Saturday, February 27, 2010

TEN dollars for a campaign desk

It's not fair. I don't have room for a project at this point the way Holly from Life in the Fun Lane does. I've been watching Jenny from Little Green Notebook, Jamie from i suwannee, and other design bloggers paint amazing furniture for months and I've wanted to try my hand at it. I've been watching people scoop up campaign pieces, too (see Bryn Alexandra's post with lots of great eye candy). I want some. I want to paint it. I want to paint it pretty colors.

Alas, someone is is going to scoop up this $10 desk, coax it into shape, and hopefully paint it a fun color.

It's saying "Rescue me from this scary corner!"
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Pretty pillows by Trilogy on Ideeli

Just a quick heads up that Ideeli, another one of those members-only shopping sites, has some great looking pillows by Trilogy (anyone know that brand?) for sale right now. The prices are great. These are only $39 each.

Here's an invite, if you aren't a member of Ideeli yet.

Can you tell that I'm pillow obsessed these days?
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Queen of Cashmere!

I got a surprise in the mail yesterday. I couldn't remember what I had ordered and when I saw the return address on the package I realized that I hadn't ordered anything! The pillow I won from Erin of Let the Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore arrived! You may remember that I asked for some suggestions for color combinations last month when I won that giveaway.

Do you like the colors I picked? I went for a classic combination that will work when I change my color scheme (it's only a matter of time, right?). I was tempted to go for something funky and different, but I think it was right to go with classic colors.

Oops! I smooshed the corner a little bit.

I'm so thankful to Caron Slimak of Queen of Cashmere. This was such a huge gift. I love it!
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Did you float your floors?

Image from tinekhome

The flooring I selected can be glued down, floated, or nailed down. Nature Neutral recommended that the Chocolate Hickory be floated on my concrete sub floor. The laminate that was in here was floated, though the underlayer was a cheap sheet of foam that looked like packing material. I personally didn't notice problems with the floor in my day-to-day life, but I've heard that many people feel passionately that floating floors make a lot of noise and they move.

I got a little nervous last night and looked at the EcoTimber product that's going under my floors. Here's a little bit from the description:
  • Pre-attached vapor barrier helps prevent water damage
  • Reduces ambient noise and floor-to-ceiling sound transmission - outperforms cork and rubber in most Sound Transmission tests, at a lower cost
  • Insulates cold floors
  • Cushions floor, smoothes out subfloor imperfections
  • Synthetic fibers disperse moisture away from wettest areas
  • EPA-registered anti-microbial agent and high-temperature manufacture inhibit bacterial, fungal & dust mite growth
Okay, that looks promising, but paper doesn't refuse ink, right? Has anyone else floated their floors? Have you noticed problems with noise or with movement? Is this just a function of using a cheap product?

Image from Decorpad
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Floors ordered!

In a completely uncharacteristic move, I ordered floors without a week of indecision. Am I scared after reading some of the comments about how dust and fur shows up on dark floors? Yes. Have I convinced myself that I'll Swiffer or vacuum daily? You betcha.

Just as I sometimes teeter around in less than comfortable shoes, I'm okay with suffering a little bit for a nice look. In fact, I think I'm more comfortable with high maintenance home furnishings (have you seen my marble bathroom?) than clothing and accessories these days.

I might have to look back at this post in a few weeks when I'm waging a war against Baxter's fur balls.

Here's my really bad mock up of the floors in the living room:

My photo editing skills leave a lot to be desired, huh?
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring cleaning comes early

Around this time every winter, I can't help but start a "deep clean" of my place. Some people spring clean, but I winter clean. This is probably because my normal cleaning routine is abandoned during my busy season at work and at some point (specifically, this point) each year, I can't ignore the dust rhinos any more.

I thought I'd get through my entire place this weekend, but I've only done the bathroom, kitchen, and dining room. I have the living room, bedroom, and closets left. Because my progress isn't really blog worthy, here are a few photos that didn't warrant their own posts...

1. The end of the spray spackling experiment
I bought spackle in a spray can a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try. At first, it was a little messy, but once I realized that the advantage of the stuff is that you can apply it in super thin layers, I was really happy. Can you tell where the 6" x 3" patch is on this wall?

