Posts tagged ‘Multi-purpose’

It’s a woman’s prerogative, right?

People used to ask me how the condo was coming along, and my answer almost always seemed to be “Really great, we’re almost done decorating!” I would laugh along when they replied “You’re never really done. And when you are, it’s time to move.” But in my head I would think how every decision I’ve made thus far is beautiful and wonderful and I’ll never grow tired of it.

Apparently never is equivalent to 8 months in the life of a decorator.

I’ve slowed down considerably in the past few months, happy, nay – ecstatic, with the way things were. But now as the holidays have become just a memory and the decorations are stored away in the office closet, I’m charging full force back into condo decor.

Our bedroom has become dull and lifeless.

Our office is lacking a craft space.

 

 

Our bathroom resembles an olive. 

You’re probably shaking your heads, some of you knowing this feeling all too well, some of you bewildered with my seemingly sudden change of heart. But fret not! All these rooms need are a little tweak here, a pop of color there, and I will be back on my honeymoon!

We moved here in May. With the whole summer ahead of us, I was out every night gathering inspiration and creating magic (aka beautiful decor), thanks to the sights and scenes that can be taken in while enjoying outdoor seating at 1 of the many restaurants on our block.

With the winter months upon us, all I want to do is go home and cuddle up on the couch in my snuggie. A boring home makes me sluggish, a sluggish me makes a boring home, what a conundrum! Well Mother Nature can’t get me down! Effective immediately, I will be assigning myself homework and deadlines. Follow me on Twitter or Like me on Facebook to keep up with my daily homework assignments and to offer suggestions for projects.

Viva la Condo!

This is what I get for not being an architect…

Or maybe it’s what I get for not taking measurements. Anyway…

When Chris and I bought our condo the dining room measurements were listed as 8’x8′ on MLS Trend. When we got our condo appraised, the floorplan drawn up in the paperwork also noted the dining room as 8’x8′. When I bought a 16′ piece of wood from Home Depot and had it cut in 2 for the dining room bench, I assumed both pieces were 8′. So when I bought four 8′ pieces of wood for the bench back this week, I assumed they would fit.

Well it turns out our dining room is actually 7’10” x 7’10”.

The wood is still 8′.

Uh oh.

So after 3 trips to Lowe’s in 2 hours Wednesday night, the bench back is secured and upholstered..and standing on its side behind the dining room bench.On the bright side, the bench is reupholstered in this beautiful, more appropriate, more luxurious fabric. The brown pleather was nice in theory, but it was purchased before we painted the room. The red washed out the brown and it just looked cheap. I stapled the new fabric right over the pleather plus another layer of batting, so it’s plusher than ever.The Instructional:

I laid down the fabric first, smoothing out all wrinkles. The batting went over that and the wood over that. I utilized Chris to make sure the wood went down in its place in 1 try, as to not snag or fluster the batting. I didn’t think of how I would secure the 4 long pieces until I got home with the wood and realized I would need to lay a thin 1 inch piece perpendicular. This photo shows the 2″ pieces that I purchased as the bench sides, but they were too thick. So began my 1st of 3 journeys to Lowe’s.I purchased three 1″ thick pieces of wood to secure the four 8′ pieces. To ensure a tight fit for the fabric, I stapled the batting and fabric around all 4 sides before screwing on the 3 smaller pieces.Since this couldn’t safely rest on top of the bench, I had to head back out to Lowe’s for a picture hanging kit (This was actually the 3rd trip as the 2nd trip I forgot my wallet…where is my head these days?). I partially hammered the rings in until they were tight enough to screw in (a screwdriver can’t be used with these). After tying the wire through 3 rings it was ready to hang.The kit also included U-brackets to hang the wire upon. Each of these can hold 75 lbs. I used 2, 1 for every 4 feet.Re-upholstering the bench was a breeze. I pulled the bench a foot away from the wall, turned it on its side and laid the batting on top of the pleather.I repeated this step with the fabric and turned the bench on its other side to staple the bottom.Since the back was way too heavy and Chris wasn’t home, it took me about an hour of maneuvering and pivoting until I realized the back was too long. My shoulder muscles ache today just from getting it over the bench to its upright position.Being the optimists that we are, we didn’t let this snafu hinder us from enjoying Chris’ birthday dinner in our dining room. Truffle fries, grilled sausage with carmelized onions, and filet mignon à la Daddy Mims. Delicious!Excuse the lighting..Ambiance isn’t captured well on film.

