small changes

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, Dining Room, Living Room, My House, Room Makeovers86 Comments

I knew that attending Junk Bonanza would be fun, but I didn’t realize what a creative pick-me-up it would be!  (Well, after I slept for 12 hours and lounged around for half a day.)  Once I was rested, that creative spark got me going.  I was ready to rip up carpet and jack out some tile!  But, those are all pretty big projects that involve some amount of planning, a budget, and permission from my husband!  So, I figured I should take that energy and work on changes that were small and free and wouldn’t get me into any trouble.

The first change I made was something I’ve been thinking about for a while…

I swapped out Eulalie’s frame!

She’s been in a gold leaf frame from the very beginning and that worked great in my last house, but it felt a little off in this room.  I think it worked and I wanted to give it some time before swapping it out, but I finally decided to give it a try.  It’s free, after all!

And I like it.  I feel like the frame melts into the wall a bit more, allowing Eulalie to be the focus, not the frame.  I think there is more versatility as to what I can put on the mantle.  In the gold frame, anything I put on the mantle felt like it was competing.

I don’t think it’s really a case of one is much better than the other, but I’m liking the cleaner, simpler look of the painted frame over the gold leafed one.  I’m thinking I’ll add some topiaries, but while I’m hunting for some I like, I added some ironstone pitchers to the mantle.

I also brought up a rug from the basement to use in the dining room.  I originally thought I wanted a round rug, but a 6′ was too small and an 8′ was too big, so I tried this 6 x 9′ braided jute rug I already had and it’s pretty good!  It makes the room look a lot more finished, that’s for sure.

The rug has been rolled up, so it needs to relax a little and I am going to order a rug pad to add a bit more cushion.

I still need to refinish the table, put the cord cover on the chandelier, and I had an idea for trying a new furniture arrangement in the space.  Jeff’s going to help me move a few things around tomorrow and we’ll se how it looks.  There is still a ways to go, but I feel like this room is finally coming together.

Also on the list – finish painting the back stairwell walls.  I did the cutting-in one day, but it’s time to break out the roller and get that puppy finished.

Anyway, it’s easy to spout out a big list of to-dos when you’re working on an entire house, but the fact remains that small changes can have a big impact…

small changes

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86 Comments on “small changes”

  1. Hmmm – I think Eulalie and her pasture both looked brighter and more dimensional in the gold frame, now it all looks flat to me.

    1. I agree exactly with “B” about Eulalie…she looks washed out now. I like the rug though! Sorry I missed you at Junk Bonanza, Marian. We were planning to go on Thursday, but when the forecast said another snowstorm was in the offing we changed our plan to go on Friday instead. Of course Thursday ended up being a nice day! But we had fun and got some inspiration…glad you did too.

    2. Your blog is my favorite! But I must say, I think Eulalie is missing her gold frame! She is clearly a diva and has no desire to “blend in”. Eulalie is such a statement piece of art that I really think the gold frame is the right one.

    3. Yep, I can see that. In the context of the room, it doesn’t call for as much attention. The nice thing is that I can always switch it back, if I change my mind.

  2. Its such fun to see how you are slowly making progress. A good reminder to me that nothing has to be perfect the first time round, it can change and improve slowly over time.

  3. I personally like the new frame better than the gold one but have you considered a brown wood frame for Eulalie? I think that wouldn’t blend in so much with the painting and everything around it, and would maybe play off the armchair frames and still make her a focal point without being so blingy (is that even a word?). The topiaries would also add a lovely pop of color, that may be all the current frame needs.

    1. I agree with Penny! As soon as I saw the swap, I immediately pictured her in a wood frame. I do agree though that topiaries would be beautiful with the white frame! Everything you touch turns to magic, so I’m enjoying seeing this home as it progresses.

    2. Penny has hit the nail on the head! A brown wooden frame would be worth trying, to set off the queenly Eulalie without making her impossible to compete with, visually.

      The rug looks good in the D.R. Glad you auditioned the look, because it really works. If you’re looking for more ideas to try, you might consider putting a contrasting binding around the edge of the jute rug. Navy? It would be so easy to try out by laying lengths of binding in different colors along the edge and stepping back. I think it would define the dining table a little better and contribute to a sense of coziness for diners, even in your Large dining room. And it looks gemreat like it is.

