Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

Well, one of two actually, the other is in the jazz lounge and I haven't finished decorating it yet. Here is the main tree though. I put it in the kitchen since knocking down the kitchen wall made the space so large. It allows me to go a little hog wild when it comes to size. As usual, the tree was too big and I had to cut it down a bit. The ornaments are handout snowflakes made from discarded antique sheet music, modern silver glass balls, and antique blue green glass balls (that I got at a tag sale two weekends ago). Green and white lights. I finished and realized there was no star, so I whipped one together with a glue gun and more antique sheet music. The skirt is just a swath of left over upholstery fabric.
All in all- yea, I'm pretty proud of it! The second tree is going to be much more colorful- colored lights and lots of vintage brightly colored glass ornaments. I'll post pics when I'm done.

all lit up and glowing!

a close up of the star and some snowflakes.

and the cats have made it their personal mission to knock every single ornament off the tree.

I think it's my favorite Christmas tree ever :)

cupboards for the kitchen

 This past spring a dear friend of ours gave us a wonderful antique cupboard because he knew it was just our style- and it is. The rustic storage piece has been a God send- not only does it tie together our kitchen- the oodles of storage space within are super handy. Like kitchen islands- I love cupboards, and am constantly admiring other ones, even though I'm so fond of my current one. I did allow myself to purchase another much smaller cupboard that also fits in the kitchen. It was only $8 at the flea market- mostly because the door was off the hinges and it had no interior shelves. I fixed both those issues and now it sits under the white shelves on the outside wall of the kitchen. Some day, I might upgrade to a double wide step back cupboard- so I could have a little counter space too- though that may have to wait until I have a bigger house... Here are my two- and then some others than I love.

The petite dimensions are perfect for this little unused space in the kitchen. I'm storing my excess glassware inside currently.

And here are both cupboards in their respective places. (the big cupboard is currently on the other side of the window to make room for our Christmas tree) 

I adore how unapologetically rustic this cupboard is. It looks like it was picked fresh from a barn, and then set between two luxurious side chairs. 

Just the kind of storage that is beyond useful in a kitchen. But it would be pretty just about anywhere- I'd love to have something like this in my bedroom for sweater storage (I have about 300).

The surface on this cupboard is diving. An old green over red.  I wish the setting were a little brighter. If that were my house, I'd paint that brick white. 

Bright and cheerful- and the glass doors provide a wonderful place to display cherished glassware and plates

The chalky green color is great- the red I'm a little more hesitant about. This is a great option if you don't have a lot of space to spare though- and it's super cute.

I love the chippy paint and the form of this cupboard. Just the kind of counter space I want some day from a cupboard.

Beyond belief green. What a stunning enticing color. This little gem would look perfect anywhere. It has a distinctly European feel. 

Don't have the space in your floor plan for a full cupboard? How about a hanging one that goes over a counter top. The breadboard back on this one is an especially nice detail!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blue and green

This is going to make you laugh- but I'm already thinking hard about my spring decor. All this past summer I was buying vintage painted pieces of furniture in beautiful shades of teal, turquoise, light green, and soft blue. They didn't fit with my theme for the end of the summer, autumn, or Christmas, but that's fine because I'm saving them for my early spring decor- which is going to be inspired by the colors of water. The painted furniture will be one facet of this design, another will be my collection of antique blue and green vessels.
I've been collecting these pieces for about six years now, and can usually snag about five good items a year- which is to say I have quite a few now. That's a good thing though, because the impact is in the grouping here. When I get my spring decor out (I put it up the week between Christmas and New Years) I'll take some nice shots of my personal pieces. But here are some other great examples in rooms that I love~
I've only seen a few antique seltzer bottles in my travels. A collection like this is enviable. 

Just the hint of turquoise glass adds airiness to this entry way

I've decided I'm collecting vintage japanese glass floats now. I don't own one yet- but I intend to change that very soon.

An entire vignette of blue and green vessels. So pretty with the spring branches!

Generally, I think the smaller glass bottles can get a little fussy- here with the light behind them and the simple flower blossoms, harmony. 

Whatever it takes- I will be re-creating this as my dining room centerpiece come spring. So divine.

And more floats because I am now officially obsessed. I love it with the votives. Coastal and fascinating. 

This collection is very similar to my own examples, though these are from Pottery Barn and cost a fortune, and mine are real and cost under $20 each.

This room fully sums up the look I will be going for come January. Refreshing, bright, crisp, everything you need to start the new year off on the right foot!

Monday, November 28, 2011

What I want now: antique quilts and bedspreads

Long the fodder of the *shudder* country cute home designers, antique quilts, coverlets, and bedspreads are now making a reappearance in much more modern cottage style homes. I just bought an amazing power blue chenille spread from the 1930s at a tag sale two weeks ago for $12. It fits a queen size bed, is in perfect condition, and is so light and delicate. In the spring I'm going to re-decorate our entire bedroom around it.
     You don't just have to use these covers on beds, however, folded and draped, hung, or placed at the foot of the bed, they're a great way to add a pop of folk art, color, and whimsey to your home. I see them frequently at flea markets and tag sales for $20 or less. If you're paying $50, you're paying too much. Please buy these pieces of textile art and give them a good home- there's a whole group of people out there who think its a good idea to cut them up and make pillows and stuffed animals and God knows what- and that, my friends, is criminal.
The colors of the quilt tie together the entire room. 

