Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Shop - The Dream

"A Dream.... 7 years in the making." That is the the thought I have every time I walk through the doors of Whimsical Perspective in Downtown Sycamore, Illinois. Every part of the store is exactly how I dreamed it would be. However, that doesn't happen without a lot of sleepless nights, hard work and the most amazing group of friends on the planet. Here is the story of Whimsical Perspective:

On Veteran's Day, back in November, my husband Ron and I were taking a trip to Elleson's Bakery when we saw the "for rent" signs at 366 State. We had been eagerly awaiting the opening of the restaurant that was to open in that space but the movement of that had stopped. We had talked about opening a shop for years but mostly in dreamy, hopeful language. However, this past summer, we began to discuss it more seriously. As we sat in front of Elleson's, debating on whether or not 6:30am was too early to call the owner, our shop conversations became much more serious. We had just happened upon the perfect location.  Three days later... we signed the lease. 

The space was huge and had so much potential. It was the perfect blank canvas for my thoughts and hopes. It had beautiful floors, all the storage we would need and the windows... oh those windows. 

In this picture, I am dreaming of all of the amazing items that will soon fill the space, Mr. Whimsical is thinking about all of the trim he has to install and walls he has to paint. :) We make a good team. 
Over the next several months, we began to prepare. I searched for products that I thought our sweet town of Sycamore would enjoy.
We took inventory of our house and decided what items in our personal collection would now go to the shop. I was really trying to find items that fit my vision of a well curated shop and that I was proud to sell you. I have found many amazing artists and artisans over the past few months. We also began scouring any markets that were heading to the area. That proved difficult at that time of year because all of the local flea markets were closing for the season. 
Meanwhile, back at the shop, the floors were getting finished, that bathroom was being installed, a deep cleaning and painting were underway. Finally it was move-in day.

My #1 lesson learned from opening a shop is that you can not do it without a great group of friends. On this day, the Whimsical Team was born. This amazing group was there with us on late nights and early mornings. Many drinks were consumed after long days and heavy moves. Floors were scrubbed by hand, all items were priced and dusted and the fluffing began.

My friends are the most selfless and amazing people. I am so lucky to have people that care enough about me to spend all of their free time helping me with my dream. 

Once all of the hard work was done, the shop was ready to go. It was exactly as I had hoped it would be. It had touches of me but also reflected the strength of my friends. There are even pieces of my parents in there!

Opening Day was such a crazy and amazing blur! My whole team was just exhausted. All of our hard work paid off and we were very well received by the community. One amazing 5 year old videographer even captured the moment when my 95 and 93 year old grandparents entered my shop for the first time. 


I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out!

Opening Day had come and gone and now we are in the thick of things. Items are being reordered and new treasures have been found. 

I will continue searching for the most amazing and unique items for my customers and will have a blast doing it! 

A special thanks goes out to my Whimsical Team. I couldn't and can't do it without you. #chaunceystrong

Stay tuned for many more blog posts in the near future. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Dream Living Room

The Living Room is so properly named because my husband and I basically live and spend most of our time in our living room. We eat there, watch T.V. there and occasionally sleep there. 

It is important to me to have our living room represent our style and our comforts. 

My style is difficult to pinpoint at times. I am often a mix of farmhouse, flea market and crazy, collector chic. I love everything and can often go back and forth between being very girly and super industrial. 

I love a bit of lace and sprinkles of flowers but I also love barnwood and crates. 

No matter what your style is, just make sure it makes you happy. When I choose pieces or a style for a room, I try to stay true to my style philosophy:

  • Unique pieces make your house special.
  • The best pieces have a story to tell.
  • If the items and colors make you happy, they will all go together nicely.
That brings me to my dream living room. My husband and I have worked very hard to bring some charm and character back into our old house. We have made some major changes and added some new pieces to help with the cozy feel we were looking for. 

It was important to me to make sure this room felt lived in. I love pillows and throw blankets. I also love being surrounded my plants. Our ivy creeps along the outside of this room, making it feel like a magic garden. Our house plants also make it feel cozy.

