Monday, August 25, 2008

Showcase of Home

A long time ago I promised to post pictures of our house. At the time I was in the middle of trying to avoid studying for the Bar Exam by talking a lot about how I needed to go study for the Bar Exam, so as you can see there was really no time to do anything productive like upload pictures. But now that the Bar is (at least temporarily) over, I can give you a glimpse into the Casa Lag Liv.

This was our first weekend at home since the Bar so there's still a few projects on the list (like putting a cat door in one of the upstairs closets for Lilly's food because Landon and the doggies keep eating it), but in general I feel very settled. The best part so far is having so much storage- after coming from a little apartment our closets and cabinets aren't anywhere near full (yet!) so it's easy to straighten up. Clutter is stressful to me, so I like being able to put everything away easily. It still feels big... it feels like home too, but even with two dogs, a cat, and a baby we don't use a lot of the space, and that bothers me. Unlike JP, I loved living in an apartment and enjoyed the coziness and efficiency of it. I'm certainly not complaining about owning a big house, I'm just still getting used to the size and the permanence of it. And I keep reminding myself that hopefully someday those rooms will be filled and we'll never have to move- unless we win the lottery and can buy that mountain property up in Colorado we've always dreamed of.

I spent about a week shopping around Austin before my in-laws came so that the house could be decorated. The archways were tough because I felt like there was so much pressure on what went in there - we certainly didn't own anything worthy of its own spotlight! My goal was to find things I liked but were cheap enough that I wouldn't feel guilty replacing them over the years as we found things we really love. Landon has quite a bargain hunter's eye and I'm very proud of the good buys we found. The picture above the fireplace was $15, the candle sticks were hand me downs from my mom, and the candles were $2 each. The arch in the living room is composed of a picture from Ross that cost $25 (the most expensive thing I purchased, but it reminded me of Chicago and matched my colors perfectly so it will probably stay up for a long time), the glass plate was $7.50 at Hobby Lobby, and the candlestick was another cast off from my mom and happens to match the plate perfectly. The front arch has my favorite wedding picture, our wedding album, and a candle wall thingy that was $10 and looks very pretty lit up.

There's also a good mix of new and old. One guest room is decorated with plaques my grandpa was awarded during his career in the Air Force and the linens are from my brother's freshman year at college. The other guest room has pictures painted by a close family friend that no longer matched the decor in my parents house, and the bedspread is from my old room. Most of the furniture was given to us by family; our only big purchases have been the couch set for the living room and the patio furniture out back. I really love the way everything came together, and almost everything has a story behind it.

The master bedroom and study remain unfinished- there's furniture but little else, and they will likely remain that way for quite a while because paying off loans takes precedence over replacing our serviceable, even if non-matching bedroom set. The dining room is going to remain a play room as long as our kids are young enough that we don't want them playing upstairs on their own. I just went to a teacher's supply store and bought a set of alphabet train posters to make a border around the walls of Landon's room as well as some cute "color and shape" posters, so I think that will add color in a fun, easy, and inexpensive way. And maybe he'll learn something when he's on his next nap strike!

So without further ado, here's a few pics of our home (you can put your cursor over the picture for a little caption and you can increase the speed to get through them faster):


  1. You've done a great job - that candlestick tree is really lovely, and I think the plate/candle/chicago combination works really well too. And the Landon accessory in the hallway is of course the finishing touch!

    A curious question (from someone many timezones from Texas) Do you have a clothes-line in your yard?
    I have heard that many developments in the US ban them and there is a fight to bring them back and ban the ban (as they are more eco-friendly than driers)

    Many of us in NZ or Oz, grew up with a "Hills Hoist" rotary clothesline in every backyard, although modern dwellings usually have at a pull-out, even in really cold parts of the country (who might dry the washing on the line, and then thaw it out afterwards!)

    It does take a bit longer than the dryer, but I have fond memories of handing my mum the pegs, and having a conversation, and in turn hanging out the washing on the line with my nephew and niece as toddlers great chance to learn colours! My niece is now 2 1/2 and has progressed so that not every colour is "red")

    That said, I do use to a dryer now and then, particularly in winter (brrr) Won't find me thawing the washing! Although the electric bill is significantly up as a result!

  2. Your house looks great! I really love all of those built in cubby-type areas!

  3. Wow, what a gorgeous house!

  4. Beautiful. I think you did a fantastic job. :)

  5. Beautiful job! And in the middle of the bar, no less. :)

  6. Beautiful house! Your kitchen is so roomy and nice!

  7. Since we just removed the clothesline from our yard (it hadn't been used in 20+ years), I'll respond to RJ: I've never lived in a development/planned community/subdivision type thing, but where I live (an old suburb of New York City) clotheslines aren't really used. Although they *may* have a renaissance for environmental reasons, people seem to agree that a clothesline looks pretty terrible while being used. No one wants to see underwear (even clean!) when they look out their windows.
    I also just can't imagine having to load a clothesline with the laundry my family of 4 goes through each week. The time committment alone would deter me, even if I did like the look of it.
    Interesting to consider it as the norm, which seems to be your experience.

