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House + Home, Our Home: Germany

IKEA’s Tobias Dining Room Chairs

March 7, 2016

One of my favorite things about living in Europe is that we’re officially in the land of IKEA! In the past we’ve almost never lived within a reasonable driving distance of one, but here in Germany there’s one only an hour away. Yes, it’s still a bit of a hike when there are three little wild things involved (I’ll always regret not developing my passion for IKEA before becoming a mom). But all in all, a one hour drive is doable.

Most of our furniture is more traditional, but now that we’re no longer in our 1800s era Victorian it’s been easier to start adding some modern pieces to the mix. We honestly don’t shop a lot- especially for big items like furniture- but lately we’ve had a couple of true needs when it comes to functional, kid-friendly stuff. The first was this POCO bar table that we use as a standing desk for our laptop in our living room; the second is a set of IKEA’s “Tobias” chairs!

At first glance, they are, um, modern…

IKEA Tobias Chair Review | www.sarahkeller.com

But before I make my case for why they’re so great, first let me give a little backstory. We’ve had traditional white cloth-covered chairs (see a photo of them in this post on the old blog) since Thane and I moved into our very first house together in Hawaii back in 2008. Our neighbor was getting rid of the whole set, plus a massively heavy “Italian” dining room table that was not very easy on the eyes, a china cabinet, and a few other things. But as newlyweds without a single piece of furniture to our name other than a mattress on the floor, we felt like we were winning the lottery!

Overall, the white cloth chairs were great. They worked especially well in our last home, and even though I’ve always wanted to recover them with new fabric, they stayed clean much longer than expected. At least until Silas started sitting in them. Asher was surprisingly gentle on them in his toddler years, but Silas is a different beast. And with Finn coming right up behind him, and another little one behind Finn, there was only so much longer that white cloth chairs were going to hack it. So when I started looking around for more kid-friendly seating options, IKEA’s Tobias chair caught my eye (photos courtesy of Pinterest, via Decor Pad, Nancy Mitchell for Apartment Therapy, Lush Home, and Arianna Bell.)

IKEA's Tobias Dining Room Chairs | www.sarahkeller.com

Super modern, yes. But paired with a wooden table, a patterned rug, and some white or metallic accessories, they’re quite versatile! And Silas could literally eat his spaghetti right off of them and it wouldn’t matter. But as much as I liked them, the real hurdle was getting the thumbs up from Thane. He’s all an American, meat and potatoes, football loving, Lazy-Boy recliner with a built in cup-holder kind of man. So there was absolutely no way he was going to go for these chairs.

But, since we just happened to be in IKEA a few weeks ago, I thought what the heck, why not take a shot in the dark? I pointed them out and then anticipated the usual; a cursory glance, a comment about how ugly they were, and a mocking laugh, all delivered within the time span of ten seconds while continuing to proceed towards the closest exit (the whole goal of a man in IKEA). So when he actually stopped, pulled one out, sat down, and said he kind of liked them, I knew I was either dreaming or trapped in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Ahhh!

You know what did it? The fact that they rock and recline just enough to be surprisingly comfortable, not to mention their virtual indestructibility.

So, thank you to IKEA + Thane for indulging me and allowing me to bring home these fun, affordable, kid-friendly, and first ever owner-purchased set of new chairs. I’ve got some more work to do before our dining room looks as classy as the ones in the photos above, but all in good time.

IKEA's Tobias Dining Room Chairs | www.sarahkeller.com
IKEA's Tobias Dining Room Chairs | www.sarahkeller.com

P.S. Just in case you’re interested, this is the “Torrance” table from Pier 1 (and it’s currently on sale!), the rug was thrifted but IKEA has a similar one, the curtains are Target’s Threshold brand, (no longer available in the cream and mustard unfortunately), and for you guys who are local, the friendly little potted plant next to the window came from Lidl for four Euro!

House + Home, Our Home: Germany

A Standing Desk for the Living Room

January 25, 2016

Standing Desk | www.sarahkeller.com

Hey friends, I have good news and bad news. If you live in Germany, Monday is almost over! If you live in the states, well, you’ve got a little longer to go, hahaha. Honestly, I sort of like Mondays because they’re a good day to catch up on all of the lose ends left over from the weekend, get a fresh batch of groceries, go back to a more predictable routine, get on top of the weekly schedule, etc.

Anyway, the real point of this post is the first- and probably last- piece of furniture that we’ve bought here in Germany; a standing desk!

