A New Orleans House Tour Too Good Not To Share…

I ran across this delightful, eclectic DIY abode on Apartment Therapy and loved it so much I had to share it with you. It’s chock-full of some great DIY ideas. (See the full Article HERE)

The charming New Orleans home of Valorie Hart is full of personality and great ideas. I know it inspired me…

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Great Ideas in the living room: Simple wide black stripes painted on the left wall; Floor-to-ceiling luscious satin drapes (easy to make); and that old 70’s console, brought up to date with a coat of fresh white paint. The bright pops of color in the artwork finish the room perfectly.

 

 

 

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More fun art in this room, against that marvelous “ombre” wall (I AM going to steal that idea.) And of course, a static disco ball. (I have 2 of these in my house!)

 

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I love the fabric draping here, an elegant way to dress up a plain wall. (Attention renters!) The fabric cord cover on the lamps is the perfect finishing touch.

 

 

 

 

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I’m a huge fan of Fornasetti, but it’s way out of my price range. This is a fabulous idea! Print and decoupage your own wallpaper!

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A great example of making a color work by repeating it around the connecting rooms (Here, orange/red, but this can work with any color.)  And you’ve got to love the Union Jack-painted wardrobe!

 

 

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The outside patio is charming.Using the dark slate grey as a base and adding the pops of chartreuse green (and a little hot pink) works fantastically. I love the light-up ampersand with the plates on the wall.

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Yea, I could live here 😉

Stealing From Other People’s Homes (Decorating Ideas that is): Killer Glam Chicago Loft Full of DIY Goodness

I confess, I’m doing it again: Stealing. Stealing great decorating ideas from other people’s homes. This awesome Chicago loft was another one just too good not to share. Below I’m showing you a few pictures with Ideas to Steal from this glam space. You can see the whole article and many more pictures here: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/shaun-matts-glam-loft-house-tour-198170# (Apartment Therapy is one of my favorite decorating blogs, I highly recommend subscribing if you’re into decor www.apartmenttherapy.com)

Here are my favorite ideas from this amazing abode (and everyone of them would be cheap to do):

(all images from apartmenttherapy.com)

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The collection of art is a pure delight! If it were just a couple pieces it wouldn’t work, but en mass like this it’s an ode to kitsch. Great Idea: Strings of pearls draped on the portrait of Jaclyn Smith. It just works.

That chandelier made out of cheap gold earrings is genius! How many times have I seen those big grab bags of jewelry at the thrift store and not known what to do with them. Now I do!

A sequin wall? Oh Hells yes! Total Hollywood glam. This would be great on a door, on a headboard, a small bathroom wall, there are so many places this could be fun to try. It’s especially good against the black gloss fireplace.

Every home needs a mannequin. Mine is named “Talullah”. She’ll be getting a new paint job this year. That gold looks pretty good…

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This one is so simple and looks terrific! Funky lamp shades hung at varying heights from the ceiling. So easy! A fun assortment of shades from the thrift store, light kits from Home Depot, and your done! Love it.

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Note the doors, covered in a lovely brocade. Another great idea. Could be fabric or wallpaper or stenciled.

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Old door as decor. Makes a great backdrop. Plain wood or painted a great color, doors are great wall space fillers. Would also make for a unique headboard, connect 3 or more with hinges as a room divider, you get the idea. I would add a light behind this hanging door, would look amazing at night.

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There you have it, my personal picks from this great home. Again, see it all here: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/shaun-matts-glam-loft-house-tour-198170#_

Until next time, Happy DIY!

Recycling Halloween into Thanksgiving…A Mantle Decor Redo for Zero Dollars

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Halloween is over, sniff sniff. I always wax a touch melancholy packing up the skulls and bats, simultaneously mourning the end of the Season of the Witch while savoring the tiny bit of caramel wedged between my molars from the final mini Milky Way bar. Yesterday I bid a fond frightful farewell to my favorite holiday, and made room for the next one: Thanksgiving. Because I go a little nutsy coo-coo for both Halloween and Christmas, I like to go a bit simpler in between the two for Thanksgiving. (Though admittedly my “going simple” is still over-the-top for most people. I’m like the Liberace of Holiday Decorating 😉 I’m also saving for holiday gifts, so spending cash on decor is a big fat no-no. It’s time to recycle!

Thankfully Halloween and Thanksgiving have a lot of crossover decor: Pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves and the like, so it’s easy to do double-duty with the decorations. I simply saved the whole pumpkins and gourds, reused my silk fall leaves and did a little presto-chango on the mantle.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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I thought an asymmetrical arrangement might be fun this year, well that, and I had only one large pumpkin left that was still solid.* I placed the big guy on the far left, then added one spray of my old faux fall leaves next to it on the right. Next I added some sticks and small branches with dried real fall leaves that I salvaged from my Halloween floral arrangements and from the yard. (That’s a great trick for using “faux” flowers and leaves: work in some real ones for a more authentic look). Then I worked in all the smaller leftover pumpkins and gourds. Nothing special here, I just set them in place on the mantle. As a final touch I tucked in some pheasant feathers (I reuse these for Thanksgiving and Xmas every year. You can find them cheap on Ebay), a few dried seed heads (I’ve been reusing these for about 3 years now) and some Spanish moss (I always have a bag of moss around for plants and flower arrangements. It gives the arrangement a grounded and finished look.). Done! I love that I didn’t spend a dime this year, and it still looks great.

