31 January 2017

Master Bedroom | Masculine Mid Century Boho

          I have been working on the master bedroom, and I'm finally organized enough to share the plan and the progress! This has been a slow process. I'm taking my time in here, careful to get the ideas straight in my head, to reflect exactly how I want this room to feel - embracing slow design. With so much beauty and inspiration out there, sometimes what I love doesn't work in this house, (thanks to the off-white trim) and I adjust accordingly. So, after more than two years of pinning and thinking (see my inspiration pics here), I pulled the trigger and bought some paint.

master bedroom, decorating, design, boho, mid century

          This room sits on the corner of the house and has windows on two sides, the north and west. With plenty of sunlight throughout the day, I feel good about going dark for a cozy room that doesn't feel like a depressing cave. Here are a few "before" pics. 

          Over the years, we tried the bed on both walls and settled on the wall with two windows. I am a fan of symmetry, and it drove me batty to have a window on one side of the bed, and a blank wall on the other side. But place the bed between two windows, and it feels balanced.

          The lucite ball lamps were retired, and the old Pottery Barn metal bed went into storage. We bought that bed in 2005! I've had my eye on a beautiful headboard at West Elm, but I can't justify $900+ for a headboard. I'm not Warren Buffett for crying out loud, so I made my own simple wooden headboard. I'll show you how I made mine soon. I love the rich, warm woodgrain against the gray walls. It also coordinates nicely with the sweet old dresser I fixed up.

          I went with a medium gray on the walls - this is Benjamin Moore Chelsea Grey. I used the same color in the powder room, and I love it in there. But the lighting is different in the bedroom, and sometimes it takes on an army green tone, so I may repaint at some point. So much for beauty of slow design. On the bright side, Jason loves it, and it's better than builder beige! 

          So that's the plan! The difficult things are done; room is painted, the headboard is in place, and the brass & glass globe pendant lights are hung. Below, Jasper is demonstrating his ability to relax regardless of camera proximity. (in the pic below, the headboard was leaning in place, not yet attached.)

          I am still finding and layering the bedding, and most of the furniture is there. The vintage Bassett dresser is my favorite piece so far. I'm patiently looking for the perfect pair of night stands, and a Persian rug. I have a set of four mid century legs that will be used to build a bench for the foot of the bed. It's coming together, but I have a handful of projects to tackle before it is done.

Vintage Bassett dresser makeover

          It feels great to walk into this room that finally feels like our style. More to come next week!
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25 January 2017

Powder Room Redesign | Week Four Final Design

          It's the final week of the $100 Room Challenge! A group of talented bloggers, led by Erin at Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry, came together for a four week challenge to makeover a room with only $100. A challenge to spend a minimal amount of money and use what you have on hand to create something beautiful is my idea of a worthwhile project.

          My room looked like this when we started, just a blank canvas ready for some personality. 

          My design board showed texture from wall baskets, color in the framed art and flowers, and a warm gray wall color. 

          The chair functions only as a small decorative element for that slanted wall, and a place to set your iPhone when you piddle, not that I know from experience. I tried many cabinets in all sizes and shapes, and each one made the room feel cluttered and small. The chair was just a happy mistake. I brought it home from Goodwill at the time I was working on this room. It sat in the mudroom just outside the bathroom, and the wood just looked so pretty against the wall color, and it worked so well with the baskets. So there it stayed. And the Hank Williams print is staying there too; I just like it!

          This room feels so warm and pulled together. My daughter was looking at "before" pictures with me this morning, and she cringed at pictures of the old room. It had no personality. Even when it was clean and perfectly in order, it felt cold and clinical. So we are all happy to have a finished powder room!


          The total spent on this project came in under $100!
  • $30 - light fixture over sink 
  • $5 - old wooden chair 
  • $6 - Hank Williams print
  • $2 - thrifted baskets 
  • the paint was leftover from the master bedroom, another ongoing project 
  • the frames, majority of the baskets, turquoise rug, and the vase & flowers were already owned
  • the mirror came free with this dresser (score!)

          Go visit the other rooms below! There are some real beauties, and so much inspiration for refreshing a room without blasting through your budget. Thank you Erin for organizing this challenge!

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18 January 2017

Powder Room Redesign | Week 3

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience, but this does not cost you a penny.  I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from that link. This in no way affects my opinions or the products I use. See my full disclosure policy here       

          We' re almost to the finish line with our $100 four week room makeover challenge! This week I'm focusing on the art, mirror, and the new light.

