Decor, Home, My house

Photo Wall or My New Favorite Thing In My House

I first told you about my obsession with oversized photo displays back in October 2012 when I spied this awesome picture from Palihouse on Dilly Dallas.

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Just to recap: I know that displaying personal pictures might not be #1 on every decorators must-do list (in fact, it’s usually on their NO list) but to me personal pictures are the way to keep a home looking, well…personal. And here’s the thing: I take a LOT of pictures. So, instead of picking a few great ones, framing them, hanging them up and calling it a day, I take a lot and then… they sit in my computer (and on Flickr and Shutterfly). The good part is that I don’t have to make any decisions (yeah!) but the bad part is that no one else gets to see them. And that’s just wrong. I mean, how can I keep pictures like these to myself:

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So, I thought long and hard about how to do my photo wall. Should I create photo wallpaper like this Tribeca home by Rinaldi Interiors?

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Nope. Too permanent. I want something that’s changeable. That certainly rules out something like this. I mean, how could I choose just one picture?

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Hmm…maybe a mix of small frames, like this. (Yup, that’s Soph modeling in LHJ!) But, nah. Again, it’s too permanent and too much work to use the huge number of pictures I want to use.

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So, I decided to just cover a wall with pictures. No frames. Nothing permanent. I even thought about painting on some magnetic paint and then using tiny magnets but I figured there was an easier way. Tape. Just little rolls of Scotch tape on the back of each pic. But it was a little more methodical than just tape and pictures. Here is how I made it happen.

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Step 1: Set some rules for the pictures you want to include. Color or black and white? All horizontal, all vertical or a mix of both? Various sizes or just 4×6? Just immediate family, extended family or include friends, too? I decided on:

– color pictures (I mean, how could I go black and white when I’ve got a kid with baby blues like Lily’s?)

– a mix of horizontal and vertical (because I clearly have problems editing)

–  just 4×6 (to keep it to a graphic grid)

– and only immediate family. I know that family part might be confusing but there are other places to display extended family and friends and I wanted to keep this more focused.

Step 2: Order Prints. I took quite a few long nights on the couch going through all my pictures and ordering HUNDREDS of them. I figured that it had been years since I had actually ordered prints so even if some pics didn’t make it into the mix, they were still lots of favorites so it wouldn’t hurt to have some extra prints on hand. (I highly recommend using a print plan on Shutterfly to keep the cost down.) You can imagine my joy when this arrived:

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Step 3: Edit into groups. First I split them into horizontal and vertical pictures and then I created three sub-categories: 1) Sophia without Lily (could include me and Pablo), 2) Lily without Sophia (again, parents are okay), and 3) Miscellaneous (could be just me and Pablo, all 4 of us, just him, just me, or the two girls together). Now I know this sounds slightly insane (or let’s just say it…totally anal)  but there was a reason for the madness. I really wanted to include an equal number of each kid. Because you know they’ll be counting! And when one kid has been around for 8 years and one has only been around for 5, you can end up with an uneven mix.

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Step 4: Use a level to mark your middle line and start taping. I just used one quick roll of scotch tape on the back of each one as I placed them. I tried to keep it balanced with colors and close-ups vs. pulled-back shots. And I tried a balance of posed and candids. And even a good mix of various ages. It looks random but there was a method to the madness.

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I used the level again every few rows to keep myself on track but I just eyeballed the distance between the pictures. Once I had 4 rows of vertical pictures (with 16 in each row), and 4 rows of horizontal (with 11 in each row), I noticed a problem: I had a lot more horizontal left over. So, I added a few extra rows of horizontal on the top and the bottom. And I have every intention of adding more rows over time but don’t tell Pablo: he thinks there are plenty already. But let’s face it; is he really going to fight seeing more pictures of his kids? I think not.

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After I stood back and took a look, I had to move a bunch around to keep it balanced. But once I had them in the places I wanted them in, I retaped each one with a piece in each corner. And there you have it: my new favorite thing in the whole house.

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We love sitting at the dining table and looking at all the awesome memories. And guests really love it too. It’s certainly a conversation piece!

