Carmen, an RV Makeover Love Story, Part 1 (of 3)

Please allow me to introduce you to Miss Carmen Amaya, a 1984 vintage GMC Vandura 3500 21″ Recreational Vehicle, made over in the name of that iconic Flamenco-dancing Bad-Ass Carmen Amaya. This lady has taken me on quite a journey over the last 4 months. She’s been pretty well gutted, and then glittered up, dangled and frocked within an inch of her life, and I hope now worthy of her glorious namesake. It took about 100 glue sticks, 2 packages of industrial staples, 3 big cans of spray adhesive, 4 gallons of paint, about 45 yards of fabric, 50 yards of gold gimp trim, countless trips to thrift stores for pillows, bedding, and assorted chotchkis and Home Depot for wood and screws and other industrial what-nots…Not to mention a world of bumps, scraps, bruises and hours and hours of labor. She is worth every bit of it.

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BEFORE

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That’s my friend Xavier, who was good enough to help me out with some of the early stages of the transformation. Couldn’t have done it without you bud!

Every inch has been transformed…painted, covered in fabric, covered in some way.

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Much of what I used I’ve been collecting for years. Bits of vintage fabrics, pillows, architectural pieces, tassels, and more that I’ve found at thrift store and yard sales. I can’t resist a nice bit of fabric. (That’s my sweet pug Max on the bed).rvinsideleftbed

I used leftover wallpaper from my living room on the kitchen drawers, back splash and bar area. I coated it with Modge Podge to make it easier to clean. That lovely Ralph Lauren bedding I found at the Assistance League Thrift Store here in Salt Lake City, along with many of the pillows. I nabbed a few free wine boxes from the wine store to use as under bed storage.  I painted the wood a gloss black and the counters with Giani black granite painting kit (the bath counter too). I replaced the kitchen faucet which was leaking with a simple RV faucet from Amazon. I also found all the ceramic cabinet/drawer pulls on Amazon, 30 for $24! More than enough to do the whole RV.rvinsidebedmax

I recovered the existing window shades with fabric and hot glued on gold bullion fringe. The awesome throws on the daybed I found on Ebay. I made the slide-out sofa into a daybed by adding a cut-to-fit 3/4 inch piece of press board on top of the existing sofa and a 5″ full-size memory foam mattress I already had (Amazon). My pug Max is the main reason I made the sofa into a bed, he would be very upset if he couldn’t sleep with us.rvceiling

The ceiling is covered in anaglypta wallpaper and painted gold. An easy and cheap fix for an ugly damaged ceiling. I found the starburst mirrors at the thrift store, and we already had the oval art piece. Covering the AC unit made a big difference in the look. The draped fabric in the front is 2 layered valances I nabbed on Ebay. The pretty string lights are from Target.

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Much of the fabric and most of the pillows are from thrift stores. The sweet tiger rug I found in Amazon. The mixed “wood” vinyl flooring is from Home Depot. It was fairly easy to install.rvinsidelighttable

This sweet chandelier was also an Amazon find. I added leopard print shades I found at the thrift store. The silver 2-drawer unit is from Wayfair, which I wound up getting for free as it arrived slightly damaged. The pink candle is from Target, the rest (including the Mackenzie Childs vase) are thrift store finds.rvinsideceilingrvmaxonbedrvleftloft

The loft turned out so cute, a great spot for a nap. I covered the windows with fake “stained glass” window film from Home Depot. The colorful fabric storage bins are from Amazon.rvrightseatrvloft2rvceiling

I wrapped the existing ceiling lights with beaded fringe and crystals.rvrightrearseat

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I love my little bar above the fridge. The Opus One box was free from the wine store, the wine glass hangers are from Amazon (I stained both), and the sparkly gold beaded things are vintage napkin rings from the Assistance League Thrift Store, hot glued in place.rvrightseatfridge

I found the cute little octagonal oil paintings to the left on shopgoodwill.com. The larger image is a very old (1800’s) oil painting that was literally falling apart. I cut it in half, mounted it to either side of the refrigerator, coated it in Modge Podge, and hot glued gold gimp trim as a “frame”. It seems to have “repaired” the painting enough to make it work here.rccherub

We already had the cute cherubs, which were hot glued into place.rvchandelierrvrightwindowsea

The paneling on the sides of the fridge was warped so we replaced it with new, thicker paneling from Home Depot, and painted it purple.rvrightwindow

The underside of the cabinets I Modge Podge’d with a collage of antique-looking images from an old music book.

