September 29, 2011

Craigslist Find: Sofa and Chair

Disclaimer: I understand that the topic of used furniture is a really sensitive one. Some people cannot fathom sitting on 'someone else's' stuff and some people are more germophobic. We are neither. This idea worked for us, but I definitately don't judge anyone who thinks we're nuts.

When I moved to Georgia from New York, I crammed all my belongings into a two-door Saturn and the only furniture I ever purchased in Atlanta was a futon. Needless to say, I didn't own ANY furniture. Brian was working with mostly hand-me-downs from his parents. When we moved into the house we were working with just about nothing. There was no way we were going to buy some crazy thousand dollar sofa on a credit card, so we just lived with what we had...which was this:

I know, I know - its not that bad. Somehow the combo of rustic plaid and green leather just got to me after a while. Once we got married, we knew that the house needed to reflect that fact that actual grown-ups lived there, which meant furniture that matched and wasn't older than we were.

Here begins the drama of furniture shopping: The hard part was actually agreeing on a style that we both liked. We knew we wanted a deeper couch that could accomodate two adults who might want to lay out and watch a movie once in a while. Every single new couch that we saw in the stores was upwards of $1000. That just wasn't feasble for us. I started to think that it might be best to stalk Craigslist for a while and find a used version of a really expensive couch that would satisfy our wishlist. I found several good options, but Brian was never sold on the style. Then along came these...

They were perfect and I fell in love the second I saw them. I even went to see the set by myself after work and then dragged Brian there the next day. Shockingly, he loved them too! And the most important part....we paid under $450 (cannot remember the exact price) for both pieces. They came from a very clean home and a very nice family. The women had them custom made two years ago, but they were moving furniture around and these no longer fit in their space.

When we got them home I deep-cleaned and vacuumed them and haven't looked back since. The way I look at it is, one day (in the not too distant future) we will have some kids running, jumping, eating and probably spitting up on these things and I just want to be able to not care if someone gets food on them or spills a drink.

Those are my closing arguments in the case of used furniture - hopefully I have convinced some of you to join me on the 'dark side' (insert corny evil laugh)...

p.s. Stayed tuned for the post on pillows!

p.p.s I just had to add this hilarious picture of our old couch and chair being hauled off by some serious rednecks. We ended up selling the two pieces on Craigslist and the couple that came to buy them were hilarious. First of all, their truck was waaaay too small and secondly, all they had to tie it down was a measly string. I sat in the guest room and watched them through the blinds before finally decided to take a photo. Check out how far the couch sticks out from the bed of the truck and how they just threw the recliner on top of the couch to 'weigh it down'!

September 28, 2011

The Dining Room: Before and After

With the exception of new windows, our dining room is the first room in the house that is actually done. Funny enough, the dining room table and chairs were the first 'real' piece of furniture that Brian purchased for the new house!

Here it is on the day we moved in:

Then Brian actually bought some furniture. One of my favorite memories is having his uncle, aunt, cousin, mom, dad, sister and grandma all come over for 4th of July weekend to see our new house. We all crammed around the table and at some point, realized we didn't have enough chairs! I can't remember what we found to sit on, but we managed to have a great time.

Once it came time to actually paint the dining room, we seriously considered using James River Gray (from our guest room). So much so that we painted a whole wall to see if we liked it:

Even though the color was beautiful, our house is too small to have competing colors in every room. Since the living room really flows into the dining room, we knew that both places had to share the same color. Darn, all that work for nothing...

After a thousand google searches for 'perfect beige', we finally decided on Lenox Tan by Benjamin Moore. Beige is no joke, it's really hard to pick one! We went ahead and painted a whole section of wall with the sample before we fully committed to the color. It's a very warm tan and really helps our little house feel cozy. Here it is on the walls in the dining room:

and here is the room is all its 'after' glory:

Let me break down some of the details:

Our table (American Signature Furniture)

Our mirror from HomeGoods. This has a funny story...I had a feeling that a really large, long mirror would be perfect for the big wall, but Brian was not convinced. We measured and remeasured and finally one day I just went out a did it - I bought the mirror. It was way heavier than expected and hanging it turned out to be a little more complicated than we thought, but (of course) Brian figured it out and viola, he loved it! And yes, I still gloat over this victory.

