a horse. of course!

the entire time we’ve lived here (can you believe it’s been two and a half years??) i have not known what to do above the mantel in the living room.

i tried a large, lovely mirror—which seemed like the obvious choice to me—but it reflected an ugly ceiling fan and the tops of the kitchen cabinets. the mirror no longer looked clear and fluid, but full of clutter. it now hangs in the dining room reflecting our loooong dining room table.

then i tried out the two paintings that we owned. the grafitti one was all wrong—wrong size, wrong shape, wrong look. it now hangs in the upstairs hallway. the horse with the red background was better, but it wasn’t quite the right shape and it somehow felt cluttered. it too lives in the dining room now.

then i tried a gallery of frames. first leaning on the ledge and then hung like the gallery wall in the stairs. too cluttered.

at the boys’ third birthday, i made a city out of black art boards for spiderman to fly through. that was the first thing i actually liked up there. but art boards with post-it notes for windows? that wasn’t going to work.

so it stayed empty. and i told myself it was a nice place to rest your eyes. and i was happy.

until i saw this horse.


i knew it would be perfect. it was dark like the fake city. and it wasn’t at all cluttered. but it was not in my budget so at the store it stayed.

right before the boys’ fourth birthday party i went back to that store and the painting was still there. we had just gotten back a little tax money so i asked tripper if we could get it. he told me to negotiate. and so i did. and i did a really good job because i brought it home with me right then and there.

when i first put it over the mantel i must confess that my heart sank a little. i had asked for the measurements and thought they had told me 60 inches wide by 40 inches tall. that would have been perfect. in fact, it’s 48 inches tall. i still think i’d pefer 40 inches with a small strip of wall above and below, but it’s grown on me. it makes a big statement and it fits perfectly—almost like i planned it that way.

bringng home the horse has lit a fire under us to make some other changes to the room. can you see any?

1. we took down the window valance and put up inexpensive white curtains from ikea, which i then painted with blue stripes.

2. we cleared our shelves and replaced all the bits and pieces with books. i still have a few shelves to fill, so if you have any books you’d like to get rid of please send them to me! (oh how i wish i’d kept all my domino magazines when we moved!!!)

3. we brought down the huge leather chair from our bedroom and put it by the windows. tripper thought the saddle color of it would play well with the horse—and it does!

4. we relocated the black slipper chair to the other side of the room and moved the play table and chairs out.

5. we added a pop of turquoise to the room with a garden stool i got on deep discount at the ballard design outlet. i hope to add a few more pops of that blue here and there (we desperately need new pillows to freshen our grubby couch).

i’m feeling pretty excited. i still want to get a proper side table for next to the brown leather chair (right now i’m using a backless barstool) and maybe a floor lamp for near the black slipper chair. i want new pillows and still need a few more books. and one day it would be nice to replace the ceiling fan with something more our style. but it’s white and so is the ceiling, so that’s definitely last on the list. actually a new sofa is last on the list—you know, until the boys grow up a bit more and don’t think the couch is a giant napkin.

to recap … before:




so, whaddaya think? any ideas for me? have you been sprucing, too? was it because of a horse?




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