Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Alternate title: Photoshop is Fun!

You saw the library last week, yes? The rug was on loan for a styling competition and it’s already on its way back, but the chairs that were supposed to be temporary are going to stick around for a bit longer. They’ve actually come in handy and the kids really like them! Well, that, and I totally lost the tags and receipt. What’s up, new chairs?

Making it Lovely | Anastasia Loloi Rug

No, I didn’t intend to keep them. I picked them up in the first place because they were:

  • the right color
  • cute
  • in stock
  • affordable
  • returnable

But also:

  • the wrong finish (those silver legs)
  • don’t look inviting / right for a library
  • too modern / not interesting enough = looks cheap in context

They’re staying, for now, but I wouldn’t hesitate to sell them off at a steep discount. My loss, my mistake.

And here’s the thing. You know how you might kind of suspect something (ooh, those chairs aren’t as good as they could be), and then you have this weird job where your house and everything you do to it and put in it is shown to tens of thousands of people every day?* And then the choice you were least confident is indeed the thing people pick up on and don’t like? Yeah, that.

“They don’t really go with anything in the room and seem like nothing more than a last minute attempt to add a vibrant color to a relatively toned down room as well as looking like they ran out of money right at the end.”

Oof. I know. So here’s a little peek behind the curtain at what I would have really wanted to do for the rug shoot, had time and money not been a factor. (Aren’t those always the deciding factors?)

* Psst: I do love this job. I can take constructive criticism just fine (or worse), so I’m not complaining! Plus there were plenty of lovely, nice, complimentary comments as well. But you have to admit, it is a weird position to be in, right?

First up, the Roadhouse Leather Chair from CB2. I’ve written about these before, and a few other similar options. I would have gone with these, had they been in stock. It’s a lot of brown, but the leather adds a different texture that I like a lot.

Roadhouse Leather Chairs, CB2

Continuing on in that vein, we have another leather option. This time, the Baldwin Armchair from Jayson Home. I wouldn’t have been all that interested, having only seen them on the site, but in person they’re fantastic. Great scale, rich leather, just a nice, versatile chair.

Baldwin Leather Chair, Jayson Home

That Eames rocker in the background does not go well with these. Ignore it. (It didn’t make the final shot anyway.)

How about some Wishbone chairs? I’ve always liked the look of them.

Wegner Wishbone Chairs

Nice, but they’re not really working here. Hoffman Prague chairs instead? Those are great too.

Hoffman Prague Chairs

I like those. Definitely more “dining room” than “library” but that’s OK. I was staging it with glasses and plates. Thonet, windsor chairs (and modern interpretations like West Elm’s Scissor Spindle dining chair) — they all have a similar feel, just a tweak to the overall look. We’ve got a lot of mockups happening already here; let’s move on to something different!

Stripes! I may sell the striped sofa at some point (too long for the space). Go with these instead?

Anthropologie Grassland Striped Dining Chairs

I like them, but I don’t love them. Maybe a couple of these hostess wingback chairs from World Market. They’re a little larger, so just a pair instead of four.

World Market Wingback Hostess Chairs

The color isn’t really working with that rug. Something darker, but still with some blue to reference the sofa. Like this.

World Market Wingback Hostess Chairs and a Loloi Journey Rug

Ah, but that kind of defeats the whole purpose of the shoot then, doesn’t it!

OK, we’re getting closer. I like the wingback and I like the upholstery, but it needs to be a different color. Restoration Hardware offers some nice fabric options, and I’m fond of their 1940s Wingback side chair. In blue? Charcoal? Mustard velvet! (OK, I’m probably the only one that really likes mustard/ochre/shades of brown/tons of wood. But so what? I’ll own it if I love it and nobody else does.)

Restoration Hardware 1940s Wingback Fabric Side Chair

Except those are all custom orders, and they would take too long. Plus, then they’re ours for keeps and whoa whoa whoa, what’s all this talk about commitment?

