Kitchen Living Room

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blind Cleaning

Blinds get really, really dirty.

And I haven't bothered to clean any of mine at the condo since I moved in. It's just not something I think about. That and cleaning the floors. I clean the kitchen and the bathroom, but blinds and floors? I just don't do it that often.

In an attempt to remedy my lack of blind-cleaning, I bought a gadget from the Container Store. It's a mini blind cleaner. I have to tell you, I do not usually buy gadgets. I don't like to spend money on useless stuff, and I don't like clutter. But I got this anyway.

Was it worth it? Well, not really. It was only a few dollars, but it gets dirty really fast, which I think is a pain. I couldn't even clean an entire window's worth of blinds without it becoming unusably (is that a word?) dirty.

It's still pretty cool though. And it least I tried.

Maybe I'll try again later? Yea...right.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Five Year Old Curtains

The new rental is starting to come together. This week we put up an old Target (from the Global Home line - they don't make it anymore) curtain from my dorm at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. (I was there for a summer for a research program.) Here's the bare window (can you tell it's a rental house?):

And now the window with the curtain:

It looks so much more homey in there now that the window has a curtain. The curtain is cream colored with gold accents. It's sorta hard to tell in the picture due to the lighting. Also, the design on the bedspread matches the curtain's design. It has a Moroccan inspired feel to it.

I really love the blue/green color scheme that just happened by accident. The green pillow and green-topped piano bench look great with my boyfriend's Anthropologie comforter on the bed.

Eventually I want to squish the bed over away from the window a bit so I can fit another nightstand in there. Not having a nightstand is a drag!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Piano Bench Makeover

A few Christmases ago, my boyfriend was given this electric keyboard and piano bench:

It's a dark picture, but you can see them, right? That's in our old rental house. Do you want to know something creepy? The piano bench used to look like this:

Now what I want to know is, how can anyone in good conscience make a piece of furniture this ugly? I almost considered it a lost cause. Instead of giving up, I decided to make it more functional and change its form a bit with some black paint and a bit of fabric.

First I knew I wanted it to hold sheet music, so I removed the top and added a bottom and two hinges to create a little storage space.

Next I painted the wooden base with black paint. And finally, I added some batting and this fabric I found on Etsy by Lizzy House. The pattern is from the Castle Peeps collection and it's called Castle Dots in green. I purchased the fabric from uberstitch, but you can find Lizzy's fabric all over Etsy with a search. Also, most sellers on Etsy will sell you just the amount of fabric you need cut off the bolt, so be sure to contact them to see if they'll do a custom listing for you.

Here's the top of the bench after it was all finished:

And now you can see those black legs:

And here it is with its new storage compartment:

Now the bench looks a lot less...naked? And it's way more functional. Awesome.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sewing Desk Makeover - Round Two!

Remember how the sewing desk went from this...

To this?

Well, it has had another transformation! Last summer with the gray paint chipping a bit (I didn't coat it in clear coat or anything) we decided to do some tweaking to the design and then sand it down and refinish it with wood stain. Notice how the desk opens up (presumably to let out the sewing machine, but the sewing machine is long gone)? Well, we removed the top two pieces that opened up, then we removed the board below that, and then we reattached the top two "opening" pieces. Except we made it so that they won't open up anymore. The effect is that now the desktop is at a more reasonable height to sit at. 

You can see what I mean in the picture below:

Now there's only one layer of desktop. Here's a closeup of the little drawer, which I left painted Cornbread yellow:

I used a Miniwax stain with a built-in poly coating so that I only had to use one product instead of two. 

Here's the top of the desk from above:

And inside the drawer (I didn't cut the bolt, whoops):

The most difficult part of this project was definitely sanding in the little nooks and crannies of the desk to make sure that the gray paint and the leftover finish from the desk's past life were removed so that they new stain would sink in. Another thing you might want to keep in mind if you're tackling a refinishing project is that it takes a loooong time for the stain/poly coating to dry to the point where it does not smell anymore. I recommend leaving the furniture outside for as long as possible.

Now we're finally getting some use out of this guy (it has been in storage) at my boyfriend's new apartment.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Prehistoric Creatures!

Have you ever heard of a giant ground sloth?

I hadn't either until I become obsessed with prehistoric animals when I was senior in college. I even have a book all about them. (I'll show you that some other time.) Imagine my excitement when I ran into this guy on my run yesterday:

I run in an area with marshes on one side and a river on the other. He was very muddy and had a good coating of leaves and dirt on his shell. It was a very warm day for February, so I'm guessing he was sunning himself on the concrete. I spoke very nicely to him while I was taking his picture, but I think he was still scared because he hid a little bit. I think he's a tortoise because his front legs aren't like paddles, or fins. He's a reptile for sure, and he certainly looks prehistoric!

