RB House: Progress Update

Remember that interior design project I'm working on, the RB House? I showed you our plans for the living room here. We had an inspiration board going to guide our buying decisions:

RB House: Living Room

The owners were out of town this weekend, so I took that opportunity to go install some of the new items at their house. We're not quite done yet, but we did make some big progress this weekend. These are some of the items we've collected for the room over the past month.

RB House Progress Report

RB House Progress Report by jgrantham106 

I've been searching high and low for a windowpane mirror that would fit the giant space above the fireplace, and I finally stumbled upon one at Hemispheres of all places. It's this over-the-top "Old World" home decor shop that doesn't really fit my taste. I'd never even walked through that store before but decided to check it out on a whim. Thank goodness I did – this mirror is absolutely perfect!

Being married to a handyman has its perks, let me tell you. The husband joined me for five hours at the house on Saturday, helping me hang the artwork and install new hardware on cabinets. These were some seriously tedious and tricky things to hang, and he was the MVP that day. No way I could have done it without his help!

I bought a painting at the thrift store for $8 and used the frame to go around the elk head. The husband had to cut it at the two corner seams to make two L shaped pieces because the regular frame wouldn't fit around those massive antlers. Then he hung each one separately and glued the corners back together with wood glue. Tricky stuff, I'm telling you! He's awesome. 

Don't you love the mirror? It's 77 inches tall and 34 inches wide, and it was on sale for $250. I thought that was a huge steal compared to similar versions I've seen online. It really makes the space.

The vase and flowers are from World Market. 

The homeowner bought these two trays from One Kings Lane, and she really wanted them in the room somewhere. We decided to hang them in the corner by the sliding barn doors that lead into the dining room. The husband came in handy again here because the trays didn't have hardware to be hung on the wall. He had to be very careful because the trays were thin, but he drilled some small circle hooks from a picture hanging kit on the back and used wire to make them hangable. 

The vases are from West Elm, and the flowers are from World Market. That cute little cow is a $2 thrift store find. The homeowners already owned the little table.

So, here's where we stand on the project right now. The chandelier (Lourdes12 Light Chandelier from Ballard Designs) and sconces (Princeton Senior from Schoolhouse Electric Co.) have been installed and look fantastic. I didn't snap any pictures of those yesterday, sorry!

We found some great prices for fabric and upholstery foam for the window seats. The seamstress should be working on those very soon.

My original design plan involved painting stripes on the brick wall with the elk head, but now that the frame is up we feel like we can skip that step. The wall looks much more decorated now, and the elk head isn't quite so lonely. Cutting that project from the to-do list will save them the extra cash they would have paid the painters.

The homeowners are getting a bid to build a chunky wood mantel and wainscoting for the window seats from their handyman, so we are waiting on that price to make a decision on those two projects. I'm hoping the price is right so we can get those done– especially the mantel. I think that will make a big difference!

We also need to hang the curtains by the window seats, along with putting up more artwork. Things are coming along really nicely, and I'm excited to see the finished product soon! I'm hoping to have a photographer friend come photograph the space for me when it's finished so that I'll have some great pictures to show on the blog. 

It's pretty interesting to see how the plan has evolved slightly since the original options.

So, that's the latest from the RB House project. What do you think of the progress so far?

* Monday Funday *

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Day of the Dead Bridal Shower

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm just popping in to share some photos from a little bridal shower I helped with at work this week. Office bridal showers are pretty low key, but we had some fun with this one. Our friend loves both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead); so much so, in fact, that she's having a few spooky touches like a skeleton groom's cake at her Oct. 26 nuptials. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to embrace one of her favorite holidays and have a unique bridal shower!

It's not a Day of the Dead party without a fancy skull! I bought this plaster skull at Michael's and used some craft paint to customize it. The back features the names of the bride and groom, their wedding date and a couple creepy love sayings: "Love Never Dies" and "Til Death Do Us Part." Just to make it a little more bridal, I used my own wedding veil to decorate the skull and forced the future bride (such a good sport) to put it on for a couple pictures!

Those brightly colored mats and sparkly skeletons are from the Dollar Tree. The red tablecloth and tissue fan decorations are from Hobby Lobby.

It was such an awesomely creepy bridal shower! I completely loved it. I've never had so much fun doodling on a skull in my life... ;)

* Have a great weekend *

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DIY Indoor Herb Garden

Ever since I bought this long, narrow brass planter from the thrift store, I really wanted to plant an indoor herb garden. My thumb is not exactly green, but I was hopeful that I'd be able to keep some herbs alive for at least a little while.

After a quick trip to my local Calloway's nursery, I had five small herb plants for my planter. Using some leftover potting soil, I planted them in my planter.

I want to have some cute labels for each herb, so I rummaged through my craft supplies for something that might work. I found these small balsa wood pieces that I bought a long time ago from Hobby Lobby that were like oversized popsicle sticks. My exacto knife helped me cut the thin wood pieces in half, and I used a regular pen to write out each herb name.

