Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ella for Zulily!

My daughter Ella is modeling on the main page of today! Go check her out!
For those of you who may have trouble recognizing her, here are the shots from the shoot:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Christmas Present Idea

Ever since I saw Ella enamored with this kitchen set at our local GW, I have been thinking about the possibility of adding one to her bedroom.

 Only 6 months ago I gave up the chance to take this wooden set home for free (it was my moms who owned a daycare) because I thought it'd be a long while before Ella was interested in playing with a kitchen set.

Boy am I kicking myself for that assumption.With a little white or gray paint, love, and some cute accessories that set would have been perfection. But alas, the opportunity has passed and now I am considering purchasing a set (non-wooden, since the wooden ones will run you a minimun of $400-500, who knew?!) and flirting with the idea of DIYing a wooden set like this one from by user Jillo27:

How amazingly adorable is that! I'm pretty sure it's the ruffle skirt sink and matching apron and oven mitt that kill me. Textiles always push me over the edge. Also, the knobs are way too cute. I can just picture Ella's version with crystal faceted knobs!

Unfortunately for me (and Ella), I am already on a tight deadline trying to get this dollhouse done before Christmas. The deadline for the I'm a Giant Dollhouse Challenge is Dec. 15th and since we'll be leaving for Cancun the next day, I am on a tight schedule.

There are some cute ready-made play kitchens out there but none that steal my heart like the one above! Either way worst case scenario here are some cuties I can score 'off-the-shelf':

KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen, about $209 with shipping

KidKraft Island Kitchen in Pastel, about $139 with shipping
Educo Gourmet Chef Kitchen, about $96 with free shipping

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm a Giant Dollhouse Challenge Update

I have been hard at work scouring the mighty mighty Ebay for dollhouse furniture for this little house and hard at work putting together the house as well, but wanted to fill you all in with an inspiration photo:
The fur will serve as a throw and pillows for the master bedroom and the greek key trim will most probs end up on the curtains. The paint palette from  left to right is as follows: Ballet Slipper Pink, Gabardine, Heavy Goose Metal, Plumage, and Sisal, all from the Martha Stewart paint collection. The sheet behind it all is a textured piece of scrapbook paper that has a metallic sheen to it that will serve as wallpaper. You all will have to wait to see where it ends up!

I can't wait to start putting these pieces together and show you some real sneak peeks!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


We have liftoff. The first step has been completed (thanks to the help of my mister) of putting the dollhouse kit together. I also stained the first, second, and attic floor before we installed them with some stain we had at the house just to see if I'd like to use any of them as-is. It's not as dark as I'd have liked it to be so I may just add flooring on top anyway or re-stain them now that they are in, but I was trying to make use since we have 3 wood stains sitting on a shelf in our garage not being used. I also put all the treads and risers on the staircase and have painted the risers white. I am indecisive about whether they'll stay white, but I do love the look of stairways with white risers and black or dark-stained treads and railing like so:

The other option I'm considering is painting the staircase completely black so that the lettering I've decided to put on the risers will really stand out.
Even though the stair case in my dollhouse will not be visible from the back opening, I still wanted to do something special. So I've decided to stamp one of my favorite quotes since childhood onto the risers:














Ain't it the truth? The quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt, whom Ella-bugs name is partially inspired by.

Lucky for me, I found an awesome tiny alphabet stamp set the day before yesterday for $1. Bargain of the month, for sure. At the time I had no idea if I'd even use it, but at $1 I was tempted to purchase more than just one as they had several lovely fonts.

Even though I am totally enjoying myself and making this how I want it, this doll house is really for Ella. Although she is too young to help or imaginatively play with it, I know I will not care if she breaks, stains, or rips apart something in it. Maybe by the time she's able to truly enjoy it she'll want to redecorate it how she likes and then the fun will begin all over again ;).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm A Giant Challenge

