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The $1.41 DIY project

14 Sep

I recently stopped by my favorite thrift store, Unique to drop off some donations and take a look around. You’ll remember I told you about Unique before–it’s the place I found these chairs and Lily’s headboard. Let’s see what they’ve got, okay?

Though this gem (pun intended) caught my eye….

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…and this kitchen crock had my name written all over it…

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…I left with just a little metal tray for $1.41 and went straight home to get my DIY on.  (Tools: some leftover spray paint, a Twisted Tea to wet my whistle while I worked, and some fine grit–#220–sandpaper. Not pictured because I forgot: painter’s tape.)

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Step 1: Sand the tray lightly.

Step 2: Paint the tray black.

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Step 3: Tape stripes on the tray. (My design was loosely based on Erin Gates new collection with Jill Rosenwald. In fact, I was looking for a long tray like this specifically because I loved hers so much!)

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Step 4: Keep taping and wrap the ends with newspaper.

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Step 5: Spray it white.

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Step 6: Peel the tape back and watch the magic. Oooh! Aaaah!tray-158

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Step 7: Enjoy!

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Does it look a little like a football? I think so. It certainly wasn’t intentional but I’m going with it since it’s living in Pablo’s den.  (And it’s the closest he’s going to get to some football themed paraphernalia in there!)

And get this: I really wanted a small tray in hopes that it would become his new catchall for his keys, phone and wallet when he gets home. Before now, he dumped them on the top edge of the piano and though it shouldn’t bother me, I always wanted to get him a little place to put everything. And–surprise, surprise–without me suggesting it, he started putting his stuff on the tray. Not sure why that makes me so happy but it does.

Ahh…the small pleasures of organizing.

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XO

Sue at Home

P.S. LOTS more den updates coming soon! See my instagram for clues!

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Suzani Ottoman Goodness

5 Sep

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!

suzani ottoman

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

Batik Pillows from Etsy

24 Aug

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

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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?

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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

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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

A New Headboard for Lily

4 Aug

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.

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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

Sophia’s Room Update

13 Jul

It’s been almost a year since I’ve updated you on Sophia’s room and it’s recently had a few significant changes. Here’s a recap on what the room looked like when we first saw the house and a view of what it looked like last summer.

Sophs rooms before

SOPH room after horiz

A few months ago, it became obvious that Lily was ready to transition from a toddler bed to a twin so we moved Sophia’s mattress into Lily’s room. Instead of replacing Sophia’s with another twin, we traded up to a full mattress and box spring figuring the room could serve as a makeshift guest room when needed. Reminder: we don’t have a guest room. (I know a full is tight for two people but a queen would have been way too big for the room. Plus, we don’t want anyone to get too comfy in there, if you know what I mean.)  Since then, we’ve had lots of guests stay in there while Soph enjoys a sleepover in Lily’s room. And speaking of sleepovers, Lily has taken to sleeping in Sophia’s room every weekend since the full bed went in.

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Sidenote: The pic above was taken one weekend morning after such a night. The light was so beautiful that I went to get my camera. Of course, the girls resisted at first (calling me Momarazzi like to do) but I persisted. I told them that I would LOVE to have a picture of my childhood bedroom but we just didn’t take that many pictures back in the 70s. I mean, do these kids have any idea how lucky they are that I’m documenting every moment of their lives? (I know. LOL.)

I haven’t shared any other pictures of the room since then because it just didn’t feel finished without a headboard. It was crammed into a corner and even though the white duvet cover that she inherited from us (we used to have a queen) is super soft and cozy, it’s kinda just a big white rectangle.

A couple nights ago as I was tucking Sophia in, we laid in her bed and talked about how to fix up her room. She still needs her ceiling painted (her suggestion: chevron!) and of course that headboard still needs to be built. But one request I could handle right away–to rearrange her furniture. I wasn’t working last Friday so while she was at camp, I moved everything around and spruced it up. (It kinda reminded me of that old TLC show While You Were Out. Damn, I loved that show.) Needless to say, there was a lot of screaming when she saw it. Good screaming, that is. What do you think?

