Category Archives: House

Slowly but surely

img_1349To fill the bookshelves up (sorry for the old photo – the ugly ceiling fan is no longer!), we have been buying vintage and antique books.  Clearly we will need a lot of ’em!  Boom and I have recently gotten into a rhythm of going to thrift stores on Saturday morning.   I really never thought I’d see the day when Boom and I would “thrifting” together, but it has been fun!  and I think he has kinda gotten into it.  I know going to thrift stores is not his favorite thing to do, but since we have also been antiquing, he is used to seeing old things in sometimes messy places.

And he is pretty good at it – he spied this find last Saturday:

img_2431A set of 20 classics from the 1940s – aren’t they pretty?!  We got these guys for a mere $45!

And then Sunday we went by Half-Price Books (which is an amazing book store – books are cheap, and there are tons of them!) where we got this:

img_243219 (we are missing a few) Mark Twains from the 1900s – really pretty as well.  These guys were around $80. Still not too bad, as the books S and I were buying before this were about $10 a piece.  So anything less than that is a good deal to me.  And we were buying books based soley on their spine and how they looked – now Boom says he would prefer to buy books that we might actually read (a lot of the books S and I got were also not in English).

img_2433We thought these were hilarious – “The Handbook of TEXAS” – from 1952.  These were $10 a piece, but just too funny to pass up.  And also a very pretty blue.  Books look so much better with their dust jackets off!

Half Price Books also has a thing where you can get “Books by the Yard” – so a box of hardback books for $17.50!  We may need to start doing that, but I really like the older books.  We’ll get there, one Saturday at a time!

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Weekend purchases

I got a harried txt msg from my friend / interior designer on Friday – Go to Brown on W. Alabama!  They are having a huge sale – you can get floor lamps, table lamps and tchoskies.

I decided that Boom and I should go to Brown (I had been there before – and liked the stuff she has!) right when it opened on Saturday.  So, after running 10 miles, we headed over to Brown and were there by 10:04am.  I figured it would be best to be there early to get the pick of the litter and I had a work brunch that I had to be at by 1130am, so we were on a kinda tight schedule.

Brown has a ton of old / new / vintage / antique lighting – and a little bit of furniture and random tchoskies.  We ended up getting a bunch of stuff!  And at a pretty good price, but it was still a lot to purchase all at once.

A “trophy” lamp – could be used in Boom’s office, or maybe in the living room.  It is quite large – somehow in the store it didn’t seem that big to us.  It’s old, but newly rewired.

An old, handmade milk jug.  I think this is so cute!  And I love how it looks in the house – gives the hallway more personality and is really nice to have something old and beautiful in such a new house.

An old Belgium table – wood top with an iron base.  It is heavy (per Boom, who had to carry it from the store to the car, and then from car to inside house).  I am not sure where we will use it – maybe as a coffee table in the upstairs landing media area?  Regardless, I really love it so it will be put to good use somewhere.

An awesome chandelier!  I love love LOVE this piece!  It is an original design of Jill Brown (store owner) – she uses old parts that she gets in Europe, and fashions them into a chandelier.  So it has the feeling of something old, but works like new.  And it is huge – 4 feet long!  But that is perfect for our living room – it has high ceilings.  So we’ll be getting rid of our ceiling fan and putting this chandy in it’s place.  It will really help lower the ceiling.  And the blue-ish gray paint is perfect for our color scheme!

Boom and the shop owner really bonded after I had left for my brunch – he had to get the checkbook – so when he came back, they really chatted it up.  Which is great – she seems like a nice lady – and has great taste!  She really loves the things she is selling.  I want 2 of the same ceiling lanterns to put over the rectangular kitchen table we’ll be getting at some point.  and I suspect I’ll be getting them from Brown.

Slowly but surely we are getting the living room in order.  Just have multiple rooms to go (and the living room is not done, by any stretch of the imagination)!  My mantra – it’s a marathon not a sprint!

Designer & DIY

I have been working with a really great designer (and friend!) to get our main living room situated. After my first, kinda horrible experience with working with a decorator, S is a wonderful change. Helps that S is an actual interior designer, and not just a decorator. Her approach – to find something of inspiration and build the room around that – was new to me (but I’ve never worked with a designer) and really great. So that you are the main reflection of the room and not items. Not sure if I am making sense, but just know that she is great to work with and just a great gal.

Anyway, here is a preview of some of the fabrics we have picked out:

Obviously, our colors will be mainly blue and brown. With the cream walls and woodwork, brown cabinets in the kitchen, and brownish granite throughout, we couldn’t go too wild with the colors. The bold blue and brown patterned fabric will be on our sofa (!) and it is a green fabric – 100% recycled polyester. Which totally rocks, as it means it will wear like iron. We are nearly ready to order to sofa – just had to get over the sticker shock! Custom, designer furniture isn’t cheap – the upside is that the sofa will last forever.

S suggested that we wallpaper the back of our bookshelves to bring some color and texture into the room. However, Boom is not convinced. So I think we are going to just paint the back of the bookshelves for now – a more cost effective option as well. And, if we want, in the future we could add wallpaper.