This is also yet another example of Benjamin Moore Aura paint's awesomeness. This wall was painted almost two years ago and I touched up the patch where I spackled and three other spots. The touch ups don't show at all. I've never used a paint that has worked like this.

2. Culprit of the chipped coffee table revealed
I had to touch up my coffee table's black glass when I noticed the color was chipped away in a few spots. Baxter used to lay under that table as a puppy...

Even with a crate, he sought out a "den"

I didn't think he was still interested in that space. I guess I was wrong. I found him napping like this while I was cleaning on Saturday:

Only his head fits under the table these days

3. Le Creuset at Bed, Bath, & Beyond
I've been in love with Le Creuset's Caribbean Blue color for quite some time and thought it was only available at Sur La Table. I was totally shocked to see it at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Even better: those 20% off coupons that BB&B seems to send every week apply! The stock pot was a cheap ($32) treat that I bought for myself this weekend. Isn't it pretty?

Another new product I found at BB&B: Chicago Metallic cookie sheets. That store used to carry pretty average bakeware (Wilton, Calphalon, KitchenAid). There's nothing wrong with those brands, but Chicago Metallic's cookie sheets tend to test better than the more mainstream brands (I believe Volrath was ranked #1 by Cooks Illustrated and Chicago Metallic ranked #2). The two local cooking supply stores carry Chicago Metallic, but have very limited inventory. I'm pretty serious baker, so having the right equipment is important to me. While I like shopping local, those 20% off coupons and the pretty expansive inventory at BB&B has me thinking I'll be purchasing from them when I replace my old sheets.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shop Tour: Leftover Luxuries

Once-in-a-while consignment sales seem to be popping up here and there these days. I have to say that I love the idea. Once per season, a themed sale (kids clothes, home furnishings, women's clothing, etc.) is held for a few days. Between sales, the organizers visit potential consignors to assess their items.

Leftover Luxuries combines home furnishings and high end women's clothing for a three days sale. The first event opened today in Charlottesville and future events are planned for other regions (Connecticut, Utah and California are already on the calendar). I was impressed by a lot of the merchandise. I actually walked around with a Jonathan Adler light fixture for a while before surrendering it to the table that seems to have been stocked by The Shade Shop. I just don't have a place for this beauty right now.

A few other items jumped out at me. First, there was this beautiful chair, going for $200:

Then there was this little night stand from Kenny Ball Antiques that half the design blog community would probably like to paint right now. I think this was going for something like $85, but my memory could be wrong.

There's so, so much more. I had no intention of buying anything in light of those hot floors I'm about to purchase, but even I walked out with a new bag. Click through this slide show to see more from both the home furnishings side of the sale and the accessories side (there were tables and tables of shoes and bags from great designers). Be sure to check out the lighting, the shoes (!), and the green, velvet sofa. There's some beautiful stuff there!

The sale is being held at the old MacGregor Antiques store in Seminole Square and runs through Monday. Another Charlottesville sale is already being planned for May.
Check the website for details about the sales in other regions.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

More changes in flooring plans

The flooring I wrote about in my last post is no longer available. Some developer snapped it all up when it went on sale. Just when I thought my decision was made for me (bamboo), Kris at Nature Neutral, our green building supply, told me the product I fawned over yesterday was on sale and available. I scurried up to the shop to borrow the sample.

Now, I had this idea in my head that dark floors make rooms appear smaller, but after doing some research online, I realized that isn't exactly the case. Dark floors don't in and of themselves make rooms feel smaller. Dark floors with dark paint and furnishings make rooms feel smaller. My walls are light and my upholstery is white and cream. My furniture is dark, but I think there are enough light colors here to possibly use this beautiful chocolaty wood.

Thoughts? I don't think there is anything in my condo complex that comes close to this look. The floors in the units here have traditional sized planks and colors ranging from blond to honey.
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Change in flooring plans

Last November, my condo was flooded after an upstairs neighbor attempted to fix his toilet. His plumbing skills clearly rival those of the average 6 year old.

I shopped for new floors after ripping mine out in a panic (mold is a four letter word that strikes feat into every home owner's heart), but never settled on anything. The holidays came, then my busy time at work, and the project got put off. Now, as I'm getting my head above water at work, it's time to revisit the floors.