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I haven’t decided if I’ll leave the shelves like that or if I’ll create more of a gallery wall with the art. Thoughts?

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I told her that since her dresser is the thing that people will see when they walk into the room, she needs to work really hard to keep it neat. It tends to be a dumping ground but she’s promised to at least try.

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I indulged her desire for chevron with a new book bin from Home Goods. (There might be a sham or two from PB Teen coming soon, too.)

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Another little update the room got was a quicky paint touchup that I’ve needed to do for…oh, I don’t know…about 7 years. You see, when Sophia was a baby and this dresser doubled as her changing table, the belt buckle on my jeans used to hit right in the front while I was changing her diaper and it chipped the paint off. (Let that level of procratination sink in for a second. This has needed to be done since my 8 year old was in diapers.)

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It’s been one of those things that I always looked at and thought, “I really should get around to fixing that”. Well, I finally did it and it took 15 minutes. All it needed was a quick sanding with fine grit sandpaper (#220), a wipe down, and then two coats of leftover trim paint. The ease of this project makes me really mad at myself for procrastinating for so long. But at least it’s done now. Voila!

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Alas, we still need a headboard but we’ll get there soon enough.

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XO

Sue at Home

P.S. In other bedroom makeover room, Lily and I picked up this headboard for her twin bed at my favorite thrift shop and we’re planning a spray paint makeover soon.

lily headboard

Of course, if you follow me on Instagram (@sue_erneta), you already know this. And if you don’t follow me on Instagram…why don’t you?

Landscape Before and After Update

28 Jun

It’s been a year since we had our brand new shrubs installed so I figured it was a good time for an update, especially since it’s all looking so damn good. Before we look at the leafy prettyness, let’s see how far we’ve come. Here’s the half overgrown, half dead landscaping that we inherited on closing day.

December 2010

Closing day

Then we ripped everything out.

May 2012

removed shrubs

And then in June of last year, we had lots of beauties installed. (Read all about it here.) And as you can see, it was a huge improvement from the overgrown stuff we had before. To think, I was so thrilled with that one blue hydrangea blossom!

June 2012

shrubs after

This spring, I took a few pictures as the shrubs began to wake up from the winter freeze.

April 2013

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And finally, let’s take a look at how the whole thing is filling in. (Note: there are pink rose bushes in the middle of each side but some recent storms knocked most of the petals off. I hope we get more soon!)

June 2013

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This was the first year (of many, I hope!) that I got to enjoy all the splendor of my weeping cherry in it’s pinktastic glory. (This pic was taken a couple months ago. )

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During the spring months, I had a couple pots of ranunculus on the front steps and I was thrilled with them! They just kept blooming and blooming…until one day they just didn’t bloom anymore. It was a quick and sudden death but they were so beautiful up to that point, I would certainly get them again next spring.

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You got a sneak peak at the current landscape when I shared Lily’s party with you. It all began with a couple potted hibiscus plants.

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I didn’t think they’d last very long but they’re still blooming and it’s like a rainbow of colors around here.

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The best part of the rainbow is the amazing blue hydrangeas. I’m so thrilled with how they’re blooming. They just keep getting bigger and brighter every day.

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And it would be wrong if I didn’t mention that beautiful lawn. It’s like Pablo’s third child. He takes of care of it obsessively.

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I’ll give you an update on the backyard soon but just so you can get an idea of how well his efforts have paid off, check out this comparison on the backyard during our first spring here and the backyard this month.

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More on that green carpet goodness soon!

XO

Sue at Home

DIY Pom Pom Sign

20 May

How awesome is this party banner from Napkin on Etsy?

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I’ll answer my own question with this one:

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It wasn’t long after spotting these that my gears started turning. I’m obsessed with the Etsy ones but I knew I could DIY something similar for the playroom (with more kid-friendly language) and once I saw these neon pop poms at AC Moore, this project was ON! (I also picked up F, U, and N fiberboard letters and fabric glue there, too. Total project cost: about $20 and I had a lot of pom poms and fabric glue left over.)