That’s it for today, coming up: the Bathroom, entry, dash and outside.

Thanks for looking! I’m happy to answer any questions you have and welcome your comments.

 

Happy Holidays! A Night & Day House Tour

Happy Holidays All! No matter how you celebrate the season, I hope you are having fun! Here is our new home all done up for the holidays. It is scaled back quite a bit since moving into our new (and much smaller) home, but I just can’t let go of my Maximalist leanings 🙂 Long-time followers of the blog will recognize most of our decor from the old house recycled in new ways for the new.

The only “new” things this year are the fresh wreaths and garland from trusty ‘ol Trader Joe’s, our adopted curb goose we brought home to live with us last year, and new sequined ribbon on our tree (75% off from an after-the-holidays sale at Neiman Marcus).

First, the Outside.

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Herman the Goose with his (ornaments) eggs. He just makes me smile.2018holiday32018holiday14

Look out in the distance and you can see the city lights looking to the West. I love our neighborhood! Just beyond the lights is the Great Salt Lake.2018holiday12018holiday152018holiday2

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I will always have bubble lights.2018holiday13

Inside.

The quirky entry room/art studio/exercise room.

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Overwintering the plants inside. 2018holiday12In the Dining Room, my proclivity towards pink endures.

(oh! I almost forgot. We got a new rug, on sale from Wayfair.com (thank you Black Friday). I love it! It is bigger than the previous rug and makes the room look larger.)2018holiday92018holiday82018holiday112018holiday5Max insisted on being in at least one of the pictures.2018holiday10The Living Room, pretty in pink.2018holiday6…I did add more goodies to the Nick Cave inspired chandelier 🙂2018holiday7

Have a marvelous Holiday Season and an outstanding New Year 🙂

Holidays at the New House Part Deux…plus the First Big Project!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

As promised, here is the outside of the new house gently done up for the Holidays. You may recognize the decorations from previous years at the old house, all recycled here this year. The one new addition is our delightful Christmas Goose, a curbside find (ie: free) here in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago. I’ve named him Gustav the Goose (yea I know, I’m a dork :-). He is lit by a section of led rope light. (I just poked it up through the hole he has in his feet 🙂

Also FIRST BIG PROJECT REVEAL!  We had new steps and a gate put in a couple weeks ago. We love what it does for the entry to the house both functionally and aesthetically. We are planning to add wall caps to the new concrete walls as well as paint the house a coordinating grey in the spring and will also refinish the deck. Here are the before and afters, during the day and at night.

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AFTER:

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…and here are some more decorations outside.

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…and at night.

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Until next year!

Have the most amazing holiday season & a an incredibly prosperous New Year.

Thank you so much for reading my blog!

We Moved! First Holiday in the New House…

2 months ago we moved from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s been a crazy whirlwind but we are finally starting to feel settled in our new city. There is still a ton of work to do, lots of painting, wallpaper, landscaping etc. etc., and of course I will be blogging lots of “Before & After” projects as things progress. It’s been a big challenge as we have seriously down-sized (the new house is much smaller) and got rid of at least half of our stuff in the move. It’s been good for us 🙂 Even though I havn’t had time to do any painting yet, I just had to get some holiday decorations up. It’s definitely scaled down after our over-the-top Denver Victorian, much more streamlined. On the bright side, I can do it in a day instead of the 2-3 days it took in the old house. You’ll see that most of the decor has been “recycled” from the old house. The only new holiday stuff are some stunning flowers and fresh greens from good ol’ Trader Joe’s (I wouldn’t have moved here if SLC didn’t have a TJs 😉  I spent a total of just $29 on 3 bunches of flowers, a bunch of greens, and cedar garland, and got enough goodies to make 3 flower arrangements and had enough greens left over to spread around the house. Oh and a tried a couple waxed amaryllis bulbs on the dining room table (also from TJs, $7.99 each) and I love them! Zero maintenance, perfect. TJs is the BEST place for flowers!

