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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend Finds!

I spent a good bit of time this weekend getting rid of home d├ęcor. I took a few of my things to a friend's yard sale and managed to clear some space in the basement. But you know that doesn't mean I didn't find a few new (or old) things to replace them! My first find this weekend developed from a trade off. My friend hosting the yard sale gave me this great huge seagrass tray in exchange for a couple of items of mine.

Since the addition of the larger coffee table , I've been looking for something to put on top that didn't obstruct views at eye level. I hate a tall piece in the middle of a table that people have to look across…it just doesn't make any sense! I also wanted something that served a functional purpose like holding the remotes, magazines, etc. This tray is the perfect size for the table, adds great texture, and looks great with the rest of the room. Now, I'm on the hunt for similar baskets to put underneath the table to hold blanket and dog toys!

After the yard sale, I hit up a few antique stores and scored a few small things like this vintage apothecary jar to store cotton balls in the bathroom.

I'd like to find another, larger one to display my monogrammed soap collection. I'll have to keep an eye out for that.

I also found some great vintage plates.



One is white with scallop detailed edges and the small blue one has a greek key and clover design. I especially like the blue one. My husband is Greek so I love most anything with the greek key motif. These will go with the rest of the small, but growing collection that will eventually adorn one of the walls in my dining room. I foresee a lot of plate arranging in my future before I'll be able to commit and actually hang them!

So there you have it! My finds for this weekend!




~ Katie

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Want It Wednesdays

Welcome to the first Want It Wednesdays post. I'm contantly thinking of projects I want to do and pieces I want to add to my home. So why not designate an entire day/post of the week to some of the things I'm dying to have? And believe me, at one day a week, this could take yyyeeeaarrrsss.

1. Round Dining Room Table: I love a round dining room table. It just feels so inviting! Our home isn't really a "head of the table" type of environment so the idea that everyone is included and facing each other during a meal is very appealing to me. Currently, we have a bar height four top table with matching bar height chairs that serves it's purpose.






I like the dark wood and clean lines, but it's a little modern (and dull) compared to the rest of the house which has a more vintage cottage vibe. It was a gift from my parents for my first apartment, which it fit perfectly, but we now have a dining room that could host a larger table like this beauty.



via http://www.restorationhardware.com/ (duh)

I'd love to have this table or a DIY project that garnered similar results...with some cream slip covered chars and a silver bowl of fresh fruit in the center. Done. My ideal dining set.

2. New Patio Furniture: The second item(s) on what my husband considers an endless list is new outdoor furniture for our front deck/patio. It's a large...almost as large as our living room actually, and can handle several different seating/dining areas in it's space. It currently looks like this:

Please don't judge to harshly as it's been wet and freezing here for week, my flowers are dead dead dead, and the entire deck just isn't up to it's spring time par. What you see in the picture is a mixture of old and new. The antique white rod iron benches were a fairly recent purchase from Garden Ridge. The chimanea was a recent gift from my parents for my husband's birthday, the black rod iron table and chairs were given to us by my mother in law, and the planters were left here when we purchased the house. I couldn't fit it all in the photo but just two the right are two teak arm chairs with a small rod iron and wicker table between them. Altogether, it's just a little hodge podge. Neither Gusty nor I had a large outdoor space before we got married and just weren't prepared to fully furnish this huge deck. It saddens me that we've neglected it because it's truly the first part of the house people see and it was our favorite part and a large factor when we bought the house. So what I'd loooove to see out there is.....

and

Both images from www.potterybarn.com

I definitely want to include a dining table as Gusty and I love to have people over to cook out and enjoy the outdoors, our charming bamboo, and the view. But I also want a relaxing seating area that really gives it the feel of not just a patio, but an outdoor room. I think these pieces all tie in well together, but jointly have a pretty large price tag. So between now and spring, I'll be on hte lookout for a budget friendlier alternative....or I'll be sweet talking the hubby.

So that's it fearless readers, my first Want It Wednesday posts. I'm constantly adding things to my "long term, but I wish it was short term" wish list and I look forward to sharing them with you each week! Feel free to share yours as well!

~Katie

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wallet Friendly Art that Really Makes a Statement


I love a beautiful collection of art in a home. It adds so much interest and gives so much insight into the kind of person a home owner is. Whether it's modern abstract paintings, traditional oil still lifes, pop art photography...I could go on and on. I've been in so many houses (my husband's a realtor) with breathtaking artwork...the kind it takes a lifetime to collect...and almost a lifetime to afford. But let's face it, I'm not filling my house with artwork that costs as much as my car anytime soon. The true value of art is in the eye of the beholder. For me, it's the ultimate accessory in a home and I've found a way to do a little "collecting" of my own without comprising my paycheck. Here are a few tips (and photos) I have to share.

