Friday, October 29, 2010

it's turtleneck weather

It's 50 degrees outside, people. You know what that means.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

dining rooms over the last five years

This is our dining room in our first house, circa 2005. I loved that little place. I could vacuum the whole house using one plug-in. When we bought this house in December of 2005, we had been living with my very generous parents after Hurricane Katrina for the past five months. We were all excited when we moved into this adorable 1940's bungalow. We sold most of our furniture with our house in New Orleans and bought a lot of new pieces to go in this house, along with this set. This little dining room was so cute. It had a great bay window and a little pass through to the kitchen. We established a great friendship with the people that bought it and always jump at the chance to come over when we are invited.

This is where we moved in 2008. It was also a cute little bungalow not far from where we lived before. In fact, we could see the tall tree in the backyard of the old place from this house's backyard. I happily moved in and got right to painting, pulling up carpet, picking out new light fixtures, and shopping for new pieces for our whopping extra 200 square feet we gained. I could have lived here longer, but we had the neighbor from hell. She hated us with a passion from the day we moved in until we sold it one year later.

As you know, this is our current dining room. Of course, it's my favorite of the three. This is the oldest and largest house we've ever lived in. I guess that's why I love it so much. I love the idea that people have been sitting and enjoying each other in this room for the last 70+ years. You can't beat an old house. Sure it has it's leaky air ducts, no garage, and none of the doors shut all the way, but I love the idea of sitting in the same room with my family where so many countless conversations have been had before us.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

this one's for you, roy

Those that know me well, know about my slight obsession for estate sales. The thrill of being one of the first in a long line of people to walk through a beautiful historic home...finding that special something for nearly nothing...bringing new life to someone's once beloved treasure...No one gets this more than my good pal, Roy Dudley. He is the man, the myth, the legend. And this post is a tribute to the treasures he had sold me over the last year.
You know I love white ironstone. I love this giant pitcher, and it was only $20. A steal!

Galvanized metal is also a passion of mine. Loved this oval bucket for $12.

Don't even get me started on owls. Roy knows this about me. He always smiles and nods in approval when I find them in his sales. "I'd knew you'd love that," he says.  

I got these brass candelabras and spray-painted them black for Halloween. I think they look beautifully spooky. 

Last summer, Roy liquidated the old Camark pottery warehouse in Camden and I got this great mold that I use as an art piece. It was a salt and pepper mold, but I love the P before the S. It's also my mother-in-law's initials, so I placed it next to a treasured picture of her holding my husband as a newborn.

Once to my surprise, Roy presented me with this little gift of an old sketch of a owl on tissue paper and glued to a piece of cardstock. I took it and had it matted and framed. I love it so much! Thanks Roy!

This old dough bowl made the perfect magazine holder on my coffee table. In the summer, I fill it with green apples. It never gets put away. I'm constantly moving it around and filling it with all kinds of neat things: pictures, candlesticks, Christmas ornaments, goes with everything.

I got this gorgeous vintage linen still on the bolt for $30. There were yards and yards of it. My mom made it into a shower curtain and used the rest for the little drape. It has all my favorite colors in it: pumpkin, lime green, and turquoise! Heaven!

This cute little TV cabinet was the perfect small-scale size for our guest room. I got it for $75! Is that not insane? And that rug that you see a glimpse of is humongous and wonderful. It was a Christmas gift from my mom that came from one of Roy's sales. It's a family affair!

This collection of frames is also from Roy. I took old scanned photos and printed them off at Walgreens in black and white and framed them. Everyone that comes over loves to take a gander as they maneuver down the very treacherous staircase. It's probably an accident waiting to happen, but it looks so good!

See that owl lamp over there in the corner? Oh how I love thee! That grouping of plates over the bed is also from Roy. It's bad huh. I mean, EVERYTHING in my house basically came from him. When I don't show up at his sales, his staff is concerned that something is terribly wrong. They all breathe a sigh of relief when I get there late on Friday afternoons. They forget I have to work during the school year.

