6.24.2013

Out of Office

Just wanted to pop in to tell you there won't be much action on the blog this week. I'm in Las Vegas for work, so no time to blog unfortunately. Have to pay the bills, you know?!

I'll leave you with a couple of Instagram (@JordanG106) photos of the projects we've been working on lately. More details to come next week!

Working on his custom built-in wardrobe for our master bedroom...
Building me a long skinny table to fit behind the sofa...
Decorating the formal living room...
 Working on my office/studio...
New appliances...
And now, back to this...

See you next week!

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6.19.2013

The Great Sofa Quest

Our first home had one living room. Our new home has two. Thus, we needed a new sofa for the formal living room. Let the search begin!

My first thought was that I wanted something different from our current sofa. As seen in our den reveal last week, the sofa is a creamy white leather with a very basic, simple silhouette. I picked it out about five years ago because I wanted something neutral that could accommodate my decorating whims. It's one of the sofas in Cindy Crawford's line for Rooms to Go, and we've been so happy with it. The leather works so well for us because it's super durable and pet-friendly.

So, we're happy with our current sofa but we wanted something with a different style for sofa #2. Why buy the same sofa again, you know? Inspired by this pin, I started dreaming of a curvy Chesterfield. Or maybe a classic camelback. Or maybe a sleek mid-century piece. Let's just say I was open to anything! I hit the stores to check out some different styles, and these were some of my favorites.

sofa quest


Obviously I didn't want to break the bank, so the two JCPenney options were out (although the revitalization of JCPenney's home line is very cool and definitely worth checking out in person). At a certain point, I decided the mid-century look wasn't what I wanted and focused on finding something with a lot of tufting.

We drove to the only Macy's in DFW to see the first one in person, the Saybridge Sofa by Martha Stewart. At $999, it was the most affordable chesterfield sofa I could find after an online search. We actually really liked the sofa in person, but we weren't ready to commit. The color in person was a little more sage than I wanted, so that was the only drawback.

We decided to go to Rooms to Go next for a couple of reasons. First of all, that's where we bought our first sofa so we figured it was worth a shot. Secondly, we had a $50 off coupon for Rooms to Go that we received in our moving packet from the post office. (You know how they give you a bunch of coupons when you change your address?)

We walked in the store, and the sales lady immediately handed me a brochure with the Sidney Road Sofa by Cindy Crawford on the front cover. "Can I help you?" She asked. "Hmm... I like this one," I said, pointing at the sofa on the front of her brochure. "Can you show me that one?"

She led us over to the Sidney Road sofa and we immediately liked it. It was deep and comfortable, but also stylish and interesting. It's hard to see in the photo above, but the arms are tufted on the inside which I really liked. I felt like it was a happy compromise between a square, masculine sofa and a curvy, tufted chesterfield. Plus I've always been attracted to nailhead details on furniture– I have no idea why, but I like 'em! Lastly, it was perfect for napping. My 6'1 husband could lie down on it and have plenty of room to stretch out.

At $799, the price was right for such a big, substantial sofa. Our coupon brought the price down to $750. Before we knew it we were signing on the dotted line!

What did I learn from this sofa search?

1) Apparently I really like Cindy Crawford sofas. Ha!
2) Don't rule out big box stores when looking for stylish sofas.
3) Those post office moving packets full of coupons can actually come in handy.

I'm still working on decorating the living room, but I've snapped a few Instagram (@jordanG106) photos along the way that give you an idea how the sofa looks in our space. We are loving it!


I didn't want the matching patterned pillows on the sofa, so I used them across the room on my thrifted brass recliners. The pattern on the pillows actually isn't bad, but there is just something I don't love about keeping the matching couch pillows with the sofa. Tossing them across the room helped tie them together without looking too matchy-matchy.


I will definitely take better pictures of this room once I have it ready. We have so many projects going right now but I've been working such late hours that I haven't been able to take good pictures. I will be sharing more pictures soon, including the details on the husband's most ambitious project so far in the new house: custom built-in wardrobes in our master bedroom made from scratch!

Have you bought a sofa lately? What are your requirements for a good sofa?

* Sofa Success *
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6.17.2013

Kitchen Table Refresh

Do you remember when we bought this wooden table for $60 at the flea market?


Although we hadn't moved into our new house yet, I'd been searching for a chunky round table for the future eat-in kitchen. With a little elbow grease, I knew it could be perfect for our space. The price was definitely right!

When we got the table back home, we started by removing the layer of dirt and grime that had accumulated on the table. The husband got out his belt sander and went to town on the tabletop, stripping it down to its original form. He was adamant that the table be more smooth on the top, so the sander really helped level out all of the boards and make it much more usable. 