          The oversized mirror might be my favorite part of this room. It is so much larger than the original oval mirror, and what a difference that extra reflection makes in this small room. I mentioned last week that it came free with a mid century dresser I found at Goodwill. As I was driving away, the employee who helped me load the dresser in my car, stopped me and ran back in to grab it for me. I'm so glad he remembered it. Even though I never intended to use it with the dresser, I knew it would find a home somewhere.

          Because it is so heavy, we used a French Cleat to hang it, securing one part into two studs in the wall and the other part to the wood frame. The two parts fit together for a perfectly level and securely-hung mirror. This is my favorite method of hanging very heavy objects, and I recently used a French Cleat to hang the new head board in the master bedroom. I will include more about how it works in my upcoming post about the headboard.

          The new light is a huge improvement from the tiny amber light we replaced, but still not permanent. The swirly shadows cast by this fixture are distracting, and it doesn't hang quite as low as I would like. We will eventually move this fixture to the mudroom when I find something better for this room, but it makes a huge difference in here in brightness and style.

          In addition to the framed floral fabric, (which ironed quite nicely!) I framed a print from a show I attended in Cincinnati, at the historic Herzog Studio. They were selling this print with an audio download, and other original prints by local artists. It sits on this chair for now, but next week it will be on the wall.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

          With just a few remaining touches, this room will be done! I am so impressed with the other rooms in this challenge. Hop over to see what the other folks in this challenge are up to. There are some talented people out there who show that you can make a big impact without spending a lot of money. 

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11 January 2017

Powder Room Redesign | Week 2

          I'm just popping in with a quick update for week two. This little room is really coming together!

          The bathroom was painted a few weeks ago, before I knew for certain I would join this challenge. It took me the length of two Marc Maron podcasts to paint, so three hours, start to finish? Maybe less. I lose track of time when I paint and listen to something interesting. The kids are in school, I have a task and a free day to complete it. Before I know it, the room is painted.

          Speaking of podcasts, I recently discovered The Great Albums, which has me forever wearing earbuds; I listen while I clean, while I paint, while I buy groceries. Each week they take an album and dissect it, one song at a time. And not recent albums; they dive into Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, The National, The Pixies, Pearl Jam. I devour this like my kids devour high fructose corn syrup. The hosts keep it positive, maybe a bit pretentious, but only discuss their favorite albums. I sink deep into the conversation about my favorite songs, learning more about the musicianship, listening as they examine the minute details of what makes it great.

          Back to the project! With the walls painted, the room feels completely different and I can barely wipe the grin off my face every time I walk in there. I am consistently wowed by the difference a fresh coat of paint can make. It may look completely decorated, but it really isn't. I played around with an arrangement of baskets on the walls, and hung the new mirror and art above the toilet. The colorful "art" is fabric that has since been ironed.

          I did not prepare myself for the challenge of photographing this tiny, dark room that has no natural light. That will be my greatest obstacle. These pics are just a couple of quick shots taken with my iPhone with quick edits and a blurry watermark in Lightroom. I do look forward to playing around with my camera and tripod, and figuring this situation out...wearing my earbuds, no doubt.

         The total spent so far:
  • $30 - light fixture over sink (not pictured yet) 
  • $5 - old wooden chair 
  • $6 - other art (not pictured)
  • $2 - thrifted baskets 
  • the paint was leftover from the master bedroom, another ongoing project 
  • the frames, majority of the baskets, turquoise rug, and the vase & flowers were already owned
  • the mirror came free with this dresser (score!) 

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09 January 2017

Midcentury Dresser in Walnut and White

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience, but this does not cost you a penny.  I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from that link. This in no way affects my opinions or the products I use. See my full disclosure policy here

          This dresser marks my first furniture project of the year, and provides a peek at the direction I'm headed in the master bedroom.

vintage, bassett, makeover, dresser, danish oil, annie sloan, chalk paint, mid century

          This is what the dresser looked like when I brought it home from Goodwill. The hardware looks so wrong, completely out of place.

           I was initially confused by the hardware, because the lines of the dresser clash with the ubiquitous 80's brass pulls. Regardless, for $30 I snapped it up when I saw the familiar Bassett stamp inside. Removing the brass pulls revealed the original factory-drilled hardware holes; two vertical holes about an inch and a half apart. Vertical holes - that is, like, Demogorgon strange.

          This is when I go down a rabbit hole of research and vintage furniture geekdom. I had never seen vertically attached hardware, and no amount of lazy research brought up an image of hardware that would be mounted vertically. I stopped being lazy, moved the dresser, and peeked at the hand-written code on the back, read "Sculptique" which led to an image of this dresser with the original hardware, but I was underwhelmed. Maybe for the first time, I didn't love the original hardware. They are better than the colonial-style replacements, but definitely not my favorite. Still, mystery solved.

