Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thinking of Striped Walls...

I've loved the idea of striped walls for at least a couple of years, and have been thinking of painting a striped wall in our living room, behind the tv.  It's not the newest trend, but I'm not tired of it.  In fact, I still really I love it.

Image via Decorpad

Via Young House Love

From The Lettered Cottage via

Photo via Windhula
via Pinterest (original source unknown)

Via Elle Decor

Via Country Living

Via Elle Decor

Via Design*Sponge
The more I look at these images... maybe more than just one wall.  Or not.  That could mean getting the hubs involved. :)

If anyone else has dipped their toe in painting stripes on the wall, let me know.  Is it a little to daring for you, a little to trendy for you, or are you as tempted as I am?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life is not *measured* by the breaths we take...

Weekend Recap

"... but the moments that take our breath away."
   - Source Unknown
I like this quote, but you won't see me wearing it on a t-shirt or anything.  It's nice enough, but overused.  Which is why it was perfect for a silly weekend recap.

I was measuring, ironing, washing, drying and hanging curtains...

I asked George to get off them.  He did, but kept coming back.  Eventually I just grabbed the camera.
Someone needs attention.
I wish I could take more pics of Bonnie, but whenever I point the camera at her she gets up to lick my face.

The aforementioned sofa in the background.

Other items on the agenda included:
- Home Depot run for curtain necessaries (more on that later)
- A "fairly stupid" Lifetime Movie Saturday morning while Seth was golfing.
- Buying a new pet bed
- Unproductive thrift store trip on the way to purchase the ped bed
- Buying pretty plates I'm going to return
- Buying wrinkle releaser (are you squeeling from excitement yet?)
- Lunch at Maki Fresh with the hubs on Sunday
- Measuring tons of stuff... what else is new.
- Dog walking.

Anyone else have a less-than-exciting but kinda-productive weekend?

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Shower curtain #2... Someone's in the dog house 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Which Sofa Fit the Bill?

As I mentioned earlier, I've been considering a sofa purchase for awhile. One of Seth's first big purchases after graduating was a living room set, including a leather sofa, chair and coffee table.

I can't lie, that sofa is comfyReally comfy.  Okay, okay!  It's the comfiest sofa on earth.  And the leather really was a dream with Bonnie (our dachshund) and George (our newest addition, the American bulldog).  But the heart wants what it wants, kiddos. And after considering all the options, (and almost buying one or two!) I wanted the Jasper.

I saw it first Making It Lovely, one of my favorite blogs.

photo via  

And then I saw it here, at SF Girl by Bay
Photo via SF Girl by Bay'
 And she taunted me here on Design*Sponge's sneak peak

Home of jeff bellanton and kim westad via Design*Sponge

If fit most of my sofa criteria:
1. Super-sexy, but just transitional enough in style. I'm in love with the mid-century inspired lines.  Just look at those pretty legs. Look again. Okay. Look again.

2. Clean-ability - They actually sell slipcovers separately that are made to fit the Jasper, which is good because I live with two dogs and a boy/husband.  Not to mention that I'm a clutz.  And we *gasp* eat dinner while sitting on the sofa.  Yes, I said it.  At times I try to lure the hubs away.  He thinks it's the sweetest gesture, but his show is on (or something).

3. Slipcovered. For an additional $450 or so with shipping I can order slipcovers made to fit the Jasper.  What's an extra $450?  I love spending money!  Money grows on trees! But seriously, the number of sofas that have slipcover options are few and far between. Did I mention the two dogs and the careless husband? And that I'm the clutz that comes to your dinner party, trips on the coffee table and spills red wine on your white dress?  Did I mention that?

4.  Price. It didn't fit this criteria.  Not because it's not worth it, but because I'm cheap.  I'm getting less-cheap, very fortunately, because while it's a blessing it causes more inner turmoil than you can imagine. I lust after things that I can't possibly bring myself to... and that one time I longed... with the most sinful desire to... buy... but I... Whaaa... where am I? Oh yes, the sofa.  Moving on.  I'll get to the price issue later. 

5. Size.  86" would work just fine.  I just had to remove the side table harboring with tons of junk, remotes, etcetera.

6. Quality. I've really heard nothing but good things about the Jasper.  I didn't conduct crash tests in the showroom or anything, but I've read reviews, blah blah blah.

