Billy the Chewer

I love our new little dog Billy, but I HATE that he chews up everything.  I know he’s a puppy and that’s what puppies do, and when he chewed up two pairs of heels, my flip flops, my rug pad, my rug, my carpet (that now needs to be replaced, thank you Billy), and countless stuffed animals, I had patience, but when I saw that he chewed up the new upholstery job that I just did on the guest bed, I saw red!

RippedNeedless to say, Billy is now banned from the basement.

After I calmed down, I fixed the spot that was chewed to hell and since I had lots of practice it looked better than the original- I’m stretching for that silver lining!   It really does look fine now… I wish I could say the same for my heels :(.

Fixed Upholstery

Can’t even tell that it was a slobbery mess an hour ago

Also in the guest room I found that my mirror habit is alive and well and try as I could to find something for above the bed that was not a mirror, I just couldn’t.  So, mirror it is!  I like this one since it is the same wood style as the dresser so it goes well together.  It’s from World Market, btw.


I also installed one of the lights over the nightstands- only one because after waiting for MONTHS for the lights to come in, one was defective and I had to return it.

Light Fixture

(Hello, I see you!)

 I still have to find a way to hide the cords that run down the wall from the light fixture and the clock.  Because eventually an electrician will hard wire the fixtures, I just need a quick fix for now.

WiresThe rug that I found ties into the pillows on the bed:



And other than painting which is not high on my list currently (and wire hiding), this area is done for now!

Whole Room

Right Angle

Something New and Something Old in the Dining Room

After a late summer vacation to the Bahamas with the family:


We went to Atlantis for 4 days


Then we stayed at Black Point Caye for about a week


Where we snorkeled


Fed wild swimming pigs


Made new friends


Were silly


And sweet to each other :)

I’m finally turning my attention back to mi casa.

I bought an antique buffet a few months ago that was living in the garage until this weekend when we roped a friend with strong muscles into helping Thomas move it into the dining room.

Buffet Close Up


Buffet Leg

The buffet that was in the dining room was actually a fish stand that was a solid piece of furniture, especially for a fish stand, but the contemporary lines of the stand was not what I was looking for.  The dark brown color was too close to the table color, but the style was completely different from the table, or really anything else in the room, so the piece looked out of place in the room.   It was also too small for the space and had very limited storage capacity.

1whole dining room

See how the table sort of blends into the buffet…

I don’t like pieces to look too match-matchy especially in a small room (like our dining room) because matchy-matchy is boring and gives the room no character.  I like different wood toned furniture with the same vibe to pull off that eclectic look.  And I like that the orangish color of the buffet plays off the blue walls and that it is a better size for the space.  The fact that it has lots of storage room for piano books, art supplies, school books, etc. makes me LOVE this piece.

Right AngleI also bought some curtains that I’m still not 100% sold on…  I like the fact that the colors in the curtains are the same-ish as in the accent chairs and rug, but they *might* be too busy.  I’m living with them for a while to see if they’ll grow on me.  I’ve tried a few other curtain panels, but none of them look right, so these will do for now.  They’re from Pottery Barn, btw.

Wide Angle

After waiting for almost two months, the lights for the guest area are on the way, so installing those puppies are next on my list.

Whole Room

Basement Guest Room

With guests coming for visits all summer and in the fall, I’ve been busy getting our guest area (I can’t really call it a room since it’s just an area in our basement) ready.

Here is the ugly before:

Ugly Before

And although I have big plans for the space, here is where I am currently:

Whole Room Side Whole Room

I really liked the idea of getting an inexpensive bed and upholstering it like Julia did at ChrisLovesJulia.com, so I followed her tutorial and the bed I got off of Craigslist went from this:

Ikea Bed

To this:


I won’t post a full tutorial since Julia (and Daniel) do a great job of it and this post is so long as it is, but here are the highlights:

The bed was listed for $80, but I asked if they’d take $40 which they did.  I tracked down army blankets at an army supply store 40 minutes from my house and made sure to get 2 just to make sure I had enough.  I didn’t want to make the drive again.

