Sunday, February 28, 2010

One more down!

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Or maybe the bottom of the paint can?

Yesterday, we painted the office. To paint the ceiling, we had to take the ceiling fan completely down. So last night, we couldn't see the paint after it had dried. I successfully convinced myself that it was basically white and that we would have to repaint it a darker shade.

Then I woke up this morning to this.

Thank the good lord I love it.

Especially the color of the desk along with it! I can't wait to see the room put together!

Unfortunately, these pictures don't do the color justice at all. I'm hoping that once the ceiling fan is put back up (today hopefully), we can get some better pictures.

The room is so much brighter than it was with the old teal:

Next up: curtains. I bought this curtain rod for more than 50% off. I can't wait to see how the fabric we've chosen pops on the light gray walls!

We also did a little shopping today, and came home with what else, more plates. I hope to get them hung Tuesday. I also got a little picture frame and a pen holder for the office, and a gorgeous Pottery Barn Christmas ornament for $3! Pretty successful trip to end a pretty successful weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My name is Sarah

And I'm a plate-aholic.

How do you know you're obsessed? You get up 15 minutes early (After you stayed up until 11 watching the Olympics) to hang stuff on the wall.

Please excuse the fact that this picture was taken with my phone when it was still dark outside.

I love the peacock the mostest. Now I want more plates!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oooh, spicy!

This weekend brought more than just an ugly chair into my life. It also brought an afternoon of working out some of the details in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, on my Ikea trip, I picked up some spice jars. Similar jars sold for $3 a piece at Bed Bath and Beyond, so I was ecstatic to see these for 75 cents each!

Still, I wasn't sure where to put them. I knew I wanted to display them, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to go the magnetic route, line them up on the back of my stove, or what. I went for what.

I picked up three floating shelves at Target. They were $4.99 each at my local store. Not sure why the price discrepancy but I'm okay with it!

After much despair over breaking one of the included wall anchors (why, why would there be a horizontal stud there? Why?) I got them up. I filled the jars with some of our most often used (and prettiest, let's be honest) spices and voila! A set of shelves in easy reach of the stove, the perfect size for my little spice collection!

Spices are just so pretty, aren't they?

They should definitely be on display.

Then, I got my butt in gear and finally tackled my plate collage.

Using my all time favorite home decor thing: monkey hooks, along with some paneling nails (since they were already white) and these awesome plate hangers, I was ready to go.

The plate hangers need to be attached the day before you're ready to hang. Mine have been attached and waiting for like 4 weeks because I'm lazy. To put them on, you just wet your finger with some water, smear it on, stick the plate hanger on, and smooth out the bubbles. Then allow to dry.

You can see from the picture above that I had to cut some of them down for the smaller pieces. This worked like a charm.

I also knew some of the monkey hooks and the metal loops on one of the hangers would be visible. I sprayed the monkey hook intended for the cast iron cornbread pan with white spraypaint. For the hanger loop, I cut a slit in a piece of paper, stuck just the loop through, and sprayed it. Then I waited for it to dry before pulling it back through.

Those monkey hooks are seriously amazing, folks. I cannot emphasize this product enough. You stick it in the wall, push it in until it's braced against the drywall, and you've got a hook that will hold 50 pounds. We have them holding up the mirror in our dining room. That's how awesome they are.

Thanks to the hangers, I was able to do this project with no levels and no tools other than my hands. For the longer cast iron pan, I used wire to create a hanger, looped around the handles on each side. Then for each piece I was able to just place it on the wall where I wanted it, mark the hanger location with a pencil, push in a monkey hook (and replace it with a paneling nail if the monkey hook would show) and hang the plate. It was so simple and I can't believe I put it off this long.

I love the way the mostly black, white, and cream pieces look on the barely gray walls.

I love it so much, I've already bought two plates to add!

This peacock beauty

And this flowered cutie

Both from Anthropologie.

A trip to Urban Outfitters had me seriously giggling over this plate, but I figured it might be a touch inappropriate for the kitchen.