Home Depot Designer Coasters

Coasters are something that you don’t go out specifically to shop for, but instead may remember to look at if you’re already out. We’ve acquired a few of the cheap cardboard bar coasters in our lives, not exactly worthy of my champagne tastes, but have made do for the time being. Well that time has expired. I grew tired of the coaster sticking to my glass every time I went for a sip. I needed heavy duty coasters to protect our hand stained coffee table. To Home Depot!

I know what you’re thinking: huh? Coasters at Home Depot?

Yes! Designer couture coasters!

These are heavy duty floor tiles, $2 each.

With a little glue and a patch of felt ($.49)…

My tables are protected from water marks and my glass can rest comfortably (and fashionably) upon.

If there’s someone you haven’t yet shopped for, or if you want to add a little supplement to the bar-ware you bought your mom, these are perfect. The malls are PACKED this week, but Home Depot is not! This project cost me 5 minutes and $8.50. Wrap some ribbon around the stack and present it beautifully under the tree.

Make your own gifts

Be careful, you may want to keep these “gifts” for yourself. The good news is they are so inexpensive and easy to make, you can make one for your friend, and another one for yourself!

Last year Chris and I fermented vodka for a few of our close friends. We bought funky corked bottles at stores like Home Goods and Marshall’s, peeled lemons (no white pith) and placed in vodka along with raspberries. After 2 weeks they tasted like flavored vodka, which some may enjoy, but we prefer fruitier, less stringent drinks. This Limoncello recipe from Learnvest will deliver just the thing:

What you’ll need:

  • 8 lemons
  • 750 ml bottle of 100 proof vodka
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • Funky corked bottles

First combine the lemon peels (no white pith) with the vodka in a jar. Let this sit airtight for 1 week.

When the week is up, boil the 2 cups of sugar with the 3 cups of water and let cool. Strain the peels from the vodka mixture and stir in the sugar mix. Pour the tasty concoction into the funky bottles and add lemons for garnish if you choose. This gift will also go good with a set of martini glasses if you want to go the extra mile.

If you’re looking for something that will last longer, this picture frame tray is a good idea for the entertainer in your group.

I love trays. They’re decorative, keep clutter off the table, easy to hide, and they just add that little touch that a boring coffee table needs. They’re especially handy for the popular upholstered coffee tables that have been taking furniture stores by storm. When I was tray shopping upon move in, I was specifically looking a tray that I could hang on the wall when not in use. I didn’t find it. So when I saw this Picture frame tray at BHG, I knew what my bedside tables would be getting for Christmas.

Remove the glass from the frame and paint a color of your choice (skip this step if the original color is appropriate). Once dry, screw a drawer pull onto each short side of the frame. Place the glass back in with a decorative wallpaper or fabric remnant in the place of a photo. Or for a more personalized touch, keep a photo of something sentimental in the frame(think landmark, page from their favorite book, recipe for the cookie dough you 2 devoured before baking). Pair with these photo coasters from Bed, Bath & Beyond for a full coffee table wardrobe:

If you’re looking for something less sappy for a colleague, MIL or new acquaintance, these Gourmet Spoons from Learnvest will show how thoughtful you are without being a permanent reminder in the home.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of gourmet chocolate chips
  • 20-25 heavy-duty plastic spoons
  • Nuts, small candies, or crushed candy cane bits
  • wax paper
  • Decorative plastic wrap
  • Ribbon

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and stir until smooth. Dip the spoons into the chocolate and sprinkle on the candy bits. Refrigerate on wax paper until chocolate hardens. Wrap each spoon separately and tie with the ribbon. Present in a decorative box or tin. These can be savored as a lollipop or used to stir flavor into drinks.

