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?


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!

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?