Friday, November 27, 2015

Ikea Vittsjo Shelving Hacks

I bought an Ikea Vittsjo shelving unit at the end of the summer with a plan to paint it gold and use it in our living room. I finally got around to painting it, but have been at a loss about what to do with the shelves. When I look at the hacked vittsjos that are all over the internet, I see that most people haven't don't much to the shelves.

The top and bottom shelves of the unit are either black or white and the middle shelves are glass.

This blogger started with white shelves and didn't make any changes:

Via Style at Home

The blogger from House of Hawks added paper to the top and bottom shelves to make them look a little nicer:

Via House of Hawks

The home owner from this Apartment Therapy house tour had a black unit and didn't change the shelves.

Via Apartment Therapy

The home featured on his Australian home blog had a black unit and either spray painted a mirror look into them or replaced the shelves with mirrors:

Via Home Styling

I think the last option is my favorite! A friend of ours recommended a local glass company to use for our shower wall in the new bathroom, so maybe I'll see if they can make us some mirrored shelves when we place our order with them.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I had reason to go into my Photobucket album (that I haven't touched in years) this morning and came across this photo from my condo before I owned it, when it was still a rental unit. The whole thing was painted in "builder beige" during that period.

My decorating style was formal and even a little stuff back then, but one thing I regret is selling my small collection of blue and white Chinoiserie vases and ginger jars. I bought most of them at antique stores around the Charlottesville area. None of them were precious antiques, but I loved them. The one in the middle of this picture was on a high shelf at a place in Ruckersville that is basically an old garage. It was filthy, but I knew it would clean up nicely!

 Looking at photos from the early days of the blog, I know I still had my collection when I bought the condo in 2008 and painted the main part of the unit with Benjamin Moore's Smoke. I had a simple point-and-shoot camera back then, so my pictures were pretty bad!

When you live in a small space, a change in decorating means parting with old things to make way for the new. I remember selling the collection as a whole set, so perhaps someone else has them displayed together on a sideboard or shelf.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One Room Challenge Week 7: The Costs

I rarely furnish a room all at once, so I never post how much I have spent on a space. The One Room Challenge provided me with the opportunity. I went from an empty room to a furnished one in six weeks and can track what I spent on everything.

Some of the prices I paid are a little lower than the prices you might see online because of coupon codes or sales that were going on while I made my purchases. I believe the headboard was 20% when I ordered it. The West Elm duvet was a clearance item and I had a 15% off coupon code when I ordered the matching drapes. The pillows and clock I bought at Pottery Barn were 10% off. I happened to walk into Grand Home Furnishings to look at mattresses during their anniversary sale and I think I got 10% off the price of the bed and free delivery.

There are three more things we want to do in the room: have the closet doors hung properly, get a full-length mirror, and add a bench at the foot of the bed. Some day, I'll circle back to this room and upgrade the nightstands to better pieces. For now, the little Ikea pieces work.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

One Room Challenge Week 6: The Guest Room Reveal

The end of the One Room Challenge is here. If you haven't been following along, this project has become a bit of a tradition in the home/DIY blogsphere. Originally started by Calling it Home, the challenge has several bloggers renovating or decorating a room in six weeks with the assistance of a host of sponsors. Dozens of random bloggers join in, most of us without any sponsors, and tackle a room as well.

In case you didn't figure it out, I'm one of the random bloggers.

I decided to get our guest room ready for a visit from my mother. As a reminder, here's what the room looked like originally:

My progress was pretty rapid. My mother actually visited us at the end of October and stayed in the room. I hadn't done any accessorizing, but the basics were in place: the Ballard Designs bed, the rug,  the Ikea bedside tables with O'verlays on them, and some simple, bamboo blinds were hung over the windows.

After my mother's visit, I added drapes and accessories on the night tables. I refuse to say I "styled" them. That sort of implies that everything is in place and I'm not that type when it comes to my home. I like things to evolve, so what you see in the images below might be different from what you'd see a week from now.

Oh, and as a reminder, I have a pretty intense job that has me occupied during the day and my photos are all taken at night. Images taken in natural light are idea, but they aren't in the cards for me.

Here we go...

You can see the monograms I made peeking out there!

The bedside tables have a mixture of practical and decorative items.That painting below is by Brent Smith and my husband bought it for me at Folly, a home furnishing store here in Charlottesville. The oversized clock is from Pottery Barn, the small tray is from a store called Artifacts that no longer exists, and the lamps were a Craigslist find.

