March 26, 2013

Undecorating: Before and After!

So, not long after we moved into our house four years ago we painted two of the living room walls a dramatic black. I loved it! It was unexpected and gave the room a formal feeling. But while I liked the look, I hated how dark it made the already poorly-lit room. I love having daylight in my house and the darkness felt a little claustrophobic and depressing.

So when my husband and I talked about "undecorating" our house a little bit recently, I took the opportunity to lighten it back up. Thankfully, white walls are en vogue again! Yay!

Here's the before and after!
Can you say: "Whoa!"

What a difference! So much light!!

All of the "new" furniture and decorations were moved in from different parts of the house. A few chairs and the awesome couch my awesome Dad made in the 70's were brought up from the mancave. (My husband was happy to trade for the comfy couch, since that's where our tv is)  :O)


I have no idea what to put on the walls, but for now I chose three pieces by my favorite artist. ;o)


The one thing I did buy was this $10 rug from Ross. It was one of those rare moments when you find something you love and it's so much less expensive than you thought it would be! I love all the colors in it.



I also brought some plants into the room, which, oh mah goodness, make me so happy! Fresh plant life makes such a difference! Pray that I don't kill them because I am a plant murderer. Would that be called herbacide?

Another great accent is this little table that my grandpa made. It has my great grandma painted on the top and I love, love it! (Don't mind the dust!)

Why are we undecorating? Partly for a fresh new look. But mostly because I've been feeling for a while like parts of my house were a little too fancy. Like I spend too much time trying to make it nicer looking. Just another one of my strange convictions of late. I don't know. Lately I've felt a little more radical I guess. About my faith and my purpose here and how short life is. The area we live in is not a wealthy one and the church family we enjoy doesn't have a lot of wealthy members. In fact, most of us are closer to poverty than wealth. (By American standards, mind you.) And when I invite people into my home, I don't want there to be any chance that they are uncomfortable or envious. My husband feels the same way, so we're trying to focus on a more hospitable and inviting feeling in our home.

Are you guys thinking I'm nuts yet with all my strange ideas?? Haha, I feel like a bit of an odd duck at times, so it's ok if you think I am, too. Oh, I hope I'm not coming across like I think everyone out there needs to be getting rid of things. That is not at all how I feel. Do you like making your house look fancy? Great! If you have been blessed, then enjoy it with gratefulness! I don't mean to make anyone feel guilty for having a beautiful home. It's a great gift to your family. And yourself! :O)

So there is my before and after! I love my living room now and have already found myself spending a lot more time in there. Not to mention it's much easier to take good photos in now. Another bonus. :O)



Love you!
-Disney


P.S. Any ideas for free art up on them walls?? I think I need to DIY somethin' fantastical.

65 comments:

  1. We have kids over every week who come from poorer families and we feel the same way sometimes. But we've been doing youth work for a long time and have chosen some luxuries (like video games and lots of furniture) specifically to have people over. So your things can have a purpose in ministry too. It's all about how you use what you have and your motivation. You aren't weird or alone!

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  2. I happen to think that your living room looks trendier that way, more personality behind the objects :) It also looks like there're actual people living in it and less out of a magazine. In short I like it !

    A small comment: you often specify the price that things have cost. While I think you do it to show that it is affordable to anyone, I have a problem with furniture and other things being really low priced. It usually means that someone on the other side of the world has been working in poor conditions with respect to safety and social rights. I am sure you do a greate work for your community - I cannot say that about myself, so no judging. I simply appreciate a lot more advices on how to use second hand things (like party decoration using old disney book) rather cheap stuff from wallmart !

    Take care,

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  3. Hi Disney, I love what what you'v done with the room, it looks so fresh and welcoming. I'm in the middle of moving around and sprucing up some of our furniture at home in a similar effort - thanks for the inspiration

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  4. Oh my goodness, I love that couch!

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  5. I'm a quilter, so my idea would be to put up a colorful quilt on the wall. That would harmonize nicely with the rug and the general feel of the room now. And it would have a more folksy than fancy feel to it.

