My New Living Room (or, How I Found Out Whitney Houston Died)

With an impending tax return about to pad my wallet, I started looking for living room furniture in January. We’d been in our house almost two years, and it seemed high time to replace the folding table with something a tad more permanent.

I started with the basics, leaning towards country cottage meets shabby-chic. A rug, TV and TV stand:

Yes. There WAS a time when I thought those curtains were a good idea.

A guilty pleasure house staple.

Then I found out we’d be getting significantly less than I thought we would from Uncle Sam (thanks to Peppermeister‘s new job not taking out the appropriate amount), so I had to switch tactics midstream.

It took weeks of perseverance, but eventually I found this Pottery Barn coffee table on Craigslist for a steal (a steal I tell you! When we went to pick it up, an attractive, somewhat scraggly, 30-something-year-old ginger gentleman was waiting in his garage. He lived in a very posh development on a golf course, but there was an air of deprivation about him. We found out it was his parents’ house, and he was storing the coffee table there because of the extra room. We immediately convinced ourselves the darkest fate had befallen him; either he was the father of Snooki’s unborn child, or he was newly divorced and had to sell his furniture to pay alimony. Our glee at finding such a bargain quickly turned to awkwardness and sympathy. And why yes, thank you, this is my longest parenthetical aside of all time):

Then, I found this end table and lamp from HomeGoods:

I wasn’t sure either of them were working, until, on Sunday, February 12th, I put them to the ultimate test…

Uncle Jesse needs to get a life.

Finally, I handed my phone to Peppermeister and asked him to take a picture of me – to confirm that the living room matched my style champagne. I grinned, glass raised.

Peppermeister fussed with my cell phone for a moment. “Say, ‘Whitney Houston just died!’” he cried.

My grin dropped and I giggled uncertainly. “Wait, what?”

He laughed cackled at my dismay.

“Did she really die?” I asked, laughing in the way people do at funerals and at their boss’s jokes.

“Yes!” he replied, trying to catch my reaction on camera:

On the upside, the final product is delightful:

Except for those chairs. Those chairs have got to go. Too bad I'm out of money.

Do you think I still love my husband? What’s your favorite Whitney Houston song?

P.S. – If this post left a bad taste in your mouth, you might want to check out this palate cleanser (straight men, click here instead).

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48 responses to “My New Living Room (or, How I Found Out Whitney Houston Died)

  1. That room looks so cozy. I’d much rather be there than here right now, if I could also bring my menfolk!

    On another note, so to speak? “Greatest Love of All” is my favorite Whitney song, on account of many memories walking and singing the song with Rache.

    • Thanks, Deb! That’s exactly how I described the room when I unveiled the pictures to my womenfolk last month. And that [Raymour and Flanigan] couch is DANG comfy. I would love to have your whole fam come and enjoy it!

      That is a fantastic song. I’ve been trying to narrow it down to just one favorite for a day now, and I’m not sure if I can do it! As you know I’m not a religious girl, but when she sings “Jesus Loves Me” in The Bodyguard, it gets me every time.

  2. I, too, think it looks cozy and I would gladly join in on a visit AND bring another bottle of champagne–just in case you spilled in a moment of awkward laughter.

  3. Love the room! My fave is “I wanna dance with somebody”. Cheesy and I can’t help myself, it’s so upbeat! I think I’ll listen to it now as I roll on with more excuses not to work yet…

    • Thanks so much for moseying over here from Deb’s (AMAZING) blog, Michelle, and for the compliment!

      I absolutely LOVE that song, too! I hope it got your morning started off on the right [boogying] foot.

  4. First, I love that table!! Next: I’m pretty sure he WAS the son but that’s not his table “being stored.” He’s selling off his parent’s furniture for crank. I have a feel for these things…

    I can’t say I’ve ever liked WH but she had an amazing voice and I loved The Bodyguard film and regularly catch hell for it. I can’t help it. The whole thing is just dreamy — I even think KC is sexy in it (see why I catch hell?).

    • OMG. I bet you’re right!! How did that never occur to me??? And now I really regret not making the question for this post, “What do you think this guy’s real deal was?”

      The Bodyguard is awesome. My mom and sister had that going on repeat for at least a year after it came out on video.

  5. Great job, Jules, although I’m now worried about that guy who sold you the coffee table. His child might be the Spawn of Snookie. Creepy. Good thing you rescued the coffee table.

    • Thanks, Renee! I think we’re all worried. Will he try to steal it back and use it as a baby-changing table? It’s very sturdy (unlike Snooki’s morals).

  6. Can you come over here and redecorate my house? And bring some white wine? (champagne fizz goes straight to my head) You are amazing. And I loved parenthetical asides!

    • Champagne sometimes goes straight to my head, too, but I just need to keep working on it. :)

      If you decorate as well as you write and take pictures, I am sure you don’t need my help!!

  7. You have quite the designer eye! I want to come to your house and drink champagne and scratch Uncle Jesse behind the ear, and put my feet up on your new coffee table.

    I’m so glad you found out that the lamp AND the end table worked. It would have been a real drag to get that table home and discover it has, say, a collapsing top.

    • Thanks, Peg! Uncle Jesse and I would enjoy that. We also had explicit ‘must be able to put feet up on it’ criteria whilst coffee table-hunting.

      I know! And if it didn’t match my champagne, things would have gotten ugly. When I get home tonight, I’d better test the vodka too, just to be safe.

