Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Decorating Dilemmas Party...Round 3!

Welcome to the October Decorating Dilemmas Party!

Please read the rules for this party before linking your blog post up (rules at bottom of post). Thanks!

New here? Let me explain how this works....

Your post can be anything from asking readers to vote on chocolate brown or green napkins for your Fall tablescape to something like "My grandmother gave me these awful floral ceramic candle holders and I don't know how to make them work in my home. What can I do?!"

Decorating, crafty stuff, organization, outdoor living, your garden, I don't care. Just have some fun with it. If you have a solution to a dilemma you've faced, go right ahead and link that up!

This is all about bloggers encouraging and helping each other out. Basically, if you have something in or around your home that you'd like some feedback on, link it up here. Take a quick tour of your home. I bet you have something laying around that you haven't worked on because you just weren't quite sure what you wanted to do with it. I've found that taking a few pictures of the problem area is a great start to give my brainstorming a jumpstart.

Here's my problem:

So, I have dilemma with my secretary.

Haha...not that kind of secretary...though I wish I had someone to get me coffee, file my bills, and entertain clients my kids when they drive me nuts.

My dilemma is with this piece, an antique my mom wanted to get rid of and I begged her for.

She's not stunning, but she is serviceable.

In the cabinets, we display a few casual family photos with some antique tools and whittling pocket knives that belonged to T's grandfather. I feel like it all blends in to the dark wood.

I like the pretty details on the drawer knobs.

The secretary has lots of storage.

The desk area holds T's manly DVD collection of titles such as Gladiator, A Few Good Men, and Rounders. Not that he ever watches any of them. Fox News and Monday Night football take up his spare evenings.

I keep my stationary in the drawer.

The lower (locking) cabinets hold photo CD boxes and all the DVDs belonging to myself and the girls. Notice the unopened The Shred DVD? I feel like Jillian Michaels is screaming at me every time I open the cabinet.

I like the details on the glass.

So I don't want to fire my secretary. She really is doing a good job.

I just need to find some ways to make her look nicer when she comes in for work.

Her "workspace" is a big blank wall between the Kitchen door and the coat closet-turned computer desk-turned coat/printer closet. Not much going on there.

I wouldn't be opposed to refinishing or painting the piece, but that would be down the road. For now, I need a few quick fixes.

I'm hoping you can offer some ways I can better accessorize the interior glass cabinets and especially the area above the secretary and to the side. As you can see from the first photo, there's a lot of wall space.

I have a bag full of this Fall faux stuff...maybe a look for Fall or some ideas for a more permanent display with non-seasonal items?

Either way, I'm glad you're here. Please let me know what you think!!

Now, it's your turn to share:

Remember, there is a Giveaway contest for participants! I'll leave the party open until 12 am (ET) on Thursday morning. I'll announce the winner on Friday.

You could win this:

Here are a few rules (I hate to be a stickler, but I've had some bloggers link up that didn't follow through the past few times):

1. When you enter your link, please enter the permalink to your specific party post, not your blog's homepage.
(You can do this by opening your blog, clicking on the title of the post that you want to link to, and then highlighting it to copy and paste here in McLinky. If readers can't find the correct post on your blog, then you won't receive any feedback.)

2. Please give us a brief description of your post after your blog name.
For example, mine would read: Amanda @ Serenity Now (Homely Secretary)

3. *Please leave me a comment with a link to your post.*
This way, if McLinky hates me, dumps me, and ignores me, we can still all visit each other through the comments! I'm out at a MOPS event right now, but if there are problems, I'll be sure to fix it when I get home tonight. Also, I like comments.

4. It would be great if you'd include a little link to this post when you join the party.
Just add it in somewhere within your blog's party post before you link up. That way your readers can join in the fun if they want to. Please double check to be sure that your links work after you sign up. If I don't see a link to THIS post (again, not my blog's home page, please link to this specific post), I'll have to delete your link.

5. It won't be a party if we don't mingle!
Try to visit some of the other blogs, and remember to play nice. I had a nasty comment once, and I know firsthand that it's no fun. Please be considerate of everyone's feelings, even if you do think that Jane Doe's camouflage dining room wallpaper is really weird. (If you notice you haven't received any comments, take a few minutes to comment on the other partygoers' posts, and be sure to tell them you are visiting from my party so they know to return the favor. That makes a successful blog party. Otherwise, I'm just hosting a big list of people's links, and that's no fun for anyone.)

