Back to School Organization

Summer is coming to a close and it is time to get back into the swing of things with SCHOOL! 

I am joining in a "Back to School Style Guide" blog hop hosted by Amber, from Restless Arrow.  Make sure and stop by her blog to see the entire line-up.  If you are coming over from Maison de Pax, Welcome!!  What wonderful tips for creating a homework space!

I always dread going back to routine.  It seems this summer went especially fast.  (Okay, I say that every August).  My boys are great sleepers and it only took the early risers a week to settle in to an 8:30 am wake time.  The late sleepers strolled out around 10-10:30 am.  This should have given me ample time to have peace and quiet time before the chaos began, but let's be honest, I slept until at least 8:00.  I am the night owl, catching up on IG, FB, Blogs, Decorating, etc. until the wee hours.  

In order to get organized for the coming year, I took a cabinet in my kitchen and repurposed it to be a organized workhorse (dumping station) for school assignments and projects.  Here, I can close the door and keep the clutter at bay.








On the door, I have a Dry Erase Decal that I love writing my to-do list on.



Containing all of my essentials in a tray lends a touch of organization.This is my phone station.  I used a tole tray as a message center.  Magnet clips work perfectly on it!  I keep my coupons in this slim magazine file holder.  Gold binder clips come in handy for an assortment of uses.  The brass tray is from Target and the acrylic note holder was a gift.  




Magazine File Folders keep my boys' stuff organized.  Every day, they come home with a "project" they "really want to keep."  I will put them in their designated file folder, then at the end of the month, we I will go through them and purge the junk.  The "keeps" go upstairs to the linen closet where I keep tubs for each child to collect whatever "project" they would like.  I toss anything made with food (i.e. cereal or pasta).  I like to hang on to things that have handprints or self made pictures.   I sometimes have the gene "packus-ratus" so I really have to work on that. :)




This shelf has an acrylic file system that I separate "bills to pay," "Paid bills to file," and important directories/work schedule. 




These photo boxes are labeled "Receipts" and "Taxes" for the calendar year. 




This system has been working well for us for three years now.
The boys can easily reach inside, grab what they need for homework, look at the calendar, and file away papers.






How do you stay get organized for Back-to-School?  
I'd love for you to leave me a comment with your tips for organization!!

Next up is The Southern Style Guide with more Back-to-School tips for you!

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XOX, 

Emily

**affiliate links are used in this post.  This allows Eleven Gables to make the smallest commission on your purchase, but does not increase the price to you.  Thank you for supporting small business! xox

Eleven Gables Before and After Home Tour

Welcome to an (almost) full home before and after tour of Eleven Gables!  We purchased our home in 2006 after spotting it a couple years earlier.  I actually knocked on the door and handed the lady my phone number in case she ever wanted to sell.  It is such a picturesque home located on over an acre and next to the neighborhood pond and gazebo.  To be honest, the house was falling apart when we finally were able to purchase... we nicknamed it the money pit, aren't all houses?  Slowly, but surely we have repaired/replaced almost everything in the home.  Next on our list is the master suite, study, closet, and bath.  Then we are on to the upstairs bedrooms and playroom.  I am not even sharing before pics of those yet.  They are a mess.

Let's start with the front facade circa 2004.  


These are pictures of the house the day I knocked at the door... three days before I delivered our second son according to this date stamp.


The landscape is so young. By the time we acquired the home, the landscape was overgrown and full of bermuda grass so most of it got torn out and relocated.  The older couple that lived here moved out soon after I met them and downsized.  The house was left vacant for well over a year.  And when I say vacant, I don't mean "empty."  These folks left behind so much junk it took us months of trash pick-up for all of their collections.


Notice the shingles falling off the roof... it was so much worse two years later when we purchased the home.



The only landscape we kept was the tree lined driveway.




12 years later.

  
An Oklahoma April hail storm with tennis ball size hail pretty much obliterated the exterior of our home in 2013, right during the construction of the kitchen remodel.  Not good timing but we were able to change a few features with the windows and siding.  Overgrown bushes were removed and relocated to form a secret garden in the woods behind the house.  Boxwood are slowing filling in to frame the beds.  The left flower bed is where we plant annuals among the hosta and hydrangea.



New carriage doors for the garage are in character with the cottage style home.  I opted to forego shutters for now.  I really like the clean appearance of the house without the shutters.  It always bothered me that the shutters were just screwed up next to the windows, were not the proper size, and were non functioning.  Does that bother you too?  We also decided to go with divided light  (window panes) on all of the windows.


Case in point... mixed windows and odd fitting shutters


Updated paned casement windows add a uniform look.




