It’s a super cozy, wonderfully lazy Monday afternoon… It’s been raining steadily all day, actually for most of the past week. Combine that with a crackling fire in the hearth and I’m ever so happy. No snow this far south, but if it’s raining and I can have a fire, I’ll be happy. :)

I’m been wanting to do some more before & afters of the Cottage, but somehow it has taken me a while to get those pictures taken and uploaded. And with two active little girls, I find my computer time to be a bit lessened. Combine that with a New Year’s resolution [but wanting it to continue past just this year] – the goal to not be on the computer after dinner in the evening.

That’s been a stretch for me, I’ll admit. I didn’t realize how often I go online after supper. It was a good, easy thing of relaxation at the end of a busy day, but the down-side of that is that I could easily check out with Ben and the girls during our only family time of the day. And honestly, if Ben and I needed to talk through something, I could easily hide behind the screen instead of talking… :( So, I very much realize this is just my own choice and not something that’s for everyone. This is just for me. And if Ben is gone for the evening, don’t be surprised if I’m online at 7:30P.M. :)

I have found that I have SO much more time for reading than I normally did. It’s only the first week of February, but I’ve already read several books this year. I don’t have to wonder long where my free time was going… But we’ve been having so much good family time. Hide & Seek with the kids that is way more fun that being on the computer. Reading them lots of books. Feeling like I have a lot of time in the evenings…

And besides all that, I don’t want this blog to be all about my projects and my house and my… What I DO want it to be is an outlet for me to remember details about life and God and family and living and creating that I wouldn’t otherwise remember. To celebrate and treasure the little things. The not-often big things. To share a part of my journey with other people. To try to respect the privacy of my family at the same time…

And a great blessing that comes along with that is keeping current friendships in far-away places as well as meeting many new wonderful friends! Truly, I feel so RICH in friendships!!

So, today is a post to document the Befores and Afters of the Music Room/Family Room/Office.


[bright yellow/orange walls, but really in good condition otherwise]

before 4

[for better room flow, we moved the door to the left of the fireplace…

before 1

… to the right of the fireplace]

before 3

And After:

We began by painting the walls a neutral color, the same as most of the rest of the house. I wanted to go with a paint called “Biscotti” because how fun would that be to tell people the wall color?? But it didn’t quite fit the pallette I was wanting, so instead we went with “Tuscan Beige” by Ace Hardware.

This room is a walk-through room to the girls’ bathroom, the laundry room, and the master bedroom. We thought about closing part of it off to make a third bedroom [at present we have only two] and putting a hallway through it, but because of the option to add two bedrooms upstairs eventually, we decided to keep this room opened up. Besides, closing off the rooms would’ve meant getting rid of my baby grand, and that would’ve been a very sad parting…

When I was getting ready to work on this room last summer I asked on facebook if anyone has some old sheet music they weren’t using/would give/sell. My friend, Marylou, offered to send me an old book. It was a gem – I was so thrilled upon received it! Not only were the pages a very lovely aged color, but the titles of the songs are so delightful! Thank you so much, Marylou!!

before 2

after 6

I combined this old music with new books that I got off ebay for a song [yeah, didn’t even think of the pun, sorry]. And I kind of went a little happy with all of the music projects. I told someone I feel a little sheepish even showing this post because it’s a music overload!!

I began by putting these various sheets over the wall by the desk.
[This idea came from French Larkspur [blogspot], not original with me.]


after 5

Can’t forget to include this in the pictures. :)


The desk we picked up at a yard sale for $10, and then I painted it several years ago. That was when I was painting everything black. Now I realize there ARE other colors to paint things. :)

The chair was free at a yard sale last summer because the caning in the seat is coming apart, and we still haven’t fixed it. Hence the pillow to sit on while working at the desk. :)

The window panels I made from fabric that I bought for $1 a yard several years ago. I really wanted to go with a bright grass green for my accent color in here, but couldn’t find what I was looking for for the price I was willing to pay. So I ended up using some fabric from my stash….