Initially, I left the two top sticking out pieces on the bed and thought I could just upholster around them (being a complete novice, I didn’t know better).  They stuck out like a sore thumb after the upholstery job:

Sore Thumb


So, I undid a small portion of the upholster job I’d already done and cut the pieces off using my Dremel saw.

Cut off piece2

Cut off piece


After cutting off the pieces of wood, I re-upholstered the spots and it looked much better:

Finished ProductI left a little of the red stitching showing on the bed rails and also the bed feet.  I also painted the bottoms of the legs gold since they were initially white.

I love the way the bed turned out.  Every time I look at it, I think that it looks like a bed wearing a sweater because it looks so cozy.

Bed Leg Detail

I dug through what I already had on hand for wall art and found these animal heads in my basement that I’ve had for a few months knowing that I wanted to use them somewhere in my house, but I wasn’t sure where.  After painting one of them gold (it was a light wood color):

Deer Head

hanging them above the dresser turned out to be a perfect spot for them.

Animal HeadsAnimal Heads DetailWe’re vegetarian and my kids were a little spooked by them at first, but I plan on decorating them for various holidays a la Rudolph for Christmas to make them more cute than creepy.

The dresser and the nightstands are from Home Goods.  The dresser is an artisan piece made in India and is super solid.


The nightstands have slate tops and my Home Goods only had one so I called three others in my area and finally tracked down another a half hour away which I promptly snagged.


There is no closet in this area (or at all in the basement), so I got this hanging laundry rack from IKEA, painted all the silver metal parts gold, and hung it in a corner so that guests would have somewhere to hang clothes.

Clothes Rack

The plants came from Home Depot.  I think that something green and living belongs in every room and this space has two.

I’ve ordered a couple really cool light fixtures for above the nightstands.

Gold SconcesThey’re from Etsy and I got them with birthday money from my mom and sister (thanks guys!).

I ordered them to plug into outlets since I didn’t want to hire an electrician to install them although the overhead fluorescent lights have to go at some point and when that happens, I’ll have the electrician hard wire the lights into the wall.

I also found a cute kilim rug on Amazon and am waiting for that to come in:


I’d also like to paint the area which would make a big difference, but I still have to finish up the deck before I pick up another paint project.  I plan to use a paint color that I already have on hand… I’m thinking a light gray color like Revere Pewter by BM.  That’s down the line though.

What still needs to be done is to add some accessories and also hang something above the bed (I’m trying find something other than a mirror since I’m trying to kick my mirror habit).  I also need to find a couple more solid color pillows and also a throw blanket to add some color to the bed.  For now though, back to work on the deck (meh!).

1whole dining room with dog

Statement Chairs in Dining Room

Well… I thought I was going to take a break in the dining room for now, but after going to Home Goods to pick up a few items for the guest room, I came across some statement chairs for the head and foot of the table that I couldn’t pass up:

1Chair Close Up

I wanted statement chairs, but wasn’t actively looking for them which happens to the best time to find exactly what you’re looking for.

The chairs have beige and gray in the fabric so that it relates to the colors in both the rug and also the side chairs and the legs and nailhead trim are the same as in the side chairs.  When I saw them sitting in the store, I was excited about the possibility of them being a winner, so I had to bring them home to at least try them out especially considering the price ($150 a piece).  I love it when I find something I like that I thought would be really expensive or labor intensive to make, but turns out it’s not.  :)

Home Goods is about 10 minutes away from my house and they have a generous return policy, so (to the dismay of my husband) I’m always getting things from there that I’m not a hundred percent sure will work in our house knowing that I can just return the item if it’s a dud.

Even when these chairs were in the car in the driveway I was skeptical thinking they were too traditional, but when I put them in the room, I knew right away they were a winner.  As an added bonus, my husband liked them right away too.  It’s always nice when the two of us are on the same page and there’s no convincing/pleading/begging on either of our parts to do.

1Whole Dining Room

The chairs provide visual interest in the sea of greige that was all eight dining chairs by breaking up the solid colors.  The gray looks a little lighter in the pictures than it actually is; it’s actually a shade or two lighter than the gray in the rug.