We also picked up an exciting new acquisition this week: a home printer! It's actually an all in one, which means no more late night Kinko's runs for us. And it prints beautifully. So Saturday night, I decided to create some art for the kitchen. I thought the spot above the spices was just screaming for something decorative.

I was inspired by several different prints.

Cute, right? But I wasn't totally sold on the sayings themselves.

Then I remembered this postcard that I saw in a gorgeous house on The Nest! I love the saying, but the style wasn't really for us. So I decided to mix the two.

Corny? Definitely. Us? Assuredly.

And I love the way it seems to complete our little spice corner. Seriosly, I can't wait until we get the backsplash done (oh my god, I need to get started in that) and get a more modern replacement for the baker's rack. I am seriously loving my kitchen already.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I'm over the edge folks.

Seriously, if Brett wanted to have me committed to an institution today, all he would have to do it load one piece of evidence into his truck to show the judge.

As we were approaching a "furniture sale" that consisted of two items on someone's lawn, Brett barely slowed down. But then I yelled "I want that chair." If it hadn't just happened that we needed to turn around to get to the next sale anyway, I may never have convinced him.

"Look how old it is."

"It's probably really uncomfortable" (he was right on that count.

"It's the color of urine." (what in the world has he been drinking?"

"It's ugly."

I had to disagree with him on the last point. Thanks to some broken springs and some very worn upholstery, they were only asking $5 for it. After realizing they didn't have change for a $20, I talked them down to $3 and the chair was ours.

We brought it into the house, and laughed about the fact that it was the exact same color as our curtains. And sat in it.

It's not terribly uncomfortable actually. I mean, I won't be doing any lounging in it, but it can serve as a great cat lounger until we take care of it.

So what do I mean by take care of it? There definitely needs to be some repair done to the springs. We may be able to do that ourselves. Maybe. I'd also like to make new cushions for it (or have them made, more likely). It seriously needs to be reupholstered. I've called a couple of places and Brett will go get quotes this week. I'm sure it will be more than expected, but I'm kind of excited about the possibility of a custom chair in our future. Even if I have to pay more than the cost of a new chair to have it done.

See, I told you I was crazy. Prepare the straight jacket.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I know

I'm a bad blogger. I have really been trying to post twice a week, and I'm falling down. But the thing is, I'm falling down on my house too.

I feel like I've hit a wall. A big, blah, nothing on it, pinkish tan wall.

I've talked a lot about the colors in my house, and making them cohesive. And I'm so happy with the pallete of muted greiges, blues, and greens.

It's the other thing, the filling of the rooms with actual things, that's throwing me. I'm struggling here, guys. I'm confused about what my style is, what Brett's style is, and how to create that style in our house, for a reasonable price.

When I look back at the rooms we've done, and look at where I want to go, I just can't see how to make it work.

Today at the bookstore I browsed the Interior Design section, seeking out something I liked. Something I was drawn to. I know I like modern. But I don't like stark. And I like some traditional touches, but not a lot. Yet I love vintage finds.

I found one book with some inspiration pictures. Modern Glamour by Kelly Wearstler showed fun, modern spaces with a traditional twist.

Wow. So how do I make my house look like that?

I don't know, but I'm going to try.

Another designer who I think gets it exactly right? Jonathan Adler.

How about this gorgeous rug? Or this Greek Key wallpaper (Dining room, anyone)? Or this giraffe sconce? Once we have a little one, that will be mine.

Too bad the prices are pretty much out of our league. The sale section shows some pretty good deals on accessories, though. This, this, and this are calling my name.

A house with a few well placed Jonathan Adler pieces of whimsy would make me smile.

So the plan for now is to finish up with the painting. We'll continue with the injection of bright pops of color, and slowly start collecting more modern whimsical accessories. And we'll keep scouring the garage sales for fabulous finds like our record player and desk. And when it comes time for something new, we won't limit ourselves to the local market. Driving a few hours to Houston or Memphis (and lord knows we don't get there enough as it is) in the truck is totally worth it to have something we LOVE right?