This old [bald & hairless] rocking horse came from an antique auction. I used to think he was dreadfully ugly, but he’s growing on me. :) The girls love him, so why shouldn’t I? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. :)

The jute rug I picked up on craigslist, the same time I got the rug for the living room.

after 3

Christmas decor, 2010 056

Turn right at the desk and this is what you’ll see…

f-r 14

The old piece of furniture was bought as-is at my grandmother’s auction 5 years old. It badly needs a new paint job, and I’m not sure whether to leave it black all over, or paint the exterior white and the inside black? This room tends to be rather dark, even with the two windows.

family room 1

White vase: Pottery Barn outlet for $1.99. Wish they’re still have cheap clearance like that.
Old Frames: auction for $1-2 dollars each
White bust: T.J. Maxx, I think
Quote plaque: gift from a friend ♥

A Christmas to Remember 6

I love bringing the outdoors inside. This mossy stuff is so beautiful to me!

Keep going clockwise, and watch out for the baby grand…

This was my birthday gift from Ben when I turned 24… I am a very humbly proud owner. :)

f-r 13

I got this wild idea to make a music tree [as if there wasn’t even of a music theme in the room]. So one afternoon when the girls were napping I traced an outline on the wall, then cut various music sheets to fit that outline. I thought it would take me days, but an afternoon was enough to complete it.

The bird cages were found at several different junk shops.

f-r 4

f-r 15f-r 5  

f-r 10f-r 6

f-r 3projects - oct. 2010 014-1

I bought quite a few books at my grandmother’s auction several years ago, along with these binoculars, which belonged to my late grandfather.

The round votive holder is from Pottery Barn – something I had watched in the catelogue for a very long time, starting out at over a hundred dollars, and finally finding it at the outlet for $30. I was happy. :) That was several years ago. Now, I think it’s a little “heavy” in style, but after waiting that long to buy it and then getting it for such a good price, AND storing it for several years until I had a house to put it in, well, I’m not selling it quite yet. :)

The 4th mantel/fireplace in the house. Not sure black is what it’ll always stay, but because I have so many fireplaces I didn’t want them all to be the same. So this is black.

family room 2

I call this my “Wall of Words” inspired largely by The Lettered Cottage’s reading room. Theirs is only words, if I remember correctly. I combined words, music, pictures – just a lot of things black and white. [whoops about the one picture falling from its frame]

after 4
The black frames were mostly bought at Goodwill for around a dollar each, average, and I spray-painted them black. When my sisters spent some time with me last summer, I conned them into doing some of the writing for the quotes I wanted on the wall. :) I used a combination of Scripture and some favorite quotes. The wall words were given to my by my mother-in-law, who found them at a yard sale! She is a yard sale queen! :)

after 9after 7

after 10f-r 7  

after 1after 8

This old globe also belonged to my late grandfather. Can you tell I’m sentimental? :)

f-r 11 

f-r 8

And just for fun, before and after again:

before 4

after 5


before 1

f-r 4family room 2

after 4

And that concludes the Office/Music/Family room before & after!

after 11

[disclaimer: these pictures were taken during the naptime of two children. Should you happen upon us today, or any day for that matter, there is very little chance of the above room looking remotely similar and tidy. At the moment, there is a dishwasher-sized cardboard box in the middle of the room which is the “house” of the above-mentioned children and they would be disastrously devestated if the house would need to relocate anytime in the near future.
(p.s. the mother of the above-mentioned two children is learned and growing in the areas of letting children be children without demanding that messes be non-existant and playtimes be solely imaginary and with no fun props. Hence the cardboard house, which is stretching the imaginative developement of the children, and the perfectionistic tendencies of the mother, who is learning that happy children are worth far more than perfect houses, and that imaginative play is what will create wondeful memories rather than immaculately-tidy rooms].




27 thoughts on “Music Room Before & After

  1. inanorchard

    More loveliness! What I love about this room (and your style in general) is that it’s so well thought out and put together, but it also feels welcoming. Sometimes when I look at well decorated, stylish room it feels like a store display and not a home… not a place you want to cuddle up and spend a rainy afternoon. But this! This is beautiful and unique and inviting. Good Job :)

    PS Love the music tree!

  2. star_76

    You are the cutest thing e-ver! :) I LOVE reading your posts. I always get a smile on my face when I see you’ve written another post. I enjoy seeing how you decorate your house. It’s darling. I too am learning that my house doesn’t need to be “perfect”. Children are a beautiful display of perfect, I think… Blessings!

  3. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    beautiful details
    and those are just a few of the words i could use!
    it just makes me wish to come and sit in the coziness of your abode…
    but, the dishes are calling and the hubs is gone for the evening…
    what was that you were saying about being on the computer in the evenings?
    oh, i TOTALLY get that!!

