A new and centered dining room light

Of course I forgot to take a really good before picture, so this will have to do.


Take a look at that boob light over the table. It was not cute. Even less cute when we took it down and the interior of it had this foil-ish foam stuff that was peeling and cracking off. Honestly, it wasn’t the worst light in the world, but the major problem I had with it wasn’t the look. It was the fact that it wasn’t centered on the table. Obviously, I could have moved the table, but this living/dining room space is pretty huge and to give the room any sort of good flow without it feeling like there are two entirely separate worlds in there, the table needed to be a little more central in the room. If it had been centered on that light it also would have meant that the back door smacked into it every time we opened it. Anyways, whoever planned the location of that light, just did a really bad job plain and simple. So when my birthday rolled around I started hunting for a few lighting options. My only criteria was that the light needed to be on a nice long chain so I could hang the light from the current location and then swag it to hang above the table.

shades of light globe pendant

I found this clear globe pendant at Shades of Light and it was pretty perfect. I wished the finish was gold, but the style was exactly what I was going for. I looked at a few gold options but they were all $$$. I figured a can of gold spray paint would be an easy fix. So I threw this light on my birthday wish list and kind of forgot about it. It definitely wasn’t anything necessary or urgent. Heck, I didn’t even know how to change a light fixture or if it could actually be changed out…was it compatible?? I had no clue. My dad ended up ordering it for me and I was thrilled when he gave it to me, I casually joked if installation was included (haha, totally kidding, sort of, not really, but I mean dad….you used to be an electrician…haha, no no, I’m sure I can figure it out). Fast forward to that light fixture sitting in a box in my office for the next 2 months.

Thankfully, my dad is awesome and started planning the installation. He figured out what all we would need- a ceiling hook with a nice strong toggle bolt to swag the chain, and that was it, the light came with everything else we needed, who woulda thunk? Can you tell I am kind of clueless when it comes to lights. This was the first one I ever installed…and technically my dad installed it and I wasn’t really paying attention so I am still pretty clueless. Last week I invited my parents over to dinner and my dad just so happened to bring all the tools he would need for the installation. I swear there was no bribery! We started taking the old light down (like I said…once it was down I realized just how gross it really was) and about halfway into the original light coming down I remembered that I had planned to paint this bad boy. So I grabbed my spray paint and some cardboard boxes and painted everything out on my patio. We hung it about 15 minutes later…I think technically the paint was still drying, there may be some fingerprints in the finish. I don’t recommend this method :)

But it’s up (fingerprints and all) and it’s kind of my favorite thing ever.

Jennifer Laura Design dining room

Here you can see how the light is hung from the original location, but swagged to get to the area right above the table. There was also a very dirty ring left from the old light that I scrubbed to get clean…turns out cleaning a popcorn ceiling tears the popcorn off. So I need to get some spackle or something to fill in the ring. Ugh…textured walls and ceilings are the worst. I suppose would be to scrub off the rest of the popcorn. You know…if I had 5 days with nothing else to do.

Jennifer Laura Design dining room

Jennifer Laura Design dining room

Ahh…it does look awesome though. It makes the dining area a much happier place for sure. Oh and do you spy our new barstools? $30 for all three on craigslist. They are cute right? I wanted something a little more substantial with a back (ie. more comfortable), but with that back door right there anything else would have been too big. These tuck underneath the counter just perfectly. You can also see a peek of the new dining chairs that we got. Spoiler alert: I hate them and need to return or sell them. I think I can return them, but I have to check and see. Once upon a time I wanted ghost chairs and now I’m wondering why I ever steered away from that idea. I think ghost chairs would be perfect…we’ll see. This is the second pair of dining chairs that has just not worked out…I haven’t lost any money yet, but I think Kris might murder me if the next set don’t work out :)

Phoenix’s Room Reveal {Awake Photography}

Today is the day! I never dreamed I would get to share Phoenix’s room so soon, but Paige is a rock star and literally drop-boxed me these photos the night she shot his room. Thanks Paige!! As always she managed to not only capture all of the details, but Phoenix looking mighty adorable as well. So let’s go back to the beginning, back to a little mood board I put together about two months ago.