1. Vintage/Antique/Hand-me-Downs: I'm lucky on this one as my mother-in-law owned an antique store at one point and her storage house is full of great finds. She's always showing up with something new (but very old) for us to use in our home like this...



If you aren't lucky enough to have some great vintage/antique pieces in the family, go find some of your own. Check out what's hanging out in our bedroom...



I discovered these two antique ceiling tiles from a pile o' crap in the back room of the antique store just down the street. I paid $15 a piece for them and they fit perfect on this wall. Now to you, these may not be "art", but to me they are. Someone designed them, someone made them, and the "well loved" look of them as I like to call fits in just perfectly with our taste and decor.

2. Etsy: Etsy.com is another great place to find original artwork from paintings to drawings to mixed media as well as vintage prints of anything from birds to botanicals to primitive cars. Which is what you see here.



I purchased these vintage car prints on Etsy and had them custom framed to go above our sofa. They are one of my favorite finds. It's easy to search by category or just type in what you're looking for and whether it's handmade or vintage. The inventory is simply limitless and your chances of finding something you like are high. And for the most part, prices are great because your are typically purchasing directly from the artist and not paying any kind of gallery fees.

3. DIY: A theme you'll hear alot on this blog is "do it yourself"! I recently starting photographing again for the first time in a long time. I got some great shots of local landmarks in our town (I'm a sucker for vintage theatre signs) and turned it into this... (excused the blurry photo please)



I found a frame that matched beautifully with the wine rack below and great linen matting and saw it as an opportunity to showcase some of my own (amateur) work. Most of our guests are surprised to learn it's something I did myself. It's not hard for anyone to take a camera our and get some great shots...so the next time you've got a wall to fill, look to yourself for a little inspiration. (Shameless self-promotion...you can check out some of my photography at www.photonest.etsy.com )

4. Local Art Festivals: This is another great way to purchase art without paying a gallery fee. We just recently had an local art festival in our neighborhood park where I purchased this.


It's a charcoal and pencil sketch on recycled burlap mounted to a salvaged cabinet door. How's that for eco-friendly? I bought it from a local artist for less than $100 and part of the proceeds went to benefit a local non-profit. So I helped someone else and I helped my bare wall at the same time. I actually just relocated this piece above the desk in our guest room to make way for the new artwork I purchased for our dining room. I will post photos once they are hung!

So that's it, loyal readers, those are my tips for filling your home will beautiful art and banishing bare walls forever without squandering your unborn child's college fund! Let me know if I can ever suggest local sources in Birmingham for you as I spend alot of Saturday's scavenging for new, unique pieces for my home!


~Katie

Updating a Sofa

So we all know the easy "inside the box" ways to update a piece of seating furniture- throw some new accent pillows on it, a throw, or the ultimate...have it recovered. And since I just finished having a loveseat recovered for almost the same amount as the piece actually cost me, I will NOT be doing that again anytime soon. Don't get me wrong- I would reupholster almost everything in my house if I had the skill, but I'm done paying someone else to do it. Anyway, I have a point, I really do...You see, I'm not a big fan of our sofa. It was purchased for me by my parents when I got my first apartment after college and it served it's purpose well, but now...not so much my cup of tea. It's small, not the most comfortable thing in the world, it's microfiber, and I HATE the feet. I know...it's a wierd thing to hate, but I truly do. The more you read this blog, the more you'll find that I love just about anything from Restoration Hardware, especially the English Roll Arm Upholstery Collection and I am OBSESSED with this sofa. But since I was just complaing about paying to reupholster a loveseat, you can rightfully assume I won't be purchasing it anytime soon.

One of the things I love most about the RH sofa is the feet and I've decided that is my GENIUS solution to updating my sofa with a new look. The feet on mine currently look like this...
They are very casual, which is really ok for the vibe of my living room, but they are short and the sofa sits lower to the ground than any other piece in the room. And I just plain don't like them. So I'm going to replace them (they just screw right off...it's that easy) with these:
Not necessarily formal, but a little dressier than what I currently have. They'll lift the sofa higher from the floor and add a little architectural interest. They come unfinished to I can stain them to match my coffee table perfectly. I'm very excited about this project as it doesn't seem as though it will be too difficult but I am confident it will make a huge difference. The feet are priced well and won't be too expensive of a project either. And every time I lust for that RH sofa, I can look at my new feet and be content....for the time being.
I love The Nester's mantra that "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." I'm a total believer in that. These may not be the feet my sofa came with, but with a little effort, they will be beautiful in our home. I will update you once the feet are here and I've finished the project with a step by step "how I did it" in case you want to take on a similar project in your home.
~Katie

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coffee Table Update

If you read my last post, you know I've been teetering on the verge of upholstering a great-shaped coffee table I snaged for a deal. It needed a little TLC and I found the perfect fabric, but once the foam and batting were placed on top, I became concerned about the height of the table. So in an effort to stall, I decided to sand down and stain the entire things and use it as just a table. My husband helped me sand it down (that's definitely my least favorite part) and I stained it with left over stain we used on our french doors a while back, so the project literally cost me nothing! Here's the finised product....