I have not personally tested these DIY gifts yet but plan on doing so next week. Check back for my experience and review.

What dreams are made of

I’ve had all kinds of closets in my 24 years. My first adult closet was a “walk-in” where the ceiling went from 6 feet at entry, to 2 feet in the rear. It was only 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep. It was more of a crawl-in.

My 2nd could hardly be defined as a closet. At 3 feet wide and 1½ feet deep, it was smaller than my current pantry. The bar was so close to the door that a hanger would prop the door open. To make do, my whole 12′ x 10′ bedroom became a closet. I had racks of clothing against the wall, shelves for jewelry and hats, as well as bureaus and baskets for additional clothing storage. My bed became a substitute for that cute little stool commonly seen in luxurious dream closets, upon which you rest to dress your feet.

My present closet was nothing but a long pole under 1 long shelf before I got to it.I installed the center compartment for shoes, gym clothes not pretty enough to be displayed, jeans and decorative accessories. The shelves down below are additional storage and allow just enough room for my bathing suits and socks to fit beneath, in the canvas drawers.

This is all good and well. Everything is within sight (except for fancier dresses and seasonally-inappropriate-but-too-good-to-stash-until-next-year-clothes that are toward the back). The point is, it works for now. I wake up, stare into my closet until I decide on something, and then I dress easily and without a struggle, unlike with previous closets. I’ll take it…for now.

But it doesn’t hurt to dream. In fact, experts say day-dreaming exercises the brain. I think I read that somewhere. So let me concoct my dream closet for you.

It’s got to have an island, with drawers. Similar to the Victoria’s Secret 4 for $20 underwear display.

It needs ample seating. Practically a living room for me to retreat to for inspiration, cat naps, social gatherings, etc.

Plenty of natural light, and mirrors also to bounce off the illusion of even more natural light.

A luxurious chandelier.

A fancy writing desk with beautiful stationery because my dream closet will give off so much inspiration I’ll need to instantly write down new ideas every time I enter.

Of course my mannequin Bella will be there, and she’ll have a friend so I can display outfit choices for the day…it’s all about organization.

While we’re displaying outfits, let’s throw in a few pedestals. If I’m going to have friends in here we’re going to be trying on clothes. And because…well why not?

Lastly, I want a wine bar. Because what’s a social gathering without wine.

This dream closet is a far cry from all previous spaces my clothes have resided in. It’s undoubtedly excessive, completely unnecessary, and in no way is it frugally smart. But how boring would dreams be if they stayed within our budgets! While it is responsible and mature and, some would argue, mandatory, to make smart financial choices, if I didn’t dream big I wouldn’t have the desire to make champagne out of beer. Where would we be then?

Reach for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll still be among the stars.

You’re all invited to my closet party in 2021. Please RSVP by 2018 so I can build accordingly.

Pictures from top to bottom:

My closet: My camera

Island: Closets by Design

Seating: Fabulous Bridal Boutique, Cincinnati, OH

Mirrors: Stylistsinthecity.blogspot.com

Chandelier: Maison Classique, $6100

Desk: Horchow, $1399

Mannequins: Paris.unlike.net

Catwalk: Blush Bridal Boutique, Las Vegas

Wine bar: Baller Toys, $2025

Pretty Practical

I am on a constant lookout for new ways to stay organized. Owning a piece of property will bring out Danny Tanner-esque habits that one never knew existed. In previous residences, I never put much time into storage and de-clutter because the lease expiration date was always looming in the distance. I was always thinking of moving. Knowing that I will be staying where I am now for several years, I have no qualms about improving the space. Really, organizing is just a way of making a space easier to keep clean. Who doesn’t love that?!

Better Homes & Gardens really gets me. They know what I’m about. That’s why they’re always sending me emails with new storage ideas. Of course, some of the slide-shows they send me are a complete waste of time, especially when they fore-go instructions for a measly “Find a decorator in your area” link. But every relationship hits rough spots. They always make it up to me with flowers (I’m talking beautiful centerpieces in my email).

