Tag Archives: before and after

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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House Tour: Living Room

10 Mar

This is another one of those posts where I’m like, “What? I didn’t write that post yet?”. I mean, I’ve talked about our living room’s gallery wall and pink chair plus every detail of our foyer (which is part of our living room), but I’ve never talked about the living room itself. It’s even been featured on Apartment Therapy and yet I haven’t given you a full tour of the room! So, since I’m sure you’ve been dying to know where I got every last bit of it, here is the full tour and resource list. (And of course a beige-tastic “before” photo to start things off!)

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Paint: Benjamin Moore Teal

Rug: RugsUSA

Frames: Kohls

Manhattan Map: These Are Things

NYC area art: Aaron Straup Cope from 20×200

Canvas prints: Shutterfly

More detailed info about the gallery wall can be found here.

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Media Console (we have two pushed together):  CB2

Copper balls: Design Within Reach Annex (read their interesting history here and here)

Apple Bookends: Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler

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Woven rag bench: Threshold at Target

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Chair: PB Teen with my custom dye job (no longer available at PB Teen so try this one instead)

Je T’aime pillow: Atsuyo et Akiko

Garden stool: Home Goods

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Roman shades: Handmade by the former owner. They came with the house!

Arc lamp: CB2

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Brass candlesticks: Unique Thrift store (about $2 a piece!)

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Coffee Table:  old one from Pottery Barn (similar here)

Couch:  really old one from Macy’s (similar here)

Pillows: printed on left (Country Lanes via Etsy), Monglian lamb (Pier 1, similar here), printed in middle (Nora Jane via Etsy), velvet (Crate and Barrel, similar here), printed on right (Eleen via Etsy)

Pink cashmere throw: Ann Taylor (Yup, you read that right! It was from a few years ago.)

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Lucite Tray:  Jonathan Adler

Brass bowl: Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available)

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Foyer table:  Serena and Lily (Scored for less than $100! Read the story here.)

Lamp: Target base and shade

Chevron bowl:  Jayes via One Kings Lane

Runner:  Ballard Designs

Mirror:  it was my grandma’s :)

Hi letters:  Land of Nod with Krylon Metallic Spray Paint (read the tutorial here)

Orange frame:  C. Wonder

Brass bowl:  Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available)

More about the foyer in these posts: the inspiration, the decorations, the table, and the reveal.

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Dining Room and Hallway Paint: Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray

Antique chest:  My parents bought it at a neighbor’s yard sale over 20 years ago!

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Map:  Future Map

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Snake tray – Furbish

Skull box – a gift

Brass bunny – Antiques and Collectibles Too (read about where I found him here)

Turquoise vessel – TJ Maxx

Chevron urn – Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available)

Hope you enjoyed the Living Room tour. It sure is a lot more colorful than it used to be!

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Check out more House Tour posts here.

XO

Sue at Home

Before and Afters You Won’t Believe

20 Feb

When Pablo and I were looking for a house, my realtor found my “vision” very surprising. She told me that most people just can’t envision what you can do with a house when it looks really bad. I got thrilled when I saw a hideous kitchen with busted cabinets and a 1970s avocado-green stove. Bad wallpaper? Yup, sign me up! You see – I’d rather not pay for a brand-new kitchen that’s not my style. I’d rather get a great deal on the house no one else wants so I can do everything I want to it.  And don’t even get me started on Property Brothers.  I want to climb into the TV and punch those people in the face for not listening to Jonathan and Drew. I mean, if he’s telling you that he can take out that wall and replace the whole kitchen, and he’s offering to do the work for you, just believe it!

So, I love it when I see a before and after that makes a house unrecognizable…in a good way. When I saw the exterior shots of Farmhouse 38 on Emily A. Clark’s site, I had to click over and see the whole thing.

Here’s the before shot of the horrifying exterior. I mean, even I don’t know how they had some vision for this dump.

And the charming after complete with picket fence.

The kitchen before. Fake brick included.

And the kitchen after. I love everything about it. Especially the backsplash.

The stairs before. So creepy, you’d have to pay me a lot of money to go down there.

And the homey after. Love the mismatched frames.

The bath before.

And the beautifully styled after.

Congrats to the cute couple from Farmhouse 38 on their amazing transformation. And make sure you click over to their site to see more detail shots. (You will not believe the backyard. And the other view of the stairs is not to be missed!)

For before and afters of my house, click here.

XO

Sue at Home

Playroom Remodel – Phase One

30 Jan

I’m about to tell you a secret. A big ugly, scary, wood-paneled secret in my house. It’s the girls’ playroom and it’s the place where pink plastic toys go to die.