And, of course, the pretty details on the sides and legs...
Aside from some slight imperfections in the stain (most likely due to poor lighting in the basement where we worked on it), I'm happy with the outcome. The color is great...it's a bit darker than the camera shows...and it blends well with the rest of the wood in the room. And the best part is, I got to keep the ball feet! That is until I get bored with it in two months, chop them off, and reupholster it the way I originally planned! :)
It's important to remember that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a luxury piece for your room. If you choose quality pieces (even if they are from the thrist store) and put a little sweat equity into them, they can become a beautiful addition to the room. Had I purchased a table like this brand new from somewhere like Restoration Hardware (not that I don't LOVE RH), I would be out close to $2k. But this project cost less than a pair of shoes...hmmm...shoes....not a bad idea.
Now if only I had THIS underneat it....

~Katie


















And an upclose shot of the pretty details:
































Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just a Quick Little Post

Just to update you on coffee table dilemma, Gusty and I sanded down and stained the table last night. We used a Minwax Gel Stain in "Walnut". It's currently drying in our basement (it's taking a while since it's so cold here) and I have my fingers crossed that it will turn out great! I plan on moving it back up into the living room tonight and will try to get some photos and post them! Thanks for you suggestions!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

To Upholster or Not To Upholster

In my last post, I gave you a "tour" of our living room, but left out a critical piece of furniture. That's because I think it deserves its own post!

Ah, the coffee table. I used to have these adorable, salvaged window coffee table in our living room:


I bought it from a friend when I moved into my first apartment after college and I absolutely love it, but it was just too small for the space in our new house. I was in desperate need (or lust) for a larger round or square coffee table. First it was just that I wanted a new size and shape, but then it turned into an obsession with an oversized tufted ottoman table like the one here, but I wasn't down for the price tag. So I found a tutorial on how to make one myself at the Little Green Notebook and quickly found the perfect size and shaped coffee table at the local Salvation Army. It's 38x38 inch square. The top needs major sanding and restaining, but check out the gorgeous detail on the sides and the legs.

I also found some fabulous fabric at a local discount fabric store that I'd love to reupholster it with. I ordered custom cut foam to fit the top and purchased batting from my local Joann's Fabric Store. But I've been keeping the table in the basement and didn't bring it into the living room around the rest of my furniture until I was getting ready to upholster it and I realized that once I added the foam and the batting, it was just too tall. I could cut the ball feet off to shorten it, but that would definitely take away from the character and shape of the piece.
And then I got this great estate sale piece I talked about in my last post.
So now I'm thinking I may use the fabric for the chair and just do a total makeover on the coffee table by sanding it down and staining it with leftover dark walnut stain we used recently on our front french door. Pulling the fabric and batting over the side would hide so much of what I love about the table. And that would leave me enough fabric for a couple of throw pillows to scatter around the rest of the furniture so that the fabric shows up in different areas of the room.

So loyal readers, all 1 or 2 of you, what are your thoughts? I think for now I am going to work on staining the table until I make my final decision. But your opinion is desperately needed!


Furniture Feature Fridays

~ Katie


House Tour: The Living Room (and some estate sale finds!)

This weekend lent itself to some nice estate sale scavenging!
Gusty found himself some tools which he has already used to trim (chop) down the overgrown crape myrtles in our front yard that the previous owner had let grow way beyond their intended height. And I found this beauty.....

I LOVE THIS CHAIR. You can't tell very well by the photo, but the fabric has a little bit of pink in it, making it less than perfect for the room, but it actually blends in our living room pretty well for the time being. I know I want to upholster it, but I'm undecided on what type of fabric I want to use. Those were our only finds for the day, but I definitely consider the morning a success because I LOVE this chair. The shape and color of the frame (antique white) and the cane siding are just my style.

So as promised, this post is the beginning of what I like to call "The House Tour." I'll be taking you room by room through our house highlighting the things I love, the things I'd like to change, and what projects I have going on (almost every room has at least one project at any one time). The living room has been my biggest focus as it is the room we use the most and the most public room of the house. When we bought the house, almost every room was painted a boring beige with an awful tinge of pink to it. We decided to paint the living room a calm grayish blue. We found the perfect shade of Behr called Rocky Mountain Sky. I think it turned out to be a great decision. It keeps the room from being your typical boring khaki or beige, but still keeps it neutral so that I'm not stuck in a strict color scheme.

