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A New Old Desk by “Sophia at Home”

15 Sep

Hi! I’m Sophia, Sue’s nine year old daughter. Today, I’m going to show you how super easy it is to redo a desk for your room in just one weekend.  Welcome to Sophia at Home!

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Step 1: Ask mom for a desk for your room for the millionth time.

Step 2: Rearrange the furniture in your room for a few minutes with your mom to see if a desk will even fit. Mom gets that look in her eyes that she gets when she’s got a good idea. You can practically see the lightbulb above her head!

Step 3: Say thanks as Mom and Dad present you with a dirty old wood desk that’s been hiding in the attic for years.

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It’s pretty gross looking but you love it anyway. (You decide not to mention that the little cube is never going to work as a chair. One thing at a time. One thing at a time.)

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Step 4: Have your assistants bring it outside to the deck and gather all the supplies you’ll need: sanding block, paper towels, painters tape, primer, paint, paint brush, foam roller, paint pan, screwdriver (to open paint cans), and a hammer (to close them). Make sure you’re using Benjamin Moore paints. Duh.

Step 5: Start by sanding the top and sides of the top. (You’re only painting the top panel and leaving the legs au natural ’cause you’re cool like that.) Towel all the dust off after. Note that you should be wearing “work” clothes but that’s no reason to not have on chic protective eyewear.)

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Step 6: Tape around the edge with painters’ tape. (Multi-colored manicure optional.)

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Step 7: Paint the top with primer. Make sure you paint with the grain of the wood!

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Step 8: Get bored and take a break while your assistant finishes up.

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Step 9: Let your primer dry and call it a day.

Step 10: Get back to work in the morning. Roll on Benjamin Moore’s Mountainview (aka mint). Luckily your mom had some leftover from painting the inside of the kitchen cabinet. This is what your mom likes to call a “no cost DIY”. Note: jammies make for great “work clothes” in a pinch.

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Step 11: Let it dry and then have your assistants carry it back to your room. Thank mom profusely and then tell her about the chair problem. (Make sure you break it to her nice and easy.)

Step 12: Watch the lightbulb go off over mom’s head again as she remembers an old chair she originally planned on painting for the den for this project. It’s currently collecting dust in the garage. (Mom gets so excited about having a solution that she forgets to take a before shot of the chair but luckily she has this one from when she bought it. It’s the little black one on the left which she picked up for $2.99!)

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 Step 13: Marvel as mom takes the chair apart and proceeds to paint the legs with gold spray paint and the seat and back in paint that match your ‘new old’ desk.

Step 14: Bask in the glory of your awesome new cost-nothing desk!

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The old-school keyboard tray is now a drawer for my school supplies, jewelry, and other important kid stuff,

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Because this is a combo desk/vanity, earrings have the same prominent placement as pencils.

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Isn’t the chair unrecognizable? I love it!

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Thanks for letting me crash the blog, mom!

Bye!
XO

Sue SOPHIA at Home

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Half Bath Design Plans and Resource List

27 May

When we last left off, I had introduced you to our tiny half master bathroom complete with bad wallpaper and all the periwinkle blue tile you could ever dream of.

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I was inspired by this Laduree box and I became obsessed with the black, green and gold pallette before I decided to add a lot more white to the mix. In fact the mix is more like TONS of white with black, green and antique brass as accents.

half bath laduree photo (1)

Here are each of the elements we are planning on and how we chose them.

1. WALL TILE – White beveled subway tile halfway up the wall, with gray grout. Similar to this image from Sticky Bee but possibily with a thicker grout space.

How we picked it: We were planning on subway tile and then I spotted the beveled version in a hotel bathroom in NYC and I was smitten. The dark grout is a cool industrial look and I think it will be easier to keep clean.

white beveled tile

2. FLOOR TILE: Circulos Black encaustic tile from Cement Tile Shop

How we picked it: I was planning something basic, like a white hex with black in it somewhere–something like one of these–when Pablo (yes, Pablo!) asked about the bathroom below (that I had pinned from Marcus Design) and we both fell in love.

