Friday, January 27, 2012

room replica 2

TGIF, folks! As a consumate Craigslister, the weekend is exciting for me for different reasons than some. Why? Weekends are when people clean out their garages, spare rooms, and basements! Weekends are when people make time to purge! Craigslist becomes a veritable cornucopia of new finds each Saturday morning. If you haven't had luck finding that certain something while cruising CL in your cubicle, don't give up! Hop on after breakfast on Saturday (or Sunday!) and you might have more luck. 

It is not, however, the weekend yet. So today's Room Replica was a bit more challenging. Today I chose a trés chic vignette put together by Katie Rosenfeld Interior Design - gorgeous and inspiring all-around. I keep finding myself drawn to Asian-influenced designs as of late. So this picture just screamed "replicate me!". Here 'tis:

Beautiful, right? Am I crazy?! Trying to replicate this setup via Craigslist finds was definitely a task. I had to kind of translate the pieces in the image into CL versions, so nothing is exactly the same. And as usual, paint and fabric will play a vital role in this replication. So! Here's what I came up with.... I started with the dresser. I went back and forth between two that I found. The first is a vintage wavefront dresser for $140:

I think $140 is a tad much for this, but the wavefront kind of gives it similar lines as our Dream version. A few coats of Sherwin-Williams Festival Green, and then using a stencil like this to add some detail, some new hardware, and we'd be in business. Then I discovered this beauty for $30!...

I love the price, and I think with the aforementioned paint job it would be very effective! Dresser,  done. On to the chair. Here is the winner at $200:

What do ya think? Paint it champagne gold and recover the seat with some vintage barkcloth fabric like this for $12:

Bingo! I love it. Now for the mirror. I had to manage my expectations with the mirror. The Dream mirror is pretty unique, so my goal was to find something large with a wood frame that wasn't square. This was the result:

Pretty cool, right? At $300 it's the priciest piece of the design, but worthy of the investment for the role it plays. And vintage! I'd offer them less, though, just to see... ;) Some glossy white spray paint and voila! It's not round, but makes enough of a statement that I think it's a good substitute for the Dream version. Last but not least, the ginger jar lamp. I searched my heart out for a blue and white lamp. Alas, I found nothing that resembled it closely enough. What I did find was this turquoise version (which I love, of course) at $35:

And there you have it! Our Katie Rosenfeld-inspired Room Replica. All that's left is a bouquet of flowers, and you're sitting pretty in your own discount-design-dream room. I had fun putting this together and I hope you enjoyed it, too! Have a great weekend, and happy Craigslisting!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

an estate sale tale

Estate sales: I love them. Sometimes I think it's weird to get excited about an estate sale. I mean, someone either passed away or is going through a major downsizing, and as a result, all of their belongings are being liquidated. That can be sad. But if something good can be born out of sadness, I'm all for it! So many fabulous treasures can be found at a true estate sale (someone's junk strewn about their living room does NOT count), especially if you go on the second day - typically everything under $100 is marked down to 50% off! Because estate sales are designed to sell off a large part of a home’s contents in a hurry, you can expect prices to be lower than what you find at a retail store or antique shop. It's a beautiful thing. In my experience, the best estate sales are the ones being hosted by a third party business specializing in estate liquidation. My mom happens to live in a lovely neighborhood populated by mostly retirees around a golf course - perfect estate-sale-ing territory.

This brings me to the story of my latest estate sale 'big win'. Last Saturday I was taking Cason Jett over to 'Ama's' house. As we entered her neighborhood, the official ESTATE SALE signs were out on the corner, blazing their white and green-lettered trail to the latest trove of treasures. After promptly assigning Grandpa to Cason-duty, mom and I set forth on our foray.

The sale had clearly been well-shopped, as not a ton of stuff was remaining, but one could tell that the woman (who was still living, FYI) had a flair for Asian decor and did indeed have some nice things. We ooohed and awed at some pretty pillows adorned with Geishas, admired a faux-bamboo metal plant stand, and then, we ventured into the garage. There we came upon a deconstructed bed. The wood was beautiful, and in good shape. It was big, and had an interesting and visually appealing fretwork design along some of the components. The price was scribbled on a piece of note paper and read '$65.00/king size'. Hmmm. We asked the woman in charge of the sale about the bed. Were all the pieces present? Yes. What did it look like when constructed? Not sure exactly, but it had a canopy. Had there been much interest in it? No, she thought folks might be intimidated since it was taken apart. Hmmmm.

