Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Taking a step towards hoarding

I did something highly unusual this weekend. I bought something with absolutely no intention of using it in my home. I bought them to tuck away. This is something I never do.

I couldn't resist these, though. They're organic cotton and they were a "double local" purchase...the company that makes them is local and I bought them from Anita Davis, of Pillow Mint.

So what am I going to do with these? I see them on a day bed in a future home. We're probably two years from having that home, but a girl can design in advance, can't she? I might go pull out my fan decks next.

By the way, Anita is now doing in home consultations. She's like Stella & Dot for bedding!
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Seagrass revisited

Now that I've had a few moments to breath, I thought I'd take a couple pictures of the new seagrass rug in the bedroom and address a couple of the comments that came in. The smell I mentioned is already fading...or maybe we've just gotten used to it.

I bought the rugs from Home Decorator's Collection after weighing quite a few options. It seems as though no matter what your source, these rugs were coming from China. The HDC rugs had mitered corners and rubber matting underneath them. I was surprised that Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn have the cheaper stitching. I liked rugs I saw on the Ballard Designs website best, but they weren't going to be in stock for months.

The feel underfoot is interesting. It actually made me giggle for the first few days. It's like wearing massage shoes. I could never wear those Adidas flips that all the girls in college wore for shower shoes, so I must be more sensitive than most. Marc says he likes walking on them, but doesn't like crawling on them to play with Baxter.

I was vacuuming the rugs today and was so happy that the Dyson doesn't suck them up. My old rug was light enough that the Dyson would pull it up and make vacuuming incredibly hard. Have any other Dyson owners experienced this? I emailed Dyson about it back when I got my vacuum and they said it was a common problem. I was instructed to call them to do the fix with their instruction over the phone and I never got around to it. Yet another reason why I'm not 100% thrilled with my Dyson.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Rugs are in!

My new seagrass rugs are in place and I LOVE them! The reviews online complain about how smelly they are. Some people even said they returned theirs. I guess they didn't realize that they would smell like seagrass?

I'm not a huge fan of the smell, but Marc likes it. Maybe it's a gender thing...my dad likes the smell of cut grass and I think it's a horrible smell. Does anyone else have seagrass in their home? Does the smell dissipate or is it here to stay?

Anyway, here's a sneak peak. Baxter is no longer looking like a first-time ice skater when he trots around my place.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just did it

I painted the furnace cover to match the wall last night. Once again, the Aura paint seamlessly matched the paint that had gone onto the wall about two years ago. I love that paint.

This is the last time I'm taking a picture from this angle. What do you think?

The boyfriend doesn't like it. It's growing on me.

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To paint or not to paint?

Last week, I showed you my living room and there were a slew of comments about the HVAC cover that graces every living room in my condo complex. When I first moved here, I thought it was a really odd placement, but over time, I've stopped seeing it.

I'm a little reluctant to paint the cover because I don't think it'll blend in. I think it'll scream "look, I painted something that isn't part of the wall." Luckily, my next door neighbor wanted to paint her cover. I happily obliged.

Here's her before:

The paint color is SW Harvester

The paint is still drying. How do you think it looks?

I'm still not sure. Is anyone a real estate agent? Have you seen something like this painted? If so, what have been the reactions from buyers?
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Big Reveal, Day 3 (The Dining Nook)

I've mentioned before that my dining room is really more of a nook. I'd love to have a true, round table in there, but the space is so narrow that I had to have an oval or rectangular table. The oval seemed to be the best shape for the tiny space.

I wish I had time to run out for flowers to recreate this picture:

But this will have to work for now...

I didn't order a seagrass rug for the dining area...maybe it needs one?

There's the little owl!

That's the front door and the photo was taken from the kitchen. It really is a nook!
The bowl and dish are landing spots for keys, sunglasses, and mail

I originally thought I wanted pristine, shiny mirrors, but I actually like that these are antiqued.

One of the three rugs I ordered arrived. When the other two arrive, I'll post some new pictures and get your opinions about adding a rug to this space. There will be a large rug in the living room and a small one by the front door. I didn't order one for the dining nook because I thought it would be overkill.

