Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bought, finished and in place...

Remember this camp bed I bought from Sissy over at Blue Hydrangea? See here.

Another completed project at my house! Don't get used to this- 2 down, a gazillion to go...

My sewing lady extraordinaire made the mattress for me in an indoor/ outdoor blue ticking. I put it it in the sun room for the kids to hang out and watch t.v. This is really a great room and unfortunately I didn't snap pics of the whole thing because the world's largest basketball game is still consuming the other half. (Note to self:  do not take husband Christmas shopping for kids ever again)

And now my beloved artichoke lamp has a home. The rooms for rent sign has always cracked me up considering we are 6 people in a very small house with absolutely NO ROOM at the Inn! And the barn painting is something a great great aunt of Jeff's did. I'm glad to finally have a spot for a few of these things that we love.

Like the t.v.? Circa 1980? The red chair is the dogs and needs a serious redo but for now we are living with it. Or should I say, Charlie is...

I am so excited to have this little spot for the kids complete. They are now fighting over who gets to sleep out here Friday noise and they are back in their beds!

Stay tuned as the toilet in the Dining room saga continues. Maybe one day I can show you that completed project... A girl can dream...

Bye, bye Birdie,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Big Bang for the Buck

Once in awhile, every detail falls into place and the perfect finds fall right into your lap. Rarely does that happen under budget, but this particular week, the design gods were smiling on me. 
SIDE NOTE: We've learned that if we show the "before" shot first, readers think its the after and don't scroll down. So I'm showing you the 
"after" first.
Here's how it all went down. I got a request to meet with a couple and "update" their living room. They gave me $1500 to work with. Great budget for what they wanted done. They wanted new paint, accessories, maybe some pillows and a mini-facelift on their living space. No problem. Except that I love a challenge and just had to throw a giant wrench in the plan.  
Here is their "before" living room. Sure, a little paint and some fresh pillows would help, but the lines of the furniture seemed dated to me and so, you know me, I wanted to get some new furniture.... like ALL new furniture (but keep their leather chair). 
Here's the catch. Remember the $1500 I had to work with to update their look? Well, I still had $1500 to work with to re-do the entire living room. They wanted a face-lift. I wanted an overhaul. Disclaimer: $1500 is not normally enough to re-do an entire room, but once in awhile, you get REALLY lucky and that's just what happened. I started with these killer pillows as a jumping off point for the room... They were a little pricey at $24.99 each, but worth every cent. 
These pillows couldn't possibly go on sad olive sofa, so needed a new sofa. Budget for sofa: $0. 
I found this sofa on Craigslist for $350.
 It is in great shape, has amazing lines and good texture. 
     Added a $199 rug from Homegoods...
And a $5 Craigslist coffee table.
           One tiny problem. Client wanted an ottoman. 
Spray painted coffee table and sent to upholsterer so she could turn it into one!
Fresh coat of paint on the accent wall, a soft gray on the rest of the walls, accessorized the fireplace and what a difference it made!
Big improvement?
The butterfly chair on the left looked more like it belonged in a bedroom and the neutral color wasn't doing much for the space.
Uh oh, need a new chair? new chair = money...
I mentioned my budget and chair dilemma to Ann who happened to have a $5 chair in her car. No joke. She bought it for $5 at the monthly UNCW furniture sale and was willing to donate it to the cause.(I'm stubborn and simply refused to go over budget, plus I told them I could do it -- uh... no problem). 
I had the chair recovered in a solid teal fabric and it looks amazing! I added a $199 console from TJ Maxx to the back of the sofa...
It gave us the perfect surface
For lighting and some fun accessories.
I brightened up the built-ins with some family photos and pieces that they had in storage. 
Changing the paint was an expensive way to brighten the space and my fabulous clients painted it all themselves to save money. They did an incredible job. 
They love the way it turned out. It's fresh and updated and feels like home to this sweet family of 3. We can thank Chris Davis for his beautiful photos of the space. Check out his site here for more of his incredible work. 

I love a before and after... don't you?
Bye bye birdie...

credit to Chris Davis Photography

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And She's buying a stairway to Heaven...

I did it! I started and finished a project at my own house! And I love it...been doing the happy dance for a
week! Our house is an older farmhouse  full of quirks. Jeff and I are convinced it was built by a bunch of guys on the weekends who were payed in 6 packs. (probably in advance). When you open the front door it clears the bottom step by an inch. I am learning to embrace the quirks. Just fixed the old stove drawer with silver duct tape... seriously... it's like having stainless- right?

check out my new sconces made from galvanized ceiling tiles. Oh and my prayer cloth at the bottom of the stairs (another new find from Sissy's booth) Kind of fun to do a foyer make over when it is 2ft x3ft!

The 'stems' are the same color as my front door and the 'leaves' are Ben. Moore whitall brown. I won't tell you what my 8 year old said the leaves look like. Can you say, No Christmas?

So, look Hooper- I did a project at my house. Aren't you proud? I know it's not like adding a third story over the weekend but I did start and finish. Baby steps...

Bye, bye Birdie,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Babies to Big Boys!

The twins just started Kindergarten. You may recall my tiny nervous breakdown. What's a mom to do when her last babies leave the nest?

