But is it Art?

Himself and I bought this house three-and-a-half years ago. It’s the largest house I’ve ever lived in at 1900 square feet. (This is a reasonable size for Northern California where the cost per square foot of living space compells people to get permits to reclassify used Volkswagons as detached single family dwellings.)  And when we moved in, this was what the living room looked like:

The former owners were rude enough to take the comfy couch and cool balloon with them.

One thing I had decided about this house was that I wanted to avoid white rooms. I have had white rooms most of my life (except when I was a girl and had pink, and when I lived in a cottage built in 1930 and had redwood paneling. Cause THAT’S what makes a teenager’s heart go pitter-pat – paneling.)

I wanted green. And – in a feat of paint selection that was not duplicated in any other room – nailed the color on the first shot. “Athena Green.” What green has to do with Athena, I don’t know (I suspect that some overworked paint naming person decided that Greek gods were snooty sounding, slapped it on a paint can and then went off to find a beer.) But Athena green is the color of the walls, and I adore it (I also adore my uncle who did most of the painting.) So at first, the room looked like this:

You can tell WE live here now, a cat wormed its way into the shot.

You can tell WE live here now, a cat wormed its way into the shot.

So that’s not bad…but it’s a little sparse, and the layout’s not good. You have to take my word on that. I could draw a diagram for you in Paintbrush, like the one I did of the bathroom, but I have a LOT of photos I need to bore you with want to show you, so lets’s just take my word for it on the bad layout issues.

After some re-arranging to open up enough space in the bedroom to house my Think Tank, a long string of bookshelves ended up in the living room, because, frankly, there was no place else to put them. And now the living room looks like this:

Aerial shot taken from me standing on a chair, trying not to breathe because I needed the shutter open for a while. And I did NOT fall of the chair. Applaud at any time.

Here’s a view from behind the piano (cause THAT’S an angle that gets a lot of visual traffic.)

The bookshelves actually look a lot better there than in the bedroom. And look! A cat!

This shot is taken from behind the couch. (This  isn’t as awkard as it sounds, behind the couch is the dining room).

The piano actually sees a lot of action between the three kids. Can't say the same for the lawnmower.

And one more shot to fully appreciate the beauty of the transplanted bookcases (it’s almost as if they were meant to be in a living space). And now the living room looks well appointed, beautifully painted, and nicely coordinated.

And yes...that's ANOTHER cat. (Well, it's the same cat. We really only have two.) (Honest.)

Except..here’s where it gets interesting. Here is where the “Lori, what is it with you?” question gets asked. Have you noticed anything a little…oh…out of place? (And no, not the cats. Annoying as they are, they really do belong to us. Until we figure out livestock shipping rates to Siberia.) Look through the photos closely.

Allow me to zoom in just a little.

And now you're thinking to yourself, "Is that....?"

Oh yes, yes it is.

At least it's green.

And now you’re asking yourself (or you should be asking yourself, ’cause this is not normal), “Why on earth does she have a stand mixer in the living room?”

The honest, hairy, pitiful truth is that we do not have room in the kitchen. And for as excited as were to finally have the stand-mixer (which I got with credit card reward points, by the way, yay for thrify me!), the kitchen has absolutely, utterly, depressingly, no room for it.

So we put it on the bookshelf in the living room and we tell people it’s pop art.

And – I don’t really know what to make of this – people go with it. That says something about us or our guests. Jury’s out.

So I’m curious now…what threw a wrench in your monkey when you tried to make your space picture perfect? Art that’s downright embarrasing but you have to display because it was a wedding gift? A chair that reminds you of  taxidermied cattle you inherited from your husband’s bachelor days?

Best answer gets 10 Martha Points. ; )

This post happily linked to “Metamorphosis Monday” and Between Naps on the Porch, and “Before and After Party” at Thrifty Decor Chick.


  1. I think it’s a great room…the mixer…well that part is just real life…it just happens…and it is a very pretty mixer!!!

  2. I thought the mixer was there on purpose (I spotted it right away) — I like that dab of green.

    Husband is always bringing home something — some are good and some are not so. I try to keep them out of my line of vision until it’s time to retire them to the basement!

    I was not successful with his art glass — in my line of site constantly (on top of a cabinet) and so I had to buy a huge (meaning tall) European sideboard to replace that cabinet — alas, there was no room for the glass!