  4. aretheyallyours

    You did a beautiful job!  I love the wall with the pictures, the Shakespeare quote, the things belonging to your grandparents- it is so cozy and beautiful.

    Isn’t it hard for us perfectionists to just sit back and not tidy up every little mess that comes along?!  Six children later, I think I may be making some progress.

  5. down_onthefarm

    ahhh such loveliness that’s cozy too. love what you do! 
    my fav parts of your re-do are the word wall that i saw…
    and the cardboard box that i’m imagining! :)

  6. smilesbymiles

    I love that word wall. And the tin full of rolled up magazines. What a cute way to store them! You really have an adorable house. I can’t imagine it messy, since I never see it except in it’s perfect state, but oh, I so know what you mean about perfection going out the door when you have children.

  7. fruitloops115

    oooh no one commented yet on what I wanted to comment on! how shallow is that? My absolute favorite part, other then the whole room, is what you did behind the couch! I love that whole wall display. I love the saying, how it looks and what it says. But the whole display looks fantastic. Hanging pictures is not something I enjoy, so i admire a well-done arrangement. I also love the music on the wall behind the desk.
    props to you for holding fast to your no-internet-after-supper resolution. that is so something I am guilty of, well both hubs and me. If we’re not carful we can waste a whole evenign in our own seperate worlds.

  8. Elizabethmarie_1

    Ahhh, yes, I am STILL trying to get past leaving a mess!  I used to have to have the house perfect and in order before we started school everyday….this was not a good idea!  We were starting school later and later…..a clean house was becoming my idol!  I had to (and am still learning to) give this up.  It’s hard, but we now have a clean up time late in the afternoon where we all work together and get it all done before Jeff gets home. That way he can come home to a clean house! 

    Oh how I LOVE your room!  I REALLY LOVE your piano!!!  What a Fabulous birthday gift! =)
    I love all that sheet music all over the wall….and I love your wall of words! You have inspired me to go re-do something in my house!
    Reading everyone’s blogs about projects and crafts and painting, has gotten me in the mood!
    Thanks for the glimpse into your cozy cottage.

  9. lin789

    i’m thinking i need to resolve a cut-off hour for my computer time…as i sit here at 9:30 p.m.!
    love the music room. has some soul to it. along with coziness.
    and i like picturing a cardboard “house” in the middle of the room…
    makes it more personal to me since i stumble over dominos and babies all day long.

  10. singingrachel

    Love the wall word wall. with the arrangement of frames. well done.

    And Kuddo’s to you on less internet time… i’m needing to do something too.  Somedays i’m fine without and then the next it’s all i want o do.  so frustrating.  It is amazing what i can get done when i stay off during the day.

    Thanks for the sneak peak into your music room.

  11. grace_to_be

    i think this is my favorite room in your house so far~ i could sit in there for hours. or play that sweet baby grand! love it. the music tree is awesome – very cool idea. and the word wall, also way cool. like the note pillow on the couch too! and just so many other details my eyes were soaking up~ the globe. the tin of magazines. the mossy branches. and that hutch/ bookshelf from your grandmother is a beautiful piece of furniture. it looks great black, but i think would be classy and fresh in a white wash too!

    i hear ya about time on here. me too! it’s amazing how you don’t realize how much time you did spend until you’re trying to stay off~ especially since moving and only having one vehicle.. i just find it so much easier {to make excuses for myself} to be on! :) thanks for the reminder to watch out for all that.

    have you ever told the story of how you guys bought this place? is this your first home? we’re starting to look for a place here – – would love a fixer upper, but know it’s a huge chunk to bite off.

  12. JsSteph7

    There is so much about your room that I am coveting, I mean LOVE!! : ) First that you HAVE a music room, that’s a huge deal for me, if or when we buy a house.

    I have always loved decorating with old sheet music. I had the Hungarian Rhapsody on my wall for a while and can’t remember why I took it down! lol And your piano and bird cages… and word wall…. I could definitely go on. : ) You did a great job! It’s a beautiful room. Hopefully you’ll have years of great music being made in it. And I love that you added the pictures of the girls in there, it made it seem more home-y.

  13. madisonsmom2

    It’s beautiful!! I love the music sheets on the wall above the desk! One of you last sentences popped out at me… learning to let children be children. Awww, if I could just get that thru this thick head of mine. After 7 years, I’m still trying!

