I named the blog Eclectic Yellow House for a few reasons. One, and the easiest, I actually live in a yellow house. Two, I like to do so many different things and I wanted a blog that would let me share my love for creating without boxing me into a corner. Three, I wanted something to reflect my belief that you should live in a space that is unique, comfortable, fun and maybe a little strange/quirky, but most of all, personal. There is no reason your space should reflect anyone else but you and what you love. After all, you’re the one that has to clean it, pay for it and live in it everyday, so why not make sure it makes you feel happy and centered the moment you walk in?
Of course, I realize that creating a space like that is a process. At least it is to me. I love the look of things that have been collected over time, not purchased in one huge mother-of-all shopping trips. I like things that tell a story; things that are connected to a memory or a feeling. Now, if you have a ton of money and can do it all in one haul, by all means shop away. I shall live vicariously through you because my budget rarely allows for that type of trip, but I would never hate on someone who can do it. There’s nothing wrong with doing things however you want.
Let me back up and preface this with a little backstory. We moved to the St. Louis area four years ago. It was a surprise, as we were not supposed to move here. We were prepared to move to England, the land of the Queen, Double Decker Buses, and smaller living spaces (at least compared to the states). In preparation, we sold everything. I mean it was a Love’s Hangover Everything Must Go Fire Sale Extravaganza. We didn’t have a massive house at the time, but it was larger than what we expected to have in England, so we sold things in preparation for the downsize. We sat on our front lawn with friends, eating doughnuts on our couch that had a price tag on it. We made a decent amount of money, declined four offers for our dog, put the cash in our moving fund, and patted ourselves on the back for being ruthless with our downsize. Then, everything went wonky and all plans changed. We were no longer moving to England. Instead we were moving to the land of the Arch, Cardinals Baseball, and middle-America sized living spaces. We were by turns crushed and excited. Gone were our dreams of traveling Europe, but here was our dream of owning our own home. When a door closes a window opens, right?
When that window opened, it was attached to a charming yellow house with black shutters and tons of natural light. It was love at first walkthrough. We ended our house hunting trip, drove the 11 hours back to pack up the old house, drove back here and closed on this one within 3 weeks. It was whirlwind, stressful and not without its speed bumps, but it was the start of a new chapter in our lives: the one where we are homeowners for the first time.
I’m telling you all of this to set the scene for our experience and how I came about furnishing and styling our new house. Ready? It was empty. Sad college dorm on the first day empty. We had planned on living in a home with around 1000 sq. ft. in England, but here we were in St. Louis with nearly three times as much space. Our budget was ZERO dollars of which ZERO dollars were available, since we had to buy blinds for the entire house, a refrigerator, AND a new washer and dryer because ours broke in the move, and did I mention a new car because Husband-Face’s car was totaled in the hail storm of the century two weeks before moving? Yep, we were tapped OUT. Ding-ding-ding.
So after a pity party, I got back into the spirit of making things happen. I have lived in 13 houses in my life, each with its own challenges and they always managed to become home, whatever the budget. This was a clean slate; a chance to switch up our style and truly put our stamp on something that was ours. Since I had very little money to work with, I started scouring thrift stores. Our first purchase was a large wooden dresser to place the television on. It was $40 for the dresser, about $12 for sandpaper and paint, and it turned out beautifully. It’s still in our living room today. Next, we bought a pair of school room chairs at a Goodwill for $16 painted them silver, and recovered them with $15 worth of fabric. They, too, are still in our dining room today accompanied by the four mismatched, mid-century bentwood chairs we got for $30 and painted teal with $12 worth of paint. A huge mid-century desk (where I’m currently typing this blog), a console stereo doubling as our dining room buffet, about 10 lamps, bedside tables, and more dressers followed. We were on a roll, and we were furnishing our house with unique pieces found in dusty back rooms under other junk and it was fun! We weren’t breaking the bank either. I’ll share photos of it all soon.
Fast forward to today, and we’re still in the process. For us, it’s probably going to be never-ending, but that’s okay. We love the evolution of the house; it matches our own personal evolution. It also means I have lots of things to work on to share with all of you and maybe give you a few ideas about how to work with what you’ve got, until you can make it what you want. For instance, our light fixtures. They aren’t the worst ever, but they are a bit boring. I’ve chosen to hang paper lanterns and pom-poms from them to camouflage the blah-ness and make them a bit quirky. We constantly get asked if we just had a party when someone new comes over. No, we just thought they were fun. The one in the front hallway looks like this:
Another thing that changes up the look of your house is pillows. Throw pillows galore can jazz up the space, but the good ones can be really expensive, and changing them often really isn’t in the budget. That’s where pillow covers come in. I just got this fabulous pillow cover from society6.com. It has a camera on it, which is perfect since I’m a photographer. It was an inexpensive way to say something about us, and it added a little interest to our couch. Take a look:
The best part is you can purchase pillows on clearance that you don’t love and find a pillow cover to make it something you adore. I’m also working on a tutorial to MAKE a pillow cover, and that will follow soon too.
I know this post was long, and I didn’t really plan for that. But I wanted to tell you a little about our experience and how we began thrifting, refinishing furniture, embracing the quirks and making it all happen on a very tight budget. I’m hoping it helps spark your creativity, gives you ideas about new projects and encourages you to get resourceful and work within your budget, whatever that may be. We’re heading into Fall and Winter, two of my favorite seasons to decorate and DIY, so there will be more projects featured in the coming weeks. I love hearing from you, so tell me what types of things would YOU like to see? What decorating speed bumps have you hit and what style triumphs have you achieved? Let’s connect and swap stories. We’ll work together to make our spaces awesome.