Monday, March 30, 2009

Before & After: Bathroom Cabinet

I finally finished my master bathroom cabinet makeover last weekend (yay!). It is absolutely amazing what a little paint, hardware, and new faucets can do!

Here is the ugh-ly before:

Here is the cabinet after the faucet replacement:

And here is the "new" cabinet: Freshly painted, and new hardware installed:

It feels so much better to get ready in this room each morning. So how much did this transformation cost? Just under $26 for paint and hardware.

Paint: For this makeover, I used Benjamin Moore Aura Paint (which includes primer) in a Semi-gloss. The color is Mink. I could not more highly recommend BMoore's Aura -- I've used it in a few rooms and for a few projects and it covers better than any paint out there. Plus you can't beat Benjamin Moore's color palette. The cabinet took about three coats of paint.

Hardware: I used hardware that I purchased at Expo Design Center's liquidation sale; each knob was $1.19. And we even used one of the hardware installation templates I found last month. However, I would not recommend using the's far from perfect. While it looks fine in the master bathroom and the knobs are symmetrically placed on the doors, they are not perfectly centered on each door. We had already installed one when we saw where it ended up, so we had to keep going. When we install the hardware on the kitchen cabinets this summer, I will definitely not use this template.

Question: I'm still trying to decide what to do about the quarter-rounds. Notice they're still the same "honey oak" color of the former cabinets... I opted not to paint them right now because we're going to have to get new bathroom flooring at some point (sooner than later). But what do you guys think? Should I paint the quarter rounds now or leave them as is until we replace the flooring?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bolster-ing the Day Bed

Our home office doubles as a guest bedroom, thanks to a wrought iron daybed we've situated opposite the desk. My vision for the bed was to disguise it as a sofa so that it could be a cozy place to read in the office or a resting place for a guest. So far it has successfully accomplished both tasks but I'd like to bolster the sofa quality by adding more pillows.

I'd love to take it from just so-so:

... to so-so lovely and relaxing! I mean doesn't this just make you want to grab a book and get cozy for an afternoon?
As luck would have it, I found myself at the Pottery Barn Outlet in Leesburg, Virginia and happened to see bolster pillows on sale. I found two, 10 x 27" bolsters that were marked down an extra 30% off their already discounted price. I think they retailed for around $30 originally, but by the time I got my hands on them, they were just $14.00, yay for me!

Adding bolsters to either side of the daybed mimics the look of arms on a sofa, perfect! Now that I've found the perfect pillow inserts, I am in search of matching pillow covers. Why do I have the feeling this will be like finding a needle in a haystack? Anyone know where I can find simple, white bolster covers for a 10 x 27" pillow? Please, do tell!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Warehouse Sale: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams

Hey DC-area readers, we just heard about a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Sample Sale happening this weekend at the Arts District Hyattsville. Details and address below:

Check out their furniture and accessories on their web site. I recently bought a tall chest for my bedroom and two slipper chairs for the man cave -- both on sale -- so I will definitely stop by this weekend to check out the available samples. Here's hoping they've got some great accessories at affordable prices!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Before & After: Shelf & Printer

Printers are one piece of technology that are hard to live with, and even harder to live without. We have a massive multi-function printer that sits atop an unattractive old shelf in our office. It is entirely coincidental that our printer and the walls are a similar shade of blue, but even that doesn't make it less of an eye sore. Last weekend while blogging away at my desk, I couldn't help but stare at the mess we've created around the shelf. So I got to thinking... why not change things up a bit...
You'd think I snapped this picture in a college dorm room... sadly though, it's our home office:
There must be a better way!!!
Our books need a home, the floor needs a break, and I have got to do something to lessen the impact of our huge printer.

I turned to a can of white paint, and some rearranging:
I removed the backing from the rear of the shelf so that the printer would sit in the middle and still be plugged into the wall. I eliminated a good deal of the clutter and chose only a few books to display on the shelves along with a few Virginia Tech items. Until I can make a trip to Ikea to buy a few wall mount shelves like these, I'll have to keep the rest of our books in temporary storage (aka: under the bed!).
The home office is far from complete, but I think the minor changes I made over the weekend have make a major impact on this small area.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Furniture Upholstery

I have a set of armchairs that are in serious need of an update:

They were a donation from my parents when we bought our house and while the pink and blue plaid was trendy in the 90's, it sure is killin' me now! I'd love to replace them but they are so comfy and were hardly used until we inherited them two years ago. Other than the upholstery and then skirted bottoms, I actually do love them!

