Monthly Archives: May 2011

House Tour/Recovering a Chair

I hope that everyone enjoyed a fun Memorial Day celebration! If you’re a local central Virginian, then how about this HEAT?! Yikes…Hope you have a pool or lake to find refuge in!!

For today’s post, I want to reveal my second “cover up” project using the fabric I bought from JoAnn’s a couple of weeks ago.  I am still so giddy and in love with the patterns we found – You can bet your booty I’m going to find a way to put it up in as many places as possible in the studio.

For “cover up” project number two, I decided to tackle my desk chair – It has a padded upholstered seat, so it was PERFECT for the new fabric. You may remember from the original post that the cream background of one of the fabrics (the one I decided to use for this DIY project) was a little see-through…But luckily, the chair fabric I ended up covering was a solid yellow color – No bold patterns to sneak through! Here’s the chair before:

Oh, and before you start thinking that we suddenly managed to get beautiful, dark-stained hardwood floors, alas I must shake my head “no”…I took this project over to one of my good friends’ house (P.S. She’s also a fellow blogger) – Bonnie and I have actually known each other pretty much since birth and grew up across the street from one another. I remember running across the street all the time to tap on her front door to ask her mom if she could come out to play – Ah the joys of growing up on a quiet cul-de-sac…I love that the majority of my girl friends are ladies I’ve known since we were toddlers!!

But enough reminiscing! This friend is not only a fellow blogger, but someone who has the same “nesting” instincts and craft-obsessed mind that I do. Her and her husband’s home is TO DIE FOR! I wish that I could share a picture of every detail because all of Bonnie’s home-made and vintage pieces make me drool with envy, but I didn’t prepare her for a photo shoot ahead of time.

But here are a few photos that I managed to capture in between project steps:

I L-O-V-E the cheery yellow color in their kitchen!! There’s nothing home-y-er then an inviting kitchen…I can only dream of our kitchen one day being as inviting as this little oasis. And all of the extra storage she’s managed to create in this little corner blows me away! Check out her spice and utensil rack, which I’m guessing originated from Ikea – STILL haven’t been to that store yet! Gotta get with the times…

A couple of fun, pretty accents like the framed print, colorful apron and bowl of fresh flowers really turns this room into a focal point. I love leaning in the doorway and chatting with her while she bustles around like the good housewife she is 🙂

Oh and did you notice the adorable dog silhouette in the peek-a-boo of the living room through the open doorways? That’s one of their two beloved dogs – Such a great way to pay homage to your pets!

Below is the gallery wall that she put together in their dining room – I love the subject matter of family that she ran with, complete with generations of wedding portraits, an “R” for their last name initial and photos of friends and family trips. Also love the graphic fleur-de-lis too!

She and I spoke for several minutes over the shelf pictured below – What a creative way to find extra storage over an open doorway!!! And it’s a way to store the “pretty” things that need a place to live too – Like the little bird-shaped canister that she picked up from Anthropology. This wouldn’t be too difficult to put together either…A little wood, decorative shelf anchors, some white paint and nails/screws and you’ve got it – Thanks for the tip, Bonnie!

Hopefully (with her permission) we can revisit her house for a full tour?? Crossing my fingers!

But back to the chair 🙂

So first, I flipped it over and detached the chair seat from the wooden frame using a screw driver:

Then I laid out the new fabric over the detached seat until I found a layout I liked. I wanted one of the graphic flowers in the fabric to be centered, but it was hard work deciding on which one! I knew I wanted one with a pop of yellow, so this final arrangement was eventually given the nod of approval by both ladies in attendance…I also love that a tiny bit of the rest of the flowers are shown in the corners.

Time to staple! Unfortunately, this is where I ran into a bit of a hiccup (and when Bonnie’s husband, Todd, probably started to resent the fact that I had set up shop in their dining room ;)) – My beloved staple gun, the one that I used for this project (although it ended up being too strong) and this project, wasn’t doing a very good job.

I.E. it FAILED completely!

This is what the staples looked like when I tried to put them through the back of the wooden seat (and had to pull them back out again):

Didn’t even put a dent in the wood – They just gave right in to the pressure. After about ten minutes of each of us trying our hand at it, Bonnie finally went out to find Todd. We eventually decided the best thing to do was to abandon my new staple gun and go with their own old staple gun, passed down through the men in their family.

This old trusty version of my spanking new gun worked without a single accident. Definitely put modern tools to shame! We eventually figured out that my staples were too long and too blunt on the ends to make it through the project…HUGE “Thanks!!” to the “R” family for loaning me a piece from their fabulous tool supply!!

