Our Townhouse Living Room

Alright, we’ve been moved in for around 4.5 months and I still haven’t posted any pictures of our Dallas townhouse (we are renting until our CA house sells), which is some sort of new record for me. Basically, as I’ve mentioned previously, we’ve been having problem after problem getting our landlord to fix things. No hot water four separate times, mold in different places, broken appliances for which we turned to take help on an online repair shop which guaranteed us same day help and they delivered. We completely had forgottent that we’d a warranty from a few Arizona home warranty companies. We’ve obtained legal counsel and have made sure that we’ve gone through the proper channels to get things done, but we’re still in the “wait and see” time frame.

But that didn’t stop me from decorating, naturally. In fact, getting things livable became even more important, the more problems we had. Since I am a stay at home mom, having my house set up and in order means everything, since I spend 90% of my waking hours here.

One of the first things I did was paint over all the dark reddish brown that someone had put on the walls. Since it is a single story town home, we have neighbors on either side of us, making it feel like a long dark hallway since there are no windows on either side (just front and back). I really wanted to keep all the colors light, and we added a lot of lamps. We’ve moved almost every single piece of furniture at least 3 times– in fact, about 3 weeks ago, we moved my office out of the kitchen nook and into our bedroom (it was too noisy to work there anyways!), the dining room table into the kitchen nook, and left the dining area open for the boys to play. We also replaced one of our couches and rearranged everything!

Here is what you see as you enter the doorway:

Turquoise yellow and gray living room

The area where the tree is stationed is where our dining room used to be, but I didn’t like having the table in the same room as the couches. There’s also more natural morning light in the kitchen, and it’s nice to eat there. We just moved our Expedit bench into this area (it had been in the sunroom), along with the boys’ art table and coloring books. Like I said, we’re keeping this area wide open so that the boys have yet another area to run around and play in (they also have their playroom and the sunroom, but they’re kids and need lots of space to play, since we don’t have a backyard any longer). We are able to store LOTS of stuff in that Expedit bench, including extra kids books and toys, scarves, mittens and umbrellas. Our coat closet is right behind it, so this is the perfect “get ready” station before we head out back to the carport.Seating area near Christmas Tree

Turquoise and yellow living room Bookshelves Living Room

Closeup of bookshelves living room

Craft Table Living Room

As you look back from the dining area to the front door, you can see our living room. When we first moved in August, we had this light green couch and a small brown leather Chesterfield sofa. As time wore on, I realized that the two sofas were not making efficient use of the long and narrow layout, so we got a large leather sectional off of Craigslist and sold the brown one (I actually MADE money on the transaction!).Living Room looking back at door

Pictures around the TVWhite Sectional Couch

Our Ikea hack coffee table is on wheels, so it’s very easy to roll out of the way when we want more open space. It is a bit of a hazard for a few of my friends who have 9 month old babies, however! Whenever they come over, the babies try to pull up on it and end up face planting when the wheels move!

coffee table from the floor View from the other couch View from the couch

Rustic entryway Christmas

So, there you have it– our townhouse living room. It’s hard to beat $1200/month in rent, especially because it’s less than half a mile from Jesse’s work, and only until we sell our CA house. I have found a good option to sell a house fast (check out this website).

For more reading, check out our California living room!

Cheap Wall Chalkboard

DIY chalkboard

Before I get to the part where we re-arranged our entire town home in order to make it livable for the time being, let me show you the cheap Wall Chalkboard that I made for under $20. I’ve always loved the idea of having a giant chalkboard in the eating area for drawing menus and making seasonal art, and one day my brain had a flash of inspiration about how I could repurpose things around the house.

See, for instance, this old sheet of metal? It was originally stuck behind the stove as a backsplash, but it was ugly and the paint was peeling off, so I had Jesse unscrew it from the wall. It’s been sitting unused in our sunroom for months now. Chalkboard Process 1

I turned it over and gave it a fresh coat of chalkboard paint. Jesse then used the nail holes to hang it into the wall. It’s very lightweight, so it only took two small finishing nails– nothing heavy duty that would damage the wall.

Chalkboard Process 2

After waiting 3 days for the paint to cure, I primed the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it, then erasing with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (this little secret does the trick, I tell you!).

Chalboard Process 3

Because I was impatient, I went ahead and started doodling before adding the trim.

