December 17, 2012

Ikea Holiday Fabrics

I am really loving the holiday fabric collection at Ikea this year. I think this faux wood print could be really interesting for upholstery. 
There are so many fun things you could do with this life-size tree print (and I'm sure they are all ready all over the blogosphere). Since there's no room for a tree in my postage stamp apartment, I would stretch it over a wood frame and add a few ornaments. Maybe even add some lights?

 I might have to make an Ikea run this weekend to stock up!

December 14, 2012

Project Philly: How to Hardwire a Chandelier

The prospect of undertaking any sort of electrical project can be a scary thought, but switching out a dated light fixture is a lot easier than you might think. And it is SO satisfying to go from:

The new light fixture is West Elm's Staggered Chandelier (the large version doesn't appear to be for sale online anymore). Originally $400, it was on clearance in the Center City store for $160. Score! 

First, cut off the power! Then remove your old light fixture and twist off the plastic wire connectors. You should be left with a few wires hanging from the ceiling. 

The black wire is usually hot and the white wire is usually neutral, but if your wires look different you can use a circuit tester. The grounding wire should be attached to a grounding screw in the center of the electrical box.

Our chandelier came with a bracket that screwed into the existing electrical box. This in was actually the most difficult part of the process. Thankfully, I was behind the camera instead of in the trenches :)

The light fixture will come with wires that correspond with the wires in the ceiling. In our case, the wires were labeled "L" for live (or hot) and "N" for neutral. It will also come with a separate grounding wire. 

Attaching the grounding wire.
Now you're ready to install! Twist the two hot wires together and screw the plastic cap back on. Do the same for the neutral and ground wires.

Tuck the excess wire into the electrical box and screw the light fixture onto its bracket.

December 12, 2012

What is your Christmas Décor Philosophy?

What is your Christmas decorating philosophy? I think Christmas is the time to surround yourself with things that make you happy and not to worry about trends. Growing up, my parent's home was filled with antique decorations from my grandparents (some classy, some tacky) and children's handmade ornaments. I can't wait to go home and revisit simpler times :)

One issue that can be quite polarizing is the question of colored versus white lights. Personally, I am firmly in the big colored lights camp. Throw a few twinkle bulbs or bubble lights in the string – even better.  I wish every Christmas tree looked like this couple. 

Haley Sheffield
I am seriously considering hoarding incandescent Christmas lights in case they cease to exist.

I love kitchy silver, pink, and gold aluminum trees – especially for apartment dwellers. Nothing beats the smell of a live tree in your home, but if you have to go artificial, I say embrace the fake. 

All images via my Pinterest

November 30, 2012

Frédérique Morrel

How beautiful are these pieces by French artist Frédérique Morrel. She used her Grandmother’s needlepoints to create them, which makes her work even more special. They’re currently available at Formes de Utopie, who writes:

French designer Frédérique Morrel who, with husband Aaron Levin, has created beautiful animal sculptures and pieces of furniture by recycling vintage tapestries. Troubled by the fact that her grandmother’s needlework was discarded when she passed away, Frederique Morrel has since been obsessed with the idea of making them come back to life and re-injecting value into these lost artifacts.

More images are available at Frédérique's website here. Enjoy!

November 29, 2012

5 Tips for Stress-Free Painting

The dining room is painted! We used Sherwin Williams Warm Stone above the chair rail and Sherwin Williams Simple White below the chair rail and for the trim. This isn't the best photo, but it's probably the truest picture of the color I have - it's somewhere between grey and brown with green undertones.

I know some people enjoy the process of painting, but I am not one of them. Maybe it’s because I read too many blogs, but I just want to fast forward to the “after.” If you share my aversion to painting, here are a few tips that will hopefully make the process as painless as possible. 

5. Painters tape doesn’t always do the trick. When you’re using dark paint against a white molding, the edge is very notiecable. You will get a better result with some patience and a steady hand than with painters tape. We also used one of these edgers with pretty good results. The only catch is that you have to wipe the guides after every paint refill. If you cut-in really well on the first coat, you can do the second coat a lot quicker. 

4. Here’s a tip from Liz (which she graciously models above ;) – turn your pants inside out! Don’t want any drips on those Lululemon….err Old Navy… yoga pants. 

3. Put test swatches on each wall in the room and wait to see how the color looks at different times of the day. You’d be surprised how one color can look like a cool grey in the morning and then turn completely purple in the evening.

2. Buy expensive brushes, especially if you are using a glossy paint. You’ll get much better coverage and save time and paint.

1. Buy now, paint later! Shopping at a Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore store is so much more pleasant than schlepping to Home Depot, and not necessarily more costly! Sign up for their mailing lists and wait for coupons. For example, Sherwin Williams sends 30% off coupons a few times a year. If you know you’re going to paint in the next few months, use these opportunities to stock up on un-tinted paint. You can bring it back to the store at any time to have it tinted (no charge) once you pick a color. You will also have access to the store’s color specialists, who will come to your home and help you decide between “Marshmallow” and “Steamed Milk”.  