The sofa in this room is one of my favorite pieces. For our 10 year wedding anniversary, my husband and I purchased this sofa for each other. It was a very adult thing for us to do. ;)

I was recently asked by Arhaus to share my dream living room. They have similar sectional sofas to act as a centerpiece for any living room. You can check them out here

I love adding pieces that can't be found anywhere else. This mirror is definitely unique and fun! It is reflective and adds light to the room.  You will also find a nice mix of painted and not painted wood tones throughout our home. This dresser and mirror are some of my favorite pieces that I have painted.

Our barnwood wall is our newest addition to the house. I am so thrilled with how it turned out. The blank wall above the couch had always been a thorn in my side. I could never get it "just right" and that resulted in so many nail holes in the wall. Now I can move things around so easily and not have to worry about holes! This is the perfect place to hold my collection of vintage floral oils!

Now, while most of the house is a happy reflection of my style, my husband is an active participant in the process as well. There was no way we were going to have a beautiful, photo-worthy living room without a big, fat television. It took us a while to figure out the best place for "the beast". Believe it or not, a house built in 1918 wasn't planned for a huge flat screen television. This compromise pleased the both of us. It allows me to photograph the fireplace easily and still puts the television in an easy to see space. 

Our living room leads directly into our dining room and it took time to get the look I was going for. Energetic, eclectic, comfortable and full speak to this space. 

This truly is my dream space at the moment. 

Let us not forget where we started...

Also, a special "thanks" to Dolly for sleeping through the entire photoshoot today. She is a great helper. 

See you next time...

*A Few Fun Details...
  • The coffee table, pictured above, was the kitchen table that I ate at as a child. The legs were removed and crates attached to add storage space. 
  • The cabinet under the TV has hidden storage for our vintage TV trays. The side panels pull out to reveal our secret stash of trays!
  • The large ivory blanket was won in a raffle by my mom. She gifted it to me along with a gorgeous rocking chair that is now in my classroom. 
  • Many of the house plants in our home were propagated and cared for by the 2nd graders in my classroom. My heart swells when I look at them. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Flea Market Style Decorating

It's a rainy day here in Illinois and no better weather for cleaning and decorating.

I have been spending some (possibly excessive) time on Pinterest lately to help become inspired for our upcoming bathroom and bedroom remodels. While spending time going through hundreds of gorgeous pictures, I noticed that the phrase "Flea Market Style" decorating means something different to each of us. 

To some, it means finding items that are vintage inspired from catalogs or stores to help achieve a desired look. 

For others, it is finding pieces that they love and building happy spaces around them. These pieces could be found at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, the curb and my favorite... inherited and gifted items. 

I am of the mindset of the second group. Now, don't get me wrong, there are times when I want something desperately to help me achieve the look that I am going for. It would be easy to go to a store and grab one. It would definitely make me smile to see the look come together. However, it is really the hunt that I enjoy. I love finding a dusty piece of junk and turning it into a beautiful space. I love that each piece has a story. 

I always keep in mind 4 things when I am creating a space:
  • Mix textures
  • Reflective Pieces
  • Mix Color
  • Have Fun!
So I would like to share a few spaces in my home that are products of my hunt.

Corner of my Dining Room:

  • Geranium Oil Painting painted by my Grandmother
  • Door from Kane County Flea Market
  • Hat Box from my Grandmother
  • Encyclopedias from my Grandparents
  • Plants grown by my 2nd grade students
  • Pots from my Mother
  • Suitcases - some found and some gifted from my Mother
  • Curtain Tie Backs lusted after for months at Sycamore Antiques

Dining Room Wall:
  • Oil Paintings (My Obsession) - Kane County Flea Market and Sycamore Antiques
  • Plates - My favorite find ever from the Kane County Flea Market
  • Bird Cage from Local Junk Shop
  • Dining Chair for a Table that Reminds me of the one in my Mother's House
  • Tea Set my Grandfather Gifted to his Mother
  • Appetizer Server from my Grandmother
  • Vintage Game from my Childhood
  • Tea Cart belonged to my Great Grandmother

My Office:

  • Desk - Purchase from Kane County Flea Market
  • Mirror - Salvaged from my Parent's Bathroom
  • Office Chair - Sycamore Antiques
  • Chalkboard - Made by Me, Frame from Garage Sale 
  • Whimsical Animal Art - Purchased on Recent trip to Nashville, Local Artist
  • Time Card Holder - Local Garage Sale
  • Light Fixture - Home Wishes Gift Shop Pontiac, Illinois

Have fun hunting this summer!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Chalkboard Wall

I am dipping my toes back into the world of blogging with an exciting new feature in our house. 