Here's a good side shot of the before and after:

Not too bad for a bunch of amateurs! Sometimes the room can come across is rather 'blah', but I am still contemplating some curtains/drapes and definately a rug. Those elements will help bring in some color and pep. Of course the windows will be replaced as soon as we win the lottery save some extra money.

September 27, 2011

Weekend Recap

Finally home after a long weekend! Wanted to share a photographic recap of my trip to New York:

First (and more importantly) I became a godmother to the cutest baby ever! And yes, he is that big - almost 30 pounds! I don't really have any good pictures from the Christening, so here is one from Saturday's apple/pumpkin picking:

I ate my favorite meal at Caffe Macchiato:

(Italian prosciutto, super fresh mozzarella, amazing bread and homemade pesto)

Right around the corner from the cafe is the greatest ReStore I have yet to come across. If you don't know about it, Habitat for Humanity runs these ReStores in almost every city and state where they sell furniture, accessories, building material, you-name-it. Proceeds go toward building new Habitat homes. The ReStore in Atlanta is okay, but nothing can compare to Newburgh. Here are just two of the amazing things they have:

Want to guess the price? $75! Yes, only $75 for this solid wood table that comes with two leaves. I swear if I didn't live 934 miles away I would have bought that thing on the spot.

Then there was this guy:

I have never been a mid-century modern fan - ever - until I saw this baby. Of course it helps that Brian and I have been a little over the top with records, turntables and vintage receivers lately. This piece would have been a perfect place to set up the stuff we already have. It had the record player inside, but this model wasn't particularly good so we wouldn't have restored it or anything - just used it as furniture. Anyway, ready for the price?

Yes, I am serious. I was this close to buying it and just storing it in my parents shed until we could get it to Georgia, but alas, Brian convinced me otherwise. I did a realllly similar console online, so you can get a better visual of the shape...

(found here)

I also did some inventory in my parent's house for things that I can make-over. Here is the headboard that has been around since I was born:

I think this would look awesome spray painted black (ala The Lettered Cottage), white or even oil-rubbed bronze (my fav). Once my parents get done tackling the family room I am going to see if I can convince my mom to let me spray it.

I also found this tiered tray-thingy that would also get a fresh look with some white paint:

Last, but certainly not least, is this vintage typewriter that I am totally stealing from my mom. It belonged to a lady that my mom used to work for, which she used in school (probably around the 40's or 50's. It needs a good cleaning, but I can't wait to find a place for it in my house.

On top of all that fun stuff, I got to spend the last few days with my best friends, family and long lost friends I hadn't seen in years:

Cheers to that!

September 26, 2011

ORB-session: Part II

Seeing the trend? I have a problem with spray paint. It's just so easy, how can you resist?

A few weekends ago we spent a Saturday going to a few estate sales. Brian was looking for some new (old) records for our collection and I was just keeping an eye out for something fun. Along came these babies:

At first glance they're a little crazy looking, but the pattern/design was really different and I had a feeling that a coat of ORB would take that shiny-ness down a notch.The picture doesn't even do the sheen justice - they were SHINY gold.

I got them home and decided to spray them on some cardboard in the driveway. Dont' do that. The spray will get on the driveway and your husband will get annoyed. Next time I am just bringing the cardboard to the grass. Just a few coats and a super fast drying time and we had:

Check out the detail!

Of course now I had to figure out where the heck to put these things...

Yes, our mantel is gi-normous and it's impossible to decorate, but that's another post all together. For now, I think they look pretty good up there!

September 23, 2011

The Weekend!

I'll be taking a little break this weekend to travel to New York where I have the honor of becoming a godmother to this bundle of chubby cuteness:

I can't wait to see my family and friends and eat at this place...

I'll be back next week!

September 22, 2011


After reading about ORB on Young House Love, I knew this was an easy project that would make a big impact. My first candidate? My mom's old brass lamp that has been around since I was a child. The shape was beautiful, but the brass and lampshade really dated it. Here's the lamp as I have know it these past 28 years:


At first I took the lamp outside in the grass and placed it on old newspaper - that did not work! It was hard to get to the base and these little weird bugs kept leaping out of the grass and sticking to the fresh spray paint. Insert genius husband idea here and we decided on this method:

Sure, the neighbors thought we were a little nuts and my dad had to maneuver the lawnmower around it, but it worked perfectly.