It was all fine and dandy until we were done with the sanding. Someone must have slapped this tabletop together with a bunch of different types and colors of wood, because the stripped version looked like a zebra to me! All of the sudden I was missing the dirt layer that made it look so cohesive before we attacked it with the belt sander.

Solution? We decided to dirty it back up (the clean way) with a grey wood stain! I love that weathered look, so I went with "Sunbleached" Ultimate Wood Stain by Rustoleum. One quart costs about $8 at Lowe's.


It wasn't a huge difference, but the grey tones definitely helped make the table look more finished, and it brought all of the wood tones on the tabletop together so that they made more sense. 
To polish it off, we applied a couple layers of matte polyurethane to seal the stain and protect the surface from future meals and spills. A glossy clear coat would have completely ruined the weathered look, so matte was the only way to go. I was really impressed with the Rustoleum Ultimate Matte Polyurethane and have already used it on other projects. 

Now that we've settled in to our new home, we've been getting tons of great use out of our flea market table! I didn't have any chairs, so I stole these two upholstered dining chairs from our old dining room. I hope to purchase four industrial chairs for this space eventually, but that will come later. For now it's working just fine as a table for two!


I know it looks a little empty, but we're still working on this kitchen. My next step is to hang the geometric pendant we got at the flea market above the table to add a more eclectic vibe. In case you missed that post, the light I'm referencing is this $15 score that we found from the same booth as the table– they were meant to live together happily ever after!


Anyway, things are plugging right along over here. A lot of spaces are in progress, like the kitchen and formal living room. But a lot of spaces are still in complete shambles, like our three guest rooms! Scott's family is coming to visit us in mid-July, so we have a couple of weeks to whip those into shape. The husband is starting a very ambitious project this week– a custom built-in wardrobe for our master bedroom. He's building the entire thing himself from scratch! I know he's both nervous and excited about it, but I have full faith that he can pull it off. I can't wait to share it with you once he's done!

* Practice making progress *
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6.12.2013

Creating a Cozy Den

When we toured our new house, one of the rooms that excited me the most was the den. I loved the wall of built-ins around the fireplace, the tray ceiling and the wall of windows around the back. It had such good bones and great potential!


I did not, however, love the wood finish on those shelves. I thought the wooden wall made the room feel dated and dark. We knew painting those shelves would immediately brighten up the space, so we asked our painters to slap on a coat of Sherwin Williams Pure White on the shelves. That sounds so casual, as if painting those shelves was a simple process– it was not. They worked really hard and put a lot of hours into those built-ins. I'll be honest, I'm glad we didn't tackle it ourselves! It was so nice to move into a house that was freshly painted instead of spending months doing it ourselves. Their prices were so affordable that we knew it was a good investment for us.

Once the shelves were painted, it was time to choose a wall color. That powder blue had to go! I was planning to use the same color in here as the rest of the living spaces– Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter– but the husband thought it would be nice to have a darker grey in here. He wanted it to feel cozy and thought a slightly darker color would be perfect for this room's primary purpose, watching TV. I thought about it and decided he made some good points, so I let him choose a color that he liked. He went with Benjamin Moore Galveston Grey.

Once painted, the room was ready for us to make ourselves right at home. It was tricky to arrange the furniture in this narrow room, but we figured out a configuration that works. Then I shopped all my boxes of home accessories to find all sorts of fun things to display on the shelves. This house totally feeds my thrifting addiction– so many great places to display fun thrift store finds.

Now our den is feeling very cozy and warm, just liked I hoped it would!


Looks quite a bit brighter than before, right? Am I converting any of you who thought we shouldn't paint the wood?


We haven't bought anything new for this room yet– everything in the above photos came from our first house. I can't wait to reupholster that funky chair, but we haven't had a chance to shop for fabric yet. Those roman shades were left from the previous owner, but we took them from the office and moved them into this room to help with the glare of the windows on the TV.

So there you have it– another room ready to be lived in! And just for kicks, let's compare the before/after shots!
BEFORE
AFTER


I think it's just another demonstration of the amazing difference you can make with just a can of paint! And now that the cabinets are white, that brick fireplace is growing on me a little bit. We planned to resurface it eventually, but now I'm wondering if we should keep it. That brick might add more character to the room. What do you think?

And now that we've seen the dark grey paint on the walls, we're thinking it would look even better if we took it all the way up to the crown moulding in the trey ceiling. I wish we thought about that when the painters were still working!

* Movie time! *

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6.10.2013

New Dining Room Reveal

We have been steadily updating and decorating the new house to make it feel like our own. The dining room was the easiest place to begin because it's not very big and we already had the furniture, so we decided to tackle that room first.