Do you remember what our dining room looked like the day we moved in? 
Dark, dated and a bit sad...

We spent many months brightening and livening-up the space. 

However, as we lived with it for a while, we discovered that it lacked character and life. Yes, it was bright and airy but it didn't quite feel like us. 

So we decided to add some character and excitement with a new and whimsical chalkboard wall. 

The singular dark wall gave us depth and interest without making it dreary and dark. 

Once the board was ready to write on, I immediately went to pinterest for some inspiration. I am so excited about the possibilities of this wall. I can't wait to let this be my new creative outlet and change it up whenever my heart desires. 

As always, I like to add a bit of fun and whimsy to all of my projects. This rabbit silhouette is the perfect, subtle addition for this beautiful wall.

I love this wall and can't stop looking at it! I can't wait until the family sees it on Thanksgiving. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Still Working...

It has been a while since I have posted.
As you know, I am a 1st grade teacher and that takes complete priority. 
However, does that mean I have stopped decorating, designing, demolishing and painting? 
No way!

My husband and I have been working hard at updating more of the house.
We have been landscaping the front yard,

painting some floors,

and updating the bedrooms.

I will post about all of these projects very soon. 

As we put the finishing touches on all of these projects, I will be sharing some of my favorite previous projects on my facebook page.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 10 Furniture Pieces of 2013

It is always interesting to go back through my list of projects when trying to come up with this list. I always have pieces that I love, there are many pieces that I enjoy but there are always a few that I am glad to put behind me. 

I spent 2013 playing with new colors, new furniture shapes and even a new kind of paint. I hope you enjoy my Whimsical Perspective Top 10 of 2013.

10. The Graphite Desk -Painted in Graphite Chalk Paint®- This was a custom piece for a client. She had a vision and it turned out beautifully.

9. The Mustard Seed Dresser - Painted in Mustard Seed MMSMP® - I LOVE this piece and really thought about keeping it for myself. One of my first attempts with Milk Paint.

8. Napoleonic Blue Dresser -Painted in Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint® - This was something very different for me and I am glad I tried something new. It really paid off.

7. The Bronze Buffet -Painted in Custom Mixed Chalk Paint® - A custom order for a special client. It was so fun mixing colors and finishes to create a beautiful bronze. Click the link for the color recipe.

6. Grandma's Cabinet... Again - Painted in Primer Red Chalk Paint® - This is a piece with an amazing story. It now sits proudly in our living room.

5. The Graphite Dresser - Painted in Graphite Chalk Paint® - This piece is so amazing that is has inspired our office makeover for 2014. 

4. The Napoleonic Blue Buffet - Painted in Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint® - A true combination of talents on this piece. I did the paint and finishes, my husband worked with the butcher block top. 

3. Upholstered Bench - I should have kept this one. The scrolling on this is amazing and the fabric added the right pop to this piece. This piece helped me get out of my upholstery comfort zone.

2. Our Antibes Night Stand - Painted in Antibes Chalk Paint® - A beautiful piece for my husband. We are now redecorating our master bedroom around this piece. 

1. The Old Ochre Dresser - Painted in Old Ochre Chalk Paint® - This is the piece I am most proud of in 2013. It came out exactly as I hoped it would. The staging in the photo is perfect too. This piece was done in partnership with Annie Sloan Unfolded.

To be honest, I am not sure what 2014 brings for Whimsical Perspective. I have slowed down quite a bit since August and don't see that changing for a while. I miss painting and crafting but I love spending more time doing other passion projects like school related activities.
I am sure I will keep painting and decorating and I can't wait to share our bedroom makeovers. However, I will be focusing more on quality than quantity. I may not post often but I promise it will be great. 

Stay tuned for my favorite posts and personal projects of 2013.

To see my full portfolio, visit my Whimsical Perspective Pinterest Board.