Our Home at A Beautiful Mess

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

Our home is always evolving, and I love to look back on all of the little changes that we’ve done over the past year. Even though it can get annoying to always take process pictures of everything I do in our home, the great thing about documenting home projects for A Beautiful Mess is how easy it is to revisit everything I’ve accomplished. It’s like taking measurements on a weightless journey. You might feel like you’re still unsatisfied with where you’re at, but then you stop and consider how hard you’ve worked and compare photos of before and after, you feel much happier with the way things are. It’s empowering!

One of my most recent home projects is the built-in desk that we installed in our living room. You can read all about the project here, but my favorite part of the post is actually just the before and after photo. It’s inspiring me to get cracking on other home projects I’ve been dreaming of. Another recent project I’m really proud of is this liquor cabinet. Such an easy job that made a huge difference in the functionality and beauty of our home. Storage doesn’t have to be boring, folks!

Check out all of my projects at A Beautiful Mess by clicking here, and check out more photos of our home by clicking here.

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

Mandi's home from Making Nice in the Midwest

My Geometric Stencil Project at A Beautiful Mess

geometric wall stencil

I did something crazy in our bathroom. And this story doesn’t involve potty humor. No, it involves one sharp blade, a little paint, a paint brush, and lots of time and patience. I stenciled our bathroom walls with this beautiful art deco pattern! And I couldn’t love it more. Check out how I made my own stencils and laid out the pattern by reading my post at A Beautiful Mess.

Oh- and how cute is that Sugarboo art from Uncommon goods?

geometric wall stencil

Living Room Updates: The Sectional is Here!

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

When you first move into a new home, it’s a bit frustrating putting your old belongings to work in the new space. Sometimes you have to set aside cherished things because they don’t work with the floor plan, and other times you just need to make room for the awesome orange chairs you found at a garage sale for five bucks. (Try not to be jealous- but yes- that really happened!) But after living with hand-me-down furniture weirdly arranged to suit our lifestyle, it’s really fun to finally step back and see our home finally coming together! I think our new Ikea sectional is largely to thank for the dramatic difference.

We had been wanting a new sofa for a long time now, but there just wasn’t room in our meager budget. So we decided to pinch our pennies and every month put $100 into an envelope with the words “sofa fund” scrawled across it. I knew a sectional would be a great choice for this space- our one and only living/family room, but it seemed like we would never be able to afford the Room and Board sectional that I’d been pining after for so long. And really, after thinking about it through the months of saving, getting such an expensive sofa with a young family just didn’t seem prudent. We decided to no longer save for the pricier sectional and settle for the Karlstad from Ikea instead, ordering new legs (which I’m still waiting on) to help elevate the look of the less expensive Ikea sofa. So now we can continue to save $100 per month, but we’re putting it towards other needs- like dining room chairs!

Walking into Ikea with a fistful of cash was really satisfying, but I’m even more satisfied with how the sectional purchase has helped transform our living room. It’s much less disjointed than it was when we first settled in. Also, I think after getting rid of my doily decorations and whatnot, our home is becoming a great reflection of who we are as a family! If you have any questions about where anything is from, ask away and I’ll answer in the comments below.

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Making Nice in the Midwest- Living Room Updates

Dining Room Decisions: THE CHAIRS

DIY ceiling medallion

Window shopping for dining room chairs has always been fun and easy. I’ve filled Pinterest boards with different inspirational dining rooms and chair options, But of course, now that I’m actually ready with an envelope of real, live, dirty greenbacks, I can’t make up my mind to save my life!

Why is it so difficult for me to decide on dining room chairs? I have completely changed my mind from the last time we discussed this. I think I’m having commitment issues. But like I said before, if we’re going to get new chairs, I’d really like them to be chairs we’ll have around for a very, very long time- if not forever! You guys brought up a good point, though. If we’re going to invest in forever chairs, I probably shouldn’t be crunching number so tightly. What’s a few more hundred dollars for a real dining room investment? (I’ll tell you what a few hundred dollars are- they’re about half a year’s worth of home improvement savings!) But I’ve decided to wait to take the dining room chair plunge, and really settle on a set that we truly love.

