Category Archives: Home

{Living Room} Adding Height With Curtains

While I was waiting for the worst of the downpour to finish this weekend so I could work in the garden, I decided to attempt to hang curtains. I say attempt because a level line is never guaranteed and I didn’t have my stud finder (AKA TimTheFarmer).

Our living room continues to baffle me a bit – it’s also the entry and is a super tall room that contains the stairway and the loft that leads to the bedrooms. The previous owner used it the TV room, but we don’t like the idea of that. It needs to be the thruway into the kitchen so it keeps the seating to one side of the room. We’re still kicking around the idea of taking some or all of the wall down between the kitchen and living room. Basically, I don’t know what to do with this space. So, for now I’m working to make it feel inviting and cozy while taking advantage of the height of the room. This is from before we moved furniture and painted:

EntryRoomWe have our accent wall, which is my favorite! 

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And, we hung my grandma’s antique skis way way high on the wall to draw your eye up. 

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Because the room has sloped ceilings that are very high at the top and end at a “normal” height by the door and front window, the front wall feels low. A common way to work with tall ceilings is to hang long curtains high above the windows. It adds height and in our case, can balance out a shorter-feeling ceiling that is competing against tall walls.

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I picked up curtains and a curtain rod at Home Goods for $30. There is seriously no other place you should buy curtains and curtain rods. They are alway half the prices as anywhere else and unless you’re going for custom curtains, you can probably find something that will match. The curtains are 96″ long which puts them at least a foot above my window. And look, my line is (relatively) straight!

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The pattern fit perfectly with our room. It’s a traditional floral pattern made up of modern, funky colors: turquoises, dark grey, and chartreuse colors which perfectly complement my new old chair, rugs, and vintage ski posters.

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Someday we’ll figure out couches and seating in this room and whether or not to pull the wall down, but for now, I love how the curtains add both height and coziness to this room!



{Thrifted Finds} Estate Sale Reality

I’ve never been to an estate sale. They always sound too fancy. Guest what? They are. Well, mostly. 

I was lured in this weekend thanks to a local Facebook yard sale group. They posted the estate sale and there were some cool (read: funky, old. rusty, shabby, unique) pieces I was interested in.

First up, this patio set. We need a table and chairs for our deck and I loved how funky and old this was. I was totally picking out the color I would spray paint it on my way to the sale. Who else would want this rusty, weird table??

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Second, this old armchair. I loved the upholstery color and am looking for our living room/entry that continues to prove challenging to design.

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Third, these rugs. I need some rugs that aren’t the obviously-Target geometric ones I currently have i.e. grown-up rugs.

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I got up super early on Saturday to ensure I was there when the ropes dropped so I could definitely scoop up the table and maybe grab the chair – I guessed the chair might be a little pricey. I got there promptly at 8am per the advertised Facebook start-time, and NO ONE was around. Umm…I looked at all the signs and they said 9am. I rechecked the Facebook group which I’d checked before I left at 7 and it now said 9am…she changed it last minute….what the heck?!? So, I drove to Home Depot to peruse the electric lawn mowers and pick out the spray paint I was going to paint my new table.

I returned at 8:50am and people were already milling around. Oh no! My table would be gone! I made a bee-line for the patio, passing the rugs on my way. I did a quick price check – they were all at least $150. Ouch! And, noooo way!

I made it to the patio and the table was even cooler (funkier, rustier) in real life. I located the price tag. Guess how much it was? As a reminder, this is what we’re looking at:

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$500?

Not even close! $1000?

Nope. 

$1525. Yes. You read that right. $1525 for an old, rusty table with a FAKE slate top. Apparently it’s a collectable, vintage set according to eBay. #thanksebay

The lurker guy sensed my disappointment, told me that the seller would be open for negotiation, and asked what I’d been hoping to spend. I told him my max was $200. He said, “Well, it never hurts to ask.” Which is usually my motto (at work), but I highly doubted she’d drop the price by $1300. I was beginning to worry my 45 minute BCOD drive was going to be a waste of time, sleep, and gas.

Ok. The chair. Maybe I’d have a chance there. I finally found it (after passing a few more too-expensive rugs) and …. $300. #notgonnahappen Ugh. 

I decided to do a more thorough tour of the house and see if I could redeem this trip. I noticed some AMAZING vintage orange duck-patterned curtains. I can’t even describe them (in my excitement—and confidence she’d sell them to me—I forgot to take a picture). They were so tacky they were awesome. Do you know what I mean? I have no idea where I’d put them, but I needed them. I ran back upstairs to ask the price on them and she wanted $100. Seriously!?! I can’t believe anyone would pay that much for old, tacky curtains. At that point, I made her my offer on the table and she told me I could leave my name and number and she’d call if either item was still left at the end of the weekend. #shesnotcalling

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I did one more pass through and spent some time at the bookshelf. I discovered a stack of skiing books from the 30’s. They all have personal notes in them from the authors to the homeowner, calling him a champ. They are SO.FREAKING.COOL.  As a former ski instructor, it’s amazing to see ski technique from 85 years ago. It turns out the owner was a Cornell and Dartmouth grad, was on their ski teams and avid skier, and also a doctor. He just passed away, but was a skiing champ in the 30s…he must have been close to 100 years old. I keep wondering what his story was?? 