The front door retains a rich stain to allow for contrast at the entrance. Blue and white pottery and topiaries set the tone for the home.

Okay, are you ready to see inside?  


Here is a before just to remind you...


 Dark woodwork everywhere.  I can't find any pictures of the glazed yellow/brown walls.  They were a doozy.  Brown, Brown, and more Brown.  Once we remodeled the kitchen and painted everything white, it became a domino effect. So, the yellow glazed walls and red dining room got a fresh coat of half-strength Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore, which lightened the house tremendously.  But what you can't see from my perspective (real life) is the lack of natural light.  There is a front porch and a back porch that block any natural light coming in.  The above photo was edited to increase the exposure.  So you are just going to have to trust me... that is what I told my dear husband.  He wasn't keen on painting gorgeous, stained woodwork (or the walls again but that is a whole other story).  Ask him.  But he said to go for it.  The day it was all over, he said he was so happy with the painted woodwork, everything was so much more cheerful.  Yay!!  

Without further ado, here is the entryway...



The woodwork is painted in "Eleven Gables White" (special mix) at Spectrum Paint.  The walls are Benjamin Moore Steam.  My craigslist rug looks so much more vibrant with the brighter woodwork.

Y'all... if you are following me on Instagram, you know my original painter was bid farewell.  The nail in the coffin was when he told his helper that he "didn't have time" to paint the risers and to just cover them.  Um... that was a deal breaker.  I waited 6 months for this painter and now he was in a hurry.  Divine Intervention literally placed a wonderful new painter in my hands the very same day.  
Can you imagine those risers not painted?!  Bottom line, if you have too many red flags with a contractor, STOP.  It is okay to reevaluate your situation before going forward with someone who doesn't share your vision.  Never Ever pay them before the job is finished.  Lesson learned.


The staircase is front and center, so I want it to be a reflection of our home.  My four sons' hand oiled portraits grace the wall.  My sister gave me very wise advice as a young mother.  She said to invest in gorgeous portraits of my children rather than costly monthly photos.  What wisdom.  I now have precious portraits at 6 months, 18 months, and 4 years of age.  A painting is an investment, much like a lovely piece of furniture.

The doors to the boys' rooms and the upstairs study is painted a weird brown color with a blue glaze.  That is on my list... eventually.  We are living here, and we needed a stopping place so that we could enjoy summer!


The double doors at the end of this hall lead to the master bedroom which is still yellow walls with brown woodwork.  These doors will remain closed until we are set to remodel that entire suite.  There is a TON of work to be done.  The bathroom alone... sigh.  Never ending. :)  Oh and the carpet! ei yi yi!  I'm not even going to show you a "before" picture yet... it's that bad.  Okay, maybe just one BEFORE picture of the bathroom.




Eighteen years ago this wallpaper was all the rage.  Charles Faudree used it in his master closet.  But it is too dark for us.  It's so hard to put your makeup on in here with the dark paper, dark marble, dark curtains, and dark wood.  

Back to pretty...


This console table and these blue and white jars are a new addition to my collection.  Some branches from the yard are an affordable (free) way to add height and texture.  When I refaced the fireplace (hang on, you will see pics in a minute), we had some leftover marble from Pacific Shore Stone.  I had my fabricator fashion a marble top for this piece.  It really took it up a notch.  Don't you think?


The 18th century santos came from a local antique store (similar one here).  I named it after Joni Webb, my friend who writes the divine Cote de Texas blog.  She introduced me to basically everything design that I love after all.  Joni recently wrote a lovely post on our home.  Read it here.


This is the view from the dining room into the entry.  My son says I should edit out some of my collections, I think he is correct. 



Light, bright, clean and pared down.


At this stage in my life (four busy boys) I don't have time to run into town for floral supplies every week, so I made an easy peasy faux centerpiece.  You can find a link to it here.


This starburst mirror was on my list for quite some time.  I love that this one looks like an antique without the antique price.  I found the chinoiserie chest and persian rug on craigslist.  


A few quick snips from the garden fill blue and white pots and vases around the house.  I try to grow a wave of flowers and greenery all year long so I always have something to snip and bring inside.


Simple Ikea slipcovered chairs surround a vintage glass and brass table.



The living room has a cathedral ceiling, Juliet balcony, and is open to the entryway and dining room.  We love to entertain here because it flows so well.


A reminder of what it used to look like


and the view today.


A slipcovered sofa, blue and white pillows (this particular pattern is discontinued but I found THESE gorgeous pillows that are fabulous!), garden stool, and a wicker coffee table give a relaxed and casual feel to the "formal" living room.