Here are the top contenders right now- of course, the one I love the most (this white spoke dining chair) is the most expensive. But I’m crossing my fingers for a sale. Oh- and while we’re talking about my dining room improvements, check out this ceiling medallion DIY I shared at A Beautiful Mess today!

West Elm Spoke Chair

I love this spoke dining chair from West Elm, because it has the traditional feeling of a spindle-back windsor chair, but the tapered style of the back lends the chair a bit of a funky vibe. It would be easy to wipe clean, and its more substantial size would stand up well against our large farmhouse table. This chair is a winner- but we’ll be saving quite a bit longer to take home a set of six.

Panton knock-off chair

The idea of having a grouping of these Panton style dining chairs alongside our rustic farmhouse table seems like a perfect contrast to me. I love the sleek style and mod design of these chairs, but they are a bit bulky, visually speaking, and the knock-offs that I actually can afford (The originals are more than $300, and I prefer the West Elm chair for that price.) have this weird webbing behind the curve of the seat, to give the weaker material extra support. The chair really doesn’t look so elegant with the webbing, so I’m not so sure I’d like to have the Panton knock-offs lined up in a row at our dining room table. Maybe somewhere else in our home?

 

Modern Sleigh Chair

This modern sleigh chair reminds me of a cross between the Panton chair above, and the gorgeous Saarinen tulip chair that I shared in my last dining room chair post. I love its sleek and mod vibes, and that it’s much airier that the clunky looking Panton chair. The cushion can be removed for cleaning and even recovered- which would be a great way to change up the look and add pattern to our dining room. But I’m just afraid that this style is such a statement that I’ll grow tired of it as the years progress. Also, would its small frame not work well with our bulky table? And could I ever commit to such a funky chair? I’m just not sure!

So what do you all think? I have a while to think about all of our options, because right now we’ve decided to save for six of the West Elm spoke chairs (option one), which will take a bit of time, unfortunately. Waiting is so difficult sometimes, but at least when the time comes, I’ll know with confidence which chair we want. Or will I?

Image sources: first dining room  image by Lena Ostling for Hus & Hem via Bright Bazaar Blog, second image by Barry Calhoun for Style at Home, last image by Daniel Mahon of Kirra Jamison & Dane Lovett’s home via The Design Files.

January at A Beautiful Mess

Mandi Johnson at A Beautiful Mess

Last month, my projects for A Beautiful Mess were all about getting organized, making this pretty, and having fun! Check out the links below for more photos and the full tutorials for completing each project in your own home.

DIY Chalkboard Toy Box on Wheels // Lucy’s been having a ball with this one! And look at how beautiful her baby penmanship is. So proud of my little girl.

Make Your Own Gold Leaf Checkerboard // We love board games at our house, and pretty board games are even better. Phil’s already been beating my pants off at checkers since I made this set, so I think I’d better practice up.

Mandi Johnson at A Beautiful Mess

DIY Speaker Box Covers // Making our ugly sound system prettier has been on my to-do list for a while. I’m so glad I finally got around to it! It’s made a big difference in how our media set-up looks in our living room.

Try This: Hanging Baskets for Bathroom Storage // We’ve been getting a bit more organized around here, starting with toilet paper and hand towels! These basket crates were a great storage solution in our tiny “master” bathroom. They were really easy to hang, too.

Mandi Johnson at A Beautiful Mess

Build & Organize a Corner Shelving System // I shared the details of how I planned and built this handy dandy shelving system in an empty corner of our home. It’s much less expensive than buying a system at the store!

DIY Modern Metallic Candle Holders // The days are short, and the nights are cold! So we’ve been getting cozy with candlelight ’round these parts. Check out how I made these fancy candle stands- they’re so easy.

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