Category Archives: Design Diversions

Only a few more hours of work left . . .

And then a nice four day weekend!  Filled with tofurkey! 

You don’t eat tofurkey?  You’re probably not missing out.  Even though Turkey Day is impending, I seem to have other holidays on the mind . . .

With the help of my trusty sewing machine, some thread (I’ve done both lime green and dark gray),  a 1″ hole punch and some left-over paper I  trimmed off a presentation at work, we have garland.  (There have been a lot of good documentaries on PBS lately — the garland has given me a way to get in a little TV fix while still getting something done.  Husband hasn’t complained about having to watch the TV on loud to compensate for the whir of the sewing machine.  Yet.)  I’m kind of ready to get this non-turkey eating day over with and on to hanging up my miles and miles of garland!

As we race towards the end of 2012, I’ve been trying to get going on the “big change-up” I so carelessly promised my loyal readers (all five! I love you guys!)

So the other night I spent pushing around all the larger furniture items in the house on towels.  Good times.  Right now it’s still craziness so no photos (and it is PITCH BLACK when I get home from work and pretty dark when I leave in the morning too.  Boo.  And not good for photo taking.)

Here’s where things are headed:

The dressers will eventually be making a big exit and making room for some more changes . . . .

What else.  I know you guys like my “furniture funnies”.  I got this email today.

Yeah. What they said. . . . (Don’t you want to meet the person who had to sew a turkey costume for a chair?)

Have a good one guys!

The Storm before the Calm

Next Sunday I will be so relaxed and our house will be so nice and blissfully empty . . .

Because right now it is craziness as I prepare for the Green Shag Market Parking Lot Sale next Saturday, October 20th

The living room is full.

Chair party!

The music room is full.

The basement is REALLY full.  No pictures.  Bad.

I’m happy I signed up for this even if I’m freaking out a little bit right now.  It’s making me face head-on two resolutions I set for myself back in January

11.  Participate in a outside-of-work money-making opportunity like the Rock and Roll Craft Show or a Flea Market to whittle down all the furniture/crafts I have stashed in the basement and maybe pave the way for the future “Thompson Guitar and Thrift” store that husband and I will run someday.

12.  Attempt to upholster a piece of furniture.  Attempt.

So #11 is obvious, #12 not so much.  I was given another gift by the alley gods last week.  I forgot my coffee in the morning before work and circled back around the house to run back in and get it.  As I cruised down our back alley I saw this poor chair sitting exactly at our back gate, begging for mercy.  I dragged it into the back porch, sent husband a text so he wouldn’t be alarmed upon returning home before me, grabbed the coffee and was only a few minutes late to work (albeit covered in cat hair).

So this one is definitely a “look what the cat dragged in” or really a “look what the cat scratched up” kind of guy.  He’s not vintage but still had good bones – a simple chair for my first major foray into reupholstery and if I mucked it up, back to the alley it could go.  I had some nice heavy-weight upholstery fabric that I snagged at Garden Ridge forever ago waiting in the basement that seemed just right. (Warning: bad in-progress photo ahead.)

The top I will be redoing tonight — the inside out sew down the sides method I was trying out there did not work.  Instead I’m going to replicate what the chair already had going on and wrap around the front of the upper back and then apply a wrapped panel to the back.  And so now this guy is living in the Living Room with all that other stuff. . . .

Something you may have spotted in the Music Room disaster photo above is a cute little dog bed. (What you didn’t see it in all the piles of stuff?  For shame.)  I found it a while ago at the Creve Couer Antique Mall but it didn’t have a pillow.  And there’s no way Sophie or Shenanigan will lounge on something without a pillow!  So I got to work —

I used the basket to make a makeshift pattern, then I cut the pattern out of some old Shabby Chic brand sheets (the fitted sheet died so I sacrificed the flat sheet).  I even did a cute detail with a dog bone in tan and white seersucker that ironed on top for that little extra “je ne sais quoi”.  Turns out Sophie and Shenanigan won’t get near that adorable wicker bed with an adorable cushion to save their little furry lives so it’s going to the Green Shag sale as well . . .

