cookie jar I got on sale at Kirkland's, but it's the right size. No one needs to know ;-).


The stove and refrigerator are against the wall adjoining the dining room. This is the original footprint of the home, and I've often wondered why the previous owner didn't have the kitchen flip-flopped when she remodeled. Perhaps it was too expensive, or structurally impossible, I don't know. But I think these appliances and cupboards could have been moved to the wall where I have my baker's rack, and this wall opened up to the dining room. I would have turned this into a peninsula with a large counter/kitchen bar area. It would have added more counter and cabinet space and opened everything up. It's not something I would do now, since the kitchen is new and it would be a waste to tear out these cabinets that are very good quality. It's just a shame it wasn't done before.

But I digress. The appliances are also new and in very good condition. I put some fake plants in the soffit above the fridge, and added the Kitchen sign that I got at Hobby Lobby. My daughter likes to tease me about that; she says it's a good thing I clarified what room we're in. 


I've had my KitchenAid mixer for years; it was a Christmas present from J while we were still together. I normally don't like having it on the counter but it's too big for any of my cabinets. Now, in that case, you might be wondering where the rest of my small appliances are. On first glance this kitchen appears to have little storage. But wait. There's more...


On the wall opposite the sink, right by the entrance, there are two bifold doors. Behind them...


...is a massive pantry! Not only are all my small appliances in here, there's food storage, bakeware, and anything that wouldn't have a home otherwise in my small kitchen. I would not have given this house a second thought if it didn't have all this storage space. It shows how a small space can be utilized to its fullest potential.

In the future I want to do a blog post on how I organize my kitchen. But this house tour isn't over. There's still plenty more to see. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Let's Take A Tour - The Balcony

Before I get started, let me address the new look on my blog. I did like the old background and colors, but I was ready for a change. It's been five years, after all. I fell in love with this rustic look and the sunflowers. It reminds me of spring and summer, of warm days and showers and new growth on the trees and flowers blooming. It's change, but in a good way.

One of the things that immediately caught our eyes whenever we first walked into this home was the views. There are plenty of windows, but there are also two glass doors from where everything beyond is green. My heart skipped a beat. 


The balcony sits between the living room and dining room and has two sets of sliding glass doors. This allows lots of sunlight to stream in during the day, and in the winter we have lovely cross breezes that keep the house cool and refreshed. It's also completely screened in to keep bugs out, though we've noticed there's a little lizard that has found some crevice to sneak in through. 


I love the fact that the floors are tiled and not just plain dull cement. It makes it easier to keep clean, though now in the summer we've been getting rain almost daily and that helps wash away most of the dust. 

I desperately wanted to get a small patio set for the balcony but since it was October the stores were preparing for Christmas, not outdoor activity. I looked on OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace but I couldn't find anything that caught my eye, not to mention it would have to be close by since I don't have a vehicle that would fit a bunch of outdoor seating. So I went to my trusty Amazon to see what was available. There were plenty of patio sets; finding one that would fit was the challenge. This balcony is not very big. The patio set I'd had at the house wouldn't fit here. I wanted something with a couple of chairs that was comfortable but didn't take up a lot of space. This set on Amazon was just what I was looking for.  It's two rockers and a side table, black metal with taupe cushions that clean easily. It took about half an hour to put together. The small shelves had been in our old garage but it was too small for what I needed in our garage now, so instead I put it here and added some fall greenery and a white pumpkin over a hay bale. The barometer on the wall was left by the previous owner so I didn't have to put anything there. I just added the lantern that I got on clearance from Target for $4.50 and the look was complete. I kept it simple because the star of this show is the view:


My realtor and best friend's words to me were, "The view alone sells this house." And she's right. There's a canal running along the back of our house, where we've seen all sorts of wildlife - cranes, ducks, turtles, fish (thankfully no gators, at least not yet), and this beauty which I was able to get a picture of:


It's kind of hidden, well blended into the tree, but what a majestic hawk! My son first noticed it, and it took our breath away. We've seen so many different birds - finches, blue jays, some we've never seen before and don't know what they are. It's a nice quiet neighborhood, so sitting outside and watching all the different animals gives us so much enjoyment. 

I've only done a little decorating since we moved in. We got plenty of use of the balcony in the fall and winter months, but now in the summer it's so hot and humid we don't sit out here. Still, I've made a few small changes that make it a bit more homey.

 
I added a couple of plants that I bought in the spring from Costco for $8. They came with the terracotta planters which is a plus, since they are my favorite types of planters. At the old house I had plants on my window sill, but they didn't fit in my kitchen in this house, so both my cactus and my orchid ended up out here. They are both thriving, so I don't mind the change.


Another great thing about this balcony is the ceiling fan. It came with the house and has been convenient whenever we sit outside. The hanging plant is artificial; I want to get one or two real plants but I'm waiting for summer to be over so I can get some from Home Depot cheap. And there's that view again...

I no longer have a big yard. No more mowing, no more trimming, no more weeding, no more sweating. Yet I still can enjoy the outdoors. I love looking out from my balcony to the water, the trees, the grass,  and the wildlife. It's so peaceful. Even on stormy days, when the sky goes from blue to grey and the clouds are no longer puffy white; when it seems ominous, and the wind blows, and we hear the thunder rolling in the distance, it's still beautiful and awe inspiring. God has made all these different scenes, these backdrops that are a work of art. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." (Psalm 19:1). 

I hate to leave this tranquil spot, but it's on to the heart of the home. The kitchen is next, so stay tuned. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Let's Take A Tour - The Dining Room

Just beyond the living room area is our dining room.