After about three coats of ORB and letting it dry for a few hours, it was off to Target to find a lampshade. Long story short, make sure you know how your specific lamp shade screws in and save yourself an extra trip. I was really looking forward to using a cool, modern drum shade...but then when I got home I realized it would fit on my lamp! I ended up buying the most modern-ish shade I could find, which was still a little too 'old-fashioned' for me.

Here it is all finished!

It still looked good and definitely brightened up the table. I was this close to convincing my mom to let me spray paint her brass headboard, but I guess that will have to wait for another trip!

September 21, 2011

Craigslist Find: Coffee Table

When we first thought about a coffee table I became obsessed with the Metropolitan Coffee Table from Pottery Barn - I mean, who wouldn't, right? There really aren't a lot of round table options and this one was classic, clean and came in a rich brown wood that would have been perfect in our living room.

Again, there was no way I could afford $300-$350 for a coffee table, so I scoured Craigslist every day for a week. Finally, it appeared! It wasn't the exact one (this table was the light wood), but for the price I was willing to do a little refinishing.

Grand total? $80! I could not believe the luck. Here it is:

Funny thing is, I was SO excited to get it and once we got it home we both knew it wasn't quite right for the space. The table ended up being as high as the couch and the round shape didn't look good with our current furniture setup. We didn't have a back up plan, so the table has lived happily in our house ever since. That is...until we found this gem in a local Goodwill store:

It's beautiful, solid wood, has cool little windows and best of all...$22.00! Even if we refinish it and it looks like crap, it was 22 dollars! We are in the process of refinishing it now, so stay tuned for a post on it!

The Guest Room: Before and...Progress?

We are lucky to have a house with a really large room on the first floor. In theory this could easily serve as a playroom, family room or guest room (which is the one we chose since we don't have kids yet). Of course, I have no good before picture, so this one will have to do:

As you can tell, we were in paint-choosing mode and I decided to buy several Benjamin Moore samples. Let's just say the other half was not too thrilled that I spent almost $40 on samples. Oh well, lesson learned.

I had just had my wedding shower around this time, so the duvet and pillow were new from Pottery Barn. The 'theme' for this room is Cape Cod. My husband and I got engaged there and it really holds a lot of special memories for his family.

First step was paint. We chose James River Gray by Benjamin Moore and basic white for the trim. Here is the after:

I looooooove the color. I mean, I seriously want to paint every room in the house that color. It looks so crisp against the white trim and so warm and cozy. Sadly, this is pretty much what the room still looks like today. We haven't really had any extra money to put towards furniture, but I have created a little 'mood board' to show you what I am thinking:

The headboard is from Pottery Barn - it's waaay more $$ than I would ever want to spend (of course isn't everything at Pottery Barn), so I have been on the Craigslist-watch for it. So far I've only seen one  and it was the dark brown version. The dresser, side tables and console are all from Ikea and I found this awesome project online which I cannot wait to try out on the dresser. The model ship is actually something we own - my mom brought one home from Maine as a gift for my husband (since he loves boats). Here it is in real life:

I'm not quite sold on where to put it, but I was leaning toward on top of the dresser, directly across from the bed. I've also changed my mind about a rectangular mirror and I'm planning to attempt a rope mirror:

Here is the tutorial I found online, but I definitely want to make it bigger than the one they specify.

Found these pillows on Etsy that would work really well too:

So that is the story of the guest room! I will be sure to update the second we do anything to it.

September 20, 2011


First, allow me to apologize for the majority of cell phone photos used in this post. I know, they suck. Second, let's talk about paneling:

Our dining room is small, but we really wanted to add some wainscoting/judge's paneling in the space.

Here is the 'before' shot of the dining room:

Sometimes we like to joke that our previous owner was drunk, since almost everything he did makes absolutely no sense. Case in point: the chair rail. It's hard to see in the picture, but it's super low - and it looked weird. We decided to raise it up to an acceptable height and then fill in the bottom half with wainscoting.

I really have my husband to thank for this one, since he spent a good 30 minutes doing all of the math necessary to lay out those squares. Math and I don't really get along. Honestly, I would say the math is the hardest part - after that it's just nail gun, glue, caulk and paint.

See the pencil lines on the wall?

Then we just nailed the moulding over the lines:

And here is the final product!

This is my mom's favorite little detail. We decided to do it 'the right way' and go around our outlet. It came out awesome! (The coverplate is missing in the picture)

We are planning to continue the wainscoting around the corner, up the stairs and also along the wall in front of the stairs (see below for a visual):

Don't even get me started on the stairs...