It was one of the simplest and most instantly-gratifying projects I've done in a long time. I think the mini garden adds a nice touch of green to our formal living room– plus I love using it as part of our fall decor! Did I mention they smell great?

Now I just have to work on my cooking skills so I can actually put these herbs to good use!

* Herbivore *

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2013 Fall Home Tour

Autumn has arrived at our house! Things are feeling pretty warm and cozy in here with just a few simple additions to our normal decor.

It all started with my new herb garden in the dining room (more on the actual garden in a later post). My thrifted brass container warms up the arrangement already, but I decided to take it to pumpkin patch territory by throwing in some fake mini pumpkins from Michaels.

I also took our my table runner made of branches (Threshold for Target, 2012) to add another rustic touch. I placed a few garage sale gourds (I got 17 dried gourdsfor $5!) on the top shelf of my china cabinet, along with some faux cotton branches (Target) in the mercury glass vases. 

We have some new dining chairs, too! My mom bought me this set at a Wisteria warehouse sale and had her upholstery guy cover them in some of my favorite geometric fabric. They now anchor the ends of the table, and the other chairs have been moved to flank the china cabinet. I warmed up the chairs with some silky copper polka dot pillows I bought at my neighbor's garage sale.

Then I moved to the formal living room.  I kept it super simple in there, adding a few more garage sale gourds to the dresser and some fake pumpkins to my bowl of pears on the coffee table. 

Then it was on to the kitchen. I bought these ceramic pumpkins at the Wisteria warehouse sale last year, so I was eager to put them to use this season. I tucked them into my open shelving for a subtle touch of fall. 

Over at the kitchen table, I surrounded my plant centerpiece with more fake mini pumpkins. (Love those things!) 

And just for kicks, I tossed a fake pumpkin in my cake stand. Cue husband eye roll. I couldn't help myself; it's just so darn cute!

Next it was on to the den, the room where we spend most of our time. I grabbed a blank white canvas from the garage and painted on my favorite word in gold craft paint. Of course it's appropriate for the fall season, but it can work year round. Once more I used those garage sale gourds and some fake pumpkins to add some tonal texture to the mantel. 

A green textured thrift store pillow and my brown chevron throw replaced the blue blanket and pillow we had in the hearth basket, and I tossed a few more pumpkins on the hearth. I painted that G on the Michaels craft pumpkin a few years ago, and it's still going strong. 

Lastly I tossed a few yellow thrift store pillows on the couch to add another dose of seasonal color. It's so easy to swap out pillows!

At this point I had completely forgotten about my front door, so I decided to throw something together with the fall decor I had left. I had three faux pumpkins left, so I threw those out there by the plant and "autumnized" my boxwood wreath by pinning on a few colorful faux leaves. 

It only took a couple hours to make some easy decor changes and usher in our favorite season. The weather actually dipped into the 70s in Dallas/Forth Worth this past weekend, which was enough for me to buy my first Pumpkin Spice Latte and drag out the boxes of fall decor! I'm sure we'll be back in the 90s by the end of this week but that slight break in the heat was all I needed.

In case you're wondering, I am just not really a fan of Halloween decor so I skip that altogether and go straight for the pumpkins. Skeletons and gory stuff just aren't my thing– I even avoid scary movies.  I'm sure the husband is grateful that I don't spend more money decorating for two different seasons this time of year, too. Bonus wife points!

So, have you busted out your fall decor yet, or do you have your Halloween stuff up?

* Everything's coming up roses pumpkins. *

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DIY Ombré Mason Jars

I've had this cubby organizer from the Pottery Barn outlet for more than a year now, and I finally found it a home in the new house. I threw some tiny bowls in a couple of the cubbies, but it was mostly empty. I'd been thinking about what I could do to make the most these cubbies when I suddenly remembered this amazing mason jar project by Emily Henderson. I was completely inspired and knew I could recreate this idea on a much smaller scale for some interesting wall art. Game on!

The first step was to find mason jars that would fit my cubbies. I went straight to the canning section at my local Walmart and found these adorable Kerr half-pint canning jars that would fit nicely. I needed 25 jars, but of course they came in packs of 12. I had to buy another pack of 12 just to get that one more jar I needed. What a pain! Maybe I'll try my hand at canning now that I've got 11 extra jars lying around. I can't remember the price and it doesn't say online, but I think it was about $8/dozen.
Now that I had my jars, I had to decide on a color scheme. I decided to sample some of my craft paints to see which look I liked best. Of course I posted it to Instagram so I could take an informal poll of what everyone else liked best, too.

I was torn between the top left and the bottom right, so the final result ended up being sort of a mix of the two. I have a hard time with bright warm colors like yellow and red– they just look a little out of place in my home full of cool, blue-ish grey colors. 

The process was super simple. I used a paintbrush to put a coat of paint on the inside of each jar, making the colors darker as I went on. I mixed my blue, green and purple acrylic craft paints to get custom colors. Once those were finished, I was starting to get really excited about how they would look. The painting part probably took an hour, and it was a perfect project to do while watching TV.