My sweet little mom had matching pillows made for each chair; one of the pillows even matched their old bedspread (oh la la):
When it comes to the update, I think I have two options:

1.) Something New! - I would love to buy two new upholstered chairs with more modern lines than my current plaid chairs. I've had my eye on the Arlington Armchair from Pottery Barn, the tapered wood legs will give the illusion of more space in the room. It seems that the typical price for this type of chair (whether from PB or another furniture retailer) is between $600 and $1,000 per chair. I love the "Chunky Herringbone" fabric:

2.) Something Old! - Since these two chairs are practically new, I feel really wasteful replacing them with something new. Another option would be to reupholster them with a neutral fabric and pairing them with a set of throw pillows for a punch of color. So, I've done some research and here's what I uncovered:
  • Option A: The first option is to have the chairs reupholstered by an upholsterer. I did some shopping around and found that prices for these types of chairs range from $600 to $1,100 per chair. That price includes fabric, labor, and in most cases adding new cotton batting over the existing cushions. This option would allow me to choose the exact type of fabric for my furniture and save the time it takes to wait for new pieces to be delivered.
  • Option B: The second option is to have the upholsterer create custom slipcovers for each of the chairs. I was able to see an example of this at one of the fabric stores I visited and I could hardly tell it was a slipcover. The fit was nearly perfect. And the benefit of a slipcover is the ability to remove and clean it in the case of a mess. Ideal for a home with pets or small children. The prices for slipcovers ranged from $400 to $500 per chair plus the cost of fabric.

While both of the upholstery options would improve the look of my room, I just can't justify spending nearly the same amount on old chairs as I would for a new set. So I find myself back at square one. What is a girl to do?

Friday, March 20, 2009

DIY: Dog Food Storage Bin

We've survived week 1 of puppy-hood with our little lady, Kasey. She has kept us on our toes and laughing, even while making a mess in the house. Kasey can't stay in trouble for long... at least not with me, those darn puppy dog eyes get me every time! This morning she went for her first walk on the leash; we made it around the block once, huge milestone!

For that past week, we've been keeping her dog food in it's resealable plastic bag. It works for now, the bag is only 8 lbs and it's small puppy food. But in the future I'd like to store it in something that can be easily opened or closed by a human, but impossible to crack into by a mischievous puppy. Rather than buy something new, I decided to go shopping in our storage area to find a free solution. Every year for Christmas Jared receives a huge tin of popcorn from his parents. The tins are always holiday inspired and too cute to throw away... so we have a mini stock pile in the basement.
My first step was to spray paint the tin bright white to cover up the Christmas bird scene. It took two coats to cover the dark colors and a third to even out the white. From there I decided to trace a standard looking dog bone on the front. First, I drew a bone on a piece of white computer paper, then cut out the shape and traced it onto the front of the tin. Next, I outlined the bone with a black permanent marker.I think the tin needs something more. That's where you all come in! Here's where the project stands now:
I know it is missing something... but between my lack of sleep and my attention being devoted to the dog lately, I am at a stand still. I was thinking about putting a word inside of the bone. Maybe the dog's name, or the word 'woof', something... anything? Another idea I had was to draw a silhouette of my little lady on the lid. I would have to take another photo like this one to use as a template for my drawing:
Help! I need your suggestions! This DIY project has been haunting me for days!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Art, by a Talented Friend!

When it comes time to decide what to hang on an empty wall... I am usually pretty much clueless. Until I became a home owner and newlywed, my wall decor consisted of posters that may or may not have been framed. While I love my "Rosie the Riveter" poster that still adorns my bedroom wall at my parents house, it's time for some grown up art.

A few months ago while dining with a nearly-wed couple we are friends with, I discovered Andrea, the bride to be, is a seriously talented artist! She casually mentioned that one of her favorite things to do is to sit down with a pen and paper and draw whatever is in front of her. I asked to see some of her work and she pulled out a portfolio of black and white scenes she drew while studying abroad in Italy during college. I was so impressed by her work that I wasn't shy in asking for something to take home...

