Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Room Challenge: The Home Stretch!

I am astonished that we're already entering week five of Calling it Home's One Room Challenge!  One week left to finish up all my remaining projects and tie up loose ends...can I do it? Will it all come together? I have my doubts sometimes!

I really kicked some butt this week, if I say so myself. I finished up all  my painting projects, re-matted some artwork that I've had in storage, and upholstered an antique bench I've had hanging around for ages.

I picked up this little bench at a thrift shop for $5 over a year ago.

It's a true antique, and in remarkable, solid condition, but the upholstery was gross (and not original).


When I finally pried this weird wool boucle off the bench, I found an old layer of muslin, then wool batting and STRAW underneath that. And sooooo much dusty dirt. Eww. But kind of fascinating, too!

Some new foam, fabric and nailheads later, and I had this:

I love the lines on this bench, and the fabric really modernizes it. So happy! {Also...I am officially terrible at applying nailhead trim.}

I also painted the inside of my front door black this week. Like the rest of the world, I've been obsessed with black interior doors for ages, but haven't taken the plunge until now. I was sure I'd love it, but now I don't know. I'll definitely live with it for a while before I decide whether to keep it or paint it back. I'm also working on a new treatment for the window in the door, which should soften it a bit.

Do you think it makes the room look even smaller?

Still on my list for the home stretch is hanging artwork; making pillows and the roman shade for the door, and installing and styling everything. WISH ME LUCK!

Be sure to stop by Linda's blog to check out all the amazing bloggers and linking participants who are participating in the ORC!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Room Challenge: Week Four!

I can't believe it's already week FOUR. Seriously. Panic is starting to set in, folks. I accomplished a lot since my last post, but my to-do list is still pretty much monumental. Wish me luck!

In case you're just tuning in, I have been linking up with Linda at Calling it Home as I attempt to make over my living room, top to bottom, in six weeks. See my earlier posts here, or click on the button in my sidebar.

This week, I did a ton of painting. I painted some lamps (which I may or may not end up using in the room); I painted my coffee table; I'm working on painting my end tables; and I am starting on my front door next. I'm trying to get all the painting projects out of the way this week because I tend to dread them. Once I'm done with all the painting, I feel like it will be smooth sailing!

Here's one of my painting projects from this week. I wanted a large mirror to hang on the wall opposite the two windows in the living room, to help reflect sunlight and brighten the space. It needed to be big, and I wanted it to have an interesting shape, but I couldn't find anything affordable.

A few months ago, I picked up this sucker at a Goodwill store:

It's an old 1960s-era dresser mirror -- you can see the metal poles that connected it to the dresser in another life.  I thought the softly curved shape was pretty, so for $14.99, I snapped it up. And it's been sitting in my basement ever since!

This week, I dragged it out for a little makeover. As you can see, the original cream paint treatment needed some updating:


I decided to break out the gold leaf paint, which I've used before successfully, but not on anything this big...

I was happy with the results again this time, but WHOA...the fumes. I'm not usually all that sensitive to chemical odors, but this stuff just about knocked me out. At one point, I had to go outside and sit on the deck for a half hour because my hands were shaking and I felt tingling in my face. Scary!  This paint has a nice, liquidy consistency, though, and it covers well. Two coats later, here's what I had:


I really like how it turned out; I think the solid gold color helps show off the curvy shape of the frame.  I removed the hideous steel "legs," of course, and hung it on the wall using a cleat-style hanger like this one. If you've never tried one of these, I highly recommend them. They're the only type of hanger I trust for really heavy things - especially on my ancient plaster walls. update you on last week's lighting mom texted me on Saturday to tell me she had spotted a pretty, small scale semi-flush chandelier in local junk shop in her town. She attached this picture:

Hello! JUST what I was looking/hoping for. I jumped in my car and tore up to her town to check it out before the shop closed. Loved it. You can't tell from the photo, but it even has the original brass canopy, which is a huge plus. The best part was the price - $75!  Even if it needs rewiring, it's a bargain. Now I just have to coerce my dad to install it for me before the challenge concludes. :)

So this week, I'm happy to say I checked off  "add mirrors" from my original wish list for the room (I have another mirror I made over a while ago that I'll also be hanging up this week) and figured out my lighting situation.  Although I'm overwhelmed with my list of tasks still to accomplish, I'm gonna keep on truckin! See you back here next week for more updates.