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    1. A friend of mine suggested the same thing! I love the idea, but my husband vetoed it. :O( I'll make him a fabric lover someday!

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  6. I think that both room designs look great. We need a change once in a while and redecorating is one option. The black looks very stylish and the white with the new furniture is more cosy. There's nothing wrong with making your home a place you love :)

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  7. I totally 'get' what you were saying, and I agree! I have felt that conviction a lot, which is sometimes tough to balance with looking at other media (blogs, etc.) that make me feel want-y. My husband and I are looking at moving to work more directly as conservationists, and it's making me think even more about what our belongings reflect. I mean, lots of the decisions we've 'made' have been easy due to lack of funds, but it's things like, even if I were rich, do I really want to buy another dress, or a tube of lipstick in a plastic case? why? how does personal happiness (useful) and respect for self and others translate into actual objects? Like Kelly said, there can be an argument for almost everything as long as it serves a purpose. Navigating that on the ground is the challenge...

    Side note, though, the retro 70s look is super 'in' right now and your home fits in gorgeously with that style! It does look comfortable. I wonder if that's part of the reason behind the trend; people feel a bit disconnected with tradition and are drawn to things that look like their childhood. I see a lot of people glorifying old objects that reflect times when people worked with their hands (a big deal for people now!) and didn't just buy a gadget for every need.

    Wow, that got long... But so you know, you succeeded! I would probably have felt a little odd in the original picture, but I can see myself flopping down for a good conversation in your 'new' room!

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  8. I absolutely ADORE that rug!!!! I can't believe it was only ten bucks, wowza. I love the new look. Without sunshine a room isn't nearly as inviting. Plus, I wish you good luck in taking care of your plants. My theory is to have plants that don't care if you ignore them (namely, a bay tree and aloe).

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  9. thats amazing! I love your use of color!!

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  10. Totally understand. Your living room now looks much more lived-in and less showroom. It was lovely before, but this new look seems more inviting to guests. I am trying to sort of do the same thing. For so long I tried to make my home as fabulous as I could afford, but all it did was force me to continually try to make it better. We have since changed gears and are using gifted/used furniture, thrift store/yard sale art and decor (I have found some amazing things!!) and little knick-knacks and textiles that I love. Much more "me." =)

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  11. I love it, Disney! The reason why you changed the room is beautiful and the room itself looks fab. <3

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  12. Love your "new" space! It seems much more you now. :)

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  13. I love it! Great job. It reminds me of Emily Henderson.

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    1. Thanks, Paige! Now I have to go google emily henderson. :O)

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  14. poster size family photo--not free but under $20? Love your new look it fits your style and personality so much better. I would change my look to something more casual, but it would actually cost me more money.

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  15. I love white walls in pictures, but they feel really stark to me in real life. Maybe because I was forced to have white walls in the house we rented for four years.

    Regardless, your new living rooms looks great! I love the colors.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it felt a little stark to me at first, too. I've warmed up to it though. :o)

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  16. Oh and I LOVE that you uncovered those gorgeous floors!

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  17. I totally get what you're trying to do with your home. I always want people to feel comfortable in my home too. We had the opportunity to upgrade our car several months ago from to a lexus. My husband is a mechanic, and when engines break, and it's expensive for customers to fix, sometimes we buy the cars from them for extremely cheap and he will fix them for a fraction of what it would cost a customer to have it done. This deal fell through, but I felt weird about getting a lexus because I didn't want people to think that I was a "rich," person. Which is funny because we would have paid less for that car than others, but I just felt weird about it. Later, I ended up upgrading to another car that is nice, but one that isn't as showy as a lexus. I totally shouldn't care about what others think, but like you said, it's a comfort thing for all of us.
    I love the rug, and all the fun things that add personality into the room. I love all that light too! Our paint is an off white, and we recently painted our baby's room into a bright white. All the difference in the world. We plan on doing it in the rest of the house...someday! :)

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    1. Oh I know just what you mean about the Lexus! I used to dream and dream of having a "nice" car, and one day I realized how showy it would feel to me and I loved my little used Mitsubishi all over again. Not that people with Lexuses are showy. I'm just not used to a fancy car! :o)