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marcus design bathroom

3. THE VANITY – We’re going to paint our current vanity black and we’ll get new hardware and a new faucet.

How we picked it: Well, we already have it. And there aren’t a lot of vanities that are less than 18″ deep (that’s the space we’re working with) and I’d rather work with what we have then go custom to the tune of cha-ching cha-ching.

4. THE FAUCET – I’m still on the hunt for the right inexpensive antique brass one. This shinier one from Kohler is a placeholder for now.

kohler faucet

5. THE KNOBS – New pulls  from Anthropologie for the vanity. (They’ll be turned vertically.)

How we picked them: Duh. They’re brass and they’re green!

anthro pull

6. THE MEDICINE CABINET –  Rivet Medicine Cabinet in Antiqued Brass from Restoration Hardware

How we picked it: I had almost given up on finding a medicine cabinet that I liked when I found this baby. I felt like I had looked at Restoration Hardware a million times but seeing this amazing one in the home of Erika Bearman in ELLE Decor made me take another look. I liked Erika’s but the Rivet had me at hello.

rivet medicine cabinet

7. THE LIGHTING – Vintage Barn Sconce from Restoration Hardware

How we picked it: I really thought I wanted some long skinny brass sconces to go on either side of the mirror (something like this) but since the space is so narrow, I just didn’t want to worry about having them fit so I decided to install a light above the mirror. Problem is, all of the double or triple bathroom lights I found were just so “bathroom light-ish”. Do you know what I mean? I guess I just wanted something more original and since the subway tile and dark grout was so industrial looking, I figured I’d stick with that look and add this cool gooseneck with just a touch of antiquey brass. I picked the color because I didn’t want the medicine cabinet and the light to be too matchy matchy. Coordinating? Yes. Matchy matchy?  No thank you. (Look how cool a gooseneck looks in this bathroom.)

vintage barn sconce

8. THE ARTA pair of 20 x 30 banana leaf prints from The Aestate on Etsy.

How we picked it: I really, really thought about using wallpaper above the tile on the top half of the wall–and I still might. But for now I think we’ll just paint that white and add some art. I love how these mimic the feel of an amazing banana leaf print wallpaper at a fraction of the cost.


the aestate

It’ll look similar to this but we’ll probably use some black frames.

banana leaf

9. THE HOOKS – The Anthropologie hooks I already mentioned in this post.

How we picked them: Green. Brass. Done.

anthropologie hook

10. THE PRETTY ACCENT – And just for fun, I’m planning on adding one of those malachite bowls from Hillary Thomas that I’ve always wanted.

How we picked it: It’s malachite, the love of my life.

malachite bowl

I’m still on the fence about the towel /towel bar and the toilet paper holder. I think I like the Pearson style in brass from Pottery Barn and they’re priced pretty well so I might just get those. I was thinking of getting a towel ring instead but then I remembered I don’t like towel rings because I feel like the towels get all bunched up and they never dry. Anyone else feel the same? Or…do you like how Reichel from Copy Cat Chic used West Elm’s turkish hand towel with Urban Outfitters brass hex towel ring? Cause I do! I’m just not sure it’s for me.

copt cat chic

Anywhoooo, let’s get back to my design.

Are you ready to see how it looks all together?

Through the magic of Polyvore, I give you…..my bathroom.

TA DA!

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I’m so glad I made this on Polyvore because it really gives me a good idea of what it will look like when it’s all together. It’s definitely very bright and white–which I like–but it’s good to know that going in. I’ve started buying the elements needed and I’m building my crew slowly so hopefully we can get started in a few weeks. Wish me luck!

XO

Sue at Home

Half Bath “Before” Shots and Design Plans

23 May

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I’ve finally broken ground on my half bath renovation by yanking a couple loose tiles off the wall.

By the way, I also ripped down the wallpaper. Yup. I’m crazy like that.

half bath instagream photo

Unfortunately, that’s where the reno stopped. You see that thick cement that was behind the tiles? That’s known as a mud job and it’s going to be a serious mess to take out. I’m getting a team on board to make this change happen but in the meantime, let’s look at the befores of this blue tile half bath and a peek at my design plans.

