Monday, August 31, 2009

Did I do that?

Have you ever bought something and had a hard time believing that you really bought it? It happened to me this weekend, when I came home with an iconic item that I have lusted after since I saw it for the first time at Moma.

On Saturday, I accompanied my boyfriend to a work-related function at Legend's Brewery in Richmond. I'm not a beer connoisseur, so I had two light, girly beers during the three hours we were there. Unfortunately, the main food available was bratwurst, of which I'm not a fan, and I didn't eat much of anything. On the way home, we stopped at La Difference, a modern furniture store. I was just going to look at that iconic item and be on my way.

I forgot how great of a shopping wingman my boyfriend is. He's not quite an enabler, but he always has something nice to say about something I'm considering whether it's a dress or an expensive bottle of olive oil (two recent examples of things I didn't buy despite his praise of them).

Within ten minutes, I was signing a receipt and a warehouse guy was putting a beautiful, magnificent, amazing Louis Ghost Chair by Kartell in my boyfriend's hands.

Did I really buy it? I have walked into the living room a few times this weekend just to look at it. I can't believe it. I have a ghost chair.

P.S. La Diff has bourgie lamps on clearance right now! Tempting!
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oh no! A local gem is closing!

We made a sad discovery on Baxter's morning walk today. Artifacts, one of my favorite stores for cool home accessories, is closing!

We found Artifacts a few years ago while trying to buy a Christmas present for Marc's mother. We went to Caspari and were completely turned off by the staff that day. They were planted behind the counter in the middle of the store. Despite there being tons of holiday shoppers, there were no sales people on the floor. When I found a large platter I liked, I took it to the register and was told I had to take the floor model (which was scratched) and they didn't have boxes.

We walked out the side door, looked down the street, and saw Artifacts. The moment I stepped in the store, I was hooked. Artifacts has an eclectic mix of old and new and everything in the store would blend with any color scheme. Time and again, if someone comments on some decorative object in my place, it's something I got at Artifacts.

I'm so sad to see the store go. It's truly a gem.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Buying once vs. buying often

I grew up hearing that it was better to buy a good quality item once than to buy low quality items often. I haven't always put that thought into practice. After all, I moved a nice Bernhardt armoire out of my living room in favor of an Ikea console and I'm trying to sell a custom made desk so I can get a West Elm parsons table.

Today, I realized that I convinced myself that buying a particular item often at a low price was much better than investing in a top quality one. The item: dog beds. Looking through my photo albums of Baxter, I can spot at least ten different dog beds and I'm sure there are some that didn't get photographed over the last two years. I always buy cheap, $25 beds at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. They're colorful, but they never last more than a couple months. They rarely survive more than two or three washes because the zippers on them are junky and the seams aren't sewn very well.

I've been thinking about getting a nice, quality dog bed from Orivs or LL Bean, but the color options are pretty limited. Flipping through Bark Magazine, I saw an ad for Crypton, a company that makes furniture, accessories, and even pet beds using a kind of fabric that is stain and odor resistant, impenetrable, and made in the U.S. by a company with a commitment to sustainability. The fabric options are fun and colorful and they even allow people to design their own beds.

I think I've narrowed the options down to two fabrics. Any thoughts? The first is fun and cheerful. The second is more sophisticated.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009


I just painted the inside of the front door, the front closet door, and all the trim around them. I was wearing the dress I wore to work and had drunk two glasses of wine.

I'm a dangerous girl.

We'll see if I'm still proud of myself in the morning.
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Flea Fest 2009 is over

I am fairly confident that the flea festival we hosted last weekend is over. Baxter, who has gotten so tired of showing his belly for comb outs that he is now offering his paw for the "belly" command, is free of hitch hikers and the house shows no sign of critters (I never saw them in the house, just on Baxter, but treated the place nonetheless). I'll still be vacuuming constantly, of course.

One of the benefits of this surprise is that I was forced to get everything but furniture legs off the floors for cleaning. A lot was donated to the SPCA rummage store (my boyfriend likes to say "go animals!" when he drops things off for me), some things were given away, and others went to the dumpster. It's amazing how much even an aspiring minimalist can accumulate in a small home when closets are big!

I think I'm going to use this weekend for another round of cleaning. I have never had time for "spring cleaning" (my busiest time of the year at work is in the spring), so maybe I'll start "fall cleaning" instead. I'm not going to look at organized closets on The Container Store site either this time. Last time I did that, I felt completely incompetent.