So If you are a interior design/Emily Henderson blog geek like me, then you know what the title of this post means. If not, then here's the dish: I have decided to participate in Emily Henderson's I'm a Giant Dollhouse Challenge! I am so excited and I never even liked dollhouses as a kid, so here's hoping that Ella-bug does, cause I haven't even finished step 1 of putting the dollhouse together, and that thing has already given me a headache!!
Let me explain myself a bit and say that although I was not into dollhouses as a kid, I have figured out why. Every one I had seen had looked SO granny and not chic. And yes, even as a child if a toy was not chic, I was so not into it.
Now that  am older ( and wiser?...) I have come to the realization that dollhouses are epic! I get to completely design this thing however I want to, and for once I don't have to hear from the Mr. that he doesn't like it, since he has no say since he doesn't have to live in it! YES! Totally winning, right?
The other great thing about dollhouses is that dollhouse furnishings while still expensive in terms of what you get for your hard earned moolah, are MUCH cheaper than life-size furnishings and I can repurpose things from around my home to DIY awesome things such as my own awesome sectional sofa (which I am totally considering) without having to worry about how it will 'hold-up' to spills, weight, and um well, the comfort test! Which makes this whole thing so much cheaper than furnishing a real home, because not gonna lie we have thought about DIYing our own sofa, but those things don't come easy or cheap y'all! (Ok sorry, I really shouldn't have said that, I am not southern. Not even a pinky or small toe's worth.)
So even though I know this seems uber dorky-geeky whatever you want to call it. I am so excited! I get to design my own house!
But first I have to build the thing... because like an idiot I bought a dollhouse kit. Not a dollhouse. Not that people who buy dollhouse kits are idiots, It's just that since this is for a challenge I am on a deadline. A tight one. Like as in 2 months from yesterday I have to be done.
This may be ok for some people but if I'm known for anything it's probably procrastination, like the type where I roll out of bed exactly 25 minutes before I have to leave for work because that is exactly how long it takes me to get dressed, partially straighten my hair, brush my teeth, and put a light layer of sunscreen, foundation and mascara on my face, providing of course that I showered before I went to bed and laid out my outfit for the next day the night before too. I may be a procrastinator, but I value my sleep people, and there's no way I'm getting up a full 45 minutes early to shower and pick out my clothes for the day. That's just not happening.
But I digress, what I should be doing is showing you guys the house I'm building. If I wasn't so frugal (cheap?) I would have spent the couple hundred bucks it costs to pick on out in a style I like (colonial, duh) but alas, I am cheap and emailed someone on Craigslist who had posted that they had 3 brand new in box dollhouses all in the same style ( the layout was BAD on this style) and asked if they had any others, and they did! They had one of Greenleaf's Westville that had been previously opened, started, then put back that they thought may be missing 2 parts, but that they thought I could cut the pieces out of the spare wood in the box. And the best part was that they wanted only $20 for it even though it retails for $110. So although the the style of home was totally not 'me', the layout was just about perfect and had the right number of rooms (5) that I wanted to tackle. So without further ado, here she is:

And here's what I plan to do/not do to her exterior:
1. do not add that weird decorative trim to the gable and front porch.
2. possibly leave out the all three upper patios as well.
3. paint her a lovely shade of gray.
4. paint her front door and shutters B-L-A-C-K, baby.
5. paint her roof silver. Yes, silver. I think. I want some whimsy and fun, but it may turn out to be a bit much since there is SO MUCH roof. So if this doesn't work, my second choice is charcoal, not whimsical, but classic.

As for her interior, these ideas are still kind of 'up in the air':
1. paint the living room gray,
2. put up black 'wallpaper' in the bathroom.
3. paint the boudoir the prettiest pink you ever saw.
4. Make the attic a home office/ storage space.

Like I said earlier, I haven't even completed the first section of the instructions. All I've done so far is punch out the pieces for step 1.  Which, in my defense, was actually quite a bit of work considering the number of pieces involved.

I hope you'll all root me along and if you have any cool ideas, please share! I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dresser SOLD!

I sold my first piece of re-finished furniture! The young woman who bought it was thrilled to have it and definitely head over heels for it, her boyfriend said she wanted it so bad she had been having dreams about it while she slept! Love it!

And the other plus to having sold it is that I now Have funds in my furniture 'account' to buy another piece and refinish it! And I'm hoping that the Mister now has a little more confidence in my ability to see a piece with potential and create something someone will love.

Here are some great solid pieces on my local Craigslist I'm eyeing today:

This lovely would be ideal for a corner in our living room that is bare. I've been wanting an armoire like this to store our spare pillows, throws and board games in.
It's a bit pricy at $350, but I'm sure it cost much more than that and would be worth it.

I love the look of these campaign style nightstand. It comes with a match for the other side of your bed and although they are too short to work as our bedside tables (they are 24" tall and from the floor to the top of our mattress is 31") they would be awesome for someone with a lower bed!
$60 for the pair. Not bad!

The chair above comes in a set of sixteen and are not real bentwood, but metal. Nonetheless, I think they'd look lovely reupholstered and painted a glossy black or muted mid-tone gray and put in a little cafe or bistro!
$80 for the set of 16.

How gorg is the wood grain in this tall boy? And truly, the pulls look like they would be in pretty good condition in person too.
A steal at $40.

This little guy is a bit rough around the edges and although he's got a wood veneer toping his solid wood construction, there's something about his statue and curves that are keeping me interested. According to the seller one drawer is stamped 'bible hall' while another is stamped 'casino'. How funny is that!
He's listed at $75.

Which of these do you think should be my next project?

Friday, September 16, 2011

My First...

