This past year has been extra busy, and I have been horrible at taking photos and updating this blog with all my design projects! After years of focusing on other people's spaces, it feels good to finally get to work on our own. I'm setting aside more time for our humble abode, and I'll be making an effort to share the home updates we're tackling. Last year it was the master bedroom, which turned out much better than I expected (a full post on that coming soon). 

This year I am focusing on our bonus area - an extra living room off of the garage, that is adjacent to our kitchen and dining nook. Since we already have a family/TV area in place (although it is due for an overhaul soon),  we decided to turn it into Natalie's play space, with room to act as a double-duty casual family and entertaining zone. 

Our home was built in the late 70's. With it, came wall-to-wall shag carpeting and disco-era decor that has outlived its glory days. In the beginning, it completely frustrated me and all I wanted to do was tear it all down. As the years went by, we've made simple yet impactful improvements that worked with our lifestyle. My husband and I are pretty savvy when it comes to spending.  Our goal whether it be with home improvements, clothing, cars, etc - is to spend where it matters, and save where we can without sacrificing style or quality. This means lots of DIYs, buying discounted or second hand, thinking outside the box, and always making the most of what we have. 

After 8 years of living in our home, I can say that I've slowly grown to love and appreciate it's quirks. There's a lot of soul and character in it that can't be found or replicated in a brand new home. While shiny and new is always appealing, there's something about connecting with a home's past, and bringing it into the present. In my opinion, perfection is highly overrated. Perfectly imperfect feels much more approachable, fresh, comfortable and not to mention.....practical. I've discovered the style that feels authentic and natural to the space, yet feels very much like "us"and enhances the way we live. We aren't quite ready for a complete reveal, for now here are a few snaps of our home that I've shared on Instagram:

I have to round up the before photos and share that on a future post, because its a complete dramatic makeover. In the meantime, get a glimpse of what the 70's left behind -THIS. Massive. Lava Rock. Fireplace.


And last weekend, I tackled it head on. It would have cost us at least a couple grand to tear it down, patch up and replace. But for $100 and in two days, I was able to solve the eye-sore problem. By painting it white (which was much MUCH more difficult than I expected), I got it to blend in with the rest of the room. For the paint I used BEHR exterior flat paint with primer, two coats, in a custom   white tint. I highly recommend finding the most dense brush with the shortest bristles to make the job easier.

 I like that it leaves a hint of the past through the rock's texture and form and gives the space a bit of a country house feel. Down the road I may want it completely gone, but as of now I am loving this quick and affordable solution.


Installing the floating shelves (Ikea Lack) was by far the easiest thing I did. And, one of the benefits of being a thrifty bargainista is that I already had a lot of great pieces to fill the empty space with. I am constantly on hunt and gather mode. If I see something I love and the price is right, I collect (to my husband's horror though, since our garage looks like a mad warehouse). 

This original vintage Z chair by Poul Jensen, was FREE. Yup. I picked it up on the side of the road - in immaculate condition. All it needed was a good cleaning and new cushions (oversized pillows purchased from a friend make for a great temporary solution). The brass nesting tables were a Craigslist score - $5. All the decor on the shelves are from flea markets, Home Goods, Target or thrift stores. 

I'm keeping this area clean, cozy and bright. I'll be focusing on casual yet comfortable soft furnishings like a slip covered sofa, over sized floor cushions, and custom linen accent pillows made from fabric I picked up in Japan. More vintage pieces will be joining the mix, along with a rug from Marrakech, and Natalie's kid-sized furniture. Of course, its all neutral. I personally adore light, bright and white spaces, adding interest through layers, texture and a collected vibe through eclectic vintage pieces.

There's still lots of work to be done, but I'm thrilled with the progress so far. For now, I have my eyes on these bargain finds to add to this area. Still on the hunt for some sleek and modern lighting options. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Click on images to shop each item

Thanks so much for dropping by and have a great rest of the week!

All Photos taken by Therese Jacinto for Craft and Couture