Thursday, September 23, 2010


I need your help.  I am divided and I can't decide.  I blame having to make this decision on the cat, Lexi, I am looking at you.  Do you remember this blog post, where I introduced you to my cute little nook and lovely blinds?  I loved those blinds, there were the top down bottom up style by Levolor so we could have a nice view of the trees and hide the parking lot by day and also didn't have to be a walk by aquarium by night.  Privacy with a view!  I got a pretty sweet discount on the blinds thanks to my friend Betsy but still spent a pretty $90 on them.  What's the plural of blinds? Do you saw blind if you are only talking about one window set? Or do you says blinds for one set and blindes for multiple? Focus!

Back to the issue and why I said " I loved them".  A few months after we hung the blinds, Lexi got on the table and leaned on the top of the blinds causing them to dent in the middle.  She is not a heavy cat by any means so I was able to undent it, although you could slightly tell the blinds weren't perfect anymore. Le sigh.  Knowing that I spent $90 on the blinds, I lived with the defect.  Well fast forward to this week and I come home to half the blinds on the floor. Sad face.  Lexi had gotten on the table again and chewed through the stings on one side.  The only fix was to tie an ugly knot, not going to fly for my type A, detail focused, neat freak personality.  Unfortunately, I don't have the funds to run out and buy another full priced Levolor top down cellular shade. So what is the solution??

I have been thinking about putting up bamboo blinds in the living room for a while. A la Young House Love style as seen here:

So I am thinking this is a good opportunity to hang matching bamboo blinds on all the windows downstairs.  I looked into ordering top down bottom up blinds from Levolor and was shocked by the $400 + price tag.  Lowes Hardware has the size and color that I like for a mere $40 however they aren't top down style.  It won't be a problem for the window and sliding door in the living room since I don't plan to put those down very often.  However, in the kitchen, I don't want to have the blinds closed all the time and miss out on the view and natural light but I also don't want to provide a 24 hour a day Truman show for my neighbors by keeping the blinds up all the time. 

I have come up with a solution, fear not!  But I have only visualized in my head and really can't make up my mind if it will look really nice or really silly.  So I am asking for your help and rather than try to explain my vision, I have created a helpful Photoshop depiction of it:

I am thinking of building a shelf like divider about two feet down from the top of the window.  Then attaching the new bamboo blinds to the divider.  That way I can still have the view and light from the top of the window but the privacy on the bottom and the savings of $400 beans in my pocket.  I think once the white glossy divider is up the tan window trim/frame will look gross, so I would get some metal paint and paint the trim that shows on the top.  Do you understand what I mean despite the messy Photoshop job?  

What do you think?  Do you think that will look good?  I plan to eventually replace the chairs with white fabric ones so they pop against the new bamboo blinds. This idea will also prevent Lexi from chewing on the strings or leaning on the blinds. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm a Doormat

Just trying to be clever in the title, not really a doormat, hehe.  Quick update then let's move on to the fun stuff: I won't be selling my condo!! yay!  Long story short, the market is over saturated with houses in my price range so I wouldn't be able to get a fair price for my little place.  So now that I am staying put, on to the fun stuff like continuing to make my home perfectly me!  As Sarah Richardson would say, "You can have the home of your dreams now."  Just a little bit in love with her!

Any who, back to the matter at hand... the doormat.  Those of you that know me, we'll pretty much if you are reading this blog you are either my friend or mom, hi mom!, so you know the story of what happen to my last doormat.  We won't go into those sad details today.  Today, we will discuss a new doormat and entry way! yay!  I would like to power wash my front landing and stairs and get a new doormat and possibly some potted plants?  I figure I can keep them alive if they are outdoors, right? maybe?  Also, now that I have the whole landing to myself (tehehe), small victory = 1 Janine, 0 he who may not be named ;), I figure I can expand my front door decor.  (It rhymes, deal with it.)

So here is what I am thinking:
One of the above doormats.  Which one do you like the best?  I like the second because it adds a pop of color and my front door is green but then I also like the second but it's timeless - you will never get tired of seeing it.  Help!?