On the other side of the bed, I hung one of my husband's favorite picture of our late dog, Baxter, low on the wall. I found a simple, wood tray to hold my Gurgle Pot (the most delightful makes a gurgle noise when you pour) and a glass. 

The walls are almost bare and I'm find with that for now. Some day, I hope we'll stumble upon something that is meant for that longest wall. I'm not the type to compromise just to check something off the list of things to do.

We did hang another Brent Smith painting on the wall that faces the door into the room so we would see the painting every time we were in the hallway and walked by the room. 

Having my mother say that sleeping in the bed was very comfortable.

Low Lights
Not really liking the Ikea nightstands. It's no surprise since my favorite furniture companies are Hickory Chair, Vanguard, and the like. The nightstands function, so I'm going to let them be for now. Eventually, I think I'll replace them with better quality pieces.

The Unfinished Project
Many of the ORC guest participants (unsponsored people) wind up not having a reveal on reveal day. Six weeks goes by quickly! I, too, have an unfinished project. I bought new closet doors for the room, painted them, and installed the first in just a couple minutes. When I went to install the second door, I realized that it was about a quarter of an inch too wide. My mother was pretty much en route at that point, so I just put the door in the closet and went on with the rest of the things I had to do.

Would I do it again? 
Last week, one reader asked if I would do this again and if I found it stressful. I was lucky that my room was a blank slate and I didn't involve any contractors. The only time when I was a little stressed was when the delivery service for our Ballard Designs bed wasn't calling the right phone number the make arrangements. That was such a tiny issue, though.

What's Next?
The bathroom that we've been working on is starting to come together. I'll be posting a big progress report next week!

Thanks for following along! If case you want to look back at my progress:
Week 1: The Before Photos
Week 2: Shopping for Paint and Furniture
Week 3: {week off}
Week 4: Making the Bed (my custom monogram!)
Week 5: My Ikea Hack with O'verlays
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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Uncovering a Surprise in Our Foyer

I shared a picture of our foyer in my post about Halloween decorations that showed a light fixture I purchased at the Kellogg Collection in Richmond a year ago. I can't believe I let it sit for so long! My mother's visit prompted us to take care of getting it hung. I was pretty crafty about cropping that picture.

Here's what was missing from that picture:

The decorative, plaster swirls that we had sanded down when we first bought the house were under the old light fixture. I had really hoped that the light fixture was original and was in place before the decorative plaster was put on the ceilings. No such luck.

So now we have to decide what to do about this. We could do nothing, we could bring the drywall guys back in and have the ceiling sanded and retextured, or we could add a ceiling medallion to cover this whole thing up.

I've seen some similar light fixtures with medallions or sunbursts and they look great.

From Shades of Light

I've also seen DIY projects that mimic that look using skewers, dowels, or wood shims, but I'm not sure I'm up for that right now since I'm starting my busy season at work.

Our ceilings aren't high, so a medallion might be out of place in this room. I usually associate them with grand spaces and large, crystal chandeliers.

For now, I'm happy to be very close to done with the foyer. In the current state, I am happy to welcome people through our front door!
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Thursday, November 5, 2015

One Room Challenge Week 5: An Ikea Hack and Other Projects

We are one week away from the big reveals in the One Room Challenge and I'm at a point where the guest room on which I've been working is functioning well, it just needs final touches to make it feel like a cozy, welcoming space. My mother, whose visit was the reason I embarked on this project, actually stayed with us about a week ago and she thought the room was comfortable. In fact, she said she loved the bed and pillows (thank you, Costco).

It's time to recap a whole slew of projects that got done for week 5. I was going in several different directions...

First of all, the bed was completed the week prior and now I had to figure out what I was going to do for bedside tables. I didn't have time to order something online and wasn't seeing anything I liked locally. I wanted there to be some storage on either side of the bed because the room wasn't large enough to have a dresser. I had just over 28 inches on either side of the bed and most nightstands I saw were just a tad too big. On a whim, I started looking at Ikea and I saw some incredibly cheap little chests that were the right size.

The RAST nightstands are tiny, unfinished, and cheap ($35 each!). I plowed ahead and ordered some O'verlays to hopefully dress the pieces up and took a morning to drive up to Ikea and pick up the chests. That night, I started painting the different pieces.

I was nervous that the O'verlays confirmation said that they might take a couple weeks to arrive, but I think they came in less than a week! I ordered some for another project I'll share later...