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When we moved into the house, the playroom was one of the big selling points. You see, our last place was a newish townhouse. And for all the great things it did have — a massive walk-in closet, 2 1/2 baths, a pool included with our maintenance fee — it lacked any specific place for our kids to put their toys so we spent many years with a Tinkerbell kitchen in the living room. (I know you think I’m joking but that’s a fact, Jack.) And since we went from having one tiny 6 week old when we moved in to having 2 busy and growing little girls when we moved out, the toys were beginning to take over our lives. (Note: Yes, the girls had a bedroom where some toys could go but since they shared it and it was kinda small, there wasn’t a lot of space for a Barbie playhouse.)

Before we talk about how it got to look like the explosion above, let’s take a peek at what it looked like when we came to see the house. An elderly woman had been using it as a sewing room. And we even find straight pins in the rug to this day just to remind us of it’s former life! Brace yourself for the worst / most hilarious “before” picture. And yes, this is the only “before” picture I have of this room.

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Please note everything that’s happening here. Pablo is telling Sophia not to touch anything. Lily is trying to get picked up and Sophia is checking out the massive magnifying glass — which she used to call a “magnet flying class”. Priceless.

I had a grand plan when we moved in (over two years ago!) and it was to create a bright, airy room. I wanted lots of white and some pops of bright color. And I figured the best way to do that was to paint the paneling white and add lots of art in bright frames.

But once we got into the house and really accessed how bad off the other rooms were (bad wallpaper galore!), the playroom just got pushed back on the priority list. And then the mistakes (and toys) starting piling up.

Mistake #1. No system. We were so excited to just have space that we basically just dumped their toys down there and never set up a real system.

Mistake #2: Bad layout. Note the tall white bookshelves in the before pic above. They were attached to the wall and our old loveseat fit right in between them so we just left them there and planned the whole layout of the room around that section. (All because I didn’t want to figure out how to remove them. Come to find out later that it took 5 minutes and a screwdriver!)

Mistake #3: Let laziness take over. Because the room is really more of a storage space and they rarely play down there, we haven’t been diligent about making them pick up everyday.

Mistake #4: No decorations. Sure we hung up some bulletin boards, a disco ball (it was a promise I made before we moved into the house — and a source of pride!) and got a cheap duvet (essentially a piece of fabric) to drape over the old loveseat but other than that, we did nothing. The room needs a little  lot of love.

Let’s take another peek at those tall shelves that were attached to the wall. Note that the girls couldn’t reach the upper shelves. Plus, we were storing Barbies on the bottom, even though the Barbie house was across the room. Not very smart, was it?

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Recently, I finally decided to remove the shelves from the wall and lay them down flat to create one entertainment center area and one Barbie area. (Don’t question this, people. If you had a Barbie house, a camper, a convertible Jeep, a hot air balloon and countless dolls and clothes, you’d need a Barbie area too.) One afternoon, Pablo and I spent HOURS down there cleaning and rearranging and when we revealed the new playroom to the girls, here was the reaction. I think they liked it!

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They were so excited that they could reach their games and puzzles in the “entertainment center” that they pulled one out and started playing right away.

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So far, it’s been working well. The girls do a great  job of cleaning up after themselves and it’s a lot more functional with the shelves down on the ground. Just for fun…one more look at the “before” and “after”…

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So, the rearranging is complete but we need to do a lot more. There are still so many things that I hate about the room (the wood paneling, the fluorescent and hallogen lighting, the wretched ceiling) and I’m not sure what I can get to right away.  But there will be lots of cosmetic changes soon: new curtains, new art, a system to display their art better, and lots more function. Stay tuned!

XO

Sue at Home

House Tour: Master Bedroom

4 Jan

If you feel like you’ve already seen our master bedroom, you’re right. But you see, I realized when I was writing about all the Urban Outfitters stuff in our house that even though I wrote a lot of posts about our master bedroom (8 in total!), I never gave a proper piece-by-piece room tour with resource listings. (Bad blogger!) So, here it is.

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Headboard – found in the garbage room of my first apartment about 20 years ago!

White sheets and white pillow casesLands’ End

Duvet cover – Lands’ End (No longer available. Similar available…well,nowhere!! Read all about my hunt for it here.)

Bed skirt – JC Penney (No longer available)

Shams – Urban Outfitters (No longer available. Similar here.)

Chevron pillow – Lands’ End (No longer available. Similar here.)

Linen PillowAtsuyo et Akiko (I’ve now moved it to my living room where it sits in the pink chair.)