Phoenix's Big Boy Room | Jennifer Laura Design

Quite a lot has changed from this mood board to the final room- a few things that didn’t were the rug, the bed, the pillows, the curtains, and the artwork inspiration. But the nightstand, lamp, planes, and dresser totally did…I guess that might be about 50%… I don’t ever think a mood board is a concrete plan, but it really helps me visualize things and find a direction I can move forward with. I would say the wall color turned out somewhat similar to the color on the left. There was a good reason for everything changing…I kept thinking that this room was a little too Ikea, I mean I love shopping there, but both the bed and the dresser being from Ikea was a little much for me. I like an eclectic look and I love to mix and match. It’s so funny because my mom is from an era where you go into a store and you buy a bedroom set and that’s pretty much how you decorate…and she still to this day doesn’t quite understand this concept of furniture not matching. I think she’s slowly understanding, because while she hates thrifting, craigslist, and Ikea she loves the way my house looks. And I always tell her well it’s pretty much all thrifted, craigslist, and ikea…and target. I’m not proud of that fact per se, as an interior designer in a past life I would love to have everything custom made and ordered from to-the-trade only places…but the truth is that’s just not a reality for most people. I remember one day working as a designer a guy came in and asked if we knew of anywhere he could get a sofa for less than $2000. I was in my first month of working there so I kept my mouth shut, but all of the other designers were baffled… a sofa?? For less than $2000??? Has anyone ever heard of such an atrocity?? Maybe you can find one on sale at Crate and Barrel?

I’m a little more sunk into reality now, thank goodness. But anyways, I’ll try to source everything below and please don’t shoot me that my shopping sources aren’t fancy. :)

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

So the first change I made was to the dresser- Topher and I both liked the dresser from Ikea, but at $250 it was a bit expensive for Ikea. I kept thinking that for $250 I’d rather have something totally unique. So I started searching my little heart out on craigslist, mid century anything is so hard to find because a) it’s very popular and b) everyone selling it knows it’s very popular so they price it astronomically. I got lucky with this little piece, I found it for $300 and it’s condition was not perfect, but nothing a little cleaning couldn’t fix. And yes, this dresser makes me much happier than something mass produced could. I’d love to eventually change out the knobs for something a bit more special.

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

This little bear belongs to my dad, I had to beg him to borrow it for this shoot. This little guy is almost falling apart and threadbare in several places. This was my dad’s childhood bear and since Phoenix and my dad are quite literally best pals I thought his room needed a little bit of this bear.

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Can you believe that after hemming and hawing over this darn wall color for 2 months I’m still not sure it’s the right color. It’s a little more turquoise than I wanted. Picking a wall color is so gosh darned difficult…I do like it, but I still go back and forth on it. It’s dark, but doesn’t make the room feel small at all. There’s just something about it…maybe it’s too loud and taking away from everything else going on in there? I’m not sure, but overall I really dig his room I just like to nit pick everything I do. Please tell me you do that too…

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

The nightstand had to change since the dresser changed, we actually bought the orange table  from the mood board before we got the dresser, but as soon as the dresser came in the orange nightstand brought out all the ugly orange undertones in the dresser so it went back and I actually really dig these simple black nesting tables.

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Phoenix's Room | Jennifer Laura Design | Awake Photography

Hey Phoenix, why don’t you try to not look so disgusted when I kiss you! xo, the woman who birthed you ;-) Thanks for looking!

{Sources: bed- ikea, comforter- target, black and white pillows- ikea, fox pillow- urban outfitters, nesting night stand- target, lamp- ikea, curtains- ikea, geometric rug- urban outfitters, dresser- craigslist, blue script painting- DIY, white play table- ikea, wicker kid chairs- Ikea with a DIY  paint dipped leg, rabbit artwork-etsy, P pillow- DIY, bookshelves- Ikea with a painted DIY, black and white striped basket- Ikea, footprint artwork- DIY}

{Photography courtesy of Awake Photography}


I have a mini- update on Phoenix’s room. After months of debating over paint colors I finally selected ionian (Sherwin Williams).

Sherwin Williams Ionian

I went back and forth on this color too. I think it’s just because pulling the trigger on painting an entire room this bright/dark of a color is a little fear-inducing. I’m personally not afraid of painting small rooms dark colors, but my mom had me second guessing myself saying that the room was going to look tiny. Traditionally that’s a rule of thumb, light walls= bigger and dark walls= smaller. I’ve always been a rule breaker though and I don’t have enough experience to say why this color works, but I painted the walls this morning and the room looks amazingly brighter. Not smaller at all. I think it’s a twinge more turquoise than I was hoping for, but I still really like it. I snapped a  photo this morning, but it was so dark and gloomy out that it’s really not making a case for the whole lighter and brighter thing. I’ll try to share some updated photos of his room next week! In the meantime, I can finally get to the fun part like painting these chairs,

