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10 of My Favorite Home Decisions

As I was driving home tonight, I pulled into our circle drive, rather than the garage. I entered our home through a different door, and with a fresh perspective. One of the only reminders of where the home started is the front door itself and the blessing written in chalk just above it. I walked in and realized I was thankful for so many things – so many little decisions that once felt overwhelming, but collectively, feel so right.

neutral living room | spring decor

Our home is not perfect. It’s a work-in-progress. While I’ve shared a lot of before and “afters”, truly, they’re all durings, which leads me to one of many choices in our home that I am happy with. I thought I’d share the choices that I am beyond excited 1-2 years later. {Originally posted August 30, 2016.}

  1. I am glad that we are taking our home room by room rather than trying to complete our home “overnight”. Charm comes through being lived in, function is found when you have the time to experience the space and see how you utilize it. Decorating over time rather than filling your home with pieces at once can allow you more opportunity to add pieces that are significant to you. Take a deep breath, take your time and don’t allow photos online to make you and your home feel insignificant. neutral family room decor
  2. I love our sand and stain hardwood floors. After talking with our flooring guy, he advised me to go to a flooring wholesaler who showed me so many beautiful engineered hardwood floors that were indeed beautiful, but nothing has the look and feel of true, genuine hardwood floors. Knicks and scratches only gracefully age them and if you really want to, you can sand and stain them time and time again as your taste changes. I am glad that we weren’t swayed and invested a little more energy {a short move out of our home}. Not long after we had our wood floors installed, our new roof leaked and the floors warped. Eek! Not too worry, our flooring guy came by and said “I’m glad you went with sand and stain, they’ll fall back into place when the weather changes.” Guess what? They did. a neutral family room
  3. About one week into our last home I had wished that I had painted our main level in a cream rather than grey, but couldn’t justify paying to have it repainted. I did however love the upstairs which was painted Zurich White – it felt light, bright, but warm. When we purchased this home, we had it painted in various shades of cream and I am head over heels in love with it. It’s warm, inviting, open, spacious and easily transitions with the seasons. traditional dining room
  4. Can we talk about door knobs? I know, boring, right? WRONG! We replaced builder’s grade nickel door knobs with crystal and brass, giving our home a timeless depth that adds to otherwise less than exciting areas like a hallwayHome blogger Julie Blanner shares her ideas for updating a dark, dated hall
  5. We have the luxury of spending a little more in our current home and decided that one way we would “invest” in it would be to select authentic lighting and as it has aged, I am reminded that the return is tenfold. The patina adds much needed interest to our home. I always say that faux metals come and go, but real metal is timeless. 
    brass lantern pendant light
  6. Another decision that we’ve never regretted is updating our screened in porch, defining the space as a dining room. It has extended our living space and allows us to enjoy the beautiful views and a glimpse of the sunset. outdoor living at it's best - a covered screened in porch, perfect for dining and entertaining
  7. When we first purchased our home, I considered whitewashing the fireplace, but it turns out that leaving the brick and minimizing it with a mantel is one of the best choices we have made. It connects the exterior of our home to the interior. It is also original to the home, which adds instant character. We even added brick floors in our mudroom, which connects it and makes it feel fresh. brick fireplacemudroom with brick floors
  8. I’ll never regret removing the heavy vanities that once stood in both of our powder rooms. Unless you really need the storage, they consume a lot of space in a tiny room. Eliminating them nearly doubled the footprint, instantly making the powder rooms feel larger.  Pretty and simple bathroom decor
  9. I’m also thankful that we found several ways to make our older home function in a modern world. By utilizing an old armoire, updating a linen closet and turning a bookcase into a dry bar/bar cabinet, we made our home work for us. We also add storage systems to the garage and removed a couple of closets to allow light to flow and make hanging coats one less stepHow to organize a hall linen closet
  10. Finally, I’m glad we finished the basement. It not only extended our living space, but likely my life. I wish I were a little less crazy about the chaos that comes with being a mother of 3 girls, but when your daughter draws on your linen ottoman with bright green chalk, what are you to do? PANIC. No, really, you just use a little upholstery cleaner, take a few deep breaths and equal drinks of wine, but having a designated “just about anything goes” space is priceless! We painted the walls and previously carpeted stairs, added a stair runner and a versatile floor and pretty much said “go for it”. It’s been fabulous!  beautiful basement stairs on a budget

Of course there’s always a regret. For us, it’s painting our garage floor with an epoxy. After properly cleaning it and waiting 4 days for it to cure, it has peeled up in multiple places. What was once just drab is now a source of frustration. I’m hoping to find a remedy that won’t consume an entire weekend – fingers crossed! If you have any ideas, I’m all ears!

What do you love about your home? What are some of your favorite decisions?


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entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner

33 comments on “10 of My Favorite Home Decisions”

  1. I had to go back and look for a picture of your living room brick, and although I tend to be too eager to paint brick, I agree that it looks stunning and updated with all of your cream. Such a great “pop” and it give balance!

    Everything is superb. I primed & painted my interior ceramic tiles with oil based paint and coated with 3 coats of (oil) polyurethane. Cannot believe how they stand up to the traffic!

  2. all your changes look wonderful and certainly add your stamp to your home!! Lovely!!