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 RugUrban Outfitters

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Nightstands – Pottery Barn (No longer available. Similar here.)

Lamps on Nightstands – Martha Stewart  from way back – before the Macy’s & Home Depot lines – when she carried stuff like this on her website. (Similar here.)

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Pill-shaped carafe and glassJonathan Adler

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Printed curtains – Urban Outfitters  (No longer available. Similar here.) Find out how I magically lengthened them here.

Black curtain rodsIkea

White curtains – Ikea (No longer available. Similar here.)

Hidden curtain rodHome Depot (A genius solution when you want two curtains. Check out the price!)

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Vintage dresser – Craigslist

FramesPottery Barn

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Lucite tray – Home Goods (similar here)

Square Bowl – gift so I don’t have a resource (similar here)

Footed bowl – I had this for so long, I can’t remember where I got it! (similar here)

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DresserIkea

For Like Ever posterSuper-Rural

Poster frameTarget

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Frame with necklacesPottery Barn (I spray painted it black)

Wrapping paper in frame – Old Navy (no longer available)

Black lacquered boxContainer Store

Red metallic pigDaytrip Jr.

It’s still a work in progress (I mean, why would you ever want to STOP decorating?) but it’s come a long way from the bland creamy cream room it once was, huh?

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For more posts about our master bedroom, check out these links:

Master Bedroom Inspiration: Olatz Schnabel

The Hunt for Master Bedroom Bedding

DIY: Lengthening our Master Bedroom Curtains

I Will Love This Poster For Like Ever

Jewelry Storage: A Work in Progress

Jewelry Storage: Phase 2

DIY: Quick and Easy Jewelry Display

 What’s Wrong With My Bedroom

XO

Sue at Home

I Have a Hot Pink Chair!

26 Sep

I have been wanting a hot pink couch or chair for like ever. Remember when I showed you all those dreamy pink pics and told you I was thinking about dying an old slipcover I wasn’t using? Well, I did it!

Here’s the best part: this renovation cost less than $10. That’s right! Ten buckaroos! How, you ask? Well, I already had the chair and a pale pink slipcover. The chair is from PB Teen but unfortunately for you, they don’t make it anymore which I think is a crime to humanity because it’s comfortable, cute and cheap and for quite a while, they were offering slipcovers in different fabrics and patterns. When I got the chair, I picked up three velvet covers: white, bubblegum pink, and pale blue. (What? I figured the chair could be used in other rooms so I wanted to have options! That’s normal to buy three, right? ) Of course, I’ve only ever used the white one.

I decided to use RIT dye in fuschia. The directions called for 1 package of dye for every pound of fabric so I went for three since my slipcover was nearly 3 pounds. I couldn’t find a bucket big enough so grabbed this color-coordinated (!!) storage bin at Home Depot and got to work. First step, fill the bucket with 9 gallons of hot water:

Then I mixed 3 packages of dry dye with 6 cups of hot water and stirred it very well until all the dye dissolved. (Note: it did not stain my measuring cup. Bonus!)

Then I added the mix to the dye bath and stirred. (Please note that I did all this on my deck and I was wearing rubber gloves. They are not kidding about the staining possibilities so take all the warnings seriously! If you don’t believe me, come and ask the few pink dots on my kitchen countertop.)

Before adding the slipcover, I pre-wet the fabric in hot water so the color would penetrate the fabric evenly. (Having the lid to the storage bin was helpful for this step because it gave me something to carry the wet fabric on.)

And then in it went! Next up, I stirred and stirred and stirred for about 25 minutes. If you’ve never pushed a sopping wet pile of velvet around with a paint stick before, I can tell you that you will use muscles you didn’t even know you had. Ouch!

Next up, I rinsed it in the utility sink (which is now pink) in my laundry room. First in warm water, then cooler until it ran clear. This was another special type of muscle torture that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! Then the scariest part of all – into my beautiful new-ish washer it went! (Don’t worry. The washer came out unscathed.)

I gave it an air-only dry in the dryer and ta-dah! Here is the finished product!

My wise husband (who so kindly signed off on this project before I did it and then called it “awesome” because he knew how excited I was about it) was the one to point out the patterned pillow was a little too much. So, I stole the Je T’aime pillow (similar here) that used to live on our bed. Much better, don’t you think?

I love how the pink looks against the dark teal walls.

The color came out so even. I’m actually mad at myself for being so scared to do this for so long!

I love the way it pops in the room.

Maybe now guests will sit in the chair. They were always kind of scared of it when it was white.