You’ll remember that this is the small bathroom off of our small master bedroom. (See more about that here.) It’s only a half bath because…well, who would want a shower in their master bath? (This girl. That’s who. And no, I’m still not getting one. )

Let’s go inside.

Oh yeah. That’s a lotta blue tile and tan checked wallpaper.

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There’s a window that lets in some nice light but that’s about the extent of the good stuff.

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We’ve got two “fancy” hooks from Target that we use to hang our towels on. (There’s not much room in the other bathroom to leave them there.) This was an upgrade from the wooden ones that were there when we moved in. Gross.

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Did you want to see my toilet? No? Well, then marvel at the grimy tile floor. (P.S. The toilet’s staying. The blue porcelain toilet paper holder? Not so much.)

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The vanity is…well, it’s pretty cheap and ugly. And we’re keeping it. No, that wasn’t a joke.  You see, the space between the wall and the doorway is tiny. And it can only accomodate a vanity that’s 18 inches deep or less. Have you ever looked for a vanity that shallow? The pickins are slim. And yes, I know we could have something custom but I just don’t want to get into that. (And the cha-ching that would go with it.) The plan is to paint it–either white or black–and change the faucet and hardware. Sidenote: Dontcha love the tinfoil and duct tape used to cover the vent? It’s right above the furnace and it’s the strongest vent in the house so this room–the smallest one in the house–has the most heat blasting into it during the winter. Make sense? I didn’t think so either.

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A medicine cabinet is a necessity (as is the vanity storage, which is another reason we’re keeping it) so as much as I would like to just slap a huge mirror up there, we need to replace this with something with storage. (Spoiler alert: I already found one and it. is. awesome!) The light, obviously, is going too.

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Overall, it’s not a horrible bathroom. It’s just not us. Because we’re not 1955.half bath 137

 Now, onto the good stuff. The inspiration for the new design!

Someone sent this box of Laduree macarons to me over a year ago and I put a picture of it on Instagram with the text “I’m getting SO inspired by this Laduree box! Bathroom makeover palette perhaps?” It’s proof that inspiration can strike from anywhere!

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Since then I’ve been on the hunt for bathrooms in black, green and gold. Stuff like this:

pinterest green tile

And this:

malachite wallpaper

And this by Nate Berkus from Architectural Digest:

nate berkus AD

And this from Apartment Therapy:

apt therapy palm wallpaper

I thought about malachite (which I love) and wallpaper and malachite print wallpaper. And I thought about the banana leaf wallpaper shown above and the other banana leaf wallpaper. (Did you know there were two different ones? I didn’t until I found this awesome blog post on The Glam Pad. Apparently, the famous one from The Beverly Hills Hotel is called Martinique but the one at the Greenbriar is actually Brazilliance. Who knew?)

But ultimately, I felt it was all a little too dark and busy and dramatic for this tiny half bath.

Then I thought about adding in white. LOTS of white. And using the black, gold and green as accents. And then this happened. This being  that I stumbled upon this AMAZING powder room renovation that Jessica Waks posted on Style At Home.

malachite mirror

People. It’s a malachite-trimmed mirror. My head nearly exploded! Even Pablo was excited about it when I showed it to him. But then I saw the price. Unfortunately, this mama is not getting a malachite mirror for “price upon request”. (I can’t seem to find the exact price right now but I recall it was something like $3500 or maybe more. Obviously it’s from Made Goods because everything they make takes my breath away. Ya know, like a turquoise shagreen table or a gold nugget lamp or A MALACHITE MIRROR!)

But the look of the whole room did show me that more white was the way to go. So I’m going for a much cleaner, more modern, white bathroom with hints of black, green, and plenty of antiquey brass.

Soon I’ll be back with the full design plan but for now just marvel at the gorgeous new hooks and knobs I picked up at Anthropologie to get the process started.

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Do they make you as excited as they make me?