We went from pulling out staple after ruined staple…

…to this! No more bent metal 🙂

To complete the project, I just used the same technique I went through when I covered the painting – Pull the fabric lightly taut (don’t want it to be TOO stretched), put staples in the middle of all four sides and work your way out from the center one side at a time. Then I did four “hospital corners” to finish everything off!

All done!

All that was left was to set it back on the wooden frame and screw the hardware back in! Bonnie graciously helped me with this part (did I mention that the poor girl was trying to work on her OWN project – painting a table and set of chairs – but I continually pulled her away from it?? I am looking forward to returning her many favors throughout this project some day soooooon). She even lent me another of her AMAZING tools for this step:

Highly recommend this…It’s small – Really just fits in your hand, but is GREAT for a little power when screwing in small stuff.

Thirty seconds later, we were all done!

Even though the solid color of the original fabric would have matched the green/white/teal/yellow theme I’ve got going in the studio, this pattern is a bit more cheery and fun. I haven’t moved my desk into the house yet so I don’t have a FINAL “After” shot of it all in place, but you know I’ll post it as soon as it’s ready!

Thanks again to Bonnie and Todd for letting me bring our blog to their house!! It was so much fun to gab with a friend while I worked on this project (John’s more of a get-things-done kind of helper :)) Hope we can revisit their lovely home again in the near future!

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Monday Inspiration: “Secrets from a Stylist”

We all have someone or something that we try to emulate – That person for me is definitely Emily Henderson, designer and host of HGTV’s “Secrets from a Stylist“. I mentioned her in a “Monday Inspiration” post of yore, but I feel like she deserves a full post given how much inspiration she provides me with.

Lately, I’ve been spending my lunch breaks at work watching full episodes of the show – I consider it “research” for our home projects and for this blog as well! As soon as the credits roll at the end of the show, I’m itching to watch another…Her style is just so similar to my tastes, not to mention, she’s a PRO thrifter.

Although her show centers on the individual “style diagnosis” of her two clients, she tends to work in 1960’s/70’s era pieces no matter what – I am getting the feeling that this is EMILY’S style working its way in. Thankfully, as you all know, this is my favorite era of decorating and architecture, so I eat up all of the little tips and tricks she divulges.

I’ve also gotten to know her a little through social media – Namely her Twitter account and her blog. She actually seems like a pretty raw, blunt person.

Here’s one of her recent chuckle-worthy post blurbs:

If you can’t read it:

“Hey guys,

I’m in a massive hurry, must go to boxing before shooting the reveal today.  

Yes, i box now.  Yes, i’m a bad-*ss.  Its in one of those gyms that only has a boxing ring.  Which i realized (with many witnesses) that I have been calling a ‘boxing rink’ for way too long.  Sort of unacceptable, but possible adorable? eh? eh?”

Or this little rant:

“Sometimes I feel so sorry for any ‘public’ figure who doesn’t have a direct relationship with their audience. With all the criticism that is out there, to know that i have such support makes me never really doubt my future – career-wise.  Everyone should start a blog,  I mean, if Obama had a blog about how hard it is to balance world domination and a hot wife, i would totally read it and love him even more.  

Being human is insanely interesting. 

Back to the show.”

She’s not afraid to be sarcastic and crass in her public posts and is a tell-all kind of celeb – I love that!!

One example of this: She recently posted candidly about an emotional breakdown she experienced after overworking herself. She’s not afraid to talk about getting overwhelmed, but still loves her job despite the headache it can sometimes be. I like that about her!

You can read the whole post about her low moment here. And, in case you’re considering not checking out her blog, here’s a little excerpt to make you too curious to miss out:

“I totally lost it. Face contortions. Guttural noises.  Yeah, the ‘pretty’ stuff.  

It’s almost as if I was President of the United States Of America trying to stop a recession, restore the hope of a nation, and find and kill a d*ck head terrorist, whilst stopping child illiteracy, etc.  

Yep. just like that.”

She’s definitely not going to sugar coat anything…And sorry if her language offends anyone. I get a kick out of it, but “to each his own”!

ANYWAY, let’s get to the good stuff – The part where I show you exactly why I consider this woman to be my mid-century design idol…

Below are just a few photos of her work. Pay close attention to the accessories – I think that’s my favorite part of her looks. They are always unique and playful and REALLY set the mood and tone of her spaces. Isn’t it kind of funny to think that a side table or lamp are the reason a room works so well and not so much the paint color or rug (although let me say, she finds some AMAZING rugs)? I think she’s shown me that it’s in the LITTLE things.

Loving the enlarged black and white NYC print on the wall in the photo above…Reminds me of the inspiration she gave me for this DreamGreenDIY post and our own b&w New York print.

