Presto Change-o

‘Tis the season for house guests…and the need for a quick fix!  I have two occasional chairs I purchased at the Long Beach Antique Market that are in need of re-upholstering and refinishing.  A year after bringing them home I still haven’t found the “perfect” fabric, nor decided on the “perfect” finish.  But the potential embarrassment of having guests see them was looming, so I devised a simple, cheap, and quick fix to disguise them for awhile.

chairs copy


The sheepskin rug and the pillow are from IKEA.   And I can finally enter the dining room without being nagged by my unfinished home improvement project!


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The Office

Thanksgiving came and went, and Christmas is right around the corner (how is it possible?).  I guess this means I should be blogging about decking the halls, but I’ve been promising our home office reveal for quite a while now.  So, here it is…our home office transformation (I know you’ve barely been able to contain your excitement!)  As with the rest of the house, it’s a work in progress (I’m already thinking of rearranging the furniture).  But this is what we’ve done so far.

IMG_3387Here are the “before” photos.  Embarassing.

IMG_3386Ugh.  You can see why it needed an overhaul.

IMG_3395First we had our Shepard Fairey prints framed and hung.

IMG_3427Then we hung wallpaper and painted the ceiling.

IMG_0510Next came the shelves (and MANY trips to the Container Store).

IMG_0508Lots of storage was a must to keep our clutter in check.

IMG_0516Velvet drapes and gazelle horns added a masculine touch.

IMG_0539Lastly, we added some comfy furniture

IMG_0548And Husband’s favorite lamp.

The next project on deck is the master bathroom, which is calling for LOTS of paint.  So, you might not see that reveal for a while.  But in the meantime, stay tuned for some smaller projects.

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You might remember my Halloween post from last year when I professed my Halloween decorating woes.  After feeling ever so sorry for me, my Artist Mom created an amazing ceramic Halloween mask for me so I can always have a bit of boo in our home this time of year.  Take a look!


And despite Husband’s objections, I couldn’t resist bringing out some spiders.  This time I situated my spidery looking air plants on them for some added “eek!”



Happy Halloween!



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A Rug’s Life

In May, Husband and I took an amazing two-week vacation to Turkey.  While planning our itinerary we thought it best to end our trip in Istanbul so we wouldn’t have to schlep our Grand Bazaar purchases all over the country in our suitcases.  I was secretly hoping to snag a gorgeous Turkish rug for the dining room, so this seemed like a genius idea!  However, our genius idea wasn’t as brilliant as we touted.  Strangely, and surprisingly, we didn’t buy one single thing at the Bazaar.  No Turkish rug, no Turkish towels, no leather pouf.  Such disappointment.  I’m not saying we didn’t see loads of incredible wares, because we did.  But by the time we arrived at the Grand Bazaar, whether it was because we were overly exhausted, over stimulated, or over budget, our grand plan just didn’t come to fruition.

Despite coming home empty handed, my memory of seeing the rug making process will last just as long as any rug we would have brought home.  Here are some photos to illustrate the process:

Removing silk thread from silkworm cocoons.

Dyed silk yarn for the REALLY expensive rugs.

Wool yarn is spun by hand…

and colored with organic dyes.

Rugs are hand knotted, one piece of thread at a time.

The pattern is attached at the top of the loom for guidance.

It’s a long process.

Some rugs cost more than $50,000.

Shoes off!

Husband and I already plan to return to Turkey some day, so maybe that will be the time to find a special rug for our home.  Until then, I will never look at a rug the same way again!

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Patience and Progress

I’m happy to report that we’re making progress in our quest for a super rad home office…and I’m equally happy to announce that this is the first weekend in a month that I haven’t visited the Container Store!  (OK, so I pulled into the parking lot, but quickly came to my senses when I assessed the overflow of holiday shoppers.  Someone would have gotten hurt with a shopping cart if I had entered that rat’s nest.)   However, since it is a three day weekend, my decorating list was long.  So instead, I tested my patience by visiting Home Depot three times, Kinkos twice, IKEA once, and Pottery Barn (quickly!).  I’ll share photos of this weekend’s projects over the coming weeks, but in the meantime you can take a peak at our office decor pinboard here on Pinterest.  (And here’s a teaser photo to whet your appetite!)

Tune in next time; fun things are on the way!

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Adventures in Wallpapering…again.

After my experience wallpapering the inside of our living room bookshelves (here), I concluded that I would probably hire a professional to do my future wallpapering projects.  But when Husband and I decided to wallpaper a wall in our home office , we decided to save money and do it ourselves.  After all, it was only one wall.  Plus, we blew our budget on the wallpaper.  So yeah, we could do it!

Husband and I were excited to get the wallpaper hung and embarked on this adventure with optimism…or so I thought.  Unfortunately, my husband’s friend Brian told him that wallpapering projects cause couples to get divorced.  So, instead of approaching the first run enthusiastically, Husband was a quaking ball of stress who could barely function for fear of messing up.  Thanks Brian.  We finally got all the paper hung (with the help of a bottle of wine) and are pretty proud of our work…and we still love each other!

Here goes:

Whew, OK, we can do this.
Our little helper.
The Don and Sonny approve.
Next step: ceiling paint.  I wanted it dark, Husband wanted it light…
We met in the middle with a Benjamin Moore color called Iron Mountain.
Cassius approves.
Stay tuned for the next step in our home office transformation!

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A Frame.

I would say our most valued home furnishings are works of original art.  Husband would probably say that he values the couch and bed most, but he would really mean the artwork is most important to him.  As a house warming gift my mom, the talented artist, gave us two of her amazing watercolor paintings.  A fantastic focal point for the upstairs!  We were also fortunate enough to be gifted, from our brother-in-law Chris, four original Shepard Fairey silkscreens of characters from The Godfather movies.  They’re the inspiration for our office decor!

It should be no surprise how important framing is to maintaining the integrity of artwork.  I made the mistake of taking a series of original drawings to a certain “big box” frame store recently.  Although the drawings look very nice, the framing just looks blah.  It does nothing to highlight the feel or detail of the drawings.  I’m never spending so much money on mediocre framing again!

Fortunately, a few years ago my mom was introduced to a framer in San Luis Obispo named Gail Johnson of Johnson Framing Studio.  Gail is an artist herself so she fully understands how framing should underscore artwork, not just encase it.  When we received the pieces from Mom and Chris, I knew I couldn’t do them a disservice by taking them to a “big box” framer.  Gail to the rescue!  All of the framing she’s done for my mom is flawless and beautifully chosen.  She was the only one I trusted to frame these pieces. And get this, she actually did historical research before she picked frames for our Godfather prints!  The results truly blew us away.

Here is the thoroughly impressive artwork and the equally impressive framing:

Now that we have The Godfather prints framed (the first step in our office transformation), we are tackling the rest of the room.  Stay tuned for our progress…

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