I finished this a while ago but thought I should show you, it's my first piece of 'refinished' furniture....

Here is the before:

And the after:

What do you think?
It is approximately 60" wide x 33" tall x 17" deep.

By the way...
I am selling it for $225 obo, any takers?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Missoni Madness

There's no other way to explain it. I went mad. I knew I would, it's Missoni's signature pattern at slightly- inflated Target prices. This is what I came away with after 2 shopping cart edits and 1 trip back to the store to do returns. Oh and not pictured, what I ordered online. Yikes...
Fortunately for me, when I got to Target at 8:40 am on Tuesday morning there was still TONS left. In fact the only things I wanted but didn't see (and maybe they weren't available at my store?) were the chevron silk scarf, the sweater coat, and the colored travel tote.
Unfortunately for me, the nearest Target is a whole HOUR a way, each way. Which means $16 in gas just so that I could see these things in person. And another $16 if I want to go back and get anything else or return anything... like that luggage that I got because I felt so special to have had the only one in the store.
This is what happens when you live too far away from civilization! You impulse shop because you kinda feel like you have to. I've got to blame something for this insanity. It can't be entirely my fault, right?

I think my husband is awesome. If I had never met him, I would have bought and kept that piece of luggage no problem. But since I'm married, I hid it in our closet and hoped he wouldn't look in there.

 He did. And this is what he said: "Oh, you got luggage." And he said it cool as a cucumber. Whew. The next day he said this: "My sister said you were going to get rid of the luggage. I think you should keep it."

Miracle of all miracles.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beach Day

From our camping trip @ Hobuck

Ella-bug is wearing a 'vintage' BabyGap rain jacket and BabyGap striped leggings. I'm kind of obsessed with BabyGap and Gap in general. It's my affordable luxury. Quality cute and definately affordable when on sale :).

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Real 'Virtual' Challenge

Mondays post was a little to easy. I do realize if this budget were for an actual customer it would present itself with more issues such as whether the dimensions of the furniture would fit, how to place the furniture for the best flow, having sufficient fullness in the drapes, etc.

But because this was a virtual challenge I decided to do a version that was a little more challenging. This time my budget for the guest room is $1000k (half of Mondays budget). And with that $1000 the customer wants all new furniture. No Craigslist scores this time around. It may have been half the budget, but we were able to keep some of the things that we truly loved! Sound good? Here goes:

Things We Kept:

We Kept the Tufted headboard because it was too beautiful to give up!
Parchment Tufted Headboard
$209.99 + tax

We also kept the Audrey Framless Mirror in medium, for it's shapely design!
It will go over the dresser
$129+ shipping

At only $25.29 + tax, we couldn't give up this drapery rod.
Umbra Loft Clear Ball Drapery Rod

Things We Changed:

Noresund Nightstand in Black Brown
2 @ $19.99/ea= $39.98

Vallvik 6-Drawer Dresser- in Black Brown

Jonsbo Ilsbo table lamp
2 @ $19.99/ea= $39.98

Pjatteryd Picture, Set of 3
 $49.99+ tax

Molnig Chandelier

This time around we went for faux silk drapes as opposed to the real deal and saved over $150!
Martha Stewart Living Faux Silk Drapes in Rainwater
2 @ $20 ea+ $3 shipping= $43.00 + tax

Total: $726 + tax and shipping where noted.

Not too shabby, eh?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whole-House Challenge Week 1: Guest Room

As promised, here is my take on an under $2k guest room, inspired by Danielle Oakey's feature in the House of Fifty Fall 2011 issue:

Parchment Tufted Headboard
$210+ free shipping+ tax

Howard Miller X-Shape Night Stand in Black Crystal
2 @ $204+ free shipping+ no tax= $410

paint this dresser to color match the headboard
Edlund 6-Drawer Dresser
$299+ tax + shipping

add these knobs to the dresser
12@ $3.49 each= $41.88 + tax + free shipping

Pottery Barn Single Width 84" Silk Dupoini Drapes in Parchment (shown in Wheat on bottom)
on their website: 2 @ $118= $236 + shipping & tax
on Ebay: $189 for 2 + $12 shipping+ no tax= $201

Umbra Loft Clear Ball Drapery Rod
$25.29+ shipping+ tax
spray paint it silver
Princeton 2-Light Chandelier
$245+ shipping+ no tax

George Kovacs 25" Table Lamp in Dyed Silver
2@ $89.19+ free shipping+ no tax= $178.38

Audrey Framless Mirror in Medium
$129+ shipping

Les Oiseaux print on canvas by Francois Fressinier 

Birds on a Vine Coat Rack
$39+ $5 shipping= $44

Total Room Cost: $1,850.17 plus room for some shipping charges and tax on certain items where the tax   would be charged and the shipping is not specifically noted.

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