Category Archives: Interior Design

Chinese Chippendale Chairs

This last week I decided to get my dining room into some sort of working order since I might need to actually serve a meal to guests in the near future. Truth be told we’ve already had several guests but we’ve been eating at the coffee table so there’s been no real urgency to get this room shaped up. My dining chairs have been hanging out in the garage and that makes for a not-so-happy husband. He’s been taunting me with the Charlie McCarthy head lately…

charlie-mccarthy-1 He likes to place Charlie in random spots throughout the house to scare the crap out of me. Believe it or not, I never noticed him in the fridge because I was so tired when we moved. Here’s where I found Charlie this week:

charlie-mccarthy-2 Creeptastic, isn’t he? Okay, so about those dining chairs… I found these Chinese Chippendale chairs on Craigslist in Chattanooga. They have always been my dream dining chairs and I finally scored them! I drove a total of four hours for these and they were worth every drop of gas. Here’s what they looked like before (minus the heinous pleather-covered seat cushions):


Don’t be fooled, that is not a gorgeous wood finish. They were laden with cigarette smoke and there were several spots where a dog had gnawed on the legs. They had to be cleaned, sanded and painted if they were coming into my house. Since I had just enough Chiang Mai Dragron fabric left over from another project, I thought I’d paint them a dark gloss gray to let the fabric really pop. I painted them up…

spray-under-first Then removed two layers of nasty upholstery from the seats and recovered them.

reupholster-dining-chairs And ended up with this.


They were pretty, but the gray just clunked against the saturated yellow-orange tone of the burl wood table. Bummer. So I got a wild hair and decided to go with purple. I have purple tones in my hot pink runner just beside the dining room and I needed a darker, substantial color to ground all the yellow tones in the room, so I decided purple would be the perfect compliment. The chairs were repainted (by my lovely husband, this time) and voila!

dining-chair-finished Purple Chinese Chippendale chairs! They’re definitely different, but right now I’m totally digging them in the dining room.

dining-room-october-2013 I’m still playing with the settings on my camera (yes, we found it!) so I hope you’ll forgive the weird contrast in this photo. I’m hoping to play with it a bit this week and see if I can snap some decent shots to give you a progress report around the house.

So have any of you traveled great distances for the furniture of your dreams? How far were you willing to go? I’d love to hear your story!

A couple of small snags

You know, the building process has been fantastic the past few weeks. The contractors have gotten so much done it’s just incredible. But this week we did hit a couple of snags that will need to be worked out. Take a look at our fireplace wall.


I drew some lines on the sides so you could see just how crooked the wall really is. The builder has tried to patch with drywall to straighten it, but I truly believe it’s a framing issue. I wish I had caught it before drywall went up, but the wood they used to frame out the fireplace was warped. The right side is much worse than the left side, but both are noticeably crooked. Bobby assured me that they would fix it, and I trust he’ll get the job done before closing.

The other snag we ran into was with the bathroom cabinets. We purchased the same floor plan as the model home which had an enclosed water closet. But for some reason our floor plan was not supposed to have a WC as a standard option. We thought it was an error on the part of the architect who drew up our plans, so we added a wall to enclose the toilet during our pre-con meeting. Now our bathroom cabinets won’t fit. Oops. And it will cost us $750 and take one month to get custom cabinets to fit the space. Double Oops.

So what do we do? We compromise. I’ve never liked having two sinks in the bathroom. Michael and I are never getting ready at the same time, and quite frankly that’s just one more sink I have to clean. I’ve told Bobby that if we can eliminate one of the sinks and just have an empty knee space where the last cabinet would not fit, I’ll be able to use it as a vanity area and it will be exactly what I wanted in the first place. Problem solved (hopefully)! He’s going to call me in the morning and let me know if that is a viable option for us. Fingers crossed.

Aside from those two things we’re in very good shape and have been promised a closing date of August 30th. That’s a mere five weeks away! We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Here are a few more pics of the progress.