In the meantime, be sure to check out all the fabulous bloggers who are participating in the One Room Challenge over at Calling it Home...things are getting really interesting!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Thrift Report: A Little Bit Exotic

Hi friends!  Just a few finds this week that I wanted to share. It was too beautiful this weekend - breezy, sunny and cool - to spend TOO much time in the thrift shops!

First of all, I'm kind of obsessed with this pair of serpent candlesticks that I bought at a local antique mall:

Aren't they so cool and glam? And perfect for this creepy crawly Halloween season.

I also picked up this big ol' ginger jar for $1.99 at a local Goodwill:


Right now, I'm planning to keep it and use it in my new living room. The colors are just perfect!

This vase is a bit of a mystery to me:


It's clearly old, and handmade. It's red clay underneath the glaze. I thought it was a Mexican piece, but the signature on the base appears to be Arabic. More research is in order, but for now it's pretty sitting on my bookshelf!

And finally, you know I can't resist a good Blanc de Chine statue...or two. :)


I pick up these two beauties at that same antique mall for a song. I love (of course!) the gold detailing, which makes them special.

How did you fare this weekend? Any special vintage finds?

Linking up with these fabulous friends:

A Living Space
The Dedicated House
The Cottage Market

Thursday, October 17, 2013

One Room Challenge: Week Three

Greetings friends! It's already the half-way point of the six week One Room Challenge! To recap, I am attempting to follow along with Linda at Calling it Home and her posse of super talented bloggers and make over a complete room in six weeks. Catch up from the beginning here.

So I'm just going to be honest and tell you that this week's progress was minimal. I did manage to update my drapes with some orange trim, which gives them a great punch of color. I actually just cut loooooong strips of fabric and fabric-glued them to the existing panels -- easy peasy. The hardest part was ironing the darn panels, which got all bunched up and wrinkly as I was working with them.


Otherwise, I got completely sidetracked with lighting issues. Or should I say, lighting fantasies.

Initially I didn't plan to replace the overhead fixture in this room as part of this makeover. I don't hate it entirely, and my budget is miniscule-to-nonexistant for this round, so lighting was off the table. But then I spotted a pretty vintage tole chandelier on Pinterest and I was suddenly plunged into lighting fantasy land. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, scouring my old Pinterest boards and stalking blogs for lighting options. I was obsessed.

This room is difficult, though. (I know; I keep saying that!)  It's so small, and the ceilings are only 8 ft.  Yet it's an old house, and I want my next fixture to be true to the home's era. So difficult - I can't have anything that hangs down very far, and nothing too new, too wide, too trendy, or too expensive! Here are some options I considered:

From Shades of Light, $195. I think it's a little too...MUCH for this room.
Totally love it, though!

This is the light that started my obsession, via eBay. It was too expensive,
though, and too hangy-downy. I'm pretty sure people would hit their heads
walking through the room.


I'm intrigued by this Eva Ceiling Mount from Ballard - very vintagey - but i'm not sure
how I feel about that bare bulb dangling from the middle.


And this Urban Outfitters shade is a long-time fave, and a bargain
(on sale right now for $49!). I think it would look great, but I really feel
like investing in something vintage, something that might have been in the house originally.
Speaking of what was in the house originally, have I shared with you the light fixture that was in the house when I bought it? Here's what the former owners installed after ripping out whatever the original light fixture was and painting the room baby blue:

Yes, friends, that's my living room before I moved in, complete with flying-saucer LED light fixture. It was literally the FIRST thing I changed when I took possession.
Anyhow, I'm not sure where things will end up on the lighting front. I have resolved to take my time and find a chandelier/fixture that I'll be permanently happy with - something that could have been original to the home. I'm stalking a couple promising lights on eBay currently, like this small-scale stunner:
But if that doesn't work out, or the price goes too high, I'm just going to take my time and hold off until I find the right piece. So...we'll see!
I hope everyone's having a lovely fall week. Be sure to stop by Calling it Home to check out all the other bloggers and linky participants who are taking part in their own One Room Challenges!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thrift Report: Mish Mash

My finds this week were a bit eclectic! 

A large brass, wood and marble decorative scale...


