April 18, 2014

technology is laughing at me and a guest post

I need a drink people. A nice stiff G&T for breakfast sounds right. This week I've had to put my trusty laptop to rest. (hand over heart) She was a good little red laptop and I'll miss her. But luckily the smarty pants at the Apple store were able to save most of my data and I now have a new computer. Not really what I wanted to spend $$ on, but damn is she pretty. So while I figure out my new world of computing I'll be taking the day off from Fess Up Friday. And if I owe you an email. its coming, as soon as I figure out where my email is.




But have no fear, I am not leaving you empty handed. Head over to my friend Julia's at Cuckoo 4 Design where I am talking about my very sweet pup Zoey. Enjoy the crazy amount of photos of puppies and babies and I'll be back next week!

Happy Weekend!

April 16, 2014

one room challenge - the bathroom edition week 3

We are already at the half way point of the One Room Challenge people. (You can catch up on week 1 here and week 2 here) Let's say it all together - where does the time go?!

Progress is happening at a good clip in my sister's little guest bathroom


and we've gone from this


to this. Tiling is in progress and the hall is being painted as we speak/type/read.


So this week I thought I'd share some scores and a major bomb. Namely what is happening on this wall. As I had said before, a bathroom is a hard place to have much originality, so I was on the hunt to add some sort of...something to make this little spot shine. Great idea, in theory.

One area I thought I could do this was with the sink. This bathroom is so petite that there were hardly any vanities that would fit. Also, have you looked at vanities lately? Not very exciting unless you want to spend the earth. Since this is a guest bathroom, storage wasn't a must so I was able to convince my sister to ditch the vanity idea and go for a stand alone sink. I envisioned a sexy wall mount number but those can also be a pretty penny, and without an IKEA near by my options were limited.


So I went to the best place for unique bathroom supplies, ReStore, and was thrilled to find this little number. She was very cool, very shallow (which meant she wouldn't swallow a lot of space) and she was $19. Ding Ding. Yes, she was yellow, but that was nothing a bit of reglazing wouldn't take care of.


Wall mount faucets are a bit more than regular ones but I quickly found one I liked, got that ordered and started calling reglazing people. Crickets. I couldn't get anyone to call back. After finally cornering one guy on the phone he flipped out that the sink wasn't already attached to something and said it would be about $275 to reglaze. Really? I love a good deal as much as the next person, but the faucet and reglazing were blowing my margin and this deal of a sink was fast becoming not much of a deal.

To make me feel better I took the sink over to dry fit it and see how fab it would look...and it was 1.5" too wide. Who measured this damn thing anyway? Or right, that would be me. Strike #3.

The cherry on top was when the faucet came and the spout stuck out too far, meaning the water would have gone over the sink rather than in it. It was time to call this sink a bust. I hate busts. So frustrating.

Luckily I've had the lighting to make me feel better.


I found this lantern for a steal at my favorite antique store a while back. I don't know about you but vaulted ceilings in a bathroom mean one thing - wonderful overhead lighting. This lantern wasn't electrified but we took it to a local lighting shop who was able to do the job, make the new pieces look as old as the rest and all in it was still cheaper than a new lantern. Now that's a deal. (If you need a good lighting shop in St. Louis let me know and I'll pass on their name.)


The patina of the lantern reminded me so much of the great gooseneck light I got at this sale. At the time I had no idea where it would go, just that it was too cool and too cheap to pass up. I love it when the lighting stars align. With more scores than bombs I think we are headed in the right direction (knock on wood).

Be sure to check in with all of the other great ladies to see how things are moving.


April 14, 2014

i'm cheating on my house

Now that it is (finally) nice outside, I'm back to taking the long way...everywhere. There is not a road, avenue or lane that I have not explored in St. Louis and I will turn down any street in hopes of sneaking a peak at a good house. The terms "private street" or "residents only" mean nothing to me. If there is a residential street within 20 miles of here, I have been down it.

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The girls don't even ask "where are we going" anymore. They know their crazy mom is just taking another one of her rides and we'll eventually arrive...somewhere.

