Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Fireplace is in YOUR Hands!

I am completely stumped when it comes to what to do with our fireplace in our home remodel. The plan, regardless of color, is to paint (or stain) both the brick fireplace and the built-ins on either side. But my dilemma is what color?

The plan is for the walls and trim to be white throughout the kitchen, living and hallway. We will have light pine wood floors and also replace the existing mantel with a more modern, rustic slab mantel (similar to this).  For option 1, we could continue with the light and airy look with a white fireplace and white built-ins. But would the fireplace be enough of a focal point or would it simply fade away?


For option 2, I thought about going with a bold, charcoal gray on the fireplace with white built-ins. I love the contrast but would it be a little too much?


Do I switch that color scheme around and do a white fireplace with gray built-ins?


Or maybe meet in the middle with a medium shade of gray with white built-ins?

I realize asking for your opinion without providing you a photo of the fireplace wall makes this difficult. But I have searched and searched and this is the best I could find (from Christmas back before the blog!)

Friends, I need your help. As you can see, I have no idea which direction to go! My fireplace is in your hands - which option would you choose? Comment below with Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, or Option 4. Or if you have any other ideas, I'm all ears!! Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Living Room Inspiration

Now that we have the star of the show, I have enjoyed playing around with a mood board for inspiration for the living room that works around our new chesterfield sofa.

These mood boards are just that - inspiration. Besides the sofa and a couple of kudo horns from here in South Africa, we don't own anything else shown on the board. So don't be surprised if the final result isn't an exact match.

You may have noticed that I am drawn towards decorating with blues, greens, and grays - and somehow a Michelle Armas painting seems to find it's way in to every mood board so far. Seriously, that woman is talented! I thought this painting was a great choice for color inspiration but, sadly, it looks like it is no longer available.

Half of the living room with be torn down in the midst of our renovation but we do plan to update the fireplace and built-ins with a few DIY projects. Our list includes:

To - Do:
Scrape popcorn ceilings
Install new hardwood flooring
Paint (or stain) brick fireplace (more on this later!)
Build wooden shelves for built-ins and remove glass front doors.
Repaint walls, ceiling, built-ins, trim and doors
Replace ceiling fan
Replace mantel
Bring in art, curtains, etc. 

I love the way this room is heading but I'm a little stumped on what to do with our tall brick fireplace. I'm getting my thoughts together and will be asking for your advice soon!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Too Good to Pass Up

Y'all! We bought a sofa this weekend! Sight unseen, never sat on, clear across the world but we I just fell in love over a computer screen!

Pottery Barn

I wasn't even considering a sofa like this for our living room. I have always loved chesterfields (even more after admiring my friend, Jenn's, new addition!) but never thought I could afford one or be lucky enough to run across one. But this past week, I found a Craigslist ad for this sexy, tufted, extra large, sofa that has now changed all of my plans! It's in brand new condition, rarely used, and (in my opinion) will only get better with age! 

Pottery Barn

I know finding a great deal on Craigslist is nothing new, but Texarkana's Craigslist NEVER has anything good! So when I saw this Pottery Barn Grand Chesterfield Sofa pop up for almost half price, I had to act quick!! Our lovely Aunt Nancy went to scope it out, did all the negotiating for us and he'll even be waiting for us in our living room when we get home (thanks again, Nancy)! I'm so in love and can't wait to see this piece in person! Here is some inspiration photos of some sexy chesterfields strutting their stuff! 


My brain is filled with ideas for our living room mood board that now includes this sofa! Check back soon to see how he fits in! 

Tell me about your Craigslist surprises!  Anyone have a chesterfield they love? Or bought a couch before without seeing or sitting on it? 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pretty Pine Flooring

Flooring for the home remodel has been one tough decision for us.  I like the look of hardwood flooring and wanted it throughout the house. But my gosh, the price!! We looked in to other options, like using carpet in the bedrooms, but my heart was still set on wood. Plus, my eco-minded husband loved that they were not packed with chemicals and toxins that are found in other flooring options.


But then it came to what type? In an effort to keep our costs down, and to bring in the rustic feel we both love, we have decided to go with pine floors. Pine floors are a soft hardwood which does come with both its pros and cons. They can ding and dent much easier than the harder hardwoods, such as oak, but we feel that a few dents and dings might simply add character to our floor making it a great option for us.

We also have decided to try to DIY the flooring using the same technique that Young House Love used with an underlayment called Elastilon. We'll be sure to keep you guys updated on how it goes when we get started! In the meantime, here are a few of our inspiration photos.


