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?!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crush: Sweet Little Entryway

Can I have an entryway like this one please? It is just so welcoming and organized. A perfect spot to drop the mail and take off your shoes. Love.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Closet Case

Back again! I bet you didn’t believe I would post again until February. ;) My second remodel for this week is the master bedroom closet. When I bought the house I still wasn’t completely sold on the master closet. I thought it was way too small and it barely qualified for a walk in. In fact, I didn’t even keep my clothes in this closet for the first year of living here because it was too dirty and dysfunctional. There was only one bar in the main section and gross markings all over the left wall as you walked in. Here is a before shot:

… not cute and definitely not well designed for maximizing clothes storage. In mid July, like most projects, I started by ripping everything out, patching all the holes, and cleaning the walls. Some of the nails from the ceiling were coming out, as is normal in older homes, so I also fixed those and scraped off all the popcorn on the ceiling. (Yes, the only 3 rooms in my house that have smooth ceilings are the bathrooms and my closet, weird, I know). One day I would like to remove the popcorn from the rest of the house, but that is something I will leave to the professionals. The ceiling also has an opening that allows access to the attic - the trim and door for that were unpainted wood, so I spruced them and the ceiling up with two coats of ceiling paint.

The walls were then painted the well known, Behr Gobi Desert. I debated about painting a fresh pop of color in the closet to contrast the subtle color in the bedroom, but after rethinking I determined it’s just a closet and a neutral color would be better for resale. After all the prep work, a trip to IKEA was calling my name!

On an early Sunday morning, my mom, younger sister, Kristin, and I piled into my little Civic for the drive to IKEA Charlotte. Three hours in the car, three in the store and we were standing in the parking lot trying to figure out Civic Tetris. With the IKEA employees doubting us, we crammed three closet units, all the interior components, Kristin’s new desk, dresser, and desk chair all into my little car. (side note: this is not the first time I have crammed more stuff into my car than previously thought possible.) Four hours later we were home (had to drive super slow thanks to the small bedroom weighing down my car). After Craig’s help carrying each box inside, I took Monday off work to construct all the components. Despite the IKEA picture instructions warning me not to build it without two people, I finished in one long day. I did fall off the ladder once and almost get squashed by a huge closet unit, but it’s all worth it in the end, right? Take a looksie:

Note: It’s hard to get one good photo of the entire closet due to its size. So I will just post pictures of different angles and features. As you can see in the above picture, there is a closet inside the closet. The second closet just houses the heat pump so it really is unusable space. I really had to maximize all the closet to fit all of our clothes. Lucky for us, we don’t own a lot of clothes and I don’t have a shoe or purse fetish, just a love for a well organized space. Sigh… :)

This is Craig’s section on the left:

I have two sections of the closet which are organized by work clothes and then weekend clothes. I then organize my shirts and pants by color (light to dark) to making finding a particular shirt easier and it makes it pretty. This is the best picture I could get of my side:

Let’s start from the top, above each section is a canvas box for storing out of season clothes. You can also see the “door” to the attic and the new light fixture. I really wanted to hang a fancy chandelier in here but decided my budget was more important in this situation, so I went with a left over $8 fixture from updating the hallway lights.

The top most portion of each unit is storage for purses or hats, etc. Eventually, I would like to get baskets to put the purses in so that it’s easier to reach. Currently, I have to get Craig to reach anything on the top section, hence why I have been using the same purse for the last two months.

The next section is shirts, oh my! Craig’s side will eventually have a pull out on one side for ties and belts. Unfortunately, IKEA stopped making the metal tie/belt holder I liked and now just has a cheap plastic type. All of the hangers are light wooden hangers to give a cohesive look and because they tend to leave less hanger dents on shirts.

My work pants section has a pull out rack that allows easier access to the pants. The remaining pant sections just have bars and pant hangers.

Just above my work pant section, I am going to add a jewelry/ belt organizer the next time I get to IKEA. I previously had my eyes set on a wooden jewelry organizer which of course they discontinued, so I needed some time to decide if I liked the new version. I think I do… thoughts?