The beauty of Decorating Dilemmas is that it requires no real preparation on your part (except for the whole posting thing). Come as you are and don't worry about completing your project. Let's be real! We love to share our successes, so why should we balk at admitting we might have an area (or twelve!) that we need some help with!

Have fun, everyone!

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  1. Hi Amanda, visiting for the 1st time from Atticmag! I'm one of the two Janes (Jane F has the linked post)...

    Lucky you getting the secretary from your mom. I have the same dilemma with a bookcase that has dark shelves. For your cabinet, I would find photo frames in the same silver color as the hardware you show on the drawers. Also, keeping all the frames one color allows for a nice streamlined look. If you didn't want to change your photo frames, you could place them in pewter easels.

    What I did on my dark shelves was to place my darker mementos atop a colorful stack of books or something similar. That also gives some weight inside the cabinet and in turn creates a vignette--grouping certain items keeps the shelves from looking cluttered with small items.

    Since I'm new here and don't know what the rest of your room looks like, I'm not sure what type of decor you like for your walls, but I could see a nice plate display on boths sides and across the top of your secretary.

    I know Jane F. loves tassels and will probably suggest hanging a pretty colored one from the glass door knob! Thanks for hosting and always nice to meet another blogger!

    Jane T.

  2. Oh so fun. I did not know you were doing it again.
    Will get a a pic of my 'problem' wall in my new room at the store.

    barbara jean

    Oh, your dilemma-
    I would tuft up some creamish doilies in the top part so your pics show up better.
    And I would do a lovely tall fall display on that little piece (little stool?)you have sitting next to it. Maybe a tall tin, or urn, with very tall fall pics.
    I'd just go seasonal for now, then think about something more permanent later. (although you know, nothing is permanent.) =0))

    barbara jean

  3. Oooooh, I hope I did this right! Why am I so nervous about my link & post like it's the first day of school or something? Lol! Here's my extra link in case McLinky deems me unworthy. http://nadirshodgepodge.blogspot.com/2009/10/decorating-dilemmas-party-icky-bathroom.html

    I love your secretary & although is a gorgeous deep shade I agree with you that it may need some lightening up. Perhaps with just a lighter stain. I love that you have old family heirlooms in it too & definately think that you should leave them there but give them a boost so you can see them better, perhaps propped up on a stack of books or something? Adding some fake florals in a pretty vase or small basket would be pretty too. And I think the bottom cabinets would look nice & less cluttered if you put the dvds & odds & ends into a nice basket or something that slide out easily for quick access. I hope this helps & can't wait to see what you do with it! Go check out my icky bathroom that I'm at a complete loss for. :-(

  4. Before I forget, here's the link to my post: http://treasuredinmyheart.blogspot.com/2009/10/bathroom-cabinets-decorating-dilemma.html
    I am so glad I made it in time. I've wanted to post for each of your previous parties but did not have the time.

    I love your secretary. I have one as well that was my great grandmother's. My advice with yours would be to paint it to lighten it up, but I know I could never do that with mine. I think that lightening up the decor in it could help, so I would probably start with that. Good luck!

    I think you should host a dilemmas solved party down the road. Then we can see how others solved their dilemmas that they had previously linked up.

  5. I have nothing to link up today, but I love your secretary, it is awesome. I'm excited to see what you come up with, but I don't have any suggestions right now, but I'll think on it.:-)

  6. The color of your secretary looks good as is. I would look for one of those stain "pens" at Lowe's to try to fill in some of the scratches.

    I think you need some artwork on the walls around the secretary and then something on top of it (if it is flat).

    I've been begging my mom to give me her secretary that is very much like yours!!

    I'm going to think more on this today while I'm teaching!!

  7. Sometimes room placement can make a big difference. Pieces like this look great in corners.

    And I would use the display space for a lovely collection - china plates, crystal stemware... It's a good way to get daily enjoyment from those wedding gifts gathering dust in the cupboard.

  8. Does the "desk" top fold down? What about keeping it opened up with some cute things in the desk area? If that's not an option, what about using some pretty scrapbook paper on foam board against the backs of the glassed in portion to add some light color to the top? Then simplify what you have going on, what you can see. I agree that you need to fill out the space by using the wall area around it, to make it "bigger" visually. A cute arrangement of frames might work or three framed prints across the top....do you have a floor lamp you could place beside it? And what about a plant on the little red box? Just thinking out loud, but i'd really like to see how it fits into the whole room. Thanks!