What is the best flooring option in your opinion? Would you choose wood over carpet for your bedroom? Next on the shopping list is a nice big rug so we don't step out of bed on to a cold floor.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Master Bathroom Inspiration

Continuing on from the master bedroom inspiration, I wanted to share what we have in mind for the en suite master bath. Again, most of the changes are only cosmetic - our bathroom functions just fine, we just want it to look pretty!

We plan to DIY the majority of the bathroom upgrades including paint, framing the mirror and building the barn door.

To - Do:
Scrape popcorn ceilings
Close half wall between bedroom and bathroom and install barn door
Repaint walls, ceiling, trim and doors
Remove old lighting and replace
Frame out large mirror

We have our work cut out for us in the master bedroom and bath but we know once it's done, it will be a great getaway during the remainder of the renovation.What's your must have in a bathroom? Anything we are leaving out?

Monday, October 28, 2013

First Things First - Master Bedroom Inspiration

As we are planning the timeline of our big renovation, we have decided to start working first in our master bedroom and bath. Although it is not really a part of the renovation, there are a few cosmetic upgrades we would like to make before diving head first in to all the dirty work. Call us crazy, but we are going to try and live in the house through the dust and demolition. That means it is important to us to have a place to 'escape' that isn't completely torn apart. A little retreat from the craziness just outside the door!

Speaking of retreat, my color inspiration for the room came from this painting by Michelle Armas. It is peaceful but still has a few pops of color which I love. Even the name, Heaven, just begs you to come in and relax. I would love to bring in navy, green, gray, light blue, fresh and airy whites with a touch of gold throughout the room.

Of course, that would require new bedding, curtains, art, etc. I love the idea of starting fresh... my husband - not so much. "Didn't you just buy new bedding a couple of years ago?" Hopefully he'll come around!

The "Master Bedroom Master Plan" will get underway before we start moving all of our stuff back in to the house. To keep us on track, here is a list of projects we hope to scratch off.

To - Do:
Scrape popcorn ceilings
Remove old carpeting and replace with new flooring
Close half wall between bedroom and bathroom and install barn door
Repaint walls, ceiling, trim and doors
Replace ceiling fan
New bedding (here's hoping!)
Bring in art, curtains, etc. 

These things won't happen overnight but we're hoping to at least knock out a few shortly after getting home! We may be asking Santa to help with painting... or even some new bedding : ) ! Do you have any tips for scraping ceilings or painting like the pros? We'll take any tips we can get!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Long Time, No See!

Are you guys still out there? My goodness - I never meant to take this long of a break from blogging. See, the thing is - I haven't been doing much in terms of DIY or decorating of our flat here in South Africa (or at least not enough to make a decent blog post).  But over the last few months, I have been working behind the scenes on some of our biggest projects to date!

I mentioned earlier this year that David and I have been dreaming of big renovations for our home back in Texas. We have been busy drawing up plans, talking with contractors and playing with colors and finishes. I'm getting excited, y'all!!

Here is what our house looks like currently....

And here is how we would like it to look after renovations.

Some pretty big renovations are heading our way, and I'm looking forward to blogging about the progress as we get started on our home! In the meantime, I plan to share some of our mood boards and get your opinion on a few choices I'm stuck on!

My other big project is starting my own interior design business back home in Texarkana early next year.

I will be offering local full service design and also e-design services to anyone not living in the Texarkana area. I'm also working on a website and have had fun playing around a bit with my blog design. Markham Street Design is now part of Laura Orr Interiors.

Thanks for sticking with me as I took a little time off and check back for mood boards and design questions here soon!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Restaurant Passport 2013

There are so many great restaurants here in Stellenbosch- so much so that when it comes to pick a place for lunch or dinner it can be a little overwhelming.  For Valentine’s Day, I made us a Restaurant Passport (like this one)- a list of 44 restaurants in and around Stellenbosch that we want to try out this year before we head home. Some fancy fine dining restaurants for special occasions and then some easy going type places for a quick bite to eat after work.

On each page, I listed the name of the restaurant, the address, hours of operation, and then a few little symbols and other information that I thought might make our decision a little easier.

We have visited two of the restaurants so far. We put a little sticker in the box with the date that we visited and then jot down a few notes on the back of the card on how our meal was and if we would go back again. 