Once attached to the drawer fronts of the RAST chests, the O'verlays looked fantastic. The overall look reminded me of a Hickory Chair chest that I have admired for years.

The lighting situation isn't ideal at the moment. I pulled a set of pineapple lamps from another room and replaced their black shades with white ones.

I made a mad dash around town to find drapes before my mother arrived, but nothing worked. I ultimately ordered a set from West Elm that match the coverlet on the bed. They weren't here in time for my mother's visit, but I got them hung the other day and I think they make the room feel a little more cozy.

So here's where we are right now. I don't love the Ikea nightstands and am wondering if changing the color (or adding something like a gel stain?) might help. I need to accessorize and figure out the art situation before the final week. I also need to get the closet doors hung and find a mirror.
The full room (pardon the the time I get home from work, natural light is gone):

Even though the room works and had already hosted our first guest, it still doesn't feel finished to me.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Decorist Experience, Part 1

I mentioned possibly looking for some help with getting our living room to a more complete state. I loved the idea of e-design, when design pros work on spaces virtually. Decorist is a company that facilitates the entire e-design process and they actually reached out to me when I mentioned them in a previous post and offered to work with me.

I answered a detailed, but completely manageable questionnaire about our living room, my hopes for the space, and my design style. I could also list items I want to keep in the room and send links to Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs. Once I uploaded photos and a floor plan, the Decorist team looked at my information and matched me with a designer.

The next step will include design boards and I can't wait!

The Decorist team is giving all of you a chance to try their service at a discount! Use the code smallchic20 for $20 off any Decorist Design Service.

For now, check out the floor plan and photos I send to Decorist. My designer has her work cut out for her.

We literally use half of the room right now. The back half of the room is where Jack the puppy "winds up" when he has "the zoomies." The zoomies are short bursts of puppy energy and they are hilarious to watch.

 It's a sad space right now, but I think it has a lot of potential! I can't wait to see the plans my designer comes up with for the room!

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Monday, November 2, 2015

The 2016 Spider House

We are nerds for Halloween now that we live in a house. During our condo years, we would do some decorating and buy candy in hopes of having trick-or-treaters, but it never happened. When we moved to the house, we were so excited to finally have a yard and a neighborhood full of kids so we would have visitors on Halloween.

I came up with the idea of having a theme that we could build on each year. We considered themes like pumpkins, ravens (Edgar Allen Poe spent some of his student years in Charlottesville), owls, ghosts, spiders, and many other ideas. The spiders stuck and the Spider House was born. This was our third year creating the Spider House and we are so happy with how it turned out.

First, we opened up the storage containers to see what we used last year and what I bought on November 1, 2014 (I grab spiders at the post-Halloween sales like it's Black Friday) to add to the displays.

Our favorite addition to the menagerie was Frances, the giant spider we got at Costco. It was so creepy that I refused to handle it when I opened the box. Marc set her up on the roof over our front door with two huge, rope webs coming off the roof over her. I hung about a dozen "baby" spiders from the web.

Almost everything in the yard, from our boxwoods to our little garden bench, was covered in web so our team of spiders had perches. Marc made webs in some of the wooded parts of the property, too.

I made this spider last year in about 10 minutes. It's terrible, but it does the job. Marc made me a sandwich board a few weeks ago and I made it into a sign that would point people to the house from the side of property that is on a busier road that the one our front door is on. 

We have been slowly increasing our lighting as well. Our new addition this year was a projection gadget that made spiders dance across one side of the house. I would love to find a second for the other side!

I have always thought that this was all plenty scary for little kids, but Marc has started to add some more creepy things on one side of the property. One of the funnier things he did was wrap a skeleton in web and have it sit in the diver's seat of his truck. Really little children weren't tall enough to see it, but the tweens were and we got a few screams.

The inside decorations were more tame. I put jumping spiders up all over the foyer and covered our door and sidelights with spider cut outs.

The above picture was taken earlier in the month. The one below is from Halloween night. I had more spiders on the walls the kids would see when the door was open.

A little friend joined us...

One of the best parts of the weekend was when one mom thanked us for what we did. Another mom said she has arachnophobia, but that she loves our house!

Of course, this morning had us back at the Halloween store to stock up on a few new critters and gadgets to use next year and then the task of packing everything up began. We left the webs and lights up for one more night.

Happy Halloween from the Spider House!

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