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There were also some American Heritage cookbooks from the 1960s, which I couldn’t wait to look through. I stacked the 8 books up and knowing she wanted $5/per book, planned to negotiate. 

I peeked in a back room and saw an armchair in the perfect 60’s-era mustard yellow-green color I love. I expected to have my heart broken by the price tag, but it was only $50! I sat in it, it was comfortable. Ok! This day wasn’t going to be a bust.

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I put on my American Pickers bundling hat and went out to negotiate. Her offer was $40 for the chair and $40 for all the books. I pulled a Frank, summarizing what I was buying and offered her $60 for all of it. And I got it! 

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Moral of the Story #1: Unlike yard sales, Estate Sales have fancy stuff that will be priced appropriately. Otherwise they’d call it a yard sale.

Moral of the Story #2: Taz approves of the chair choice.

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Moral of the Story #3: The goal should always be to match your library to your decor. 😉

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{Guest Bathroom} High Impact, Low Budget Makeover

The bathrooms were/are definitely the most dated rooms in our new house. We’re talking old-school oak medicine cabinets, bad light fixtures, mismatched hardware, 1980’s tiled floors, and a really bad countertop. Luckily the expensive parts have been updated (bathtubs, toilets, pedestal sinks), so the updates are mostly cosmetic, except for the bad countertop in the master bathroom. There were lots of projects I wanted to tackle when we moved in this fall, but because I was traveling so much for work, I had to stick to quick and easy projects. The very first project I did in the whole house was a quick makeover of the guest bathroom. 

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Did you know it’s really, really hard to take a photo of a small bathroom and have it turn out like all the fancy design bloggers’ photos turnout? Well, it is. This is why I haven’t posted this update yet. But, it’s time. I’m going to give small-bathroom photography my best shot and hope you’ll appreciate the before and afters despite my mediocre skills. 

I had LOVE LOVE LOVED Cassie’s bathroom makeover and I was so bummed for her and the bathroom that she moved out as soon as she finished it. I don’t thinks she’s that bummed, just as an FYI. I loved the white shiplap (is that shiplap? I think it’s shiplap! Where’s Joanna Gaines??) contrasted against the beautiful dark walls. How stunning is this bathroom?

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It wasn’t until I was standing in the doorway of our new-to-us bathroom, that I realized that I had the bones already in place to riff on Cassie’s design. After some nightmare wallpaper removal experiences, I wasn’t ready to commit to wallpaper (even though that paper makes my heart sing), but I figured I could go dark with the paint, update the mirror and lighting, and have a quick makeover that would be high impact. 

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On one of my few weekends home last fall, I picked out the paint (I was looking for a dark, purple-y blackish smokey grey – you totally know what I’m talking about right?), scrubbed the walls down, took down the awful vanity and light fixture, and got to work.

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Two things:
1. Can we talk about the absurdity of the light fixture/medicine cabinet combo? The cabinet totally blocked all light coming from the lights. Seriously people. Plan ahead.
2. I found a giant hole in the wall. I know we’re covering it with a mirror, but hey previous owners! Take care of my walls!

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Ok, back to it. I was painting the bathroom before we’d barely started unpacking. As we discussed, I’m adverse to unpacking. I’m confident that TimTheFarmer was not thrilled with the fact that projects were starting while boxes lingered in every room. #sorryhoney #itshowiroll But, the painting was done by the end of the weekend, I’d managed to bake a 4th place winning apple pie (that’s winning, right?) while I was painting, and I LOVED the contrast against the (fake) tile walls. I’d never painted a ceiling before, but Cassie showed me the way and I think it really made a huge difference. Once I painted, I realized the tile walls and toilet and tub and sink weren’t white, which I’d originally thought they were, they were almond. I hate almond (to be clear, I don’t hate almonds, just almond finishes). Because my “tiles” weren’t white, the white ceiling would have been an even worse idea. 

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I decided to go with a simple glass mirror instead of a medicine cabinet for two reasons. First, it’s much less expensive. Second, it actually opens up the small space in that bathroom by not taking up 4-6 inches of vanity depth with a medicine cabinet. Someday I might add a flea market frame to it, but for now, I like the simplicity.

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This was also the point where I made a hardware commitment for the house. I’ve typically gravitated toward various shades of silver/chrome for hardware finishes, but this house was calling for oil-rubbed bronze (i.e. blackish). The hardware on the kitchen cabinets was black, so that’s the direction went. We picked out this light fixture from Lowes and went with the square glass shades when we picked up the mirror. Since then, we’ve replaced all the doorknobs with oil-rubbed bronze knobs and they really play well off the grey walls and warmth of the wood doors. 

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Finally, I painted the trim around the window and door white (six coats later…ugh!), added a towel ring that was already here and rounded up some art.

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Here’s a before, during, and after:

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What are your thoughts on painting a ceiling a bold color?