Another technique would be to dump some paint in each jar and roll it around until the inside was coated, but I decided that would waste too much paint.

As I was painting, I thought about how often I've used these little craft paints since I bought them more than a year ago:

Patio Cabinet 
Ombré Statement Necklace
• Pear Painting
• Dipped Kitchen Spoons
• Moody Blue Painting

Perhaps the best $4 I ever spent? They're still going strong!
Sea Lavender by Martha Stewart, Robins Egg Blue by Craft Smart, 
Ocean Breeze by Craft Smart and Aqua by Craft Smart
Once the jars dried, it was time for the fun part: arranging them in the cubbies! I'm thrilled with how this project came out. I feel like this little art installation is very much our style, which is nice because I think artwork should always help personalize your space and feel like "you." It makes me so much happier than the random bowls and cups I had stacked in those cubbies before.

Emily painted the lids of her mason jars gold, but I opted to skip that step because I felt like the silver lids tied in better with the stainless steel appliances in our kitchen. Why does that matter? Because the best view of this cubby is achieved while standing in the kitchen, and you can always see our dang refrigerator jutting out into the space!

This next view gives you a glimpse of the striped tile floor we just put down in the laundry room (still not done with that room, by the way)...

And here's the view as you walk from the master bedroom toward the front door. Can't wait to replace those gold doorknobs and dingy beige switch plates we have in the entire house!

How about a bunch more pictures of pretty painted jars? I just love how they look with the glassy finish and opaque color on the inside. 

I was honestly surprised it was such an easy project. I figured I'd have to do a bunch of coats of paint, and then I might run out of paint and have to buy more, and that by the end of it I might regret how much of my time it took. Fortunately for me, they only needed one coat and were a piece of cake to paint. The hardest part was dragging myself through the Walmart doors in the first place because I always dread the crowds. But even that part was easier than I expected because my Walmart wasn't crowded and I ran through the express line in record time! Phew.

Those of you who voted on my color choices via Instagram, what do you think? And what should I do with the rest of my little mason jars?

* Just a little mason-ry work *

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It's the Thought That Counts.

When we saw this mini rocking chair at the thrift store for $3, we thought it would be a cute project to give our niece, Kennadie, who is about to celebrate her first birthday.

So we gave it a little makeover, of course:

Super cute, right? Well... Yes, it's cute. But it's probably one of our worst DIYs we've ever done. Let me explain:

It started off easily enough. We took the old upholstery off and painted the chair white. Then the husband reinforced the structure with more nails and screws because it was flimsy and wobbly. Our niece's chair could not be flimsy or wobbly– simply unacceptable!

I bought some upholstery foam and fabric at Joann's. I thought about the back cushion and decided it would be really cute to make it a heart shape. It sounded simple enough in my mind, but it turns out we're terrible at sewing. I say "we" because it was actually my husband who sewed the heart. Yep, he busted out the sewing machine and took a crack at this project. I don't know how to set up our sewing machine, so I always make him do it. Then he just kept going with the actual sewing part because he  figured he would do a better job than me. (He's probably right.)

Check out our "quality" construction:

I know– seamstresses we're not. And the heart shape is lopsided. Awesome.

At this point, we were too far in on this project to give up. Plus, is a 1-year-old really going to criticize our sewing skills? Her parents may have a good laugh about it, but we figured she wouldn't care too much. We pressed on. 

I used my hand sewing skills to tack a bow on the front of the heart in an attempt to slightly disguise the wrinkle in the fabric. Then I tacked on two more pieces of ribbon to the back so we could tie the cushion to the spindles on the chair. My "hand sewing" looks like little rat nests. It's pretty terrible. Those of you who actually know how to sew are probably shaking your head right now...

Once the heart was completed, I turned my attention to upholstering the seat. I cut the foam to fit and quickly realized I was in way over my head. Upholstering around all of those crazy spindles made this a very challenging job. I had no idea what I was doing, I promise you. I just started stapling fabric to the underside of the cushion, hoping for the best.

This is how your handiwork turns out when you simply "hope for the best." It's embarrassingly bad!

If you look closely, you can literally see some of my upholstery foam showing around that back spindle. I was so frustrated, but I had no idea how to fix it! Like I said, I was in over my head.

So why do I share this terrible DIY effort with you? Because I want this blog to be honest, and we are honestly very bad at upholstery and sewing! I could sit here and not show you any detail shots, making you think we did a perfect job on this project. That would be deceiving. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew and have to face our own DIY limitations. Sewing = disaster. Lesson learned!

The good news is that the husband and I were laughing at ourselves the entire time we worked on this project. You win some, you lose some.

Little Kennadie, I hope you know this chair was made for you with lots of love– not skill. Because it's the thought that counts, right?!

Remind me not to upholster any more chairs with six spindle holes, OK?

* From the heart *
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