Sneak Preview (and I’m a slacker, I know)

But the last month has been absolutely insane at the house.  I knew not to commit to posts on certain days because, yes, here it’s been a month and there’s been nothing from me.  To wrap up, we’ve basically rebuilt the entire front end of Matthew’s 1990 Landcruiser, and when I say we, I mean that I’ve handed tools and tightened some bolts, but despite what he jokes at the auto shop, he is definitely the brains of the operation.

We also got Bops & Nathan married off in an absolutely beautiful ceremony in Charleston – Thank you Summer for all of the photos that I have stolen via Facebook.

She did a fantastic job with the design.

And Matthew and I actually got to attend a wedding together for the first time in almost four years.

I’ve also been busy getting ready for Halloween (my absolutely favorite time of year). Here is a quick sneak peak of my back yard/graveyard.  There will be more to follow once the entire thing is set up for Halloween night.  Watch out trick-or-treaters!

The tombstones were made from polystyrene insulation & a jigsaw.  One 4×8 sheet makes at least four standard size tombstones – and at $15 a sheet, that’s quite a bargain.  Buy small tombstones at Michaels or Target, and you’ll be paying close to $20 each.  

I did cheat and buy the Cemetery sign, but I haven’t quite perfected my carving skills, and it was only $2.00.  The ghosts were made from Styrofoam skulls that I found at a craft store.  I used a coat hanger to make the shoulders and cheese cloth for the body.  I also used some of my leftover coffee to age the look of the fabric.

Mr. Bones!  I bought a skeleton that was meant to go into the ground and took apart his limbs.  The wheelbarrow was actually upcycled (possibly stolen) from a garbage heap on Capitol Hill.  

And the aftermath of my crafting experience.  They probably should have named a hurricane after me instead of my mother.


Goodbye Summer…sigh.

Anyone who has talked to me in the last 4 months knows that I am absolutely in love with having a yard.  This summer we’ve produced tomatoes, bell, cayenne & habanero peppers, and a great herb garden.  Since it’s probably our last month of really being able to enjoy being outside, I thought that I would highlight some of my scavenged outdoor items.

First, our table.

Five or six years ago a good family friend was tearing down an old barn.  Inside the old barn were stacks and stacks of old doors from their original house.  Those doors went into my poor parents’ storage room, and I pull them out whenever I have a project.  They’ve been used as a desk, a dining table, and now an outdoor table.  Pair these with aluminum saw horses from Home Depot, and you are good to go.

Second, the lights.  I’m a sales rep, so sometimes I get large shipments of boxes to be distributed to clients.  One came on a pallet, I took some steel wire, a drill, and mason jars, and created this great outdoor light with citronella candles.  ***Note: It’s heavy as lead, so the only option is basically bolting it to the fence.***

Third, our outdoor dining table.

This was a great Craigslist find for $30.  This amazing Italian architect was downsizing, and she was getting rid of a ton of furniture.  This little french dining set was on her list to go, so I snagged it up.  Unfortunately because of the ridiculous mosquito infestation of DC, we haven’t been able to use it too much.  I’ve considered buying a used mosquito fogging truck from New Orleans, driving it up here, and donating it to the District.

And fourth, what’s the point of having a garden if you don’t know what you are growing?

I bought a random mix of old silverware on Ebay and used these as garden markers for my plants.  The inspiration came from these guys at Anthropologie, but at $9+ dollars per marker and only having 3 options, I felt I could do better.

And finally, the guy who watches over the yard and keeps the squirrels at bay…

Mr. Oliver.  Ferocious, isn’t he?

Home of a Who Dat

Having grown up in Mississippi and lived in New Orleans during our Super Bowl season, you can say I’m a pretty big Saints fan.  In general I love all things football – fall weather, outdoor tailgating, cheering in the dome, and beer & chicken wings at your local bar.

As I’m writing this I’m sporting my Storyville classic Fleur de Lis tee at my local DC coffee shop.  If you are a tee shirt and pencil skirt girl such as myself, Storyville is a great source for all sorts of fun and quirky shirts.  Where else can you find your very own red beans & rice or Brad Pitt for Mayor tee?

Anywhoo, back to the task at hand.  This week I decided to kick off football season right by designing my own little football den with quirky vintage Saints memorabilia and cozy seats to snuggle into for kick off.  I love the dark walls that are shown in this image.  You can also add wooden picture frame mouldings and cover with a flat, dark latex paint to create a plaster effect.

