September 12, 2014

estate sale this weekend

We've made it y'all. Friday has arrived and I've got big plans to celebrate. If you are local, I highly suggest you check out this amazing estate sale. Emma is a friend of mine and helping out a neighbor who lives in a grand old house and has a lifetime full of amazing pieces that he is ready to part with. We are talking three floors of vintage finds, everything from furniture, rugs, fabric, linens, accessories and high quality vintage fashion. You can find more details here.

So St. Louis people, I hope to see you there! Everyone else, cheers to the weekend!

September 10, 2014

20 facts

Well there seems to be an unintentional theme going this week at LBD. I was tagged on Instagram by my dear Shelley at Crazy Wonderful to share 20 facts about myself. So in keeping with Monday's post, let's share some more today, shall we?

1. I'm left-handed and therefore I am not too great at using scissors.

2. I quote movies. Everyday all day long. The hubs and I talk in movie quotes and now even my girls have started quoting movies. It can't be explained. Most of the time people have no idea what I'm saying.

3. I got a perm the summer before my freshman year of college and I realized it was a mistake the day after I got it. I spent the summer washing my hair and trying my best to brush that sucker into submission.

4. I'm horrific at small talk. I don't like it and I don't do it well. So it worked out well to have married a man who is king of small talk. He can just do it for me.

5. Music is very important to me and Pandora is on all day everyday.  We listen to a lot of different things but my girls' favorite station is The GoGo's. I had three older sisters who had vastly different tastes in music and because of this I have a wide range of likes when it comes to music and I want my daughter's to have the same. Nothing makes me prouder than my girls knowing Eleanor Rigby, The Gambler and a lot in between.

6. I've been to each and every state in the lower 48. All by car. (a layover in an airport somewhere doesn't count). And of those states, I've been to 40 state capitals. We were a road trip family and my mom has a thing for state capitals.

7. I only have one pair of jeans. I'd much rather be in a dress or skirt. Or PJ pants quite frankly.

8. If I hear "I want a snack" one more time, I very well may loose my mind.

9. Patience is not something I have a lot of. Kids have helped with that a little. A little.

10. No one makes me laugh more than my husband.

11. My freshman year of high school my civics class attended a local political debate. I stood up and asked the opponent a pointed question and he told me, with microphone in hand, that if I wasn't careful people would start calling me "the B word." My teacher told me that women will face that when challenging a man but to stay strong and speak my mind. That teacher was a 60 year old man and he gave me my best women's lib moment.

12. I am a working mom, but I stay at home. And because of this, I don't feel like I fit well into either 'mom group'. This makes small talk at the playground difficult. Well, that and #4 above.

13.  My girls are smarter, stronger and funnier than I had ever imagined and I feel like I can't take any credit for that. They came that way and I can't wait to see what they become.

14. I was in a sorority in college and I loved every minute of it. Many of my dear friends are from that time in my life and the whole experience was positive from start to finish.

15. After college I was going to move to Ireland and open a bar called the Lactose Intolerant Monkey.

16. I met my husband in a bar in college. He was a bartender and I never paid for beer again.

17. I did go to Ireland after college, but came back due to #16.

18. I always imagined myself as a big city dweller, but I quickly realized that I am truly a small town girl. As long as I have a big city near by to visit once in a while, I'm happy with a quieter life.

19. I don't think TV is evil. How can something that created The Golden Girls be evil?

20. I like to prank call my husband during the day sometimes. Everyone needs a laughter break at work.

September 8, 2014

blog hop: a tour thru blogland

Happy Monday one and all! I hope your weekend was all you had hoped for. And if not, I hope you at least got to take a nap. Thank each and every one of you who commented and emailed me about the office reveal. Y'all know how to make me smile, that's for sure. And now whenever you imagine me working away, you know exactly where I am. Although, I doubt you ever imagine me working, but you know what I mean. That took a turn.

So today I get to play in the latest round of blogging musical chairs with the now well known blog hop. I was tagged by two lovely girls that I've long admired. First up, my dear Kimberly from Swoon Worthy.


Kimberly and I have been buddies since the early days and we share a deep love of color, and a good stiff drink. Her taste and skill is inspirational and I've loved watching her take England by storm as she gives them a big dose of expat style.


She is pretty much a big deal, and I will never stop twisting her arm until she opens up her Etsy shop, because on top of her design prowess, girlfriend is an artist!

And the other person who tagged me is the one and only Sarah M. Dorsey. If you don't know Sarah, let me be the first to congratulate you on finally crawling out from under that rock and give you her URL ASAP.


Sarah is pretty much the MacGyver of DIY. Anything you could think of Sarah can make and chances are it will look a million times better than the inspiration piece that she started with.

And she does it with such ease, and explains things so perfectly that she makes me completely believe that I could do those things too. I've learned so many invaluable tips and tricks from her, and to top it all off, she couldn't be any sweeter.

Thank you ladies for having me join in on the fun. Now to the questions...