A complete overhaul on their room, of course! It's like retail therapy but taken up a notch. Suddenly they were coming home saying things like: Dude and Duh.
Letter People and stuffed animals seemed a little too "babyish" for my too cool for school boys. I decided work around my leopard rug because I love it (and it hides all stains) and start over with big boys in mind.
Tight budget means no $ for headboards, but Ann's vision of pallet headboards were not only free (thanks Jane), but perfect for their new look. 
Wouldn't it be fun to add some of these to each headboard? 
(via Rockett St. George)
 Because Ann was so creative with the headboards, I just couldn't bother her with the wall, so I decided to tackle it on my own. Let's suffice it to say that it involved math -- not my strongest subject... and patience (another characteristic I'm strongly lacking).  
 I bought some ready-made panels and hung them with $4 worth of rope from Lowes. 
 Found some canvases covered in stitched hide and hung them with a shelf made of brackets and reclaimed wood. Just had to throw in my favorite "see no evil, hear no evil" owls. (Yes boys, I can see all evil).
 Tired of my cheesy ceiling fan with ugly frosted globe, I simply removed the globe and added a cool orange burlap shade. The boys love their fan, so replacing it with a light fixture simply would not do. 
I added my old farm table as a desk so they can do their "homework" (ahem, coloring within the lines and tracing letters).

 I filled flannel boxes with "homework" supplies (crayons).
 Bought a beautiful mid-century dresser on Craig's List and had it painted in high gloss "chelsea gray" (Ben Moore). I love the lines (and color) because it can grow up with them. 
 I stole this painting (from my parent's who don't know what a blog is, so I'm safe). It was in their garage with a stash of my super-talented brother's work. He's a budding architect and amazing artist. 
 Couldn't pass up this Missoni frame from Target. 
 And loved the wire hanging baskets I found at Homegoods for books. The tee-pee in the corner is for campouts and was decorated by your's truly and my artists in residence. 
A little reading nook (even though they can't read), we're hopeful. The room wouldn't be complete without blankie who even got a special washing for the room re-do. 
Overall, I think it turned out great. Not to mention, tonight, the twins are sleeping in their new room. Big step because for some strange reason, my "big boys" have been finding their way into my bed every night. 

Bye bye birdie...

P.S. If you are interested in the bamboo headboards, drapes or some of the art/accessories in the "baby boys'" room, you're in luck. They're for sale!  
Just shoot me an email: and I'll send you some photos and details. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Door Diary

It's finished! Thank you to all of the curious readers who were dying to know what I did to my door. Lucky for you, I won't give a play by play, because it was pretty traumatic. Needless to say, the doors are redone, hung (actually close) and lock (just in case you are planning to rob me). Remember the dilemma of the front door -- what to do? Paint, take it down to it's natural wood? Here it is before...
And here (after much stripping)...
I got all kinds of advice: Leave it, paint it, take it down to it's natural wood. My husband's suggestion was to perhaps check myself into a program. Ann thought this was a little too rustic. Coming from someone who loves everything rustic, I had to keep going and I'm happy I did. What do you think?
And yes, my windows are always that clean.

I glazed it with a white wash stain so it wouldn't look too orange.
 I think it works with the rest of the house except that it made my other door look very sad and decrepit. It's metal with dents (character) and it has a doggie door. Here's the thing. We don't have a dog. 
I set out to redo this door. Why? You ask. It looks like it belongs on a brownstone on Sesame Street. Behold, I have a vision. 
Which is totally shot down when this happens. See here. So after ALL of that...
I ended up with this. Design is a process, right? Since I couldn't decide whether or not to paint, I did one of each. This makes my laundry room that much more fun. See what it opens into here. Was it worth it you ask? No. Not at all. Waaaayyyy too much work for a girl who hates to paint, strip. etc. 

Bye bye birdie,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Missoni Mahem

7:25 pick up carpool by accident. Not my day to drive
7:40 Must be sign from God 
7:55 Pull in Target parking lot with more luxury SUV's than private carpool line.
7:58 Feeling out of place in pajamas and VW mini-van with gum stuck to side.
7:59 Casually elbow girl with blown-out hair getting out of black Escalade to get in front of door
8:00 Bee line for Missoni racks. 
Can't run because wearing these. 
 Mean girl puts all of the luggage in her cart because she has  been up since midnight crashing Target site (must get life) and is filling up her cart to decide later what she is keeping. Evidently she is traveling around the world. 

I snag one of the bags on left for my "must have, can't live without work tote". Laptop, paint deck, measuring tape. I mean, how professional am I? 
Mean girl thought she needed this dress too (in every size, just in case she becomes pregnant or bulimic) so I only got the sweater. Still, it was a score. 

Really wanted every single home item they had but was starting to feel like a one trick pony who decorates only in zig zag. Almost bought these for the client that is getting this delivered to her living room tomorrow morning....
This is not Missoni. It is an antique patch-work Oriental over- dyed in Fuchsia. It's killer in person. Couldn't you just see the pillows on a Charcoal Sofa like this one from Jonathan Adler... 
They certainly would have been a nice touch with...
a tray like this on her waterfall lucite table...
Oh yeah, I would be seeing all of that in my client's living room tomorrow if mean girl hadn't taken them all. 

9:00 Done shopping. Having buyer's remorse, may have to take Missoni Must Haves back to Target in order to be able to afford groceries.

Did you "Expect More and Pay Less" (than real Missoni) today? What did you score?

Mean girl, if you are reading this: Don't wear all of the pieces at once. It looks good in the ad, but not in real life.

Bye bye birdie,

credit to: Fashionista, Target, Jonathan Adler
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