ikea chair DIY

making some artwork, hanging curtains, etc. Yes!! This is the part that I live for :)

living/dining room and kitchen

It’s really just one giant great room with a kitchen in the corner on the end. I can’t say I am a fan of kitchens like these- they are so closed off and I feel very disconnected to Topher and little guy when they are at the dining table. These seem to be fairly common in apartments though so that’s what we are dealing with. I love the rest of the layout of the place so this is pretty much my only grievance. I’ve been promising pictures forever and while there is still a lot to do, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve done a lot as well and I think right now is a nice little progress mid-point. I go through phases- one week I am obsessed with finishing it and getting as much done as possible and then the I take a 2-3 week break where I could care less or am just too busy focused on other things to care about it. Let me start with a good/not terrible shot. Keep in mind these are taken by me so the photography leaves a lot to be desired of course.

living and dining

This is the view from the front door. See what I mean about one long giant room. It was begging for some separation when we moved in. I haven’t measured it, but I could probably do about 4-5 cartwheels from one end to the other. I won’t call out everything- some things aren’t cool enough to talk about, but the black and white striped chairs are kind of my favorite and they were craigslist finds that I reupholstered. The coffee table was also a craigslist find….if Topher asks it was only $50 :) The collage wall needs some serious help. I pretty much insisted that we get the collage wall up before we moved in and I’m so glad I did- it has really helped make this room feel finished. HOWEVER…I’m only ok with about 10% of that artwork- the rest needs to either be changed or actually filled since some of those frames are completely empty. I chuckle at the fact that we have one of those cheesy motivation posters (perseverance) up there. I think I grabbed it from my dad’s office. It was in the closet under a pile of boxes…I’m assuming that meant it was fair game. But yes…the frame is great, the artwork….notsomuch.

collage wall

living room

There’s my little Fidel in the corner- he’s a fidlde leaf fig that I got at Ikea and I’m happy we haven’t killed him. Topher has been taking very good care of him! He was looking a little rough there for awhile and I thought we were going to lose him, but he looks much better now. I dream of a tall fiddle leaf there, but for now he will have to do.

tv wall

This photo makes me cringe. Not only am I revealing my secrets for running around the house snapping photos (step one- plop child in front of TV, step two- done), but it also shows this sad sad depressing wall. It needs some serious help. I would love to create a little mini entry with some hooks, small table, and a mirror. I’m currently hoarding two mirrors that would work, so it’s really just a matter of figuring out what else we need here. I also had the idea today to paint this wall- it’s just a portion of wall that ends right to the left where the hallway starts- I think this might be a cool place to do a fun accent wall of color. I am very anti- accent wall and the fact that I just typed the phrase “accent wall” makes me feel like I jumped in a time machine back to 2002, but stay with me…I think it could work here. I got that console table on craigslist last year- I had no idea where it was going at the time, but for $100 I couldn’t pass it up. It’s too unique and awesome. It desperately needs to be painted…it’s currently brown. Yes…brown. I’m envisioning a bright inky blue wall with that console being white and then switching out the gigantor TV for something more appropriately sized and moving that monstrosity to the bedroom. Maybe then putting some sconces on the sides of said properly sized TV? There are no overhead lights in here, so more lighting would be very welcome.

dining room

Here’s our dining area. We installed those ikea shelves about a month ago and I’ve been in love ever since. This is a terrible photo, but they add a lot of personality to the room. Plus I have a lot of junk prized possessions that I love having a place to display. I’ve childproofed the bottom two shelves- they are books and non-breakable things and for the most part have trained Phoenix not to mess with them. Amazingly, after a few sessions of telling him not to touch the books or climb the shelves (they are screwed into studs in several places though) he doesn’t really mess with them. He does sometimes bring a few of his toys to help with the styling of them though. Daniel Tiger looks great atop a stack of design books :) Oh and Hi Petey!!

dining room 2

This dining room actually already looks different. I just sold those industrial chairs on craigslist as of about an hour ago they walked out of my life forever. They are cute and trendy chairs sure, but they weren’t comfortable and just weren’t jiving with the rest of the apartment. I’m not really into industrial things for myself so they just seemed a bit out of place. Not to mention that the scale of them is puny and we actually just finished re-finishing that pedestal table (which I LOVE) and now that it’s dark- the chairs just blended right in. It wasn’t helping that they were the same height as the table so there wasn’t even that added interest of chair shape poking above the table. I have something else a little different in mind…which I need to get soon so we’re not chairless for too long! As for refinishing that table here’s what it looked like before.