How bout that floor lamp above?? I think I audibly gasped when she found that a second-hand store…It’s basic and industrial and I love it. Also, take a look at all of those quirky accessories on the shelving unit – A great way to show off the things you accumulate in life. Lord knows I’ve got my fair share…

I haven’t even seen the episode that features the final look pictured below, but I can already tell you it’s my favorite. Looks like something Holly Golightly would live in.

Love the wallpaper. Love the furniture. Love the art and how its hung. Love the rug. Just love…

Oh and one more item to add to my “List of Things to do Before I Die”: Go thrift store shopping with Emily Henderson.

Just look at these photos from one of her many shopping trips around L.A. – I’m drooling over here:

For full resources if you’re a local L.A. resident (soooo jealous if you are), check out her full post here.

Sorry for the Emily Henderson gush fest (which essentially is the best way to describe this 800+ word post…) but if you ever want to know what makes my heart go pitter-patter, just watch this show! It actually just had its first season finale, but you can still watch them online!

Happy viewing 🙂

P.S. Just got GREAT news in my email inbox! is giving away FREE address labels!! I got 28 of these adorable labels (with our info, of course…):

…for a little over $2 in shipping =) Just copy/paste this coupon code into the little box for promotions: ANRJ-ABY9-MTNA-5JM0SBCheck out my savings:


(Photo credit for all images of Emily Henderson design and text: here)

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What Ever Happened to Uncle Bob???

For those of you who jumped on the band wagon with our old couch, affectionately named “Uncle Bob”, and wonder where he went – Have no fear 🙂 He’s now living it up in the finished basement along with the white pull-out sofa (she doesn’t have a name yet…Anyone wanna take a crack at coming up with something?).

When Uncle Bob was lord of the living room, he seemed a little out of place…An open living room with a window letting streams of light flood in needed something sleeker and smaller – Something that wouldn’t block that amazing light and would let your eye take the room in visually without interruption. I know John probably disagrees with me on this one (we can’t see eye-to-eye on EVERYTHING of course…), but that couch wasn’t the “airy” type.

However, “airy” is definitely the word to describe our new couch. While Uncle Bob’s bulk sort of sucked all of the attention (not to mention literally blocked much of the window), the new couch is more subtle.

I’ll be honest with you (if you haven’t already guessed), I wasn’t a big fan of the old couch. But now I’m eating my words…

I truly can’t explain it, but it actually looks much better in the basement! It’s like he’s this whole new uncle! Someone who is warm and friendly – Someone whose knee you actually want to sit on and listen to him tell stories.

Okay, enough with the creepy family member analogies – You can make your own opinion, but I’m MUCH more inclusive of Uncle Bob now! Or should I say Uncle Robert?? (No offense to anyone with an actual Uncle Bob…)

We brought in the oriental rug and wooden coffee table that I had at my apartment, and also put up the framed records again:

You may remember that they used to be in the original living room set up:

Oh, and here’s an older photo so you can see what the basement looked like before we brought Uncle Bob down:

Before, it was a general catch-all for fixtures, lamps and furniture that got kicked out of the upstairs as we started to collect new pieces – No place to sit and enjoy the TV or to hang out.

It’s much more home-y now 🙂

Here’s my second big honest moment of the day: I might actually by more excited about the basement den then I am our new living room!!! As you saw in the “Before” shot of the basement, it was more a pass-through then a nice place to live in and linger. But NOW, it exudes comfort and seclusion and offers us such a nice place to get away from it all.

You may have noticed that the photos of the finished room are pretty dark and moody – That was on purpose. There aren’t any windows down there, so there’s not much light. But the soft glow from the floor lamp is all you really need! I am a long-time sufferer of MONSTROUS headaches and a migraine or two each month – This dark, quiet room is definitely going to be my hideaway for those days that the light from my cell phone is too much.

Our new “den” is great for curling up and watching an old movie or episode of “Mad Men” – It’s also a great place for John to relax with his guy friends while I stay upstairs with my lady friends, or vice versa. I’m SO thankful that we have this new comfy place to live and enjoy the house and each other.

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“Thrift Store SCORE(s)!” of the Week {5/26/11}

We’ve got TWO treasures for you today! For those who checked out our big new-couch-reveal on Tuesday, you may have noticed these two newly-thrifted pieces. Although both made it into a couple of the photos, I purposely avoided gushing about them because I wanted to use them in this week’s “SCORE!”. I am finally going to let you all know just how much I ADORE these two small-but-rad thrifted pieces.

