Before & After – the Catwalk

The new house is coming along nicely. While I think it will always be a work in progress, spaces are starting to come together enough to start showing full before and after tasty goodness 😄. Today it’s the Catwalk! Yes this crazy house has a freaking catwalk, yet another one of the strange delights this house has to offer. The catwalk was a fun space to design. I wanted to make it as functional as possible for our needs (as cheaply as possible) and think I succeeded. I wanted to have lots of seating, extra sleeping spaces for overnight guests, and a reading/meditation area. We are eventually hoping to have art and music events at the house and this will be a prime spot to watch performances in the great room below.

As you can see on the Before pics, the catwalk was largely unusable, full of nasty old carpet with no structure.

The first thing we did was rip out the nasty old carpet. The wood was in good shape so we did a simple whitewash on it to blend it into the whitewash wood on the walls. I had our awesome handyman build platforms for the black French mattresses (Pottery Barn Teen), build shelves against the east wall and paint the old bookshelves and all the new build outs Sherwin Williams Tricorn black. The desk was moved to my art studio and painted white. I saved a ton sewing all my own pillows. I’m not much of a seamstress but they are certainly good enough. I scored the beautiful designer tiger fabric as a remnant on fabricguru.com, the velvet pink on fabric.com. Most of the art and chotchkies we had, a couple pieces (including the tribal black pieces behind the seating area) we found at the local swap meet.

The area is much more useable now, and I love the way it came out. We go up there to just hang out and watch the sunset out the west windows. We had a couple guests sleep up there recently and got a big thumbs up :-).

Much more to come! Follow this blog and don’t miss a thing.

Before & After Sneak Peak #2! Four More Previews of the New House Makeover

Step by step things are progressing at our new Yucca Valley home. While no one room is completely finished, I’d say we are 83% of the way there indoors, 40% outdoors. Below is a little Before & After Sneak Peak of 4 of the rooms In Progress…(see the first 3 Sneak Peaks HERE) Full room reveals coming soon! SUBSCRIBE to see it all.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE…The vaulted ceilings in this room are about 24′ tall at the apex, with 20′ walls on the low sides, which were visually cut in half by the old red paint and (hello 1980’s!) wallpaper border. The borders were removed and the space was painted in Sherwin William’s Ultra White. It instantly opened the space up and now shows off all the beautiful wood beams (which you’ll see in a future post) and makes the ceilings soar high just as they should.

LIVING ROOM AFTER (IN PROGRESS)

I’m going for an artsy rock n’ roll sort of vibe in here with a Timothy Oulton influence. Eventually the art on the gallery wall will reach all the way to the ceiling. The sofa is new (thanks to a Wayfair “open box” deal) as is the magenta chair (also Wayfair). Everything else we brought with us from the old house. Except Gozer the Gozarian, whom we adopted about 3 months ago. This sweet little frug (part Frenchie, part pug) has claimed the chair for his throne, and we don’t blame him one bit. (Art: The “Black Heart” painting and the little drawing in the red frame are by Sandi Calistro, the Lucian Freud study painting I did in college, the “Satire Lounge” piece is by Kym Bloom, the red Yumiko Kayukowa print came out of a book, and the rest of the art are thrift store finds.

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ENTRY BEFORE

I know it’s hard to see it in the before pic, as there was a huge stair unit there that we had removed and replaced it with a simple loft ladder (there is a sleeping loft over the entry which you’ll see on a future post). The only real changes here was the removal of the odd stair unit and painting the main wall white.

ENTRY AFTER

The red acrylic box was an alley find we brought with us, and the beautiful raku pot I found at Collector’s Corner in Palm Desert for $20. The jack rabbit coat hooks are from Etsy. (And Jiva’s ratty old hat adds the perfect desert touch 🙂

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THE GREAT ROOM BEFORE

This crazy house is made for entertaining (which we hope to be doing a lot of post-covid) and has a very large great room in addition to the living room. We hope to host art events and small concerts in here eventually. Before, the green color was well, rather awful, and like in the living room cut the tall walls visually in half. We had the green painted over in the white, all the doors and windows black (Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black), and ripped out and replaced the ratty old carpet (Home Depot). (I apologize for the crappy before image, it’s all I have).