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But there are a small handful of houses that I drive by no matter the time of day or the weather. My bucket list houses. The houses that I would move heaven and earth to buy if they ever became for sale.

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They are always old, usually run down and often appear to be 'virginal' (untouched and never rehabbed). All of them have great lots in wonderful (to me) locations. They are the houses that you drive by and never notice and I want them.

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I really do love my house and can't think of leaving (anytime soon) but I do catch myself dreaming of living in those suckers. What I would do to them, how I would bring them back to life. It makes for a great Sunday drive.

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What about you? Do you have any local houses that are on your bucket list? Ever drive a little out of your way to go thru a favorite neighborhood? Always wondered what was down that private street but have been afraid to turn? Stick with me, I'll show you around.


April 11, 2014

fess up friday - swoon worthy

Let's take a trip on this beautiful spring Friday to visit my girl across the Atlantic. Fess Up Friday is featuring Kimberly from Swoon Worthy and I couldn't be more excited. If you don't know Kimberly and her corner of the web, you should. She has a dressing room every girl would love, she is a color queen and she and her man are wrapping up one sexy bathroom reno. And I will continue to twist her arm until she sets up that Etsy shop - the world needs her art for sale. So Kimberly, Fess Up...



First up, I just want to say a very big thank you to Elizabeth for inviting me to take part in this brilliant series. I have long admired her eclectic and colourful style and having a night of getting hammered on G&Ts with her is on my bucket list because wow, that would be a good night.  Girl is seriously hilarious.  Also, her daughter's bedroom is on my list of BEST ORC's EVAH because who doesn't like a deer with flowers coming out of its head? No one. That's who.


A little bit about me... I'm an American ex-pat who's lived in England for nearly 13 years and in fabulous-but-rainy Manchester for the last 5. My accent is a bit all over the place but my style is still seemingly rooted in the US and people will often say it's very different from the norm you see here in the UK.  That's okay with me. One thing you will notice immediately is that I LOVE colour and I'm a magpie when it comes to gold and brass.





My other half and I have spent the last nearly 4 years creating a home we both love with our own two hands on a pretty modest budget.




When people see the pictures I share on my blog, they assume we are nearly done with our home.




And that's when I get to laugh so hard, I have tears steaming down my face. Crying with laughter? Or merely crying? I'll let you decide.

Because I harbour a dark, dirty secret. A secret I'm letting you hair readers into.

Ready? When you walk into our house, THIS is the nightmare you are greeted with.


Killer kitty!!!

No, actually, it's not the cat.  It's the marked up white walls, a stained and worn beige carpet, popcorn ceilings... don't mind all the towels and various bathroom accessories dotted around - we're in the middle of a bathroom remodel which means every room somehow gets to participate in the chaos.  These pictures make it look okay.  It's really really not okay.


Want to use the bathroom? Sure, don't catch anything on that disgusting light switch that controls the light in there though. Oh, it's fine, just make sure you wash your hands before and after.


And on your way out the door, don't mind that weird cut out in the original flooring. We think despite the fact there is nothing beneath the flooring, perhaps it was used to hide drugs. Or bodies. We're not here to judge.


So is the house done? Oh not by a long shot. Does it embarrass me when we have visitors and I have to usher them through our horrible hallway before you get to the good stuff?  Oh yes, it does. Is the hallway in this list of priorities to get done? Well, until we get the other rooms done, it'll probably be the last thing that gets attention.  In the meantime, I'll just have to live with my dirty secret.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for allowing me this deep cleanse of my soul! Can the next deep cleanse include the carpets? ;)

April 9, 2014

one room challenge - the bathroom edition week 2

Welcome back to week 2 of the One Room Challenge (you can catch up on the plan from week 1 here). We are only seven days in but we are off to a good start.


You may remember we started off with this; we had nowhere to go but up, right?


Demo was swift, thanks to a small bathroom and a hard working contractor. A contractor that also happens to be my very generous uncle. That's right, I'm either a genius or in the process of creating the most awkward Thanksgiving ever as I'm working with my sister and my uncle. I like to layer my stress, just like I layer my patterns. It adds a bit of spice to life.  So far though, we have worked together like a well oiled machine. It must be in the genes.