The first is a brass magazine holder that we placed next to the brand new sofa. It’s perfect for wrangling in our growing collection of car/motorcycle mags, furniture and accessory catalogs and various DIY home reno/redecoration monthlies.

I love the quirky ridges every few inches, almost like faux bamboo shoots, along the curvy-but-straight lines – It’s one of those fun conversation pieces that I think really speaks to the mid-century modern era that we loooooove. There were actually two of them at the store, so I may go back and snag the other for a different room in the house…

The piece was listed for $20 but I know I got it for a discounted price. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly know what it was…The sweet lady there tends to look at my pile of soon-to-be purchases on the counter and tosses out a number like “How’s $18 for everything?” to which I nod excitedly and repeat “Thank you!” over and over. It was probably somewhere around $13 (I ended up getting this mag rack, the two pieces I’m about to show you, the pair of new(-to-us) office chairs and a hardcover book on Williamsburg for my mom for a little over $40 – a STEAL!)

Anyways, I love it. I feel like it’s something that Emily Henderson would have picked up and that excites me to no end (more on her again this Monday).

But now on to our “Thrift Store SCORE!” #2: Marble horse head book ends!

I actually spotted these the last time I was at the thrift store, but I guess I needed a couple of weeks to mull it over in my head…I just couldn’t pass the pair up a second time around. They are surprisingly heavy (well I guess not that “surprising” since I already told you they are carved marble) and can easily hold their own against a few books standing on the new side table.

I kind of like the far-away shot below too (which was shown in Tuesday’s reveal) because you can really see the lines of the profile and also the variation in tone – As you probably noticed from the close ups above, there are all sorts of orange and caramel-colored lines and spots in the stone.

And at $3 for the set, there was no way I could leave these two quirky pieces behind a second time!

I think “conversation pieces” are my new obsession – Items that are random but speak to a certain era and make people want to take a closer look. I don’t want any of the rooms in our house to be walked through – I don’t know about John, but my goal is to buy things that add a little “Oomph!” and get people talking. The best thing about thrifted pieces is the story that goes along with them, so I hope that guests will feel drawn to ask!

Happy thrifting 🙂

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New Uses for an Old Thing: Tabletop File Box

We are back with another installment of “New Uses for an Old Thing”, inspired by the Real Simple version – If you’ll remember, our first household-tool-re-purpose involved felt pads and the many handy things they can be used for. Today, we will be talking about tabletop file boxes!

To clarify what I’m talking about, I mean the hard-sided boxes that you can buy at places like Target, Wal Mart, Office Max, etc. to hold none other than files!! They come in all shapes and colors, but I tend to go for the modern/urban metal sort. These are the two that I picked up at Target for about $8 each.

Now, of course given the title of this post, you know that I did not use them for files (even though I have one exactly like it that I DO use for filing)…I had two particular tricks up my sleeve for these, although they could really be used for so much more than what I’m about to demonstrate.

For instance, they could be used in a kitchen pantry to hold all sorts of things (boxes of pasta, individually packaged crackers or chips, etc.), they could be used to hold plastic grocery bags, or for storing magazines beside the chair in your favorite reading nook. The possibilities are endless!

But for today’s post, I wanted to show you how I used the two that I bought for storage in our master bathroom and in the studio closet.

First, the one in the master bathroom is now acting as much-needed storage to keep the counter top clean and free of hair appliances, namely a hair dryer and straightener. Here’s what the counter looked like each weekend morning when I have to go through my hair routine:

Both are super easy to store when cool – You just wrap the cords around the handle, stick them in a drawer and you are good to go! However, all us girls know that these things are hot hot HOT right after use and can’t be stuck into a drawer without some kind of fire or melting hazard. So I am forced to let them cool before putting them away, taking up valuable counter real estate while they’re at it…

Recently while brushing my teeth, I noticed just how much white wall space there was to the left of the sink (try to ignore the spackled holes in the wall that we need to paint over…):

I contemplated a glass shelf or two but those can get pricey and the two appliances wouldn’t be very steady on an open-edged shelf.

Then I had the light bulb moment that led to this post – Mesh file box to the rescue!

After a few quick turns of a drill bit and a screwdriver (thanks to my patient and sweet boyfriend), the box was up on the wall and ready for action:

Time to fill ‘er up!

I love counter tops free of clutter…

Granted, it’s not the most BEAUTIFUL solution, but it does the job and it does it safely. Both the hair dryer and the straightener can go into the mesh box even when hot because the metal can take the heat – With that said though, I WILL be careful to curl up the cords so that they don’t get “cooked” 🙂

New Use for Old Thing score number 1!!!

