Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beautiful Pictures for You to Ogle Over

My friend gave me some backdated House Beautiful and Traditional Home issues from earlier this year. I snatched these fantastic images to put in my file. I *heart* everything about each picture: the rusticity, the simplicity, the texture, the french-countryside meets Berkeley meets Southern-California-beach-cottage vibe about them. Thought I'd share.

I will be back with a fun announcement soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Dream Laundry Room....

...courtesy of Home Depot Expo??? Who knew they had such great style (stylists)? This is on the back of a direct mail piece I received yesterday. I can't believe how cute it is and I have to share with you. You will have to blow it up 'coz I can't figure out how to make the scan stay larger so you can see the detail - like the fabulous wire locker baskets! And the vintagey wallpaper, roll of string, and fabulous dress form. Be still my heart!

p.s. I'm still under the weather, but couldn't resist a quick post about this!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Little Under the Weather....

Hello to my new visitors - I am so excited you are here! I want to reply and visit everyone's blogs but right now I am severely under the weather, with what I think is a sinus infection. My head is feeling gigantic, I have an irritating cough and a low-grade fever, general yuckiness for sure.

I will be back as soon as I feel better hopefully with some new makeover pics of pieces I picked up this last weekend. Stay tuned and thanks again for visiting me!


p.s. If the weather wasn't 80-85 here in Cali, I would make myself some chicken soup and serve it to myself in something like the pic above. I am SO ready for fall!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Inspirational Images

Here are some great images I've collected and held onto and love to reference for style ideas. To me, this is the most fun part of blogging - sharing and viewing amazing eyecandy. Hope you enjoy!

Love everything about this: the plain white bedding with simple ruffle and lace edging, the burlap pillow, the grey throw at the end of the bed, the crystal chandelier. And the crate/pallet headboard is pretty cool too. Perfection.
*photo credit: Curious Sofa

This is truly my idea of the perfect shop. Would *love* to browse this area.
*photo credit: Curious Sofa

Again, total perfection. Love the burlap, the linen pillow, the urn, the plinth, everything.
*photo credit: Curious Sofa

And a symphony in white with texture everywhere.
*photo credit: Curious Sofa

Love the tattered victorian flavor of this baby shower for Lisa Rinna by Bountiful Home.

This is probably my dream room - you could enter it through an old door in the garden....
*photo credit: Bountiful Home

Love the vintage/bohemian flavor of this kitchen by Ralph Lauren, and the rustic, vintage elements

I would do anything for galvanized feeding troughs for my vegetable garden. Next year when I plant it, I am hunting these babies down on craigslist. Could it be any more rustic or charming?

*photo credit: someone's blog but I don't remember who.... got this months and months ago copied to my hard drive... I think it's maybe pics of Willow Nest (?)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

For The Love of Garage Sales!

I happened upon several garage sales today, and I was pretty happy with what I managed to score. I was looking for bigger pieces of furniture to refinish and then resell, and although I didn't find any, I found some great little gems. Check it out:

I got:

  • a shabby little table/bench that I plan to refinish
  • a vintage crystal Baccarat decanter with a beautiful stopper that almost rivals the size of an antique doorknob and apparently is worth a LOT more than I paid for it (.50!)
  • a cheese dome
  • 2 handmade cotton duck ottoman covers with tie detail
  • a cute vintage pitcher
  • a cute birdcage (I already started painting it black; it needs one more coat in a matte finish)
  • 2 vintage white Homer Laughlin restaurantware platters
  • a pretty pair of sparkly vintage earrings
  • a pretty seashell

All for the whopping total of $12.60! Oh. My. Gosh. And I had the best time, and met the nicest people, which was of course, priceless.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For The Love Of Bargains

I bought this dresser from my sister about 9 years ago for $50. It was a plain, pine dresser, solid but non-descript. I was just beginning my foray into painting and fixing up furniture, and I did a fantastic job on this. I am sorry to say I didn't take any pictures of the "before" but although it's not my style now, I did execute the design fairly well.

This piece had tomato-red drawers with gold swirls reminiscent of Gustav Klimt and the Art Nouveau movement stamped across the width of each drawer and was finished with hand-painted knobs. It was in the bedroom of our first apartment for a couple of years.

When we bought our first home 5 years ago, we had a large walk-in closet, and this little dresser lived in there as it was no longer my style and I didn't want it featured in our room. Then it took up residence in the garage of our current home, not sure of it's fate.

One day, I decided I needed a place to house my daughter's growing collection of arts & crafts supplies. I was ready to purchase a small set of drawers from Marshall's when my Mom reminded me of the dresser in the garage. Soon after, I set about to bringing it current and here it lives at the far end of my entry hall, just before you enter my living room area.

In my craving for all things black, I decided to follow my original cue and leave the base and top the plain unfinished pine and again paint just the drawers. This does two things: it blends this piece with an antique piece from my Grandmother's estate that is roughly the same hue as the pine, and it draws your eye to the hardwood floors just beyond it. When you enter my home you see the side of it, so as much as I love little black chests, it had to stay pine.