Oops. Too late. Seriously, who is able to do this?

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Christmas list begins

My sofa is due to arrive in a few weeks and I'm starting to think about some fun pillows for it. Just in time, Decor8 posted a blog entry about Jonathan Adler's new "Design Your Own" service.

I'm having way too much fun playing with the different color combinations in the pillow section! $98 is too much to pay for a personalized, two sided (you can put different letters/numbers/symbols on each side) pillow, right? :)

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bachelor pad treasures

The first time I went to my boyfriend's house, I was completely transfixed by his sofa and a side table next to it. I didn't know the name of the sofa or the company that made it, but I knew it was mid-century modern and I knew it was expensive (I'm pretty sure it's by Knoll, but I could be wrong). The side table was made of thick acrylic. Who was this guy and why did he have this furniture next to a Redskins themed Christmas tree and an entertainment area that had two TVs and a video game system in it?

After playing it cool for a little bit, I asked him about the pieces and he said they came from the executive offices of a bank where his mother had been an officer. The owner of a large furniture store once offered to buy the pieces from her, but she gave them to her son instead. For the next 15 years, the pieces saw their share of parties and guests. They are no longer pristine pieces from a bank executive's office. But they are still striking and probably of value to someone.

My boyfriend wants to sell the sofa and isn't sure how to go about doing it. Is there a market on Craigslist for this kind of furniture? It's certainly not junk. Should he try to find a place to consign it? Put it on ebay? Send it to an auction?

I'll try to post a picture of it, but for now, here's a set of chairs with the same style, but different fabric. Here's a sofa from 1st Dibs that is almost identical, except for the color (my boyfriend's is oatmeal colored):

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Unwanted house guests

We had house guests this weekend and they still haven't left.

Despite being on Frontline Plus, my little golden retriever had a flea on his belly on Saturday night. Soon after finding that flea, I heard that one of my neighbors (who also uses a topical flea preventative) was in the same boat.

First, I went into crazy googling mode because I had never seen a flea before and didn't know what to do safely with a dog that already had flea preventative on him (adding chemicals on top of chemicals was likely to burn him). For the past two days, I've been washing everything in sight in hot water, throwing away a good deal of non-essential dog stuff (toys and mats), cleaning and combing Baxter hourly, and running the vacuum almost non-stop.

This morning, I picked up some diatomaceous earth, a natural product that dehydrates flea eggs and larvae when swept into carpets and baseboards. I haven't seen any fleas in the house, but I figured it was best to act as if they jumped off Baxter at some point and found a home in a crevice.

The staff at our vet's office said the flea population seems to have exploded lately and we didn't do anything wrong. These things just happen sometimes.

Bonus: there isn't a single thing on the floor besides the feet of furniture and a rolled up rug in the living room.

Bogus: I still have wall-to-wall carpet in the bedroom, which I have always thought of as a dirty trapper. Maybe this is my chance to rip that horrible stuff out!

Boyfriend's camera phone shot of me at work in the bedroom
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Making up with Ikea & a TV discussion

My love-hate relationship with Ikea turned back around last night as I put the last drawer of my new console in place. I still need to tweak a door to make sure it's even, but I'm pretty happy with how it's looking right now. For the time being, my clunker of a TV is resting on top, with an old towel to protect the top of the console. At some point, I'll upgrade to an LCD TV that won't take up as much space.

Which also brings me to a discussion about TVs being visible in living spaces. I used to be adamant that my TV be behind doors so it could be hidden when people come over. Over the last year or so, I've seen the debate about whether a TV should be visible or not play out via blogs and magazines and my position has slowly changed. I think a House Beautiful interview with a designer named Chad Eisner helped. Chad has a 900 square foot bungalow in Santa Monica, CA. His TV was perched in an inset in the wall and framed with simple molding, painted black. He said "I watch TV. I'm not ashamed" when the interviewer asked about the TV's frame.

Chad Eisner's living room, from House Beautiful

What was I so worried about? That people would know I watch TV? That guests would stare at it, even if it was turned off during a party? Silliness. TVs are part of our living spaces and in small condos like mine, hiding the TV and pretending to have a formal living room doesn't really make sense. So, I'm letting the TV out and aren't afraid to admit that I watch it.