Next on the list was to take care of some storage issues in the studio closet, which is now home to pretty much anything from decorations and pillows, to art supplies and curtain rods. For this particular project we worked on organizing my wrapping supplies because the tall tupperware I’ve been using was looking a little overstuffed:

So after a little more drilling and screwing (insert “that’s what she said” joke here), we had the box mounted on the inside of the door:

Then I nestled into the carpet for some good old-fashioned fun sorting the wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper and boxes 🙂 Is it weird that I absolutely love sorting? ::happy sigh::

This is what I was left with:

This is around the time that I realized that I had more stuff then I thought…There was no way that all of it was going to fit in the mesh file box. So the little gift boxes went back into the original tall tupperware with the wrapping paper tubes on top:

It’s definitely much more organized now though!

Then it was just a matter of putting the pile of gift bags into the newly mounted file box – Luckily, they fit like a charm!I was then left with the mountain of tissue paper. You’d think that stuff would be easy to store given its see-through-thin thickness, but I guess in bulk it adds up fast. Oh and YES I keep tissue paper from gifts! I lay it out flat, fold it like a napkin and put it away for later use – Why not reuse it!? I do throw it away if it gets torn though…

ANYWAY 😉 I knew that I wasn’t going to able to fit that in the new storage box on the door either, so I popped it all into a gift bag that could hold it…

…and stuck a 3M hook up on the door beneath the file box (sorry for the visible black dog hairs):

All done!

And don’t worry, the door will still close even with the added bulk. You can see in the picture below (taken by yours truly while standing inside the closet) that it just barely misses one of my white shelving units:

New Use for Old Thing score number 2!!!

Gotta love extra storage in places that may otherwise just go unused 🙂

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Welcome Home, New Couch!

You know that feeling you get when you’ve done a certain something to a room that makes you just GIDDY to walk into it? Yeah. That’s us right now…

The new couch is here and looking SNAZYYY!!! I would like to apologize in advance for the plethora of pictures that are about to fill your computer screen. Just pretend I’m a proud new mama and each time I show you another photo of my “baby” (which is essentially EXACTLY like the last one), you’ll just smile and say “awwww” 🙂

For the “Before” pictures, I’m going to take you WAYYYYY back to what the living room looked like in March, with all sorts of colors going on and mismatched furniture – It wasn’t a BAD look, but it’s definitely evolved into something easier on the eyes:

This was before our thrifted mid-century TV stand, our cornice board, oak shelves, the new pillows (which were the inspiration for all the other changes to the room), and a few other little things. I actually don’t hate what’s going on in the photo, but it DOES look a little college dorm-y…

Here’s a more recent “Before” shot of the room with all of the new (well, new to us) touches that we’ve added and some that we’ve built by hand along the way:

And without further adieu…Here’s what it looks like today with the new couch as the crowning feature!

As you can see, we also snagged a couple of 70’s office chairs (for just $12 apiece!) and added those to the side for extra seating.

They are surprisingly comfortable and give off that certain “vibe” we are looking for. Although, I just noticed after seeing them in the photo that they do look a little skinny and “office waiting room” (isn’t it funny what you can read in a photo that you don’t notice in person?) – But that’s easily fixed with a couple of added throw pillows or a drape-y blanket tossed over an arm I think 🙂

Our mid-century side table is also getting more of the limelight with it turned so that the drawer is accessible and you can actually see it…This is what it looked like before, sandwiched between the sofas:

But now it’s free to show off its legs and hardware beside the new twin chairs:

As you can see, the couch made the entire room and all the individual pieces come together. We love the simple, straight lines and think it makes everything feel a bit more sophisticated.

But what about Uncle Bob (i.e. the old couch)? Don’t you worry one bit! He’s found a new home in the finished basement along with the white loveseat. We actually ended up spending just as much time on that room as we did the living room this past weekend and we can’t wait to show you the results.

The basement is now a VERY cozy and warm den with tons of soft seating. The old couches look SO much better down there for some reason and have created a little oasis to get away from it all. I’m pretty sure I’ll never see John again because he’s loving his new space downstairs! We’ll try to post about that room sometime later this week.

But here’s one last photo of the new “baby” 🙂

What do you guys think?? Have you made any big purchases lately that change the entire feel of a room?

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Monday Inspiration: “Flea Market Style”

Some of my favorite things:

  • The sounds of a thunderstorm
  • When my little cat curls up against me and takes a nap
  • The smells of a horse barn
  • The feeling I get when I finish a book
  • When John holds my hand
  • Singing
  • Sitting on the back porch with my parents at their house on a Summer evening
  • Saturday mornings
  • and thrifting!!!