Oh happy day! I have a hot pink chair!

XO

Sue at Home

Disclaimer: Please do not dye anything hot pink in your home without running it by your significant other. I’ve learned that though there are many people who like the looks of hot pink furniture, there are not a lot of people brave enough to go for it. And there are many, many more people who are terrified of it. Thankfully, my husband is comfortable enough in his sexuality to not be so concerned about a little pink in his house. (Though maybe he should because I could possibly love this chair more than I love him. Kidding, honey!)

House Tour: Lily’s Room (Part 2)

19 Sep

I’ve already introduced you to Lily’s room, the space that underwent the biggest change in our house since we moved in. Before we take a look at the details that make up the room, let’s look again at that shocking before and after. Yikesy!

  

Paint – Benjamin Moore Shell Pink (trim is Cloud White)

Pom pomsParty Poms on Etsy

Custom “Lily” artMadeByGirl

Poster frameIkea

Toddler bed – it was a gift but you can find a similar one here

Duvet cover and striped pillow – Ikea (no longer available)

Polka Dot sheets and pillow – Pottery Barn Kids (no longer available)

RugIkea

Rocking chair – another gift (similar here)

I love how the pom poms look from below.

Elephant taxidermySquackdoodle on Etsy

TableIkea

Mickey Mouse chair – Toys R Us (similar here)

Lamp – Target (no longer available)

Heart mirror – Ikea (no longer available)

Reversible tissue box coverHead to Toe 2009 on Etsy

Ceiling medallionHome Depot

Light fixtureIkea (hung using this)

Curtains – Pottery Barn Teen (no longer available) Stay tuned for a curtain DIY. I need something more opaque and longer so I can move the rod higher up on the wall.

Dollhouse – Land of Nod (no longer available)

Dresser painted with the room’s wall and trim colors from Ikea (no longer available but similar here) with Ikea knobs (no longer available)

Laundry basket – Target (similar here)

Frames with Lily’s paintings – Ikea

Striped fabric – Ikea (no longer available)

Remember that hole in the wall that I showed you? To cover it up, I measured a piece of cardboard and cut it to fit in the hole. Then I just wrapped some fabric around it and taped it in the back. It’s a temporary fix but it’s working for now!

Bin – Lands’ End (similar here)

We repurposed the hooks that were hanging in Sophia’s room when we moved in.

Lily’s hair clips hang on a simple red ribbon.

Jacket by Crewcuts (no longer available) and purse from The Children’s Place.

Bins for books – Target (similar here)

Garbage can – Ikea

FramesIkea

Lily’s birth announcementTinyprints

Custom “I Love” art – made for Lily by her Aunt Paola

XO

Sue at Home

House Tour: Lily’s Room (part 1)

18 Sep

I’m so excited to share Lily’s room with you today because it’s one of the most dramatic before and afters in our whole house. To take a space from “office of an elderly man” to “room of a pre-school girl” is quite a change to begin with, but when you think about the fact that the room had brown plaid wallpaper and tan painted trim, you know we’re in for some drama. First up, the before:

Let’s get a closer look at that tan trimmed window frame. Yikes!

And check out this weird hole in the wall that’s big enough to fit an old-school TV. Purty.

And don’t forget about the floor to ceiling bookshelves, just right for any little girl looking to read about the Giants or Pavaroti.

When we first moved in, Lily was so excited to have her own room that she wanted to eat lunch in there. (She didn’t mind the plaid wallpaper!)

But the plaid survived barely a week – it was one of the first things to go thanks to my dad and brother who came down to visit and strip wallpaper in both girl’s rooms. And even big sister, Sophia, got in on the spackling action.

Then some friends of ours kindly offered to come and help us paint (!!) so about a week later, me and my friend Jules tackled Lily’s room, while Pablo and Jules’ husband Michael painted Sophia’s.

And finally, it was done!

Tomorrow, I’ll go into the details (including my temporary solution for covering that big hole in the wall!) and list all the resources used to make this sweet little girl’s room. (Update: Here’s the link to that resource list.) I think she likes it a little bit better than the plaid wallpaper!

XO

Sue at Home

House Tour: Sophia’s Room (part 2)

13 Sep

Yesterday, I showed you the inspiration and “before” pictures of Sophia’s room. Now here’s my shopping list for how we put it all together. We had a bunch of elements already but we added the vintage bed and most of the accessories for under $700. But first, one more peek at that beigey “before” shot:

And now to the new room!