Here are the pots I was thinking for the plants:

Do you have recommendations for what plants to put in them?  I was thinking just two pots, I do love decorating in groups of three but I think three pots would be too much.  Is it just me or does the word pot make everyone giggle?  hehe.  I like the look of the plants they have in the picture, add some more green to the boring deck?  I need something hardy, that won't easily die.  Also what will the pots look like in winter when the plan dies, should I get year around plants?  or just hide the plants in the winter and replace with a blow up, life sized snowman?

I also like the look of this planter below.  I think the added visual height would be really nice and that the straight lines would match almost too perfectly with the geometric mat above. Too much?

I  can't wait to hear your thoughts and start my front door beautification project! 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Moving on Up...

I write this post with mixed feelings as I have a Realtor coming to the condo this afternoon to list it for sale.  I know, it has barely been two short years in my cute condo but we have already out grown it.  And this move is not because I have updated every room of the condo and am looking for a new one to reno. haha. Definitely, not, although that will be fun.  This move is because of this one...
Craig and I adopted Abbey a year ago to this day and while she was 10 lbs when we brought her home, she is now a manly 65 lbs.  She loves to run and dig and really does need a fenced in backyard to do those things.  We also feel like such bad puppy parents when confining her to a crate for 8+ hours a day during the work week.  Although she is the main reason we would like to move to a single family home, there are others, like the joy of a garage and not having to carry 10 bags of groceries up a flight of stairs while it may be raining.  It will also be nice to have a third bedroom and not sharing walls with certain neighbors (you all know what I mean).  So that is the why, now on to the when, how, where, what...?

So after talking with the Realtor, it looks like the house will be listed as of Monday.  We are hoping that by pricing it aggressively and by all the updates I have done over the last two years, that we can get a quickish (word?) sale.  At the same time we hope to buy a single family home in the Cary/Apex area in the next two months.  It's going to be a whirlwind, that's for sure.

In getting the house market-ready, I have done a few more updates to the condo that I will be sharing over the week.  Those include painting all the kitchen cabinetry, doing quick easy updates to the second bathroom, and a built in closet unit in the second bedroom closet.  I also don't think I have ever posted about painting the second bedroom, so I will include before and afters for that room as well.  Excited yet?

As I said, there are mixed emotions because I have spent so much of my free time, money, and effort working on this condo that I hate to see it go to a buyer who might ask for more or not appreciate what it use to look like and that they are getting it for practically the same price I did two years ago.  (Sorry, long run on there - typing from the heart.)  But such is the market and a quick sale in this market is like cold hard cash in better times.  Can I post before pictures in all the rooms??

Then at the same time, I am beyond excited about the prospect of moving to a bigger home with a great backyard.  My first thought was, I want NEW! haha, I am tired of spending all my free time doing reno.  However, I just can't resist the temptation to get a great deal on an older home and use the extra cash to make it perfectly me! Plus with older houses you get sooo much more land... goes back to that girly in the picture above.  She would love it!!  Craig and I are trying not to jump the gun but are already addicted to searching and zillow.

Therefore, I am inviting you on our journey to find a new home to love.  Expect posts of prospective homes and please give us your feedback.  As current homeowners, everyone has their own perspectives that offer ah ha moments for those of us virgins to the single family home lifestyle.  Thanks again for reading! <3.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Dining Room Light Fixture

I knew before I even closed on my house that the dining room light fixture had to go.  Not even centered over the table, not even your grandma would like this style...
So, I can't tell you how the sorry little light lasted this long but it did until this past weekend.  For the longest time I had been lusting over an extravagant light from Crate and Barrel even so much as to ask for it for Christmas.  When I did in fact receive a nice gift card from Janet and my Dad for Christmas, I hurried my little (well bigger thanks to Christmas goodies) butt over to only to discover that they had raised the price another $30! Who does that?!?  So rather than fork over the moolah for the light I had been dreaming about for the past year and a half, I decided to look and see what else was on the market that wasn't so high maintenance and full of themselves!  Lucky in love, I stumbled upon this light from CB2: Eden Pendent Lamp.  At nearly 1/4th the price of the original and totally as cute, it was love at first sight! My gift card covered the entire purchase too - happy day!

