Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A visit from the thrift fairy (a.k.a., Nana)

So, my mom came down last night for a visit and brought lots of vintage goodies from her recent thrifting endeavors (yes, I come by this naturally). They are my early Christmas presents, and I couldn't be happier. I'm not including everything in this post, but I'll update soon. I also need to update on some estate sale finds we made last Saturday, but I don't have any photos at the moment, so it will wait.
I'm really starting to like the living room. I think it's heading in the right direction... Roxanne likes it, too. It's the perfect venue for arranging her "guys" and having elaborate story lines for their activities. Right here, they are having a party. But anyways, new things in the room include the rug under the coffee table. My mom picked it up for $6, and I think it adds a nice texture to the room, and grounds the table. I'm not 200% sold on it yet, but I think it's a keeper.
Another view of the rug/table/couch trifecta.
Curtain/rug interaction can be seen here. I kind of like the contrast.
Thrifted Christmas items on the credenza. Love the plastic holly with flocked bears. My mom found it. So cute. The yellow planter I found a few months ago. It's lovely, and stamped "Italy" on the bottom.
Closer view.
This is one of my favorite things she found. It's a Dansk crystal angel. I'm not usually a fan of crystal, but this is just lovely. She picked it up for a cool $4, and it's listed on Replacements for over $100. It's part of a nativity set, which of course, now I'm obsessed with collecting. I'm just planning to keep an eye on eBay and thrift shops to see if any of it comes up for cheap. I can't afford the Replacements prices.
And of course, this Coronet Super 12. I love love love it. What English nerd wouldn't? It looks so pretty with the wall color, too. I love the shape of the keys. I don't think I'll be typing any novels on it soon, but it's fun to look at.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Now we can walk through the living room pantsless again

Not that we do things like that. But just in case. I stayed up way too late to finish last night. Worth it! Ask me this afternoon when I'm trying to keep my eyes open... and I'm pretty sure I'll still think it was worth it. But that maybe I should keep working on my time management skills.

I used a foam roller this time, as the tutorial I used suggested. It helped the paint go on using less, so the stripes aren't as "crunchy" as with the first two panels. But they are still splotchy when the light comes through. I've decided I don't care.

Friday, November 19, 2010

UGLY bathroom (complete with ugly photos)

OK. I am about to seriously overshare... Our bathroom is really really horrible. I've taken really horrible photos of it to prove it's horribleness. And for the record, we do clean in here regularly, but it's kind of a lost cause... You finish cleaning, and it just still looks icky.
Justin and I have pipe dreams of making changes in there, but absolutely no budget for it. I'm really wondering if I could DIY the tiling... Is it that hard? I would love to have penny tiles on the floor, and just some nice clean white ones on the walls, with maybe some small black and white tile detailing around the top. I'd go with a dark grout so it didn't look filthy all the time. I'd rip out those cabinets and put in open shelving with bins. And I don't know what I'd do about the tub/shower, but it would be awesome. Honest. These are the cabinets of doom. And all of our bathroom things. You're jealous right now, aren't you? You want all of your house guests to see all of your cheapy bath products (although Justin uses some really fancy hair product in his hair. We could keep that out. It makes us seem cultured.). Who wouldn't?
I'm not asking for a jaccuzzi, but this tub is so shallow, it barely covers our littlest. And it was painted badly at some point, so it's peely. And see that gross rubber stuff someone put on the bathtub/tile edge? It's not really properly placed anymore, and it's all sticky and black. I need to at least replace that, but it's one of those "eh, I'll do it when I replace the tile in the FAR DISTANT FUTURE" things. Ew. Also, note the cracked/badly repaired tile in the tub surround. We didn't do it.
Other things we didn't do: put that stupid rubber stuff around the top of the shower tiles so that the wall paint is peeling around it. And goodness knows what kinds of disgusting are going on behind it...
I'm not going to tell you about how this towel rack got broken. But it wasn't me. And I'm not being sarcastic. It really wasn't. If it were, I'd tell you all about whatever ridiculous thing I was doing to cause it. I try to keep my shameless over-sharing confined to my own hijinx.
This light is so high class. The bulbs are so blinding that we can't have them all in at the same time.
See that outlet? It doesn't work. When I want to take the time to blow dry and/or flat-iron my bangs, I have to do so in the bedroom, crouched in front of my tiny make-up compact mirror.
This Bruegal print is above the toilet. Justin hates it, but Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts" is my favorite poem. And it's covering the badly patched holes where we ripped out a very unsteady 1980's medicine cabinet that put fear in your heart any time you sat on the toilet.
We've also got some of this. Old grout. Not holding up well.