As I mentioned last week, we had the main living areas of the house painted before we moved in. Switching out the yellow/beige in this space for a cool grey color (Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore) made a huge difference and helped the white wainscoting on the lower half of the wall stand out. In the past two weeks we've been unpacking china, styling the shelves, hanging a new chandelier and putting up new floor-to-ceiling curtains. Now the room has a completely different look, and I'm super happy with how it turned out.


 To refresh your memory, this is what the room looked like when we moved bought the house:


Once the room was painted, the next step was to install the light fixture I've been absolutely dying to hang up– the huge brass lantern from the thrift store that we spray painted with oil rubbed bronze. I couldn't wait to see this statement light in our front window! (Speaking of windows, try to ignore the slightly-fogged windows. We'll have to replace those eventually but it's not top priority at the moment.)

Remember the specific light I'm talking about? This 3 foot tall, $15 mega-bargain:


My mom brought me some vintage chandelier crystals that I added to the lantern to give it a bit more pizazz and formality. Do you like the addition? She only had 5 and the light has six "candlesticks," so I put them on every other one. Sometimes my camera is too clear– I wish you couldn't see the dust on the lantern. Ha!


I brought in my favorite shelf ever– the $300 bargain from the Wisteria warehouse sale– and placed another Wisteria bargain, the $100 aged windowpane mirror– on the top shelf to both reflect the light of the chandelier and help fill up the space between the tall ceiling and the shelf. 



Oops, I forgot to mention the ceiling medallion. That was already up there from the previous owners, but we took it down and spray painted it the same color as the lantern, oil rubbed bronze. I think it really helped make the thrifted light feel more expensive. I should mention that we also went to Home Depot and bought some oil-rubbed bronze chain instead of spray painting the brass/gold chain that came with the lantern originally. 

We hung the light 36" over the table, which is standard height for chandeliers. I wanted to make sure it was visible from the street, so it needed to hang below that wall space between the two front windows. The previous chandelier was too high and happened to fall right in the space that was blocked from the street. I think my strategy worked because our neighbor across the street brought us cookies and the first thing she asked about was our "huge" chandelier. Haha!

The other thing that made a huge difference in this space are the new curtains. Where do I go when I need affordable curtains that are really long? Ikea, of course. Where else can you find 118" curtains for $35? That is such a steal! We used the grey Ritva, and the addition of the curtains really gave the room a new elegance. Hanging them floor-to-ceiling really emphasized the 11 ft. ceilings, which is exactly what we hoped.


When I was looking around the room, I was struck by the fact that a lot of the key items in this room are from the thrift store. My love for bargains is evident in this room– but I hope it doesn't look that way!

Here's the full cost breakdown and source list:

- Haverty's dining table (thrifted), $200
- World Market Provence dining chairs ($65/each) and cushions ($17/each)
- Wisteria mirror, $100
- Lantern chandelier (thrifted), $15
- Gold greek key china (thrifted), $60
- Ralph Lauren china (2 sets), wedding gift
- Kate Spade wine glasses, wedding gift
- Bourbon sniffers (thrifted), $3
- Anthropologie monogram mugs, $8/each 
- Target Threshold wooden bowl, $14 (mine was on sale)
- Mercury glass items on top shelf (thrifted), $10
- Pottery Barn Outlet horse head (gift from my mom, but she told me it was only $10)

So all in all, this room cost us about $1,100. However, we bought all of that over time in our last house. The only things we added in this house were the chandelier ($15) and curtains ($35). I'll take a $50 budget any day!

There you have it; our new dining room is ready for its first dinner party. What do you think? My favorite part is the chandelier, for sure. I love that it was only $15 and was a very dated style, but we were able to completely transform it with spray paint. Easy, affordable projects like that are the best.

* Wine and dine *

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6.07.2013

*Giveaway Winner!*

Thank you to everyone who entered our contest to win the Graco Truecoat Plus II paint sprayer! I enjoyed reading through the comments and wish I could give one to every deserving DIYer.



A random number generator pulled the number 80. Who made the 80th comment? Natalie! Natalie commented, "I have been researching paint sprayers just this week because we are closing on our new house in less than two weeks and I want to get nearly every room painted before we move our stuff in!"
On a side note, today is my handyman's birthday! That's right, this handsome guy just got a year older. This blog would be nothing without his brains, brawn and DIY talent! We'll be celebrating him tonight before I put him to work on the house this weekend. ;)


Also, please bear with me and my sporadic blog posts during this month. June is my busiest time at work and I had to put in 80+ hours this week just to stay afloat. I really want to dive into the house projects but my job must come first right now, unfortunately. After all, it pays the bills! I do hope to get a lot accomplished this weekend so I can have some updates to share with you next week.

* Happy Weekend *

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