Last but not least, this little wooden Boston Terrier. I almost had a fit when I saw it. I snatched it up, looking over both shoulders to see if anyone was seeing how happy I was. (My elation went unnoticed-another thing I love about estate sales: everyone is having so much fun, you can shop completely anonymously. Make-up? Who needs it! Coming straight from the gym? Who cares! Come as you are! No one there is thinking about anything else except how much cash they have on hand or where they're going to put this thing.)
 That collection of vintage children's books is also some of Roy's merchandise. Someday, my future child will inherit them and hopefully my passion for all things repurposed.

Roy, you should change your name to Joy! Because that's what you bring to the people of Little Rock every weekend! Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Last weekend, my friends and I took a little trip to...

We immediately made a beeline for the corndog stand. For those that don't know us, we have a thing for corndogs, in honor of our good friend Dickey, from the Maumelle bowling alley.

We heard a rumor there were two-footers to be had. And oh, it was true.

Ellis was not afraid of the challenge. The nice young man in the background is not so sure about it.

No trip to the fair is complete without a little corndog shakin'.

Our friend, the sweet vegetarian, opted for a healthier choice; God bless her!

It was a lovely day for a ride on your chicken.

This friend is not a vegeterian. She likes Fred Flintstone-style turkey legs. It was almost pornographic. 
Stuffed Care Bear? Giant blue gorilla? Or maybe a cuddly one hundred dollar bill?

Overall, we had a great time at the good 'ol state fair. We left feeling full and really good about ourselves. There's nothing like people-watching at the fair to make you feel like you've really got your life together. Thanks to my sweet friends for a great afternoon!

Have a great Monday everybody!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

step by step

The stairway to the upstairs bedrooms needed a makeover as well. The electric red paint and groovy light fixture were cute, but not really our style. Our friends couldn't believe we wanted to remove that light. It was, afterall, the same as the one at Graceland, and they were all on a big Elvis kick for a while. 

We removed the top molding, but left everything on the bottom. All of the top had to be replastered. 

Look at that kitchen just lurking in the background.

The stairway is very narrow, as most stairways built in the 1930's. People weren't as wide back then. And people must have had littler feet too. The stairs are a bit short. My husband's size 12 hangs off, so we decided to carpet the stairs and wrap them with a pad to add about an inch to the width of each one. 

At the top of the stairs was an iron rail that was also very short. However, there was a mysterious giant post for you to hang on to. See above.

Now it looks like this:

My uncle replaced the ballisters with new ones that are much more fitting with the era of the house. We also painted the pine stairs white before we carpeted them. They were in such bad shape, it was the only way to salvage them. I love the way it turned out. There was still some touch-up paint to be done in above photo. 

I recently added this finial on the null post. It is antique and I found it at my favorite flea market for $2! I also collect white ironstone, and hung some of my collection around the hall mirror. We painted the paneling on the bottom half with an oil-based antique white, and the top is a satin latex called "Desert Castle". I love the contrast and interest of the two put together.

Hope you ejoyed! Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

hot as the dickens

This room is not only one of my favorites, it was also the room that we really got our feet wet with in home renovation.Take a look:
Of course, one of the first things our angelic agent told us when she showed us this house was that there were hardwoods under this carpet. I laid in bed that night with visions of ripping this out the minute we closed the deal. I'm kind of weird like that. 

There was the same picture frame molding on the walls in here like the dining room. At first I wanted to keep it because it looked so stately. But after we realized it was nailed over painted canvas wallpaper, the only option was to pop it off as the wallpaper was ripped down. It was actually, dare I say, fun? Like I said, I'm kind of weird :-)

This was taken the day after we closed. That morning, I couldn't get dressed fast enough to get over there with my box cutter and start on that carpet. My sweet husband came over shortly after me with McDonald's breakfast. Food?! How could he think of food in a time like this! There was dusty carpet to be pulled up. I remember pulling that first big piece out and my heart pounding with the excitement of the floors looking halfway decent underneath. Much to my delight, they were in absolute perfect condition. Thank God for the 60's when people put carpet over hardwoods. It saved us kids a bundle on replacing floors in these old houses!