XO

Sue at Home

House Update: New Batik Pillows and West Elm Lamp

20 May

Ah, how I love a batik pillow! Remember back when I told you about those Amber Interiors ones that I was dying over? And remember how they were crazy expensive?

sally pillow

Well, my Etsy substitutes from OrientalTribe11 arrived and They. Are. Perfect!

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They took a little while to get here–I mean, they were coming from Thailand after all–but they are as beautiful as I imagined. I was a little afraid how the navy and white batik would work with my teal walls but I think it’s divine. And obviously, I love the neon pink and orange accents. (Apologies for the couch that looks like a saggy elephant’s ass. I promise that what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in comfort.)

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They’re made really well. I’ve had them for awhile now and I’m so happy with how they look. Check out the detail:

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The room looks so much better with some more streamlined pillows. Remember the hot mess of pillows I had before?

pillows collage textSidebar: And see the change in that doorway to the right? I painted the hideous wood paneling in the playroom (including that stairwell that leads to it) so I’ll be telling you all about that change soon. (And yes, that means that I totally broke my resolution!)

And looky here, another change!

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Did you spot it in the foyer behind the couch?

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We got a new lamp from West Elm and I am loving it!

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It’s the Geodesic Table Lamp and I love the openess of the brassy base. Plus that tan lampshade is so warm and sophisticated. I feel like it’s the look I was hoping for when I got the Nate Berkus for Target one, but this one…well, you get what you pay for. (No knock to Nate of course, his is still damn good for a $50 lamp!)

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It’s coming together one little bit at a time.

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. I feel like whenever I show the living room, the paint color never reads right on camera. So, here’s a swatch of the real color: Benjamin Moore Teal.

benjaminmooreteal

Hallway Gallery and Runner

12 May

When you last met my hallway…what? You’ve never met my hallway? Oh the shame. Let’s get better aquainted.

Back in 2010 when we moved in, our hallway had brown wall-to-wall carpet (yikes) and poorly textured creamy walls.

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It only took about a month before we ripped out the carpet and had the wood floors underneath refinished. We went with a dark stain downstairs but we kept the hall pale to go with the floors in the bedrooms. Check out 2 year old Lily showing off the pretty hardwood back before I fixed the stair risers. (Doesn’t she kind of look like a ghost? Boo!)

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A few months after that, Pablo attempted to skim coat the walls (I’ll give him an A for effort) and we painted the walls in Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray with Cloud White trim.

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That was three years ago and everyday since then I’ve had the intention of hanging some extended family pics up there. And now it’s done! Well, not done. More like a decent start. (You’ll also notice I’ve sort of learned how to use my camera too.)

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I shopped for the runner for a loooooong time. That problem with my expensive taste and limited budget got in the way but eventually I fell for a pretty kelly green wool flat weave rug in a Jaipur catalog my mom had borrowed from a local decorator. I was contemplating getting one (and even paying the expensive-for-me $200+ price) when this beauty popped up on One Kings Lane for only $149. I had to go for it. Lucky for you OKL has it right now, too (for a few bucks more).

OKL rug

The next step was the frames and since you know me, you can imagine I tried to go inexpensive with some of the offerings at Target, Kohls and Ikea. But they all just looked too cheap to me so I ended up getting most of them at Pottery Barn. (I can’t say enough nice things about their gallery frames. Just go buy them and thank me later.)

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As for the pictures themselves, the focus is on extended family: the girls’ cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. (I felt I had thoroughly covered the 4 of the us in our dining room photo wall so it was time to spread the love.) You’ll notice most of them are super casual.

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hallway 050One of the favorites is this picture from Thanksgiving a few years ago. It’s the last time we had my family and Pablo’s family together so it’s got a lot of VIPs in it.

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The walls look a little sparse for now but the goal is to fill it up top to bottom. Something more like this.

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It’s coming together but don’t look up! If you do you’ll see cracked and peeling paint and one of the noisiest flourescent lights in history.

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Take a closer look at that texture.

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We’re bringing some pros in soon to fix it up and I’ve got plans to replace the light, too. I’ll keep you posted.