Restoration Hardware does a fantastic job with their leather furniture and other than their recent love for extremely over-scaled objects, they get it right about 95% of the time.  This is a great image to use as inspiration for furniture suitable for any football fan.

Combine all of this with a bit of that Danish modern flair shown here.

And you get a room fit for any Saints fan – well, at least this Saints fan.

1.  Obviously you need a place for your TV, and this Danish modern secretary makes a great home for it.  Remove the two shelves and let your TV sit inside this area.  At $1450 it makes a perfect modified entertainment center.

2 & 3.  Vintage football memorabilia is so much more fun than a huge poster of Drew Brees (no offense Drew).  Check out these few options here, here, and here that you can cluster on a blank wall.

4.  The main event.  The sofa.  This cushy tufted leather sofa is a great place to curl up for kick off.  It’s not inexpensive but definitely worth it, and you know how I feel about Make An Offer options.  I think leather is always a good choice as it will take the wear of me jumping up and down screaming at the TV.  $5900

5.  These are a bit overused, but I still love the vintage carts as coffee tables.  Here’s a great option with fun stenciling on the side.  It’s a great place for you to serve your beer cheese dip and homemade chicken wings.  Unhealthy, yes I know.  $725

6.  Antique Persian Rugs are my favorite.  If it was up to me I would have these in every room of my house.  They go with every design style and warm up any room.  This little guy is from the same dealer where I got my rug, and I had a good experience.  It was a great price and they were very easy to deal with.  5×8 for $447.

7.  I don’t know if the stripe reminds me of rugby or what, but I thought this lounge chair was a perfect fit.  From the Danish Mafia bids start for this guy at $795.

8.  And finally to contrast with the simple lines of the chair, this little vintage pub table provides a great little resting place for your half-time cocktail.  $499 from Etsy.

For a few more vintage pieces, check out these options.  The bobblehead doll and recent Saints victory are probably self explanatory, but the center option is this Saints medallion from 1970 framed intaglio style.  How cute is that?  I don’t know any wife that would complain about that type of football art.

7 1/2 hours until kick off.  You better get to shopping!  Who Dat!

Weekend Rehab

When we finally got our house laid out and all of our pictures hung, I had a huge wall over our sofa and not nearly enough money to purchase the artwork that I would like to see hanging there.  We also had a ton of art on our walls but not very many photos.  I had come across this image when designing a hotel in Mississippi, and the concept has always stuck with me.

Unfortunately I had no family photos available, so I took shots from our travels and my time living in New Orleans and had them printed at the local CVS.  If you sign up for an account, you get 25 free 4×6 prints.  Perfect!  I took all of our images and laid them out in Photoshop with the white border to create the effect of an old photo.  I uploaded them to the site and while they were printing took a trip to Home Depot for supplies.

What you will need:

  1. Some type of wire fence, I chose to use chicken wire because they had the exact size that I needed for over my sofa.
  2. Small nails at least 1″ in length.
  3. Hammer
  4. Wire Cutters
  5. Clothes Pins
  6. Photos

The Steps:

  1. Unroll the wire onto the floor and make cuts where necessary.  It will be difficult to unroll, so it’s easiest with two people – I made this mistake.
  2. Lay out your images while it’s on the ground to get your composition.
  3. Once you are satisfied, have one person hold the wire to the wall while you nail into the areas where the wire twists together.
  4. Secure the nails at the top, middle and bottom about every 18″.
  5. Once you have the wire up, take your clothespins and arrange your photos accordingly.
Ta Da!  You have a huge wall of artwork for a total price of about $15.  Congrats!

My Best Friend’s Closet

Thirty years ago today, the person who has made me laugh the longest and the hardest in my entire life was brought into the world.  Lucky me!  This is the girl that I have to thank for my love of chocolate anything, my first hangover, my adorable god child, and of course, my first flea market trip.

For her birthday I styled her favorite room in her honor.  Her closet.  A girl who is always two pairs of shoes ahead of Anthropologie, I took her love of something old and made it into her own something new.  Having personally organized her 53 pairs of tights, I have first hand knowledge of her need for space. With a little help from the internet, I have selected some items that she can add into a spare bedroom and recycle into her own walk-in closet.

Being one of the few people I know that still has a love for wallpaper, I chose this selection of vintage fashion ads.  I know, I know.  Who cares what is on the wall of your closet?  I do. It’s little details like this that add an extra bit of flair to your home.  You’re also more likely to stay in there and hang up the 10 outfits that didn’t work if you enjoy being in your closet.

