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.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bar carts and the one that got away...

Every few weeks, if not weekly I'd stop by my favorite thirft store to see this:

She's not perfect (she had a small chip on the underside of one of her glass shelves) but there was something about her that kept me coming back for 5 months. Recently the Mr. and I have gotten into the show Mad Men and with their crazy drinking habits it only reinforced my desire for the above beauty. I should however tell you this, I don't even drink alcohol. Like not at all. And we have a 15-month old so it's beyond me what we'd put on it that she wouldn't want to touch and break.

But the allure of the bar cart is still strong. I want one to put pretty straws on, monogrammed napkins, glasses, maraschino cherries, sparkling water and grenadine for making Shirley Temples. And maybe I could put Fiji water bottles on the bottom shelf or something else that the bug couldn't break.

With my 3rd wedding anniversary just around the corner I knew I had an excuse to ask for something that otherwise the Mr. would certainly veto, so I decided to call the store to make sure it was still there before I began convincing my husband that I needed this piece in vain.  I called and talked to the manager who said she believed it to be gone. But I wanted to be sure, so I went in and looked myself and surely, it was not there.

I decided to talk to the Mr. about it anyway because the way I looked at it, I could ask for the opportunity to snatch the next one up I found and maybe it would even better than the one from the thrift shop. But vintage bar carts are seemingly sparse, and spendy if bought new. I searched all of the Seattle area Craigslist and could only find one, and it wasn't vintage and it wasn't brass, and it was $150. That's $110 more than my bar cart.

But I know that if I had just brought my little beauty home without an okay from him, the Mr. would not have been a happy camper. So she's gone (I do hope she's found a wonderful home that will adore her as much as I did), but the search will go on...

Watch for week one of the Budget Room Design Challenge On Monday where I take on a guest bedroom for under $2k! Wish me luck, and don't forget to shot me an email with a room in your space that you'd like done on a budget and I'll send you a mood board free!

Hemming and Hawing and a Free Mood Board Room Design for YOU!

I don't know what it is about me but I am always looking for the best deal. In fact, I feel shamed and disappointed in myself if I make the wrong choice, buy too early, or wait too long and the deal's gone. I've been hemming and hawing over finding a passion I could make a living on, and I think this revelation is a step in the right direction.

When it comes to DIY and dollars and cents I have no fear. My immediate thought is I can do that, which becomes I'm going to do that. I was reading the fall issue of House of Fifty when I came across an article on a space one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle Oakey, designed. The space had a budget of $2,000, and it needed a headboard, 2 nightstands, a dresser, lamps, overhead lighting and accessories, art and window treatments. This space wasn't for her home, it was for a CLIENT'S.

You know what I thought? Easy shmeazy. Piece of cake. Piece of pie. Piece of crumb cake. Not because it's not difficult to design a whole room for under 2 grand, because I bet it is, for a lot of people. But I realized, this is my strong point. No matter what the budget I scour high and low to get the best deal out there, to ensure the most bang for the buck. It's probably a really good trait to have, and I don't say that easily, as I'm not the most confident person when it comes to my talents. All I ever know is that when I'm passionate about something, I can do it. And I'm good with money.

The best part of having a "low" budget is the challenge of making sure that just because you didn't pay a lot for it, it still looks like you did. I love this, I thrive on this. I grew up in southern California in which an interest in and influence in style can go one of two ways, over-branded to the point that said style has no grace, or genuinity, or it can become refined, poised, interesting and beautiful. I like to think that mine's the latter. I have a taste for expensive things, who doesn't? But those things must always be beautiful, and beauty, even in small doses and in unexpected places can be overwhelmingly astounding.

This being said, I am giving myself a challenge, and you are welcome to toss one my way too. The goal is one room a week within a budget. All of these rooms will be virtual unless you are looking for help and would like a me to design a space for you! So help me out, and give me a REAL challenge, would you?

Ideally, I'd like to do the following all within a budget:

master bedroom
guest room
living room
entry and/or mudroom
dining room
kitchen/ breakfast nook
powder room (half bath)
master bath

Send an email to me with the following information:

-inspirational pictures to get a sense of your style and the feel you'd like
-what needs to be included in the room
-what items you have that you'd like to incorporate into the room
-color preferences, if any
-room dimensions, to ensure we pick out things that will actually fit!
-your budget for the room

Monday, August 15, 2011

90 sq. ft. Bathroom

It has long been our dream to turn our current sole- 36 sq ft bathroom, entry closet and spare master bedroom small walkin closet into one master bathroom. This will give us a space that is a 9' 1" by 9' 9"on the inside, not too shabby!! Since it is the only bathroom (at the moment) we need to get what everyone needs and wants into this bathroom. 

The Mr. is set on having a walk-in shower with glass surround while I am adamint that this does cause us to sacrifice a bath tub, leaving us with only a 3/4 bath and no more lavender soaks for me or bubble baths for the bug! My dream would be to have a second story deep whirlpool corner tub with windows but since that is a project for a whole other house (I don't want to look out to my front yard, or have our neighbors look into my bathroom while I take a bath since our home is a single story), I want to at least make sure we have a bath tub in addition to the Mr.'s walk-in shower. 