Of course, if money were no object, I'd have the whole place done with custom rugs, just like some of the beautiful homes Joni has shown on her blog. How do you feel about rugs in dining rooms?
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Monday, March 22, 2010

A Rate My Space flashback

The Big Reveal will continue tomorrow...

Before the community where I live was converted to condos, I rented my unit. I was the first tenant of the space and spent a lot of time day dreaming about what I'd do if I owned it. A lot of that dreaming was done while looking at posts on HGTV's Rate My Space website. Amateurs and professionals alike post pictures of their spaces and other rate and make comments. In the early years, the pictures were almost always inspirational.

Just as we look forward to new entries posted by certain bloggers in the design blog community, there were certain RMSers whose posts were eagerly anticipated. I personally loved posts by an RMSer who went by "hpj185". After living in old buildings for years in Boston, I didn't know what to do with my new construction apartment in Virginia. HPJ's pictures from multiple new construction homes were great inspiration.

When the Rate My Space TV show came out, the site was flooded with people asking for help from the show. I stopped visiting the site and forgot about those wonderful posts by hpj185.

The other day, I had a flash back to that time. Jennifer Sergent, former editor of the awesome Washington Spaces magazine, wrote about that RMSer on her blog. Her name is Heidi Johnson and she lives in Warrenton, VA. Pictures from her new home are on Jennifer's blog and they are just as fun to look at as those RMS photos from a few years ago.

I think I'm going to revisit my Rate My Space account and post a few of the pictures I shared this week, just for fun.

All photos in this post are from HPJ185's RMS posts. Click her name to see more!

This is really odd. I googled my RMS username to find my profile on the site so I could post my living room pictures from the other day. Instead, I found a post by another blogger about my rooms on the site! Eek!
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

DIY cable & cord management

I pointed out the mess of cords under my console the other day. I said I was okay with the cords showing, but I really wasn't.

I've already turned everything off by accident by hitting the power button on the surge suppressor with the vacuum. I had to find a way to tuck all of those cords out of the way. Jane from The Borrowed Abode suggested a 3M product that helps you control all of your cables and I think she's posting an entry about using them at her place.

I've been stuck at home with a strange bug (I always get sick at this time of year...fever, sore throat, cough, etc.), so I didn't feel up to going out to find those little 3M thingies. Instead, I fashioned the cheapest DIY cord management system in the entire world.

Behold a flap of the flooring adhesive box that has been sitting on the counter since Tuesday, cut in half and slid (okay forced) into the space between my console and its legs:

Add a couple twist ties to keep the cords loosely wrapped and off the floor and voilĂ :

By the way, has anyone noticed that all the American hosts on HGTV say "wah-lah" instead of "voilĂ " now? It's like nails on a blackboard to me.
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Friday, March 19, 2010

The Big Reveal, Day 2 (The Bedroom)

My little bedroom is a hard place to take pictures, but I think these will give you an idea of how the new floors look in there. For comparison, check out the pictures of what the bedroom looked like back when I first painted it this creamy, buttery color (SW Compatible Cream).

I've been thinking about changing the color scheme for a while, so the bedroom colors blend with the gray-blue in the rest of my place, but I love my bedding, especially my bee duvet from Restoration Hardware (I stalked ebay for quite some time to find the duvet in "goldenrod", a color that wasn't produced for very long).

I can't wait to get a rug down here. I love my bed, but I think it'll look a little nicer when there's a rug under it.

Bedding from Restoration Hardware...but it doesn't look like an RH bed.
I should work there to learn how they do it.

I still need to go through all of my accessories to decide what I want on my side tables.

This is one of Baxter's favorite spots for napping in sunbeams.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Big Reveal, Day 1 (The Living Room)

It's been over three months since I've had an accessorized home. After the flood that happened around Thanksgiving, I sent a lot of things to Marc's storage unit and tucked a lot up above the kitchen cabinets in anticipation of the floors getting redone.