          Aside from slight damage to the top, the wood was in amazing condition. I labored over the decision to paint the frame, but I don't regret it. If I change my mind and decide to go back to full stain, it isn't a huge undertaking to strip & sand the frame.

vintage, bassett, makeover, dresser, danish oil, annie sloan, chalk paint, mid century

          For new hardware, I chose a simple concave knob, similar to this satin nickel knob. I looked everywhere for a simple brass knob, but they were either too expensive or the wrong size. When I found these, I had every intention of changing the finish to brass, but once attached, I actually liked the cool metal. That never happens; I'm a brass girl! Once the bedroom comes together, there will be a fair amount of brass and warm metals, so I will probably update these pulls with Rub N Buff. Stay tuned. This is exciting stuff.

          The white paint is Annie Sloan in Old White, sealed with Clear Wax. The drawers and top were given a coat of Danish Oil in Dark Walnut, and that's it! There is no sealer required with Danish Oil. I rub it on with an old sock. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I almost left it bare because I was hypnotized by the natural wood. Our new headboard is a dark walnut though, and the bare wood looked odd with the headboard. I appreciate a mix & match approach to decorating a room, but this didn't mix or match. It looked completely disjointed.

          The most intense part of this project was filling the old hardware holes - four per drawer. I use stainable wood filler to fill the holes, sanding smooth once it dried completely, and applied the Danish Oil right over the sanded wood filler.

vintage, bassett, makeover, dresser, danish oil, annie sloan, chalk paint, mid century

          The art is a beautiful menu saved from a favorite Minneapolis restaurant, Chino Latino. I have another menu with a different image, and that one will eventually be framed too. The smaller black and white is a side-by-side of my Dad, who probably owned something similar to this dresser in the 1960's. I like to think so.

vintage, bassett, makeover, dresser, danish oil, annie sloan, chalk paint, mid century

vintage, bassett, makeover, dresser, danish oil, annie sloan, chalk paint, mid century

          I'll have more to share from the master bedroom soon. I'm putting a design board together now, and that is a challenge!

          In the meantime, take a look at what my talented furniture friends are up to. We will be linking our projects on the first Tuesday of each month. This serves a couple of purposes - it keeps me focused on finishing my projects, and I stay in touch with some of my favorite creative people! You enjoy the benefit of seeing what these ladies are up to each month.

1. Refreshed Desk Using CeCe Caldwell Paint from On Fern Avenue
2. Midcentury Dresser in Walnut and White from 58 Water Street
3. Vintage White Furniture Co. Nightstands from That Sweet Tea Life 
4. Rescued Relic To Elegant Eggplant Buffet from Whimsy and Wood
5. Using Stain To Tone Wood from J Burns Design
6. Weathered Gray Painted Jewelry Chest from Just The Woods
7. Natural Furniture Distressing Technique from Thirty Eighth Street

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04 January 2017

Powder Room Redesign For Under $100

          I am pretty excited about this $100 Room Challenge. I have a small room that needs some love, and I can definitely do this for under $100. In fact, I appreciate placing some spending parameters around this project, because there is no reason to spend more than $100. I am committed to spending less and using what I have.
          But first, I'm sending a great big thanks to Erin at Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry for coming up with this idea and inviting us join her. Now that I'm in, I look forward to finally tackling this room. Thanks for the challenge, Erin!

          Jumping in...the powder room on the main level of our home hasn't been touched since we moved in. It is remarkably bland, perfectly beige, from floor to ceiling, with a plain black mirror and a small pendant, an awkward pedestal sink, and one slanted wall. I hung temporary wall art in an effort to buy time until I devised a plan, but otherwise, nothing.

          My Design: 
Thrifty, decor, design, decorate,

  • Wall color - full disclosure, this step is already done but I haven't taken the pictures yet. 
  • New mirror
  • New pendant light
  • Wall art
  • Small area rug
  • Decor/bathroom accessories
          Over the next four weeks I will work on this bland little room, with updates coming every Wednesday. I would love for you to follow along, and check in on my fellow $100 Room Challengers too. Their weekly progress links can be found below!
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03 January 2017

New Year in a New Detroit

          I have so much optimism for this new year. There is a chance I'm overly optimistic, but if our New Year's Eve celebration serves as an indication, 2017 will be pretty exciting. And hey, what could possibly go wrong in the coming year? *buries head in sand*