* FYI: I don’t know if this is just a fluke, but I bought three pumpkins the first week of October. One from Whole Foods and two from King Soopers. Both Sooper’s pumpkins had started rotting and had to be tossed. The Whole Foods pumpkin is still solid and looks great.

Next time I’ll show you the rest of the Thanksgiving decor. FOLLOW this blog and you won’t miss a thing!

What decor items do you recycle during the holiday season? Tell me in the Leave a Reply/Comment section.

Find of the (Almost Every) Week, September 17, 2013

It’s time for Find of the Week!

This week’s 2 Goodwill Goodies are totally different but equally Fabulous.

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I cannot keep the pugs off this luxurious sheepskin throw. (Can you blame them?) It’s super-thick and in great shape. Cost: $12! The gorgeous shoes are a deep red patent leather by Stuart Weitzman. I LOVE these peep-toe pumps, perfect for Fall! They look like they were only worn a couple times. Cost: $8! Lucky Me!

What Fabulous Finds have you scored lately? I’d love to hear about them in the Leave a Reply/Comments section.

How-To DIY Found Dresser Make-Over for the Rock Star Glam Bedroom

 

The Dresser is DONE! Hallelujah. 

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We found this big vintage boy last year in the alley just a block away. It’s big and heavy and solid as hell. It even has wheels! There was some minor damage that was easily fixed. (see pics below) It’s been sitting in the garage about a year. (You should have seen us rolling this thing down the alley and across a busy street. It was hysterical!) I couldn’t work on it over the Winter as it was too cold to paint out there, and I was searching for the right pulls and knobs (“right” = cheap or free 😉 and the Spring/early Summer was all about other projects around the house, so in the garage it sat. I started in on this a couple weeks ago after finding great pulls and knobs at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. All 9 knobs cost a whopping $12!

First I removed all the hardware, then came the patching and the sanding. Lots and lots of sanding. I still probably should have done more. Note to self: Always sand more than you think you need to! In my search for knobs I was unable to find any that matched the current holes in the drawers, so I filled the holes with wood filler. (I’ll show you later how I drilled holes for my new pulls & knobs)

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Next came the paint. I used primer and paint-in-one (in Hot Pink). This was some very thirsty wood, it drank up 5 coats. I applied the paint with a quality 4″ brush. I tried the additive “Flotrol” for the first time, which is supposed to eliminate brush and roller marks. I would say it lessened them at best.

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After the first 2 coats…

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When the 5 coats were thoroughly dry, it was time to get creative with the finish. My man said it was “way to freaking pink” so I decided to tone it down a bit. I did a fast sort-of antiquing finish with watered-down black paint (about 50/50). It’s simple, looks good, and frankly, visually covers a multitude of paint and surface sins. You just brush on the watery black paint, being sure to get it well into the cracks, then immediately wipe it down with a rag. You have to move quickly before the paint starts to dry.

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When the finish was dry, I coated the whole deal with gloss clear coat. I love high gloss. It makes almost anything look good. Silly me bought only one can of clear coat (Rustolium Lacquer in gloss), which was enough to do all the drawers and the fronts, but not the top. Fortunately I had a pint of gloss polyurethane in the art studio so I painted 3 coats on the top and sides (yes, I was too lazy to go to the hardware store and buy another can of spray Lacquer. So sue me.)

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I let everything dry outside for 3 days before bringing it in to reduce paint fumes as much as possible. Then it was knob-time!

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I started by creating a template for drilling the hole as there were 6 to be drilled. This made it super-easy. I cut a piece of cardboard to fit very snugly inside the face, then measured for the exact center, then for placement of the pull holes around the center point. I had to do it twice. I triple-checked the measurement before I began. Last thing I wanted to do was have to re-patch, re-paint and re-drill holes!

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I put a piece of masking tape where I would be drilling (painter’s tape would have been even better). This makes for a cleaner drill hole. Then it was time to drill! I used a bit slightly larger than my screws, and just drilled carefully straight down.

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Here’s a tip: Once I had the first one drilled, I tried to pull out my template, and couldn’t get it out! The fit was a little too snug. I folded over a piece of packing tape to make a tab on the end of the cardboard template for easy removal. Worked great.

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Success! First pull attached. Now for the other 5. And, done!

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The hardest part of all this was getting the dresser up the stairs. Let me tell you, that thing is long and HEAVY! Even without the drawers it had to be about 100 pounds. I’m still amazed the man and I were able to do it. It suffered a couple dings here and there, but it made it. Now the fun part. Merchandising! Of course the pugs have to get in on the act.

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The next morning I realized I had forgotten a lamp I had set aside for the dresser, so I rearranged a bit…(see the cow skull project HERE)

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And I will probably be tweaking it again, but for now, I’m satisfied. Dresser. DONE! Total cost for paint and knobs about $35. Only one project left to go in the Rock Star Glam Bedroom, coming soon!