The main issue is that I'm just not sure where to get started. How much does it cost to DIY bathroom tiling? In a teensy bathroom? I mean, ours is TEENSY. The sink is fine, and the toilet is fine. Not much charm, but totally functional. And I'd leave the tub indefinitely. It's not a huge concern, it's just that it's really the worst tub to take a bath in since it's so shallow, and the sliding, wavy glass door thing gets sludgey hours after cleaning. Charming. I just think this bathroom would look so so so much better with just some little changes. But I'm still stumped. Eh. We've only been here a year. We're not miracle workers. Ideas are very very welcome. I know about the panelling over tiled walls thing, but I just don't think that flies in a 1950's ranch. I'm also interested in whether anyone has tried tiling over an existing tile floor. Reading the internets makes me think that some people think it's the worst idea ever while others think it's stupid to not tile over the existing floor. I'm going to ask Santa for a tile cutter...

For inspiration photos, I'm looking at Retro Renovation. Googling "1950's bathroom" leads to a lot of heart-breaking images of people taking perfectly wonderful 1950's bathrooms and making them look like they came from a contemporary house. Blergh.
Here's one of my favorites. You should definitely look at the full article. It's such a pretty bathroom. Thank goodness for Pam and Retro Renovation. There is no other website like that. It's such a huge resource for homeowners like me and Justin.
This spread from Apartment Therapy is so so so wonderful. I want to move into either bathroom. In useful terms, I love the tile in the image on the left. I'd totally do that in my bathroom.
I want to marry this bathroom. I actually even love the floor. That tile combo is amazing. And it looks smart, but not necessarily a billion dollars...

Yeah, it's going to be a while, unless I learn some DIY tiling skills during the Christmas break. Which would actually be completely amazing. And it could certainly be worse. Everything is functional, and there are no really horrific areas of damage. But this is the only bathroom we really use, so it would really be nice to give it a face lift. I don't want to fix it up right before we sell it (not that we will be selling it any time soon). I want to fix it up so we can enjoy it. That's the whole point, right?

Monday, November 15, 2010

DIY Chevron Curtains

I know. Chevron is very very popular. But I've been in love with it for a long time and looking for a way to work it into my house. We wanted to get a Chevron rug for Justin's office in the basement. IKEA and West Elm both have lovely options. But budget-wise, not so much. So with me and Justin getting more and more sick of our brown curtains in the living room, I saw opportunity... I mean, they are pretty curtains, but we wanted a roller blind, like we put in the dining room. The window in the living room is too big though, so instead of the cheap IKEA roller in the dining room, we'd have to order a custom blind, with the cheapest option being around $160 (eBay). I know, we could use 3 blinds, but with the size of the mounting brackets, there would be goofy gaps in between the roller blinds. Ew.

ANYWAYS, I googled "chevron curtains," and found mainly things that were crazy expensive and beautiful. Then, I found some blogs with DIY tutorials on sewing or painting chevron curtains. We had six white panels in our bedroom that we have been wanting to get rid of, so we bought super cheap (and NOT permanent) paper blinds from Wal-Mart. They are OK, and at least get some of that fabric out of the bedroom, but they are just cheap looking. The positive is that they literally just stick up to the window casing. That's a huge positive considering we have metal casings and it's INSANELY hard to drill into them to hang anything. Back to the curtains... I found this blog entry about doing a huge chevron print, and me and Justin were both in love. I pretty much just stole her tutorial to make my curtains. I used the super dark blue color from Justin's room in the basement for the stripes. I love these but they are a PAIN to make. And I have to make two more. Fortunately, we have two more of the same white panels. But I think I'll need a new tarp. Boo. Also, there are some splotchy parts of these curtains that you can see when the sun shines through them. I'm not sure how much I like that... I definitely had a few booboos with splattered paint, etc., but you can't see them unless you are close up. And let's remember, this was a free project. It only cost me the $15 we spent for the new paper blinds for the bedroom. And a lot of time. So happy with the result though. The room looks so much brighter. There was simply too much brown in there.
Here's the before. Yes, the living room is a MESS. I'm not ashamed. Well, a little ashamed. We have a toddler...
Here's my math. Ya'll, I'm an English major. Yipes.
Here's a during shot. Painters tape!
Another "during."