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Let’s take a closer look at some ridiculously geeky stats about the 141 pictures that made the cut:

106 were taken outdoors (that’s 75%!).

There are 56 pairs of sunglasses, 44 bathing suits, 27 hats, 11 Halloween costumes and 5 appearances by Sophia’s beloved silver sequin-covered cardigan.

Almost half were taken close to home in New Jersey or New York, while a whopping 23% of them were taken in Aruba (more on that here and here). Obviously, we like taking pictures on vacation because 19% were in New England and another 19% were in Florida. Nevis and the Bahamas round it out with one each.

I already mentioned that there are 87 pictures of each of the girls. There are 25 of Pablo and only 17 of me. And the reason for that lies here: I took 84% of them.

(Ignore the spiders on the lamp. I took these in October!)

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So, I guess the take-away from those stats is this: I’ll continue to get outside to get some great shots, I’ll never take a vacation without the camera, and I need to give someone else the camera more often.

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So, tell me…how do you display your family pictures? I’m currently working on a display of extended family pictures in our hallway. The plan is to use all black and white photos and solid black frames with mattes. Wish me luck!

XO

Sue at Home

P.S Congrats to Katie who won my Minted giveaway!

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Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

Black Window Trim

Are you ready to see my den go through a pretty update? Good. Me too. Reminder: we had a pretty new Suzani-covered ottoman, some painted thrift store dining chairs and a new credenza.

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But the windows? Not so pretty.

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I had considered some kind of window treatment and I never knew what to do so I hit Pinterest for some inspiration. All I needed was to search for “sunroom” to figure it out.

via Pinterest (anyone know the actual source?)

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via Spanish ELLE Decor black trim elle dec

That’s right, folks. We’re painting our gross dirty-looking white-washed window trim black. First, we started out by removing the screens and the crossbars and giving the windows a good scrub from the inside and outside. (I highly recommend an indoor assistant when you’re windexing outside!)

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(Gratuitous photo of Pablo’s guns.)

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I knew the cleaning would help but it was surprised by what a huge difference it made to take off the screen and crossbars so we immediately made a decision to keep the crossbars off after we were done. (The screens will stay off til next spring.) Before we get into the painting, I just wanted to review my favorite painting tools: HANDy Paint Pail with liners, and the Shortcut paintbrush. Just get ’em and thank me later.

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When I got home, I removed all of the window locks and taped off the cranks. The table in my den looked like this hot mess.

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And my grody white-washed windows looked like this.

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Next, I pulled the moulding around the windows off  which left this pretty sight.

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After a  thorough cleaning I was ready to paint. Even just the primer was a very welcome fix!

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In fact, I seriously considered just skipping the black and leaving it all crisp and white. (Doesn’t primer look great sometimes?)

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But I stayed on task and started to add my black paint.

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Another coat and I was ready to put the mouldings and locks back on. Ta da! I love the big impact it makes. What do you think?

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I also popped up to the attic and found an unused Jamie Young lamp that we’ve had for years. (I picked up the shade at Target on clearance for $11.) Pablo loves it and I think it really completes the room.

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And since we’re talking about the den, I thought I’d give you a little bit of an update on the TV placement. I had told you back in this post that it was going to be mounted on the wall above the piano or over the credenza but I pointed out that the wiring would make the credenza option tough. A few of you recommended switching the piano and credenza and though we had ruled that out for various reasons, we decided to give it a try one last time.  Try to visualize this TV on the wall instead of just sitting on the credenza. What do you think? I feel like the credenza looks a little wimpy in that space.

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And I’m not crazy about the piano under that opening either.

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But the bigger problem with this switch is the piano is a lot deeper than the credenza and it kinda wrecks the pass-through to the deck. Here’s a shot with the credenza in place and keep in mind that the piano is about 10 inches deeper so it really juts out into the room. So that rules out moving the piano over there.

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But how about hanging the TV above the credenza? Hmmm…that’s not so great either. If we hang the TV there, you’ll see the side of the hanging mechanism and arm when you walk into the room. Not pretty.