Chalkboard Process 4

I cut four pieces of craft board from Home Depot for less than $10 (after cutting them to size in the store) and stained them using “Antique Walnut” that I already had. I then hung them using 3M strips instead of nails.

Chalkboard in the kitchen

And…voila! Chalkboard in the kitchen! Isn’t she nifty?

Finished chalkboard

Looking Like Christmas!

Christmas Burlap WreathThis past week, my crafty side went into full gear and I got our house at least a little Christmas-fied. Honestly, I was so exhausted (the good kind) after hosting my family for a week at Thanksgiving that I’m surprised I got anything up at all! Add onto that the fact that we fly to CA in 8 more days for the holidays, and we didn’t really see much point in decorating TOO much.

Of course, my home-made $5 burlap flower wreath switched out her fall leaves for pinecones and live branches that I collected for free from Home Depot’s Christmas Tree tent (seriously, they have enough scraps to decorate a whole house!).

And I’m so glad that we did a tree. The boys waited anxiously all day for Jesse to get home from work so that they could decorate it with him. We put on Christmas music, ate candy canes, pulled out our family decorations that somehow made it from CA, and laughed as AJ started hiding the ornaments in various places. They loved every second of it, and they love having it in our living room! We’ve even caught AJ singing to it from time to time 🙂

Boys Decorating the Tree

Yes, the tree is actually in our dining room. But where is the dining room table, you might ask? More on that later. In an effort to finally feel comfortable in our townhouse (sigh, it’s been a process), we basically rearranged almost everything last week. Don’t worry, pictures have been taken and the tours are coming shortly!

Christmas Tree 2014

Christmas tree closeup

Okay, I guess a sneak peek of where the dining room table is now won’t hurt, seeing as I have my $20 DIY Christmas chalkboard up above it (tutorial soon!). We moved the table into the kitchen nook, where my office used to be.

Table from below

And here is our rustic chic entryway, with a few Christmas updates.

Rustic entryway Christmas

Nativity Scene 2014

I made an advent calendar last year, but I have too many memories of our foster boys tied up with them, and decided I didn’t want to get sad and miss them every time I enter the living room, so we did this last minute instead 🙂Chalkboard Advent Calendar

Since we don’t have a fireplace anymore, I used more scraps from Home Depot to make a hangar for our stockings. Gregory and I printed off letters, cut them out and then traced them against sparkly card stock from Hobby Lobby to make the letters. Two of the stockings I bought a few years ago at the $ Store, and two of them are from Hobby Lobby (seriously, they have such good sales!).

Stockings on a branch

And, speaking of Hobby Lobby, I spent $4 making this cute centerpiece for our dining room table. We found the little  box for $3 (right around the time when Gregory told me I should just live at Hobby Lobby because I love it and he’ll just find a new mom!), filled it with more tree scraps, and added my mason jars with sugar on the base and flameless tea light candles on top. You can’t see, but I also tossed a couple pearls around on the sugar to make things sparkle.Christmas Centerpiece

I will leave you with an absolutely adorable video of AJ singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to our tree 🙂

Bishop Arts District

The Streets of Bishop Arts

At least two members of my family have been in town visiting me for the past two days, and BOY have we fit a lot into these 48 hours! Monday morning, my sister and I took the train to attend yoga class at a cutsey artsy studio that meets in a vine covered loft, but….long story short we were 5 minutes late and the class had already begun. So, we took the morning to walk around to grab coffee, walk around the West Village, and then tour an AMAZING exposed brick loft with panoramic views of the downtown skyline!

Tuesday, we decided to include Jesse, my dad and the boys, so we took a long tour of University of Dallas and then headed to a cool hangout spot nearby known as the Bishop Arts District. It amazes me how I lived in the DFW area for 4 years without ever discovering this eclectic/boho/art district. So many vintage, coffee, boutique stores!

Bishop Arts District sign

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Dude Sweet Chocolate

The Wild Detectives Coffee/Wine/Book Shop

The Wild Detectives Coffee/Wine/Book Shop

Rustic coffee shop

Wild Detectives Wine List

Brick wall painting Bishop Arts

Brick wall Bishop Arts

boho chandelier

Suit of armor decoration

Viaduct Oak Cliff sign

Bishop Street Market sign

Bishop Arts Christmas lights

If you’re ever in Dallas, make sure to drop by this quaint little neighborhood!