During the day, all done! See, I need two more panels. It'll wait. And if you click the photo and make it big, you can see the splotches. I'm not sure if they are bothering me or not.
At night, it's more forgiving. Phew.
Backed up, with more context. Sorry, I know this room is messy. I should have cleaned it up. Now you know how we usually live... Although, there isn't usually a tarp under the coffee table. Or a can of paint by the couch. So yeah. The room feels great! No more poo panels!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Desks and Dishes

I'm trying just a little harder to have nicer photos. I know, they still aren't great, but I actually changed the setting on my camera before taking them! That's a leap for me.
So, here's Justin's man-room in the basement. This is the beast my mom found for us. Isn't it handsome??? I need to get to work on getting it tip-top, but I've been busy with school. I'll be done in early December, so it might be then when I have time to get to it... Tsk Tsk. Oh, and the rugs in here are kind of weird, but we're going for cheap and functional. The taupe one was actually free from my bosses who were getting rid of it. The smaller one is IKEA and is actually a really good looking rug, just too little.
Here's a close up of one side. You can also see the curtains Justin picked out from IKEA. Nice, right? I found that lamp at Goodwill for $3, and I think it's awesome. I'm not sure if it's vintage, but I like it. It's probably early 90's IKEA or something, but whatever. It's perfect with the curtains.
Does it drive anyone else nuts when thrift stores stick sticker prices onto stuff that seem somehow IMPOSSIBLE to remove? I cannot get this stupid tag off, and I'm all out of Goof Off.

Here's a detail (with flash, sorry ya'll) of the side of the desk. This little detail is on all corners, and it's so elegant. But in a James Stewart kind of way.
Here's my little lady. Very delicate and lovely. She's a little wobbly, but can you blame her with those legs?
She fits right in. Perfectly. Now I just need to find an uber comfy chair to sit here. I'm thinking something leather. With arms. Wouldn't that be perfect for reading? And writing papers that have been put off to the last minute?
Look at the liner paper in the drawer. I could just pinch its cheeks.
In other news, here are my first pieces of what I have decided are my new china sets. Everything is different, but I think it "goes."
First, the creamer and sugar that my wonderful wonderful grandparents got me for my birthday. These are from the Homer Laughlin Rhythm collection. If you remember from a previous post, I plan to collect this line in gray. These are my first two pieces! I love them!
I decided not to collect the other Homer Laughlin Rhythm set that I like because it's just too obscure. As a matter of happenstance, my mom was out thrifting and found a cute plate with a peacock design. She sent me a text photo and I immediately called to say "buy it please!" I have a thing for peacocks lately. I know it's trendy, but I'm not going overboard. And these are VINTAGE, so there. These two pieces I ordered online. The Peacock Alley platter is from Etsy, and the divided vegetable bowl is from eBay. To fill you in, the peacock pattern is called Peacock Alley, and it's by Harkerware, or Harker Pottery. It's stoneware, so it's heavy and wonderful.
As you can see, the divided vegetable bowl is a darker gray than the Peacock Alley gray. But, the shape of the Peacock Alley divided vegetable bowl is the same, just with different colors. I thought this piece was Peacock Alley until my mom the antique detective helped me puzzle everything out. As it turns out, the dark gray is likely from a different Harker line, which was actually designed by Russel Wright. It was called White Clover, and it's insanely modern and beautiful. It came in several colors. Now I think maybe I'll just collect the charcoal White Clover, the Peacock Alley, and the Homer Laughlin Rhythm in gray. Since they are all vintage lines, it will take forever to get a substantial number of pieces (although, I have some Peacock Alley plates coming via eBay...yay!) so collecting all three will be a fun adventure. Wow, I'm a nerd. But you have to admit, it's pretty china! Also, I should have linked these things, but I'm too tired. Sorry.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Girly Girl Haven