I can’t possibly use all the ideas given, especially with my 20 sq. ft. pantry/laundry room/coat room, but I can sure as heck pass the good ones along. Think of me as a weed whacker. I cut through the unsightly disaster to bring you beautiful, inspirational ideas for your home.

This small red laundry caddy was once an entertainment center, before the days of wall-mounts. A can of paint, a few screws, and a metal pole later: stress free laundromat.

Lazy Susans are not just for picnic tables anymore. I have 1 in my fridge for various sauces and condiments. Everything is within easy reach, refusing to be forgotten about to the point where it no longer resembles its original state. Seriously, these things have saved me so much money. I can’t tell you how often I used to make my grocery list, jotting down an item I already have because it has been relegated to the back of the fridge. AND..they’re under $10! Make sure to get one with a raised lip to avoid sliding.

I LOVE this floating ironing board. I, myself, use a steamer for all my wrinkly garments, but if I had an ironing board, I would definitely mount it to something. If you’re new here, I love things that float. Floor space is very valuable in a condo.

Along the same lines…

Most of us have those few articles of delicate clothing that won’t hold up in the rough and tumble of the dryer. We’ve all seen the fold-up drying rack that gets propped in the middle of your bedroom/ living room/ kitchen, etc overnight until your clothes are dry. Or worse, if you’re like me without such rack, you resort to draping your clothes over pieces of furniture. You should see our place after laundry day, it’s as if our bedroom closet spit up.

But this little treasure is out of the way even when in use. I don’t hang my wet clothes like shown here, for fear of them losing shape, but all the wooden bars are perfect for draping articles over. These are somewhat pricier than their cumbersome counterpart, but given how much I hate waking up to wet clothes in the living room, I’ll spend the extra $30 on the floating variety at Amazon.

Moving on..

I am a fan of glass containers. I have several on my vanity for hair ties, make up brushes, earring studs, etc. I have 1 in my laundry room as a “lost & found” for quarters and such that fall out of our pant pockets during the wash cycle. I also have several under my bathroom sink for shaving necessities, chapsticks and the like. They are very affordable…as low as $2 at Walmart, and can come in all shapes and sizes to meet your needs.

Always remember that practicality can be pretty. Guests may not see your laundry room, but that does not mean you should neglect it. With simple solutions like these, you’ll be looking forward to laundry day before you know it! Wash on!

Like magic…

Until tonight I kept my cookbooks above the kitchen cabinets. While they looked OK from a decorative aspect, they were impossible to reach without hoisting myself up on the counter. They were practically useless because the location discouraged me from cooking. And I swear, I really do enjoy cooking.

 That all changed tonight when I stopped into Hipster Home to pick up a few concealed wall shelves.

I’ve been wanting these for a while and when I saw them in HH’s Christmas display window, I knew I could hesistate no more. For only $15 a piece, it is such a cool way to display books.

I love the way the books appear to be floating. My cookbooks are now easily accessible while still decoratively displayed. They really add interest to the wall. I’m all for a cool painting but this kind of wall art is what really gains attention.

Anyone can have a plain bookshelf in their home, but this alternative turns your books into art.

Vanity Showcase

I’ve showed my vanity briefly before, but this post will be dedicated solely to that. My neighbor Amy of Amy Bird Tweets recently suggested I send pictures of my DIY to Jackie at Sweetie Pie Pumpkin Noodle for her “Vanity Week.” I hesitated because of the beautiful vanities she already had pictured on her site. So I was inspired to turn the empty wallpapered table in my bedroom with a mirror perched on it into a beautiful vanity where I glamourize myself.

I hung up the mirror, gathered all my beauty products that were scattered in front of the closet mirrors, in the bathroom, and even in the office, and finished the trim that I’ve been thinking about for weeks.

The result: Something practical, and beautiful. Since we have yet to find any great artwork for the bedroom, my jewelry on display will do for now.

But wait! With only a quick flick of the wrist…

 

It becomes a bar in my living room! I will show a better example of the bar/buffet during our housewarming party in a few weeks. It only took 5 months, but this blog has helped me get the to-do list down from 100 items to about 40…so we finally planned our housewarming and now I have 3 weeks to finish the remaining items.