I love an old outdoor chair- stack it with vintage quilts and I'm beyond smitten. Just picture this against a wall in a sweet guest room. Stunning.

The antique crazy quilt is the star of the show here- and rightly so- it's spectacular.

You are only allowed to use a vintage quilt as a table cloth if you are incredibly careful! But isn't it chic!

Breathtaking- a blast of color in a subdued interior space. 

The bold vintage textiles add to the eclectic light hearted fell of this room. It just screams- pull up a chair, have a glass of wine, and read a good book. 

up under the eaves, this space, vintage quilt included, is the ideal guest hideaway

A take no prisoners approach to florals- this space is so pretty without being overbearingly sweet. The cheeky vintage quilts and art work give the room a carefree feel. If you could turn a spring morning in May into a room, this would be it.

Despite the vintage elements (bench, quilt) this space is thoroughly modern, but inviting and upbeat. I'm gonna take a guess that this is the bedroom of an early riser. 

What I've gotten lately

Well I think, sadly, that the flea market/ tag sale season has officially come to and end. I've built up a massive inventory of 'projects' to keep me busy during the dark cold horrible winter months (can you tell I'm a summer person?). Surprisingly, I was able to score some pretty cool things last weekend at the last tag sale and flea market. Check 'em out below~

This wonderful set of five teacups and saucers for $3

close up of the pretty delicate vine pattern

Three boxes of vintage glass Christmas balls. I love them because their bright blue color has faded to the softest teal tone, and they're different colors depending on how much sun they were exposed to, giving them a gorgeous ombre effect. $13 for the three boxes

A pair of solid oak side tables- will get refurbished and placed up on craigslist.

This AMAZING vintage workbench. It would be just perfect for a kitchen once I clean it up. I'm trying to decide what to do on the top- butcher block? marble? I'd love to try zinc, or maybe just sand down the existing boards and then sand and poly them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paint improves everything

I'll be the first to admit. I'm a sucker for painted furniture- especially if it's vintage/antique and the paint's had some time to age and get interesting- though I also love a new coat of paint on a boring dark wood vintage piece. Painting is usually the quickest and easiest way to transform a piece of furniture, and add interest to a space. When I started refurbishing furniture, it was the first project I attacked. Here are some hints I've learned over the years:
- Use good paint. The cheap stuff will scuff and peel quickly.
- If you're painting a high traffic item (kitchen cabinets etc), use a high gloss paint. It's easier to clean and will wear better
- Be brave and creative. I love a white piece of furniture as much as the next girl, but why not add a little color if you're going to all the trouble of painting the item!
- Just like in a room, that color on your color chip is going to be bolder and brighter when you have the piece fully painted- consider that when selecting color
- Benjamin Moore sells color samples (half quart) in their full paint color selection. That little can is enough to put three coats on a chest of draws or paint two chairs. The perfect size!
- If you're painting an item with a smooth surface- sand it a bit with 220 grit sandpaper so the paint will adhere better
- Primer is for sissies. I've never used it, never will. waste of time in my opinion
- Remove the hardware and store it well away from your painting location before you even open that can of paint. (I once ruined a great set of victorian drawer pulls when I accidentally splattered paint on them where I'd placed them next to the chest. Whoops!)
- Tie your hair back, or it will look like mine, perpetually painted.
Enjoy! Here's a couple of my recent painted furniture projects, and some others I like.

Here's that fabulous victorian bureau that I painted my favorite lime green.

Just a little vintage maple side table I picked up at the flea market. Fresh coat of antique white and it's good to go. This one's for sale on Craigslist right now. $30.

Don't mind my cat Toni- she's a diva and loves to photo bomb my craigslist shoots. This is a pair of vintage chairs and a hutch that I painted a beautiful dove gray. Also on craigslist - $55 for the set.

I liked this pumpkin spice colored dresser so well I held it over from my Autumn decor- It adds a real punch to the front porch!

Rainbow colored chairs make this dining space beyond fun

The dove gray hutch and chair in the back create such a cool and welcoming space

Don't forget you can always paint the frames on mirrors too! Look how well this demi lune table and funky mirror compliment each other.

Go bold or go home. I love this intense saturated color on the otherwise simple secretary. Painting a piece of furniture is a great way to experiment with color. 

A classic scroll foot pier table gets lightened up with a nice coat of white paint. Gorgeous

soft tiffany blue paint dresses up an otherwise severe chest.  Now it's so pretty you could put it in your front hall rather than hiding it away in a bedroom!

You gotta love that bright yellow sideboard smiling at you from across the room.