Hi. I watch TV. I'm pretty sure you do, too.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Me vs. Ikea

Oh Ikea, you tried to break me yesterday. I lost half a day of work when you gave me a window of 1 PM to 5 PM for the delivery of the box you didn't give me when I bought my new console table. You showed up at 6:30 PM after telling me you were 20 minutes away at 5 PM and 10 minutes away at 6 PM. When your delivery guys pulled "Box 2" out of the truck, I almost died. I already had two of "Box 2". Thankfully, they had "Box 1" and a swap was made.

Then, I came to this:

Did I really need another person to assemble this thing? Waiting for my boyfriend wasn't an option. He's working until midnight for the next two days (his final two days in the restaurant industry! Hooray!). I thought you were going to win this one, but I started putting things together, just to see how far I could get.

I started at step 9, putting the legs together. That went just fine. I decided to start on the main cabinet. There were a few times when I thought I'd have to abandon the effort, but I kept going. By midnight, this is what I had in front of me:

Tonight, Ikea has another chance to drive me crazy as I tackle the shelves and doors. Wish me luck!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cleaning up moldings: do you scrub, wash or paint?

As a child, I remember my mother scrubbing our moldings once in a while (maybe once a year or s0). She's wasn't Martha Stewart, but she was a pretty great homemaker. She never gave me any direction on proper maintenance of moldings, but I assumed I was supposed to wash them periodically.

I have no where near the amount of time my mother had for cleaning, so I really have to pick my battles. My moldings haven't been scrubbed since I moved here in 2005. The extent of my maintenance on the moldings has be using my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on a few more visible sections.

Selling my TV armoire to a friend and moving it to her house yesterday gave me the opportunity to address the living room moldings. Somehow, I feel as though I took a shortcut by not doing any scrubbing and my mother would disapprove. The yellow-white that was used by the builder is gone and the moldings are painted Sherwin Williams' Alabaster to match the ceiling.

Look, mom! No scrubbing!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Small & Chic in Old Town Alexandria

We took a mini vacation this weekend to see a concert up at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. We decided to tack on a night at one of our favorite new hotels, the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Old Town Alexandria. I found the Lorien a few months ago, when I was in northern Virginia for work. It's run by Kimpton Hotels, a small, boutique chain I love due to their dog friendliness.

When we arrived, we found out that we had been upgraded to a suite and it wasn't ready yet. We decided to take Baxter for a walk down to the waterfront, but stepped into another Kimpton Hotel in Old Town, the Hotel Monaco, along the way to take a break from the heat.

All of the Kimptons are beautiful, but in very different ways. This is pretty apparent when comparing two on the very same street. I snapped some pictures with my iPhone. They aren't fantastic, but I think they provide some fun eye candy.

I'm not affiliated with Kimpton...I'm just a big fan.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Home decor knock offs

When I was in 9th grade, I had a short lived fascination with knock offs. The first time I took the train into the city to shop on Canal Street with my friends, I came home with an $11 Rolex. It was fabulous until it broke about three weeks later. I was a little leery of knock offs after that.

Last year, as I was slowly accumulating materials for my bathroom renovation, I found plumbing fixtures that could be considered knock offs. I came across some faucets that were styled like Kohler's Memoirs Stately line on They were much less expensive, but in the end, I decided to go with the Kohler fixtures.

This weekend, I got to see the cheaper fixtures at a hotel. They're nice, but they are much larger and more clunky than the Kohler originals. I think I might have made the right decision.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

My non-existent moldings

I bet you can't figure out what this is:

That's a combination of wishful thinking, procrastination, and laziness.

Back when I painted the common areas blue, I decided that I really didn't need to paint where the wall met the ceiling because I was going to put up crown molding. I talked a great game of hiring someone, then decided that if a friend could hang her own, I could do it too, then decided I'd hire someone again...well, two years later, the moldings weren't up. The sloppy line at the top of the wall annoyed me constantly, but I kept telling myself I would figure out the molding thing soon. Two years of cropping photos. Of living with a messy paint job.

On a whim during a day off this week, I decided to fix the problem. I stirred up some paint, taped off the ceiling, and went to work. The taping took longer than the painting. Within two hours, the walls looked like this:

The next project: painting the baseboards and doors to match the ceiling. The white used by the builders is kind of dingy looking compared to the ceiling.