The holidays came, then my busy season at work, and before I knew it, it was March. I've finally gotten my act together and am so excited to share the end result of this episode. I'll share photos from a different room each day. Seeing that there are only three main rooms in my little place, this series will be over on Monday. :)

I hope the artist doesn't see that Olivia the ewe is hanging next to that gigantic register. It's a total blight, but it can't be relocated. I'm thinking of staining or painting the legs on those chairs because they're such an odd color. I'm not sure if I should go for dark brown or black.

I debated retaking that picture of the console because of the cords under it. You know what? I don't have magic electronics. They have cords. I could photoshop them out, but I'd feel dishonest. So there they are.

I'm toying with raising the curtain rod a tad

You saw the desk earlier this week, so I don't think I have to retake that picture. It's there on the left. The desk used to be on the wall where the two slipcovered chairs are, under Olivia, but I moved it to the right of the sofa a while back. While I wish I had a side table next to the sofa (there's a garden stool for drinks, remotes, and books), I liked having natural light at my desk while I was working at home during the winter.

Baxter was no longer interested in being in the photos by the end of the "shoot"
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What's your style when making decor decisions?

When it comes to decorating decisions, I'm usually very slow. I have to weigh my options, search for inspiration pictures, and get input from friends and other bloggers before making a move. Kasey's post about her refrigerator search on her Thrifty Little Blog yesterday made me feel like I had plenty of company. But my style has started to change!

This whole flooring episode has me making quick decisions, which is pretty unusual for me. After months of thinking I would have natural, bamboo floors installed, I made a snap decision to switch to chocolate hickory when there was a sale at the green building supply on the stuff.

Over the weekend, Baxter wiped out while jumping off the bed each morning (at 4:21 AM each morning) and he's been slipping constantly when not in the living room or kitchen (living room has a rug, kitchen has icky linoleum). This led to ordering area rugs yesterday. I knew I wanted some natural fiber rugs for the bedroom and living room eventually, but after waking up to that horrible thud and thinking my little guy was hurt two nights in a row, I decided the purchase couldn't be pondered very long.

I looked over the options at Ballard, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Overstock, NaturalAreaRugs.com, and SisalRugs.com. I narrowed the list down to Ballard and Restoration Hardware, then decided that I liked Ballard's seagrass rugs the best. I went to order them and found that they weren't expected in until the middle of May. Then, I looked at the Restoration Hardware rugs a little closer. They use a cheaper binding style (not mitered on the corners), which had me balking a bit at the higher price. Had they been mitered, I probably would have assumed they were a superior product.

Then, I remembered CSN and Home Decorators would probably have a huge selection of rugs. Sure enough, there were a number of strong contenders. The CSN rug I liked was by Safavieh, which I'm pretty sure is a reputable name in the rug world. However, some of the reviews made me think the color in the pictures might be off a little bit. What's more, the binding on the sample looked pretty sloppy. Wouldn't they pick the best specimen for the product picture? If that's the best example of the rug, what would I get if I ordered it?

Finally, I looked at Home Decorators and found a seagrass rug that had great reviews. The binding is a little wide, but it looks like a close match in color, which I like.

As I gathered those images, I found myself second guessing my choice. Maybe the Restoration Hardware rugs would have been worth the extra cost. Maybe I should have waited for the Ballard rugs to become available. What would you have done?

Is anyone gifted with decisiveness? I, clearly, am not. If Baxter wasn't having trouble with the floors, I would have waited weeks and weeks to make my purchase.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slowly getting back to normal

I made a quick visit to HomeGoods on a whim and found that their lighting section was full of great looking lamps. I snapped pictures of a few that I thought would look great in Marc's mother's house at the beach. As I walked away from the section, I realized that my desk could use a new lamp.

Though I've seen plenty of fun lamps at HomeGoods before, I've never taken one home.

Okay, I snuck in that little elephant because I thought he was cute. As for the lamps, I wound up with a short, round moon rock of a lamp that casts just the right amount of light. What do you think?

I hope my little $30 lamp works out. I just check it and it's UL listed, so I don't think there's anything to worry about, right?
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Gilt Groupe Fail, part 2

Speaking of drop shippers, remember my last problem with Gilt? Seems they feel really, really badly about it. They're sending me some cuff links that I never ordered.