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So, we’re back to the drawing board with the TV. The plan is to hang it above the piano. If it’s there, we can see the TV without making it the focal point of the room. It’s not perfect, I know, but it’ll function. And I’m busy planning a gallery wall above the credenza. Hey, maybe I’ll actually tackle that mantle soon, too!

Just to keep it real folks, here’s what the room looked the other night while the girls zoned out to the TV and Pablo played the piano. I know I’ve got a great looking family but can we discuss that gorgeous black trim on the windows?

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Sue at Home

crafts, Decor, Entertaining, Home, My house

Spooky Decor

Just in time for our annual Halloween soiree, I finally got the house all spooked out and ready. I started with spiders in the light fixture and a black scarf draped over my painting to make it look a little less pink.

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A lot of the decorations were left over from last year, like the little spiders, the tablecloth and the cobwebs. This year, I added lots of Martha Stewart Crafts that another editor gave me at my day job.
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All of the wine bottle decorations are from Martha Stewart. You can find them here.  The little owl papers just stick on the front of the bottle. Sophia said they all reminded her of Harry Potter.

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For the witchy wine, I combined the sticker from this kit with the witch’s hat from this kit.  My pumpkins are fake ones from Target that I spray painted and glued glitter onto.  (You know I’ll never spray paint a real one again after what happened last year!)

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The girls made the creepy hands at an event at Sophia’s school. They’re just medical gloves filled with flour.

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My favorite of the wine bottle decorations was this awesome vampire collar. We added fangs from the photo decor kit too.

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Sophia made the striped planter at the Y.

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Those ghosts in the back are the party favors for the kids. I just trimmed plain white lunch bags to have a ghost shape on top and Soph drew on the eyes.

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My glitter skull from last year is sitting on the front windowsill surrounded by brass candlesticks. (And of course, some pretty carnations. They’re my go-to party flower because they’re cheap, pretty and they last a loooooong time.)

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The girls colored pumpkins with metallic paint pens in lieu of carving.

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Our front foyer table holds this little glass pumpkin (another Target find) filled with lots of essential Halloween toys like glow-in-the-dark teeth and spider rings. (Because you can never have enough spider rings!)

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A little ghost that Lily made in pre-K last year hangs out in the den on top of a bowl of shells. Sometime between last Halloween and now, he lost an eye. But I think it’s a good look for him so we’re going with it!

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I also did a couple of the Halloween crafts featured in the October issue of Ladies’ Home Journal so I can talk about them for an upcoming TV appearance on Better TV. This is all day job stuff but I’ll let you know when it’s airing. (Follow Sue at Home on Facebook to hear all about it!)

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Up in Sophia’s room, she had a blast spookifying her place with this photo kit from Martha Stewart.

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Of course, that was before she switched her costume a few minutes before the party. As I told her the first time she changed her mind about her costume, “You can be whatever you want as long as you can put it together from things in this house.” I’m happy to help buy/build/hunt for costumes but not when she changes her mind two days before Halloween! (BTW: She’s a cat–obviously–and Lily is Chee Chee from Teen Beach Movie. When I posted this picture on Instagram, I tagged Chrissie Fit, the actress that plays Chee Chee, and she liked my picture! It’s scary how excited that makes me but you need to understand that this movie is like an Oscar-caliber film in my house and Chrissie Fit is like our Meryl. I don’t even think the girls understand how cool it is!)

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And when they’re not being as cute as can be, they can turn up the spook and scare the crap out of you too!

Halloween 2013 BLOG

XO

Sue at Home

Home, Travel

Travel: Brevard Zoo

Well, it’s October and I’m finally getting around to writing posts with pictures I took in August. Would you say I’m a little bit behind? Yes, I would say so.

Anyway…back in August I took the girls to Florida to spend a week with my parents at their house. When we go there, we like to spend lots of time just swimming in the pool and chilling with Mimi and Papa but I always make sure I squeeze in at least one visit to the Brevard Zoo. Confession: I’m a little zoo obsessed and I can tell you that the Brevard Zoo is one of the best I’ve ever been to.  It’s not huge but there are tons of animals and lots of interactive opportunities.  In our week long trip, we ended up going there four times – twice for the animals and twice for the Treetop Trek obstacle course. (I’ll share some pics of that soon too.) 