In this before view, I lined the bookshelves with grasscloth in an effort to lighten the room.  It helped some, but not much.  


We nicknamed the fireplace surround "Petrified Vomit." I'm sorry for that visual, but it was bad, really bad.   





And here is the after!



New Blanco Rhino marble with a very faint gray veining replaced the burgundy granite.  I worked with Pacific Shores Stone to pick the perfect slab.  They were marvelous!  Look for them in your area and check out their blog for the latest stone trends here.



My bookshelves are just a collection of gathered like-items.  Placing blue and white and silver together gives a classy look without being too fussy.  

This view of the living room held more of my "treasures" but in an effort to "pare down," the bookshelves were sold and the knick-knacks were relocated or are being sold on my Instagram Estate Sale Page.


Here is a view of the wall now.  It isn't exactly how I have envisioned it long term, but it works for the time being.



The frame from the "before" fireplace mantle now surrounds my original painting.



An antique trumeau reflects the bookshelf and the antique console is a perfect spot for more blue and white and my altar candlestick collection.




The slipcovered white sofa with four boys doesn't scare me at all!  I can just pull the slip off and toss it in the wash!




The french doors lead to the remodeled porch.



Outside is where I like to have an Explosion of seasonal color!!!


The pewter chandelier is repurposed from our original kitchen.  I decided to just keep it and use it out here!


The outdoor wicker sofa and wingback chairs focus on the view of the pond and grounds.





Bringing the interior theme of blue and white outside, I use oriental garden stools for tables or extra seating.






Here is a before of the porch.


This flower bed in front of the fireplace was eventually filled in with a brick patio to allow for more entertaining room.



Double hung windows and the single working door were replaced with paned casement windows and working french doors.  The previous owner had painted the doors a hunter green.  We changed them to a sage green, then decided to keep the green door color in the remodel.  I liked the contrast they provide to an all white house.




Yellow is just the primer color.  Don't freak out like some of my neighbors did and question my aesthetic. ;)



And here it is all completed.  We love it out here!



Colors toned down for fall...





Dining al fresco is my favorite.  There is always plenty of room for everyone.






Now, lets go back inside and see the original kitchen and the reason we started remodeling in the first place.


In the original kitchen, the gas stove on the island was not in an ideal spot for our large family.  My husband and I wanted a more open space where the children could be in the kitchen with us.  By removing the wall and pushing it out five and a half feet, we gained room to move the stove out of our way and make a large island with seating the focal point in the kitchen.






The window was enlarged and centered on this wall.  A deep stainless farmhouse sink with attached towel bar became the crown jewel of the kitchen.





This wall of cabinets was always covered in clutter.  It became a dumping station.  We turned it in to an organized workhorse.


Full blog post and details HERE.







Pocket doors cover the television.  The arched doorway leads to the formal living room.



And just outside the family room, this is what the exterior looked like prior to starting the remodel.


In the top part of this photo, we added the french doors on the right a couple of years after we moved in, converting a study into a mudroom.  The only door leading to the pool was through the laundry room (the window with an awkward lantern next to it).  The window behind the tree is the old kitchen.
The lower photo shows partway through the remodel.  The addition is added for the new kitchen and butler's pantry. 



These french doors and covered porch lead into the mudroom.  Faux topiaries flank the doors.  




We filled in most of the flower beds with a brick patio in order to make this side of the pool more functional and less maintenance.  Lounge chairs make the perfect spot for laying by the pool.  The cafe table and chairs are always full of boys eating something, everything.  The kitchen window is a french push out casement that I easily serve meals through. You can see what a difference paned casement windows make versus builder's grade windows.   Someday, I hope to add awnings over the windows


And here is the Butler's Pantry! 


I can't find a before picture anywhere!  It was always a mess, so I probably never took one.  

You can see all the details of this room HERE.  If you have never seen this room before now, you must go read the detailed post.





And here is a photo of the mudroom cabinet I had built soon after we moved here.  The french doors are just to the left.  The hall to the kitchen is on the right.



I haven't done a detailed post on this room yet!  Probably because it has become a literal muddy room.  Full of sports and school gear!  
This is the cabinet full of summer pool needs!


Thank you for joining me on this tour!  So many of you have been asking for this!  
If I can talk my husband into starting the master bedroom and bathroom this fall, I'd love to have you join me.  
Subscribe to my blog (right hand column of the blog) and receive an email when a new post comes out.
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Share this post and I would be forever grateful!


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XOX, 

Emily





**affiliate links are used in this post.  This allows Eleven Gables to make the smallest commission on your purchase, but does not increase the price to you.  Thank you for supporting small business! xox