  9. Hi Amanda, I'm Allison - the 3rd wheel at AtticMag. I love the secretary. Lucky girl!

    To freshen it up, I have heard rave reviews about Howards Restor-A-Finish. It restores original color, hides scratches and the best part - so easy!

    Even if you can't leave the desk area open (due to snoopy clients), bring a desk chair and place on the wall between desk and kitchen door. That way, when you do want to sit down to use the desk area, it is waiting for you. Hang artwork or a vertical row of plates, as JaneT mentioned above. Repeat on left side of cabinet as well.

    I have a small wall cabinet in our den. It is filled with items that belonged to my grandparents - fishing lures, a few black and white photographs, an odd earring, string of pearls, horn cup, a miniature book, etc. The cabinet is dark so I did exactly what Barbara Jean suggest - put a crocheted piece on one shelf.

    Between what you may already have and maybe a few family things from your mother (and MIL?), you could fill it with interesting family pieces that you and guest will enjoy looking at from time to time.

    AtticMag Shopping Editor

  10. I haven't read the other comments...but what if you found a neat vinyl monogram for the front slanted door part with lots of little flourishes or a neat border. (Hard to explain...but I know you've seen the ones.) I'm all about painting/refinisishing it but with you on not doing it until you are ready!

  11. that is a really pretty piece of furniture. It looks like there is some height above it and in the room so maybe something with height for decoration on the top - bird cage, vases, stacked boxes etc. In the glass cabinets you could display some white or light color pottery pieces and you could use scrapbooking paper or wallpaper as a background to lighten it up too and to give color and texture.

    I linked up to my blog for some advice on decorating my master bedroom, thanks for hosting the blog party :)

  12. I just found your blog. I'm excited to join your party- I need some motivation to do something with my staircase!! Here's my link:

  13. Great, now I know to call that a secretary. I had no idea thats what it was... I would have called it a hutch?

  14. What a great idea for a blog party! I don't have anything ready for this month, but I'll be back with my own dilemma next time!

    You've gotten lots of great ideas for your secretary already, so I just have one to add. Could you add white or cream colored plates in the top, standing up behind the other items? That might help them not to get as lost with the rest of the wood tones.

  15. Hi Amanda!

    Sorry I'm a little late to comment, I've been driving kiddos all over the place today!

    I love the secretary. I don't think I have much to add here- I was going to mention Howard's restor-a-finish and the Guardsman touch-up pens available at Home Depot, but I think those have already been reccomended.

    I love the plate collection idea to fill up the wall space- I've seen other bloggers even buy plates at a thrift store and paint them all Heirloom white and I think the end result is great.

    For inside I would line it with something. I'm about to line the inside of the hutch in my living room with fabric. I like the foam core idea someone else gave so that you don't have to permanently affix anything to the inside of the cabinet. You could probably also use some of that removable poster putty. You could line with fabric or scrapbook paper. I tried lining mine with wrapping paper and it was awful. The paper was kind of shiny and it just looked weird. Maybe wrapping paper would have worked if it wasn't shiny.

    As for actually arranging the items inside, I'm not very good at that. I think Nester just did a post on that. I would say it looks like some of the picture frames and smaller items are getting a little lost, maybe try placing them atop a small stack of books? Maybe even cover the books in coordinating paper or fabric?
    Good luck!

  16. Forgot to say I'd like to take myself out of the running for the magazine since I got myself a subscription when Amazon was running those great magazine deals! It is a great issue!

  17. What about putting some fabric in the back behind the shelves? That would break up all the dark wood. If you use a light color that glass doors would also stand out more. Maybe paint the knobs to pop out a little more too. Then use similar colored accessories with a few pops of color.

  18. I was also going to suggest fabric or paper against the back.

  19. Jane @ Finding FabulousOctober 9, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    Sorry I missed your party, it sounds fun! I'll be sure to link up next time! Today is Frugalicious Friday over at my blog Finding Fabulous...feel free to link up if you've got a frugalicious find you'd like to share!

  20. Okay...first off..CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED IT!

    Second...I don't have much brain power for summoning up decor solutions.

    But one thing you could do is false backing on the shelf part. You know, like I think I've mentioned to you about what I want to do with my entertainment unit.

    You can use wrapping paper and double sided tape, or like Sarah@TDC did with fabric and foam core board?

    that would make your knick knacks and pictures stand out more.


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