(this was before I found the stickers)
This handy little passport will cut out the "you choose" "no you choose" conversations when we are trying to decide what's for dinner that night. And we are keeping it in the car so when we are out and about, we can quickly make a decision!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Instagram Art

I have been craving a little DIY ever since we moved in to our apartment! So when I heard it was Pinterest Challenge time, I decided to find a fun project that would be easy enough to do (since I haven’t found the craft store here yet) and put some color up on the bare walls in our flat. 

I decided to make instagram art (sort of like this) to share all of the photos we have taken of our adventures so far in South Africa (and a few of our sweet puppy sprinkled in just because!).  We thought it would be great to hang up as soon as you walk in so when our friends and family come to visit, they can see what we have been up to.  It will also be fun to add to over the year.

All I did was print out the photos (2.5” x 2.5”) on card stock, trim them down and then tacked them to the wall with sticky-tack.

It’s nothing fancy but we can easily take down the photos at the end of the year to take home and then make a more permanent art piece to enjoy.   

If you would like to follow along with our adventures while we are away, you can follow me on instagram (alauraorr) or our blog (

Head over to Young House Love, Bower Power, The Remodeled Life and Decor and the Dog to check out all the other fun pinterest inspired projects!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Birdcage Tea Bar

I have always been a coffee girl but here lately I have found that a hot cup of tea is so comforting. A couple of weeks ago, as David was finishing up the last few things needed to register with the university, I wandered in to a sweet little tea bar in the heart of Stellenbosch.

I had read about the tea bar on The Pretty Blog before coming to Stellenbosch so I was very excited to see it for myself. It is a beautiful little shop with an eclectic mix of chairs with rustic white wooden tables. The walls are decorated with the prettiest and most dainty plates and wreath chandeliers hang from the ceiling. 

In honor of my Nonna, I ordered my dessert first, a delicious red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing and a teapot of the peach and raspberry tea. After finishing my cupcake, I decided I might need a little something more for lunch so I ordered a great little sandwich and chips. 

It was such a nice place to come across. I’m looking forward to wandering in to a few more hidden gems around town this year!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

{Daydreaming} Turning Our First Home into Our Forever Home

There is something charming about a couple's first home together. When David and I got married, we moved in and rented a nice home from family back in our hometown. At first I couldn't wait to get "our first place". A place that was all ours- sign our names, write a check and are handed the keys to our first home. Then my grandparents told us their home story-

This past July my grandparents, Nonna and Pops, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. When they first married, they didn't have much. Nonna's dad had a small house "in town" that he basically gave them. She said it needed a lot of work but they moved in and cleaned it up. A few years later, they moved that small house out to "the country" close to her family. Over the years they have added on- a couple of bedrooms here, larger kitchen there, a carport which then turned into a sun room- which is now the house that they still live in today. It was where they raised their kids and all 13 grandkids loved to come for fort-building, swimming and sleepovers all piled up on pallets in the living room.

That got me thinking- what if we turned our first home into our forever home! Now that David and I have moved away from the house for this year, we have really come to appreciate what all that house has to offer! We have fun sketching out our ideas on how we will renovate it- top to bottom, inside and out! We know it's not something we can do all at once, but that over time, we can make this the house of our dreams!

Stay tuned for our ideas! We hope to get started when we get back home next year!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2inn1 Kensington Boutique Hotel

2inn1 Kensington is the place to stay if you are traveling to Cape Town, South Africa. My dad, having stayed here just over a year ago, knew this was the best way to start our stay here in South Africa and graciously book a room for us for a few nights. 

"2inn1 Kensington is a stylishly renovated Boutique Hotel situated in the quiet and prestigious residential area of Cape Town next to the city center. Flanked by the imposing slopes of Table Mountain and Lion's Head, 2inn1 Kensington combines an authentically, stylishly remodeled Victorian house and a modern designed bungalow."

After a long two days of flying, the hotel had arranged transportation from the airport and we were greeted by the wonderful staff and a much needed cup of cappuccino when we arrived! They have a delicious breakfast every day complete with made to order eggs, waffles and french toast! 

Our room was beautifully decorated with luxurious African and modern touches along with even a chocolate on your pillow each night! 

2inn1 Kensington is close to all the great things that Cape Town has to offer like Table Mountain, Waterfront, Lion's Head, Signal Hill, coffee shops, bars, restaurants, beaches and the city center. But we also enjoyed relaxing by their lovely pool and enjoying happy hour wine and snacks at night!  

We enjoyed our stay so much that we have book a weekend getaway back at 2inn1 for our anniversary in August! 

** All photos are from the 2inn1 website! I took my own but they didn't turn out near as good! 

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