The only problem was the light was a plug in not a hardwired to the ceiling mount type.  With a little help from my mom, we cut the cord (to my new baby... too far?) and attached the exposed wires to the existing ceiling electrical.  I reused the previous ceiling mount by painting it a glossy white to cover the hole in the ceiling.  In order to center the light over the table, an hook was installed in the ceiling and the light positioned in perfect place.  All in all, it took less than an hour and I wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

 What do you think? Stunning? 

 Who wants to come over for a dinner party??!  BYOD... Bring your own dinner... ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dreaming: Lovely Lamps

So my favorite lil' home blog, Young House Love, featured Target's beautiful new home decor and Christmas things this week on their blog. And it just so happened they are loving the same lamp I have been lusting after for weeks! These are the lamps that I have been wanting for the bedside tables. I didn't see the candle jars but those are beautiful too and I think would be a really pretty accessory on a dresser. I want to go with hints of gold through out the room, but not King Loey the Third gold everywhere and I think these items are the perfect touch.

My plan is to paint the wall, straight across as you walk in, with 10" horizontal stripes. The same gold tint glaze I used in the bathroom. I am reusing the sidetables from downstairs with a coat of creamy, off white paint and new hardware. I want the overall look to be luxury, glitz but still modern.


After (color & inspiration):
with new hardware:
Check back later for another post on the headboard and bed details. Oh how I love to dream and virtually decorate. Too bad I don't get paid to do that...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dreaming: Sidebar & Photography Wall Art

So when it comes down to it, I really love composing blog post and especially ones about my lovely home! However, against my wishes, money doesn't grow on trees and this economy has been rough on my job/salary situation. Therefore, I have to take a break from working on my house and save some money for the next project. But rather than take a break from posting I thought I would start a new blog feature, I am calling it "Dreaming." Each week or when the mood strikes me, I will post about interior decorating or home renovations I am dreaming of completing. Because let's face it I really have mentally decorated/renovation every nook of my little home. I know... I am a nerd like that and I like it! :)

Since we last left off in the living room, I thought the first Dreaming post should be about finishing that space. Having just tiled the fireplace surround, purchased a new couch & ottoman, and moved the tv to the fireplace wall, the right side of the room is pretty much bliss. The wall to the left, however, is not, its bare, its nakey actually. So this is my plans for it...

To start I would love to add a functional but beautiful sidebar/buffet like this one from
I would keep all of our wine glasses, bar accessories, wine and liquor in this cabinet to free up some space in the kitchen cabinets. It would be nice to serve drinks at this buffet and hors devours on top. Since I don't have a mantel to decorate this Christmas, I would be able to use the top of this buffet as another decorating surface. :)

On the wall above the sidebar, I would pull inspiration from this picture (crate&barrel) below to create a photography feature with six frames.

I really like these frames from Target in the 18" x 18" size, we are talking big, drama, so lovely! The frames come in dark espresso wood to match the sidebar with a crisp, white mat to frame a black and white photograph.
Here is a side view of the frames in both the espresso color and cherry color:
For the actual photographs, I have a collection of black and white pictures from every city, Craig and I have travel to that would look awesome with a thick 4" white mat border. I would probably get the pictures printed at Kinko's at a 14" x 14" size. Kinko's is much cheaper than say, Shutterfly, and it doesn't matter that the images wouldn't be glossy since there will be glass over the prints. So far, Craig and I have been to

and New York City:
I plan on taking a picture of the Shimmer Wall and surround buildings in Downtown Raleigh and hope to get a nice shot of New Orleans when we visit at Thanksgiving. We have also been to Atlanta and Asheville together but I didn't get a similar picture from those trips. I kind of like the industrial feel of the buildings so leaves wouldn't really cut it. I hope to replace the Wilmington picture with a new trip picture some day too. With those images, I am left with one more available frame... hmm..... where to go? Suggestions?