  3. I truly enjoyed reading this post, especially your discussion on your floors. I am also grateful for our home but it is such a long, long way from looking the way we hope it to be. Your beautiful home is so calm and serene and if we can achieve even a little of that in time, I will be one very happy lady. Your comment about decorating over time with pieces that are significant to us has had quite an impact on me, as I am easily influenced by decorator catalogues and TV programmes to “get the look” in my home. I’m going to take a deep breath and slow down and enjoy our the process of our home becoming our own all in good time.
    Have a wonderful day 🙂

    • Thank you, Min. I need a place to relax, unwind and feel at peace, which is in large part why I decorate with warm neutrals. I find that the “get the look” approach leads to a lot of redecorating. Have a beautiful day!

  4. I love all of it. It is always such a treat to look at your blog, and you have made a beautiful home. What I like about your approach is that you are willing to tell us how you arrived at a decision, and you actually take your time getting there. This helps so much for all of us in blogland; we are often going through the same thing. I also like that your blog isn’t filled with “look at me and all of this stuff I bought.” Sorry, but that gets old out here because many of us cannot afford to do the major things many bloggers apparently and frequently can. You are thoughtful about what you do and it has resulted in a lovely and tasteful home. I would love to know where you got the bathroom sink that is only partially shown in the photo. Congratulations on a fabulous house and blog, and thanks for sharing it all!


  5. All so lovely Julie! I’ve followed you on IG for awhile now, but first time to your blog and I will be camped out for awhile catching up 🙂 We just bought a new to us home in May and your style is exactly how I hope to update ours. Simple, timeless, beautiful!

  6. Julie – your home is gorgeous ! If you end up figuring out what to do with the peeling garage floor let me know- we did the same thing and have the same problem 🙁

    • Oh no! I will do. When I have the mental capacity to deal with it in the spring, we plan to do something, but it seems nothing short of a large project to correct.

  7. Julie, I love your blog. You hear that all the time I am sure. It is with great sincerity that I express how much I love your home. It is timeless. I wish I had had years ago the same strength of design and creativity that you have at your age and season of life. You are so right. Fads and faux finishes come and go but classic is enduring. Keep doing what you are doing. It is refreshing. Enjoy your gift. You will be rewarded many times over for sharing it selflessly with others. This post helps validate many choices I have made in my home that bring me joy and encouragement. Thank you very much. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend with your family.

    • Sherry, thank you for melting my heart! No, it never gets old, because intertwined I receive comments criticizing me for the amount of sugar I must eat. LOL! It keeps me humble, right? I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. If you ever want any decorating advice, let me know, I’m happy to help! Happy Labor Day!

  8. You are so smart! Simplicity in a home for me takes a lot of restraint. I like just the right amount of stuff …. it’s kind of a security blanket. But.. I find myself breathing a little more slowly when I scan the photos of your home. And that’s what a home should be …… We have a tendency to think more stuff is what we want when really… maybe it’s less… or maybe more meaningful stuff and less trend….

    I love your porch. I love my porch. I love everyone’s porch. Apparently a good porch is my thing… It only took about 40 years to figure that out!

    • A great porch is my favorite! I’m hoping our next home has a wrap around porch – dreams. That means you’re a warm and welcoming person, Cindy! A front porch is so inviting. And yes, I believe less is more. It allows you to focus on what’s meaningful rather than become overwhelmed by clutter.

  9. Your home is serene and lovely! I think you were smart to do your home room by room and fill it with things you love. My favorite decision on my home? Following my heart and decorating for my family rather than jumping on the current bandwagon. My biggest regret? Choosing the same paint color i adored in my former home for several rooms. This house has much different light exposures and the paint is too dark. But too expensive to have stairwells and double story rooms repainted. But some day………..

  10. Think about staining the concrete instead of painting it. The finishes are only limited by your imagination!

  11. Julie, I’d be happy with all those decisions as well. Couldn’t agree more about the sand and stain floors, doorknobs, cream walls, etc!

  12. Hi Julie,
    What are your favourite cream colours?
    I am trying to find cream colours that work well together in my home with est and west windows.
    Thank you so much.

  13. Hi Julie,
    I love your decor and home! Can you tell me more about the first picture with the cream colored linen chair?? I love it and want to do one for my home, but need some kind of tutorial: ) Keep up the beautiful creativity!!

  14. I am looking for decorating ideas and I really liked the bricked floor of your mud room. I am wondering is it easy to clean it?

  15. Beautiful. I’m looking for door knobs just like these. Do you remember where you bought them? Thanks!

  16. So many things in this post really hit home with me like painting the walls cream. I had my entire main floor painted a pretty blue gray SW Rhinestone but now I’m realizing in not a gray/cool person, I need the warmth.  
    I was wondering, when you replaced the doorknobs, did you replace the hinges too?  I love those knobs! Also, your kitchen counter stools are exactly what I’ve been looking for.  Did you purchase them with the slipcovers or did you have to have them custom made?  Thanks very much, Bridget 

    • We used Rhinestone in our previous home as well.
      I used inexpensive hinges from Lowe’s (I believe). You’d never know the difference.
      The stools are IKEA and Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone custom made the slipcovers for me and shared the tutorial on her site. I hope that helps! Have a beautiful weekend, Brandy!

  17. I love your cottage! Could you explain how the runner rug went on your steps? It looks like to the basement.
    Thank you!

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