I used to think that this was for sure an impossibility, but then I watched the episode of Season 2 of Sarah's House where Sarah transforms her approx. 90 sq. ft. (she said it was about 9' x 9') "high" bathroom into a room with a 60" vanity, walk-in glass surround shower, tub and toilet. Just like us, this was the only bathroom on the main level so it needed to have everything everyone in the family needed. Given, the shower wasn't huge-mongous and it didn't have a head on either side (another request from the Mr.) but it was definitely roomy enough, and had the gorgeous all-glass surround($$$!) that the Mr. loves so much.

Let's take a look a Sarah's high bath from Season 2 of Sarah's House:

I wish there were more pictures available. This bathroom is beyond gorgeous and just about perfect for us and our home, not only in size but in function. Sarah spent just over $18k on this bathroom, but since my Mr. is a builder, and there is no way we'd get that much in return on investment for a bathroom like this in our home I'm thinking we could get the look and feel of this bathroom for much much less without sacrificing high end details and style. 

 A great rule of thumb is that labor is approximately the amount of materials. So, if you were to get a bid for $18k on a bathroom your whole cost would be about $9k if you did it all yourself, however depending on the details you may still need to hire out someone who specializes in certain aspects such as marble cutting (the custom vanity top) and glass door and wall installation (the walk-in shower), as well as plumbing and electrical. Simpler tasks such as tiling a floor or wall and painting furniture and walls are a great way to save shave off a bit of that $18k price tag.

While looking at floor plans for bathrooms I came across Kohler's site ( go there and look around, you can even see the rooms in 3D if you are not using a Mac like me) which has a good number of spaces ranging from 24 sq ft all the way up to 335 sq ft. (Um, hello! Bigger than our master bedroom!) I found one that was close to mine in dimensions:

9' 0" by 9' 6"
85 sq. ft. floor plan

I do like Sarah's take on the floor plan better though. Leaving the room without walls and a door separating the toliet and shower gives you more room to maneuver and allows for walk-in shower.

While we are on the topic of bathrooms I want to show you this incredible vanity by Michelle of Ten June. She just finished it and I have to say I am in love. You wouldn't know it by looking at it, but this vanity is $399 at Home Depot, even those gorg knobs can be found there for $4 a piece. Impressive, huh? She and her husband did a great job and I can't wait to see the final unveiling!

I'm sure with this dream currently on my mind, I will have plenty of inspiration, products and ideas to share with you all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Style Vignettes, Part 2

Here is how I styled a 60" 9-drawer French Provincial Dresser I recently refinished. This dresser will be available for purchase soon and I will include full shots of it then (including the before shots)!
mother of pearl shells turned into one big accessory/ floating candle bowl
hanging bird cage I bought recently for $10, makes for a great photo prop!

a simple desk lamp from my college days gets a stylish update with one of my favorite scarves

a mirrored tray I found for $5

a fav photo of the bug that I did a DIY on to turn it into a canvas

...and a lil' sneek peak at the dresser! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Style Vignettes, Part 1

This is how our entry console/ mail center currently looks:

The sunnies in the middle are holding the place of the ones I actually use as they are M.I.A. at the moment.

vintage mail scale

checkbooks, stamps, tape, calculator

pens and such in a vase 

a quick meal plan

The Mr.'s business cards in an acrylic card holder that matches the post-it note pad holder

The white bead board piece currently holds notepads and the bottom has shelves filled with kitchen towels which the bug has a habit of going through and throwing them all onto the floor. I'm thinking I need a new place for my kitchen towels, maybe the towels all rolled up in a basket sitting on the kitchen counter? I'd like to move this piece elsewhere (maybe the kitchen, or paint it in chalkboard paint and put it in Ella's room to use as a nightstand), and get a new, larger console. I have my eye on a mirrored piece, but am debating whether one can have too much mirrored furniture in a home...

The shelf and mirror have been there FOREVER, like at least since 4 years ago forever, because when I met my husband they were there! However the sunnies on the shelf are a new addition and I'm really loving the quirky family reference they make, plus how practical is it that they are right by our front door now? No more searching for them last minute before we head out to the lake.

See the glitter letters? Those spell out our last name and I believe are from the Mr.'s aunt ( a professional photographer, whose work has been in Sunset and Real Simple magazines, among others, check her out here) and have also been there since before I met the Mr. I have to say I really dig them. I'm big on monograms and personalization (we also have a custom jeweled letter L that lives in our living room that was the topper to our wedding cake, and Ella has some awesome wallpaper letters of her name in her nursery). These hang above the entry to our galley kitchen, and directly next to our little mail/entry center.

Lastly, here is the chalkboard ( for those of you who didn't guess) the day I finished it:

and to keep it real, here's what it looks like now ;) :
Up top is a menu list I started but didn't finish, and below is a family portrait. Not bad, eh?

This are close ups because our kitchen nook is currently almost entirely empty since we've been living without a dining set. I have plans to complete the one we got from my mom by the end of next week as we will be having house guests the following weekend and throughout the week.

Tomorrow I will share with you how I've styled the French Provincial dresser I refinished (save for lining the drawers and a little touch-up paint, it's done). It is currently making it's home in our bedroom right next to our bed. Come back for that little diddy tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This is what I am working on....

Any guesses?
: )
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