1whole dining room with dog

And because Billy wanted to get in every shot that I took this afternoon, here he is in all his glory (since he’s the real star of these photos anyway):

1BillieAnd now my focus is back to the guest room since I only have about a week to pull off the transformation (you’ll know what I mean when I post before and after pics this upcoming week… there’s a whole lot of ugly down there right now…).


1whole room front

Teal in the Dining Room

The dining room is painted (dun, dun, dun, duuuuun)!  It took forever because I pulled a muscle in my back and neck that left me doing next to nothing for the last week.  How did I pull it, you ask?  Yoga.  That’s right.  F%$^ing yoga.  Not even the strenuous hot yoga where you burn a calorie or two, but yoga for beginners.  I’m ashamed to say that yoga left me in pain for days…

I’m better and back into the swing of full on house projects and now that the dining room is painted, it’s one of my favorite projects because I ventured out of my comfort zone, first with the crazy rug, and now with the bold wall color.

This is what the room looked like before painting (and art):

Whole Room Side

And here’s what it looks like now:

1whole dining room

It’s coming along.  For the paint color, I really liked two teal-ish paints; one was dark and more green and the other was lighter and bluer.  Because I couldn’t decide between the two, I just had Home Depot mix them 50/50. My inspiration color was this and I think I got pretty close:

Dark Teal Walls

The art is from Artfully Walls which sells fairly inexpensive art in collections so you don’t have to rack your brain deciding if this painting goes with this print or if the colors clash; the “experts” put them together for you so it’s pretty fool-proof.  I did pick out the frames though, so I didn’t totally cheat.

1picsAnother good thing about Artfully Walls is that they have the collection hung up on a sample wall in the arrangement that they think looks best. After I received and framed the art, I went online to see the arrangement they recommended, but my collection was not for sale anymore so I had to rely on my wits, talent, and perseverance to come up with an arrangement myself.  To do this I laid the artwork out on the ground and just played around with the position and spacing.

1Staggering Up

1symmetically staggered

I went with the bottom arrangement since I like symmetry even if this is a loose definition of symmetry:


I like the way the art looks (especially against the teal wall), but they are reproductions of the real deal and I’d rather have the actual real deal, so my goal is buy one nice piece of artwork every year or two to have an actual art collection that I love and that I can pass on to the kids when they’re older and I’m close to kicking the bucket.  I love art and when things slow down (like when the kids go to college in about 9 years), I’d love to try my hand at painting.  For now, I buy what I like from real artists.

I still have a way to go in this room to include finding curtains, replacing the buffet which is actually a fish stand that we got at PetSmart years ago, replacing the chandelier with something more modern, and putting up something on the wall opposite the new art wall.  I also want to try some wainscoting because I can’t stand the ivory, beat up, old lady wallpaper that I have now, but I have to wrap up other projects first so for now, I’ll keep painting the deck…little by little that will get done!  We also have some guests coming to stay with us in August so our guest room needs some attention which I’ve already started thinking about.  More on that soon!

Whole Dining Room

Formal Dining Room Chairs

After looking for months for dining room chairs that were good looking, made well, and reasonably priced (the standard for all furniture in my house), I finally found chairs that fit the bill at Wayfair.

Chair Close Up

Here’s a pic from the front:

Chair Front

There were a bunch of places that I looked for chairs to include Target where I found these for $169 a pair:

Target Chairs


There were nice looking but they didn’t get the best reviews for quality.  I also really wanted something a little more formal, with some nailhead trim and more traditional lines.  These chairs are still a really good “budget” choice.

This one is from Pier 1 for $250:

Pier 1

Pier 1

I really like the nailhead trim, but I want tufting.  This chair is like a modern version of what I want.

This one is from Macy’s for $275:



I love this chair, but I didn’t love the price especially since I had seen others that were very similar for a better price.  To be fair though, I didn’t see these up close so for all I know the quality of these chairs could have justified the price.