Plumbing fixes have been made and we took advantage of the open walls to move things ever so slightly, scootching the toilet over just a smidge to give a bit more elbow room for a new sink.



The backer board has been laid on the floor, the new tub is in place and green board is going up. We mean business in this family. And now that the tub is in place, you can get a better perspective on the size of this bathroom. Petite.


With such a small space though I am often staring out of the bathroom into the hallway. The unfinished hallway. Obviously my sister got halfway thru painting before realizing yellow wasn't her bag. So I've convinced her that we need to spruce this little spot up as well. After all, you can't have a fab bathroom next to a half painted hallway. Not on my watch.

This next week will be putting in the rest of the dry wall and maybe, fingers crossed, start tiling. If there is one thing I've learned about bathroom renos, it is that finger crossing is a must.

Be sure to check in with the other lovely ladies to see their progress for the week. And come back next week when we talk lighting, fixtures and fabric.



April 7, 2014

the love and hate of painted furniture

Start your engines people, the week has begun. Hopefully y'all enjoyed some good times this weekend. We were busy beavers with track meets, home projects, ORC check ins and several trips to the park. And in between all of that I was able to go out to a huge flea market that is new to the St. Louis area.

It was an amazing turn out in a beautiful (and muddy) location and I saw tons of great accessories and fabulous booths. But as I walked deeper and deeper into the market there was one thing that started to bum me out. Everyone had great furniture but all. of. it. was painted. Some of it was just slopped with white paint, and some of it was beautifully done in fab colors.

And to be honest, it really bummed me out. Does everything have to be painted? What about refinishing the furniture instead? It would involve the same prep time and the same amount of work (to do it right). Don't ruin a beautiful secretary by drowning it in gallon of cheap paint.


And then I turned the corner and saw this. Beautiful. Amazing. Head spinning console. I thought of a million places this could go and a dozen people who needed it in their home.


Obviously you know I love painted furniture as I've shown here, here and here. And I'm not suggesting it goes away entirely, but I think we need more pieces in their original state.

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What do you think? Would you consider refinishing your next vintage find rather than painting it? Would you be more likely to buy something that was refinished or painted?

April 4, 2014

fess up friday - my interior life

Fess Up Friday today is one I could have written myself. The lovely and uber talented Kathy of My Interior Life is here and I'm thrilled. Kathy and I see eye to eye when it comes to style and today's post is just another example of why she is my design-self of the south. So Kathy, what do you have to share?



I'm so excited to be here at Little Black Door today. Elizabeth is one of my favorite bloggers - so funny and real with both a killer sense of style and eye for color. What more could you ask for? She's a girl after my own heart. As an interior design blogger and decorator myself, I share her love of classic and traditional elements with some color and other unexpected elements thrown in for fun. Which actually leads me to fess up to a shameful decorating secret that I've been harboring for some time.

But first, I'll give you a hint by showing you some beautiful rooms that I just picked off my Pinterest boards . . .












So, what do these rooms have to do with me or my secret you might ask? Look closely at them. What do they all have in common (besides just being fabulous)? You got it - they're all white rooms. And I love them all. But guess what? I've got no white rooms in my own home! Yep, you read that right. I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but in my open concept home we went with a light, creamy (dare I even say the word?) beige (cringe) in most the spaces on the first floor. I know, I know . . . beige is boring. Beige is bland. What was I thinking? Well, besides my husband's vetoing the white idea, I didn't think it would work in our house. It just seemed too stark at the time when we had the walls painted several years ago. There I said it.

So . . . I've broken the cardinal rule of decorating by not using the clean, crisp white in my own home. Oh, the horror.




And yes, I love full-on color in certain rooms too like my dining room.


So, is it so horrible not to have any white rooms in my home? Are you shocked and appalled?? I hope not. But I do still love to look at white spaces. And who knows, I may go white at some point. I change my mind a lot. Ah, the joys of decorating and design ADD!

Thanks so much, Elizabeth, for having me. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Raise your hand if you can relate. I've got two hands up myself. Thanks Kathy!
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