  14. baileyandme

    Your first paragraph almost gave me a lump of happiness in my throat. i love warm, slow days like that!
    my 2 fav pics were the shakespere (<spelling) wall. wow!! that is so cool! and also the room with the black piece in the middle, and windows on either side. so special and gorgeous…
    elle just came down and said, “im all wet, i peed myself”.
    so off and running! bless you… always love your blog. i like the new name btw.

  15. grandpas_gurl

    yaaaaay, you used my idea for embroidering musical notes onto pillows!! ;)
    ahhhh. such a cool house. can’t wait to see it completely finished [for the first time] in march!!
    yay for girl trips to florida. ;)

  16. lifeisadance

    @inanorchard – Thank you so much!! I so want a home that isn’t just beautiful, but that is also homey and warm and inviting…

    @star_76 – You are so sweet! :) And yes, children are a beautiful display of perfect – I love the way you worded that!

    love for you to come and sit and chat in our home! If only it wasn’t so far from yours…

    @aretheyallyours – Somehow it seems that either that perfectionistic tendency gets thrown out the door, or else the kids do, right? People choose perfect homes over having children. I don’t want to have my priorities in the very wrong place!

    @smilesbymiles – I must remedy that. Do I always show perfect pictures???? That’s terrible, I didn’t even realize it. Because only for about 5 minutes after cleaning day does it look perfect. :)

    @fruitloops115 – I always look forward to your comments. :) How shallow is that?! :)

    @Elizabethmarie_1 – I am constantly inspired by other people too! Sometimes to the point of over-stimulation! :) And those perfectionistic ways… so very wrong, I know!! I’m actually aware of it now in me, and glad of that. Now to just keep working at it!!

    @grace2be – I don’t think I’ve ever told the story of our house… or at least not recently. I might need to do that sometimes. But just a quickie – this is our 2nd home we own. The first bought when we got married 5.5. years ago and then sold a year later when we moved south – that was a fixer-upper too. Then we lived in a rental for almost 4 years, never dreaming we’d be there that long, but several houses we thought we were going to buy during those years fell through in circumstances beyond our control. About 3-4 houses, actually. Then this house came up and although it was in terrible shape, we got it for about the price of an expensive new car. We had to put a LOT of work and money into it though… If you’re willing to put TIME, time, time, into a fixer-upper, it’s definitely great. But there are a LOT of sacrifices too. Not sure I want to do it again for a LONG time… :) And thanks for the link. :)\

    @madisonsmom2 – I’m still working on getting that through my thick head too!! Definitely have not got that area covered… :(

    @dreamstillcometrue – Yes, yes, and yes!! Or even a very extended visit would be nice, since it’s been nearly a year since you were here and all… :)

    @baileyandme – I kind of like that new name too, but not sure if I’ll actually change it for real?? I’m not much good at coming up with names and stuff…

  17. lifeisadance

    @grandpas_gurl – that was an AWESOME idea you had!! :) I actually just painted it on instead of embroidered it – a lot faster. :) Please forgive for not mentioning IN CAPS, “MY SISTER JANA GAVE ME THIS IDEA.” :))

  18. MartinTreehouse

    I’ve got to say that the bright yellow color is mine! AHHHHHH, love it, sorry it had to go! I loved the final result of your room! I am constantly dreaming of how to decorate with a lot of color like I want to and have a really simple way of being able to transition my decorations from house to house easily because we move so much in the military. Maybe someday I’ll have to ask you for ideas.

  19. smilesbymiles

    @lifeisadance – 

    I didn’t mean that in a bad way. You talk about real life so much I know things look real there, too. :) I just haven’t seen it, you know. And don’t worry, I tend to take pictures when things look nice, too. Seeing a ton of clutter just doesn’t inspire me to pull out the camera and I have been so annoyed at distractions in snapshots so many times that I’m liable to at least shove it all to the side and get it out of the image.

  20. lifeisadance

    @MartinTreehouse – I’ve seen some really cool yellow rooms – I actually had a yellow room two houses ago, by my own choice! :) But the accessories that went into this room just didn’t fit with that color. But I hear you – there are times when color is just too good to pass up! You do have a challenge with moving often… This is just my third move in 5 years, and now I tend to go more neutral. My first house had color EVERYWHERE, seriously. And I loved it. And maybe one day I’ll put more color in this house, we’ll see. :) Seems like it’s either got to be colorful accessories or colorful walls – it’s hard to have both.

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