But for today, here are just some purty pics of some of the animals at Brevard Zoo.

I took about 50 shots of this beauty. It was like he was posing for me!

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One of my favorite things there is the giraffe exhibit. You stand on a pavilion high off the ground and feed crackers to these beautiful, kind, and gentle creatures. It’s totally surreal.  Of course, the day we fed them my camera battery was dead (CURSES!) but I snapped this quick pic of one when I went back. See one of our more successful giraffe feeding visits in this post.

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The flamingos are by far the smelliest exhibit but they sure are beautiful. Not sure why we refer to them as pink flamingos because they really are more of a salmon or coral color.

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There was some thunder rumbling in the distance so lots of the animals were grouped together like these guys. Even though it’s a picture of a flamingo butt, I think this could be really cool in a large scale print.

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These are actually white rhinos but their daily mud baths keep them pretty dirty.

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This bald eagle was amazingly large and regal looking.

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I hung out with this river otter for about 20 minutes. I had such a blast just watching him swim in and out of his little pool. (I like to think he was watching me too.)

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He was so cute I wanted to take him home!

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Sometimes nature makes the best colors. Case in point–this hyacinth macaw. He reminded me of the bird from the animated movie Rio.

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You’d think an anteater is really ugly (and his snout is certainly not very pretty) but I was surprised by how beautiful his fur was.

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Speaking of ugly, I give you…the vulture.

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I fed some seeds to a bunch of pretty cocktiels. I love their blush!

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The alligator feeding is always a highlight.

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And even bigger than the alligators are the crocodiles. This girl’s name is Lily!

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Feeding the lorikeets was another highlight. You buy little cups of pureed fruit and they come and land on your arms and peck out of the cup. I had little claw marks all over my forearms but it was totally worth it.

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This thing was totally creepy but I loved that it had feathers in such a gorgeous rainbow pattern.

zoo-837But the absolute best part of the zoo was the exhibit with these monkeys…

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More of their treetop adventure in a post very soon.

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home

Mimi and Papa’s New House: Almost Done

We just got back from Clinton, CT where we got to check out my parents new house for the first time since July 4th. It is thisclose to being done. And it’s so beautiful that I’m just bursting with excitement for it to be finished! Sure, it’s coated in a layer of dust (from lots of sanding) and it only has a few pieces of furniture (my moms brand new stuff from Ethan Allen) but it’s so spectacular that I had to share a few detail shots. If you want to check out some process shots first, check out this post.

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I took the girls to check out the beach down the street (which can be seen in the distance of the balcony pic above) and they absolutely loved it. I’m sure we’ll spend many summer days there next year.

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Congrats Mom and Dad!

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home, My house

House Tour: The Man-ish Cave-ish Den

I have a secret. We have a room that I’ve kind of kept hidden from you.

Meet our den.

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Being that this is the room Pablo spends most of his time in, it’s the closest thing we have to have a man cave. Granted, it’s the most well lit man cave in history but still…it’s his. And it’s super hard to decorate! Why? Well, for starters he insists we leave the wood paneling in place. (Seeing some cool wood paneled rooms on Pinterest has shown me that it’s possible.) Plus it’s long and narrow and has a weird layout:  a sliding glass door at one end, a fireplace at the other end, a wall of windows along the back, and finally a wall with a doorway and a weird opening to the kitchen.

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The room was an addition that the previous owners built and it’s a full service space for us: a den for lots of TV watching, an “office” for Pablo (this is where his laptop lives), a music room (his piano and guitar hang out in here too), a casual dining area (though we eat most meals in the dining room, we do like to eat here at our Ikea Docksta sometimes), and now it’s become a storage space for me with the addition of a new credenza (which I’ll tell you about in a minute)…oh, and it’s our fireplace room, too!  And if that weren’t enough function for such a small space, it’s also the room that you walk through to get to our deck and backyard so we can’t pack it too full of furniture.