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First I got out my trusty dropcloth and laid out the letters and pom poms. I really liked the randomness of the pom poms on the Napkin ones so I tried to be meticulously haphazard! I started with the biggest ones and let them fill some of the space.

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Then I filled in around the big ones with medium, small and teeny tiny ones.

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I started by applying the glue to the pom pom directly but that was a sticky mess so I switched to this method. The glue I used was no joke so it wasn’t long before they were really sticking. FUn pom pom collage

It took a LOT longer than I imagined (and I started to understand why Cortny charges $60+ for her banners).
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But eventually they started to get full. I love that they have an uneven landscape. Plus, they’re so fluffy and soft– they’re like Muppets!

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And here’s the “after”…ta da!

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I hung them in the playroom on tiny nails over the girls’ art table. That gold business behind them is the mylar curtain that we used for the photo booth at Sophia’s Glamtastic Birthday Party. My kids are kind of obsessed with those things so I decided to repurpose it in our playroom. (Bonus: It disguises the fact that the room has ugly wood paneling!)

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They love the letters and I’m already thinking of how I can incorporate more pom poms into the space.

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Stay tuned for more playroom updates. It’s getting there…a little bit. (Check out the way it used to look here.)

XO

Sue at Home

Spray Painted Thrift Shop Chairs

14 May

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we? Back in January I took place in the Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge – with great success if I might say so myself.

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I spent my $20 on four busted looking chairs and I had some pretty grand plans for them. Ya know – something like this where mismatched chairs become a cohesive set thanks to some spray paint and some love.

But as I said back then, I was going to have to wait because freezing cold temperatures don’t work with spray painting.  So at the first signs of spring, I took to the driveway with my chairs, some sandpaper and lots and lots of spray paint.

You may have noticed that one of the chairs was replaced from the original post. I just found one to be too wimpy. (Keep your eyes peeled – it happens again! Still, the total spent on chairs was under $30.)

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Step one was to give each chair a light sanding with fine grade (220) sandpaper. I was using a spray primer first so I didn’t make myself crazy with this step. Just a little roughing up.

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Next, I built myself a little area to paint with cardboard boxes and some duct tape. Obviously, I completely underestimated how much the fine mist of paint would travel and my driveway ended getting a little redish but it actually washed right off. (Note that I started with them upside-down first so I had less chance of getting any sticky marks on the parts that show by doing it the other way around.)

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As for my spray paint, I went with a three product method: Krylon Primer in Gray, Krylon Gloss in Banner Red, and Krylon Crystal Clear protective coat. I’m a Krylon addict ever since it performed so well in my gold spray paint test.

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It took a lot more coats than I anticipated but finally, it started to look red. I think during the process, I wiped out all the Banner Red in the tri-state area. I’m kidding of course but I did have to try 5 or 6  local stores to track down all the paint I needed. After I was done, I think I used a total of 3 cans of primer, 9 cans of color and 3 cans of top coat for the four chairs. I used every Michael’s coupon I could get my hands on and I bought a bunch at my local hardware store so I saved when I could but it definitely ended up costing more for the paint then I ever imagined. Lucky for me, the chairs were cheap!

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Here’s a look at three chairs: 1 primed, 1 with a couple coats of color, and 1 all done. Yay for the all done!

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Now, before I show you how cute the finished chairs look in our den, let’s take a peek at the sad spot that so badly needed them.  Poor little Docksta!

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And now…

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Now it’s a happy place!

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The chairs fit perfectly around the table and add some much needed color to the room. Check out how much better my view is from the kitchen “window”.

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I didn’t sand them like crazy so they’re not perfect but I do like the slight glossyness of the finish.

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Now that the weather is nicer and this room is no longer freezing, I’m thrilled to get to sit here for lots of lunches and dinners.

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Photo bomb!