  8. i want that table!!! i have a perfect place for it. please arrange delivery for a saturday. thanx.

    the room looks great, btw…

  9. I love that dark red on your walls! And I’m all about that lamp. =)

    • Why thank ya, Thoughtsy! I am not surprised to hear more confirmation of your impeccable taste.

      I could spend the rest of my life in the lamp aisle at HomeGoods.

  10. No way I love the style of those chairs!! Slipcovers, dude. Or apparently there is fabric paint. Love the room ;)

    • Fabric paint – now there’s a thought! I’ve had those chairs my entire life, LOL, and I’ve looked into slip covers, but custom ones are so expensive! That would be great, though; the chairs swivel and everything!

  11. That room is da bomb! And the paint and curtains are sublime. I have no skills for decorating, so I applaud your skills. That looks like a very cozy yet fashionable room. Good job!!

    Is that really how you found out WH died? I’m not sure saying that equates to “cheese.” Not quite the effect you are looking for. You might wanna talk to the hubs about his picture taking skills.

    • Thank you so much! I got a GREAT deal on the curtains at JC Penney. It was exhausting painting every g.d. room in this house (including stripes in one room), some ceilings and the kitchen cabinets (oy!). I’m very impatient, so that was done mostly when we first moved in. Luckily we had a lot of furniture/curtains from our apartment, but we couldn’t afford to furnish the whole house right away. The empty living room was driving me INSANE, especially because we have an open floor plan surrounding it.

      And yes — that is really EXACTLY what happened!

  12. I love lamp with perforations. Way back when, I lived in a furnished apartment that had been furnished from a deceased old lady’s stuff. There was a perforated lamp with a street scene of Paris. I wished I asked to buy it when I finally moved into my own place. I still miss that lamp.

    • Thank you! That lamp sounds SPECTACULAR (er, not to rub it in). When I see all of the lamps at HomeGoods and TJMaxx, I want to buy them all. Every. Time!

  13. Oh bummer. Nothing like learning about Whitney’s death mid camera pose. I learned about it at a wine tasting after I’d had one too many glasses, errr bottles, of the party juice. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed because after wine my emotion-appropriate gague pretty much just goes straight to giggle. I’m pretty sure what I meant to say was (frown) “that is awful!”.

    • If you and I teamed up, it would be dangerous! I couldn’t stop laughing either, but I was so torn: on the one hand, it was awful news, but on the other hand, my husband is hilarious.

  14. You’re so funny. Nice living room! Cozy. :)

    As a heterosexual male, I’m not much of a Whitney Houston fan. However, my high school marching band (believe it or not) did an arrangement of “I Will Always Love You” in 1994. So I’d have to say that one.

    I still owe you slap bracelet pics! Is it too late?

    • Thanks, Chris! Is there any, any, ANY chance someone got that marching band performance on video??

      It is NEVER too late for slap bracelet pics! I would also LOVE the excuse to feature your blog over here ;)

  15. your room looks great! it’s so warm and inviting. uncle jesse is livin’ the life!

  16. I’d like to test your taste with my white wine. At the moment, it’s looking mighty fine on my desk, but I bet it would like great next to that lamp and puppy. Great job, grasshopper. Errr, chipmunk.

    • Babs, it is so weird commenting to you with my picture appearing as you [because I didn't log out of WordPress the last time I was at your house], LOL

      I’ve definitely got a spot for your wine on these tables.

  17. Okay I LOVE it. I don’t know why, but no matter what I do I can’t seem to get COZY into my house. I think I need a professional. That or my tastes are just too modern preventing the cozy (that I still want) from coming in.

    Also. I’m a big fan of the parentheticals.

    • Thank you so much, Marta! I’m always impressed with people who can do the modern look. I consistently fall back into the French country/shabby chic/Cape Cod-cottage style. I’ve found one thing that helps pull it off is not to shy away from multiple colors and patterns/textures (I’d love to get two mission style small tan leather recliners to replace the 30-year-old brown chairs). Ed thought I was nuts with those curtains until I put them up — I think they made the biggest difference overall. (He got me those flowers for V-day, which helped for picture-taking, LOL Wait. Should I make this parenthetical aside longer? ;))

  18. I dig that that decor coordinates so well with your pup; A job well done!

  19. Oooh! I love it. I really like the curtain change! I can just picture you, cozy on the couch, watching some TLC in that room!

    • Thanks, Sprinkles!! I think the curtains made alllll the difference, even though I wasn’t totally sure I should get them at first (then I found out they were on clearance, LOL)! I think that TV needs to be saved with some TLC; it’s been suffering with March Madness (college basketball) on its poor, bored screen.

  20. I love it, and this post is seriously awesome. -kate

  21. Room looks great! And you can ask anyone – I have great taste.

    I also acknowledge that Houston had an incredible voice, but that’s as far as I can go…

  22. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips and hints for newbie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    • Hello! This is coming up as spam, but in case it’s not, I just wanted to say, thank you very much and welcome to the blogosphere! I think the best advice I can give is to write about what interests you, and follow and comment on similar blogs. The unexpected pay-off for me was meeting and connecting with so many other bloggers that way! It’s definitely much more of an interactive medium than I first thought. Good luck to you! :)

  23. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

  24. I laughed so hard I snorted tea up nose. Really unpleasant

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