I’ve given you a couple peeks into the room before. Like, remember when I told you about the thrift shop chairs that I painted red?

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And you learned all about our Suzani-covered ottoman recently, too.

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But I haven’t revealed much else because…well, I’m still working on it. For a couple of years, it was seriously just the couch, piano, and TV in here. (Side note: Looking at this pic now, I see how badly that blue table in the back needs a lamp. With so many windows and recessed lighting, we just never needed the light but I think we just need the shape.)

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But I’m thrilled to say it’s finally coming together. Hey look, there’s something hanging on the wall (details in this post)! Lots more art should be coming soon. I promise.

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And the mantel is an embarrassment. That one frame is hung way too low. (I think I stuck it on the nail that was already there! Sad.) Or maybe it should just be propped up and not hung at all? Thoughts?

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Pablo has a nice view from his spot on the couch into the land of not-wood-paneled dining room and living room.

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We’re on the fence about the TV. Tell me: do we hang it on the wall above the piano? (Which is certainly convenient because the cable cord is over there.)

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Or does it go above the credenza where the tape marks are? (This was our preferred spot but after I realized it would be a cable cord nightmare, I’m pushing for above-the-piano.)

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Oh! And let’s talk about that purty credenza, shall we? It’s vintage but we had it refinished and painted white. I know some people think it’s sacrilegious to paint such a beautiful vintage piece but with wood walls and a wood floor, we didn’t need any more natural wood.  We got it from Forgotten Furniture. (They’ll deliver so check them out online here.) We also got the mid-century dresser in our bedroom and a new headboard for Sophia from them. Their prices are amazing.

I had been looking for a mid-century credenza for this space since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago. The problem wasn’t finding something I liked, it was finding something I liked and could afford. Nice vintage credenzas that I had seen were in the $900-$2000 range. Another option is this mid-centuryesque one from BDDW that sells for a whopping $11,800.  (Umm…I don’t think so.)  We actually got pretty close to getting the Dumont from West  Elm but I know with shipping, that $699 price would have blossomed so I’m glad we didn’t do it. This one came to us by luck. The sellers had something similar but they sold it so when we went to see them to get Sophia’s headboard (solid wood, Depression-era for $75!) I asked if they had anything else similar. Rich showed me a picture of this one on his phone (before it was painted and refinished) and told me he would sell it for $300 “as is” or $400 painted. We bought it on the spot, sight unseen! He delivered it to our house two days later looking as good as new and we were both thrilled. I’m now using it to store some of the “office paperwork” that used to live in the attic. (Remember, I don’t have an office or desk of any kind so my papers and office supplies are all over the place. A girl needs a place to put her washi tape!)

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But let’s be real, this room is far from done. There are still plenty of things wrong in here. Like this eyesore of an air conditioner that’s stuck into the wall. We rarely use it but don’t want to be left with a whole in the wall if we take it out. I’m thinking about sticking a big plant in front of it. Or building something to hide it, like this genius DIY.

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And then there’s this ugly tile that’s in the little windowsill into the kitchen. Ick.

den-047Oh, and I think worst of all is the whitewashed paint job on the window trim.  It just looks dirty and gross.

See?

den-041Now let’s talk about the serious lack of decorating. Poor Pablo gets stuck with my cast offs from other rooms, like this weird grouping. (I hate that little man but he’s been with Pablo for years so we’re stuck with him.)

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I don’t mind this vignette but it could use a little love. The coral is from Aruba so it holds a special place in our hearts. (Remember when Lily used it to make some art for her room?)

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And of course, he has to store all his man stuff in this room. Those weird things in the back are push-up paddles. (Ya know. Cause you can’t do a push up without a twisting paddle? Whatever. He looks hot so I shouldn’t sweat the technique.)

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And now here’s another little secret: I took these pictures a month ago and I’ve actually fixed one of the problems already. Reveal coming soon!

Hint. Hint. Consider this the “before” shot.