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  18. I love it!! I guess I am echoing Tiffany and a little Valeriane in saying that I totally "get it" and appreciate it. I have been on a huge downsizing/ "undecorating" kick. And I have always been one to want to decorate with things that mattered to me, not just because they would make my house look like a Pottery Barn catalog. (I mean, they didn't.) we are anticipating a move very soon, and downsizing helps me feel more "ready" -- but I think a lot of my feelings are similar to yours, that I want a home that everyone feels comfortable in, that isn't just filled with trendy little tchotchkes, that feels like it is focused on the important things. I agree with Tiffany saying a lot of blogs leave me feeling "want-y" -- I would probably say "covetous." But the sort of "side effect" of all this is a very trendy, more European look.
    Keep it up!

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    1. Thank you! And aaaah, that Pottery Barn catalog!! Nothing gives me the "wants" like that does! It's nice for inspiration sometimes, though!

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  19. I love your heart, you are so cool :) We feel the same way, homes are made for sharing. Your home would be so comfy to sit and drink tea in :) Wish we lived closer so we could be friends :) love, emily

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  20. Love those plants and you made the new look so much better than the older one. Congrats.

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  21. I've seen pictures floating around the internet using hangers (the clip ones for pants and skirts) to hold artwork. http://this-is-diy.tumblr.com/post/24889274214/hang-photos-using-pants-hangers

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    1. Whoa, what an awesome idea. I need to keep an eye out for some of those!

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  22. love the after! so sweet and simple and comfortable. i second the skirt hangers to hold art prints idea. :)

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  23. When I first saw the before and after, I thought you were crazy. Then I read your reasoning behind it and I think it's a bold, wonderful step! A few times I've been convicted of trying to get everything perfectly clean and beautiful for company when in fact I feel most comfortable in the homes of people who clearly didn't have an interior designer give them a visit (not that anything looks too fancy, we're at seminary after all). Kuddos! And I think I may tuck this post away for a time when I go overboard on decor and the like.

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  24. I, too, love your new look. It looks like a place that would be very comfy and relaxing to hang out in. I laugh at my mom who regularly wants to fix her house up but my dad is uncooperative and every single time friends come to visit -every - single - time they comment on how relaxed they feel in my parents' home. It's also good to see you respond to a God-given conviction. The bible tells us not to be a stumbling block to others and while there is nothing wrong with having nice things, there were many Christians today who would get bent out of shape at the idea of "downgrading" their decor to make others more comfortable. God gave you the conviction for a reason and I think the result is awesome. My favorite picture hangers as of late I found on ellaclaireinspired.com. She used MOUSETRAPS. Sounds crazy, looks really cool!

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    1. Thank you so much, and mousetraps! How fun, I definitely have to see that one!

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  25. Disney, I totally love this. So, timely, too. We are starting a Bible study in our home and I've been trying to work on sprucing it up--totally focused on the wrong thing. Thanks for the reminder to re-set my heart.

    I don't have a budget for art, but I have weird, long walls in my house. Here are a few things I have done on the cheap:

    http://goodlifeblog.org/diy-art/
    http://goodlifeblog.org/pinterest-challenge-2/
    http://goodlifeblog.org/oh-deer/
    http://goodlifeblog.org/bookpageart/

    Love what you've done! It looks bright and fresh!

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  26. This was a beautiful post and I think I can really understand what you and your husband are after with undecorating. I'm a believer, too, and have always thought our homes are not for showing to other people. Recently I've felt drawn to 'minimalism'-posts all over internet, about finding more value/space/peace for your life with less clutter/clothes/cosmetics/furniture. I'm especially excited with one minimalism-blog I just found, it is written (in English) by a Finnish artist and believer who started from zero (well, with 3 plastic bags of clothes) with her little family after all their belongings and their health was destroyed by mold. (But it seems that now a tumor of hers was disappeared through prayer!)

    http://lifeshouldbethecatsmeow.blogspot.fi/

    I'm also an aesthetic, like my husband too, but we are luckily interested in simple, ascetic mid-century and fun 70's and most of our 'design objects' are affordable second hand finds. Plus we are also raised in this Finnish designy 'bubble' with white walls and wooden floors as a standard, which makes it so easy to adapt to ascetism. From my context your living room doesn't look too bare at all!