Here is where the fun begins. One might think, what a bargain! $65 for a solid wood, king-sized bed! But then there's me. I'm thinking, I bet this will be here tomorrow... for $32.50. And you know what, I was right! We left that sale, and then I dragged the hubs and Cason Jett out of the house at 9am on a Sunday to go claim the bed. Transporting it was interesting, and I have to give MAJOR props to my hubs for fitting most of the bed pieces, Tetris-style, into our Honda Element, and then going back with our Outback and wrangling the large headboard onto the roof and bringing it home single-handed. He's The Man.

After bringing the bed home, a stamp reading Drexel Tai-Ming 1983 was discovered on the back of the headboard. 1983! We hopped online and found 2 images of what our treasure would look like once put together:

We had a hard time finding the original retail price for the bed, but did come across a queen-sized one on Craigslist that was listed for $1100. Amazing! I am totally picturing this thing painted white... with bright, graphic bed linens... two glossy orange nightstands, and turquoise lamps! Squeal!


Obviously, this story will have 'to be continued' since painting this big bed will take some time and effort. But as you know by now, I love a project! 

Ready to go estate sale-ing, anyone? What do you think of my latest find? Can you share my vision for it? I'd love to hear some feedback!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a pocket-friendly pouf

 Unless you've been hiding under an interior design rock, you know that poufs have been very popular in home decor as of late. I love a pouf for it's fun, interesting shape, it's versatility, and they are just plain cute. I've been wanting one, and when I came across this tutorial from Better Homes & Gardens I thought, why not give it a try? 

I have no intention of trying to 'reinvent the wheel' here. If you click on the link provided above, BH&G gives you a step-by-step tutorial (with pictures) showing how to make your own pouf. They even have a PDF you can download and print out (which my mom promptly did after I emailed her the link, and her reply read 'We can do this!'). So rather than copy everything the folks at BH&G did so nicely, my intention here is to merely SHOW you that real people can, in fact, make a pretty, pocket-friendly pouf. As the author of the tutorial says, "With a can-do attitude, our step-by-step guide, and $50, you can create an on-trend pouf for your home that's charming and practical." My pouf actually cost less than $50. I'd say it cost about $30 total, and I'll tell you why...

BH&G suggests using linen burlap for your pouf for $7/yd - not bad. I've mentioned that I am a fan of the Goodwill, right? Did you know that many people donate unused fabric remnants to the Goodwill? Yes! So rather than trek up to Joann's, I started this project at my local Goodwill. I didn't actually find any fabric remnants that I liked, but I did find a set of lovely drapes in my favorite color - blue! The material is a thick, cotton, canvas that was perfect for a pouf. And the price tag was perfect, too - $7.99 for enough material to make two poufs, should I be so inclined.

Before I get too far, I need to give credit where it's due. In this case, the credit should be given fully to my mother. If I haven't previously shared that I rely heavily on my exceptional mother's help for many a project, I really should have. My mom is extremely resourceful, creative, and versatile. She is often my sounding board for ideas, and my perfect thrifting partner-in-crime. She has a tool set. She's gorgeous :) and did I mention that she sews? Or, that I do not sew? Basically, she made the pouf for me. She even took the drapes home and washed them prior to starting it. So, there you have it.

 My Wonder Mom

Ok, on with the pouf-ing! After scoring our fabric, we did end up trekking to Joann's for the rest of the shopping list. I decided on a bright, tangerine color for the embroidery floss because I loved the contrast. Armed with batting and thread, we were ready for pouf construction. Here is where my dear mom took over and about a week later, poof! I mean, POUF!!!

(You can see my makings for a new throw pillow off to the left... yay!)

I was so impressed, especially with the stitching my mom did on the outside - beautiful. I am so excited! I love the color combo. It's the perfect size for throwing your feet up on, firm enough to sit on, and cute as a button! What do you think? Do you see a DIY pouf in your living room's future?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ikea roger chairs via craigslist, re-covered!

In case you hadn't caught on to me yet, I am a bit of a Craigslist addict. Not only do I love a bargain, I also enjoy the case study of what people have and how much they think it's worth. That, and it's just fun to look at all the different pieces of furniture! Some days when Cason Jett is extra-demanding, and I finally get him down for a nap, a quick way for me to decompress is to pull up the CL app on my trusty iPhone and troll the Furniture By Owner section. Why on my iPhone and not a computer, you might wonder? Well, my friends, the CL app gives you a picture preview of each listing, whereas the online version makes you click on each post to see the pictures. When a gal only has 1-2 hours of alone time, every second counts!

Ok. What was this post about again? Oh, yes... my dining room chairs! I was in the process of making over our dining room to give it a more eclectic and modern appeal, and found 8 Ikea Roger Dining Chairs on Craigslist for $200. These chairs are no longer available in-store, but I really like the clean lines and the 'blank canvas' aspect of them. The curved back echoed the shape of the base of our dining room table (a clearance find at one of those chain furniture stores - $300!), and the color of the wood worked perfectly. What didn't ring my bell was the boring cream micro fiber upholstery on the seats. Blah! Maybe it was easy to clean, but it added no visual interest to our space.