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For more den-spiration, follow my Mid-Century Man Cave Inspiration board on Pinterest.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. It’s the time of year to start thinking about yummy pumpkin baked goodies so check out one of my favorite recipes ever. Click below to be taken to the deliciousness!

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Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

Suzani Ottoman Goodness

Meet our ottoman.

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It came to us at a price of zero dollars which is my favorite kind of price. (We were lucky enough to snatch it up when my parents moved on to bigger and better things.) But unfortunately, I wasn’t that into the washed red cotton skirted slipcover that came with it so it sat naked (slipcoverless) in our den for longer then I care to admit.

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I considered a million different options of how to cover it. A slipcover? DIY upholstery? Professional upholstery? And most importantly, what fabric?

Perhaps a suzani?

I had fallen in love with vintage suzani textiles ever since I stayed at the Colony Palms hotel in Palm Springs. “Delicious” designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard (of Million Dollar Decorators fame) plastered the hotel with suzanis–as headboards, in picture frames, as throw pillows and just draped all over everything. (Images via colonypalmshotel.com.)

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Pretty fabulous, right?

Then I spotted this image over a year ago on a blog and saved it on Pinterest with the text: “I’m thinking the mid-century man cave needs a little boho printed love. Maybe cover the ottoman in a Suzani?” (Just goes to show how long brewing a makeover can be!) Note: I pinned it from another site who used it without crediting it (booo!) so I just did a little Pin-research to find the original source. It was done by a writer named Kevin Austin from Style at Home. It was originally a coffee table!

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But the problem is that this crazy idea of mine was going to go into our den, a.k.a. The Mid Century Man Cave, a.k.a. Pablo’s room. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s generally very agreeable about all my design choices (see proof in I Have a Hot Pink Chair!), but this is “his” sanctuary and he wasn’t fully convinced about how the suzani would work with our Ikea black and white striped rug. Until we saw this:

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It’s the home of Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors featured in HGTV magazine. (I seem to be talking about Amber ALL the time lately, like here and here. Is this becoming a serious design crush? I would say so.)

Alas! This was the visual help I needed to convince Pablo but then came the next hurdle…how does one buy a suzani?

I considered lots of different sites and did a bunch of research and ended up finding a REALLY AFFORDABLE one on eBay. I snagged it for only $45 plus $30 shipping. (What? Do you have a cheaper shipping method from Uzbekistan? Yeah, I didn’t think so.) And considering that I looked at some that were well into the hundreds, I think $75 is a fair price to pay for something hand embroidered.

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Looks pretty similar to this one on Wisteria for $900, dontcha think? (It’s no longer available. Does that mean some moron actually bought it?)

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A few weeks later, we found this little bundle of joy on our doorstep.

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It was sewn closed and dotted with some kind of brown doody-looking substance that had hardened to seal it up.

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But inside it’s unique wrapping (and two protective layers of plastic bags), there it was in all it’s hand-sewn gloriousness.

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Look at the detail from the back. It’s stunning!

See that seam going across the upper left corner? That’s because several women in the family will stitch different sections and then they’re joined together later. Don’t worry. You can barely tell from the other side. (But ironically, you can see the seam in the $900 Wisteria one shown above!)

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But I was a little sad to see that if I centered the red medallion on the ottoman, I would lose all of that beautiful detail at the edges. So, I considered covering it off-center, like this pic below so I could get at least two of the edges on it. (I now know that was dumb and would have been sacrilegious to my beautiful suzani. Don’t worry. I saw the ere of my ways.) After considering a DIY (I mean, I even had out the staple gun and some scissors), I chickened out and decided to have a pro do it. And I am so glad I did.

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Garwood Interiors knew just what to do to center the medallion and preserve the edges of the suzani. Isn’t it a beaut? (And soooooooo much better than what me and my staple gun would have done!) And he only charged $150. I don’t really know if that’s a lot or a little for work like this but it felt totally worth it to me.

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And now she’s sitting in the man cave (the most well lit one in the world) with her new friend the vintage credenza (but that’s another happy story for another day).