I think the touch up looks pretty nice. Should I still put up the moldings? Anyone know someone who does that kind of work in Charlottesville?
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Ikea honeymoon is over

A little over a week ago, I wrote about my first Ikea purchase and then promised I'd have an update on the new furniture plan for my living room. I had been pleasantly surprised by Ikea. Previously, I had thought of is as a sort of furniture hell with its maze of a showroom and massive warehouse.

Well, my opinion of Ikea took a hit on Monday. While checking the stock for some armchairs prior to my trip there, I looked up a console my Ikea-fanatic friend and I had seen in the store about a year ago. I had thought that it only came in yellow, but the website showed it in black. I decided to give it a try.

I'm pretty methodical about putting together furniture and I laid every piece from the boxes Ikea gave me (this thing is so heavy that they bring it to you after you pay) out on the living room floor. There seemed to be too many of some items as I unpacked, but I kept going. Only towards the end, when I pulled out the legs to the piece, did I realize that Ikea had given us two of the same box. There was no hardware. No instructions. No top.

After I explained to Customer Service that we were hours from the store, they agreed to drive the missing box to us and pick up the extra one, but it was too late to make it onto the truck that would come to Charlottesville on Wednesday. We have plans on Saturday, the other delivery day. So, I will have Ikea parts scattered around the living room until next Wednesday. I should probably take some pictures so I can look back and laugh at them, but I'm too horrified by the chaos in here.
On the bright side, I can inspect all the pieces and box up ones that have scratches to send back to the store.

For now, look at the pretty legs of the console...all eight of them.

Awesome. I just read in The Atlantic that one expert considers Ikea an environmental train wreck. I'm surprised the company gets so much love on Apartment Therapy and other hip, home decor blogs/websites. While in the showroom, they seem eco-conscious.
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Sustain update!

Per a comment on the post I made earlier this week, Cville's new eco-friendly boutique, Sustain, is now open in the old Verity Blue space at the West Main Market! If we weren't going out of town this weekend, I'd be in there to look at all the things that have arrived since I peeked in there last weekend!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Six Degrees (or less) of Separation

I'll know you're a design nerd if you get excited with me over this.

While reading the new issue of Elle Decor last week, I happened upon an article about Mark Badgley and James Mischka's weekend home in Lexington, Kentucky. I made a mental note to rip out the article to pass it along to a local friend who is from there.

This afternoon, the pictures from that article were posted on Decorology, one my favorite design blogs. Because of that post, I realized that the full article was on the Elle Decor website and I emailed the link to my friend. She replied pretty quickly that she loved the article, especially because she went to school with Jane Scott Hodges when she was a child and their parents are friends (she was mentioned a couple times in the piece).

Jane is the woman behind these:

Photo courtesy of Leontine Linens

She's the founder of Leontine Linens. Wouldn't it be great to have one of those personal consultations followed up by personalized, luxurious linens made by skilled artisans? They're like couture for your home.

Alas, at the prices the sets are running, I'll have to settle for the sheets I got on sale at Bloomies.

After thinking about this for a little while, I started to feel like a slacker.

S&C: I have a blog.
LSH: People pay me $900 for their sheets.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don't judge a book...

I saw this book in an antique store (maybe second hand store is a more appropriate description) over the weekend and almost passed it up because I was unsettled by the cover. Nate Berkus is great, but I really don't need his face staring back at me from the shelf under my coffee table.
Lucky for me someone in the Berkus camp did me a little favor and made sure there was something infinitely cooler underneath the book jacket.

Call me old fashioned, but I actually use the library as much as I visit the bookstore, so I don't keep too many books around. I'll hold onto books that I envision reading again or ones that have sentimental value, but most books are passed on somehow after I've read them.

When I decide to keep a book, I usually remove its jacket. While the book jacket is meant to protect, it's also meant to get your attention when you're shopping at Barnes & Noble. In a small space, I think using the plain spines of books helps them blend in. The spines are usually plain and without words. My collection isn't so big that I don't know what a book is just by seeing its spine. I highly doubt I'll ever forget that the book in the picture above is a Nate Berkus book.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Shop Tour: Sustain, Cville's newest green boutique

One of our favorite spots for lunch, snacks, gifts, and window shopping is the Main Street Market. The market has a mix of stores including a chocolatier, florist (where my awesome boyfriend buys me gerbera daisies each week), organic butcher, local gourmet food store, a fish market, kitchen supply, and some cafes. It's small, but has lots of variety (and the gourmet shop has told us that Baxter is welcome in the common areas, which is a bonus).