Standing Desk | www.sarahkeller.com

Warning: you may be about to waste ten minutes of your life on this very detailed and over-zealous dialogue about this standing desk and other random pieces of furniture in our house. But if that doesn’t bother you, proceed.

We’ve been scouring the local stores, a couple of non-local IKEAs, and the internet for a standing-height desk like this for months, and finally realized what the problem was. There aren’t many “standing desks” out there, but there are lots of “bar tables”. I came across this bar table on Poco’s website- on clearance!- and was able to run down to the Weiden location and pick it up the next day. I don’t think we’ve ever owned anything quite so modern and I was a little apprehensive about how it would look with the rest of our things (our living room, dining room, and this desk space is all one room basically).

Despite the fact that it makes this corner of the room look like an Apple store, we’re thrilled with it because we finally have a functional way to use a laptop in the main living area without it cluttering up the dining table, taking up the valuable kitchen counter space, or being in arms reach of the boys. I can even leave my bible opened here with zero curious little fingers within range. (Is it just my kids, or do yours like flipping through/destroying the tissue-paper-like pages of your bible too?)

We used to have these shelves here and they were really nice, but it was like they came with a magnetic force for clutter and keeping excess junk from piling up on them was like my full time job.

White Shelves | www.sarahkeller.com

Since clutter is kind of enemy no. 1 for me, it’s probably for the best that these shelves have new spots in less central parts of the house.

Which means that now there’s room for the cowhide rug plus the zebra chair that had both been hiding upstairs for a while! (The master bedroom lost a little of it’s flair, but oh well.)

Standing Desk | www.sarahkeller.com
Golden Camera Paper Weight | www.sarahkeller.com
Standing Desk | www.sarahkeller.com

And of course I had to throw in the close-up shot of Thane’s new book, Trials! I wrote all about it here a few weeks back just in case you missed it.

I hope everyone had a great and blessed start of the week!

House + Home, Our Home: Germany, Photo*journal

Settling In

November 17, 2015

Couch

It’s been just shy of three months since we moved into our new house here in Germany, and after lots and lots of unpacking, organizing, arranging, rearranging, curtain hanging, picture hanging (which turns out to be quite a feat when all of your walls are made out of concrete), etc, things are- sort of- coming together! I dare not take any full room photos yet because that would imply that the house is “done”, which it certainly is not. (Though Thane might tell you differently.) So anyway, I pulled together a random assortment of pictures that show little details of this new home, including a shot of the large framed prints on the floor which is still somewhat representative of the state of things.

roof-2
Posters

Netzaberg-Housing-1Netzaberg-Housing-4Netzaberg-Housing-2Netzaberg-Housing-7Entry-table ElephantNetzaberg-Housing-3Netzaberg-Housing-5

As far as the community goes, we absolutely love it! We’re so thankful for lots of friendly, supportive neighbors, easy access to shopping, and stunning views of the Bavarian countryside. It’s too soon to think about moving again- obviously- but when that day does come, there will be much to miss!

House + Home, Motherhood, Our Home: New York

A Space for Finn

April 28, 2015

Finns-Room-Header

Hi friends! It’s been a very busy couple of weeks with a new baby in the house, but we’re finally starting to get back to a new normal {and all three boys are asleep right now} so I wanted to post some photos of the little space we put together for Finn. These photos were taken before he was born, but as much as I wanted to share them then I didn’t want to give his name away!

Anyway, I already talked about not putting a real nursery together here because of moving so soon {plus Silas is still happily in the crib}. But I couldn’t bring a new baby home without some kind of special little space for him! So the dresser in our guest bedroom became his, complete with his diaper changing supplies, some graphic prints I made for him, and all of his clothes and gear.

Other than the fact that I had to clean my craft stuff out of here {it’s where all the magic happened for Asher’s last birthday party and Amber’s baby shower}, it started as a pretty blank slate.

Finns-Room-6Finns-Room-5

Here’s a little peak of a crossword puzzle with his first and middle name spelled out in it {thanks Photoshop! I’ll try to show the whole thing in another post} plus a close view of the print hanging over the dresser. Phinehas is an Old Testament bible name and the “then stood up Phinehas print” was inspired by Psalm 106:30-31; “Then stood up Phinehas and executed judgement, and the plague was stayed. And that was reckoned unto him for righteousness, from generation to generation, for evermore.”

Finns-Room-8

Dresser-ArtFinns-Room-3FrogGlobe

I have no idea how little Finn’s room will come together in our next home, but it will probably be similar, only with the crib. Anyway, thanks for taking a peak at Finn’s little space! It’s simple, but it’s all his.