I really love the finished look Joann’s hem tape gave. Thanks to Amy and Jackie for pushing me to finish this!

Master Suite Makeover Part 2

I completed most of the groundwork for my mom’s bedroom this past weekend. Headboard, check. Rearrange furniture, check. Acquire seating at a bargain price, check. Paint, che…let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But the colors are picked out and purchased.

The border came down with no problem at all (not photographed yet). The right wall behind the bed will be the taupe color shown in the photos above and below. The rest of the room will be a darker shade of purple.

The colors look a little skewed here, but the headboard and new wall color on the left are almost identical shades of purple. To dress the bed up a little, I plan on replacing the current matching bed skirt with a purple tailored skirt. Some bigger, more prominent pillows in coordinating colors will also be added. In place of the purple afghan will be a darker, plusher throw blanket to add contrast. (The left nightstand is spaced unevenly from the bed because of a vent, but I’ve got a plan for that).

These photos were taken prematurely. The room is still very much “in progress,” but after only a few hours spent over 1 weekend, the heavy labor is done. Only one wall remains to be painted, artwork to be found, lamps be purchased, and new window treatments to be hung. “Final touches,” as I call them.

 

While I originally planned on 2 accent chairs near the window, this chaise jumped out at me at Home Goods. Originally priced at $300 (which is already 20%-60% lower than department and specialty stores), it was marked down to $200. The color will look beautiful in the bedroom and along with a storage chest at the foot of the bed, will provide a perfect seating area for my mom and her sisters.

I’m still thinking about this armoire. The only thing I know is that it is not staying there. With the addition of the chaise that will go under either window, the armoire will be returned to caddy corner or placed against the right wall. Ideally though, I would love for the chaise to go under the right window. If only I could find a new place for that cumbersome armoire.

Stay tuned for a Headboard How-to as well as the “After” photos of the Master Bedroom Makeover.

The Office – post decorate, pre paint

I’ve hesitated to show our office for a few weeks now, because it has become our storage room since we hastily moved in. But with all the bargains we scored in this room, I just had to clean it up a bit for a photo shoot.Everything in this picture cost us around $350 out of pocket. The horrible uncovered light fixture was left in the condo and we have yet to install a light into the ceiling fan (are you sensing a pattern here? 4 rooms: 4 ceiling fans: 1 installed with a light). The recliner was given to us by friends who were moving and decided not to move this with them. Bella, my mannequin was a Christmas gift from my mother. If I ever finish the dress she’s wearing (currently inside out) I’ll showcase it on here. The bookshelf (behind Bella) was on sale at Walmart for $15, down from $25.

The desk was a Staples floor model. When our local Staples revised their business model and stopped carrying furniture, we scored this for 75% off…only $180. The real expense was carrying it up 3 flights of stairs. It did break up into 3 separate parts, the hutch and both halves of the L, all pieces equally heavy. Out of everything we now own, this desk was the worst thing to move in.

The futon was from The Dump: $150. Our condo has 2 bedrooms, this being one of them. Since we only need 1 for ourselves, we felt it wasteful to use the second exclusively for guests. We also needed a work room for me to sew and for he to work. The previous owner used what is now our dining room as his office, but as someone who loves to hosts dinner parties, our guest room became an office/guest room.

The closet holds mostly arts & crafts, such as fabric, sewing patterns, sketching tools, etc. But it also holds shoes, belts, and his endless supply of t-shirts (2nd shelf from the top: exclusively t-shirts). The top shelf consists of items that we have yet to find a place for: Purses that were taking up too much room, winter boots, guest linens, etc.

Suggestions welcome!

Obviously we still need to paint. We’re going with a light red color, possibly identical to the dining room, maybe lighter. A large piece of artwork is also missing from above the futon, just haven’t decided what it will be yet.

The top shelf in the closet existed before move-in. The lower shelves and hardware are from Home Depot: under $5 each. The 4 drawers on the bottom are 2 separate components from Target: $25 each.

 

 

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