Are you looking for your style? Try this style quiz from Sproost!

It said I was 100% Modern Elegance. I was skeptical, but I loved the pictures it showed me, so maybe they're right!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!

From The Clueless Homeowners!

This is the last weekend of Mardi Gras, and I'm sad to see it go. But we're also really excited to get back our weekend warrior status when we actually have time to do big projects.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So now that we're closing in on ridding our house of the bright blues, greens, and yellows we moved in to, it's time to inject some fun into our spaces.

Don't get me wrong, I am completely, head over heels in love with the color scheme for our house. It's exactly up my alley, and I can't wait to see everything come together into one big cohesive ball of muted blues, greens, and greiges.

Ahhhh. Side note: I'm not quite sure why that yellow-green in the bottom left shows up as highlighter yellow on my screen. I assure you, it's not. It's definitely bright compared to the other colors we've chosen, but it's perfect for a shady sun porch.

But now that our house is becoming a light, muted paradise, I'm missing some of my favorite colors. Namely orange. I've known all along that I wanted to use a lot of orange in my house. Not in big, permanent ways, like walls or couches. But small touches of this strong color can have a huge impact. Too bad I wasn't finding anything in the color I needed. We wanted a poppy orange, with a little touch of red, and I just found NOTHING in those colors. Enter Ikea.

Last night, between dinner and dishes, we injected the first bit of color into our laundry room and kitchen area. I love the way it interjects a bit of fun into this utilitarian space.

And now that I'm blessed with a sewing machine that's simultaneously new to me and older than me, and an abundance of gorgeous gray and black fabric with pops of orange, I'm excited to keep going. I'm thinking ironing board cover and apron, then switching out the kraft paper liner behind the receipt for our marriage license to a fun patterned paper.

For now, though. This will do.

And look, you get to see our actual shopping list! I always giggle a little bit when I see shopping lists in pictures that say "French bread, brie, butter, basil, spring mix." Dude, we know you're buying diet soda and cereal. You're not fooling anyone. Brett said people would think we were faking it with the sparkling water, but it's true! I swear!

Now I'm on the lookout for magnetic notepads and little baskets and stuff. I seem to remember these from my locker days. Anyone know where I can find some cute, colorful ones?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I drove over 900 miles round trip this weekend for one reason.

To visit the homeland.

Okay, so I was actually meeting some friends for a really fun weekend get together, and I tacked on the trip to Ikea at the end. But it doesn't change the fact that I'm over the moon that I finally got to visit today's modern meets affordable icon, Ikea.

As an Ikea virgin, I had no idea what to expect. Some people have raved about the incredible quality for the price you pay, and some people have called it cheap, ugly pressboard crap. Still, I was giddy as I got off the tollway (which, by the way, is WAY confusing for someone who has never experienced it) and saw the giant blue building. And boy, I mean giant. It was huge. That corner up there was just the beginning.

I couldn't even fit it all in one picture.

I walked in, and was immediately confused. There was a little display of a bedroom, an escalator, a hallway to one side, and an enchanted forest type thing. Since I'm not 6 but I still like to play on moving stairs, I chose the escalator.

It turned out the escalator brought me to the display section. It included living rooms, offices, kitchens, and the famous 350 square foot apartment. I was totally enchanted by these bright modern spaces. I would have been happy to have almost all of them in my home.

Unfortunately, I was so in love that I only took one picture, because I thought this rug was adorable. That was a running theme throughout the trip. My favorite sections (storage, rugs, frames, cooking stuff, and oh my god, FABRICS!!!!!) are not pictured at all, because I was so giddy I didn't take any.

Next came the sofas. This is where I got really sad. Look, a wall of modern, bright, affordable (and comfortable! I sat on some) sofas.

Look, a gray, modern, comfortable, compact, full sized sleeper sofa that would be perfect for our office at $850!

