Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mod Kids' Chairs

It seems fabulous furniture design is not only for grown-ups, but for children too.  Last summer, I began looking for chairs to accompany Sophia's IKEA table that I picked up for $25.  I had such a good time looking for something fabulous, but knew I needed to stay within a very reasonable budget. Here are a few on my wish list....

My personal favorite at the ghost Louie chairs, however they are WAY OUT of budget. So, what we ended up with are these chairs below from IKEA. They are modern and fun stools that twist up and down. I am thinking of dipping the legs in a fun color, but for now they will do, and how can you beat the price, at $19.00 each? 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Built In Bookshelves Before & After: Ikea Hack Part 2

This past week I was busy wrapping up a few of our messiest projects to clear a little space for my parents, who came to visit for the weekend. For so long we lived so far away that short, spontaneous visits weren't exactly common, so how fun that a weekend trip is possible now!  As I mentioned in the first post here, Jady and I took a road trip to Ikea in Cincinnati to pick up some Billy bookshelves in the hopes of creating a wall of "built ins," using trim to create a custom look on a budget.

Here is the before photo of the seating area at one end of our kitchen.

After assembling all of our bookcases and the height extenders, we headed to Home Depot to pick up the wood for our trim.  We used 1" thick pine boards for most of the trim work with widths from 4" and 6" to cover the spaces between the bookcases, nailing them into the Ikea frames with our pneumatic finish nailer.  You can always do it without a nail gun, of course (the old fashioned way), but I loved how quickly this part of it flew by!

To support the Billy shelf extensions above the TV and the doorway, we installed a shelf into the wall studs using wooden corbels underneath.  At first I was wishing that we hadn't had to add extra support in order to keep it all looking streamlined, but I actually like the corbels and the extra interest they add to the overall effect.  In these next couple of photos you can see that on top of the 1" pine boards covering the spaces between the bookcases, we also nailed in some 1 1/2" wide decorative molding to break up the simple, smooth surfaces and to make it all a bit less informal.

This whole process was a constant exercise in problem solving, and one of the trickiest issues arose from the different height we knew we'd get from the wall-mounted extension units.  Those extra three inches threatened to make the whole thing look awful, so we had to decide how to deal with it.  Rather than sawing off the bottom three inches of each shelf, risking jagged edges and imperfect joints, we had wood cut down to just the right size to cover enough of all of the shelves at the top to level them visually.  Then, to create the impression that the wall mounted sections stopped at the same height, we installed extra shelves where the real top would have been.

Before attaching any shelves that would be covering light switches or outlets, we measured carefully and used our multi tool to cut out the corresponding sections of the bookcase backing.  Also, we drilled a large hole in the sides of two shelves in order to thread an extension cord through to the outlet and hide the cords.  Not exactly professional, but it totally works!

I love the end result and how much extra storage we gained in space that would otherwise never have been used.  Thanks to our new built ins, we unpacked countless boxes of books this week at last!



Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Survival

Hi all! I hope you are well this Monday morning. My family and I are holding up here in NYC and waiting out storm Sandy. I guess I didn't realize how serious this storm really is until I left church yesterday and saw the crazy lines spilling out the doors of so many grocery stores. I then realized we didn't have much in terms of food at home and knew I would have to jump in a line somewhere. 

Since it's not that practical to head to a cheese shop for hurricane supplies, I figured lines would be more normal at Bedford Cheese. H and I stopped in stocked up on chocolates, parmagiano, Nutella, fancy crackers, olives, plenty of salami, and coffee. I figured these are PERFECT snacks if the power goes out, no refrigeration needed.  I also made sure we had the proper drinking provisions, sparking water, vino, and prosecco. 

When you are facing a storm, it is, of course, best to be prepared. So, I began to cook up some staples that could easily be warmed on our gas stove. I prepared a Mexican roast and beans. Since bread was NO where to be found, I made rice and bought enough flour to make tortillas.  


Since I knew we had time on our hands I decided to make my favorite roast recipe, which takes a good 12 hours.  UNO, sautee green onion and cilantro with olive oil. When the the pot is nice and hot I add my seasoned roast. Season the roast with fresh ground pepper, sea salt, olive oil. DOS, add fresh chopped tomatoes to the mix and two cups of water. Lastly, I season the roast with soy sauce. 
TRES, cook on the lowest degree for 12 hours, or until the roast is tender and falling apart. 

Again, with time on my side I decided to make my favorite slow cooked beans. I took two bags of pinto beans, added 6 to 8 cups of water. I then left them on low from 4pm until 8am. I like to add two packets of chicken bullion and sea salt. When they are all cooked I will use half of the beans to make a spicy Mexican bean soup, perfect for a day like today. 