 

Notes about Stuff:

Dresser: Found in alley (free) knobs and paint, about $35

Lucite lamp: Base found in alley, shade $5 at Goodwill.

Books: All 3 were treasured gifts.

White frame: $4 at Goodwill.

Crystals, glass art, and bases: Yard sales and auctions.

Clear Lucite stand under TV: Found in alley (this one right behind the house!)

Stereo: Another fabulous alley find. Works great!

Hanging fish bowls: $5 each at Goodwill. New in box! Betas from Petsmart. (Named Red Fish & Blue Fish)

Large Mirror: Yard sale, $15 (was gold, now painted gloss black).

Disco Ball: $25, Ebay.

 

Anatomy of a Bookshelf – A Simple Redo that Makes a Big Difference

It’s one of the oft-neglected spots in a home: the Bookshelf. I’ve been “neglecting” this one for ages and finally got fed up. Time to rearrange!

 
This Bookshelf is on the landing at the top of the stairs. It is passed many times a day on the way to the bedroom, my art studio, the music room and the bathroom. Jiva’s music students often sit in that chair waiting for their lesson. Everyone who visits the house sees it, and it is a bit embarrassing. So messy!

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The first step was to remove everything (ok, except the little fountain, it’s a pain in the butt to move) and clean. It’s kind of astounding how much dirt and dust pile up behind books. Nasty.

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I like the arrangement on top of the shelf so I left that as is, along with the fountain. It doesn’t fit on any other shelf, and honestly, we love it. It has authentic rainforest sounds and is rather relaxing. Sort of a nice white-noise thing.

Next I went through everything that was on the shelves, tossed what I could, and put a few superfluous items into storage. Then I cleaned up the books & tchotchkes, ordered them (well sort-of) and started arranging everything back on the shelves. All of the man’s music books are now in one place and easy to find, and it all looks neat, tidy and more interesting. I did bring in two items from other rooms, the amethyst geode piece and a candle.

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Now I won’t be mortified when someone sits in the chair…FYI, the pretty leaves in the bud vase on the top shelf came from the backyard. All the wall art and the art on top of the shelf came from the thrift store, as did the disco ball (I’m obsessed with disco balls, I have three of them up in the house right now). At least half the books were thrift store finds and half the tchotchkeys as well. A few things were gifts. The chair was an alley find I did up all Mackenzie-childs style (see the rest here). The fun pear pillow is from a company that unfortunately went out of business years ago.

Next, I need to move that top picture lower on the wall, and that ugly Oxblood Red trim is getting painted gold. The man painted that years ago, and I’ll forgive him his questionable color choices 😉 Some part of this Victorian house has to be traditional…

 

What projects did you tackle this Holiday Weekend? I’d love to hear about them in the Leave a Reply/Comments section.

A Tale of Two Chandeliers (DIY Lighting Make-overs)

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A Tale of Two Chandeliers (DIY Lighting Make-overs)

It was the best of lighting, it was the worst of lighting…ok, I’m getting carried away with the Dickens here I know. It’s just a couple simple chandelier make-overs. I’ve had this crazy chandelier in a box in the basement for 4 years. Something had to happen with it. Alas, it’s too heavy to hang in the dining room (It’s a weak old ceiling in there, and the light is solid brass, about 15 pounds), but it was covered with fun food and fruit themed beads I had strung for it eons ago that would be so fun in the dining room. (the beads came from Ornamental Beads,  and the chandelier I found at a yard sale for $40) I decided to take the beads off it and add them to the lackluster “chandelier ” (I put it in quotes as it is actually painted plastic, and not truly worthy of the moniker) already in the dining room. Sort of a switch-a-roo. Then what to do with the heavy brass light? Paint it of course! I wanted a light for the covered front porch, and why not a chandelier? Here are the two chandeliers BEFORE:

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Yes, that’s an ornament hanging from the dining room light. It’s hand-painted glass and looks good in the room, so I’m leaving it. The first thing I did was remove all the bits and pieces from the brass chandelier, then everything needed to be cleaned. It’s amazing how dirty a thing can get sitting in a dank basement for four years. Then I taped off the electrical parts and the brass light was ready to paint.

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I used 2X Rustoleum in gloss white. Worked great, and only used about half the can.

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After the paint dried, I reattached all the clear crystal bits. Then I had to wire it to plug into a standard outlet. This is easy to do, don’t be afraid. I used an extension cord, cut off the end, stripped the wires, and wired it together.

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Time to hang! I screwed a large heavy hook into the wood ceiling of the porch, hung it up and plugged it in. I dig it! What fun to have a chandelier on the porch. I do want to hang it a little lower, and will pick up more chain from the hardware store. And yes, I know that is one crazy assortment of light bulbs on there, and I will get a set of led chandelier bulbs soon. As for the other light, the already-strung beads were simply placed on it where they fit. Easy-peasy. It’s not a big change, but it is a fun and festive addition. Here they are all done:

 

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Of course now I’m itching to get to making over the rest of the porch…