And the view from the bedrooms needs a little love too. See that space above the stairs? hallway 056

 I’d love to put something inspirational there so we see if right before we head out for the day. Ya know, something like this:

seize the day

OR

don't forget to be awesome

Maybe we could even jump and smack it like the Notre Dame football team does with their motivational sign…?

play like a champion today

So it’s still a work in progress but I’m happy with the changes we’ve made. It sure is nice to see Mimi, Papa, Uncle Steve, Auntie, Jonathan, Bobe, Grandpa Steve, Uncle Francis, Aunt Nicole, Baylee, Arianna, Carter, Aunt Paola, Aunt Alex, Eliseo, and Weli everday.

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XO

Sue at Home

Sue At Home in Ladies’ Home Journal

1 Apr

As you may know by now, I am the Fashion Editor for Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. So when some of my fellow editors wanted to photograph a story for the April issue about bringing spring color into your home, they thought of my colorful abode and more specifically, my hot pink chair.

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My pink chair (you can read all about it here) has gotten a lot of love in the past. It’s one of my most read posts, most repinned pins, and it was featured on Emily A Clark’s blog, Centsational Girl’s Best of DIY site, and Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color. (Hey look! There it is again over in the sidebar! Click there for more living room pics.)

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But this time, it’s in a magazine. A huge national magazine. (OK. I know that I’m one of the editors so it’s kinda like nepotism but still, I’m happy to be included!)

SAH in LHJ thats my house

SAH in LHJ text

So on a chilly day in January, I was pleased to invite two of my fellow LHJ staffers and a small photo team into my home for the shoot (the zero-minute commute was kinda awesome too).

Right away photographer Jennifer Causey and her assistant got to work setting up lights and reflectors and getting my pink chair ready for its close-up. I usually prefer a neutral pillow on the chair but for the purposes of the story, editor Lauren Piro brought lots of bright spring-y options. The yellow one from Target was the clear winner.

pink chair in LHJ

Note: The chair has faded A LOT and is due for another dye job but I just couldn’t get it done before the shoot, So yes, she has had a Photoshop touch up for the LHJ final image you see below. When it gets a little warmer, I’ll be ok with dying on the deck again!

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But the chair wasn’t the only image shot in my house. We also put some artwork from Society6 on my bedroom dresser and styled it with some of my jewelry.

LHJ in bedroom

Do you know what it’s like to have a photo crew, including some of your coworkers, in your bedroom on a Thursday afternoon? It’s weird, people. It’s weird. Luckily, one of those fellow coworkers is my dear friend, our very talented photo director Clare Lissaman, who always knows how to put people at ease on a shoot.

The story also featured my painted kitchen cabinet. It’s one of my favorite DIY projects in my house (you can see it up top in my header collage) but I’ve had such a hard time getting a good shot of it for the blog so that’s why I’ve never written about it.

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The cabinet looks so pretty that I almost don’t notice the fugly countertops!

So how was she able to get that brighter shot in my windowless kitchen? What photo skills does Jennifer have that I don’t have? This big ass light, that’s what! (And I’m sure she has lots of other great photo skills too! But the light helps.)

loght in kitchen

That beauty totally brightened up the space.

camera in kitchen

I was totally thrilled to be included in the issue and I want to thank my co-workers for including my home and supporting Sue at Home. If you’d like to order a subscription to Ladies’ Home Journal, just click the affiliate link in my sidebar.

With the happy spring weather, I’ve decided to come out of my hibernation and I can’t wait to get some spring projects happening soon. Stayed tuned for our newly painted playroom, a new headboard, a hallway makeover and…drum roll…a complete bathroom renovation!

XO

Sue at Home

Photo Wall or My New Favorite Thing In My House

9 Dec

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.

palihouse

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?

black and white

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?

large pic

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.

soph modeling in LHJ

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:

shutterfly pics

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!

Black Window Trim

18 Nov

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

Spooky Decor

23 Oct

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

House Tour: The Man-ish Cave-ish Den

29 Sep

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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