Sunday, August 22, 2010

Recycling Home Decor

When it comes to decorating Chateau 809, it takes me a while to figure out what would looks best in each room.  I am finding that I like to try to reuse decor items that we already have rather than buy brand new things.  Don't get me wrong, I could spend hours at Home Goods (and quite frequently do) but it makes me feel better that I'm saving money and not letting things go to waste by trying to reuse things we already have.

Case in point- the kitchen mirror.  We've had this mirror for a while but I couldn't figure out  a good place in the house to hang it.  Meanwhile, I've been trying to decide what to hang on the walls in our kitchen to dress it up a bit.  A light bulb went off when I finally put two and two together and figured out that the mirror would look great in the kitchen if I gave it a fresh coat of white paint.

 Here's how the mirror originally looked:

After taping some blue painters tape and wrapping paper over it, it was time for painting.

After a fresh coat of white paint, here's how it looks hanging in the kitchen:

Not the best pictures but you can get a pretty good idea.  I love the contrast of the white with the gray paint and white cabinets.  Do you like to recycle any of your home decor items?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Front Porch Part 2- My DIY Doormat

In trying to make my front porch look pretty, I needed to find a new door mat.  I have been leaning towards a monogrammed door mat for a while but the only ones I could find cost a ton and are way more than I'm willing to spend on something that is going to need to be replaced in less than a year.  So after some shopping around for a decent priced door mat and coming up empty handed, I got the idea to DIY one after seeing AnNicole's amazing tutorial on Our Suburban Cottage (see her post here).

I bought a plain door mat from Ikea and got out some left over black spray paint.  I then printed our initial and cut it out with a pair of scissors (this part was a serious pain in the neck). 

After taping the initial template to the mat, I measured the space where I wanted a border and taped off the remaining area around it.  (In case anyone's interested, I chose to make the border two and a half inches.) I used clear masking tape which doesn't come up that clearly in the photos but it worked pretty well.

I then brought everything outside and painted away.  I then peeled off the template and let the paint dry before moving it to the front porch.  Here's the finished product:

Overall I think I could have done a better job taping the template down and painting but I'm pretty happy with it and that it cost less than $10 to do this project.  Next step for the front porch makeover- find a door wreath!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prettying Up the Front Porch

Seeing as how summer is almost over, I must admit that I'm a bit behind schedule on my plan to fix up the front porch.  To be honest, there's not a whole lot of space to work with but I've watched enough HGTV to know that curb appeal counts for something so I figured it's better late than never.

For Home Decor items, I've been shopping more recently at Ross.  I never thought to go there in the past but when I have trouble finding what I'm looking for at Home Goods, I'll stop by Ross which is usually a hit or miss but you definitely can't beat their prices.  So after searching high and low for a plant urn I liked at the two Home Goods stores in my area,  I spotted this lovely at Ross:

I'm not too sure if it's a planter but figured it I could make it work.  I took it home and drilled some holes in the bottom and gave it a fresh coat of black paint.  Now came time for the actual planting part.  I love the plant urns I see in the city with ivy overflowing the rims but I also love the look of boxwood shrubs.  I decided to go for the boxwood since I think it will be much easier to maintain and will hopefully last longer.  I swung by Home Depot where I picked one up for  $6.99.  After finally filling the planter, here's how it looks:

And now here's how the front porch looks so far. 

As you can see, I have limited space to work with but I feel there are a few other things I could do to make it look nicer- starting next with getting a new door mat.  Any other suggestions?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Updating an 80s Banister

One of the most visible eyesores in our house was our dated banister which was screaming for a makeover.  We have been  planning on getting a carpenter to change out the banister at some point in the future but for some reason, we never thought to paint it until recently.  I finally went for it and have to say, I'm loving the results.

To get an idea of how the banister looked before, here it is:

And after:

We like it so much now that we're thinking we don't need to replace it.  It's so funny it took me this long to realize how great it would look painted- especially because I paint everything! Do you have any banister-painting stories?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Working on the Living Room

My living room/dining room is one of the last rooms in the house that is yet to be finished and it's in desperate need of some help.

I've been struggling with what to do with this room.  As you can see, I took down the gallery wall above the living room and put up one large black and white photograph instead.  I think next on my to do list is to add some greenery for some color.  I love fresh cut flowers but hate how they die so quickly and the cost can add up- I'm hoping that a plant will last longer.  I also need to add some side tables and lamps and some more decor on the coffee table.  Any other suggestions??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Old Made New Again

Sorry to anyone out there who may still be reading this blog.... I've been away for a while (can't believe summer is half way over) but I'm back and resolute to start posting more. 