Topher sanded the top down to bare wood and we repainted the bottom black. We stained the top a dark brown- it’s actually so dark that the entire table looks black which I really like. As long as we get different chairs, something lighter and brighter I think it will help the table start to shine.

desk nook

Since I have my own office, it seemed only fair that Topher got a little something too. He doesn’t work from home very often, but it’s nice for him to have a place to stash his books and bills. Plus I enjoy the chance to have a cute little styling moment. We need to change out the artwork here (add a little more color), but overall I love this little corner.

bar nook

Here you can see the pass through to the kitchen. Like I said it’s very closed off unfortunately, but it works. I DIY’d a bit of artwork above and am still on the hunt for the perfect barstools. Our back door opens up right here as well so we need something petite that can tuck under the counter. Jury’s still out on the artwork- I’m likely to paint over that at any moment. And the most exciting thing going on over here…I’ve started painting!! In wanting to paint the living and dining room, the kitchen was kind of a packaged deal since it’s all connected. I somehow started here and ended up painting the entire kitchen…getting the rest painted has been on hold for the last few weeks, but I’m hoping I can get cracking on that again now too.

kitchen backsplash

In painting the kitchen white I decided that a easy backsplash needed to happen- so I painted the “backsplash” navy. It really helps make things a little more special in here. I’ve found a few renter countertop solutions that would also help in here to cover up this terrible painted on granite, but to be honest this room is low on the priority list so it may be awhile or not at all when I do anything to that. Oh and please excuse our dirty dishes :) That’s all for now!

the fourth paint swatch

Last night this BM- cedar green swatch went up.

cedar green swatch | Jennifer Laura Design

I talked about how the first three swatches we tried out were wrong here. And in this crap-tastic photo you can see all the cutting in I accomplished with the wrong color. You can also see the terrible state of Phoenix’s room. It is only functioning as a playroom at the moment, which Phoenix loves. He gets so excited to come home, run in his room and play blocks. He will sometimes keep himself occupied in there for over thirty minutes. Oh the laundry I have folded and the floors I have vacuumed while he happily plays in there. It’s so nice :) I’m hoping once it transforms into his actual room he loves it even more though. I think I like this swatch, although as I learned previously it’s hard to tell before there is a bit more on the walls. It surprised me by how similar this swatch and the swatch I started cutting in with were, they were definitely close- the difference is this one doesn’t have that icky neon undertone. I think it’s going to be a much happier jumping off point and things won’t start to look nickelodeon. I’m still a bit worried about using such a vibrant green on all of the walls…it’s quite a lot of color. We shall see, I officially have my friend Paige on board to photograph everything when I’m done- so thank goodness I know there is good documentation coming at the end of this project. In my mind- the living room/dining room, Phoenix’s room, and our outdoor patio (which is strangely enormous for an apartment) are all finished before Phoenix’s birthday party this summer…which I am tentatively planning to have at our place. Oh, and since I was at the paint store I also happened to grab a gallon of BM- super white and start the monstrous project of painting our living/dining/kitchen/hallway

photo (2)

Look at the difference just this tiny piece makes- it looks so clean! As soon as Topher saw it he was like…oh yah…those beige walls are gross. RIGHT?!? I’ve told myself that I’m just going to tackle a small piece each day so this project doesn’t overwhelm me…it’s a huge room that connects to a lot of other rooms…so painting all the connecting spaces is kind of a must, unfortunately. Also, as I suspected, painting the beige walls with super white paint made the previously white looking trim seem yellow- so painting the trim must also happen. I know this seems like a lot of trouble to go to for an apartment, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the walls were going to irk me and the sooner I did it the longer I would have to enjoy it. We’re going to be here for a couple of years so I don’t mind investing a little money and time…these things make a crazy person like me happy.

when all the paint samples are wrong…

So I shared the paint swatches I put up on Phoenix’s wall on Tuesday…and well, at the time the middle one was looking good to me. I wanted to wait until his rug came in to make a final decision, but in true Jennifer fashion I was too impatient to wait and yesterday started painting out all of the trim and windows with the middle sample of paint. Phonix has been pretty sick the past few days thus I’ve gotten a little stir crazy being stuck in the house. Kris was home yesterday to help though and I thought getting everything cut in would be nice since all would be left was the rolling. After cutting in about 75% of the room, I realized that I didn’t like the color…in fact, I didn’t like any of the colors samples that I had put up.