Will I be seeing any of you at the Sale?  I hope so, at least to say hi!  It looks like it could be some glorious weather . .. .

. . . until then, I’ll be feverishly working in my basement, shining and buffing and doing some last minute projects (one of them involves Annie Sloane Chalk Paint which must be diamond-encrusted BTW because it costs a small fortune!)  See you soon!

I’ve Been Crying Since Friday . . .

For those of you living under rocks or in small caves, let me tell you some bad news. 

Ikea picked Kansas City.  (Article here).  NOT St. Louis.   I guess he’s just not that into you.  Wait, wrong analogy.

I haven’t really been crying all weekend, actually I’ve been painting.  Once I got brave and started on the fireplace, projects lined up like dominos behind it.  Painting the fireplace white made the wall behind it seem . . . a little too white.   When we first bought the house we had painted our accent wall a brick red.  A few years later it was khaki green.  Then just earlier this year it went white.  Now it’s not.

Now it’s Sherwin Williams “Urbane Bronze” color-matched by our friends at Home Depot to the Behr Paint & Primer in one and I think I can safely speak for the husband on this one and say we love it.  I wish we had done this 7 years ago and saved ourselves three other cans of paint.  As soon as we get the room put back together and some sunshine peeks out from behind the clouds, I will work on getting some pictures.  I also need to work on painting the only eyesore that remains — that stupid chipped brick hearth.

But back to my original topic.  Ikea.  Some hate it, some love it, some could care less.  I’m not all that mad at Ikea for choosing Kansas City, really I’m more upset with St. Louis.  Here is my message to St. Louis:  Stop being small-minded, racially segregated and afraid of change and go out there and BE SOMEBODY.  Somebody that can attract an Ikea.

I know there are a lot of vintage and thrift lovers who abhor Ikea.  I’m not one of them and I will tell you why: YOU CAN HAVE THEM BOTH.  Vintage furnishings will always have more character and perhaps be a higher quality of construction than Ikea furnishings.  But sometimes, to keep that balance of vintage from falling over to the kitsch side of things you need to add in a little new to the mix.  Why not make it Scandinavian design with an eye for function?  I bet someone who has designed or will design for Ikea goes on to be our generation’s Charles and Ray Eames. 

Ikea has said there is still hope for St. Louis but with the Kansas City store slated to open in 2014, I’m not holding my breath.  Plus the gift card I got from my mom for my birthday will be expired by then.  Excuse me while I go cry into my pillow some more. . . .

Fireplace Dilemma

So I know I’m supposed to be in the basement working on all my hoarded chairs, but I keep looking at our sad little fireplace and wondering what to do with it.  Especially now that we have been flung into cooler weather, an evening fire sounds kind of nice.

Our fireplace is cast concrete with different colors in it  (red, buff and green just like my sorority . . . )  which match the colors in the stained glass transom.  However this poor thing has seen better days.  When we bought the house it had a horrible brass-n-glass fireplace surround covering up the whole front of the fireplace.  We took that off a few years ago and hauled it to the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  It left a big (permanent) stained and sooty mess behind though.

When we were getting our concrete kitchen countertop installed, I spoke with the fabricator about options for our fireplace.  He did have some stains he could use on it but he said they would have to be dark stains because he couldn’t fix the real stains (soot and ash) that have leached into the concrete.

So, I’m wondering . . . do I dare paint it?  Here’s a little Photoshop magic for your consideration.




None of the above.

What’s your vote?  I’ve seen a lot of brick fireplaces that are painted (usually white) quite successfully.  I googled around and found some scary images of painted stone fireplaces but I couldn’t quite find any that match my situation which is not brick and not quite stone . . . . Hmmm.

P.S. Grey is out.

Transmute is the new tweak

You guys, I was getting really sick of the word “tweak.”  We use it at work ALL THE TIME because as designers, nothing is ever quite right and we’re always searching for those little adjustments (tweaks) to get a project further along.  I’ve been using that word a lot here on the blog as well to describe all the little adjustments I am continually and perpetually making to our home. 