A closet doesn’t have space for a lot of furniture, so check out these functional finds that I’ve used to incorporate her style into her own little dressing room.

1.  The Mercantile & Factory section of eBay is one of my favorite sections.  There are so many great vintage pieces that can be upcycled into furniture or millwork for your home. Instead of building in custom shelving, this old store display is perfect for folded clothing, jewelry, accessories, and really anything else that you can fit in here.  Buy it now for $5200 (eek!  I know, but it’s huge) or make an offer.  You never know!

2.  This vintage French inspired chandelier contrasts nicely with the simple lines of the store display.  It allows the chandelier to be the jewelry of the room.  Bidding starts at $350.

3.  Maybe not everyone is as obsessed with hats as me, but since she has a decent vintage collection, I just grabbed this expandable hat rack for $10 from Etsy.  Depending upon how many you need, you can do a grouping or just have the one.

4 & 5.  Instead of getting a typical dressing table, I combined this desk and vintage vanity mirror both from Etsy.  Combined price of $177.

6.  Yes you can use a typical vanity stool, but I like the idea of the industrial step stool which is also versatile to use to get to top shelves of the closet.  Two for the price of one at $45.

7 & 8.  Vintage Dressmakers Forms!  Oh how I love you.  Yes, I suppose these are for decoration, but you can also use them to hang necklaces, pins, layout tomorrow’s outfit and anything else you can think of.  Find these two here and here.  Etsy – $310  eBay – Bidding starts at $49.99

9.  She lives in an old house with old wood floors, so to finish off the look of this room, I chose this very feminine Aubusson rug.  The traditional elements tie in the chandelier and also contrast with some of the more industrial/mercantile pieces.  8×10  $1220

For hanging clothes I suggest galvanized plumbing pipe hung from the ceiling or vintage garment racks similar to the style below.  Also, for jewelry, these antique letter press drawers are great wall racks.

I think that’s it folks. Some of the items are a bit more expensive than what I tend to look for on an average day, but she is my best friend, and hey, you only turn 30 once!  Happy Birthday SGH!

From Hollywood With Love

Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.  -Marilyn Monroe

Some might call it over the top, but in my opinion the style of Hollywood in the 30’s makes a perfect setting for any bedroom. Mix it up with a little bit of L.A.’s mid-century pieces, and you have an eclecticly modern room in which to lay your head every night. Pulling inspiration from some of the hottest designers of the last few years and one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, I’ve compiled images to get you ready for your bedroom renovation.  

Clockwise starting from top left:  Jonathan Adler – Other Projects; Jonathan Adler – Private Residence NYC; Adore Cherie; Dorothy Draper

Usually when I design it starts from an inspirational piece. I found this bed on eBay and fell in love with it. A bit different, I realize, but how great would this be lacquered? Honestly, I like it as is, but I think it has so many possibilities.

I love how the headboard curves around the nightstands. I think it fits perfectly with these Hollywood styled discoveries.

1.  Check out these great Moroccan designed lanterns. I’ve paired two similar styles together. These can easily be turned into functioning lights or can just be hung as decoration. Bids start at $49.95 per lamp.

2.  The bed. Bidding starts at $349.99, and this is definitely a good one to watch. The bedding is a mixture of selections from Etsy. The two Euro shams are from a bead artist in New Delhi. She uses great colors and geometric patterns. Also, listed these are 16×16, but she does custom sizes on request. The boudoir pillow can be found here. The bedspread is an image I found on a website. This look can easily be achieved with a simple white duvet cover, some fabric paint, and a stencil.

3.  This fantastic pair of blue enamel lamps blend in with the pillow and also give a good pop of color on the nightstands. I wouldn’t do wooden or metal lamps with this bed. A ceramic or enamel color is definitely best. $349 for the pair.

4.  I’m not sure if it can get any more Hollywood than screen printed movie stars on your seat back. A bit cliche, yes, but also lots of fun. These unique and glamorous finds are from a furniture manufacturer in Turkey on Etsy. $955 per chair including shipping to the US.

5.  What better way to balance out the color of the bed than with a black and white zebra hide rug? You can get the authentic zebra hide here which honestly tends to creep me out, or you can go with a stamped cow hide at a much lower price.  See here.

6.  Most Hollywood Regency rooms would insert a mirrored dresser at this point, but to tone it down a bit, I chose this Mid-Century piece. I like the lines and it’s also a really good price. There’s also a good amount of tabletop room for other great accessories which are key to this style of design. $750.