With that being said, here's a chair-reupholstering project I've been working on for a while.  Over the winter, we were visiting some family abroad and I stumbled upon what has become one of my most favorite stores ever, Sia Home Fashion.  I'm soo sad that none of these stores exist in the U.S and that there's no on-line shopping.   In any event, a chair that was at the store caught my eye.

(This photo was taken this summer when we had the opportunity to go back to the same place- the price had been cut but still too much to consider taking home).

I loved this chair but alas there was no possible way of getting it home.  When I was back home though, I was browsing around on-line and stumbled across its near identical twin at a consignment store.  I wasted no time and picked it up.  Here's what it looked like when I just brought it home:

Sorry for the grainy quality of the pic- it was taken with my cell phone.  That's how it stayed for seven months until I figured out where to put the chair in the house and what to do with it.  I finally decided to use it in the guest bedroom and reupholster it with black and white striped fabric which I bought from Ikea.  After giving it a fresh coat of black spray paint and my first reupholstering project, here it is:

I think the fabric works in the guest bedroom which I'll be debuting shortly.   Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Table

When we finally bought a new mattress and moved our new bed into the master bedroom, our nightstands (which are actually Ikea side tables) were suddenly too big and needed to be replaced with something much smaller.  I have been admiring mirrored furniture for a while and thought that some mirrored tables would fit perfectly with our blue/gray/black/white color scheme.

I ended up going with Target's mirrored side table since it's (a) inexpensive and (b) small enough to fit on the end of the bed without blocking off access to the bathroom.  Here it is when I got it home and out of the box.

As you can see, there isn't too much table surface space so the lamp and alarm clock barely fit.  (Please ignore the chords and the fact that the alarm clock isn't plugged in.)  I'm hoping to eventually get swing arm wall lamps which will free up some more space.  I only bought one table so I can see how it looks in the room but after getting everything set up, I'm definitely going to buy a second one.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Laundry Room- Finally Complete

I know I've been neglecting this blog a bit lately :( but I thought I'd kick things back in gear by introducing the recently completed laundry room.

Let me first start off by saying that it's already pretty nice that our house has a dedicated room for laundry (tiny as it may be) since a lot of homes have the washer and dryer stored in a closet.  Unfortunately I don't have too  many "before" photos to share but I can tell you that the room was bleak.  I'm guessing that the washer and dryer that came with the home were over twenty years old and there was some hideous eighties vinyl flooring.

When we moved in, we bought a new washer and dryer but after that, the work stopped in the laundry room (other than actual laundry itself).  About eight months later, I got around to changing the ugly flooring by replacing it with new vinyl flooring in the form of peel and stick faux-wood planks.  (I got the idea from The Lettered Cottage.  I was a little hesitant at first but reading reviews and seeing how inexpensive they were sealed the deal).

We then painted the cabinets white and painted the entire room a pale mint green color. After adding a few accessories and a coordinating ironing board cover, the room is finally finished.  Sorry for the quality of the photos- the room is so small, it's impossible to get a decent shot of how the whole room looks.

Washer & Dryer:  Frigidair
Floors:  Novalis peel-and-stick vinyl planks
Paint: Thornton Sage by Benjamin Moore
Ironing Board Cover: Home Goods
Decorative Scissors: Anthropologie (painted white)
Decorative Storage Containers: Home Goods 
Laundry Basket: Ikea

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To paint or not to paint?

Our fireplace was one of the things in our house that didn't need any fixing up when we moved in.  It's very traditional with red brick and a white mantle.  The brick itself is real- not the fake stuff and overall, it's a perfectly nice fireplace.

Except for one thing- I'm thinking of painting it white.  The red brick isn't working so well with the brown and ivory color theme I'm trying to work in the living room.  While the red doesn't look bad, I feel like white brick would look more cohesive.  The only problem is that I'm nervous if we don't like how it looks painted, we can't go back.  What do you think? Should I paint it white or keep it as is?

Friday, May 21, 2010


Just stumbled across this gorgeous bedding from Tonder & Tonder.