Thanks for dreaming with me. Do you enjoy these kinds of posts? Can you visualize my sidebar & photography collection?

Monday, October 12, 2009

It’s Getting Hot in Here… Fireplace Tile

Another update for my loyal readers. :) I have wanted to tile around the fireplace since moving in last year. I spent last fall requesting tile samples and trying to find the most cost effective and beautiful ones. I also knew that I wanted to eventually remodel the kitchen and include the same tile as a back splash. However, I never really found a tile that grabbed me so the project got put on the back burner. I did find the time to complete minor updates to the wall of the fireplace. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we:

The before in all it’s non-glory:

Before even moving in, my mom, Craig and I primed the entire wall and painted it a rich brown.

I painted the mantle a fresh glossy white and the dirty carpet was ripped out and replaced with latte laminate flooring. Yummy – I couldn’t resist posting another picture of that beauty:

Since the fireplace was actually off center on the wall I used curtains to hide the unevenness (is that really a word?). I hung a copper mirror, bought on clearance from Pier 1, above the mantle. Just doing these little things made me satisfied with the look of the fireplace… for the time being. ;)

Right before my housewarming party, I decided to remove the gold glass doors and frame to spray paint it black. I used a special fire resistant paint and covered the glass with painters tape and newspaper, easy peasy. The hard part was reattaching it from the back with a tiny screw drive being the only thing that would fit the space. So in the interest of time – it was two days before my party – I just propped it up and hoped that no one would leaned on it. This method actually worked for the next 6 months until our new ball of energy, Abbey, ran into it one evening and knocked it over. This was the spark (sorry, last fireplace related pun) I needed to start the tile project!

I really wish I had taken pictures while working on the fireplace, it would make it much easier to visualize these next steps. After removing the ugly gold frame doors, I was left with a big hole and much of the fireplace supports showing. Therefore, I could not simply tile over just the wood surround. I removed the wood pieces and measured how big my new backing would need to be. I then used an utility blade to cut cement board down to size and screwed it in to the remaining surrounds with cement screws. This process was actually a lot easier than I had anticipated. Next was applying a layer of thin-set mortar and placing the glass tiles on top. I ended up finding the glass tiles at Home Depot for the price of $4.99 a sq ft. Not bad at all for glass tiles this pretty! I actually lucked out and the tiles fit perfectly without having to cut any in half. The tiles come in 12 x 12” sections with mesh backing, so it really didn’t take that long to tile the whole surround. After waiting 24 hours for the thin-set mortar to fix, I then grouted with white, pre-mixed grout. I wiped off any excess grout from the glass tiles and left for drying. Unfortunately, I didn’t remove enough of the grout residue from the tiles so when it completely dried a film of grout remained. I need to really go in and scrub the tiles to make them really shine, but in interest in time and showing the after pictures, here they are:

It is hard to get a great shot without the glare from the television and one that really shows the detail of the glass tiles. So that’s the best view you’re going to get, unless you visit of course! :) We ended up mounting the TV above the fireplace, as much as my undeclared interior designer self cringed, it really is the best place for centering the room and making use of the wide space. I also took down the mantle because one: it was much to high to begin with and two: I like the visual clean appearance of the wall without it. Still debating if I will put some sort of mantle back up, I do love decorating it for the holidays.

Here is a close up of the glass tile:

Can you see the beautiful but subtle copper steaks through it? I love how the copper plays off the copper mirror, which was move to the right wall above the couch. Try to not notice the grout residue, oops, cleaning is a must.

Night time shot! Notice how the opening is much smaller now because of the cement board.

And last but not least, a picture of Abbey & Lexi enjoying the new couch: Love them! I love how my living room turned out, it is so cozy and comfortable. The new couch is from Rooms to Go and something Craig and I both picked out, I like the form and Craig the function (a perfect match of function & form). :) With the new couch, we can now seat up to 7 people comfortable so who is in for movie night?!