Phoenix's Big Boy Room | Jennifer Laura Design

They are all a bit too fluorescent and look almost like easter baskets or something (granted I think that image has an instagram filter on it which make them look ever more fluorescent than they actually are, but IRL they still have a hint of that neon tone). I decided to take a screen shot of my original color inspiration which I got from this video.

SJP color inspiration

I wish I could ask Sarah Jessica Parker’s designer what the exact name of that color is… it’s so happy and pretty and I clearly need some help with selecting colors as the shades I picked are nowhere near that. So I’m back to the drawing board and plan to put up some more paint samples soon. Here are the samples I am going to consider this time…

bm-cedar green 2034-40

bm- cedar green

bm-stokes forest green 2035-40

bm-stokes forest green

 I am thinking that cedar green is looking pretty accurate…now just to find out if it looks good in the space. Oh and I wasted about an hour of time cutting in yesterday, but I’m just glad we didn’t paint the entire room before I realized it was wrong. I can deal with an hour of time lost. I also didn’t buy a gallon of paint, just used the leftover sample pot, so really not too terrible of a mistake.

Our new apartment: Phoenix’s Room

So after shuffling around for the last few months, Topher and I are finally settled! And it feels SO good. Topher did a bit of job switching a few months back after our townhouse flooded and for a little while we weren’t sure where we wanted to live…close to Galveston to be close to his new job? Back where we started which is close to my parents? I never dreamed I would want to live close to my parents, but they are such a huge help in our lives right now with Phoenix, it’s unavoidable…and I actually love them and don’t mind seeing them almost everyday like I thought I would. You know, back in my teenage angst years. We ultimately decided that being close to my parents was going to be best and easiest for all parties involved, and as irony would have it we ended up in an apartment very close to where we moved from last summer. I would have loved to find a rent house in our budget or heck, even buy a house- but all of the rent houses were kind of scary and horribly outdated (which is bad for me who wants to come in and decorate on top of a clean palette- things like that are important to my daily mental health) OR grossly overpriced for the sad “updates” that had been made…and buying won’t be in the cards for us for many a years while we work our way out of student debt. At least we are using that degree we worked so hard on #not.

So anyways, we are actively working on some projects around the house and I couldn’t be more excited. I spent the weekend designing a big boy room for Phoenix. He has been co-sleeping for the last almost two years (I can’t believe I just typed that) and Topher and I are kind of ready to have our room back. I know the transition is going to be a beast…but if his room is ready at least we won’t have any excuses. Here’s a little mood board I threw together.

Phoenix's Big Boy Room | Jennifer Laura Design

I started out knowing nothing except that I wanted an interesting shade of green on the wall…I was totally inspired by this tour of Sarah Jessica Parker’s home that popped up on Vogue last week and her apartment had me drooling as did the shade of green on her walls. In fact, I already threw up some paint samples on the wall this morning…

Phoenix's Big Boy Room | Jennifer Laura Design

I know it’s hard to tell without any context, but there is literally nothing in his room right now other than a bunch of toys all over the floor…so there was no context to be had, unfortunately. Right now, Topher and I are leaning towards the middle sample but are going to wait until his rug comes in to make our final decision.

As for my office, which I’ve talked about before here…that is also happening- save for a few tweaks. It’s set up and functional right now, but I’m sort of putting it on the back burner, letting the living, dining, and Phoenix’s room get fleshed out before starting in there. I’m sitting at my desk right now in my big comfy chair…and right now, that is all that matters :)

Here’s a terrible photo of our living room, it definitely is the most “finished” although there is still quite a bit to be done.

Jennifer Laura Design

The collage is in desperate need of some artwork, about 50% of those frames have nothing in them…and I’m contemplating if I want to paint the walls white in here. The problem is that this room is huge and encompasses the dining, kitchen, and hallway…so I would pretty much have to paint everything. That cream color irks me though…it looks so dirty. I know…I’m one of those. Kris doesn’t really differentiate between white and cream so if I decide to do this, I’m afraid I may be on my own. I think once I paint P’s room and am quickly reminded how much painting sucks I may be thinking the cream looks fantastic. Topher and I have both agreed that we want to stay here a good long while. After moving 3 times in the past six months we don’t plan on leaving here anytime soon…which is why I’m even contemplating painting. I’m hoping to snap more photos and share things along the way as we go. It’s so nice to finally be home :)