  4. I loved the gold frame but you’re right, so much more versatile in the white. And Eulalie is definitely the star. The rug in the dining area adds a nice finish; I need to get something for our breakfast room because it looks very bare without a rug of some sort. I like the changes you’ve done, and like you, I have painted around the doors in our bedroom and then quit. I’m going to use you as inspiration and get on with the big job! P.S. I’m still in love with that blue cabinet and if you ever get rid of it, I’ll drive from Richmond to Minnesota to bring it home 🙂

  5. Little changes are easy to do and get the creative juices flowing.

    I must say I liked the gold frame better ….. the white frame washes out the whole wall.


  6. Every girl has the right to change things up when the seasons change or the creativity bug strikes….and I think Eulalie’s lighter frame suits the season and her surroundings perfectly! It’s not an either/or set in stone proposition anyway. I mean… unless you sell the gold frame Eulalie could always change her mind if the occasion calls for a little more glam, no?

  7. I think a bit of blue washed over the white frame would be a bit nicer…it would extend the sky background.

  8. I LOVE the new frame! We have Charolais cattle (white beef cows, like Eulalie) and I’ve always liked that picture, but I really like how it blends in now! And thank you for always being so frank and honest about budget – everyone has one (all different sizes, but we all have one) and it’s just refreshing how you blog about spending. 🙂

  9. The new frame looks much better to my eye. It makes the sweet cow pop and is more updated. I am tired of all my gold frames.

  10. I know this is simply a matter of preference but it bugs me that the lines in your rug fun perpendicular to the boards in your floor. I would personally want them to run the same way. 😉

    1. Ha! I really didn’t even think about that. The rug won’t fit the other way, though! 🙂

  11. What are you planning to do to the table? I have a large oval table in my new dining area and I’m considering swapping it out with my antique round table. Love the new details and I like the white frame. Makes Eulalie herself more of the focal point.

  12. Thanks for the reminder that small changes can have big impact. Love the DR rug. My vote is for giving Eulalie a natural wood frame, perhaps stained to match your kitchen table set. I believe the rooms are open one another?

  13. The new frame color is SO much better! Such a rustic subject needs an equally rustic frame. Gold overpowered the farm simplicity of Eulalie.

  14. I didn’t dislike the gold frame, but I LOVE the new one. Especially for spring/summer. And I think adding topiaries on each side (or something with green or wood/darker tones) will bring just the right amount of contrast to the mantel. I love your philosophy that little touches/changes can make a big difference! Really helps when the budget won’t allow for big changes, but my creativity wants to do SOMETHING! 🙂

  15. The problem I see now is that the black fireplace sticks out like a sore thumb! But I do like the light frame.

    1. I know it does!! I don’t know how to change that, though. Even if we changed the granite down the road, there would still be a black firebox. I do have black curtain rods, dark blue curtains and warm wood pieces, so there is a bit more to balance things out when you look at the room as a whole.

  16. love the white frame. Makes her stand out. I like the pitchers, too. Peaceful and what it should be….love it!

  17. I like how you can change the look and feel of the room just by changing the color of the frame on Eulalie! I to enjoy mixing things up, keeps it fresh. Both are fabulous frames and you may want to try the wood frame when summer ends and cooler weather is upon us. And as my grandmother always said “a change is as good as a rest”.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. How fun to switch things up a bit! I love it. It seems like adding the rug makes the dining room feel a bit bigger? I love the natural fiber rugs mixed with antique pieces. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Oh Marian, she looks gorgeous with the new frame color! Just so much better. The gold just wasn’t working for me in this room. It was perfect in your other house, but here it didn’t flow with the decor for some reason. This new color totally softens and lightens the whole space and she blends perfectly now. … and you can really see Eulalie! The whole thing went from meh… to wow!


  20. Eulalie would look good in a paper sack! It’s your house, so what appeals to you is what is most important. You’ll get as many different opinions as you have readers. Your success as a blogger and decorator speak for themselves. You have a great eye and great talent! I always enjoy seeing what you do next.

    1. As Pam says above, Eulalie is fabulous in anything and adds a wonderful presence to wherever she lives, and yes, we do now see her first instead of her gold frame. Would you remind us again who painted her? Thanks for the reminder that we can change out even good things to be still better. It’s easy for me to forget that – (easily stuck in a rut!). Thanks as always for the inspiration in our inboxes!