I added a small applique for interest to the uppermost large drawer, painted the drawers black and sanded the edges and behind the knobs and a wonderful serendipitous thing happened: the tomato red came through and gave it a great distressed patina. I switched out the knobs for some smallish coppery ones from Home Depot, and wha-la. I love it.

This piece has had at least 3 lives and has cost me a total of no more than $75 over 9 years. Now that's a bargain! What bargains do you have in your home?

**edited to add: I don't know what is going on with my camera but the images keep coming out blurry when you blow them up. It is so frustrating because I swear they are in focus when I take them! I need a new camera.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seeking Inspiration

I am slated to start work refurbishing a dresser for my sister. We (I) found a fantastic deal for a vintage bureau/dresser and attached mirror for my sister for a very, very low price. Now, I have to shabby it up for her. I plan to sand and prime, and that's where the inspiration stops.

I just recently finished her headboard (pics to come soon) and took it from a very busy, very rainbow-ish indonesian arched wood design to a more mellow coffee-with-cream with robins egg blue accents. Very pretty. I don't want the dresser to compete, so I am not sure if I will just go with a mellow, smooth, coffee-with-cream finish similar to my coffee table, or if we should go the chocolate brown route.

I have googled "chocolate brown painted dresser" and versions of that several times to no avail. I know I have seen pictures of this type of thing, but I have about 300 magazines in my repertoire and no real filing system to speak of, so I need some direction.

Do any of you fellow decorating fanatics have any idea where I could find pics of a painted dresser possibly in chocolate brown, or another great color that would go with a beachy, robins egg blue, green, and white theme with brown accents?

I'd be much obliged.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fauxliage - again!

I went into Michael's the other day (again) and found a lot of great stuff in the 50% and 90% off areas, mostly in the 90% off. Here we are talking about faux-liage (love that, courtesy of The Nester via another blogger) and our love/hate relationship with it, and I am throwing .49 cent faux plants and branches and bunches into my cart as fast as possible.
The problem is, when things are .39 or .49 cents, how can you possibly resist? You start inventing new places to put faux arrangements:

The last 3 pics are my front door area. The last pic doesn't look that great, it looks like 2 different things seperated, but it's actually really cute. I hung a faux plastic grass-&-cattail bunch with some weird fuzzy red things and real-looking grass together and tied them up with a coffee-dyed fleur-de-lis stamped welcome tag. Its pretty cute in real life, not translating that way in this pic.

Here are 2 more of my .49 finds. Which one looks better in my hall/guest bath?

*excuse the yellow-tinged images

So what do you think: faux lavender or faux grass?

And, last but not least: my POOPIE arrangement was buggin me big time. Here was it's latest version, complete with the addition of berries, more hydrangeas, a couple faux zrtichokes, and other random goodies:

I actually think it was quite stunning. The problem was, it was just feeling too "formal" for me, what with all the branches and flowers and feathers and veggies. Do you know what I mean? It wasn't farmhouse or cottage or frenchy enough for me. It wasn't natural enough for me.... too posed and contrived, maybe?

What I really crave is this natural, organic, branchy kind of look, courtesy of Pottery Barn (who in the heck else would sell one stem of leaves for $29.00!?!?)

Problem is, I don't have lots of one kind of branch. The background green things, or the "huckleberry" as the tag called them, were not on sale so I only have 2. I do have some little dried (e.g. real) branchy/crunchy things and some very real looking anemones. How does this look?

I don't think it's as natural or organic looking as the PB branches, but I think it's a lot less imposing in the room and a lot less "formal". I just wish it would look as if I took a nature walk and plunked some things in a vase, without looking like I purchased an arrangement or "put out my fall arrangement". Does that make sense??? I am just not that formal of a person. And it needs to be more of an accent than a focal point. Am I going in the right direction?
I would love some feedback on this!


p.s. the cute vintage birdcage was my Mom's and Uncle's for their pet cockatiel in the 40's, and then was my little birdies home in 5th grade. I dug it out of her basement the other day in a mad crazy "I have to have a birdcage NOW" kind of way. It has my vintage coffee tin w/ dried hydrangeas, 2 cool crunchy old books, and a little milk glass bird-on-nest jar a friend gave me, and a real feather my Dad found on a hike.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Practical Magic

So many bloggers have featured stills from the sets of movies like "Somethings Gotta Give", "The Holiday" and other favorites. I too LOVE those homes. But I also *LOVE*HEART*LOVE* the old victorian home in the movie Practical Magic.

Did you know there is a website where you can view stills from the set? It is really cool:

I am going to include some of my favorite shots. Layla really got me envisioning my dream home for her giveaway (check out my post on her blog for more details of my super-duper fantasy cottage) and immediately I thought of this movie set. Here are some favorites of mine:

The Pantry
Notice the apothecary style cabinets and built-ins, complete with massive collection of old apothecary bottles & jars. Makes my heart beat faster.