Last, but not least, shoes! I know this will come as a shocker, but I really don’t have very many shoes. So the two racks per unit are just fine for me. Eventually, I might steal Craig’s second rack because he only owns two pairs of shoes for work, black and brown. He really doesn’t see the need to have any others. Hehe. We store our tennis shoes and sandals in the downstairs closet.

So, do you like it?? Lexi does!

You might be wondering were I hang my dresses, no? Don’t care? Too bad, I am going to tell ya. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t figure out a way to store my dresses in the closet because you need a long section. I did think about kicking Craig out all together and using his section for dresses, but in reality I only have 5 or so dresses and I really only wear them 5 or so times a year. So I keep my dresses and dress shoes in the second bedroom closet along with Craig’s and my suits. We wear them so infrequently that we don’t mind going into the other room to get them.

Wow, that was a long post! Sorry, I just wasted 10 mins of your life reading this. ;) Come visit and you can see the closet in person, it’s much better that way!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

So Fresh & So Clean: Laundry Room

Wow, it has been a while, hasn't it? Sorry for the delay in postings, it's not like I didn't have great things to post. So to catch you all up, I have decided to do three posts this week! Three, yes, three! I haven't posted once in 8 months, but now I am back on the ball and posting three in one week. Wahoo! A lot has happened since I last posted, Craig and I adopted a cute little puppy who is now an energetic 50lb dog. My good friend, Jen, got married on a beautiful Sunday in June and I created her wedding invitations and most of the paper goods for the wedding. I have been working on starting my own correspondence & design business (more on this next week). I cleared and renovated the laundry room, the master bedroom closet, and completely fancified the fireplace with glass tile. So in keeping with the timeline of the updates, let's start with the laundry room, which I completed in early March.

For comparisons, here are some before pictures... gross!

In late February, my 'old timer' washing machine (which came with the house) decided to break and cost a small fortunate to fix. So rather than fix something I disliked in the first place and with a little help from a hefty tax return, I bought a brand new front loader washer and dryer!

The weekend before the new washer & dryer were to be delivered, I removed everything from the laundry room, its more like a closet however. ;) It was so gross since the previous owners had never cleaned it. I painted a fresh coat of Gobi Desert, leftover from painting the rest of the house. I also went ahead and placed new laminate tile (same as in the master bathroom) over the old flooring. Gave the doors and trim a fresh coat of white paint and switched out the old flowery door knobs for sleek brushed nickel ones.

Okay, okay... I think you have waited enough, a whole 8 months and now I am making you read all this fluff before I show the big reveal. I figured with a laundry room, I would have to hype it up... it's just a laundry closet after all.

Isn't she a beaut! Having a laundry room this lovely and organized really makes me happy to do the laundry, ironing is now just mildly mundane. For ironing and folding, I created a table top over the washer & dryer by cutting a piece of plywood down to size, painting it white, and then applying a coat of clear polyurethane so water wouldn't damage the surface. For some reason, the polyurethane coating has yellowed a bit over time. Eventually, I might replace it with a white laminate countertop from IKEA. I used a silver bucket as a trash can and also to collect the drops from the laundry detergent. I framed two art cards to add visual interest and color to the room and to also hide the cords and water valves.

The shelving, drying rack, iron holder, and storage bins all came from IKEA. I do most of the ironing in this small space so to add much needed light, I installed two arm lamps (also from IKEA).

So there you have it, the first of many new posts to come. Please check back on Tuesday for another post on the new master bedroom closet which was completed in July. Until then, I am off to finish the laundry. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gingerbread House Warming Party

To celebrate buying a home and all the work that has gone into making it my home, I hosted a housewarming party for all my friends and family.  The theme was a Gingerbread House warming party complete with a Christmas tree, warm & spiked apple cider, festive music, and of course a cute little gingerbread house & cookies.  Loved ones started arriving shortly before 8pm and after touring the house, the good conversation & fun lasted all the way to midnight!  It was great to see everyone, to share my new home and to show off the updates I have made to the house.  I received many sweet compliments and a thoughtful card signed by everyone that attended. :)  Despite all the preparation and last minute stress, I had the best time and would gladly host another party soon.... hmm.  Thanks again to all those who could make it and to those who couldn't or those that live out of state, please come visit!!