7. Will it fit? Yes, it would fit between the doorways and through the condo entry corridors and stairs. 

BUT, my friends, we "need" (I'm using this term loosely...  I'm quite aware no one's welfare depends on a new sofa) so many things that it was hard to pull the trigger on a piece with the price tag. I'm a bargainista to a fault, after all.

I kept my eye on the Room and Board website for at least a year and it never went on sale. I stalked Craigslist for ages with no luck.  I sealed pictures of the Jasper in a bottle and released them at sea.

After months of this torturous pining, I ordered some swatches and told myself to grow some Big Girl pants and buy the sofa.  But the pants didn't grow.  It might sound silly. "Just buy the darn sofa," you say.  But remember how I was about my my Junior Prom dress for example.

And then I found a post on Craigslist by complete accident.  Someone was selling Room and Board gift cards in Atlanta (about 2 - 2-1/2 hours away from Birmingham) for about 3/4 of their value their value. It wasn't a steal, but I reassured myself that I had wanted this for ages and it was my one shot to get a deal. So I emailed the seller and made arrangements to meet at the store. 

Here's where it gets better.  The night before I was scheduled to meet her, a white micro-suede Jasper sofa was posted on Craigslist in Atlanta.  YES!  THE SOFA.  I was literally shaking I was so excited... and nervous.  This had to work at light-speed, after all, because I needed to let the gift-card seller know if I couldn't show up the next day. I emailed the sofa seller immediately. After an hour or so, they responded saying it was still available.

We don't have a truck so I asked if they would hold it for a day or so until I could make arrangements to pick it up... but no.  "First come, first serve." Fair enough.  I would have walked to Atlanta and hauled it on my back if necessary.  Luckily that wasn't necessary. 

On our way home with Jasper
Sorry for always featuring my dad, but he saves
my tail so much it's kind of unavoidable. 

Yep, Dad took his entire Saturday to drive to Atlanta with me, load up the sofa, and drive back.  Mind you, he also had to endure my conversation.  I was so excited I couldn't stop talking (and talking fast... like, so fast that I impressed myself by the speed and length of time I could go without catching a breath).

We showed up and it was in pretty good condition, although in need of a serious cleaning and some furniture marker touch-ups on the legs. No biggie.  And no haggling over the price.  The custom upholstery was an extra $400, so it was a solid $2,000+ sofa with shipping.

Here it is the day Dad and I brought it back:

Jasper at home
Bonnie liked it.

The micro-suede is so thick and rich it feels like real suede, and it cleans up so well.  Sure, I'm still considering the slipcover, but for now it's working nicely.

Two interesting side notes:
(1) I made sure the gal selling the gift cards knew I wasn't going to make it, and that she was would be okay selling to someone else.  She congratulated me on the sofa and told me she had worked as a buyer for a furniture store (neat-o), and had actually tried to convince them to buy a similar style before.  We've exchanged our favorite design blogs and corresponded via email since then.  Kind of cool, right?
(2) The super-comfy leather sofa now has a home at my mom and dad's.  You guys, it looks so good there.  I may post pics one day.  It's amazing how the same piece can look completely different in a new space.

More pics next week!

Do you like it?  Worth the wait?  Worth the nail-biting?  Worth the slow-growing of big girl pants?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Choose a Sofa - 7 Things to Consider

We recently got a new sofa for the living room.  It really can be overwhelming because a sofa is such a staple and a real investment for your home.  Here were the things I considered before making the decision:

1. Style.  There are lots of silhouettes I gawk after, but overall I'm typically drawn to mid-century inspired sofas.  My only fear was "would I tire of it later?". So I tried to keep myself in check by picking something that was true to my style, but is lasting for several years... even if my constantly evolving tastes change a little.  And lastly, after looking at gazillions of photos I realized I prefer two-cushion sofas instead of three-cushion sofas.  Don't go looking at your sofa and hating it because I just said that... It simply ended up as a feature on my wish list. :)

Petrie Sofa, via Apartment Therapy
2. Cleanability.  Our previous leather sofa was pretty ideal in this regard.  For the most part, any spills would wipe right off with a paper towel.  The only issue were little claw marks from Bonniegail (our doxie).  Brown leather sofas can be beautiful, but I wanted something lighter for our space, which of course made the cleanability issue even more important.  Bringing me to the third item on the wishlist....

3. Slipcovered (?).  For the same reasons mentioned above, it would be nice to toss a custom-fit slipcover into the washing machine.  But wow... that really, really narrowed our options.