November 20, 2012

Project Philly: The Dining Room

Meet the fam. This is my sister and brother-in-law, Liz & Walter, and their two kiddos. 

All smiles... I'll have to check back in after the third coat of trim painting ;)
With two kids under three, Liz doesn't have much time to think about decorating, so I graciously volunteered to spend their money on her behalf. Since I will be giving regular updates on their home, I'll refer to this series as Project Philly.

Liz and I have slightly different tastes. She favors earth tones and the cottage look, whereas I tend to use more bright colors and modern pieces in my own home. When we work together, I think our two styles blend together nicely.

My first task is the dining room. Here's the current state of the room:

I don't have a true "before" shot, but the only pieces we started with were the china cabinet from my grandmother and the sisal rug from Pottery Barn. I picked up the chairs from Craigslist for pennies, and the table is from World Market.

Here is what I have in mind:

We're hoping to tackle some of this while I'm in town this week. Nothing says vacation like busting out the paint rollers :)

November 16, 2012

Under $100: Accent Tables

Today is my last day at work for a whole week. Wahoo! On days leading up to a big break, my productivity always seems to dip and my online shopping seems to spike. C'est la vie. Lately, I've been looking for a new end table for my living room. Here are some of the styles I'm contemplating. 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16

Happy Friday!

November 15, 2012

A Public Service Announcement

With Thanksgiving only a week away, I'd like to offer a warning against some little devils who will wreak havoc on your home. They may look cute, but don't be fooled.

Leave a miniature pumpkin sitting on antique furniture too long, and it will eat away the finish and stain right through the wood. The pumpkin may have won this round, but you can expect a spot refinishing post in my future.

so sad

November 13, 2012

Crafty Bastards

A few good friends from Penn State came to DC for a visit this weekend. On Saturday, we stopped by the Crafty Bastards arts and crafts festival. It was packed! You'll have to excuse my terrible iPhone photos, because there was absolutely no room to snap a pic without getting bulldozed. Here we are, enjoying a moment of global warming. 

It was like an Etsy explosion up in there. I was excited to see so many unique artists in one place, but we did notice a few trends that kept popping up. Not surprisingly, crafters are a cat-loving bunch. Monsters are everywhere! There were cute ones, ugly ones, fuzzy ones, and funny ones. The taxidermy trend has take on a more kid friendly approach, and bike paraphernalia was in no short supply.

Clockwise: Fancy Seeing You Here // Leroy's Place // Cherrybox Studio // Hero and Sound

One of my favorite vendors was Letterpress Collective, which included the work of Grey Moggie Press, Fancy Seeing You Here, and Lennah Press.  I could see their prints in an office, offering some words of inspiration.

all great points.

Jay McCarrol, winner of Project Runway season one, offered a variety of apparel and accessories. My favorite piece was a little splattered painted skirt. For the sake of the blog, I got over myself and asked him to pose for a picture. 

I spy Rachel :)
I was particularly excited for the Salt & Sundry, a beautifully curated collection of homegoods from DC food blogger Amanda McClements.

Here are a few more favorites...

Clockwise: Fritz and Faulein // In the Seam // Horrible Adorables
Left: Fritz and Fraulein Right: Home Sweet
This year, the event was held at Union Market, which opened this fall just a few blocks from the New York Ave metro stop. The new building is beautiful and is home to a number of local artisan retailers. Anchoring the space is this gorgeous light fixture made from crushed water bottles and copper piping.

Dan Steinhilber
Did you make it to Crafty Bastards? Who were your favorites?

November 8, 2012

Bachelorette Beach Pad

My good friend Donna recently moved into a fantastic apartment in Fort Lauderdale. This is her first place of her own, so she has a blank slate to work with. The wintery mix falling outside my window has me dreaming of the sun and the sand. MLK weekend 2013 perhaps? Doesn't this scene look more fun than shivering in the cold! 

I love bright colors and the 60's beach party genre, and Donna's Fort Lauderdale bachelorette pad is the perfect place to incorporate these elements. Really anything would look fabulous against this backdrop.

In fantasy land, this is how I'd decorate Donna's apartment. The banana leaf fabrics, cabana stripes, and oversized beach print give that Florida vibe that I'm going for. Donna also has a glam side that I wanted to incorporate through the white nailhead sofa, gilded coffee table, and tassel lamp. Real life will involve more Craigslist and fewer tables that cost as much as my rent...but the inspiration remains the same.
Cabana Stripe Curtains // Ballard Designs Sofa // Ethan Allen Coffee Table // Rustic End Table // Garden Stool // Beach Scene Canvas  // Yellow Linen Pillows // Tassel Lamp // Cowhide Rug // Banana Leaf Chairs

Here are a few images from Veronica Beard's Hampton home, which has the beach-house-glam look down to a tee.

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