  3. Let’s see, wrenches, stand mixers, and bad art are all inanimate objects. So in theory, I should be listing like items, right? However, I’m gonna fly in the face of all the blogosphere ‘rules’ I have so obssessively collected in the last month and go with…the Husband. He is not inanimate, unless you happen to stop in around 8:30 on a Friday night. Still, his horror-inspiring insistence on having an OPINION about how our home should look has resulted in child-sized molars and the recommendation (from my dentist) that I obtain a permanent mouth guard. His top 3 “decorative item” contributions? A smallish, plastic New England Patriots helmet, numerous plastic jet models, a desk clock that does not work and an ‘award’ that consists of a yellow highlighter mounted upon a wooden plaque and detailed with a mailing label. Because you know, nothing says ‘class’ like plastic football helmet.

    Congrats on your nomination, Lori! You deserve it! Let me know when and where to vote :)

  4. Re: taxidermy.

    I am an anti-hunting vegetarian who has a rather large stuffed pheasant that resides (uh..rests?) in my living room on top of my Crosley record player. He’s the first thing that you see when you open our front door. It gives me a chance to test a visitor’s sense of humor, or to scare away the bothersome ones.

    He was a gift from my friend and former co-worker, whose father owns an army of taxidermy pheasants in a storage building. Creepy! I like to think that he’s been liberated. His name is Sir Winston & we have ultra-dramatic photo-shoots & tea parties. He likes to wear pearls. He is now appreciated and collects hugs & glitter, rather than dust.

    My boyfriend is mortified (haha–mortified) by him, especially when repair persons or pizza delivery individuals assume that HE was the one to force the specimen into a state eternal suspended animation (atop a stand that is complete with gravel, faux barbed wire and vegetation, no less). The most worrisome ones want to give him an high-five ‘fer shootin’ uh berd. Others steal worried glances peppered with nervous laughs. It’s fun.

    …it doesn’t help that the rest of the living room had to follow suit and become Dia de los Muertos-themed. Our apartment walls are stark white, but pops of marigold & autumnal colors with sugar skulls make a nice paring with a dead bird and “eggshell” colored walls.

    I’d call him a speed bump in the decorating process, but there are just too many roadkill jokes that would just be inappropriate and not reverent to the deceased. Besides–he was shot! Need to get my facts straight.

    Also: This blog is grand & clever & makes my day. Thank you for it!

    1. Ok, that’s brilliant.

      The faux barbed -wire really did me in.

      And you are very welcome for the blog. I love that people enjoy it!

    1. I may have run out my allowance. We’ve painted the bedroom 4 times since we moved in.

      Talking paint does not make me popular around these parts.

  5. Ha! I love that you’ve got your mixer in there. I’ve got a red one myself. Maybe I should get it out of the pantry and display it somewhere! :-)

    1. And I saw one prominently featured on a blog from the link party.

      I think decorating with KitchenAid stand mixers could catch on.

  6. Lovely room; the shelves look great in there. I enjoyed the pop art mixer too (and it is a nice mixer). Have to say I noticed the instruments on the wall near the piano. As my son would say, those instruments are awesome!!!

    1. Himself inherited both of those from his mom (“inherited” may be the wrong word as she is still very much alive.) And he taught himself to play guitar starting out on that little banjo uke.

      And they look good on a wall!

  7. Okay, I got stuck at the part where you said you got your Kitchen Aid with your points :-) I immediately went to see if we could use our points to snag me one (since I don’t think I’ll ever win one from Pioneer Woman even though I enter every time she gives one away) and I can, but apparently only in white :-( How did you manage to get that gorgeous green? Mine are World Points…is that the difference?

    BTW, love the Athena green. I went with a green in my living room when we moved into this house. No idea what the name is, but I love the serenity it imparts. And it totally serves as a neutral in my opinion :-)

    1. We had a Home Depot Credit Card that was being discontinued, so I HAD to use the points, and the best “cash in” value was for actually using them at HomeDepot itself. And, they carry the mixer in all sorts of colors. So that’s how we got away with it. That being said, it took 14 different phone calls and a trip to the store to use the points to do this (I am unclear why, or I may have blocked it out). But I did eventually get my mixer. Sadly it did not come with a new kitchen to put it in.

      And I love green too. I painted my bedroom green. Or I tried to. It’s more of a “mint chocolate chip.” Don’t worry. It’ll be a post some day and I can try to explain myself. : )

  8. In our family room is a GINORMOUS couch with pink floofy flowers all over it (what? you’re not the only one who can make up words). Let’s just say that I am not a lover of anything country (other than the music. and the scenery) and leave it at that. So then, its bad enough that I have to stare at this over-sized, loose-pillowed, flowered monstrosity every day. To add insult to injury, his ex-wife chose that couch. Nuff said.

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