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I like how the brown embroidery around the red medallion, ties into the brown couch that–until now–had nothing to do with anything else in there.

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I know I owe you a lot more pictures of the room. It’s one of the places that I’ve barely shared with you (aside from a peek during the blackout after Sandy when we were dancing in the dark and when we looked at my spray painted chairs) but I promise that some “in progress” pics are coming very soon.

Thanks to my parents (who are celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary today! Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!) for giving us the ottoman. And thanks to you for reading this way-too-long post!

XO

Sue at Home

Decor, Home, My house, Shopping

Batik Pillows from Etsy

I’ve got a problem. It’s an obsession really. You see, I need new pillows for my living room couch and once I saw these beauties from Amber Interiors I couldn’t think of anything else.

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They’re dark blue batik with hot pink stitching and that pretty much means they’ve got my name written all over them. But there’s a problem. Let’s take a closer a look at this pillow named Sally.

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Do you see the problem? That’s right. She’s $195! Oh Amber, I love your shoppe but I do not have $600 to spend on three pillows. So, I did what any smart shopper (AKA poor shopper) would do: I went to etsy. It didn’t take much–just a quick “batik pillow” search–to find a couple great shops.

First I spied SiameseDreamDesign which has lots of batik pillows (and bonus: their prices are more in the $28 range)! There were lots that I liked and I highly considered these two.  (Click pics for direct links.)

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But I kept searching and finally hit the jackpot with OrientalTribe11.  A little pricier (the 16×16 ones are $40 and the 20x20s are $60) but I felt like they were closer to the Amber ones that I so coveted. I bought these two but there are lots more like them:

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orientaltribe112

Hmmm…that second one looks kinda similar to our old friend Sally. Let’s take a closer look.

pillow compare

Damn, I love Etsy.

And yes, I know I said I was buying three but I think I’m going to wait until I get the first two and then figure out what else I need. As excited as I am about my cheaper find, I still think Amber (interior designer and seller of the $195 pillows) is a genius so I’m going to follow her lead and make sure my pillows aren’t all too matchy.  I mean, did you see this beautiful pillow pile when her place was featured on Style Me Pretty Living last week?

amber pillows

You’ve just got to check it out. Her whole place is a study in contrasts. It’s all crisp and clean with beautiful ethnic accessories.

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amber bedroom

amber patio

Can I move in?

Stay tuned to see how the living room shapes up when my new pillows arrive! (Here’s how it looks now. More on the living room here.)

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All Amber Interiors home pictures via Style Me Pretty Living photographed by Bryce Covey.

XO

Sue at Home

Before and After, Decor, Home, My house

A New Headboard for Lily

Ever since Lily inherited Sophia’s old twin mattress and box spring, she’s been headboard-less. Sure, the bed is nice and comfy without one but it just made everything look very incomplete.

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So, when Lil and I spotted this in-decent-shape twin wicker headboard for only $6.99 at my favorite thrift store, Unique, we just had to snatch it up! (Of course, if you follow me on Instagram, this is old news to you.)

headboard unique

Then I followed a simple three step process to refurb old wicker:

1) Wash, 2) Dry and 3) Paint.

1) Wash: A little googling told me that I should give this grimmy thing a scrub down so I used a stiff brush, some dish soap, and the hose and gave it a good wash.

2) Dry: Then I left it out in the sun for a couple warm, clear days so that it could fully dry off.

3) Paint: A few cans of Krylon gloss paint in Banner Red and it was fully coated and looking good.  (Why yes, that is the same spray paint I used on the den chairs. Thanks for noticing!)

And ta-da! Lily has a headboard!

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Not bad for about 22 bucks ($6.99 for the headboard and 3 cans of spray paint at $4.99 each). It looks so nice, Pooh had to jump in there.

headboard collage

Now, I just need to figure out some kind of bed/headboard for Sophia’s room and ours! I’m thinking about something like this for Soph’s. What do you think?