Stay warm, well feed, and safe!!!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Faking a Counter Depth Refrigerator

The refrigerator that came with this house is a great quality, newer model that we are thrilled not to have to replace.  The only trouble with it is that, like most refrigerators, it's full size means that it sticks out into the room several inches farther than the countertops.  In a perfect world we would have paid for a cut out to be built into the wall behind the refrigerator, allowing us to keep the full storage capacity of a normal sized refrigerator while getting the look of a built in or counter depth.  Alas, that wasn't an option, so we decided to see if we could make it at least *look* more like a built in...

See how far out a full depth refrigerator usually juts into the room?  

This is what we're going to try to pull off by framing in the upper cabinet, making it flush with the front of the refrigerator to give it an intentional look.  Let's hope it works!

Stay tuned for next week's reveal.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paper Goods

I have had a few emails asking who my paper resources are.  I love Paper Presentation, which is located in Manhattan and has a fabulous selection of paper goods. Paper Presentation sells fabulous paper bags with strips, chevron, and polka dots. They also sell wooden utensils with graphics printed on them. This is where I found the feathered forks for Sophia's birthday party. But, my most inquired source has been the gorgeous vintage looking paper goods from Belle & Boo.  They are beautifully illustrated paper goods that bring a sense of occasion and warmth to any party. This last week S turned 5.  Since we already had a party we kept the celebrating pretty simple, yet with a little touch from Belle & Boo, the festivities seemed a little more meaningful. 

Belle & Boo are based in the UK and have fabulous paper goods, children's clothing, and more. Check them out, and if you are in NYC you can find their goods at Paper Presentation. 

Happy Partying!!!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Super Easy Lamp Makeover

In trying to pull together our guest room a little before my parents arrive this weekend, I realized that none of our lamps really go with the colors in that room.  In fact, somehow we have ended up with several random light fixtures that don't fit in anywhere in the house, including this cheap blue and white bamboo one we've had forever.  I'm doing my best to work with what we've got as much as possible, so I wanted to see if we could make this guy fit in the guest room after a quick makeover.  

Since the carpet in that room is cream and navy, I decided to go with a dark blue paint for the lamp to tie the space together a little more.  I picked up a can of spray primer and a can of navy spray paint on one of my daily runs to Home Depot and then carefully taped off the areas of the lamp I did not want to spray.

I gave it two coats of the blue paint to ensure even coverage, and the whole project was finished in just a few hours!  For six dollars, not a bad deal, and it gives you the flexibility to spray paint it again later to use in another room.



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jonathan Hansen Designs

Remember Liza's interview with Jonathan Hansen last spring?  He mentioned he was designing for Aerin Lauder's new home line, and last week we had a peek at Elle's November issue.  Here are some of the beautiful golden pieces you will soon find in stores.

via  Elle Decor

Each piece is nothing short of exquisite and uniquely designed. Fabulous work! 
You will be able to purchase these pieces at Bergdorf GoodmanNeiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Room: DIY Headboard

This weekend my parents are coming to visit us, and we are really looking forward to showing them around Louisville, the church where Jady works, and our adorable new neighborhood.  As always, whenever an event with guests approaches, I find it's the perfect motivation for wrapping up a few projects around the house in preparation.  This week will be busy as I try to cram in as much painting, sawing, gluing and nailing as possible before it's time to put the power tools away and welcome our guests.

Before my parents arrive, I really wanted the guest room to have a headboard to help make it feel a bit more finished.  The wall color and carpet are both pretty neutral in there, so an upholstered headboard gave me the perfect easy way to add a little color. This bedroom kept popping into my mind as inspiration.

Rather than buying an upholstered headboard, I decided just to make our own this time around, saving us money and giving me an excuse to use my new pneumatic staple gun.  Since I'm pressed for time this week, I decided to go with a simple rectangular shape rather than cutting out a more ornate curvy look.  With a homemade headboard like this, you can always go back and cut a new shape into your plywood.  

At Home Depot I had them cut a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood for me to a 3' x 5' panel.  I also picked up two 1 1/2" wide braces for the sides of the headboard and one 1/2" x 1/2" hardwood post, which I cut down to make two 18" legs for support.  Straight metal brackets and plenty of screws hold it all together.  

Next I cut down 2" foam (which is sold at most craft stores) to fit the shape of my headboard, piecing together the bottom sections using some extra foam I had leftover from another project.  I wasn't worried about the lower third looking lumpy, since that part will be covered by the mattress and out of sight anyway.  I used spray adhesive to secure the foam to the plywood and was ready to start stapling.

The first layer on top of the foam should be batting, which provides a smooth, cushiony base for your fabric.  

 After the batting was secure, I began stapling my fabric (which I found on sale here) into the back of the plywood, checking periodically to ensure that the pattern remained straight and that the fabric wasn't buckling anywhere.  With a rectangular headboard it's very straightforward, so the whole thing took hardly any time at all to make.  An instant makeover!

Happy Monday!


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