This is the little drop zone beside the laundry room. We’ve never had a dedicated space for things like mail and electronic devices that need to be charged, so this is going to be a fantastic new space for us to try out. If anyone has ideas on how to get the most out of a space like this, drop me a comment… I’m all eyes and ears.

On the interior design front, I’m starting to get all our big furniture items ordered and/or built and getting them ready for shipping after closing. We’ve received our first Hunter sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and we really like it. I have another one on order that should be ready for delivery right around our closing date.

For the coffee table and end table I’ve decided to construct my own. After composing a layout of the great room I figured out that I’ll need one 38″x38″ end table for the corner of the room and  one 48″x54″ coffee table for the center of the room. I’ve always been in love with marble-top tables like this:

But I can’t seem to find it in the exact sizes I need. And I also want a gold or brass finish on the base. And the marble top is definitely out. We would stain and etch that marble top quicker than you could say “coffee and red wine”. So I did some research and ended up commissioning Anthony of Steel Beautiful to make the table bases to order.


Anthony does lots of custom work and he even took the time to bring samples to my house so I could choose the size of steel rod I wanted. Check out this industrial style shelving unit he constructed for a design client:


Love the raw industrial look of these shelves. Anthony works fast, too. In less than one week we were picking up the custom table bases!


This is the coffee table base. (We had to break out the motorcycle trailer since it wouldn’t fit in the car.) This is obviously a raw steel but I’ll be working on getting these bases either painted, rub-n-buffed or gold leafed. Haven’t quite decided which I’ll be doing yet.

I’ll be topping these bases with slabs of Arctic White quartz from Southern Stone. The pure white will be fresh and polished, and because it’s quartz it will be stain and scratch resistant. Perfect for a family that likes to really live in their living room.

I’ll post again when the table base finishes are done. Because the quartz slabs will be so heavy I’ll be waiting until a week before our closing date to have those made so I can have them delivered straight to the new house. The small slab will weigh in at a whopping 181 lbs! I DO NOT want to move those suckers if I don’t have to!

The finish line is near… more updates to come!

Drywall Y’all!

At long last, WE HAVE DRYWALL!!! Do you know what this means? It means we’re less than 60 days away from closing. It’s a huge milestone in the homebuilding process. We went to see the house last Thursday and it looked like this:

Living Room Drywall

Check out all that natural light… beautiful! Our last house was very dark so we’re pretty excited to see sunbeams streaming through those windows.

Kitchen Drywall And here’s a view into the kitchen and straight down the hallway to the front door.

Michael in front yard We were pretty stoked to see the progress made in one week. This week they’ll be doing the final grading on the lot and building the deck out back, plus we’ll get all the millwork installed (crown moulding, baseboards, cabinets, etc.). Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.

In other news, I made a one-day trip to Atlanta on Friday to drop off an oriental rug to London Varner of DeRigeur Vintage. He’s going to overdye it in a beautiful aqua color and I should have it back in about 3 weeks. We did the transfer at a Starbucks in Midtown and I swear it was like a drug deal was going down only it was with rugs. That’s how I roll, folks.

While in Atlanta I absolutely had to visit the local Jonathan Adler store. I’ve been to J.C. Penney and seen some of his products there, but it’s just not the same. Nothing compares to being able to touch all those wonderful pieces of pottery in person. I walked away with this:

tongue spoon rest

and this:

banana bud vase

Yeah I know, it’s a bit Clockwork Orange-ish, but it’s so cool I had to get it. I have OCOSOD (obsessive-compulsive “ooh! shiny object!” syndrome). It was a miracle I didn’t do severe financial damage at JA Atlanta. The store is teeming with bright colors, bold graphics, and lots of texture.

Jonathan Adler Atlanta That’s all I have to report for now, but stay tuned because I’ll be posting up details for a massive estate sale we’re about to hold in a local office space here in Nashville. Wish us luck!