Since I have a GIANT assignment that I'm behind on, I decided it was a good time to spend an hour or so making changes in Roxanne's room. Logical, right? Yeah. And now I'm blogging. Sigh. I put a quilt up on Roxanne's wall behind her crib. My grandmother gave it to me, and I'm absolutely in love with it. The colors are so beautiful, and it's PERFECT for the direction I want to take Roxanne's super girly bedroom. We're slowly phasing out her darling baby nursery stuff, and moving more to "girl" stuff. I'm aiming for antique, girly, and with a little modern touch thrown in. Obviously, I'm not a designer, and I'm working with not much budget, but I love her room. It's so comfy.
I don't know why these kitties are so angry. Maybe it's the bows.
I love these lambs. And puppies.
Cute overload? Yes, please.
I moved the decals (and scaled them back) from the two walls above Roxanne's crib to this corner between windows. Much nicer.
I love love love these curtains. I found the set at Goodwill with my mom. I fell in love with the fabric, and the pinch pleats, and the fact that these are nice curtains. They are heavy, well-made, and lined. They had their original tie-backs, too. The problem is that there were 3 panels. I only bought 2 (and I still have some heartache for not buying the third). They are too small to cover her whole window, so I bought a tension rod and some sheers from Target today (super super cheap; yay!) and put them up behind the curtain panels, and inside the window. I'm not sure what to do about getting them to cover her whole window, but practical concerns often get in the way of cute curtains...
Jeepers, I love these curtains. Above the head of Roxanne's crib is a small framed postcard. I think the image looks like her. And I'm fairly certain it was sent to my Grandma at one point, but since it's been framed so long, I can't really remember. I know it's kind of weirdly tiny for that wall, but I'll work on that later.
I swapped the wall art so that the large round frame is back over the dresser. It works much better that way. And yes, Roxanne's dresser is junked up. And she broke the middle left handle off. I've got to find the right glue to repair it. Who knew a two year old could do that???
This is Max. He's taller than Roxanne. He's adorable. The print behind him is sentimental. We had one like it (mine was part of a pair) growing up, and my mom found this one in a local thrift store. It's a sweet poem. The yellow chair was a curb find. I talked about him in a prior post.
A view of Roxanne's room.
Another view of Roxanne's room. We would like to replace that glider some day. It's the squeakiest chair in existence, but she loves sitting in it and reading to herself, and Justin reads to her in it every night. Every little child needs a glider or rocking chair in their room. This one was my sister's, so Roxanne is the third child to use it, and I think it's starting to give out. Justin tried tightening various parts underneath it, but to no avail. I used to want an Eames shell chair rocker, but I have heard that they are really uncomfortable. My new dream is an upholstered glider. They are SO expensive. I browse Craigslist for them though.
While I was working in her room, Roxanne kept running in there, grabbing a few toys, and running back out. She was yelling "we are decorating the house! We are decorating the house!" over and over. I didn't know what she was doing until I came out for dinner. By now, the whole table is almost encircled. Like mama like daughter I guess. She loves organizing things into little lines. I'm not so much big on the organizing thing. Just the decorating part.