    I was so happy to find this cute post in your blog, because your feminine style is so different from my own one. You make it work in your own style and it is very bright and stylish and colourful and happy.

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    1. Well thanks so much! I love seeing the differences and similarities of homes in different cultures. It's so interesting! I'll be sure to check out that blog, thanks for the recommendation!

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  27. Hi, not sure if someone has mentioned this idea (did not get through all responses yet): how about a fabric collage? You could get some stretched canvas from Michaels or such store, then iron on fabric shapes (with fusing on the back). It could be representational or abstract. You could also buy smaller canvases that are just wrapped around board (not a wood frame), which would give you a more solid backing to iron onto.
    I totally relate about not wanting to appear too "fancy" - I feel a bit "lesser" myself in some homes. The look you have here is just fun, light and funky - love it!

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    1. What a fun idea, thanks so much!! And yes, I've been familiar with that "lesser" feeling many times.

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  28. I love the before (though the floors now are gorgeous), but appreciate the sentiment behind the change

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  29. Okay, admit it: you're showing us two different rooms! It's incredible how much it changed! Awesome job :)

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    1. Haha, it feels like it to me, too! thanks so much :o)

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  30. I think you have an eye in putting things together and no matter what you do it's going to look stylish. You are really talented and have lots of good ideas. Those are gifts God gave you. I am Christian and I understand and hear what you are saying but I personally don't totally agree. But then again my husband is not in ministry and we live in a beach community in San Diego. However, we are not wealthy by any means. I enjoy making things look the best with what I have. Although I do agree as my family has grown, I am pregnant with my 3rd baby, decorating and having nice things has become less of a priority to me. Like spending time with my husband and kids are way more important these days! Great job and thanks for sharing!

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  31. Here's an idea for your walls that is really a take on what you've already done. I really like the three pictures you had in the "before" shot that when hung together formed a continuous image. The pictures Paige creates are enchanting. Soooo... (see where I'm going with this?) commission Miss Paige to do a BIG picture using the colors from the rug as inspiration, then cut it in thirds, mount, and hang in your favorite way. Whatever you decide, please let us see the results. Thanks for all your inspirational DIY ideas and projects.

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  32. I think it's so cool that you're concerned about the impression your home gives people -- even though I actually thought it looked inviting in the "before" picture, too. I know I'm more comfortable in homes that don't have really expensive furniture, simply because they feel so formal and you worry about tracking in dirt or rumpling the throw pillows. Whatever you do, though, your home is beautiful! :)

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  33. I love the undecorated/minimalist look! I'm a big fan of meaningful, collected decor, not a ton of brand new trinkets. So to me, this is the perfect type of room!

    How about a chalkboard canvas that you hang on the wall and have Paige do rotating art? i saw it on cakies a couple years ago and made one; my kids love it when i pull it down for them to make new chalk drawings. :) I posted about it here: http://skirtastop.com/2012/11/30/house-tour-master-bedroom/

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  34. You're awesome. Thank you for not being afraid to share your feelings and beliefs! I feel like we hear and see all the time that a perfectly decorated house or a perfectly styled wardrobe and perfectly matched kids are the only acceptable ways to live - it feels hard to compete with that sometimes. Thanks for showing us how beautiful simplicity and devotion to more important things can be.