So, I went to the Fabric Depot and scored 2 yards of clearance fabric for $7/yard and went after those chairs with gusto. This is one of the most basic DIY projects for anyone with a staple gun and scissors to tackle. Actually, you don't even have to own a staple gun (mine is broken!). You can borrow your mom's... or my mom's. That's what I did, anyway. If you've never recovered a chair seat, here's what you do:

1. Remove any screws that are keeping the seat down, and take out the seat.

2. Lay your seat on the fabric and cut around it, leaving enough room around the edge to fold up over and staple, about 2 inches in this case. Having a toddler march around on your previously wrinkle-free fabric is optional :-) Having the toddler stand on the seat to make sure it stays put while your cutting is really handy, too. Once he starts jumping on and off of the seat, it may be time to turn on Curious George cartoons as a distraction. Groooan.

3. If you end up with any wrinkles in your fabric post-toddler-stomping, you might want to iron it.

4. Line up your seat, top down, on the reverse side of a trimmed out piece of fabric, pull the fabric taught over the edge, and staple. I start at the middle of each edge with one staple, then work my way out from each staple to the corners, smoothing and pulling gently as I go to create a perfect edge. The goal is to have it snug, but also to avoid wrinkles and dents.

 5. Trim away any excess fabric once you finish stapling, then re-attach your seats to the chairs, and voila! Transformation!

 Pssst... I bought this World Market rug on Craigslist... $50!

What do you think? I love it! I love a simple, inexpensive project that makes an impact. Now I just have to do something about that hideous, builder-installed light fixture.... suggestions, anyone?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

thrifting 101

I learned a hard lesson about thrifting last week. But before recounting the learning of my lesson, let me start by explaining my relationship with the local Goodwill thrift store. Shopping for some is done only under duress, causing anxiety, boredom, or frustration. Not so for me. Many a bad day have been cured for me through a rigorous session of retail therapy. Our current operational budget does not really leave a lot of room for recreational retail, however, and more often than not I find myself browsing our local Goodwill store and simply enjoying the thrill of a unique find - even if I don't buy it. It also helps that our Goodwill store is always chock full of great high-end items and unique treasures, rather than just a lot of junk like some other stores. Maybe I'll compile a post to showcase a few of the items I have scored on the cheap to share later...

So, last week I was wandering up and down the aisles during my 30 minute kiddo-free therapy session when I noticed this really cute, vintage 70's era spun fiberglass patio set.

 And I thought, "Ooooh, that has potential!". The price tag said $49.95. It didn't have a glass top, and the cushions could stand be recovered, but my instincts told me it was still a good deal. I sat in one of the chairs. Comfy and solid. I inspected the fiberglass. Perfect, aside from some dirt, but nothing a good pressure wash couldn't remove. I contemplated. What would the hubs say if I brought this funky number home? Would he think it was worth fifty bucks? To make an unecessarily long story short, I didn't pull the trigger. I hemmed and hawed, then went to pick up Cason Jett from my mom's house because it was getting close to nap time. But when I got home, I did a little research...
I found this similar set on Craiglist.... for $499!!!

And this set on for  $249!!!

And then another here... for $495!!!

Needless to say, I was regretting my decision. I knew that my mom was heading out to run errands, so I quickly called her to see if she could swing by the Goodwill and buy the set for me. She agreed to, and I sat waiting in anticipation of my new-found treasure! I hopped onto CL to see if I could find a piece of glass for the top, which I did,  for a mere $20...

And then onto to look at options for recovering the seats. Something like this would be cute, right?

I was totally excited! Thoughts of summertime cocktails shared on our new retro-cool front patio with friends filled my head. And then, the phone call from my mom came. In the 30 minutes since I had left the Goodwill, some lucky shopper had scored my vintage patio set. I was so bummed. I sat there day dreaming about that set for a good 2 hours before I came to terms with my misfortune. 

So! The lesson is: if you see something at a thrift store and your gut tells you to buy it, BUY IT. The beauty and the beast of thrifting is the one-of-a-kind nature of the merchandise. Sigh! Lesson learned. 

How about you? Have you ever seen something while thrifting, left, then gone back only to find an empty spot on the shelf? I'd love to know I'm not alone! :-)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ode to the 'before' pic

Patience is not one of my many virtues. One example of my lack of patience is the fact that I almost always forget to take a 'before' picture of whatever project I am working on. Any blog reader knows that this step in a DIYer's process is crucial in order to fully hit home the miraculous level of transformation one has accomplished with mere sand paper and spray paint. It also helps considerably when trying to outline the steps in a tutorial... Part of the whole reason I wanted to start this blog. Many a refinishing project has gone unappreciated because I get too excited to start and by the time I think to take a 'before' pic, I've already removed the knobs and sanded off the most glaring defects of my $10 garage sale dresser. Sigh.