You’re probably sick of hearing about my thrifting adventures, but today’s inspiration post is all about our love for the past time. There is absolutely no denying that our second-hand treasures influence our style – They essentially ARE our styles! I love seeing the individual (sometimes random) pieces go with one another and how each has a special story attached.

For instance, I will always remember the trip out-of-town that John, my sister and I took when we snagged our beautiful coffee table this past March:

Or the time we stumbled upon this fabulous old shelving unit with mail slots in the basement of Estate Specialist in town:

Even the smallest pieces are chock-full of memories and character – Like my owls and the bizarre succulent candle sticks:

Usually, it’s very easy to decorate using second-hand treasures – A lot of the time, I arrange the pieces by a certain color or unify them with a common theme (wooden objects with wooden objects, birds with other kids of birds, sharks and shells together for an oceanic look, etc.). The possibilities are endless and I love that! It’s so much fun to bring something home and recall a piece that would go really well with it – I am constantly rearranging things in the house, giving them a new life and keeping displays refreshing and unique.

One of the best resources I’ve found for tips on decorating with thrifted items, is Emily Chalmers’ and Ali Hanan’s “Flea Market Style”:

This book is FULL of beautiful glossy color photos (taken be Debi Treloar) of flea market stands overflowing with trinkets, light fixtures, textiles – Pretty much anything you can imagine! The rest of the book features photographs of homes that have incorporated these thrifted items to create a warm and inviting look to suit any kind of style – from traditional to modern.

The book even features a few DIY-ed pieces which you know I eat up and can’t wait to try out…

If you are into thrifting and want to learn how to make your random treasures seem cohesive and intentional, this is the book for you! As you can see, we have it sitting on the coffee table in the living room within easy reach to flip through on a whim. It’s provided me with TONS of inspiration and definitely validates our crazy eclectic style.

If you are interested in getting this book (which, as I’m sure you can tell, I highly recommend) just click here! And just so we are on the same page (pun intended), I was not perked whatsoever to talk about and recommend this book. I just fell in love with it and, if you can relate to our style in any way, I thought you might enjoy it too 🙂

P.S. The much-awaited “Couch Day” came and went last Friday and it was just as good as we had hoped!!! I’m going to give you the full scoop tomorrow but wanted to leave you with at least a tiny little nugget:

Be sure to check back tomorrow for ALL of the lovely angles!

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Attempted Cover-Up

I don’t know if it’s the artist in me or what, but in my opinion a room isn’t a room until it’s got art up on the walls…Luckily the hunt for the perfect print or the creation of something completely unique is part of the fun in adding life to a room’s blank walls!

As we work our way through our home redo, John and I have  utilized our shared interest in vintage pieces to create walls that scream “lived-in character”.

We’ve added a plate wall to the kitchen using mismatched plates we picked up on our many trips to second-hand shops, we hung a vintage print of NYC in the living room (after trying and failing on a certain art project several times…), created a gallery wall in the entry and used new paint and vibrant color photos to make the master bedroom exude urban charm.

It should then be a no-brainer that the new art studio needed something EXTRA special for the walls!

Here’s a reminder of the first piece hung on its newly painted teal walls:

I like the colors and the abstract character of the painting (picked up for $40 at Ross!), but I can’t stand the pink flower and upside down pink heart – cheesyyyy.

I had a little something up my sleeve though, which was later validated by a comment from one of my talented readers and fellow-bloggers:

Patterned fabric was definitely in the works – Not as curtains just yet (although, I think it will get taken to that point soon enough) but as artwork!

I gave you all a quick sneak peek of the two lengths of fabric I picked up at Jo-Ann Fabrics in this post, but here’s another glimpse:

As I already mentioned in that sneak peek, the plan was to cover the painting with one of the two patterns of fabric creating a brand new piece.

And that’s exactly what I did one evening this past week!

I started by laying the painting on the carpet in the studio and draping the two fabrics across it in turn to decide which to use:

Option #1 – Smaller Pattern:

Option #2 – Bigger Pattern:

I think I like the bigger pattern a TAD more but, for better or worse, the decision was made for me because you could see a bit of the painting’s bright colors through the light cream background of the second option…Option #1 it is!

So I moved the Ross painting out of the way and laid my fabric out upside-down on the carpet. It was easy to see that I had an extra step before I could start my stapling…

Needs some ironing! So I grabbed my iron and completely inadequate counter-top ironing board and got to work.

Can you tell that I don’t do much ironing?? I think I need to graduate to a full-size ironing board soon though for future projects like this one…

But anyway! After 20 minutes of struggling with ironing, the fabric was finally in tip-top smooth shape for wrapping the canvas 🙂

I laid it out on the floor upside-down again and then placed the canvas (also upside down) on top of the fabric.