I think I've mentioned my motivation before. I'm in a condo community and I have resale in mind. When the time comes to sell, I'll probably be competing with units that have never had an occupant. I want buyers to see my unit as superior to one that has never had an owner, even with the upgrades the owner of the complex put in most of those units (engineered wood floors and granite countertops).

Being on the first floor, I have more wood than most (upper floors must have a certain percentage of the floor covered with carpet), so I have that going for me. I thought that going for a green product would be another selling point. I went out to our local green building supply, Nature Neutral back in November and liked EcoTimber's bamboo flooring. Since then, I've been wondering if the bamboo is too "taste specific". I went back to Nature Neutral yesterday and found that they are running an amazing special on EcoTimber's engineered wood. The total cost of using the engineered product is $1200 less than using the bamboo (which has to get glued down using a fairly expensive adhesive).

What do you think? I didn't think I would like engineered wood, but this stuff is pretty nice. EcoTimber's product doesn't off gas (they don't use formaldehyde) and it goes down much more quickly than the bamboo, which will need to be glued down.

Of course, the glued down product doesn't have to get completely ripped out if there's every water here again. Just the areas where there is water get replaced. Floating floors seem to get completely ruined if one part gets water under it (the liner wicks the water).

Maybe I should ask 2D if they plan on doing any plumbing before I make my final decision.

Update: Scratch my whole post. A developer snapped up all of the stock on the floors when the price cut was announced. What a bummer. I hope my floor guy doesn't mind the extra labor of gluing bamboo down!
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cheap, little fixes

Back when I first moved into my place, I was in love with Bernhardt furniture. At the time, a lot of what they were doing fit my style. Martha Stewart had just debuted a line with the company and while I wasn't a Martha fan back when, I bought a few things from the collection, including my coffee table.

Five years later, I still love my coffee table...square, two tiered, with black glass, it hides my magazine stacks quite well. Unfortunately, I've noticed some scratches on the black paint that coats the glass. They keep showing up on the lower piece of glass, so perhaps I've hit the glass with the vacuum. Regardless, the scratches started getting more noticeable.

For some reason, I kept thinking I'd have to send the glass out to have it repaired. At the craft store over the weekend, I realized that there's this simple product called glass paint. Normally, you'd bake something painted in this sort of paint, but I figured I would give it a shot. The 50% off coupon I got in the mail for the craft store made this a pretty cheap experiment.

Total cost: $3

Anyone else have a cheap fix to share? As I've stated before, I'm not especially crafty, so I don't naturally think of a craft store solution to household problems.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In the Tweeds is on the move

If you're part of the design blog community I'm sure you read In the Tweeds. If you're not, you may remember that I mentioned Leila from In the Tweeds a few weeks ago, in a post about a mantle project that she had to abandon because of a move to Mississippi. Leila's mother brought the mantle to Saint Peter's Attic, a consignment shop in Ivy (right near And George and House of Jacobus).

Leila stopped in Charlottesville for a few days to visit her family before continuing down south and we got together to chat last Saturday morning. After getting sufficiently caffeinated, we decided to pay the mantle a visit. When we finally spotted it (the owner of the store had to point it out to us because there is so much to see in the house!), I was shocked by how big it was. I can only imagine how long it took to strip the paint off this thing.

If anyone is looking for a project, this is waiting at Saint Peter's Attic. Hurry over there...this elk is willing to fight you for it.

No, wait. Two elks are willing to fight you for it!

The shop owner told us that the house used to be an inn and the ginormous trophies (there are three total) came with the place. I think I would have asked for a price reduction.

Happy moving, Leila! I know the design blog crowd can't wait to see what you do with this diamond in the rough!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

C & A Camp Giveaway winner!

The winner is...

As if this means anything

Micah from The Yellow Front Door!

You need to go check Micah's house out. She's done some fantastic work on her place...and she seems to share an affinity for Benjamin Moore's Quiet Moments.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Dont forget to enter the giveaway!

Just a quick reminder that you have until 10 PM Eastern tonight to enter the final giveaway in the trilogy sponsored by one of Charlottesville's newest boutiques, C & A Camp. This week's giveaway is for an all natural nail polish and polish remover set by Karma Organic.