So! I am making this public declaration (to the 4 people who will probably read this) that from this day forward I am committed to taking the appropriate 'Before' picture so that all can fully appreciate my handy work. ;-)

As a farewell to the 'old' me, below is a gallery of lonely 'After' shots who never had their 'Before'. Enjoy!

First, our headboard. Found on Craigslist for $20, it used to be plain old oak. I painted it black and had the hubs mount it on the wall. Voila! Oh, the nightstands (and dresser with mirror, not pictured here) were also a CL find. $125 for the whole set. They were your typical 70's French Provincial cream and gold. A few coats of black lacquer spray paint and silver on the hardware worked wonders!

Next is a cute vintage patio set that I purchased via Craigslist for $20. I didn't mind the chipped periwinkle paint, but the ancient, discolored plastic tablecloth that had been used to cover the seats was disgusting. A yard and a half of discounted indoor/outdoor fabric made selling this set for $125 easy!

Following are two chairs I bought at an estate sale for $25 total. The first is a Chippendale-inspired faux-bamboo dining chair that started out in a yellowed cream color with a cheap blue and white pinstripe fabric on the seat. And the 'After'...

The other chair was in a similar aged yellow/cream with an outstanding black and red floral fabric circa 1983.  I fixed it up and sold it for $60. Ta-da!

It makes me cringe thinking about how much more impressive these transformations would be if only you could see the 'Before'. ;-)

So there you have it folks, the end of my 'Before'-less existence. Cheers to better project documentation from here on out!


Monday, January 16, 2012

room replica 1

Beautiful images of rooms abound on the internet! I could spend days at a time perusing perfectly staged vignettes and coveting all the trimmings used to decorate them... especially on Pinterest... not that I ever waste time that way. ;) Throw pillows, sculptural lamps, shimmering glass, plush tufts, and captivating artwork - there is a feast for the eyes around every virtual corner! At times I start to get a little down on myself for not having my house perfectly kept. But more often I find myself scheming complete overhauls of my various spaces so that they can resemble these perfect images. Not. Good.

However, I have discovered a very constructive way to deal with my desire to imitate the Dream Rooms I see online. I pick an image, hop onto Craiglist, search out the pieces of furniture I would need to replicate the room I'm dreaming about, and presto! I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Not only because I get my creative fix on, but because I can recreate the room on a very conservative imaginary budget. It's fun! So, this post will be the first of what I will henceforth call my 'Room Replica' series.

Our first Dream Room was designed by the talented and fun Tobi Fairley. For loads of inspiration and your daily dose of room perfection, head on over to her website...

I am obsessed with tangerine and turquoise. Turquoise has long been my favorite color, and the bright juicy punch that tangerine brings is just perfection! I love the symmetry of this vignette. I love the graphic quality of the end tables and lamps. It's modern, fun, happy, and cozy all at once. Let the replication begin! 

First, we need a sofa. I came across this beautiful robin's egg Cindy Crawford sofa for $75....

It's not white like the Dream version, but I think the pale blue could be lovely. And the lines are as close as we can get on CL. Done! On to the end tables... this could be harder.  I knew I wouldn't find a perfect match, but I set my sights on something with similar architectural, geometric qualities. Here's what I came up with:
They're asking $100 for the set. I'd probably see if they'd sell just the end tables for $50 (or less!). I think with some orange paint, they'd do the job! Next on the list is a glass and metal coffee table. I lalala-love this one:

I think this gorgeous table is worth every penny of the $128 (random, right?) that they are asking. Next is a rug. Something neutral and shag... like this:


Not a great picture, but $75 works for me. That leaves us with the finishing touches, the lamps and artwork. I had a feeling that whatever lamps I found would need some paint and/or new shades. Here are the winners:

These aren't nearly as shapely and whimsical as the Dream Room lamps, but for $30 + the cost of spray paint, I don't think they'd look half bad. Last, but not least, are the fabulous sunburst mirrors. These would most likely be the most challenging to replicate. After searching awhile, I came across these:

Not mirrors, but still kinda cool! And to find 2! But part of the appeal of the Dream Room is the perfect symmetry. So I kept looking and found these:

Perfect! And at $15 each, a screamin' deal. Throw pillows are not something I personally would shop for on CL. Too much work for something that shouldn't be too expensive brand new. I did a quick search online and found these lovelies:



And there, my friends, you have it. My Tobi Fairley inspired Room Replica for about $490. What do you think? Fun? Worth repeating? I'd love to hear your thoughts!