And then, with my handy-dandy fancy new staple gun, I got to work pulling the fabric around the edges and stapling it in place. I started in the middle of each of the four sides and then went around again, putting two staples on either side of the first staple. I continued the slow process of working my way out from the center on each edge – This would ensure that the fabric was pulled evenly taut across the front of the canvas.

Last step: I gave the fabric the old hospital-corner treatment to finish everything off!

Some of the staples didn’t make it all the way into the wood of the frame though…So John helped by breaking out the hammer and making sure those suckers were IN there!

Before hammer treatment:

And after!

Moment of truth…Maybe it’s just me, but my heart is always in my throat when I do a upholstery recovering project and flip it over after all the pulling and stapling…Will it be straight? Did I pull too hard? Will there be huge creases in the fabric?

But I was fretting over nothing! It came out perfectly:

I wish I could say that I planned the pattern to be so centered, with the two rows of teal flowers perfectly parallel to the middle of the canvas, but that was definitely a happy accident 🙂

Up on the wall she goes!


And after!

Soooo much better then the original painting…I love the pattern and colors of the new fabric and look forward to using the coordinating fabric in possibly some curtain valances, other framed art for the walls and/or recovering my desk chair. I bought a yard and a half of each so I have plenty leftover for more projects 🙂

I’m going to do the humble thing and admit that this project wasn’t quite the CHEAPEST I’ve ever done…Here’s the breakdown:

  • Original painting from Ross: $40 and some change
  • 1 and 1/2 yards of option #1 fabric: $29.00
  • 1 and 1/2 yards of option #2 fabric: $29.00

BUT I was able to shave off $12 from the scary final $60-some cost of the fabric (after taxes) by asking the cashier if she had any coupons. She nodded, pulled a store flier out from under the counter and “beep” went her scanner! Never hurts to ask 🙂

Not too bad! And especially when you consider that I only used about a yard of option #1 fabric and NONE of option #2 fabric yet – Plus, I can still use the $40 painting from Ross as-is by removing the staples and fabric. So essentially I got three pieces of potential art out of it (not to mention the other projects I can do using the smaller fabric scraps).

Besides, I’m happy and that’s priceless right??

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

P.S. It’s finally “Couch Day”!!! John took today off so he will be able to oversee the delivery of our new “Big Box SCORE!” sometime between 9am and 12pm (which is the window the delivery guys gave him). Can’t wait to show it off next week!

UPDATE: See what we recently did with fabric option #2 here!

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“Thrift Store SCORE!” of the Week {5/19/11}

I don’t know what it is about our lifestyles these days, but people just can’t get enough of extra storage. I suppose it comes from the more materialistic tendencies of the current times (which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing…).

But for those of you living in old homes, I’m sure you know the trials and tribulations of finding places to store things. Back in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s home-owners just didn’t have that much STUFF, lending itself to teeny tiny closets.

Luckily, John and I are blessed with bookoos of storage – We’ve got a master bedroom closet that looks more like a small bedroom:

A linen closet that holds our entire collection of towels, sheets and comforters for any season/mood:

And a huge studio closet that managed to combine TWO of the small closets I had stuffed to the brim at my old apartment (which was built, you guessed it! Probably sometime in the 60’s):

But even with the luxury of having so much lovely hideaway space for our extra things, I still love finding another little nook for this and that. ESPECIALLY when it’s pretty 🙂 Take my hat boxes for example. Not only are they great for storing extra hand towels for the bathrooms, they are cute as can be just sitting on a shelf!

So, as I’m sure you can guess, all of this lead up has a purpose…This week’s “Thrift Store SCORE!” is yet another way the DreamGreen household is finding gorgeous ways to store our everyday items!

Meet our Lane cedar chest 🙂

This beautiful piece of furniture came from none other than our favorite go-to thrift shop: The Estate Specialist. It used to live at my old apartment holding my sweater collection, but it recently made the move to the new house to act as (word of the day – say it with me now!) storage! It also acts as much-needed extra seating in the living room, working double duty.

But let’s take a look at some of the details of this beautiful thrifted treasure…

Here’s a wide view of its seating ability – The top is completely sturdy and able to hold two people side-by-side with no effort at all. Someday I’d like to find a soft cushion for the top to make it a more comfy place to land your tush, but I’m finding that that’s harder to come by then I thought…Any suggestions??