 

I will get pics of the outside in the next couple of days. In the meantime, enjoy. Happy Holidays!

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The entry to our house is actually what was originally the back of the house. Long story, but they apparently moved the street some time ago, so we live in the Backwards House 🙂 For now our front door is a sliding glass door ( we may change it to French doors in the future). The front room serves as an entry and my art studio. More pics in the near future, I promise. holidayhouse2017o

I spoiled myself with a lovely flower arrangement and an orchid on my desk. (all from TJs) It’s the perfect spot to work at, with a view of the yard and the city and mountains to the West.holidayhouse2017m

Our quirky home came with this antique wood-burner (yes it works!) Right now it is functioning as a fancy plant stand.holidayhouse2017e

Our little dining room is just big enough and flooded with light. This area gets the most action in the house so it has most of the holiday decor. You may recognize most of these metallic ornaments as being on our mantle in the old house in previous years. They look great in their new space.holidayhouse2017lholidayhouse2017j

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The living room is much more minimal than at the old house, just the tree and holiday flowers under the TV (I really need to work on hiding the wires! Add that project to the list 🙂holidayhouse2017dholidayhouse2017c

Can’t wait to see how it all looks next year after I’ve painted and wallpapered…

I will post the outside decorations in a few days. Have a great weekend everyone! Happy decorating!

Happy Holidays House Tour, Inside – 2016 (with helpful hints & tips)

 

2016 has been a rather mad year (broken foot in March, graduating my tattoo apprenticeship in July, getting married in September, hubby’s surgery in November, and that crazy election). I am very much ready for 2017, but that won’t stop me from sending 2016 out with a good time. We have so very much to be thankful for…

I scaled back just a bit this year (I know, it’s still completely over the top 🙂 We now have a smaller tree (I’ll describe what I did below) and I left a few decorations packed in the basement this time.

The table isn’t too different from last year, I did add a fuzzy leopard runner just for fun. (I had bought it at a yard sale for $5 years ago). Everything else I had, just moved things around a bit. The beautiful flowers are from Trader Joe’s. (Tip: They have the best price on flowers in town! Better than wholesale in most cases.) Everything you see has been collected from thrift stores and yard sales over the years.

The one addition to the mantle this year are the gold “pine” branches, a thrift store find from a couple months ago. (Everything on the mantle has been collected from the thrift store over the years). I usually add some fresh pine boughs but decided to stick to the fake garland this year for easier clean-up :-).

I was lucky enough to find a second set of clear bubble lights at the Goodwill this year for $3.99 (I LOVE bubble lights! I’d happily cover the house with them.) and put them on a garland by the front window. I usually put all the peacock feathers in the tree, but since we scaled down the tree this year I made a little display of them with the green balls in a vase in the corner.

I love our tree this year! A bit smaller and fits the space better. It is still covered with all our delightful Asian/Indian inspired ornaments along with feathers and new this year, flowers! (see below for a step-by-step on the tree).

Because I went so nuts on the front room, I keep the living room a bit more simple. Just my favorite pink tree and the big pink ornament. And of course flowers (Trader Joe’s again) Holiday Decor Trick!: Many places that sell fresh trees will let you take the branches they trim off the bottoms for free! I use these in my flower arrangements and outdoor pots. Just be sure and ask first if you can take them 😉

Here is the step-by-step on the tree:

Our new tree. It is a 6.5′ fakey with white led lights. I put it on top of 4 paint cans to make it taller (and keep the pups off it). Stage 2 I added 4 strings of pink lights as well as my favorite string of color-changing star lights. (Hint: wrap the light strands around the branches for a professional look). Stage 3 I layered extra bits of fabric to form a tree skirt. Next came 3 pink feather boas tucked inside the tree and a few pretty pink silk orchids. I love the way the pink feathers add a glow to the tree. Next came all the ornaments. (Hint: layer your ornaments throughout the tree, from inside by the trunk all the way to the tips, saving your nicest ornaments for the outside.) And lastly, I added some jewel-toned feathers to fill it in and top it. The only new thing this year is the tree, everything else I had from previous years or was re-purposed from other projects.

Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll post pictures of the outside tomorrow.

A Fabulous Red Shelf For the Bedroom…Free!

Another fabulous Alley Find…someone threw out this great red Ikea shelf unit just a block from the house, and it works great in the bedroom. The bottom shelf was broken off, but easily repaired with glue. Gotta love free! My neighbors toss out the best stuff 😉

(all the stuff on the shelves we already had. Matchbook art by artist friend Paul Moschell. The black hand is a recent thrift store find for $3. See more of the bedroom projects on the Decorating link.)

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The Biggest Mistake People Make in Decorating for Halloween…How to Pull it All Together: Helpful Hints & Tips

What sets a well-decorated home apart from the rest? You know it when you see a well-done house, it just looks good. But what is it that sets it apart? There are a few things that tie together a good Halloween house, but the Biggest Mistake is…

Mistake #1: Throwing up the Halloween decorations on top of the everyday decor. (This goes for every holiday, not just Halloween!)

It’s messy. It’s cluttered. It’s hodge-podge. It looks thrown together, like you didn’t care. It looks like “Why did they bother”? The best way to get a good look for your Halloween decor is to put away the everyday stuff (at least some of it) and create holiday vignettes where you want the decorations to shine. (Usually the best places to go all-out are where people will be gathering: The porch or patio, the front entry, the dining room. I have a huge antique trunk in the dining room. This is where all the “every-day” decor and tchotchkes are carefully stored away for the holiday season (Halloween-New Years) so I can get crazy and look good for the holidays.

Mistake #2: No theme.

All kinds of stuff, from different eras, tossed randomly around the house. It doesn’t really work. Organize your spooky goodies into themes, by area. I have all sorts of different goodies that I’ve collected over the years from thrift stores and yard sales, but I make it work by grouping by color, era, or subject matter. Do you have an awesome collection of vintage pumpkins? Group them on a table for a delightful vignette. Have a bunch of cool skulls? Display them together on the mantle. Collections have a much greater impact than objects placed individually. Have a bunch of miscellaneous Halloween stuff that’s just all orange? That works, too. And lastly, if you are into the scary stuff, keep that together as well. Cute and scary don’t get along so well in the same space. Try creating a theme in each room, or at least in different areas of the same room. In my main room, I have several different vignettes: The white and black stuff is together on the tall cabinet; the Devilish stuff is on, in or near the short cabinet, and a skull collection resides by the window. All my Dia De Los Muertos decor is grouped on the front porch.

Mistake #3: No unifying factor.

The unifying factor is what pulls it all together. It’s what makes the eye flow easily from one space to another. My unifying factor is sheer black fabric. It goes with every vignette in the house, and even though the displays may be different in the room, the use of the black flowing from one to the other pulls it all together.

Here are a couple examples:

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BEFORE: the Tall Cabinet

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AFTER: the Tall Cabinet

I removed the purple glass collection and grouped all the what and black items here, with some of the “unifying” sheer black fabric.

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BEFORE: the Mantle

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AFTER: the Mantle

Again, all the regular every day decor has been packed away for the glory of Halloween.

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BEFORE: the Small Cabinet

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AFTER: the Small Cabinet

All the “devilish” things are in this corner. I cleared out the cabinet and put my devil head in there with some red lights. Instead of packing away the candles, I decided to just use them differently. You can never have too many candles, they create a great atmosphere. You’ll notice the sheer black fabric repeated here as well.

See all the Halloween decor here: The Front Room, The Entry & Stairwell, and Outside.