4. Price.  Lots of plans for our place, I tell you! Meaning I have to spread the budget across several rooms, accessories, and pieces of furniture.  I've always been frugal.  Just ask my family.  I almost didn't go to Junior Prom because the idea of spending that much money on a dress was ridiculous to me.  (I finally went after getting a bridesmaid dress on clearance, getting some rhinestones sewn on, and buying $15 shoes). On the other hand, would skimping on the price mean skimping on the quality of a piece that we would be sitting on daily?

5. Size.  Every now and then I found some good finds on Craigers, but they were either too big or too small. It needed to be around 78"-86" in length.

(By the way, in case you haven't noticed... yes, I can absolutely over-think these things.  But it's a big deal, sheesh!)

6. Quality. I'm not an expert here, so I'm not going to elaborate much.  I just Googled my brains out and paid close attention to customer reviews, as well as the advice of local experts.

7. Will it fit? Make sure to take proper measurements of doorways and hallways, especially if you live in an apartment or condo.  Even the interior decorating shows have made this televised mistake from time to time.  Save yourself the money, time, and distress.  Also, some sofas have removable legs for this very reason, so check ahead of time before marking your favorite off the list.

Here are a few that caught my eye in our search. 

1. The Petrie Sofa from Crate & Barrel.

Petrie Sofa from Crate & Barrel

Another image:
via Apartment Therapy
       Loads of it. Mid-century lines. Precious tufting. Sexy legs.
       Like I said, precious tufting that I love.  But that means it can't be slipcovered down the road (if need be) and could look dated in a few years (I think?).
Cleanability:  The website boasts "Stain-resistant finish for maximum cleanability"
Slipcovered:  Nopers.
Price: $1,599 + $ 279 ($1,878 total). More than I'd like to spend. 
Size:  Just right.

2. The Loring Sofa from Room & Board
Loring Sofa from Room & Board
     Pretty sweeping arms
     Two cushions (which I prefer)
     More formal than my other considerations. But that don't scare me, boy.
Cleanability:  It comes in velvet.  That does scare me, boy.
Slipcover:  No slipcover, but if necessary I could have one made.
Price: $1,199.00 + $129 delivery
Size:  Just right.

3. Corona Sofa from Macy's

Corona Sofa from Macy's

     Mid-century lines
     Three cushion design (I'd prefer two, but I like the overall design so it's not a deal-breaker)
Cleanability:  Not completely sure, but I think Macy's offers a stain protection program (or something) for another couple-hundred dollas. Don't quote me on that.
Slipcover:  No slipcover,
Price: $899, on sale for $699!  Heck to-the-yeah!
Size:  A few inches smaller than our other selections, but would work perfectly...

4. The Avenue Sofa by Avenue Six

Style: Similar to the Petrie at a much lower price.
Cleanability: Comes in micro-suede, which is apparently marvelous for cleaning.
Slipcover:  No slipcover.  But at the price, it's less of a concern.
Price: $500-$750
Size:  79".  A little smaller than our other selections, but it would work.

5. Jasper Sofa from Room & Board

Jasper Sofa from Room & Board

I'm sorry, you guys... just give me a second... I didn't expect to get so emotional. 
Okay (sniffle) I'm back now.

Jasper Sofa from Room & Board

     Mid-century lines
     Two cushions instead of three
     The prettiest legs in Alabama.
Cleanability:  The most cleanable fabric is at least $200 more than the standard fabric.
Slipcover:  YES! And you have a few color choices to choose from. But it's an additional $399.
Price: $1399 for the introductory fabric (that's less stain-resistant than some others) + $129 delivery.
Size: Just right (86") if we remove the end table

Any favorites out there?  Did I miss anything on this list?

Pssst.... I bought one!

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Up! - Chandelier in the Bathroom

If you've been following along, you may remember the tutorial on how to create an antique finish on a chandelier (or most anything else, for that matter). 

Here's a reminder of where we started:

A lonely light bulb.
And what the chandy looked like before:

Of course, then we painted it and it was time to hang-er-up! (Shout-out to my dad for handling the installation... woot-woot!)

The only problems I ran into after hanging it were:
(1) That the tiny holes on the "flower petals" (you'll see those below) closed up with paint.  I spent some took some time on the ladder poking a safety pin through them.  Actually, I couldn't find safety pins at first and had to use my poor Humane Society name tag.  I'll need a replacement.
(2) That one of the hooks for the chandelier beads was missing (manufacturer defect).  Bummer because it was so close to being done!  So I ran to Hobby Lobby and found some little metal pieces in the jewelry section that were the perfect size.  I attached one with some glue and we were good to go!