Here’s an inside look at the grain of the cedar lining – So pretty…

That’s right, this baby is SEALED when the top is down…If you look back up a few photos, you’ll see a metal edging around the rim of the top – That’s what keeps the trunk air tight. Our new #1 house rule is to make sure there aren’t any living creatures (namely the two kitties that will soon be taking up residence there) in the trunk when you close it. There ain’t NO breathing room in there – Good for keeping sweaters and linens safe and dry, bad for oxygen-requiring organisms…

Probably why this brand is also burnt into the wood:

Unfortunately the piece didn’t come with a key when I picked it up at the thrift shop, but I’ve made up for it by being super anal about only keeping it open long enough to quickly grab something from its contents. Funny how something so pretty can be so dangerous…

But the GREAT thing about this trunk, the point I’ve been hinting at this entire post, is its storage!!! We’ve only got a couple throw blankets in there now (see photo below), but we could put some extra pillows in there or even turn it into our game storage or emergency central supply (flashlights, batteries, etc.) – We’ll see!

Even though it doesn’t have the mid-century vibe we usually go for, I think it’s a very pretty (and handy!) addition to the living room set up. We talked about it and realized that we don’t want to get COMPLETELY sucked up into obsessing over one era of decor. The point of a home is to fill it with pieces that you love, not to be a stark representation of one look or design style. So it may be the odd man out in a largely modern room, but we think that’s a-okay because it’s such a cool piece and we love it!

Happy thrifting!

P.S. ONE MORE DAY UNTIL “Couch Day”!!!! Tomorrow can’t come soon enough 🙂 And the relocation of the current couch is now complete – I wish I had brought my camera to document the process, but alas…The living room is now empty and waiting for its new centerpiece!

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Let’s “Shelf” This Project

Despite lamenting to my mother as a child in kindergarten that I would “NEVER be able to read” (picture huge little girl tears streaming down my face) I finally mastered the art 😉

As I mentioned here (at the bottom of the post), I am a HUGE fan of reading, doing it each spare moment I get to myself. It could be the latest issue of Do-It-Yourself or Dwell magazine, or it could be the new Candace Bushnell or Nicholas Sparks novel. When it comes to books I’ve been known to pick up classics, new-age, home improvement (duh!) and self-help – I just can’t get enough of learning and going off to some imaginary place/scene.

So with that said, I’ve got a lot of books…Here’s a reminder of what I recently moved into the house – It’s about 1/2 of my collection.

In my apartment, I housed my full collection in two matching black bookcases that my dad built for me (one of the two is seen to the right in the photo of my apartment below)

When we brought it over to the house last week, I realized that the black paint job was a little too stark for our color schemes…So I decided to go with a new crisp white finish. But I didn’t stop there! I also wanted to add a colored back to it – Sort of like this:

I felt like the unexpected pop of color peeking over the shelf’s contents added a fun touch of character. So using the studio’s color palette of teal, green and white, I decided to paint the back board of the shelf a pretty pale green.

After picking up a new long-handled paint roller, a quart of white Olympic paint in Satin finish and a sample size Olympic green “Quaking Grass” paint (also in Satin) we were in business!

I set up shop in the kitchen with a drop cloth we had from past painting projects and got to work. Here’s the shelf before it started its big makeover:

And then one coat of the white paint later (no edging done yet):

I wanted to use the roller for as much of it as I could and then got into the tighter spaces with an angled paint brush – Which is exactly what I did! Here’s the edges after one coat with the paint brush:

Not surprisingly, it took many coats to cover the black…I think I ended up doing 4 coats of the white, eventually getting a nice even finish.

Time for the green accent! After two coats, we were left with this:

I love how the crisp white and pale green soften the richness of the newly painted “Teal Zeal” walls of the studio (final room reveal in all its luxurious glory seen here)

Now you know I can’t stop with just a cute bookshelf…I have to arrange the books themselves in a fun way! After stumbling upon the image below (and pinning it to my Pinterest of course!), I knew I just HAD to try it:

I sometimes joke that my favorite color is the rainbow – There’s just something so visually appealing about seeing all those colors together in order (did I mention that I am seriously deranged when it comes to orderliness?). So I made a pile of books with red covers/spines, a pile of books with orange covers/spines, a pile of books with – Well…You probably get the idea.

So after a little blissful Type-A OCD reorganizing, I came away with the very final “After” product!

I’m a tiny bit bummed that you can’t see more of the newly painted green background, but I think that can be easily fixed by paring down my book collection.

As I said, I have a matching black (soon to be white and green) bookcase that goes with this one, but we are going to put that in the kitchen to house cookbooks, a stereo (because we like to jam out when cooking) and china. So I think I’m going to need another bookshelf, but that’s easy enough to find…

Thrift stores, here we come!

P.S. T-minus TWO days until “Couch Day”!

(Photo credit for inspiration painted bookshelf: here; Rainbow books: here)

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