 

Hot pink crinkle curtainsPB Teen

Polka dot curtains – Ikea (no longer available but search ebay for Ikea Gronska)

Double curtain rodsPB Teen

Sheepskin rugIkea

Wall paintBenjamin Moore Spring Lilac (Trim is Cloud White)

Ceiling medallionHome Depot

ChandelierKohls (I hung a few extra crystals on it that I had from a broken necklace)

Vintage bed (we paid only $60!) – Autumn Antiques

Duvet cover and pillowcase – Ikea (this pattern no longer available but other patterns available here)

Polka dot sheets and pillowcase – Target (similar here)

Fuzzy bolster pillow – Home Goods (similar here)

Personalized striped pillow – Pottery Barn Kids (similar here)

Quilt (folded at the foot of bed) – Handmade by Sophia’s Aunt Jenn

Cashmere baby blanket (folded at the foot of bed) – Handknit by our friend Jules

Poster frameIkea

Poster – DIY made by Sophia’s Aunt Paola, inspired by Grace Hester Designs on Etsy

Small painting – by Sophia on a canvas from Michaels

NightstandIkea

Lamp – Target (similar here)

Lego alarm clock – Home Goods (similar here)

Reversible tissue box coverHead to Toe 2009 on Etsy (I love these and highly recommend them! I have one in every room.)

Framegift from Sophia’s 1st grade teacher

Corner shelf – Ikea (similar here)

Unicorn taxidermy (only $25!) – SquackDoodle on Etsy

LettersLand of Nod (They have the most extensive line of letters. All styles, lots of prices. I also love the kraft paper ones – you could do anything with them!)

Mirror – Hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. It was brassy gold and I painted it neon pink with craft paint. (Probably not the best paint option but it’s working for now!) I know it looks really low but it’s the right height for Sophia!

Dresser – Leftover from her nursery by Sorelle from Crib Outlet

Ledges – old ones from Pottery Barn

Small “S” art – by me on a canvas from Michaels

FramesIkea and Kohls (I really need to get rid of those black ones. They just don’t work. Maybe I’ll attempt a spray painting fix.)

Gold, navy and pink art – by me on a canvas from Michaels

Canvas bin for stuffed animals – Lands’ End (similar here)

Woven bin for books – Home Goods (similar here)

Sophia’s room sure has come a long way since the Great Wallpaper Stripping Event of 2010!  (Thanks to Sophia’s Uncle Steve and Daddy!)

XO

Sue at Home

House Tour: Sophia’s Room

12 Sep

(Update: I wrote this post last summer but today I’m linking it up to Emily A. Clark’s Kids Spaces link up party. I love love love Emily and want to say thanks to everyone who visited from her site! Click the photo links in the sidebar for more pics of my house. And thanks for stopping by!)

I’m excited to give you a tour of one of my favorite rooms in the house.  It’s so pretty and girly and colorful and full of lots of character – just like it’s inhabitant, our 8-year-old daughter, Sophia. Before we moved in, I knew that the girls would have their own rooms and I was trying to figure out how the rooms could both be super girly but also different. And it didn’t help that both girls were asking for pink. Lucky for me, Lily was also asking for red and Sophia was open to lavender…as long as she also got pink, of course.

I was stumped how to make a lavender and pink room for her and then I saw this picture on Design Sponge and it all became clear.

Even though I knew I didn’t want to use wallpaper (having to remove it from nearly every room in the house will kinda turn a person off to the stuff), I figured we could use this as inspiration. It was feminine and fun with antique accents but a modern feel. So, I focused on a palette of pale lavender with super bright hot pink and lots of white details.

Now, here’s a peak at what the room looked like when we first saw the house. Don’t adjust your monitor, it really was that beige.

And the walls aren’t just beigey paint, it’s a textured wallpaper…..zzzzz…….oh, sorry. I just fell asleep because that room was so boring.

It’s much happier now! We added a vintage bed, a bargain chandi, homemade art, and floor to ceiling curtains.

We reused lots of things we already had, like that corner bookshelf and side table (we’ve had both for 12 years!) and I even repainted an old mirror bright pink. Plus, we added something every little girl needs – stuffed animal taxidermy!

One wall is filled with art and photographs, plus her dresser which holds her many, many accessories.

Next, I’ll take you for a full tour of the room with resources so you can see how I put it all together for under $700. (Update: Click here for the resource list.) It’s enough to make you want to jump for joy!

Again, thanks for visiting but make sure you click back over to Emily A Clark to see all the other awesome rooms. And don’t forget to enter her $500 Pottery Barn Kids gift card giveaway. I know I will!

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XO

Sue at Home

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