El Moore lodge, Cass Corridor, Detroit, historic building, preservation, city view
          I decided to relax a little and share my travel adventures on the blog. This requires some background information because my travel centers around my love of live music, interesting Airbnb accommodations (or sometimes sleeping in a tent on the street, which is a story for another post), and a small eclectic group of live music fans. We live in all parts across the US and other countries, and meet up periodically in line for an event, then again in the front row, and yet again for brunch to plan the next adventure. This is such a fun, smart group of folks who have pretty excellent taste is music, in my humble opinion. I'm fortunate that my sweet friend and music & travel counterpart lives in my town, and shares my need to seek out these adventures. It was our love of music and exploration of great cities that allowed our paths to cross. Our husbands and beloved kids have our attention 95% of the time, and they appreciate our need to explore and live our own adventures, and add color and sound to the remaining 5%.

Majestic, Detroit, Woodward Avenue,

          One of the best things about living in SW Ohio is the central location, which makes travel so convenient. In five hours, we're in Nashville, Detroit is a three hour drive, and it's eight hours to see my family in Upstate NY. I plan a trip every couple of months, whenever I am tempted by a concert, small show, or just to bust out of Ohio for the weekend. Over the summer my family drove to Florida by way of Nashville, then I drove to Atlanta for a conference, before returning to Ohio, all the while blasting music and catching up on podcasts. Tied with painting and creating, a road trip is the best way to clear the mind.

          In November we decided to catch a New Year's Eve show at The Magic Stick in Detroit, where a couple of great bands were hosting a small reunion of sorts.

          With tickets purchased, I found an interesting place to stay on Airbnb, and I didn't know it at the time, but this place is an absolute gem. As a side note, we spend no time at whatever place we reserve and quite literally need a place to land, and rest our bodies before morning, so finding an expensive and fancy establishment isn't our speed. I discovered the El Moore Lodge, and the prices were exactly what we needed; $35 per person, per night. We shared a room with twin bunk beds built into the wall, so if you require more space or plan to spend more time in your room, there are other options for a higher cost. They offer everything from our simple accommodations to full time luxury apartments, and everything in between. Their commitment to sustainability, history, and community make me want to give them all of the money.  Take my money and go and do more great things!

El Moore lodge, Cass Corridor, Detroit, historic building, preservation

          Some thoughts about Detroit; this city is undergoing a beautiful renaissance. I can't explain why I'm drawn there, and much of my interest in travel comes from the gut; I either love a city or I just don't care to return, and it falls off my radar. Well, I love Detroit. I love a good rich history, and Detroit had riches, and beautiful buildings, and all of the history. The highs are legendary in terms of big American cities, and the lows are still difficult to comprehend. How does it happen to such a monumentally important place? Is it possible to bring it back? We have stayed in Detroit four times now, and each time feels more hopeful with evidence of visible change and improvement. The people who pour their hearts and their lives into reclaiming and reshaping the city are the best part. The tour guide at the Guardian Building, the docent at the Masonic, the manager/developer of the El Moore; they all have genuine love and passion for Detroit and they have the desire and energy to bring it back. These folks light up when they share their passion with us, and it makes my heart so happy. I delight in hearing about the "anonymous donors" who come from Detroit, who donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve buildings that would otherwise be demolished to make room for condos or whatever bland thing that might fit in that vacant lot and perhaps make money for the developer.

El Moore lodge, Cass Corridor, Detroit, historic building, preservation
           This gorgeous building had been vacant for 20 years when it was rescued from decay and likely demolition, and now stands in the prime location of a "new/old" neighborhood in Midtown, a.k.a the Cass Corridor. Renaming of historic neighborhoods is a touchy topic here. The old district is often renamed in order to disassociate itself from the former name and known negative reputation. Regardless of the neighborhood identity, you can not deny the beauty of these buildings and their history. Please, for the love, do not tear the beautiful buildings down. From the El Moore, we walked two blocks in search of our New Years champagne, two blocks for our fix of vinyl at Third Man Records, and two blocks to the show at The Magic Stick. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Midtown, and as a vegetarian, that isn't always easy to find quality options, but I had no problem.

          I will spare you the poorly lit selfies and pictures of the show, but trust me when I say it was a memorable way to say goodbye to a year full of stink and sadness. Just a quick road trip and reunion with friends in a neat old city; a live show with a midnight countdown by the Dirtbombs and a crazy set by the Soledad Brothers. Good things await us in 2017, I can feel it! 

          ***I will be back tomorrow with the regularly scheduled decorating projects. There is a powder room in desperate need of my attention. 
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