THE GREAT ROOM AFTER (IN PROGRESS)

Being that we want to host events in this room, I wanted a lot of open, low seating. I opted for sectional seating so it can be moved around easily. I looked for months for good-looking sectional seating and finally settled on Pottery Barn Teen Cushy Lounge Sectional Set as an affordable option. In a perfect world I’d have the Roche Bobois Mah Jong sectionals, but until someone hands me an extra $30,000 this is a great option at a tenth the price. The vase pair was a local thrift store score ($10 for the pair), all the leopard print pillows are from Etsy. Art: The “Space Whale” photo print I had printed on metal by Costco (it came out great!) with permission from the photographer. (We were married in front of the Space Whale at Burning Man in 2016 so it is a very special piece to us). Everything else we brought with us from the old house. Carousel painting is by Lonnie Hanzon, cat paintings are by me, crow and skull piece by MadTatters.com, and the resin pieces installation by Lauri Lynnxe Murphy. The other piece is a Goodwill find (I do not know the artist’s name).

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The MASTER BATH BEFORE

All we did in here was paint out the dark oppressive walls and ceiling white, which opened up the space beautifully, and replace the faucets on the sink and tub (which needed to be replaced due to leaking) and added new cabinet knobs. We left the beautiful old vertical wood posts untouched. It has a wonderful spa-like feel now. The light coming through the glass block during the day is marvelous. I did add lots of plants, some brought with us, some new.

The MASTER BATH AFTER (IN PROGRESS)

There is so much more to come! Please subscribe to see it all.

A Before & After Sneak Peak of What’s Happening at the New House

Things are really moving along at the new house! With all the Covid down-time we’re getting a ton done. While no one room is completely finished, I’d say we are 80% of the way there indoors, 25% outdoors. Below is a little Before & After Sneak Peak of 3 of the rooms In Progress…

DINING ROOM BEFORE…this is how it looked when we bought the place. We had the carpet removed, old wallpaper border removed, and the room painted a rich deep Navy Blue. (We splurged on having the full interior painted (all Sherwin Williams, I’m very happy with the outcome) before we moved in and it was worth every penny. I did it all myself in the old house and it was too hard on my body :-). This house is much larger and has very high ceilings, no way I could have done it all myself). I took down the old broken ceiling fan and put up a lovely large green glass chandelier ($235 on Amazon) and added spring green curtains around the entire room (also from Amazon. It was about the same price as buying the fabric myself so a total no-brainer). I’m going for an over-the-top Tony Duquette Maximalism look in here. It still has a ways to go (we need to refinish the wood floor, add a console table on the west wall and do something fun where the sticks are in the ceiling panels and add more art.) The rug, table, chairs and art were all brought with us from the old house.

AFTER (In Progress) Just a sneak peak, much more to come…

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MUSIC ROOM BEFORE…this room was a plain white box, originally a garage bay converted into a bedroom with a terrible 3/4 bathroom that we did’nt need. We had the shower stall and toilet removed (leaving the plumbing hook ups (all capped) for future possibilities), had the opening enlarged (you’ll see this on a future post) to let in more light from the only window in the room and provide more storage for music gear and clothes (the room also functions as my husband’s closet, he has more clothes than I do!). Since it’s a music room it has to be at least partially sound-proofed/deadened so we are adding acoustic panels and fabric to most of the walls. My man is nuts for India so I’m going for a sort of Modern Rajasthan Musician vibe in here. There are 32 yards of black velvet and 12 full saris. So glad I invested in a sewing machine! It took me 2 days to get all the curtains sewn. I bought the velvet in bulk from Fabric.com and the sari’s in bulk on Etsy. The teal chair was a thrift store find (Collector’s Corner in Palm Desert, a MUST for great home finds!), the blue stools from Wayfair.com (on sale! Just $45 each), and the vintage wood stool from a local Yucca Valley thrift store for just $12! The rugs were all brought over from the old house. This room is about 70% finished, much more to come!