A cute little gold toned napkin holder with the most adorable, Art Deco shape...

and speaking of Deco: this large Hall's pitcher in perfect condition....

And a  super fun set of pilsners in a  great pink, black and gold atomic pattern.

A little "all over the place," but I was really happy with it all!

How about you? Did you find any vintage treasures this week?

Linking up here:

A Living Space
The Cottage Market
We Call it Olde
Ivy & Elephants

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One Room Challenge: Week Two!

Greetings, friends.

Reporting in from Week Two of Calling it Home's One Room Challenge!  To review, I'm attempting to finally make over my sad, neglected living room in six weeks. If you missed last week's post, catch up on my plans here!

So here's what's happened so far:

The sofa has been replaced. This was done earlier this year. I kicked the behemoth sofa to the curb and replaced it with a nice, small scale IKEA Sater. Did I mention this room is tiny?  The sofa has basically been sitting there, all unstyled and lonely, since May, along with the rug I purchased last year.


So SOFA and RUG - check.

The room has been painted. Full disclosure: this also got done back in April. By my mom. I know, right? How did I luck out by having a mom who will drop by and repaint my house while I'm at work (or, in this case, out of town at a conference)?? She rocks. She also knows that I'm a terrible painter.


It took me WEEKS of searching for the new color. I'm so indecisive when it comes to paint. I know you're probably thinking, "hmm, it's off white," but I promise it's the perfect off white -- creamy, bright, slightly gray in tone yet still feels warm. My room is 10,000 times brighter. I'm in love with this color.  It's called Seapearl and it's by Benjamin Moore. Highly recommended.

Okay, so PAINT - check.

Shelves have been assembled and trimmed outI blogged earlier this year about purchasing two Billy shelving units from IKEA.  I assembled one of them right away and left the other in the box for-ev-er. You can see an in-progress shot above. Well, I'm happy to report that I've now managed to assemble both of them, add extensions and trim, and even styled them up a little! Woo hoo. Here's a sneak peek:

Sorry for the grainy iPhone photo, but you get the gist! The extra height REALLY makes such a difference in the way they look and the amount of storage they provide. They almost look like built-ins, don't they?

So we have a CHECK on shelving units!

And finally, a chair has been purchased! What an unexpected surprise. I've wanted to add a chair to this tiny, tiny space. I have one, but I don't love it. I just haven't been able to find what I want, and as I mentioned, my budget for this makeover is almost zero. Well guess what....

I was aimlessly browsing good ol' Craigslist last Saturday when I spied the coolest blue velvet arm chair. Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I'm obsessed with blue velvet chairs and sofas right now. There was very little info in the ad, and I couldn't tell anything about condition, size, or quality, but I decided to give it a shot and emailed the seller to set up an appointment

You know how Craiglist listings almost always end up being far away, in bad condition, overpriced, or the wrong color/size?  Yeah--NONE of those things happened this time! The chair was pristine, high quality, in perfect condition, and being sold by a lovely couple who lived a mere ten minutes away. It was small in scale - perfect for my room - and upholstered in the most perfect shade of blue velvet. Best of all, they sold me the chair for $75!!!!  Here's the photo from the listing:


See what I mean? You totally can't tell if it's worn out velour or pristine velvet. Well this time, my pristine velvet dreams came true!

So I'm happy to say CHECK to a side chair!

What do you think so far? I'm pretty happy with the progress I made this week on the shelving, and of course the chair, even though I haven't had time to photograph it in the space yet. Maybe I'll actually accomplish this six-week makeover after all!


Linking up, of course, with Calling it Home for the One Room Challenge! Check out all the other bloggers who are participating in this 6-week makeover project!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Thrift Report: A Little Lustre

Hello friends! I did lots of thrifting this weekend, since I "accidentally" stumbled upon the 50% off Goodwill sale. I usually avoid this sale at all costs (it's pure thrifting insanity!), but I may or may not have been tempted to stop by a local GW to check and see if my brass table was still there. (It was...ahem...long gone.)

Anyway, I did manage to get sucked into the vortex of 50% off thrifting and emerged with a ton of stuff. Most of it is still unphotographed, but I wanted to share a few favorite pieces today.