So, more little adjustments . . . remember way back in January when I started this sisal crochet wonder?  Probably not because that was above 4 months ago.

At  any rate, I finished up the sisal crochet to make a little pot snuggie for the ZZ plant, George.  Or Zappa.  We call him different things.

Before George/Zappa was just hanging out in a standard issue green pot  and once we brought Hans and Wenger, the new chairs, home, he now has a floor light (can uplight from cb2) behind him to light the easel from below since we took off the clip light that used to be above. 

And now he has a fancy new coat.  I “dipped” the bottom in black paint to help it stand off the wood floor.  The sisal made it a little hard to get the color in there evenly but overall I am happy with how it turned out.  The whole skein of sisal was $13 at Home Depot and I didn’t even use half of it . . .  so maybe more (dipped) pots are in my future?  Maybe I’ll finish another in 5 months . . .

In other plant adjustments, the plant we originally put in the Bullet Planter was sad.

So sad that I didn’t even take a picture of it before I took it out.  (Not to fear, I put him in a little blue ceramic pot and I’m going to take him to work for some healing time.  Is that the dog equivalent of going to live on the farm?)  But picture it with about four and a half leaves thanks to Sophie Machete Tail.

Yep, that one.

But she also does an angelic face, so it’s hard to be so mad at her.  And also the reason she is usually wielding her machete tail is because we’re home and she’s so happy to see us . . . so she’s forgiven.

But we had to replant the Bullet with something that could survive the Sophie. A succulent garden planter at Home Depot caught my eye because it had a nice variety and was a good scale to survive the tail.

And, because all the plants seem to have names, I named them Larry, Curly (the little “curly” guy in front), Moe and Shemp.

Any more tweaks?  I mean adjustments?  Don’t worry, if there are, I’ll be back with all the details.  Have a great rest of the week, everyone.  We’re almost to a long weekend.  There’s a lot of plans and a little renovation going on . . .


Now that the kitchen’s mainly finished, I’ve been kind of bobbling around the house with a “what’s next” puzzled expression.  I think the best, most rational course of action would be to finish up all the loose odds and ends projects I have started but yet to finish (like the kitchen door, sewing some pillows for my mother, finishing the crochet plant pot among others . . . )

But something keeps calling me to the bathroom.  The last room in our house that the public sees that I have yet to do over.  Oh how I wish I had some before pictures from move-in day.  The bead board was painted a pee colored yellow and above that was a lovely yellow floral wallpaper.  I did paint the bead board white and the wall above it Sherwin Williams Amazing Grey . . . and then nothing.  Same nasty light fixture.  Same clunky wooden shelf.

Oh yeah and I changed out the knobs on the vanity.   Funny what a picture can remind you of.  The shower curtain was a Goodwill score.  $3 I think.  I was planning on making pillow covers out of it at one time but just went ahead and used it for its original purpose instead.  Go figure.

Prepare yourself for the aforementioned hideous light fixture:

(Not only are you hideous Mr. Light Fixture, you are also impossible to photograph).

So one day, this:

What’s that Elvis, you like the one on the bottom left the best?  So you want to hang out and coif your hair on Sherwin Williams Rainstorm?  Who am I to deny you Elvis. 

So, it’s not the same blue as the music room and kitchen, it’s a little moodier and seductively handsome, kind of like The King himself.  But you know me and my notoriously slow progress on projects . . . we’ll see this again in November?  Sounds good.

Dip It?

When the blogger’s away . . . . she’s working on more projects so she can have something to blog about?

Or she’s having a melt-down about her job/future/creative career path and can’t get to the computer?

Take your pick . . .

At any rate, this blogger is back with a question – should I dip it?

Let me clarify — there seems to be a growing trend of furniture/decorative items that are partially painted/dipped.  Case in point, these gorgeous chairs I first saw on Desire to Inspire —


Now I have 4 matching chairs being hoarded in my basement and I’m thinking they might look a lot better getting this “dipped” treatment . .

What do you think?