AFTER (In Progress)

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Last but not least, the Master Bedroom.

BEFORE…This room was originally a patio that was enclosed. We had the nasty old carpet removed and the room totally painted out in Ultra White, except the 3 beams which were painted black. We also had new carpeting installed (Home Depot). I wanted things to be very serene in this room with a Leanne Ford vibe so am sticking with a simple color palette, black and white with a touch of color, in this case our trusty old magenta dresser (an alley find I painted years ago) and some fun pink/lavender pillows. The sheepskin rug is from Costco, a GREAT source for sheepskin! This quad rug was just $135 (and the dogs LOVE it :-). The 1″ black cotton robe (meant to emulate a canopy) is from Ravenox. It’s beautiful robe, I highly recommend the company. The vintage hanging lamps on either side of the bed were an Ebay find, $105 for the pair, which I rewired myself. The Roman shades had to be custom ordered because of the odd window size, I found a company through Amazon that did the pair in white linen (to match the curtains I already owned) for $220 shipped. I’m leaving the old fan in place for now, but will likely replace it with a new black one in the future. We did splurge on a new king-size bed but kept our old nightstands which work well in the room. All the pots, pillows and accessories were brought with us from the old house. We did have to install a modular closet unit which you will see on a future post. This room is about 85% finished. More to come!

AFTER (In Progress)…

So much more to come soon! There are 8 more spaces I haven’t shown at all yet, as well as the courtyard front entry and the yard…I’ll post full room reveals as each space is finished, as well as more sneak peaks of the other rooms and DIYs. Please Follow this blog so you don’t miss a thing!

Bar Makeover at the New House. It’s Cocktail Time!

Work on the new house is progressing nicely. So many projects, but heck, I have a bit more time to do them with the COVID shut-down 🙂

With our very limited budget we are working with the house as is as much as possible. No room for big reno so time to get creative. The goal is to upgrade and modernize what is here while spending as little as possible. With that in mind, a funky bar redo was in order.

As you can see, the style was in need of an upgrade, a bit too “log cabin” for my taste. Everything was painted a flat white to give us a neutral palate. From there, I changed out the hardware for simple gold pulls About $1.50 each on Amazon), painted the horizontal supports a glittering gold to match the hardware (Krylon ultra cover metallic gold), removed the stained glass pieces (we’ll use them elsewhere) and added backdrops inside the glass cabinets with leftover wallpaper.

AFTER

The leftover wallpaper is from the bathroom redo in the old house. I loved it so much I kept the extra, knowing I’d use it. I kept it very simple. I cut a piece of heavy cardboard to fit the inside, and used spray adhesive to attach the wallpaper and just tucked it in. That way if I change my mind in the future it will be very easy to remove. I love the way it tuned out!

Thanks for looking! I’m going to go enjoy a cocktail 🙂 Happy Holidays!

Couldn’t find the wreath I wanted, so I made it. A Shiny Pink Wreath DIY.

I’ve been wanting to do some fresh holiday decor for our new house, and knew I wanted to go with something a bit more modern as our new house has a more modern architectural feel. And it had to be magenta. I wanted a pair of shiny ornament wreaths and looked for ones in magenta, and couldn’t find them anywhere. So what’s a creative girl to do? Make my own of course!

The “ingredients” were pretty inexpensive. I bought everything on Amazon. The plastic ornaments come in large quantities, 60 count for the larger ones and 90 count for the smaller ones. The wreath forms are simple wire ( I used 18” ones), and the ribbon is a 1” wired satin. And of course, lots of good ol’ hot glue.