When you first walk into or living room, this window is to your right and probably one of the first things you see.
Notice all the trees and no house lurking too close by. That is one thing we fell in love with about this house. It sits up on a steep hill and just about every room has view of nothing but tree tops and blue sky. And when the leaves have fallen in the fall and winter season, we have a decent little view of city lights.

So, back to the window, we found two great dark brown leather club chairs at a discount store a few years ago that we originally used to stage Gusty's house to sale before we got married. They're pretty sturdy pieces and add a nice, modern flair to our predominantly vintage cottage. The drum table was a STEAL at (probably) around $60 from an auction at our local antique store...and when I say local, I mean within 5 minutes walking distance. We love walking over, grabbing a coffee, and browsing their eclectic inventory. I added a unique lamp I received as a wedding gift from some of my hostesses and a grouping of photos of family and friends. I do feel like this area is still a little bare because I do not have any treatments on the window. At our last house, I had only needed 4 panels for the living room windows and now can't find any additional ones that match, so I'm on the lookout for all new drapes for the entire room.

To the left, on the same wall as the front door, is this fireplace flanked by two large crank windows.
This fireplace, while adding great architectural interest and symmetry to the room, has been a major problem for me. I LOVE a home with a fireplace, but I've hard a hard time deciding what to put on this one. The mantle is too high, making the bottom half look naked, and it's skinny, making it hard to layer objects on it. So for now, this HUGE antique white frame I snagged from a yard sale for about $30 lives here. I'd love to give the fireplace a whole new makeover with a new mantle, but there are too many projects higher on my priority list right now.

Opposite of the fireplace (and the front door) is the focal wall that houses our sofa. I recently purchased some great vintage prints of early primitive cars on Etsy. They were pretty inexpensive, but the custom framing was a fairly pricey project.
Here's an up-close look at them. I absolutely love the outcome. The matting is ivory and the frames are beautiful brushed copper that takes on several different shades depending on the lighting and angle.
The mirror over the mantle was originally over the sofa, but I felt like it was super girly and wanted something a little more gender-neutral for the focus wall (considering between the dogs and I, poor Gusty is the only man in the house). I think they add a great vintage touch and are definitely conversation starters as they actually have the name of the models hand written on them.

So, besides the two leather club chairs, the sofa, and the new estate sale find, I have one other piece of seating furniture which is the loveseat. We originally purchased it in a beautiful cream color, but should have known that was a poor decision considering the two dogs. It wasn't long (maybe 6 months) before it started looking super rough and worn, so we decided to have it reupholstered. There are very few things I'd like to learn to do more than conquering sewing and upholstery, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet....Hey! I'm only 24! I've got plenty of time, right?
We chose a great fabric from Waverly called Pascal-Bourbon. It's got a heavy texture/weave that's very durable, but still soft and comfortable. It's got a little bit of a deeper color than this photo shows, making it much easier to keep clean. We are definitely enjoying actually sitting on this piece now without constantly worrying about getting it filthy!

So, these are the major parts of our living room. We only have one common living area, as opposed to a den + a formal living room, so my focus here is to make it a comfortable, cozy livable space with quality pieces (at bargain, budget prices). You may have noticed I left out one of the most crucial pieces of a living room: the coffee/cocktail table. Ah, do not fret, multitudes of people who ready this blog! That will be my next post! In the meantime, I'd love comments and suggestions on the space (especially my sad fireplace...it's really got me stumped!).


~ Katie

Friday, January 8, 2010

This Little Nest

Hi, there! There is most likely no one reading this post (yet), but the first post sets the tone, right? So here goes. I created this blog to journal the process of growing my house into a home for myself and my family, which includes my husband, Gusty...

and our two dogs, Ali and Sushi...
We've been in our house just over a year now, and I am finally progressing from the mindset of furnishing to creating an warm, welcoming environment in our home. And I have to admit that I'm pretty addicted to it. I spend alot of my time looking for inspiration online and realized, so are alot of you! So why not blog about my experience of a real woman trying to create a beautiful home with real parameters (like a budget and a husband that watches it closely). It's important for myself (and you) to remember that it's not about the THINGS in a house that makes it a home, but using those things to create an environment in your home that is therapeutic, warm, inviting, romantic, exciting, cozy, fresh....you get the idea. So, I invite you to follow along as I do just that. I'll be posting alot about my own home and family, but will also use this blog to share ideas, inspirations, and deals on creating a home environment. In addition, I'd love for you to offer up your own opinions and ideas! So thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy This Little Nest.

Next post...our home.