Bedroom Blues (and Greens!)

If you’ve taken a look at the home tour of our last house, you may have noticed that our bedroom was a dark charcoal/navy color. A couple years ago I fell in love with Kristin Davis’ dark walls when she painted her living room with Benjamin Moore’s Black Horizon. It wasn’t until last year that I finally tore the bedroom apart, bought new white nightstands, created a DIY headboard, and repainted all four walls and the ceiling with BM’s Black Horizon. We LOVED it. Michael works nights so our agreement has always been that the bedroom would be dark and cozy, like a cocoon. It’s a place where he can come home from work, draw the curtains and easily get some sleep.

Now I’m sure you all know that paint colors can vary drastically depending on the light in the room and time of day, so it was no surprise when the Black Horizon started looking a bit more navy than black to me. Now that I’ve lived with that color for a while I’ve decided to go for a more saturated blue in the new house, something that undoubtedly reads “navy.” Since I’m on a mission to incorporate more color into my home, I’m going to go a bit bolder in the bedroom. It will still be masculine, but it’s gonna pack a color punch!

Navy and Green Bedroom Mood Board BAM!

Okay, now that the shock is over, here’s the breakdown:
Nightstands: West Elm Serpentine 3-Drawer Chest (no longer available)
Bedding: Pantone Universe™ Blue Aster Comforter Set
Headboard: DIY created with a hollow core door, linen fabric, batting and nailhead trim
Drapery Fabric:  Cosmopolitan Navy
Euro Pillows: Caitlin Wilson Textiles Navy Deco Pillow Cover
Trellis Pillows: KW Imperial Trellis Pillow Cover in Kelly Green
Lumbar Pillow: Planning to DIY this one in a lime green velvet
Lamps: Artichoke lamps (purchased last year at HomeGoods)
Chandelier: West Elm Large Rectangle Hanging Capiz Pendant

Check out that kelly green ceiling will ya? I’m on the fence about it, but hell, it’s just paint. I’ve painted our home so many times I could do it in my sleep (yes, even the ceiling). Michael always told me that when we start to lose square footage I have to stop! I’ll be selecting exact paint colors in a few weeks when we’re a little closer to our closing date.

And speaking of which, we’re roughly a week behind schedule in order to close at the end of August, which is fine because the builder is making sure everything is done correctly and to specifications. I’d rather have it done right than done faster. We should be getting our drywall and a deck built by the end of next week. Can’t wait to share new photos of actual walls!


My Mirror Addiction

Mirrors are one of the best tricks a designer can have up his/her sleeve. They add style and sparkle, all while opening up a room and bouncing light around a space. I noticed over the past year that I’ve collected quite a few mirrors for my home, each of them unique in style, size and shape. Here are a few mirrors I have lined up for the new home.

Vintage Chinoiserie Mirror Vintage Chinoiserie Pagoda Mirror

Vintage Regency Convex Eagle Mirror Vintage Regency Convex Eagle Mirror

ZGallerie Forza Mirror

Restoration Hardware Beaded Venetian Mirror

Restoration Hardware European Zinc Dormer Mirror

These are just a few I have stashed away. As you can see, I don’t discriminate when it comes to mirrors. Gold gilt to faux bamboo, I love just about every style. I think one of the reasons I like them so much is because they’re so versatile. It’s not like art where you’re totally committing to a specific color scheme or image. Mirrors go just about anywhere in a home (except the ceiling – let’s not go there, folks!)

Just remember, when placing mirrors, try to make sure it reflects something of interest. You’ll be seeing that reflected image a lot so it might as well be something you enjoy. Also, don’t forget about the most obvious place to use a decorative mirror–the bathroom. Get rid of those builder-basic, bland, boring slabs of thin mirror and replace it with something that speaks of your style!

Do you have any favorite mirrors around your home? Anyone out there hoarding mirrors like me? Do tell!