Next up, The Conservatory. Here is where I would grow the herbs to be put to use later in the pantry. I would also grow orchids here and do all my planting.

Next, The Parlor. A little bit of trivia for you: Many of the pieces/props for this movie were bought at Bountiful, Sue Balmforth's shop in Venice Beach.

This is "Verbena", Sally's herbal body product shop. I *LOVE LOVE LOVE* this shop. So simple, clean, understated yet amazing. I love the simple bottle silhouettes, the rustic looking labels, the muted colors, the airy fresh-scrubbed quality, and the rustic containers holding fruit and flowers on the counter. I love the white apothecary type cabinets.... I just love the whole darn thing. If ever I were to design a shop or have my own, I think I would base it on this.

Notice the old scale?!?!?!

And, finally, the piece de resistance, the Kitchen:
Truly, what's not to love? I won't even bore you with recounting every detail I love because I love every single cotton-pickin' thing. Be still my beating heart.

Is there a movie you love to watch just to pause it to take in the set decoration? Is there a movie that features a home that would qualify as your dream home? I would love to hear about it.....

Coffee Table How-To

Per your request, I am going to list the steps and products I used to create my coffee table finish.

  1. Scuff sand the surface & wipe clean
  2. Prime one coat, let dry for at least a couple of hours, as long as yo can wait, I usually can't wait more than 4 hours (I used Kilz primer)
  3. Paint 1-2 coats of Creamy White by Behr in a flat finish
  4. Distress using sandpaper, chains, hammers, and nail head holes to simulate worm holes
  5. Apply 1-2 coats of Gel Stain (I used Minwax Walnut finish I believe)
  6. Distress some more
  7. Apply 1-2 coats of Ralph Lauren's Tea Stain Glaze. This step marries all the colors and layers together and keeps everything very cohesive looking
  8. Add a little bit of stain to the edges of the raw wood where you distressed to give it a deeper color and more contrast to the coffee-with-cream color
  9. Apply 2 coats spray polyurethane in a satin finish. I used a brand from Home Depot, can't remember the name. Spray polyurethane is very easy to apply, convenient, and low-fume.

I know this seems like a lot of steps, but honestly priming and painting are the most laborious. The rest of it is fun, at least to me. All of the products I used were purchased at Home Depot.

Hope this helps and if you use this procedure, please be sure to link back here with your finished product!

p.s. If you are doing say a wall mirror with this treatment, or some other object that won't get regular wear and tear and glasses set on it and chips smashed into it, I think you can eliminate the last step. Polyurethane is just to give it a nice even finish and protect the piece. However, if you are unhappy with the amount of sanding/distressing you've done, this last step makes everything "even" i.e. you will no longer see flat sand marks in the otherwise satin finish. Does that make sense?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Evolution of a Coffee Table

Just after my husband and I were married, we went to breakfast in Berkeley with my parents. Afterwards, we all went to Urban Ore, a great big junk store of epic proportions, where my husband decided I had a screw loose after wondering what I could possibly find in the massive piles of dirty, broken, shabby housing materials (fabulous old windows! old molding! old pieces of marble! old doorknobs!). Hello?!?!

After that, we cruised into a funny old flea-market type store that sold furniture and was run by two eastern european gypsy type guys. I saw this coffee table, and offered them less than they were asking, and apparently I offended them. So much so that they ran me off. Not to worry, I returned the next day incognito. Yes, I changed my hairstyle and spoke with a slight spanish accent and again offered to buy the table, this time for $35 as offered. I could see it's potential and I wasn't giving up without a fight! It was mine.

So home I lugged it (on top of my sister's jeep - Hi Jonna!), with all the intentions in the world of immediately giving it a shabby paint treatment. Well, fast forward 6 years and this picture was taken last week. Still in it's original shabby, but-not-quite-right-shabby state. I had had it. My sister said paint it to match the off-white pillows on your couch. After 6 years of fussing about it, I dove in the very next day.

Here it was primed and ready for paint, stain, distressing, more stain, and 2 coats of glaze.

Being that i have small children, and we constantly put our feet, glasses, snacks, etc. on this table, keeping it all white wasn't very practical. So I did the above mentioned steps and this is the result:

It is a distressed, coffee-with-cream color that I think turned out great. The multiple layers of stain and glaze in addition to the distressing really gave it a rich, layered, timeworn look. I love it and am so happy I finally took the plunge! It also really lightens up my living area as my couches are a muted tapestry pattern of persimmon, spruce, and wheat with chocolate leather bases and nailhead trim. I do not have the white slipcovered sofas I dream of, so I use lots of vanilla colored accessories to mitigate the richness of the sofas: boutis-style down filled pillows, a brown paisley indian block print on cream background euro pillow, a creamy shag rug, and now the coffee-with-cream coffee (pardon the pun) table. I think it works!