I'll give them a couple hours to realize they sent the email to the wrong batch of people. If they don't realize what they did, I'll let them know. Marc's not the french cuff sort of guy.
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Thank you, Target

Who knew there were DwellStudio items at Target that weren't on the website? I thought Target put everything but the kitchen sink up for sale on their website.

Correction: Target sells sinks.

Target doesn't really sell sinks. Someone else sells sinks and Target puts them for sale on their website. It seems that quite a few stores are getting into the drop shipping business, something that has been Overstock and CSN Stores' domain for quite some time (I've found both have far better communication that other drop shippers I've used, so I'm not knocking either of those).

Have you noticed all of this drop shipping bloating websites? Everyone is selling the knock of Ghost Chair or Thomas Paul pillows, it seems. I think all those extra products sometimes hide the store-specific items, like the DwellStudio line at Target. I found it pretty hard to find the DwellStudio stuff on their website and searched for a while to determine that my place mats aren't online (I was hoping to buy more). Target, Kmart, and Sears all seem to have joined the drop shipping crew.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

A recap of the week

It's a crazy week at work, so I haven't had any time to get things back in order since the flooring was put down. I'm hoping to have some time over the weekend to make this place look habitable again and will share pictures on Monday. It's good. It's really, really good!

I had a few surprises in the mail this week. Business cards I ordered from Pam at pixelimpress arrived. I had ordered mini-cards from Moo a while back, but they didn't look all that nice. Pam's cards are beautiful and she's more than willing to customize colors or fonts to fit client's needs. Her prices are extremely modest, especially in light of the thick, rich feel of her cards. Pam has a great blog where she talks shop and also talks decor.

Then came a package that was totally unexpected. Amy from Pemberley Collections is far more organized than I because she got a giveaway item in the mail within hours of getting my mailing information.

Isn't that a beautiful logo/label? This is the mailer Amy sent!

My giveaway winners usually have to wait a little while as I search for an appropriately sized box and packing materials in which to pack their items. Sorry, ladies. Amy has inspired me to be better about that! Amy has a store (link above) and a blog. I'm always amazed by those of you who run stores and blog. I own no store and sometimes I can't churn out a post.

I'm not sure I can let guests use a towel this pretty

I'll post pictures of another item I picked up this week in a few hours...
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shop Tour: Shades of Light

Long before I moved to Virginia, I was hooked on the Shades of Light catalog. It started showing up at my place in Boston years ago, back when there were as many drapes as light fixtures on those pages (they've since moved away from the drapes, but have lots of great rugs). When I was new to Virginia, I was looking for drapes and prowled around their website, sure that I had seen some beautiful ones in their catalog before. I didn't find drapes, but I did find the address of their retail store and their two outlets.

After transporting some rescue dogs last weekend, we decided to stop into the retail store to see what was new. I didn't want to bother the staff because the store was so busy, so I quickly took a few pictures. The Shades of Light staff has always been very nice and they have a staff blogger, so I hope they don't mind that I took these.

I tried to take a picture that would show just how big this place is. I took this looking across the store...and the store is deeper than it is wide. However, for some reason, it's extremely easy to find what you want. Items are grouped by type of fixture and by style. So, if you see a pendant you like, odds are you'll like what's hanging around it, too.

They sell furniture, mirrors, and some decorative objects, too. These monkeys remind me of ones I've seen on a few blogs recently.

The shade section is massive. A few shades were marked down to $1.

I should have bought a few crystals to replace ones that were missing from the bathroom fixture I bought off ebay.

If Stella & Dot made lamps, they'd look like this:

I love monograms, but I'm not sure how I feel about monogrammed lamp shades. They'd look cute in a child's room, though.

This gorgeous chandelier was just featured on the Shades of Light blog. It's beautiful!

The entire photo set (again, pardon the fuzzy pictures):

By the way, there are two outlet stores run by Shades of Light. One is in Midlothian, VA and the other is in Virginia Beach. Richmond bloggers John and Sherry from Young House Love have mentioned shopping at the Midlothian location before (here and here most recently). It's a gem sitting in a nondescript, suburban strip mall.
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