What’s that, Target? Your cute chairs are $40, the right color, and you have them all in stock ready to go home with me immediately? All right then, sold. And since I’m a scatterbrain lately, they can stay for now. At least it won’t sting too badly when the kids inevitably drop a marker on one of them while coloring — although that only ever seems to happen with the super nice things you pine and save for.

Now on to the important stuff. Which chairs are your favorite? And did you know that after making a bunch of these and coming across a chair I wanted to mockup that didn’t have the necessary alternate angles, I briefly thought I could turn it around in Photoshop so we could see more of the front?

Playing Plaid by the Rules

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I was ready for a change from the usual mix of colorful pillows on my sofa, so I brought in a plaid blanket and pillows to switch things up for fall. We already had the big fluffy pillow on hand, and the cream, oatmeal, and caramel colors that have been added break up the teal of the couch and play up the woodwork behind it.

Teal Sofa with Plaid Pillows | Making it Lovely

I went for pale neutrals, playing by the rules of pattern and plaid, mixing scale and keeping to an overall refined palette. You can break the rules by mixing them up and taking it further though! There were options in red, black, navy, and orange to choose from too, with the patterns going from subtle to loud.

The smaller pillow on the right is from the new Adam Lippes for Target collaboration. It reverses from plaid to a sunburst design, and both sides look good against the larger pillow behind it.

Adam Lippes for Target Reversible Plaid Pillow

Adam Lippes for Target Reversible Plaid Pillow

There’s a new throw blanket in the living room for the kids to steal! (They’re always taking them for fort building or whatever else they’re up to for the day, so I’m constantly tracking them down and putting them back.) The blanket is another reversible piece from the Adam Lippes collection, but the difference is more subtle (from a buffalo check to gingham).

Adam Lippes for Target Plaid Blanket

I usually have a small brass dish on the coffee table, but I swapped it out for one of these little appetizer plates in assorted plaids. It’s hanging out with a few books, my lil ceramic nudies, and a pothos. (Looking for a house plant you can keep alive? Pothos. $4 at the grocery store and easy.) I’m not sure how much longer these things will be safe where they are though — they are just out of reach for Calvin right now, but not for long.

Coffee Table Books, Lil Nudies, Plant, and Plaid Plate

Hello, deer. Fancy seeing you here.

Hello, Deer

He’s actually going to go in August’s room, but I couldn’t resist popping him up above the secretary desk for a little while first. Libraries do well with a bit of taxidermy — this one just happens to be of the plush plaid variety.

Plaid Stag Head

Brandon wears plaid shirts all the time (exhibit A), and I buy it a lot for the kids, but I haven’t gone much for plaid myself since I was a young goth/punk with zippers all over my pants. It looks awesome in the house though, and I even picked up a windowpane interpretation of the pattern in a top for myself. Teenage me would be a little surprised by the pink I’m so fond of now, but the black walls and plaid would get a nod of approval.

When you add a new pattern in your home, do you go crazy with it, or just a little touch here or there? Are you more of a play by the rules or a break the rules kind of person?

A Birthday, A Surgery

Calvin had his first birthday!

Calvin and His First Birthday Cake

First piece of cake, too. He’s a fan.

Calvin and Ginger, the Dog

Nicole and Calvin


We celebrated his birthday the night before because Brandon was scheduled to go into surgery the next day.

Calvin and Brandon

Brandon hasn’t been well for a while and he delayed his surgery until after my sister’s wedding so that he could take part, but then the next available date was Calvin’s birthday. It was an outpatient procedure and I was able to take him home after a brief recovery period in the hospital. He isn’t feeling much better yet (there’s still a lot of pain), but hopefully he’s on the mend. He is supposed to take it easy and rest so that he can heal, and he won’t be able to lift anything heavy for several weeks at least, which means no picking up the baby.

Calvin and Brandon

It’s frustrating for him, feeling so weak right now. Hoping for a speedy and full recovery.

Brandon and Calvin

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