This weekend, I got to take a sneak peek at the newest addition to the market, a boutique called Sustain. With a mix of eco-friendly home items, clothes, accessories, and furnishings, there's something interesting to inspect at every turn.
The store won't open officially for a week (they're still waiting for a few things, including a huge chandelier for the "tower" space on the left side of the store), but owners Lauren Gerner and Erin Bevacqua already have a number of beautiful vignettes set up. The outdoor space upstairs is chock full of eye candy. I can't wait to see how the store looks when it officially opens!
Adorable paintings by Lauren's sister!

As if those pictures aren't tempting enough, the owners are donating 2% of their profits to environmental causes. Pretty admirable for a brand new, small business, isn't it?

More pictures:

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Was my shower curtain killing me?

I have always used a fabric shower curtain in the bathroom with a white, plastic liner behind it. I remember a friend saying that she switched to a fabric curtain for fear of off-gassing from the plastic curtain, but I didn't really concern myself with that. After all, the junky wall-to-wall carpet that the builder put in my bedroom is surly much more dangerous than a little shower curtain liner, right?

Well, I finally decided to replace that liner with fabric and am really pleased. First of all, I don't have to deal with that "new curtain smell" which I'm sure is the death-is-upon-you toxin about which people worry. But second of all is something unexpected: the bathroom is quieter. Of course we all know that rugs and drapes reduce echos, but I didn't expect the bathroom to feel a little more substantial (dare I say luxurious?) because the sound is dampened. Why didn't I do this sooner?

Who has made the change to a fabric shower curtain liner? Did you notice a difference?

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What to do with household clunkers?

August 1st seems to be the time when most leases turn over in Charlottesville. As a result, weekends in August bring us scores of U-Hauls and packed SUVs. In my condo complex, there always seem to be a few new residents or grad students moving into rental units while others are moving on to their next job or degree.

I just looked out the window and saw a young guy rolling a fairly large, traditional TV towards the complex trash compactor with an older man (probably his father) in tow. I imagine the TV is on its way to the trash heap unless someone happens to swing buy looking for things to salvage.

People with homes have garages and basements where larger cast offs can sit until they can be freecycled or recycled, but what are the rest of us to do? By the end of the year, I hope to upgrade to a flatscreen TV and I'm already wondering where I'm going to put my big clunker if I can't give it away quickly on Craigslist or Freecycle. I think I'll start researching now to see if there are any homes (Ronald McDonald? Half-way houses? Women's shelters?) that could use a bulky, but fully functioning TV so I can pass it along to someone who will definitely use it.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quick update in "the gallery"

Every once in a while, something compels me to sketch a little critter. I'm not good...I'm usually copying a picture I took or have seen in a book or online. I started sticking the sketches in frames and hanging them up in the hallway outside the bathroom after my boyfriend told me he liked them.

I took the pictures down during the bathroom renovation and realized how dingy they were looking in their cheap, gold frames. So, I did what any good decor blogger would do! I slapped some leftover white paint on them and topped them off a glossy top coat. I think the result is pretty great!

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Oh no! Goodbye Southern Accents?

Urban Grace Interiors is reporting that the September/October issue of Southern Accents will be the last! They will leave their website up (how nice...hear that, Domino?), but the mailbox won't ever contain that shiny mag full of inspiration again.

EDIT: Joni confirms the news on Cote de Texas and news sites are posting a release, too. *tears*

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Progress coming this weekend!

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye!

The work I'm doing in the living room is kind of dependent on moving my TV armoire out of the condo. I listed it on Craigslist and ebay a few weeks ago and only got one tiny nibble of interest despite a very low asking price with a note that I'd take offers. Sadly, I woke up at 5 AM and couldn't get back to sleep, wondering how one sells such a big piece of furniture without Craigslist or ebay. I thought about the auction house I have seen on the highway, but their website led me to believe that they only deal with precious antiques. My armoire is by Bernhardt and is a good piece, but it is still in production.

I casually mentioned the armoire to a friend at work and she immediately said she'd buy it. Amazing! By this weekend, I might have something new and exciting to post on the blog. Hooray!

P.S. How come spell check hates the word "armoire" and always tells me I'm spelling it wrong?
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My first big Ikea purchase completed

A few days ago, I talked about Ikea Panic and shared the story of my first experience buying something substantial at Ikea. I only got half of what I wanted, though.

