I'm pretty sure I've mentioned on this blog, oh at least once or twice, that I like to nest. I like to be settled. I like to create a home- even if it is a temporary home for our family (which happens more often that not!), I want it to be ours. Comfortable, cozy, welcoming.
I will be the first to say that I am NOT a designer. I am sure there are all sorts of designing faux pas in the way I arrange and configure our home. For example, I was told one time that you are never supposed to have your furniture actually sitting on the edges of the area rugs in your room. Well. Try fitting 6 people and all of their stuff into somewhat small Middle Eastern apartments! Rules have to bend! So I guess in the long room, I'm better off not knowing rules like that because I can't follow them anyway!
In my opinion, a home should be decorated by the family, for the family. I've never really understood the concept of having a designer come in with knick knacks that did not really initiate with the family and therefore have no meaning to the family. I'm not criticizing those who use designers- I actually think it's a really cool concept- to be able to help people love and maximize their space. I'm just saying, use your own things- they don't have to be fancy or expensive if they have meaning to you and your family.
I wanted to color for our living room but I also wanted it to be neutral-ish so I ended up with kind of a bluish/greenish/grey color that accents nicely with our cream couches and brown curtains. It works for the casual side of our living room and the more formal side because it brings out some of the colors in the persian rug we bought several years back.
What I realized when all was said and done as far as getting the furniture in, getting the paint on the walls that I had subconsciously created sort of a beach theme. Not outright, and maybe not even that noticeable, but when I started putting up pictures of family beach trips, I definitely noticed the sea foam greenish/grey tint to the walls (very subtle) and the sandy color of the couches and curtains. I have inadvertently brought the beach, one of my favorite places in the whole wide world, to the desert! (don't tell Jason though- his love for the beach is not yet as well defined as mine.. he's more a mountain kind of guy...)
Anyway, I was excited to kind of go with the beach theme in certain areas of the house. Like I said, I had several pictures from various beach trips, as well as a few other shots thrown in there. I liked the way these frames looked together. My SIL, Allison, had given me the precious framed picture of Naomi at her ballet recital (which I missed because it was 3 days after my c-section with Miss Anabelle). So these pics are in the casual seating area of our living room...
(My mom bought the top one for me on our family beach trip last year to Gulf Shores. It says, "Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there.")
We went as a family to Oman back in January and the girls got to go shell hunting on the beach- one of their all time favorite activities. (click here for details on that trip) A few weeks later, Maddie had all her shells spread out and we were talking about some crafty things she could do with them (keep in mind-I am not much of a contributor to these types of conversations! i pretty much just listen to all her ideas and say 'yeah, that sounds great').
So anyway, in keeping with our beach theme, I actually had the idea of using many of the shells in some of the tea light holders I had sitting around form Ikea. At the time they had silver rocks in them, but I thought it would be really pretty to use the shells. Turned out great I think and Maddie was very proud to put her shells to use. The tea lights are in our sofa table between the casual and more formal living areas. Also, on the table is a picture of each of the girls from our beach trip last year as well as a large shell that Maddie found in Gulf Shores. The shells in the tea lights, though, are from our trip to Oman.
Here's a close-up...
Each individual shell is so unique and pretty- so detailed!!
Maddie also wanted to use some of the shells in her bathroom. The girls have a combo of shells from the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Mexico for their bathroom.
We have a lot of fun family pictures on the bookshelf in the hallway just outside the girls room. Their rooms are pink and green and I used the leftover paint from each room to paint some white frames I already had. On top of the shelf are several large shells that we got from a friend in Oman. Maddie wanted to display them also and I wanted to put them somewhere where little hands couldn't send them flying to the floor. It was a little too tricky to try and hang them in our concrete walls without shattering them and this way they girls can pick them up when they want to..
Just like life at the beach, life in the desert comes with a lifetime supply of sand. Sadly though, in the desert there's not a beach to walk on right out your front door! There is plenty of dust to clean and floors that constantly need mopping, but at least we have the visual reminders of the kind of sand that we love all around us!