To see the rest of Lily’s room, check out these posts:

House Tour: Lily’s Room Part 1 (the one where I introduce the room and show before and afters)

House Tour: Lily’s Room Part 2 (the full resource list. Disclosure: needs to be updated)

Instant Gratification: Two Quickies for the Pinterest Challenge (the one where I hang some new art)

A Name Plaque for Lily or How My 4 Year Old Taught Me a Lesson (the one where Lily makes some art)

XO

Sue at Home

Home

A New House for Mimi and Papa

Remember when I told you my parents were selling their house in Massachusetts and building a new one in Connecticut? And remember I promised to tell you more about the CT house? You know…it was when I shared this ridiculous Google Map shot of the location of the new house? OK. Good.
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Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get to the story. As long as I can remember, my parents have always wanted to live by the water. In fact, they used to have a Sea Ray yacht that they spent most of their summers on. Ever since they sold the boat, they’ve looked at shore properties and though they found a few different places they liked, they never took the plunge until they found this hunk o’ junk in Clinton, CT.

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The first time they saw it, they couldn’t even go inside because the realtor deemed it “unsafe”. It was full of stuff – and perhaps even some vermin. And surprisingly enough, there was still someone living there.  Luckily their patience paid off and almost a year after they first learned of the property, they made an offer that was accepted.

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Looking at these pictures, you might wonder why they would want this house. But check out the view from the top floor. Makes sense now, huh?

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They cleared the trees, had the house knocked down (which is not that hard to do when it’s been condemned) and got some plans to move ahead with John Giannotti, a fabulous local builder. (My parents have not stopped raving about him and how wonderful his work has been. I almost wouldn’t be surprised if my parents tried to adopt him and I got a new brother. This is how deep the admiration is, people…)

As you can see, they started work in the winter.

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This is a view from the future family room/dining room area when the doors were just framed out.

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When they were framing the master bedroom and office back in March, that hole looked like a picture frame.

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The piece de resistance–the double balconies–when they were just starting to take shape.

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And again but this time with the pillars in place.

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We finally got a chance to see it in person on July 4th. This is the view from the driveway. By law, they had to build on the original footprint of the house so it has a little bit of a weird entrance–the “front” door is next to the garage door and leads to a set of stairs. (But I don’t think anyone will care about it’s curb appeal when it has so much “water appeal”.)

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The girls (still in their jammies and messy hair from an early morning car ride) checking out the view. Obviously that fence will be replaced asap.

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Here’s what the water side looked like over July 4th weekend.

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Even on a cloudy day, the view from the master balcony is spectacular. (And we get to peer into the neighbor’s pretty house!)

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This is one of the guest rooms with lots of pretty recycled hardwood ready to go down.

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The family room area with the fireplace all sheetrocked. (Is that a word? Sheetrocked? Well, it is now.)

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And magically, a few weeks later, the same room now has a beautiful ceiling. (This is the view from the fireplace looking over to the dining/kitchen area.)

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More magic: The floors are in!

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There’s John, the super builder, hard at work. As my mom says, “He’s a very hands on guy.”

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And a closer look at those kitchen cabinets.

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People keep asking me if there’s beach access and I don’t really know how to answer. This is a look down at the water during high tide and there was a little sliver of sand down there though I don’t think we’d go in right here. (There’s a local beach just a few minutes walk away.)

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See? That’s the little slice of private beach.

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Pablo took this picture of me, my parents, and the girls when we visited on July 4th. I keep telling them that I hope they’re ok with me hanging out on the master bedroom balcony all the time. It’s just spectacular up there!

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That little island off to the right is Duck Island. They just sent me pictures of sailboats going around it yesterday.

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I can’t believe they’ll be moving in a couple of weeks! I’ll be sure to take more pictures and share them when it’s all done.

And as for decorating, they are moving quite a bit of furniture from the Massachusetts house to this one but there will some brand new pieces going into the family/dining room. My mom has been bouncing ideas off of me for months now (I even created a Beach House Pinterest board to save my ideas) so it’ll be fun to see how it all comes together. More info soon!

And now…for the obligatory picture of Lily posing like a diva! (I mean…how could I not include this one?)

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XO

Sue at Home