I need to ask Andrea again where she was when she drew this city street but I know for sure it was during her time in Italy. Can you believe how talented this woman is? As soon as I found a black frame ($10 on sale at AC Moore) I popped this gem behind a black & white mat and found a place in our kitchen to show off my new piece of art!
Andrea doesn't know it yet, but I am going to keep coming back for more! She is a bride-to-be by night, and a landscape architect by day. I've even seen some of her professional landscape designs (in magazines by the way) and she would put the crew of Curb Appeal and Yard Crashers to shame. Hmmm... maybe I can get her to sketch some ideas for my backyard this spring?!
It is wonderful to have a piece of art in our home that's not only stunning, but also a creation of an awesome friend. I'd love to see some of your 'out of the box' art ideas!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Necessity vs. Luxury

I just read a column in the Washington Post about how consumers are economizing when it comes to wine in this recesession.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Not surprisingly: People are spending less on wine -- decreasing their price points by as much (or as little) as 25%. And, people are dining out less (thank goodness) and choosing to entertain at home much more.

Surprisingly: Wine is now considered a necessity, not a luxury, as demonstrated by the fact that people are still buying it, rather than foregoing it altogether. A sign, according to the folks at Wine Spectator, that it's finally made its way to our American dinner tables as a staple.

For the last couple of years, wine's been a staple on my dinner table. And while I still buy a bottle every week, I've gone from spending $15 or less per bottle to $10 or less, or 30% less than the pre-recession 2000s.

We also dine out much less frequently than in years past, in favor of saving more, and ensuring our money goes to things that endure, like a curtain panel here, a gallon of paint there, or a cute dress on sale at J.Crew(!)...

How about you guys: How has the economy changed your "dining and imbibing" habits? Spending less? Spending the same? Are you dining out less in favor of staying at home more?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


...Are always filled with a long list of "to-do's" in my house -- how about yours?

Today I hope to wrap up my bathroom cabinet makeover and install the hardware I purchased at Expo Design Center a few weeks back.

Here's a "before" shot:

Hopefully I can post an "after" tomorrow. It's amazing what a difference $28 (excluding the faucets) can make!

In addition to wrapping up the makeover, there's the more mundane but necessary stuff like laundry, dishes, and overall cleaning and vacuuming. Ugh. Ambitious? You betcha.

Hope you have a productive Sunday!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Annual Sale at Calico Corners

I just received a postcard from one of our favorite fabric and home design stores -- Calico Corners -- which is holding its annual Spring Sale now through March 28, where you can save:
  • Up to 50% on fabrics, trims, and home accents
  • 20% on window treatments, hardware, and bedding
  • 15% on furniture, reupholstery, slipcovers, and more
When I was last there in January, I managed to score my lovely (and large) fleur de lis lamp for $85 -- it was originally $285!

I know I'm going to stop in this weekend. If you go there as well, tell us about your findings!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Meet Kasey

The newest addition to our home has four legs and it isn't a dining room table... it's the sweetest little black lab puppy you've ever seen. Her name is Kasey:

We have been trying to adopt a puppy for a few weeks now through a rescue foundation in our area. A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation (AFH) is a non-profit dedicated to finding loving homes for otherwise homeless dogs and cats. Basically when shelters receive abandoned animals they contact foundations like AFH and ask them to pick up the pets. AFH then finds foster parents to care for the dogs and cats until someone adopts them. We had to go through an application process that included a home inspection and interviews. Luckily we passed both!

Kasey and her brother were living with a foster family nearby and they invited us over to meet everyone. The puppies were abandoned in West Virginia this December and rescued from the bitter cold. Out of the entire litter (not sure how many) only these two survived. AFH nick-named them "Teeny" and "Tiny" because they were so small. Kasey was about half as big as her brother when we met her and even though she's grown in a week... she is still pretty small for her age. She is a lab mix, but our guess is as good as any on what the mix includes. We've been told that since some people in West Virginia breed hounds for hunting, there is a good chance she has some hound in her but we can't be sure.
I love the white spots on her paws and chin, and the white "T" on her chest. I joked with Jared that she matches our house and my love for all things black & white! At some point before she was rescued her tail was injured and left her with a knubby-hook (so cute). Like all big purchases, she requires a slew of accessories. These white ceramic bowls were a match made in dog heaven. (Matching some of my kitchen accessories from Williams-Sonoma):

Kasey is a curious little lady and is making herself at home. She seems to enjoy watching TV, chew toys, and loves to cuddle any chance she gets. Jared and I are already head over heels for this little ball of fur!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shh..."Secret" Sale...