  21. Don’t give up on the painted frame yet. While I agree it all looks a bit flat now. Greenery will add that bit of color and depth needed. Maybe a dash of bluen white also. Your home looking better and better

    1. Yes, it’s definitely not done, yet! It needs something else to balance out all of the white. One step at a time. 🙂

  22. I always felt the gold frame was too harsh. I personally like the softer look. How great is it that everyone has different likes and dislikes, and that you can always repaint if you change your mind?

  23. Love what you’ve done. Question…how are you going to refinish your table? I’ve got one very similar I want to tackle but not sure hubby is going to go for it! I want to do the chairs too. I can do the recovering of upholstery but nervous about the chairs with all the grandkids! Thanks Marian!

    1. I’m going to make a tutorial showing how I redo the table. I’m going to strip the top and see how the wood looks. I want to get rid of the orange. If it looks nice when it’s stripped, I’ll just use some hemp oil. If it’s still a little orange, I’ll do a very light white wash.

  24. While I was reading and seeing the photos, I kept thinking I wasn’t looking at the final photo of Eulalie. The white with white with white washes out the upper wall and it looks one-dimensional. Poor Eulalie looks like she is naked. The gold frame looks much better, giving dimension to the upper wall an better balances the fireplace. On a better note, I think the rectangle rug for the dining room is fabulous. The rug should fit the room not the table.

  25. As an artist I would have never framed this in white to sell and yet the white frame works so well over the mantel with the ironstone pitchers ! I really like this look !

  26. You spoke of cutting out your hallway and now it is time for the roller. In one of your blogs would you describe your method of cutting out. We used frog tape for the cutting out but that doesn’t always leave a line that I’m happy with.

    1. I actually made a video tutorial on cutting in a couple of years ago. I just use a good synthetic 2″ angled sash brush and a steady hand. You can also find a video on my Instagram Story Highlights. I’ll link to the You Tube video next time I talk about painting.

  27. I appreciate the reminder that even small (and inexpensive!) changes can make a big impact.
    Don’t you love it when everyone puts in their 2 cents worth on your decorating choices? 🙂 Here’s mine: Your dining table is lovely, but it seems too small for the space. It looks lost in there, and it is completely overwhelmed by the primitive cabinet. I wonder what your thoughts are, because you often mention scale when you are working on a room. For example, in your bedroom you mention that the larger bed fits the space better.
    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed watching how you have made this house your own, from a design point of view. I really did wonder how it would work.

    1. Ha! I actually don’t mind the input. Sometimes it’s helpful! 🙂 Yes, this dining room is tricky and I think it looks like the table is smaller than it actually is in the photos. I really can’t go any bigger with the table or there wouldn’t be room to pull out the chairs and it would cut off the traffic path through the room. The room is also more of a square, so a rectangular table wouldn’t fit very well.

      I completely agree about the primitive hutch. It doesn’t work on that wall. It’s too tall and narrow for the space, even with the doors open and the chairs flanking it to visually expand it. I’m going to swap some things around in that room, though, and I have some fresh ideas that I’m excited about. I needed to mull this room over for a while!

  28. I always loved the bit of “sparkle” that the gold frame gave to Eulalia and the room. The white frame washes out the colors. I also think topiaries are too predictable and overused on mantels.
    Love the rug in the DR and would also run it perpendicular to the floorboards as you have done. They both get attention that way but not too much as to draw away from all the upper stuff!

  29. Maybe just a little pop of color……anxious to see some topiaries. I’m a blue person, so always have to add a little bit of blue. 😊

  30. Your taste is so WHITE! I have to have some color. I am not a bland person. I like smooth warm colors. I do like the white frame but would need some color on the mantle.

  31. I love how serene the picture looks now. The gold frame is pretty, but I really notice the subject matter more with the white frame. Very nice!

  32. I’ve been waiting for you to paint Eulalie’s frame and I think the white is perfect for her—draws your eye to the artwork rather than the frame. You could also add some patina to parts of the frame (using a sparse wash of burnt umber and raw sienna to match the ironstone patina color) to give the frame a little depth against the wall. I do watercolors and often repaint old frames to embellish the artwork—amazing how easy it is to change the look of art as well as room decor with a frame.
    I had the same problem with rug size in my breakfast room but finally found a Safavieh square 7 foot jute rug at Overstock at a great price. You might check it out if you decide you want a square rug. I enjoy following your home decorating progress!

  33. I think the frame looks better. Cord covers are so out of date, they give a room a “grandma’ look.

    1. Ha! I disagree! I think they are classic, especially when they are just a cream linen, so they cover up unsightly cords.

