The Great Room (in progress)

We’ve been here two months and it seems like we’ve been here only two weeks. So much to do and so little time! I can’t complain too much, though. We are thoroughly enjoying this new house and I am enjoying the decorating process immensely (when I find time to actually do it, that is).

I’ve shared a few terrible photos of what certain parts of the house are looking like, and have apologized a thousand times over for crappy photos. So today I thought I’d share some better photos of the great room that I took with the Canon Rebel this morning. Despite the colder temps it’s a bright sunny day outside. I may as well take advantage of it while I can.

Great Room from Hall This is the view of the great room from the main hallway. The painting over the sofa is entitled Beyond the Limelight and it was one of the paintings my aunt created for her series Rock Gods. She was kind enough to let me give him a new home for a while. You’ll also notice my Chanel No.5 painting to the left, and I promise I’ll post more about that piece soon. It’s a huge painting that needed a large wall and I think it fits that space perfectly. I can see it from the kitchen and also from where I sit on the sofa. I think it’s important to place art you really love in places you’ll see it often.
Great Room from Kitchen And here’s a view of the great room from the kitchen. It’s sparse, but it’s getting there. The sputnik chandelier was an design choice I made over the summer, and I love how it adds major sparkle to the room when it’s on at night. My fiddle leaf fig (aka “figgy”) has been temporarily propped up on a chair so he can get some light to those lower leaves. Once I get my cable box situation sorted out near the fireplace, figgy will inherit the antique brass faux bamboo table so he can have a chic perch.

And let’s not avoid the elephant in the room…can you say HUGE BLANK WALL? I obviously need to get my ass in gear and get a gallery wall together, but it seems like such a daunting task. It would help if I took stock of all the art I have around the house. Maybe I’ll drag everything out today and see what I can whip up.
Coffee Table And here’s a little close up of the coffee table. Just a jumble of books, boxes, a tchotchke and an orchid all corralled in a tray or two.

There are definitely a few things I’d love to change about the room. For starters, I need better pillows. These black and white Ikea pillows are getting us by, but I really need more variety, color and texture. Over the summer I had this idea that I would use some massive 24×24 pillows I had gotten from ZGallerie, but that dream has since faded when I realized that they would slide and fall down on my leather sofas. Anyone else have that problem? It’s super annoying. For now all I can do is drape a throw over the arms of the sofas in hopes that the pillows will have something to grip and stay in place. I know, #firstworldproblems, right?

Aside from that, I still have to hem my drapes, and I’ve been thinking of taking the builder blinds down for now since we never seem to use them at the back of the house. I have a swivel glider chair in the garage that is just waiting to be brought into the great room, so that will be added in the corner near the kitchen.

So that’s all for now. I’ll do my best to post up more pics soon. Who knows… maybe I’ll have a gallery wall to show you in the near future!

My latest Craigslist find

Well guys, good ole craigslist has come through for me again. I’ve been on the hunt for a set of barstools for my kitchen island, and after sifting through pages upon pages of nasty, trashy, old-worldy-looking barstools I finally found these:

barstools Shut. Up. They are bold, beautiful 80s brass my friends. I couldn’t help myself. When I got to the seller’s house she informed me that she also had two sets of pristine condition backs and seats in the original upholstery, which she kindly threw in the deal for free.

seat-cushions I’m normally not crazy about vintage upholstery, but something about this tone-on-tone swoosh pattern reminds me so much of my childhood, I just love it. And they’re perfect – not a speck of a stain or a stitch out of place on these babies.

Not your taste? That’s okay. I’ll bask in the glow of these brass beauties any day. You might also notice the painting hanging out behind the barstools in the top photo. I’ll share more about it at a later date, but for now I’ll say that it was painted by a very dear friend of mine and I will treasure it always. You just can’t beat personal art for your home.

While we’re on the topic of hunting craigslist, I must admit that it’s also a source of great amusement for me. Ever seen a listing for “rod iron” barstools? Yep. Can’t beat some good rod iron to spruce up the house. So what’s your latest craigslist find? Got any nuggets of good spelling or grammatical errors to share?

Painting, taping and more painting

Guess what I’ve been doing lately? Ah, yes, one of my favorite pastimes! I truly do love painting, whether it’s painting a wall a solid color or painting fine art on a canvas. I just zone out with my headphones on and go to town. I painted the living room in our last house at least six times in the ten years we lived there. Michael said that when the paint is as thick as our fireplace mantle I’d have to stop because we were losing square footage. :)

Last week I painted a little canvas art. Nothing complicated, just a simple chevron pattern with an array of various colors. We haven’t gotten the bonus room (aka – my art studio) or the front office cleared out yet from the move, so I broke out the yard sale table and pretty soon the walkway in my great room looked like this:
painting-in-progress Fun stuff if you ask me. This wasn’t a quick paint job because it had lots of colors that I had to hand mix to get just right, but in the end I’m happy with the result. I painted the edges gold and will probably try to clear coat this in an epoxy resin so it will be thick, glossy and shiny (remember my Obsessive-Compulsive-Oooh-Shiny-Object! disorder?). Here’s the finished canvas:

If I had to do this project again I would definitely mix up all my paints first. It would’ve taken half the time had I just buckled down and pre-mixed my paint, but sometimes the fun is in the journey, right?

