Old House Love: Decorating our Bungalow

We purchased our first home in March. I’m positive we were able to scoop it up because buyers had trouble seeing the potential behind ugly wall colors and the renters’ crap that was piled EVERYWHERE. We were sold on the character of the 1925 bungalow though — the hardwood floors, the square pushout windows flanking the fireplace, the built-in bookcases.

After living in a small apartment, I was excited to have more space and THRILLED to be able to legitimately decorate. There was so much more room. But I quickly realized we had the opposite problem from our apartment days — instead of having too much crap, we didn’t have enough.

I picked up a few things before we moved in, mainly online shopping at Target (we all have weaknesses). I absolutely loved the Target Threshold bar cart and knew it would go perfectly in the dining room. The room was huge and it turned into a real focal piece on the interior wall that had no windows, doors or anything else to break it up.

One major undertaking we took was painting all of the major rooms before moving in. We had six days, which we thought would be plenty of time until we actually started prepping and painting. It sucked, which is an understatement, but the results were amazing. The dining room, in particular, was completely transformed. It had been a dark, orangey color that sucked the life and light out of the place. We painted it a light, airy robin’s egg blue color (Sherwin Williams Meander Blue).


Above: Before we moved in.
Below: After, with my beloved bar cart. The “Eat, Drink, Be Merry” sign is a chalkboard piece that I used to write the seating chart for our wedding. I love to reuse.


I also ordered a black console table for our faux foyer. The front room is one large room, so while we don’t have a traditional foyer, I tried to create one out of the space, with a black theme on one side of the room to visually separate it from the “living” area. Below are a few decor pieces on the console table. The candle holder with the flowers on it served as our ring holder at our wedding.


The most fun part, though, was decorating the built-in bookcases in the living room. The back of the bookcases had been painted the same drab yellow as the walls, while the back was the same color as the dining room walls.


Above: Before we moved in.

We painted the living room Benjamin Moore’s Sundance and went all white with the built-ins. It took us awhile to fill them in but I am thrilled with the results! When we were in New Jersey in April to see family, my mom and I hit up Home Goods, a few antique places and then my mother let me shop her house (really, she gave me crap she didn’t want anymore). So we came back from that trip with a ton of stuff. The next weekend, we hit up Southern Crossings, a huge antique mall in Riverside and hit the jackpot.


Above: Left built-in. Color-coded books and a few other fun pieces.
Below: Right built-in. More color-coded books. The old advertisement in the middle of the top shelf was a win for Joel and I — we couldn’t find much we both liked until we realized we were into vintage advertising. True story: if I brush my hair out, it looks just like the girl in the ad. My parents used to call me Rosanne Rosannadanna.



Above: Basket, courtesy of mom. Bronze San Francisco cable car, from Southern Crossings. I love this little piece. It’s tiny but very cool.
Below: This clock sits on top of the right built-in (it’s from Home Goods). I think it’s a legit clock that works.



Above: We picked up this painting at Southern Crossings. It’s a cafe scene in Paris, but the colors match well with the color scheme of the living area. It sits on top of the left built-in.
Below: I believe we picked the globe up at Home Goods in Jacksonville.



Above: The antiqued silver bowl is from Southern Crossings. Shells: the Atlantic Ocean (some from NJ, some from Florida).
Below: My old New Jersey license plates and a Loch Ness monster that I picked up in Scotland back in the late 90s.



Above: Black books and a wedding photo (the frame was used in our wedding — it was on our sweetheart table reading “The Addingtons.” Now it holds a picture from that day!). Also, apparently we’ve read the “The Art of War.”
Below: An old chair that we inherited from our old apartment and our snake plant. The pot was one of those plain, clay-colored Home Depot pots that we spray painted a similar color to the dining room. This is one plant that is actually thriving. Go us.



Above: One of our large focal art pieces — vintage advertising from another antique shop in Jacksonville. The colors go well with the dining room decor and it’s basically just awesome.
Below: The focal art piece in our faux foyer — a picture Joel took on our honeymoon, when we spent the afternoon on Jekyll Island in Georgia. One of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen!


And last but not least, me, in my Sunday best. The large mirror reflects light and adds some more depth to the room.


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