Tiny metal piece glued to the chandelier.
Enough chit-chat.  It's time for the reveal.  

Some detail shots...


These little crystals remind me of a lamp my grandmother had in her house.  I always thought it was so "fancy" and regal.  So Seth's first impression was actually pretty appropriate: "It's fancy!"



I really like the shadow it casts at night.  I totally planned that.  Okay no, that's a lie. But it's a neat surprise, right?

I think it's an improvement from the bare lightbulb... and for a mere $25 plus paint supplies!  What do you guys think?

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How to Paint a Chandelier - Antique Finish
It's Done! - Ruffle Shower Curtain, Revised

Friday, March 18, 2011

Living Room Progress - Let the Sun Shine! (Sunburst Mirror and Dresser)

As I mentioned in a post last week, the sunburst mirror I bought ended up behind the sofa. 

I also mentioned the dresser was planned for our bedroom.  And it may eventually end up there one day, but for now it's right where I set it up to paint: behind the sofa.

Here's a "before" pic I found on my phone:

And in our little casa now:

After - sunburst mirror in our living room

Another a "Happy Friday" pic of these tulips Seth bought (Seth's anniversary gift was getting flowers once a week.  Score!):

The bird was a $.99 thrift store purchase that I painted white.  There's a little chip on the wing (cue Martina McBride's "Broken Wing"!) but it doesn't bother me because you never see it.

Oh, and I finally got around to reading the latest issue of Lonny this weekend.  What a surprise that after posting about sunbursts behind the sofa and "our" mirror in House Beautiful a very similar one was also shown in interior designer Dan Patford's home.

Via LonnyMag
Pretty close resemblance, right? 

Well, whattaya' think?  Should I keep it behind the sofa or try something larger?

I know a shot of the room may help to get a better idea.  First I need to let you in on my sofa find.  And I know, the chandelier reveal is well overdue.  Next week!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dresser Before and After

I recently found a great dresser at a thrift store in need of a little makeover. Here's a quick run-through of how it was tackled... setbacks and all.

When I was talking to my mom on the phone, I asked if she would be in the area of the Salvation Army anytime soon to snoop around for me.  The next morning she SMS'd me:

I loved the lines and thought it would be perfect for the bedroom. My dad met me to pick it up, and my parents bought it for us as an anniversary gift!  Heck yeah.

Dresser before
Dresser Before

It had some pretty good scratches (deeper than they appear in the photo), but I used some wood filler and they're much better now!

Dresser scratches
Scratches on the side

After adding some wood filler

On to the details of "how to paint a dresser" and "how not to paint a dresser".... because apparently I learned how to do both.

- Sand it with fine-grit sand paper.

- Prime with oil-based primer.  I primed the dresser with oil-based primer.  This was not good for us because I had to paint this indoors (more on that in a separate post) and the fumes were so unbearable I had to change plans.  So I sanded the oil-based primer off almost entirely.

- Prime with latex primer. I used a high-quality latex primer, applying it with a foam roller on the top, sides and drawer fronts.  On the areas that the roller wouldn't reach, I used a paint brush. Note about this primer: To make sure it would adhere to the entire surface (even any spots of oil-based primer I couldn't remove) I used a primer that our local paint sore recommended.  He said it was serious enough to be applied to ceramic tile and other difficult surfaces.

- Apply paint.  I applied three coats of Benjamin Moore "Decorator's White", also using with a foam roller to large surfaces and a paint brush for the smaller areas.

- Seal with clear protective top coat, if you like.  I used a paint brush for the entire piece (since rollers can cause bubbles) and applied two coats.

- Install new hardware, if ya' wanna'.  

Here she is now!

New hardware
White Dresser - After

White Dresser - After

What do you think?  Was it worth all the TLC or should I have made the plunge for a brand new dresser?

Follow-up post coming soon with tips on painting furniture indoors.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Wing Chairs - Arriving Soon!

Something's coming to our house soon!  A few images to give you an idea...

via decorpad

Via House and Gardens

French Wing Chair via Restoration Hardware
Chelsea Wing Chair from Williams Sonoma
Wessex chair from Darryl Carter for Thomasville

Rand Wing Chair from Ethan Allen

Two vintage wing chairs will arrive at our abode this weekend. I think. If you peed your pants a little, I understand.