Any J. Crew fans out there? I just received an e-mail from my favorite [clothing] retailer about a "private" sale now through Friday.

To get 20% off your order of $175 or more, enter the code "SECRET" at checkout.

Now if I were to participate in this sale, this is what I would want to bring home:

Posie Patent Peep Toe:

Carmen Satin Peep Toe:

Cotton Sateen Gateau Skirt:

Cotton Cashmere Ruffle Cardigan:

Stone Bead Ribbon Necklace:

What would you pick? Do tell!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ISO: Upholstered platform bed

(Sigh), I found the perfect bed for my "boudoir" makeover last weekend:

Thomas Pheasant Collection Paris Bed at Baker

Tufted headboard? Check
Upholstered platform? Check
Nailhead trim? Check!

The only problem is this bed is way above my price range (when I say "way," I mean about 5x more than I can spend).

When I checked in with a sales associate at Baker he was quick to mention that this bed has generated a lot of press and positive feedback since it debuted at High Point last year. And we all know what happens when something new gets so much praise...a less expensive lookalike is likely on the way. Until that point, my current bed will have to do.

Of course, if anyone sees an upholstered platform bed, with a tufted headboard and nailhead trim, please send a link my way! I implore you! :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Artichoke Talk, continued...

Artichokes seem to be one of our favorite topics of conversation, lately! After Erica found her little guy for the amazing under $30 price tag, I decided to do a quick Google search to see what else is out there.

Here are a few of my finds. While two of them are over my artichoke budget, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for a sale price (or better sale price) soon.

From Bellacor, La Vie en Blanc Set of Two (on pedestals!):

From Bassett Furniture, another set of two on pedestals:Finally, from Fur Tub, a home decor boutique in Towson, Md., a short porcelain artichoke sculpture:

Has anyone else spotted an artichoke accent they'd like to share?

P.S. Erica, I think a trip to Fur Tub is in order this spring...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome TYH readers!

Thanks for clicking over to girl meets home from one of our favorite blogs -- This Young House -- to check out Erica's fabulous Medicine Cabinet Makeover!

She's also posted a step-by-step guide, in case you'd like to make over your medicine cabinet, as well.

Enjoy your stay and we hope you visit again soon!

This Just In...Ballard Designs

At long last I found a Spring 2009 Ballard Designs catalog in my mailbox last weekend and immediately browsed through to check out the new offerings. Ballard hit it out of the park this time; I found several things that I'd like to bring home.

Queen Bee pillow: What else is there to say? It's just a great little accent pillow.

Hampton Braided Jute Rug: I've been waiting for Ballard to come out with a natural jute braided rug. Natural fiber rugs are a favorite in our homes because they are inexpensive and so versatile. (check out some new additions to our dining spaces)

Celia Outdoor Rug: Absolutely love it in Black or Natural.

Dog Bed Cover with Insert: I like it in Sand, and especially like that the cover is machine washable -- a must for any dog owner.

Capiz Mirror: Check out the measurements -- it's 36" x 42"! What a great size.

Elise Linen Panel: Could be to die for in Ebony. I would use smaller scale hardware than shown here, and let the contrast of the panel shine through.

Set of four Channel Stitched Placemats: Cream's my favorite, can be used in most color schemes.

These were my top picks -- did anything else jump out at you guys?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Before & After: Bathroom Improvements

In case you haven't noticed, we've been spending a ton of time in the bathroom recently. (Don't we all?) Jared and I have wanted to replace the hideous lights and mirrors in our master bathroom since before we bought our house... and we finally took the time to make it happen.

Here's our before:
Note the poodle lights that make you feel less like a movie star and more like you're in a sauna with the amount of heat they produce.
Here it is from another angle... just as unattractive if you ask me.

And now for the after:
We purchased two $35 mirrors from Home Goods and two double sconce vanity lights from Restoration Hardware (on sale for $60 each). We also spruced up the medicine cabinet a few weeks ago by framing in the existing space and installing recycled shelves.
I asked Jared if he could install new lights when I found these on sale and he said he could figure it out. In the back of my mind I thought we'd have to hire an electrician but my handy man husband did figure it out and the light switch actually turns on both lights. (I was amazing and way impressed with his newly found electrical skills!)
I love how the separate mirrors and lights define the "his and hers" space in our bathroom. And getting ready under these cool lights is literally no sweat since we ditched the poodle lights! What's next???