Why do I write?
I don't really know how best to answer that (ironically, since it is a question about writing). Why do some people dance, or paint, or sing? Because it feels good and it feels natural. I've always written stories, I just didn't always have a forum in which to share them. I write in much the same way I chat with people in person in an attempt to be as authentic as I can with you because what is this whole virtual community about if not to build relationships, right? But with that said, I've always treated this blog (and the writing) as a selfish act, something I do purely for myself about something that I truly enjoy: design. So I write because I love to do it and I love to talk about design.

What are you working on?
For the first time in Little Black Door's life I find myself with far more going on outside of my home than I do inside of it. I have a few projects planned for this fall that include some renovations and repurposing but mostly I am working with a lot of amazing families in St. Louis and beyond on some pretty awesome projects. This will be a good test for me, because as I've discussed before, (here and here) I tend to want to talk about anything except myself. I've always focused the blog on my own house rather than talking about what I do for others. But as I get busier with others, the time to do stuff just 'for the blog' gets harder and the cat continues to chase its tail. So I'm just going to have to cut that tail clean off and move forward. Eww. So I guess that is a long winded way of saying, I'm working on living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. And I swear I'll get off my arse and start sharing them.

How does your blog differ from others in your genre?
I probably mention cocktails more than anyone else. Does that count? This really is a hard question as I think one of the things that is so valuable about reading design blogs and being apart of this community is that every single person is different in the way they express their style. I would say I'm more color heavy than some and I do my very best to attain something out of the box, but relatable. I'm very drawn to things that have already been around the block and have a story to tell and I hope to encourage others to try a local antique or consignment shop before going out to buy new.

What is your writing process?
Well, I'll tell you, it is not one that sets a good example, that's for sure. Everything I've read about blogging, and to be honest it hasn't been much, says you should have a schedule and plan out your posts in advance etc. And well, I'm the opposite. I am a fly by the seat of my pants type of writer. Any time I've tried to follow a schedule I find I don't have much heart in what I write. It begins to feel more like a task rather than a pleasure, and that is when you've lost me. So because of that, I write when I feel inspired and when I have something to share. I'm of the opinion that you'd much rather like to read something with some teeth two or three times a week rather than a bunch of filler 5 days a week. Am I right?

So there I am. This was a great exercise really, I'm glad I did it. Thanks again Sarah and Kimberly!

And to keep the ball rolling, Sarah at 702 Park Project and my dear Albertina at Mimosa Lane, I want to hear your answers to these questions next Monday.

Do you like a good old fashioned Q&A? Who would you interview if you had the chance? Does a constant stream of questions from your children count as an interview? No wait, that's an interrogation.

September 4, 2014

home office makeover - before and after reveal

The time has come. I can put it off no longer. I cleaned off my desk, took some pictures and had a few G&T's because the office is done people! Let's rip the curtain off this sucker.

The goal was to turn a corner of my unfinished basement into an office that I wouldn't mind spending a few hours a day in using ONLY things I already had. How did I do?

pink desk, home office, basement office

Remember, this space has some pretty humble beginnings. I needed an office space, I live in a small house, and this was the best unused corner available. Cue the before and after pictures.

Everything was hosed down and then covered with bright white paint on the walls and ceiling. The floors were painted Bermuda Turquoise (Benjamin Moore) and gave a great base of color. To be honest, I could have just left it with the new paint and been thrilled. But you know I can't leave well enough alone.

The metal desk was a hand me down from my dad's old office (aka FREE). I sprayed it down with hot pink spray paint and stuck that beauty right in the middle of the room. The perfect spot for my lovely lady lamps, which are the only thing that I bought specifically for the office.

The chair is one of those, 'I have nowhere for it but I really like it' purchases last fall. I believe it was $15. It was stained the most horrible shade of yuck so I stripped it off with the intent to paint it. But I like the unfinished wood and it brings some nice warmth into the space. So it stayed. Underneath the desk is an old dhurrie rug I got several years back at an annual thrift sale for $2.

Remember Elmer? I found him at an estate sale in a few dozen pieces. Well he is all fixed and standing watch under my desk. He's my trusty butler who holds my drinks so they stay off of the desk and away from the computer. (I've been known to spill things.)

When the overhead pendant didn't end up working out, I decided to leave the ceiling alone and go with lamps instead. However, I did add a swing arm library sconce over the inspiration board. I'd gotten it several months back at Home Depot with the intent of putting it upstairs but never got around to it. I'm sensing a 'putting off projects pays off' theme here.

The inspiration board serves a great purpose as...inspiration. (duh) But, it also solved the issue of having a vast white wall behind me and not being able to use a single nail (nails in my foundation don't sound like a good idea to me) as well as falling into that whole already owned theme.  I mimicked the shape of the bamboo mirror to create the shape of the board with gold glittery tape. Because if you have a hot pink desk and lady lamps, you need gold glitter somewhere.

I didn't fill it up all the way as I think that is something that should happen over time but it was a fun experience that took me back to my Teen Beat days for sure. And although Johnny Depp circa 21 Jumpstreet didn't make it onto the wall, I did pay homage to my never ending love for Moonlighting with my handmade art from way back when. Oh Bruce, you were so funny back then.

And on that note, let's move on.