Our Curb Appeal: The Block Episode

It's on the HGTV website for now. Click here if you want to watch it. Our episode is the one titled "Goodbye Boring Brick Facade." If you do watch it, please don't tease. It's embarrassing enough... :) Not the house part of course. We are happy with that. It's more the talking. And that whole camera adds 10 pounds thing. Although it only seems to have affected me. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let's step away from bad photography

I should post photos of the new desks (yes, plural DESKS) we got for the basement. My mom, who has a perfect eye for MCM, found them at her Goodwill. One, a neat little corner desk for the guest bedroom, was my birthday gift. The other is a giant beast that was partly my birthday gift and partly refunded by yours truly. Just to be technical. ;) The beast is in Justin's man room. It needs some love, so it's waiting patiently for me to do some sanding, cleaning, and oiling, but it's gorgeous. Oh, and one handle is broken, so I need to measure it and get one in the right size. But it's so so lovely, and so huge. Perfect for a man desk. When we were getting it into Justin's room down there, it wouldn't fit through the doorway, so we had to unscrew the legs (easy peasy) and in the process, discovered some treasures within... Well, not treasures. Behind one of the bottom drawers, we pulled out a tangle of two Chinese dragon statues (small) and a Chico's member card. For Bonnie Bonham. Sweet. The dragon statues were actually marked with a Goodwill price. I'm really curious about how they got jammed down there, and the Nancy Drew in me wonders if they are actually fancy, genuine Chinese relics that someone recognized, and hid until they could get back to buy them. But really, it was probably some jerk kid who found them on a shelf and stuck them in the desk to be a jerk. Either way, they are actually pretty neat. Photos soon. I can't deal with any flash photography tonight. It's late, and I spent the last two hours talking about Herman Melville and the Great White Whale. Grad school is fun, but it wears you out...

On a nicer note, I'm just putting up some inspiration photos that I'm in love with right now. Enjoy!

I'm smitten with the sectional Mr. Modtomic has featured on his blog. I wish I had the time and money to drive to New Orleans and buy it. Orange is slowly taking over my living room, and I need more. Immediately. I'm not stealing his photo, but I found some other orange beauties to post. I still would love a sectional in our living room (Justin actually admits that he thinks it would be a nice fit), and that one linked above set me off. None of these would actually work in my house, which is totally OK because none would ever be in my price range, but a girl can dream...
I know, I'm not cool enough, nor do I have a big enough house for this Ligne Roset sectional, but come on. Even though I used to think these things looked like weird intestinal tracts, I have come around to their charms. Look how comfy that looks! This set is from an Apartment Therapy Scavenger feature. Like most of those, it doesn't seem all that attainable even at the Craigslist price of $4000, but I guess for one of these, that's a steal. Whew...

I like this vinyl one, featured in the awesome blog Adventures in the Atomic Playhouse. But I can hear the sticky sound now as we tried to peel ourselves off of it in the Georgia summers. Gross. And come on, there isn't a sheepskin big enough to get me to curl up on vinyl on cold winter nights. Maybe if we had a fancy fireplace like they do...
I love this image, found via Style Carrot. Isn't that a magical set? Not exactly the most comfortable looking group, but who cares? I love that dark-dark-almost-red-orange color. It's similar to our Eames chairs. This one I would do in our house, but not all three pieces. And I do wish they had arms. And a higher back. OK, maybe I wouldn't do these...
This looks uncomfortable, but I still love it. It kind of reminds me of what Waffle House couches would look like if Waffle House had couches. But in a nice way. You could lay out on one after eating too much bacon the morning after binge drinking. I just grossed myself out. Found via Just a Modern Guy.

If you had this couch, would you ever get off of it? It's velvet. And fancy. And not vintage. It's by some super fancy designer I'm not fancy enough to know. But if you want one, go here. I'm pretty sure when the name of the furniture maker is Vladimir Kagan Couture, it's one of those things that would probably give me a small stroke if I knew the price. But I love looking at it... And that flokati. And the curtains.

I'm too tired to keep this up. You get the idea. I'd like a sectional. But in the mean time, we got lots of compliments on our new orange chair at our Halloween party on Saturday. BooBoo definitely agrees that it's fabulous. That cat is in it four hours a day. Better there than at the foot of the bed, where she tries to bite my toes through the blankets.

OK, even though I promised no bad photography, here's some photos from the house as it was all decorated for the Halloween party. We went cheap and mismatched. So don't judge. We couldn't afford all those fabulous Martha Stewart decorations at Michael's. Who knew Martha was so good with the spooky stuff, too?
Oh, this is where the Danish chairs are living for now. They are actually quite nice there. Out of the way, but accessible. And still oh-so-pretty.