As I mentioned in my previous post, we have a living room/dining room combo. However, because of the way the house is laid out, the dining area is off to the side in its own designated space as opposed to one big room with a dining table directly behind the sofa as in other home layouts. I like this sort of "separation" where everything is open yet it's still clear what is the living room and what is the dining room. Shall we take a closer look?


This is the table that I had at our old house, the one I gel stained and put new cushions on the seats. I took the leaf out since we don't need it right now and this space is smaller than what we had at the old house. I can fit the table with the leaf in just fine, but I decided to keep it compact for the time being. The rug is a new addition that I picked up at Ross for $30. The plantation shutters, curtains, even the little flower decor above the window were left by the previous owner. 


The decor on the table is also from the old house, though this wasn't how I had it decorated in the past. The tray was a Target clearance find for $12, as was the pitcher. The flower arrangement is simply some Dollar Tree hydrangeas and some eucalyptus from Target. The owl is a candle holder, though I've never burned any candle in it. I got it several years ago from Walmart for under $5.


The salt and pepper shakers were a great score from the Walmart clearance aisle. They are from the Pioneer Woman collection, and I got the set for $4. They go beautifully with my dishes. The runner is from the Magnolia line at Target. I believe I paid $15 for it, a bargain considering the quality and it's a nice neutral design appropriate for all seasons.


The opposite wall is mirrored, a popular design style in the 80's. I don't care for it myself, but I understand removing it can be pretty pricey, and it's not a project I'd want to tackle on my own. Not only is it dangerous, I'm concerned what the drywall behind it will look like after 32 years. I try to look on the positive side: it makes the room look way bigger than it actually is.

If you've seen pictures of my previous home, you know that I also stained the china cabinet that went with this dining room set. It was a beautiful piece that I'd had for 19 years, but in the end I chose not to bring it with me, so I sold it. In its place I put this cabinet:


It's not a buffet or sideboard. It's actually a tv cabinet that I had in our family room and which houses our DVD/CD collection. I downsized quite a bit of our DVD's but we still have a lot. This cabinet was purchased off of Amazon back in 2016 for $210. I've gotten compliments because of how well it looks with the dining room table; I've even been asked if they are a set, which they definitely are not.

 
I decided to keep the decor on top simple, since everything reflects off the mirror. That gorgeous decorative bottle has been with me for 20 years. We purchased it at a fair and watched as the flowers were painted on it. Beside it are pictures of my kids when they were younger.


One of the things I did change was the light fixture in the dining room. This was original to the house and didn't match anything else. It's pretty, but it looked out of place.


This is the ceiling fan in the living room. The bronze finish on this, as well as the style, clashed with the brushed nickel of the light fixture in the dining room and open to the living room.



I found this lighting fixture on Home Depot's website. Since we were in the middle of quarantine I wasn't able to go to the actual store, so online ordering was the next best thing. I wish I hadn't been impatient, because while I like this light fixture, I don't love it. It is a way better match than the old light fixture, but it's just okay. I may change it again in the future. Or I may keep it. I haven't decided yet.

You're probably asking, so if the cabinet holds DVD's and CD's, where is all the stuff that was in the china cabinet? Let me show you:


Across the dining room and behind the living room is this gorgeous dry bar. I didn't know if this was something the previous owner had built in, but I've since learned that it's original to the house, as are the mirrors and glass shelves. She did upgrade the countertop to granite, though, and in doing so gave it a high end look.


On the left there are two drawers which I use as my "junk" drawers. There are no drawers to the right, because this cabinet is plumbed for a wet bar. The previous owners didn't care for one, which is fine since I have no desire for a wet bar either.


There is plenty of storage space inside, so that not only am I able to put away everything that was in my china cabinet, but also some of my cookbooks and seasonal decor. 


Again, I wanted to keep this area uncluttered, so I took out my cake stand (which I've had since my days selling Kingdom Treasures 15 years ago) and put this pitcher full of tulips on top. I love these tulips that I bought off of Amazon. They are very high quality and look realistic. I bought the pitcher from Kirkland's a while back. I love white pitchers for flower arrangements, and they always have pretty ones at Kirkland's.


This decorative plate has special meaning to me. It is from Puerto Rico and was given to me by a very sweet Puertorican lady who was one of my vendors whenever I worked as a purchasing agent years ago. That company went bankrupt during the recession in 2008, but I kept in touch with the lady who gave it to me. Sadly, she passed away unexpectedly in 2015, making this gift an even more precious treasure. 


When we first moved in I wondered what in the world I would do with these glass shelves? They are attached to the mirrors, so unless I remove the mirrors I can't take the shelves off. As I mentioned before, I'm not the biggest fan of the mirrors, but taking them down would probably mean extensive repairs to whatever is behind it. It wasn't until Christmas that I came to appreciate them. I set up my Christmas village on this sideboard. 


I wish I'd taken a picture of the finished product! I began putting little pine trees to make it look like a mountain overlooking the village. Unfortunately I decluttered a bunch of my village pieces, thinking I wouldn't need them. I didn't want to spend a ton of money, so I went to Walmart and purchased some small village houses which I put on the shelves. It turned out so cute! I guess I'm gonna have to recreate it this Christmas so I can post proper pictures. After Christmas I decided to put my wine glasses up there instead, along with some dessert plates that were a wedding gift from a dear friend and a few other decor pieces. It's simple yet elegant.

I'm so glad I was able to keep my dining room table. I was afraid it would be too big to fit in a smaller home, but here it works great, and I can still host our small Thanksgiving day feast. Next, the room that isn't really a room. Can you figure out what that is?