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And I think the red works so well with lots of other things in the room.  (I know this picture doesn’t show much. I promise to take more pictures of this room soon. Really! I promise!)

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One thing I will point out is the little vintage Piano Teacher sign I got on Ebay. It was a birthday gift for Pablo. This room is the closest thing he has to a “man cave” so I wanted to add something personal. And since playing the piano is one of his loves, I figured it was fitting. It’s small but we both love it.

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So, what do you think? I’m really happy with how they came out. They’ve got a lot more personality than something store bought and they’re a LOT cheaper!

XO

Sue at Home

paint chair collage

I’m in Peony Heaven

11 May

I wish you could smell my house right now.

peony-220My sweet husband has started a precedent that I hope continues for a long time. On the Friday night of Mother’s Day weekend, he shows up at home with a HUGE bundle of peonies.

You see, I don’t ask much for Mother’s Day – I just want to spend time with my family, get some very personal handmade cards, and fill my house with lots and lots of peonies. I don’t expect flowers for Valentine’s Day or my birthday but when it’s peony season–for just a few fleeting weeks–I want peonies. Specifically, Festiva Maxima. Those are the bright white ones (shown above) with a touch of magenta in the center. They have a scent that is like nothing else.

So, after Pablo comes in the bundle, I get to work snipping and arranging. (Don’t get mad that he doesn’t arrange them for me. You should know about my controlling nature by now.) And lucky me, I had enough to spread them out all over the house.

I get to wake up with them by my bedside.  (Dontcha love my new initial tray from C Wonder?)

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There are a few in the front window. (Who needs to edit her magazines and catalogs. This girl. That’s who.)

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A tall vase of pink ones in the living room.

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And a single bud in the den. And yes I know this shot is seriously over exposed but I kinda liked the way it made the vase look so let’s pretend it’s intentional, okay? (And there’s a sneek peek of my red chair in the background. Full post on those coming soon!)

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And let’s not forget the huge explosion of peonies in the dining room. Boom!

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Arranging tip: To get them to stay spread out in such a wide vase, I made a grid on the top of the vase with Scotch tape.

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It was the first time I ever tried it and it worked like a charm!

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And as I write this, the girls and Pablo are in the newly redecorated playroom art station (blog post coming soon!) working on a top secret project. I can’t imagine what it could be!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a special Mother’s Day wish to all the other mommies out there!

XO

Sue at Home

Dining Room Update

26 Apr

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done anything to update our dining room. You see, it’s pretty tiny and there’s not too much you can do creatively with the space. It’s just big enough to fit a table and chairs and…nope. That’s it. Just a table and chairs.

finished dining roomAs I told you when I updated that DIY art, I knew I needed to replace the curtains with something longer. What I didn’t realize then was how dark the curtains felt. This room has very little light and even though they were kinda sheer and we kept them hung nice and wide, they still didn’t do much to help the lack of light issue.

So, the last time I was at Ikea, I picked up a pair of simple sheer white curtains. Because where else can you get two 98″ curtain panels for $19.99? (Let me be clear. They’re $19.99 for two, not one! I mean! How do they do that?)

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They were about 3 or 4 inches long and I knew I would need to hem them but — lucky me! — Ikea curtain panels come with hemming tape so I was gearing myself up for some serious ironing action.  But I figured I should wash them first so I followed the directions: machine wash in hot, tumble dry regular. I was even hoping that they might shrink a little bit so I could avoid hemming them and — surprise surprise — they shrunk…A LOT.  Oops!

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But I’m looking on the bright side: I don’t have to get my iron out! And I’m sure they’ll stretch out a little bit and hopefully sit a little closer to the floor. In the meantime, I think they look pretty great. Not too shabby for 20 bucks.

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Doesn’t it look so much better with the rod closer to the ceiling?

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And did you notice I flipped the painting vertically? Not sure why, really. Just thought it would be  a nice change.

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That’s all for now but I’m planning a big project for the blank wall. Here’s a hint. Via Apartment Therapy

Stay tuned!!

XO

Sue at Home

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