I rarely find Japanese Lustreware when thrifting -- it's so delicate that I don't think much of it survives the thrift store jungle -- but I found several pieces on Saturday. I'm guessing someone offloaded a collection (?).

How pretty is this little pitcher? I love the irridescent green trim, especially with the black outline. It would look fabulous with my jadeite dishes. (Must not keep! Must not keep!)

This serving bowl is so pretty, too. It's very delicate. Again -- it's hard to capture the irridescent quality of lustreware in photos sometimes, but it's so gorgeous in person!

Finally, these teacups and saucers just blew me away!


I love the super deco, geometric design.


The cups are so thin you can see through them. I definitely held my breath when the cashier was wrapping them up!

That's all for today...check back on Thursday to see my epic weekend Craigslist score for the living room!


Participating in these fabulous link-ups:

A Living Space
The Cottage Market
The Dedicated House


Thursday, October 3, 2013

One Room Challenge Kicks Off!

Greetings, friends! 

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while know that I've been in the process of redecorating my living room FOREVER. Seriously -- it's gotten pretty extreme. I've been planning it for at least two years, and began by repainting back in April -- and that's pretty much it. I've collected lots of stuff, accumulated lots of ideas, but keep managing to get sidetracked by work, the shop, and life in general. The room has been in complete disarray for months. Well, my friends, it's time for that to end!

Luckily for me, the fabulous Linda from Calling it Home is about to launch another of her famous "One Room Challenge" series. And get this -- she's opening it up to everyone this time! The challenge will feature a weekly link up for all the participants to share their progress alongside the designers and uber-bloggers she hand picks to participate. I seriously couldn't be more excited!  So here goes, folks -- I'm in!

For the next six weeks, I'll chronicle my efforts to finally transform this beast of a room. I'm hoping the challenge will add a layer of accountability that's been missing from my procrastination-fest so far. Wish me luck!

To kick things off, I'll share some some shots of my living room. I live in a 1940s bungalow, so it's a teeny-tiny space.

I initially painted it a gray color when I moved in about five years ago. And I love gray, but this one is gross. It's way too blue, way too shiny (my 75 year old walls are not quite as smooth or pristine as I'd like!), and way too boring. It sucks all the light,  and life, out of the room.

Sorry -- not sure why this photo is so grainy; I guess even my camera hates this room! In my own defense, I had to pick the paint color from a fan deck before I even moved in, so my "painting crew" could get it all painted before my furniture arrived. That sort of snap decision never ends well.

Here's another angle:

You can really see the "blueness" of the paint color in this shot. And the lack of a rug. Sigh.

One more angle. On top of everything else, the room is pretty bare. I have a cozy family room on the other side of the house, so this room mainly gets used as a pass through - a glorified entryway, if you will. It's full of mismatched furniture and very little personality. Cold, dark and boring just about sums it up.

My goals for the space are, in essence, to add color, warmth and life!  More specifically, behold my wish list for room:
  • Repaint, with a focus on light, bright and neutral.
  • Incorporate the pretty animal print rug I purchased eons ago
  • Replace the existing drapes, or at least find a way to give them some personality!
  • Use more artwork. I'm loving large, abstract, colorful paintings right now, and I have SO much art in storage.
  • Add more light! Perhaps by using some large mirrors to bounce light around?
  • Create more storage via built-ins - or at least more freedstanding shelving - to house my massive collection of books and vintage "objets"
  • Make sure the furniture in the room works with its diminutive scale
  • If space allows, work in a fabulous bar cart to display my collection of vintage barware!
It's a long list, but I know I can do it! To add to the challenge, my budget for the space is small-to-nonexistent. I plan to rely on my crazy thrifting skills, a little DIY action, and repurpose as much as possible from other parts of the house.

To help give you a sense of my general style, here are a few inspiration images of my all-time fave living rooms:

{Clockwise from top left: Leigh Mowry for Olive Interiors, photographed by Emily Jenkins Followill, via The Zhush; DesignLoveFest designed by Emily Henderson;; Laurie McFarland via La Dolce Vita}

So there you have it. I'm hoping this public declaration will help motivate me to get things done! I'll be posting here each week of the challenge, so please feel free to drop in and see how things are coming along!

See my week two progress here!

Check out my week three update here!

Week four report here!

Will I make it? Week five report here!


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