Head on over to the original giveaway post to enter now! I'll post the winner's name tomorrow.

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A quick tour through Charlottesville's Woolen Mills section

When I moved here, I was tickled that Charlottesville had two news & arts weeklies. In Boston and Providence, we only had one (The Phoenix). Many people seem to have strong opinions about our publications, but I've always enjoyed reading both. I have to admit that Cville Weekly edges out The Hook a little bit because I know some nice people who work there and because of their monthly Abode section.

Abode has great features about design, green living, and architecture in Charlottesville. When the little turquoise newspaper boxes have a new issue in them, I'm overjoyed.

I recently realized that the Cville Weekly staff has a jam packed Youtube channel and there are a number of Abode videos! Check out this one, where the editor films a tour of homes with modern architecture in the Woolen Mills section of Charlottesville.

The snow doesn't make for the best scenery, but I definitely saw a few homes I hadn't noticed before since I don't spend much time in Woolen Mills.

Can you tell that we have a renowned school of architecture in this town? :)
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend projects for you via Craigslist

Saturday used to be Craigslist day around here and I haven't been very good about keeping that up. Here are a few items on the Charlottesville and Richmond Craigslists for those of you who might be looking for a little project.


First of all, this little bench is only $10 and the seat is upholstered in burlap. Paint that wood and you could have a wannabe Danish/Swedish thing going on. Looking a little more closely, it needs to be reupholstered, but you wouldn't need more than a remnant to recover it.

You all are lucky I don't have extra space for storage because I'd be snapping this up myself. Someone in Rugby Road is selling a Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams Alexa sofa. If you've been reading for a while, you know that I have an Alexa in my living room. It costs way, way more than the $375 the seller is asking. The seller adds that the price is not firm.

Second up is an oval dining table that takes a leaf. The photo is horrible, but for $30, I'd snap it up, slap some paint on it, and see if I could find it a home.


This $50 dresser is begging for a coat of paint and some new hardware.

These cute side tables are only $25. I'd paint them black. I'm going to have that song in my head for the rest of the day now.

A four poster bed for $75 seems like a bargain, especially when it looks like it came from Martha Stewart's Bernhardt collection.

This table looks a little shabby, but it's only $20. Some people spend more than that on coffee in a week. I'm sure it will look infinitely better with a coat of paint.

Anyone have a little project in the works for this weekend? Care to share you plans?
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Early review of spray spackle

Last month, you may recall that I had my old thermostat moved so space on a wall could be freed for a piece of art. Until this week, the hole left by the thermostat (huge because the builders put the thermostat in before mud was put on the walls) was covered by that art.

I decided to patch the spot this week. I've been doing this slowly since this is my busy season at work. I decided to give a new spray spackling product a try. So, here are my supplies:

I had my doubts about spraying spackle. The first pass was very messy, but that was my own fault...I applied it too heavily. I realized that the beauty of this stuff is that you can apply super thin layers of spackle. For the past couple nights, I've added a layer, feathered the edges out with the joint compound tool thingy up there in the picture, and let it dry.

Night 1:

Night 2:

I'll do one more coat tonight and then paint over the weekend. I have a feeling that I won't need to do too much sanding because the product goes on so lightly and smoothly. We'll see.

I also decided to see how it could do just covering a hole left by a toggle anchor (a little larger than the width of a pencil). I'll report back on Monday about that.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

What were your house hunting "hang ups"?

Photo courtesy of

When we watch real estate shows on TV, my boyfriend and I always have a laugh when a potential home owner has highly specific, uncommon preferences. For example, we once saw an episode of House Hunters on HGTV that followed a couple whose main criteria for a home was that the driveway be wide enough for side-by-side parking. So, their dream house at a reasonable price was out of the question if the driveway required one of them to park behind the other.

I'm sure we all have our hang ups, though. The last time I was apartment hunting in Boston, I obsessed about the number of outlets in each room because I had lived in a very old home before where there were few outlets. I had a little check list that I brought with me to each appointment and I clearly remember counting outlets. I'm sure the brokers thought I was crazy.