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  35. Looks fabulous - I love the non-matched furniture - this is exactly what we are thinking of doing in our living room all the way over here across the pond in London :)

    As for artworks, I am not sure if it would be free, but it certainly looks fun - I saw this on pinterest and if you have lace, spray paint and canvas, you could do something beautiful: http://karapaslaydesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/mini-makeover-lackluster-to-lacy-looker.html

    Best wishes, Joanna

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  36. Check out these free illustrations from feed your soul, I'm sad they stopped updating with new ones:
    http://indiefixx.com/Feed_your_soul/downloads.html

    I love the idea of "undecorating!" Thanks for sharing :)

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  37. I think the room looks great! The first thing I thought when I saw the after picture was that it looked more inviting, like you would want to spend more time in that room. So I think you achieved your goal :) I understand what you mean about your home being comfortable for yourself and for your guests, so I don't think you're crazy :)

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  38. I love the after! Especially the pictures taped to the wall. Very minimalist and you!

    www.domesticblisssquared.com

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  39. I can relate. I feel like an odd duck (nicely put btw!) very often. But god never called us to look like everybody else, so i guess its good the way it is :)
    You did a fantastic job! I like the after a lot more then the before. It has such a cozy, inviting feel.
    The artwork of your daughter is great! Why not have her paint something on a canvas? You could tell her which colors, or you could paint together. Or you just have her draw on paper and then frame it in a nice, big frame! Just ideas though :)
    Be blessed Disney!

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  40. Awesome transformation! I'm trying to bring more light into my home by tearing off all the dark wall paper. Yikes! Anyways, as for artwork on the walls.....I'd stick by work from your favorite artist. Have you seen big collages made by taking pictures of children's artwork? That's my favorite. Along with canvas prints or "homemade canvas prints" painted by kids with 3 coordinating colors that match your room. I only put things on my walls that mean something. I also love pictures of my family or our favorite places.

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  41. Love the makeover! Beautiful space, Disney!

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  42. I completely understand the undecorating. I live in a small house and have felt so overwhelmed with all the stuff we have that somedays I just want to rent a dumpster and throw everything away. I am at a point in life where I just need life to be simple.In fact we repainted our living room 3 years ago and haven't put the pictures back on the wall. My 6 yr. took it upon herself to hang her artwork up too.

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  43. Hey I love the white walls. When we were having lunch the other day I couldn't picture the black wall being gone. It looks great.

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  44. I'm probably the only person who thinks this, but I like the before much better. I am not wealthy by any means, but I would feel more comfortable in the before than the after. I don't hate the after, it's just not my style. But we are all entitled to our own opinions :)

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  45. Beautiful home makeover! I appreciate this website

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  46. So refreshing. The new look and your outlook. I adore you Disney. For the above couch artwork, I say a large canvas with bright paints splattered on it, a la Jackson Pollock and designed by Paige! :)

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  47. So my idea for free art for your wall is to stick with Paige's creations...why not get some large thrifted frames and hang them up without the glass...that could be pretty in itself, but then you could switch out Paige's drawings whenever the mood strikes

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  48. Dahling, do what you think is right and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks! Do not stop blogging because we all love your blog and fun inspiration, spirit, and God's light. Just stop worrying so much! You are fine! Anyone that takes offense, it's their reason to bear not your problem!
    Angela

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  49. ps. That Couch is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!
    Angela

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  50. I think the before and after living rooms both look so beautiful, each in their own way :). I love your blog.

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  51. I think you have a great heart . My friend runs a church, and he helps them soooo much. It's great to be a "minimalist" and really value those important things like time with family and helping each other focusing away from material things and that is great. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with wAnting to better our lives, and wanting nicer things for ourselves, if that gives us a certain drive to become more educated, etc. I think the secret is keeping a balance and not letting things become the priority in our lives. Things are just things, money is just money, but it does make our everyday living easier, takes stress away from us, and when we have it we can share it and help others. Our pastor friend places emphasis on the real treasures of life; yet at the same time he wants people to have drive and to want to become independent, educated, small businessowners...He is a contractor as well, and antiques collector, I think people coming to his home see that a humble man is also a man who does well, and who genuinely cares to inspire his church members and feel no envy or intimidation but a desire to better their situation. But I love love your blog, and you are a great mom and human being!!

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  52. A beautiful piece of fabric, a blown up picture of flowers, put your lil artists pictures in a much larger glass picture frame with no backing, simple still elegant. Good luck.

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  53. I also "totally get" what you have done with your home and can relate completely to your reasons for doing so. I think your new living room is lovely and appreciate the simplicity of the look and the value of using much loved furniture and objects in your plan. Claire

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