I think this is definitely another contender to consider for the master bedroom- thoughts?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Master Bedroom

Since we're just about done with the master bath, it's time to turn our attention to finishing the master bedroom.  We already painted the room Silver Mist by Benjamin Moore which is a pale blue-gray so the next step in putting the room together is to decide on a bed cover.  In shopping around for a bed cover, I've been coveting Anthropologie's Rosette Quilt but the price tag is something I don't like as much.  Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to be going on sale anytime soon...

In searching for alternatives, West Elm's Parachute Duvet Cover seems like an obvious choice.  It's more than half the price of Anthropologie's Rosette Quilt and the color seems pretty close on-line (though I've been meaning to check it out in person).

Last, but not least, Target also offers a similar comforter worthy of consideration:

Although this comforter looks blue, the reviews state that its more of a grayish blue and the price definitely beats both Anthroplogie and West Elm.

So many choices... which one is your favorite?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Powder Room

So I know my posts have been bathroom related lately but with our powder room recently completed I can't help but share it.  Before I show the finished product, I'll take a walk down memory lane.

When we moved in, the powder room looked like a typical eighties bathroom.  These are the only shots I have of the "before" but you can get an idea of how the bathroom needed to be updated.

We always knew we wanted to update this bathroom but in the meantime we made some minor changes like changing the sink faucet and light fixture and painting the cabinet doors.

When we got an estimate for the master bath, I asked the contractor to give me an estimate for replacing the powder room vanity top.  It was less than half of the price than the estimate I got from Lowes so we decided to go for it.  As for the floor, I thought I could give it a shot and try re-tiling it myself.  I won't go into detail of what an ordeal this was...suffice it to say I threw my hands up in defeat and asked the contractor to do this too.  I have to say, I don't have any regrets in doing this since the bathroom came out great (at least I think so!)

Here are some shots of the "after" powder room.

Sorry for the photos- it was impossible for me to get a shot of the entire room.  Here's a list of my resources:

Vanity top: Provided by contractor
Tile: Home Depot
Faucet: Home Depot
Light Fixture: Home Depot (w/shades from Lowes)
Mirror: Home Goods (spray painted white)
Towel Fixture: Home Goods

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Patio Umbrella

With my recently black painted patio furniture, I decided to go for a green, white and black color theme in the backyard.  Right now the backyard is looking more black and green so now I need a few accents of white to pull everything together.

One of the places I think I can accomplish that is with the patio umbrella.  I've been thinking of buying of a nice marketplace umbrella but haven't been able to come across any on my old faithful, Craig's List.  K-Mart and Ikea, however, do offer nice versions that are pretty wallet friendly.

I love this umbrella from K-Mart and it's on sale for $42.49.

Ikea also offers a similar option for $49.99.

While browsing on Ikea's website, I came across these awesome stripped umbrellas for $9.99

They don't have the same shape as the marketplace umbrellas and I'm wondering if it's actually a beach umbrella rather than a patio umbrella  but I'm loving the black and white stripped one.  I'm planning on checking them out in person!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Soft Landing

Look what's coming my way via mail:

Excuse the poor quality of the photo as it was taken with a cell phone.  Four of these cushions were made for our patio chairs.  I can't wait to see how it looks!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Master Bath Reno- FINALLY Completed

I'm happy to report that our master bathroom's shower handle is working and we are now getting hot water...yay!  I can finally label this project as "complete".

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Living Room

Although I'm still reeling about our master bathroom's lack of hot water and defective shower handle, I though I'd try to distract myself and share our living room. 

Before I share what our living room now looks like, here is the "before" version:

After knocking down the mirrors, ripping up the carpets and painting the entire room, here's what the living room now looks like:

We still have a long way to go but I think it's a big improvement. (Please ignore the side table and lamp as that is just its temporary housing space).  The couch is from Ikea and the rug is Pottery Barn's Moorish Tile Rug which I scored off ebay as PB no longer carries it.  In hindsight, I wished I had bought a cream colored rug so to create a greater distinction between the floors, rug and couch but I can always replace it later.  The most challenging decor decision was the art over the couch.  I have a bunch of eclectic pieces of art that I've picked up as hand me downs and have been given to me as gifts so I finally decided to create a gallery wall with all of them.  I wasn't sure if I loved it after the last piece was hung but it's grown on me. 

I think what the room needs know is some touches of white or creme. I plan on getting new curtains and replacing the coffee table.  We also need some side tables and lamps.   If you have any other suggestions, I'm open to hearing them!