We didn't have the same luck when pulling off the wallpaper. The original plaster walls underneath were in major disrepair. Sheets of plaster began to crumble onto the floor as the wallpaper came down. I freaked out a little, but my uncle, St. John, said not to worry. He also happens to be an expert plasterman.

This wall was covered in dry-rotted wallpaper glue. It all had to be cleaned off before it could be replastered. At this point, our air-conditioner was kaput, and it was about 100 degrees outside. We'd been living in filth for days. There was dust everywhere, and keep in mind, the kitchen still looked like it did before we gutted it. Cockroaches were scurrying, the shower upstairs was broken, and I had just realized that we might have to sign our first-born over to Home Depot to pay for all this. My mom, husband, and I were desperately trying to get this wallpaper glue off before my uncle was to start on the plaster the next morning. We had a schedule to stick to, or this job wasn't going to get finished before I reported back to school. There are no lights in this room, so we were also basically in the dark with one lone lamp on the floor with no shade. We were all sweating, I was about to cry, my mom was giggling at what we'd gotten ourselves into, and my husband impulsively blurts out, "It's hot as the dickens in here!" We all immediately laughed at the absurdity of it all, and at that point, we knew that though this road was going to be long, it was, afterall, just a house. Only the people in it would be what made it home.

So after a month or two, it looked like this:

I recently painted the brick on the fireplace after realizing it was never going to come clean. I think it looks so much fresher. We contemplated tiling over it, but I love the look of painted brick.

We truly "live" in this living room, and the memories of that night are what make it feel like home. Those are the parts that make a house great, the stuff you can't buy at Home Depot.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

sexy pumpkins

Is this not the greatest idea ya ever heard? Wrap old stockings around your pumpkins for an instant makeover and a little something extra. Love love love this.

Friday, October 15, 2010

watching, waiting

My two good friends are coming in town today to visit and I can't wait to see them! It is always such a treat to get to spend time with my sweet sweet friend and her trusty sidekick.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dishwasher Dance

What happens when you have boys that clean the kitchen...

dining room dilemma

The dining room seemed innocent enough...a little mopping; a little paint. Ha! 

It took more than a little mopping to get here:

The picture frame molding is orignal. My mom and I maticulously painted it and edged around it in Benjamin Moore's "Misted Green". However, there is nothing green about this paint. It is the prettiest shade of Wedgewood gray you have ever seen. It changes color throughout the day. I love it so much!

The chandelier is from Pottery Barn bought off of ebay. We had to move the electrical connection so that it could be centered over the table. This sounds easy enough, but repairing a ceiling so that it looks like no electrical was ever moved is no fun. We added new quarter round molding on the floor, but did not refinish the hardwoods. Maybe someday, but for now, I enjoy the vintage look. That and I have ordered a giant seagrass rug to go in here. So no worries on refinishing the floors to shiny perfection.

The sconces are original to the house and came out of the old Marion Hotel. We left them right where they were after we found the crystals in a zip-loc bag hidden in a kitchen drawer. All except for one were recovered. We also spray-painted them brown (over the brass) to match the chandelier and hung them right back on the original nails they had always hung on. They are one of my favorite things in the room.

My mom found the shades for the chandelier at Home Depot. I think they give the room a cottage-y look.

I've had this dining set for about 6 years. Got it when painted black furniture was REALLY in style. However, the lotus-style chairs don't really seem to go with this room. I've been trolling craigslist for months searching for cane back chairs that I can distress white. (I also want to paint the table.) Too scary? Will I regret it later?

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Have a great Thursday!