Putting it all together took about 1 1/2 hours and was pretty simple. I started by wrapping the wreath form with the satin ribbon and attaching it to itself with a bead of hot glue on the back (flat) side, tying it off with a long loop at the top for hanging. Next step was attaching the plastic ornaments with hot glue. For the first layer I spaced the larger balls somewhat randomly about 1-2” apart around the ribbon covered form, then started filling in with both the larger and smaller balls. Be generous with the hot glue and attach the ornaments to each other as well as the wreath form. Be sure and do this on a flat surface so the wreath will hang flat on your door.

I had a few extra ornaments and a lot of extra ribbon left. I used the ornaments, along with a couple really big ones and some fake greenery (well, “pinkery” ) to fill the pots that flank the entryway. I’ll be adding a lot more next year, but at least we have a little holiday cheer for this strange season 🙂 Happy Holidays!

Big changes! We Moved…

So much has happened since my last post. We moved! We were not planning for this move to happen for a few years yet, but everything fell into place so perfectly that we jumped. After less than 2 days on the market, our lovely Salt Lake City home sold, and on October 1st we closed on our Desert Dream Home in beautiful Yucca Valley, California. (Near Joshua Tree National Park). The home is so very unique and quirky, just like us :-), and finally, we’ll have the room to explore our creative endeavors. This house is just for US. None of the upcoming house projects will be geared towards resale like the last house, but for own fun and enjoyment. In the upcoming months and years you will see many unusual DIYs and funky decorating blogs.

A little background on the house…

The house was built in 1991 by a local builder for his very eclectic mother. Among other things she was a collector of odd materials, including huge timbers from an old train bridge in Montana, a high school gym floor, and tons of beautiful scavenged rocks, all of which were incorporated into the home. The ceilings soar (to 20 feet in some places!) and nearly every room has skylights. There is a very large entry courtyard with the beginnings of a running stream with a bridge (which I will be finishing). The backyard has a koi pond, grape arbor and 4 large concrete block gardening raised beds, custom stepping stones, and a gazebo. To say the house is odd is an understatement. It sat empty for over 3 years after the owner passed, and is in need of much love and updating. Already we have done some light demo and completely painted the interior, added new carpet and lighting, heating and cooling, a new roof and much more. The infrastructure updates are finished, now it’s time for the fun stuff: decorating and art projects! Stay tuned, and Subscribe to this blog! There is so much fun to come….

Bathroom Remodel!

This project has been a long time coming, and honestly went way over budget, but I’m so happy with how it turned out. In an effort to save some cash, we did not move any of the fixtures, and for the color scheme I designed around the existing (and still very nice) blue washer and dryer. As is most always the case with big projects, there were unforeseen circumstances, like the sub floor having to be rebuilt, and a few add-ons that were not accounted for in the original plan. I had originally budgeted $8,000 but it wound up being a bit over $12,000, even with me doing the wallpaper. (Which, with all the angles in the room, was a beast!) Remodels are never easy, and this was my first serious bathroom redo. There are just a couple tiny things left to button up but here it is (95% finished) in all it’s glory 🙂 The majority of the heavy lifting was done by Seiler Design LLC (demo, tile, paint). I did the wallpaper and the designing of the room, picking out tiles, colors, fixtures etc.). So happy with how it turned out! It’s a grown-up bathroom now 🙂

(All the tile is from Home Depot: fixtures, lights, mirrored cabinet from Wayfair.com: wallpaper by Antonina Vella in “Kaleidoscope”: outlet covers were found on Amazon.com: glass shower enclosure was custom by Ryan Olson Glass.)

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8 New Succulent Planters for $0 (From 3 Old Overcrowded Ones)

Hello Spring! It’s finally warm enough to move the plants back outdoors, and I’ve been dying to divide 3 old succulent planters that were very leggy and overgrown. Succulents are easy as pie to grow and divide up into many new plants. (Side note: “easy as pie”? anyone who has baked pies knows they are not so easy…or maybe they mean they go down easy, which is so true 😉

I’ve had these 3 succulent planters for years now, and it was beyond time to split them up. I wound up dividing them into 8 planters! My main goal was to create inserts for my tall black planters that sit just at the entry.