The paint and whatever other crap was under the stairs was removed and I put in some of the metal storage shelves we have for a bit of, well, storage. Now all my fabrics are in one place and I've got a whiteboard to keep me organized (in theory). And I'm going to have to remove all those pillows because the hubs came in and said "you have too many pillows" which just isn't true at all. What does he know.

The other rack of metal shelves (we got a few sets of these a long while back at Costco) now stores books, magazines etc.

The mirror was a CL purchase a while back thanks to my friend Charmaine who posted the mirror when she did a St Louis search. Yet another purchase I had no spot for when I bought it that has come in handy now. It was also another piece I had originally planned to paint but once I got it into the room decided I loved it as is.

On the other side of the room, the new window is a tie for 'best decision ever' with the paint for this space. That window has made a huge difference and it even opens and has a screen. Super fancy. I have it open a lot and get a nice breeze and a breath of fresh air. I'm in the basement, so any fresh air is welcome.

The curtains are leftover ticking fabric. Fabric hoarding to the rescue. The bamboo frame was a score at the estate sale trifecta.

Next to the window is the old wicker demilune table that you all helped me with. I went black and I love it. The armchair also came from the estate sale trifecta, I just removed her slipcover. The cushions need recovered at some point, but until then, a little fabric does the trick. The mats are from an Indie Mats warehouse sale last winter and they are a great solution for walls that can't take nails.

Pictures are a challenge in this room because as that sun moves at a rapid pace, so does my light. But on non picture taking days that is one of my favorite things about the space, there is always light moving thru this room so I can spend a lot of the day without lights on. A true surprise in a basement. Anyone else feel like sining This Little Light of Mine with me?

So there she blows. And I have pictures to prove that at one time, this room was clean.

Have you ever made a 'room' out of corner before? Do you keep a stock of items on hand for those 'just in case' times? You should. I'll testify that it is worth it.

September 2, 2014

irons in the fire

Happy fall y'all! OK, so maybe fall hasn't officially started but my pool is officially closed and my swimming suit is put away so in my mind, fall has begun.

Thanks to all who gave their two cents on a paint color for my little table. You had so many great ideas I kinda wish I had about four more tables so I could try them all out. I did make a decision though and got the sucker painted before the rain set in.

I hope everyone had a fruitful Labor Day weekend (if in fact you celebrate said holiday). I got a ton of work done, both on my house and for others. Here is a sneak peek of some of my work in the office. She's so close to ready for her close up. Soon my friends.

And I learned a valuable lesson - put something on Craigslist for free and suddenly you are more popular than Kim K. I had 43 text messages and 25 emails within the first hour. I felt like I was manning the phones at the Jerry Lewis telethon. And a tip for any of you looking to wheel and deal on CL - if the listing says TEXTS ONLY, NO phone calls, don't leave me several voicemails. They will be promptly deleted.

Today is a big day in the Little Black Door household as my baby starts pre-school today. So I'm off to take lots of pictures and then pretend to leave her confidently at school only to sneak behind a bush so I can peek at her thru the window.

Why do they grow so fast?

August 28, 2014

i want to hear from you

Ok people. It is put up or shut up time. I've been working on my home office for quite some time (you can read about it here, here, here and here) which is obvious by the number of 'here's. You know the drill - I start, life happens, and it gets pushed down the list. Then I start on it again and the vicious cycle continues. Blah blah blah.

Well since we are headed into Labor Day, I'm going to Labor on my office and get this sucka done. Get it, laboring on labor day for my labor space. Ha. Forgive me, I'm punchy on cold medicine.

So anyway, I've got my list and I'm ready to get started but I do have one thing that I need your help with.

I have a wonderful antique demilune table that I'm going to use in the space but I'm not liking it in its current, chipy white state. The dingy white against the crisp white walls make it look, well, dingy.

What color would YOU pick?

Keep in mind two things:
-  it has to be spray paint as I have no intention of loosing my mind by brush painting a wicker table. My children have already laid claim on the cause for my loosing my mind moment(s).
 - the top of the table is a beautiful stained wood that I plan to keep so that part won't be painted.

So with all of that in mind, what color would you pick? I'm wide open people (that's what she said). And you know me, I love color so I'm no afraid.

What say you?

August 25, 2014

do you flip a switch: overhead lights vs lamps

Happy Monday y'all. Did everyone have some rest and relaxation over the past 48 hours? I did it up right and feel like I've had several days off rather than just two. Summer is slipping away, you've gotta fit it in while you can people!

So today I've got light planning on the brain. I had a conversation with a friend not long ago who said she hates to walk into a her living room without being able to just flip the switch. She doesn't want to walk halfway across the room to turn on a lamp.

I get what she's saying, but especially in older homes it is common to have to walk into a room and turning on a lamp for a little bit of light.

Without being able to see the entire room, it looks as though the overhead light is used most in this space as there is only one library light in the whole room.

Where this room has plenty of both - a textbook example of light planning - overhead lighting, sconces and table and floor lamps spread through out the room at varying heights and sizes. The ideal is always the best of both worlds.

So which do you prefer? The ease of overhead lighting or the 'character' of a room full of lamps? How much light do you need in a space to feel comfortable? Just promise me you aren't using a bulb over 40 watts.

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