  34. Love the white frame! Before, I saw the gold frame and Eulalie was not the star. Love the rug, too!

    1. That’s how I feel. I do think the wall as a whole is washed out, but I think I just need to play with the accessories. It’ll evolve and I’ll finally get it just right. 🙂

  35. Marian,
    I like the changes. I do agree with one commenter who suggested perhaps adding trim around the rug. But, it still looks good. And, yes, we work with what we have (and, we don’t always have money).
    Thanks for the inspiration. Tonight, I’ll continue painting a rug that I began painting last year! Just haven’t had the time, and it has to dry overnight in my living room. Have to work on it while hubby’s on the road:-) Think I’ll paint a picture frame, too!

  36. Hi Marian, I LOVE the small change the changing of the frames made!!!!
    wow, the softness of the frame choice for Eulalie!
    It’s such a classic choice/a really soft look, this new frame allows you to notice the soft painting details/the beautiful painting stands out now/not the frame!
    Your paint wall choices really are perfect for that painting…now the pale blue sky stands out and the softness in Eulalie’s coat (andddd it totally matches your ironstone,…oh myyyy so pretttyyyy all together) …she shines in her new frame!
    and is BEAUTIFUL in your beautiful room!

  37. What about one of your rugs you designed for the diningroom eventually, it seems a little too neutral to me, but I like the idea of a rug in there. I like both frames, but the frame was getting all the attention. 😉 I like going around my house and swapping things up, especially if it doesn’t cost anything and then it feels new. I just love those two chairs by the fireplace, everytime I see them, I want to sit and have a cup of coffee.

  38. I have always liked that picture and now I like it even more because now the subject stands out. She is what catches my eye instead of the frame and I think she owns the room now instead of an outdated frame. I’m so impressed with all you’ve done so far on your new home and look forward to little tweaks you’re still planning.

  39. Eulalie looks so much better this way – because it’s all about HER and her awesomeness.

    Well done – I really love your changes. And those ironstone pitchers looks great there.

  40. The white frame fits in perfectly!! With the cabinets and all…and the painting is in the focus much better now…I so love gold frames but this one was not the best choice in this room…well done, great choice 🙂

  41. Your frame choice is perfection, especially love that the slight distressing on the frame ties well with the print. Eulalie, and your home, look lovely!

    I have Cindy’s “Good Morning Miss Daisy” and she is framed in white distressed barn wood. Great minds thinks alike, lol! 😉

    I also get the creative bug after attending an event like Junk Bonanza. My husband’s eyes are rolling, hehehe!

  42. Hi Marian — I noticed that the two caned chairs flanking the blue cupboard in your dining room do not have seat cushions. I really like the way they look but am curious if it is permanent or if you have plans to add cushions at some point? I have two very similar chairs with seat cushions I dislike. I never considered just removing them but have done so now, adding only a decorative pillow at the back. Easiest fix ever!

  43. Never, ever too much white for me. I love the frame much better white. I thought the gold was too formal for that painting.
    Everything looks wonderful.

  44. I definitely prefer Eulalie in the white frame over the gold one. So fresh! A wood frame may also look good. I agree it was time to move on from the gold.

  45. <3 it! I too have Eulalie (giclee) and I'm still playing around with frames. The gold frame is my favorite, but like you, I enjoy changing things out sometimes. Blending-in or juxtaposition, coordinating, or mixy matchy, doesn't matter because all can be right or so wrong with the slightest change out such as switching out a fabric choice as minor as a toss pillow. I have every type of frame imaginable among my inventory from gold, heavily gilded gold, white, natural wood and everything in between, and my thoughts are I'm not stuck with any particular style. Only you will know the best fit for your home because you are the one actually walking through the rooms, so it's more than just visual, it's also a feeling. enjoy

  46. I just love your chair covers on the dining room table chairs. Could you share were you got them from?

  47. A small change make a big achievement and your post really prove this fact. Thanks for writing such a good post about home decoration.

  48. After reading many of the comments, I scrolled back up to the top to see if you had asked for the opinions of your viewers. To my surprise, you had not, and some of the comments were just tacky and tasteless.
    I want you to know that I really enjoy looking at your blog, along with reading what you have to say. I often get ideas, and find myself eager to make a few changes, which always lifts my spirits. God bless and keep up the good work.

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