BEFORE

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AFTER

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I’m so happy with how they came out! I planted them in pots that insert into the big ones so I can easily pop them out and bring back inside next Winter.

Here is the mess I started with:frontplanterssucculents2Poor overgrown devils. I’m sure the will all be much happier now. I’ve been struggling with keeping annuals happy in the big black pots as it gets hot sun all summer. I’m sure these succulents will be easier to deal with in there.

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I also planted up a bunch of extras in the old pots they came out of plus some:

frontplanterssucculents6succulentplanters1succulentplanter2succulentplanter3I love succulents more and more…so easy to deal with, such happy little things 🙂 I made up a little patio area outside of Carmen (my vintage rv) and added a couple of my extras. I love it!

There will be many more spring projects to come! With the extra time on my hands right now I am getting a ton done. What garden projects are you working on?

 

Framing Nature: Creating Art from Objects Found in the Yard

Very simple but pretty DIY…I’ve had the 2 two beautiful gold frames (both found years ago at yard sales) that are odd sizes which are challenging to find art for. I was inspired to this idea when a storm blew down the neighbors tree and I saw the beautiful bird’s nest on a downed branch. It was a work of art, deserving of a frame. I attached it to the gold frame with fine copper wire (just wrapped around so I would not damage the frame). The wasps nests were found around our yard over the last couple years and simply stacked in the corner of the bottom frame. I love how this looks! I will likely add more as I find them. Simple and quick!

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Thanks for looking!

DIY Necronomicon! Happy Halloween!

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I’ve been wanting to do this for years…Necronomicon Halloween prop!

I started with a hardbound artist sketch book, but you could use any old hardbound book. The thrift store would be a great place to find one.

I used brown paper grocery bags, ModgePodge (white glue would work just fine), and Celluclay.

IMG_7200IMG_7202First I created a base by wrapping the book with the brown paper. I used ModgePodge mixed with 50% water (white glue in the same proportion would work fine). I brushed it on the book to help hold the paper, then wrapped the paper and taped on the inside.IMG_7203IMG_7205IMG_7206For the next layer I soaked the brown paper in the 50/50 solution, crunched it up to wrinkle it and give it texture, then added it to the front cover. I wrinkled it up around the edges to give it the right look.IMG_7207IMG_7209IMG_7211

IMG_7210Next I mixed up the Celluclay. It is basically paper pulp used for sculpting. It is easy to use, mixes with water and dries hard and ready to sand, paint, or add to. In this case I used the 50/50 solution, as I had extra, and it worked great.IMG_7213IMG_7215I formed the chunky bits with my fingers and spread the Celluclay on the cover, looking at my reference photo for guidance. I used a chopstick and flat screwdriver to press and gouge.necronomiconcreation2necronomiconcreationAt this point I let it dry till the next day when it was ready to paint. I could have sanded it a bit to smooth it out but this was good enough for me 🙂 I let it dry overnight.IMG_7232I used acrylic paints, starting with a dark layer to give depth in the deeper areas.IMG_7233IMG_7234I used it watery then dabbed off the excess with a rag.IMG_7235Next came the more flesh-toned layer. I mixed my own but  you could easily just buy an appropriate flesh-tone paint. This is brushed on a bit more lightly, and watery. I again dabbed up the excess with a rag.IMG_7236The final paint layer is light highlights. I used white mixed with the flesh-tone, fairly watery, and lightly brushed it across the highest parts, again dabbing off with a rag to blend and get up the excess.

I am very happy with the end result.

necronomicon8necronomicon2necronomicon7necronomicon4necronomicom6necronomicon3My very own Necronomicon! Ashy Slashy would be proud 🙂