Sooooo cool. I love reptiles because it's so easy to imagine what dinosaurs were like while in their presence.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Lamp & Home Goods

Last week I continued to light up the living room with a new lamp from Home Goods. I can't actually link to the product because Home Goods doesn't do online shopping (e-commerce). 

Although you can't shop Home Goods online, you can check out their Customer Finds website where Home Goods shoppers post pictures of things they find in the stores. Sometimes the pictures are from inside the store and sometimes people post items styled in their homes. 

One day I was idly browsing the Wall Decor category when I saw a giant white pocket watch clock. I was like...Yes. This is amazing. So I looked to see where the poster was located: Texas. I didn't think it would be possible that my Home Goods, so far from Texas, would have the same clock (Home Goods stores carry a variety of items and every store is different since they stock overstock from other retail stores), but I decided to head out and give it a try.

And what do you know, the clock was there! At the first Home Goods I went to! And, it had a scratch, so I asked for an as-is price and the cashier gave me 10% off. So now I am the owner of a giant white pocket watch wall clock. And somewhere, in Texas, another Home Goods shopper has the same clock! Weird.

I love the Alice in Wonderland look it gives my bedroom.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sewing Desk Makeover

Around this time last year, I was busy scouring the vintage shops in town to find a little desk to makeover for my boyfriend. He was out of town and I wanted to finish it before he got back. I am pretty slow with finishing most projects, so I knew it would be a challenge. 

At the third or fourth store I went to, I found the perfect sized desk. I saw that it had a split in the top where it could open up, so I instantly identified it as an old sewing cabinet. Here it is sitting in the store:

I know the owner of the store I was visiting, so we talked about the "desk" for a minute. She agreed that she would remove the old sewing machine inside and give me a discount. I bought it for under $30. Here it is sitting in its new home (the old house):

I opened up the top to see what I had to work with, and I promptly decided that the top should be left closed.

If you're really extra super observant, you'll notice that the yellow chair below is now painted coral/salmon and is hanging out in the new condo. 

My first stop was Home Depot for a few $3 paint samples. I grabbed Martha Stewart's Sharkey Gray and Cornbread Yellow.  

And of course (no surprise here) I visited Anthropologie where I picked up a beautiful knob! (I couldn't find it on the website because that was nearly a year ago.) Next, I brought the solid wood "desk" outside (that thing is heavy) and set it out on the patio to be painted. 

My first task was to true everything up with a screwdriver because the desk was a bit lopsided. Then I painted the entire desk Sharkey Gray and the little drawer Cornbread. Then I affixed the knob. Under $40 later and here's the new desk, happily drying out on the patio:

I think my boyfriend was surprised when he drove up. Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Found 'Em!

I couldn't find my super awesome wonderful perfect couch pillows online when I first posted about them here (scroll to the very bottom). My mom got them for me at Target when she first visited my house. Hoowwwwever, I finally found them online so that you can purchase them for yourself. They aren't available to order online, but you can locate them in a Target store near you by using the Find In Store button.

They're the Home Decorative Felt Texture Toss Pillow in Gray. And here they are on the couch:


Monday, February 20, 2012

Boyfriend's Apartment

This past weekend I helped my boyfriend move into his new apartment. We used a lot of our old furniture from our old rental back when we lived together. I also brought him some things from our condo because I don't use everything since I'm usually by myself.

I made a mood board of sorts that contains all of the different rooms in one. The items represent things that I think we should pick up over time as we have the money available in order to fully complete the space. Some of the items (like the stuff I picked out for the deck) are more frivolous and unnecessary than others!

Boyfriend's Apartment by louko on

The freezer doesn't have any shelving, so I thought it would be helpful to get some inexpensive wire shelves from The Container Store. I've also added a kitchen towel and small rug to place at the sink.

The bathroom is pretty much finished since we added a shower curtain and towels. It already has a perfectly suitable rug. So, I added a toothbrush holder and q-tip container.

Living Room
The living room needs a bookshelf and a nice upholstered ottoman to use as a coffee table. I also added a candle.

The deck already has plenty of furniture along with a fire pit that we had at our old rental house. I added outdoor cushions and pillows for the existing furniture, solar-powered string lights from Ikea, and a cute little tea light lantern.

The bedroom is pretty small, but obviously I'm used to that. We have one nightstand, but we could really use another. The current one is 29" tall which is unusually tall for a nightstand, so I actually had to search "telephone stands" or "phone stands" to find something tall enough. The lamp is to use on top of the second nightstand and the little storage bins are for the closet to organize socks.

Here's a list of where I found everything. I "shopped" at Target, World Market, Ikea, and The Container Store. 

IKEA Solvinden
$20 -

IKEA Jonsbo Egby
$20 -

IKEA Grenö
$15 -

IKEA Lillholmen
$4.99 -

IKEA Rotera
$3.99 -

$2.99 -

home candle at Target
$2.99 -