We’re also deciding on a rug:

It is hard to see the patterns in the photo – I think we will go with the lighter one in the top left – it has a cute hexagonal pattern, and is a nice contrast to the floors and will bring in the lighter color of the draperies (whenever we get to that).

With all the stuff we need to get for the house, and the fact that I have lots of time on my hands, I have started making window treatments for the little windows we have upstairs. The first one I made was for the mud room window. Yesterday I made a “practice” Roman shade for my craft room bathroom (the last Roman shade I made was likely 5 years ago, so I needed to refresh my memory with something).

It’s made out of a canvas painter’s drop cloth! I love the weight and look of the natural canvas. I bought a really big drop cloth back in Richmond for my silk screening class (I cut it up and printed on the cut pieces), and had a lot left over. I remembered reading about a sofa that someone upholstered in a drop cloth, and figured it would be just fine to make a Roman shade out of it (and I like using items for things they are not meant to be used for – keeps things interesting). I added the black felt scalloped bottom edge, otherwise I felt it was way too plain. I need to buy a cleat and maybe a tassel for the end of the cord, and I will be done! I am fairly pleased with how it turned out.

Today I am going to finish up the balloon Roman shade (not sure if that is the official name for what I am making, but I’m going to go with it) I am making for the middle guest room. Al and Park will be staying there when they come visit – nothing like impending house guests to spur me onto start and finish house projects!

I think I’ll also start hanging things on our bare walls! Woo hoo – exciting times!

Exciting Times

Two very exciting things happened this weekend:

1) We finally cleaned out our two-car garage and now have enough space to fit both cars in it!  Woohoo!

2) Boom put up a keyless entry garage door opener!  And it works!  (It is the little white-ish thing on the garage door frame – far left – in the photo above.)

If we are really dirty and want to take off our shoes before traipsing all over the house, now we can get into the garage.

This home improvement project was not really very painful at all – which was great.  I do have to take a good amount of the credit – I was Boom’s sous-handy gal.  I got all the tools ready and plugged into extension cords, etc.  So I credit myself partially with why the project went so smoothly.  Yay me!

Recent Crafts

A little peek into all the crafts I have been up to lately…

Coasters! I have really been into making coasters – they are easy, cute and useful! Who can’t use more coasters? I’ll be sending out a belate birthday treat today.

A little scrapping – made a book of Richmond peeps! The photo is the front of the page and I put patterned paper on the back with a tiny bit of journaling (mainly just who is in the photos) and embellished with ribbons and buttons (used up all my buttons – yay!). Yarbs had done this and it was so cute! I made the front and back from chipboard and covered with coordinating patterned paper (all the paper was coordinating, so that made things much easier). I really loved the way this turned out!

Zippered bags – I found a couple tutorials on-line and made them! I wish I still had the tutorials handy, as I need to make some more bags. Not to complicated, but I still find sewing in a zipper kinda difficult.  (Can you tell I love my woven tags I got off Etsy?!  I put them on everything!)

Drawstring bag – I found a tutorial on-line (again, don’t have it handy, which stinks) and literally it took me 10-15mins to make this bag! I embroidered it with a Sublime Stitching pattern that I had – and it is me! Notice the black hair and the stylish green coat 😉 I loved this project as it was easy to make the bag, but the embroidery brings a little something fancy to an otherwise utilitarian object (shoe bag for traveling). I think bags like this will also make fun gifts!

And last but not least, a house craft project: a box pleat valance in the laundry room with mini ball trim. I consider it a little mascara on a very plain Jane – makes the room seem a bit more finished, that someone is thinking deliberately about it.

Before:

After:

It is cute enough – I was going to do something with red in the fabric, but I thought that would be to matchy-matchy. Since the laundry room doesn’t need a lot of privacy, I went with just a valance, so as to keep the natural light shining in. I am going to make roman blinds for all of the bathrooms, so this was a little practice for me (not in roman shades – clearly – but just in dealing with windows again and everything that goes into making window treatments). At least all the bathroom windows are small!

Finished!

Well, nearly… the painters just have to come back tomorrow to do some touch-ups here and there…

Here is how the den looked before:

We had the sides of the mantle changed (they used to be these ornate swirly things) which is why they are not stained in the photo above.

And here is what they look like now:

It looks very traditional to me right now – we are planning to either paint or put some wallpaper on the backs of the shelves – that will help spice it up a little.  I really think it looks great – a vast improvement!  Just lighter (duh) and more my speed.  I am not too fond of dark stained wood (unless in a library or office).  Now I am kinda wondering if the brown ceiling fan looks out of place…

I am just glad that our E.T. -esque house is no longer.

We just need to get furniture that is the correct scale for the room.  {S, the designer, has 4 possible layouts she has come up with – I am excited to see them!  And she is presenting a few colorways, something that we can start from.  Can’t wait!}  And a TV and all the jazz that comes with having a home theater system.  (Sigh) There is a lot to do, but I just have to remember it is a marathon, not a sprint!

E.T.-esque

This is my house currently:

Downstairs

Upstairs

Doesn’t it look like a scene from E.T.?  or at least that we are under quarantine for some reason.

I am so ready for them to be done!  It will all be worth it in the end.  I just have to keep repeating that to myself…