Saturday, July 19, 2014

A mini-house tour: Emily O'Donnell

 Going along with my love for peeking into the places people call home, I asked my oldest sister Emily if she would share with us a few glimpses into her new home. Emily and her family recently ( a few weeks ago recently) sold all of their furniture and belongings-packed up and moved from Naperville Illinois to Brisbane Australia. It kills me on many levels to not be able to see Emily and enter her home. Emily is one of the most welcoming and hospitable people I know so having her as a sister and living nearby was a forever win. Every time I entered her home I would find inspiration in her decorative touches and curbside finds. When she moved she gave me a few pieces from her house and they will be forever treasures to me. Since her move I have been dying to see what transformations this new house of hers has undergone at the hand of my creative Emily. I was not disappointed.  Here are a few thoughts from her on this new place.
I've decided I love small spaces--it has it's limitations of course, but it fosters coziness, it forces me maintain some sense of order, and it makes it easier to parent. I know where my kids are, what they're doing, who is provoking who, who needs time alone, etc. 

When we arrived in our furnished rental home in Australia there was a small dining table, some small artwork on the walks that I disliked, a large brown couch, a great coffee table and a large sisal rug. Within a week, the chairs on the dining table were falling apart, we were all tripping on the couch, and our family of 6 didn't have enough space to all sit in this main room--our family/dining room. So we moved (almost) everything downstairs and started fresh.

A few weeks later, inspired by some items on my kitchen windowsill ( read Emily's blog post on this here), and in particular a ring, my room is decked out with thrifted finds. Everything is second-hand and I love it. The silky oak wardrobe is our visual anchor, along with the bookcase filled with the only things we brought from the States, my husband's books. 

The white walls of our rental home keep it light, so that allows me to have fun with colors--I'm currently loving greens, golds, browns, greys with a bit of blue. Does that remind you of maps? Me too. We cut up an old atlas with spaces where family & friends are living and put them in thrifted frames. Voila--a wall is filled.

Thrifted pillows have helped me tie the colors of my room together. The angled mint leather couch opened up the space to allow for more seating. 

Pushing our new large dining table up against the wall, beneath the window, captured beautiful light, made more space in our room and, for some reason, made us feel like we were eating out for dinner each night.

Our long table has room for a runner, little flower arrangements and candles. We have set the table every night for dinner, and try to remember to light the candles. It makes it so much more special. It gets dark here by 5pm, so we light up the table and we all know that is the place to be.

A quirky edition was this framed statue head--I planned to put a different picture in, but ended up grabbing a dry erase marker and writing our dinner menu on it, along with notes for the day, and the kids now use it for pictures or whatever strikes their fancy. It's fun.

I found this gnarly branch on the sidewalk in front of our neighbours' house and grabbed it. Instant art! I love it.

I'm partial to amateur oil paintings--they're cheap and I just pick the ones with colors that I'm drawn too. 

Can you see why I love this space? Come visit and we'll share a cup of tea and sit & chat.

 Happy Saturday! And thanks Emily, love you!

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