I'm curious about what your "must haves" were the last time you house hunted (or what they will be when you start your next search). As I've mentioned in the past, I'm still about two years away from that process, but I've already started to think about what I want. Right now, most of my thoughts are pretty general (number of bedrooms, basement of some sort, etc.), but I wonder if I'll eventually have something as specific as the side-by-side parkers on House Hunters.

By the way, the photos is an attempt at sarcasm.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spray spackling?

The jury's still out on this new, spray spackle product that I decided to try. Most pictures coming tomorrow. I have another coat to add and then some sanding and painting. I'm a little nervous and am sort of wishing I went the traditional route. Has anyone else tried this stuff before? What was your experience?

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The last installment of the C&A Camp trilogy

It's sort of fitting that this is the last installment of my C&A Camp series. Shop owner Carlin Camp has returned from abroad full of stories, ideas, and new purchases (well, those are still en route, thanks to baggage troubles). Now that you've been reading about her lovely store and those in the same little area, I hope you'll thinking about paying us a visit here in Charlottesville to see them in person!

See the bottom of this post for the winner of giveaway #2. For now, on to giveaway #3!

Up for grabs this week is a nail polish and polish remover set from Karma Organic. The polish remover is chemical free! I had no idea such a thing existed. I thought acetone free was the most eco-friendly nail polish remover could be. I guess I was wrong.

Oddly, these are produced by a business based in Ridgewood, New Jersey, my hometown!

Here's the deal:
The Prize: Nail polish and remover set from Karma Organic

To Enter:
Post a comment...say whatever you'd like.

Extra chances to win:
Followers of this blog will get a 2nd entry! Those who tweet or post about this blog will get another entry. Just return and link to your post and include @smallchic if you tweet.

Do it by:
Monday, February 15st at 10 PM Eastern

Small print: If you don't have a blogger account, you can enter by picking the "Name/URL" option under the comment box. Enter your name and leave the URL line blank. Be sure to leave your email address!

"Slip4" is the winner of the taper candles from last week! Slip, please email me your contact info so I can mail these out to you. You'll also be happy to know that Ed is going to be a guest writer for Cville Weekly's Abode section starting this month!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Change of pace: a recipe

Forgive me, dear readers. I'm a day behind. I was supposed to announce last week's giveaway winner today and present my next giveaway, but I am going to push that to tomorrow. I'll leave the giveaway open until tonight since some of you may have lost power over the weekend.

I don't think I've shared a recipe on this blog, but this one is so different and insane that I figured I'd share it. I read about things called bacon quilts and bacon explosions a little over a year ago. My boyfriend was enthralled, so I promised to make one for Superbowl Sunday last year. I thought it was gross, but it was a complete hit. I agreed to make the Bacon Explosion once each year, on Superbowl Sunday.

Warning: if you love pork products, proceed with caution. This recipe may turn you into a junkie in need of a fix. If anyone in your home has any sort of health issues, skip this post completely.

Ingredients (fairly simple)
1 package of your favorite bacon
1 package of your favorite sausage (not the little link kind, the big kind)
BBQ rub
BBQ sauce
garnish (I use peppers, onions, and cheese)

The cook times will vary. You want the inside of this thing to hit 165 degrees. You can cook this on the grill or in a smoker, but I just used my oven on a low setting. If you cook at 250, it will take 2.5 hours. I basted the finished product with a little more barbecue sauce before we took it to a Superbowl party. I also made some biscuits on which to serve the sliced roll.

1. Weave a bacon quit.

2. Cook up a few pieces of bacon and set aside.

3. Spread about a pound of sausage over the quilt with a piece of wax paper between them.

4.  Assure your dog that none of this is for him.

5. Spread some BBQ rub over the sausage.

6. Add toppings.

7. Drizzle some BBQ sauce on top.


8. Finish things off with the cooked bacon.

9. Use the wax paper to help you roll the sausage up.

10. Once the sausage roll gets to the end of the bacon quilt, roll the entire thing the other way.

11. Transfer to a foiled lined pan and you're ready to go!

12. Cook on low heat for a few hours, until the middle hits 160-170 degrees.

I'll be back to post about decor stuff tomorrow!
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