Next up was the hallway. You may remember that I had plans to do this:

Striped Foyer Well that project is now underway. I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but this uses quite a bit of tape. I used Scotch Blue Edgelock tape for this, but then switched to the regular kind because the Edgelock started tearing the drywall when I peeled it off. Sometimes a product can work too well, I guess.
The first couple of stripes I measured and taped up with my mom’s help. After she left I got the swing of things and finished taping another stripe or two. It’s a tedious job and, if I’m completely honest, took WAY longer than I anticipated based on past striping projects. Or maybe my brain just blocked the taping part from memory after a few years? Who knows. This morning the hallway now looks like this:
I’m pretty happy with the results so far, but I have a lot more stripes to paint in this area. Truth be told, I think it’s going to look awesome when it’s done, but I’m concerned that the color scheme won’t connect with the back of the house very well. The center of the house is just one long hallway and you can see the great room from the front door. So I think what I’ll do is move forward with the color scheme as planned (because I really do love it), and then add some of these colors to the great room to visually tie things together.

Or I could just say screw it and be one of those artsy / eclectic / I-meant-to-do-that people that doesn’t care if things don’t “go together.” Hmmmm… we shall see.

Have any of you striped a wall or room in your house? How long did it take and were you pleased with the results?

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!

It’s Still Summer Here

We’ve been busier than a one-legged man in a ass-kicking competition around here. This month has been nothing short of nuts as we’ve zoomed back and forth from the old house to the new house hauling even more stuff. The good news is that the old house is now cleaned out and has been sold, so there won’t be any more stuff coming into our new home. Whew! I swear I got heart palpitations every time we made a haul just thinking “what are we going to do with all this?”

It’s so hard to let go of physical things sometimes, especially when you know those things are worth something. But we had to ask ourselves, is it worth something to us? Is it worth taking up valuable space in our home, at least until we can sell it? Some items got a “yes” and some got a “no.” In the end we feel good about the things we decided to keep, and you’ll see more of those things in the future.

So enough about the move… I’ve been trying to enjoy the past few weeks and pretend it’s still summer around here. In the beginning I had planned to change up my decor according to the seasons, but at this point I say screw it. I’m going to decorate like it’s still summer because it’s light and bright and it makes me happy.

Here’s a peek at a part of the kitchen I’m really enjoying.
kitchen-shelves The shelving is your basic LACK gloss white shelving from Ikea. I installed them temporarily until I could get shelves made that would span the entire countertop, but now that they’re up I have to say I’m really liking them. The glossiness of the lacquer (sorry you probably can’t see it) is a nice touch in the kitchen and the depth of the shelves is really just perfect for all the stuff I want to keep at arms reach. You may also notice the gold-tone cabinet hardware. Again, Ikea to the rescue. These are the GOTTLÖSA knobs and METRIK handles which I spray painted gold and then used antique gold Rub-N-Buff to give them a brushed gold finished. So far the finish has held up beautifully.

For the most part I’ve wanted to keep all my gold hardware and finishes rather muted or antique, but I decided to step outside the box when it came to my kitchen faucet. It’s brass, it’s lacquered, and it makes absolutely no apologies for it.
brass-kitchen-faucet This brass faucet had me at hello. I’m not an ultra contemporary kinda gal, but I love the contemporary lines of this fixture. It is made by Kensington Brass and I purchased it through From what I understand, Kensington no longer makes it (which is why it’s selling on Unfortunately the collar for the sprayer didn’t work due to the thickness of the hole that was drilled for the builder-grade faucet I replaced, but I’m working on a solution for that.

And do you remember the coffee table and end table I planned on making? Well here’s how they turned out:
coffee-table Again, I sprayed the bases gold and used antique gold Rub-n-Buff to get that brushed gold finish. After I got the rug down and table bases in place, the good people at Southern Stone delivered two huge slabs of shiny Arctic White quartz for the tops. I love these table so much, I just can’t express how beautiful, shiny and low-maintenance they are. While they do have a tendency to show dust and smudges, the clean up is a breeze. Quartz is a man-made material and is damn near indestructible (“man-proof” as I call it). It doesn’t even need to be sealed. Just wipe that sucker down with Windex, Clorox wipes, baking soda, or whatever good surface cleaner you have on hand. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as the kids say.

Now that I have a big-ass coffee table, I’m gonna need some stuff on it, right? No problemo.
halloween-decor The gold skulls is probably the only halloween decoration you’ll ever see in my home. The gold tone is the only reason it’s it my home, actually. :) The enameled hot pink tray is from the shop at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia, and the black and white chevron box is from ZGallerie.

So that’s a little peek at how the house is evolving. As we get things put away in their rightful places I’ll be taking more (and hopefully better) photos… just as soon as I find the camera. Happy End of Summer!