  8. It looks absolutely great - like you've lived there forever! I really like it.

    My mom and dad have a clothesline in WI, and so does my boyfriend. My parents mostly just use it for sheets or stuff we air-dry (like my 10,000 sweaters and dresses) but my boyfriend uses it for everything. I think he's the only lawyer alive who still does his own shirts.

  9. Thanks everyone! I could have written volumes on where each piece came from - I love how many family items I was able to use. Everything has a story.

    As far as clotheslines go, I'd imagine our neighborhood has banned them, they have a fairly strict home owners association. And really it's so hot and humid here I don't think anything would dry anyway. When I lived in L.A. (ages 1-5) we didn't have a dryer so my mom hung all our clothes out on the line. Luckily the dry, breezy air in LA got everything dry almost as quick as she hung it up, which with two adults and two toddlers was definitely a blessing.

    And to erin - did you mean the arches or the cubbies in the laundry room? Because I actually bought the white cubbies in the laundry room at Target. They're called "cubicals" and the unit of 9 was only $40 and is surprisingly sturdy. It's wonderful for all that stuff that ends up piled on top of the washer. We could probably fill 9 more if we had them!

  10. Can I have your kitchen? I'll trade you for mine. It's 4' x 12' with no ventilation. Want it?

  11. I'll trade you for a week! But don't forget, my kitchen comes with an address in Texas whereas yours is in Manhattan. I'll totally switch for some time in the big city!

  12. What a gorgeous home! It does look all grown-up and elegant without being overdone. I appreciate that.

  13. I'm not sure why this is the first post I choose to respond to...but we have a clothes line and all of my roommates and I use it exclusively. But then again, we live in southern Arizona, where even jeans are dry within about an hour. We're all students, so we definitely appreciate saving even a few bucks. As for the underwear thing - most of us hang our "delicates" inside. :)

  14. Your house looks beautiful. I'm ALMOST inspired enough to start making ours look like a home!

    I also grew up with my mom hanging all the wash out when the weather was warm, for our family of five. I think it's less and less common, though it may be making a resurgence for environmental reasons. Now, we think that our association has a rule against clotheslines, but nobody really seems to know. I put a few sneaky removable lines under out deck and haven't been taken to task for it yet - but it is fairly common. We Americans are pretty impractical and inconsistent sometimes - we'll fight like mad for our property rights until it comes to something like a clothesline. :)

    We dried our clothes outside all the time in Japan - it was very uncommon for people to actually have a dryer, and though we did, it vented in the bathroom and heated the whole house - not good in the summer! I'm wondering if the price of electricity is part of the equation. It was terribly expensive in Japan and is comparably much cheaper here in the U.S. (in Michigan, anyway).

  15. wow, your home looks gorgeous! And clean!

  16. Jealous! If you ever decide big-law isn't for you, there is definitely a niche for you in interior decorating!

  17. Thanks for all the clothesline comments.

    I grew up with everyone having them. We tended to hang "smalls" in the middle, and people who were embarrassed to show their "smalls" (Especially if those smalls were rather larger than they'd like!) hung them in the middle of the clothesline, and then put T shirts in the middle layer, and sheets and towels on the outside.

    Actually having a dryer was a bit of a luxury - appliances being big-ticket items and import restrictions being in order. I think they've actually come down in price in nominal terms, and down much more in real terms.

    I hadn't thought of Texas being humid - I assumed it was just hot! In summer here we get the fohn winds - like the French Mistral, or the North American Chinook, and things dry as soon as you put them up. In early spring/late winter (now) not so much!

    It still feels a bit wasteful to use the dryer, after my parents raised 4, sometimes 5 children (family of 7). We were only allowed to use the dryer for emergencies, "finishing off" and on wet days.

    When I lived in London, I had an undersink washer in my tiny kitchen (luxury - the next door flat didn't have one and had to go to the laundrette) But no drier - no one in the flats had one, so everything got dried on clothes airers. I am quite the expert at fitting disparate items of clothing on the airer (or clothesline) for maximum ventilation, crease-avoidance and peg colour-coordination.

    But then I am the sort who loved new stationery at school, binders, and dividers, so hanging out the washing gave me the chance to indulge my perfectionist streak!

    Sorry for hijacking the comments - it's really interesting the glimpse into different cultures on blogs around the world.

  18. Can I copy your shower curtain and towel choices in the upstairs bathroom (stripes)? Those are ADORABLE. Where did they come from??

  19. Potter Barn Kids, although they've discontinued that pattern (it's so last season, apparently). I got the curtain and towels on clearance for about 75% off!

  20. LL, with the democratic national convention underway, I'm sure you have been watching and thinking a lot about politics. Do share! :)

  21. Beautiful!

    wanna come decorate my house? I've been there 3 years and still haven't found the time to really sit and decorate and paint/repaint like I want.