The design plan for my living room includes a new, slipcovered sofa and two slipcovered chairs. The sofa, Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams' Alexa sofa, probably won't be delivered for another month. Ever willing to sacrifice comfort for aesthetics, I was prepared to wait for the sofa to be delivered to purchase the two chairs. My boyfriend was a bit pouty on the the very first day that I was sofa-less. He inspired the spontaneous trip to Ikea, which left me with one, lonely chair.

This past weekend, we made a return trip to Woodbridge. I checked the Ikea website before we left to verify that a new shipment of the chairs had arrived and there were four in stock. The amazing guys at the service desk in the self-service area not only did a physical check over the phone, they offered to set a chair aside with my name on it. I'm not sure they're supposed to do that, but I really appreciated the offer and they further chipped away at my earlier notion that Ikea was furniture hell (I had visions of a cold, dark warehouse full of furniture bits, allen wrenches, and a big "Good luck, you'll need it" sign on the exit door).

Anyway, last week's purchase now has a companion. Right now, I have them situated where the sofa will be when it arrives. Despite the fact that I've been too lazy to iron the slipcovers, I'm really happy with how these look. The color of the slipcovers also matches the Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams swatch I have. Lucky me!

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Kitchen pantry facelift

Remember the pathetic laundry room from the photo album of my empty condo? There was one wire shelf over the washer and one over the dryer.

There was great storage potential, though. I looked at a bunch of different solutions and even fantasized about a Container Store redesign of the little room, but that was prohibitively expensive. In the end, I got some simple, white shelves from Lowes and installed them myself.

Removing the brackets that held up the wire shelves was probably the biggest pain. The brackets themselves had toggle backs, so the drywall had to be damaged to remove them.

After fighting with those for a while, I tried to paint the room a light pink. The result was horrible. So bad, that as soon as I finished, I started mixing paint to make enough to cover it. The resulting yellow was just right. I think it's pretty bright and cheery now!

The shelves run along the entire long wall, which used to be blank.
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A lovely blog about blogs

I think it's safe to say that a good number of the people who read this blog also read a bunch of others. Once you find one you like, it's usually just a jumping off point. Case in point, I now have 191 blogs in my Google Reader...and I've cut a few out in recent weeks!

Today, I stumbled upon another blog lover...who has decided to blog about blogs! Brandy is posting fun excerpts from different blogs on The Lovely List...not quite a blog aggregator, but more like a collection of amuse bouches for your enjoyment.

192 blogs in my Google Reader.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adler's manifesto...and possible application in Charlottesville

Paloma over at La Dolce Vita posted Jonathan Adler's manifesto on Wednesday. It's been a while since I saw it and one thing jumped out at me:
We believe dogs should be allowed in stores and restaurants.
That statement brings up a common situation that I am thinking about addressing here in Charlottesville. I'm always delighted when a store owner tells me I can bring my dog, Baxter, into a store. I usually find out that a shop welcomes dogs when I'm holding something up in the window to my boyfriend, who is out on the sidewalk with Baxter. It occurs to me that someone (me?) could try to organize the distribution of a small sticker (a little, round paw print?) that shop owners could put in an inconspicuous place in their window to designate their store as pet friendly. Baxter is on the mall every day, but in two years, we've only managed to figure out that Artifacts, The Consignment House, The Mole Hole, and (of course) The Dog & Horse Lover's Boutique are pet friendly. Oddly, despite sometimes selling collars, leashes, and dog beds, Caspari is not pet friendly.

Stony Point Fashion Park
, an outdoor mall in Richmond, has done this and is one of our favorite malls as a result. Stores that are dog friendly opt to put one of two small, oval stickers in corner of their window, somewhere near the door. One sticker has a picture of a dog on it, the other has the same picture with "small" written on it. The few stores that use the "small" sticker usually wave Baxter in, so maybe that's not completely necessary.

Baxter at Rebecca's Natural Foods during a trick-or-treat for dogs charity event

By the way, if you'll be in Richmond today, consider coming out to Golden Days today at the Libbie Place PetSmart. The rescue with which I work, Southeastern Virginia's Golden Retriever Rescue, Education, and Training (quite a mouthful...we just call ourselves SEVA GRREAT), has many golden retrievers in need of loving homes. You can meet some of the dogs and fill out an application to adopt at the event. I'm part of the adoption team, so if you live in the Charlottesville area and want to adopt, you might get me as your liaison!
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