Look, an adorable side chair for $99! Total disclosure: this was NOT the most comfortable chair in the world. It's not uncomfortable, but not a loungy recliner, either. But for $99, it would be perfect for a "putting on your shoes" chair.

Too bad they are still 460 miles from my house and I have no way to get them here. Damn you Ikea and your willful ignorance of most of the South! Honestly, for these prices, when we get ready to buy new living room furniture, a trip in the truck to Ikea Houston (a smidge closer) may be in our future.

Side tables for $8! Again, the quality wasn't outstanding, but for $8 it was really incredible. They were fairly sturdy and I could see them working perfectly in an apartment or dorm.

This set of nesting tables was similar to the quality I've seen from West Elm pieces, for only $59. I would love to have these in a living room, and I couldn't believe the price!

I loved, loved, loved this side table for $59. It was around this time that I got totally on the Ikea train. They are really doing an amazing job of making good design affordable for everyone.

I was pretty impressed with the storage section. In addition to beautiful cabinets, basic shelves, and the ubiquitous Billy bookshelf system, they also had some great armoire type pieces. There was a big white one with glass shelves that I would love in my dining room.

At this point in the trip, I got to the Marketplace section, where you actually buy stuff. I got so excited that my picture taking basically stopped. Ultra soft throws for $9, huge glass bowls for $15, beautiful frosted canisters, bright pot holders, storage boxes, throw pillows, curtains at INSANE prices, it was all too much and I loved soaking it all in. I spent so much time poring over the fabric section, and I chose a few that I thought I couldn't live without. I also got a lot of one fabric (black, white, and gray with small pops of orange) to make curtains for Brett's office. I'm hoping I have enough left over for an ironing board cover and an apron.

Once I had filled my cart with spice jars, fabric, a sheepskin (which I made fun of my dad for asking me to buy him one, but now that I have it home I sort of want to keep it), a big red clock, magnetic board and magnets, a throw, some pretty glass bottles, and who knows what else, I started taking pictures again.

I loved this white, soft Ofelia blanket. I just couldn't think of a place for it, but I definitely wanted it to come home with me. The wall of colorful duvet covers, most for $39, were mesmerizing. I wish I had visited this store when I still had bedrooms to decorate.

The lighting section also had me wishing I was at different points in some of my projects. I loved most of the lamps, and found myself wishing I had light fixtures to replace in the near future.

So why is this place so cheap? Well, if you want furniture (thanks to my compact car and a limited budget, I didn't need to deal with this) you have to brave the warehouse, making sure you have all the boxes you need, since some pieces come in more than one box. Then you have to take it all home and put it together.

After being really tempted to buy some stuff labeled "Ikea food" near the checkout, I got my purchases and made my way back to the car.

Hmmmm, maybe it's a good thing for my wallet that I live 500 miles away.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Take Two

I've come to terms with the fact that we will all make design mistakes. Our couch was one, the porch floor paint was one, but the most in your face mistake we made was the green we chose for our upstairs bathroom.

All of our mistakes have had one thing in common: we were in a big hurry.

We bought the couch on a whim from the back room of Haverty's. Maybe some research would have told us the chaise would wear out after less than a year.

I itched to get the floor painted while I was off work. I ended up not prepping properly and now have a peeling, crappy floor.

We were in such a hurry to cover up the bile yellow in our guest bathroom, that we picked out a green at the store--without looking at the swatch in our windowless room or painting a sample on the wall.

But I'm proud to say we've fixed that last mistake. Our bathroom is now soothing, bright (not that it wasn't bright before), comfortable, and relaxing. And it's going to fit in great with the rest of our house.

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that our shower curtain and rug still fit in perfectly in our new bathroom. The little pops of color in the stitching bring the bathroom from plain to fun.

Considering that the only thing we've changed is the wall color, this was a huge transformation to the tune of $30 (plus we have half a gallon of paint left for art projects).