Thursday, January 16, 2014

Home Makeover: Dining Area

Because A was quickly moving into toddlerhood, I decided to re-do the house. But I still wanted it to look like a grownups' home, not a nursery school. I guess the key was to provide as much space as possible (no mean feat in our small home), and have fewer breakables (bye-bye, vases) and sharp edges to run into (bye-bye, coffee table).

Since the first time I did the house, my style has evolved. I'm still into a mix of stuff, but I've started to let go of the beach-y elements (probably because everyone's just doing tropical modern now, the way everyone did Mediterranean in the 90s). I still like the idea of elegance mixed with comfort, but now I'm more attracted to classic shapes and subdued colors with a vibrant pop here and there. I like things more soft and feminine, but not over-the-top girly. 

I started with a peg, but it turned out to be more my old style, and eventually I moved away from it, retaining only the color scheme and the airiness. I finally decided on a look (because it just makes furniture and decor decisions easier): modern romantic.

I'm nearly done with the first floor (yeah, all two major areas of it), and I think the part that best showcases this look is the dining area.

This was taken in December (obviously), but haven't taken a new photo as it just looks much cozier and dreamier with the tree in the background! I've always thought that the house looks best at Christmas. 

I absolutely adore our new dining area! Sigh. (I wish I could put a before photo, but I just realized I don't have any old photos on hand--was never able to get the ones shot by Real Living when they featured our house.) The changes:
  • The accent wall was repainted from green to gray, custom-mixed by our house painter (leave a comment if you need his number!) because my budget didn't allow for store-customized paint. This worked out though, because it took us about four tries to get the shade just right. The rest of the white walls were retouched, and I had those horrid brown fake baseboards painted over.
  • The wood dining table was custom-made by one of the stalls in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. I like it, but a couple of weeks after delivery, it started splitting down the middle. Still waiting for the furniture maker to send someone over to fix it.
  • As much as I would like to say that those babies are real, they're actually repro Louis Ghost chairs. Got 'em on sale, 50% off at Victoria Mondiale! I went over my budget for dining chairs, but how could I possibly resist?
  • I kept going through online stores (Pottery Barn, West Elm, Urban Outfitters) for lighting options, then came across a gorgeous capiz chandelier in the World Market website. Guess where it was made? I figured I could find the same thing for a fraction of the price at Ils de Tuls (ilalim ng tulay, Quiapo). So under the bridge I went and found that beaut. I'm sure they overcharged me, as I'm normally too embarrassed to haggle, but it was still a good price. I'm planning to get smaller ones for the first-floor bathroom and the master bedroom--or I could just make them.
Still so much to do (and spend on)! But I'm loving where this is going. I can't help but smile every time I go downstairs in the morning and see the first floor all airy and bathed in sunshine. And after a long day at work, I am just excited to walk through our front door. Sure, redecorating seems like a completely unnecessary expense, but I can't put a price on the happiness and relaxation I get from feeling like I've really come home.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The 12th Month: Oh What a Year!

Ladies and gentlemen, my toddler.

How YOU doin'?


I thought I was going to write something profound and moving to mark my son's first year, but I...really have no words for it.

His birthday (and mine) comes at the end of the year, so it really makes one think about the roller coaster ride (sometimes house of horrors) of a year we had.

At his super simple, DIY first birthday party--more on that in a future post

It was, by far, the most difficult year that I have ever gone through. But I think I'll always look back at 2013 as a year of growth, a year of discovering my true strength and my capacity for love ("to the moon and back" doesn't seem to cut it). 

My son turned me into a grownup. 

Proudly showing off all two of his teeth

Oh A, you're a super speedy toddler now (with a hobbit-like appetite), but I reserve the right to call you my baby for life. Even when (especially when?) it gets embarrassing! 

(Photos by my SIL, Yasmin Gosiengfiao)

(Late post) The 11th Month

Wow it's been ages since my last entry. And the only reason I can sit down and do this now is because I'm on bed rest (doctor's orders). 

Where were we?

Little man is officially a toddler now (wail), but I just wanted to share his 11th-month photo.

The major highlight was when I saw him take four steps on his own at around 10 and a half months. It was before he turned 11 months that, for some reason--possibly hormones--I ended up posting a weepy status message on Facebook, which ended up getting over a hundred Likes. I suppose there are over a hundred other weepy mothers on FB. Har. The post:
Being a mother is constant heartache. You want to freeze time, hold him in your arms forever, knowing that one day you'll have to let go--and even if that day is years and years away, it will still be too soon. You watch him sleep and think back to those first few weeks when he was so tiny and fragile, and think forward to the days when he won't be so attached to his mama, and your heart just breaks. You would do anything--the silliest things, not caring what other people think--just to hear his laughter, the sweetest sound in the world. You feel guilty, always. Always. About going to work, about taking naps, about having even just a little bit of time for yourself--because the years are so short, and shouldn't you be spending every possible minute with him? And you always question yourself, even when you know you're doing the best you can.
It's painful and scary and exhausting, but it is the most beautiful heartache you will ever have.
 And because that post is all sorts of sad and cheesy, I leave you with this video.

I swear, he doesn't even talk yet and this kid is the funniest person I know.