7.  In deep contrast with the dresser, I’ve chosen this fun mirror from Etsy. The color ties in with the bed and also offers a pop of color in that corner. It’s hard to argue with this little guy at $148.

Accessories for this room can be found here, here, here, and here.

You probably can’t get enough accessories in this room, but at least you have an idea of some styles to start with.

 Have a great week!

Spit and Polish

Well, more like paint & fabric, but you get the idea.

A few weeks ago, I took a trip down to Charlottesville, VA – home of the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.  I always think that you can find the best deals in college towns considering the majority of the clientele is under 21 and eating ramen noodles to conserve going out funds.  While there I came across two fantastic and affordable antique/consignment stores close to campus.

The first, Circa, is 4 store fronts + 3 trucks full of furniture, artwork, lamps, and all types of accessories.  I found everything from a vintage Knoll Pollock Desk Chair ($100) to adorable french bistro furniture to old library pieces from the local public library.  I did pass on the velvet art scene for my bedroom wall, but hey, maybe one of you can go back for it.

The second store, Possession Recycled, was not as large or as varied in product, but I did find a set of 4 dining chairs for $85.  Now, yes, there is a reason that these guys were $85, but with a bit of paint, fabric, and a staple gun, we now have brand new dining chairs for less than $35 each.  Check out these before and after shots.

The original chair.  I liked the lines of the chair, but the upholstery was completely wrong for the chair, my house, and well, pretty much everything.  It is a very simple design, and while I like contrasting modern and traditional elements, this was, to politely put it, not a successful choice.





My first step was to find a new fabric for these little guys.  I like this pattern because it doesn’t compete with the chair’s design, and it lends itself to the clean simple look of the piece.  It also doesn’t clash with the 4000 colors that I have placed in my living/dining room. Each chair took about half of a yard, but depending on your chair seat, fabric choice, and repeat, this can vary.


Since the wood of the chairs had seen better days, I decided that for my first attempt at rehabbing furniture, I would go with paint instead of a full out refinish.  A few coats of Behr’s Premium Plus Paint in Starless Night, and Voila!  My new set of 4 dining chairs!

Practically artwork, right?  We thought so.  Our space saving solution for two of these guys is the wall above our staircase.  I have to give credit for this incredibly efficient idea to my partner in crime.  Those Army ingrained organizational skills really do come in handy some days.

Wouldn’t these be fun with this Saarinen style dining table found at Cannon’s Online Auction House in Richmond, VA.  You can find great deals from these guys if you watch their online auctions.  Furniture rarely goes for over $100, and their “Buy It Now” options step down as they keep them in inventory.  If you can wait until the end of September, you can get this table for $87.50.  Crazy, right?

Weekend Round Up

Last week was my birthday, so estate sales took a back burner this weekend to my birthday party. Miss DC from Perfectly Paired (a fantastic bridesmaids blog, btw) and I hit up the 50% off Sunday sales. If you aren’t familiar with the Estate Sale world, here are a few things to note:

  1. Sales across the country can be found here and here.
  2. Private sales are usually best, but there are always exceptions to every rule.
  3. Moving and Liquidation Sales can be ok, but as morbid as it sounds, true estate sales from the dearly departed are best.
  4. The discounts tier as the weekend goes by – Friday Full Price, Saturday 25% off, and Sunday 50% off. If you love it and have to have it, buy it on Friday. It won’t still be there on Sunday and you’ll be depressed for weeks. If you are just killing time and going for fun, go on Sundays. You do get the best deals, and you don’t know what you missed from earlier in the weekend.
  5. Oh and the most important part – always carry cash.  You are much more likely to get a bargain if you are offering payment in the green stuff.

Our weekend treasures:

1.  Antique Gilt Table. This table has been my favorite find to date. It’s simple lines give it versatility for almost any interior style, and its petite size make it perfect for our tiny reading nook in the living room.

2.  Vintage Army Trunks. One estate from Sunday was that of an old Colonel in Virginia. His garage was full of generations of army trunks. These are actually pretty easy to find in the DC area, and there are so many options. I believe this one will be a front hall table, but check out these great options I found around the internet:

Song Bird is Nesting used the old shipping crate style trunks as a bench and storage.

Trunk a touch too short for a coffee table?  Add some casters like this little guy shown on Cactus Creek Daily.

That’s all for today kids.  Have a great week!