This is the chair that is the big winner that I got from Wayfair for $139 a piece after coupons:

Wayfair Chair

It had everything I wanted- traditional lines, tufting, and nailhead trim.  The color was also exactly what I needed since I wanted something that was a bit darker than a typical beige.  My kids do homework at the dining room table, so darker is better.  When I got the chairs the color was definitely not like the picture as the reviewers said but more like a greige- it’s more gray than beige which was a happy surprise since it goes so much better with the rug that has a lot of gray in it.

And here’s how they look in their new home:

Whole Room Side

Whole Dining Room

Also as an FYI- These chairs were a monster to put together until I realized that the very first one I tackled had a defect.  The next five were a breeze to put together and took me a few minutes per chair.  When I called Wayfair about the defected chair, they promptly sent me two replacements (since they came in packs of two).  They told me that I could do whatever I wanted with the defective chair so after breaking out the glue, hammer, drill, scissors, and pliers, I fixed the defective chair.  I had to cut the bottom panel off the  chair so it looks perfect unless you get down on your back and look at the underside of the chair.  So, I now have 8 chairs for the price of 6.  I’ll take it!

Next on the list for this room is to install the wainscoting which I know will take a while especially since I’m still on the paper and pencil planning stages.  Then paint, then artwork, then curtains…

This is the paint that I’m thinking about using.  It’s called Ocean Abyss from Behr.  It’s part of their Marquee line that they say covers in one coat, and I can tell you that after painting a big swatch, it really does cover in one coat.  I was really surprised that it did especially considering that I got such a dark color.  This is one coat of coverage:

Ocean Abyss

As for curtain choices, the dry cleaners ruined the ones that I had hanging (they washed silk!), so I have to get new ones with the money that they gave me for replacement curtains.  FYI:  This is the second time that the same dry cleaner (ZIPS for those in Maryland) has washed my silk curtains and to get reimbursed was horrible.  I had to threatened to sue them both times before they bothered even calling me about the curtains and they only gave me a fraction of what I paid for them…

So with the pittance of money they gave me, I’ve been searching for curtains and I saw these that I really like on Etsy, but I think they might be too busy with the rug that I already have in the room:


Martha and Ash

They seem blue in the picture, but they’re actually a dark gray.

Any thoughts???  Yes to the curtains?  No, they’re too busy???

Staining the Deck

Staining a deck is one of those projects that no one likes to do, but the finished product is definitely worth it (and so is saving hundreds or thousands of $$ by doing it yourself).  But sometimes you just need a break from painting, and after painting Tuscan’s room, I definitely need a break so staining the deck is not high on my “Want to do” project list, but it’s certainly high on my “Have to do” list.   We had the deck built about 3 months ago and since then, the unfinished wood has gotten a few stains and marks on it, so staining to protect the wood ASAP is a must before our $8,000 investment gets ruined.

In staining the deck, I wanted a stain color that was dark, but not too dark because I didn’t want the deck to get too hot.  I also wanted the rails to be an off white and not the same as the deck boards because the deck is big and I didn’t want it to look like a big blog of brown deck.  I was going for a look like this:

Deck Inspiration Photo


I love the white and brown mix of rails and decking but I wanted my colors to be reversed from the pattern in the photo, so dark stained verticals with white horizontals.  I also love the stair lights in my inspiration photo and I’ll try to get some when they go on sale at the end of the summer season.

I did a bunch of searches online to see what different stain colors would actually look like on other people’s decks, but even Pinterest was lacking in photos.  So, here’s my test swatches for those out there looking to see what a few stain colors look like before buying a sample:

Behr Wood StainsDeck Stains 2

Deck Whites

In the end we went with Cordovan Brown (the top color) since it is a medium brown tone without reds or greens in it and it paired really well with the rail color that we chose, Navajo White (the very bottom color).  Navajo white is actually a very light cream color which related well with our siding that sits right up against the rails.

One good thing about  not having those pre-fab composite rails is that you can paint the wood any color to match your siding.  The pre-fab rails come in white, white, or white.

Here’s a picture of the work in progress:

Deck ProgressFunny story…actually it is an irritating story with a good ending…  I first started painting the rails with my white color and after about 2 sections which took about an hour, I noticed that the color was way too white.  Like blindingly white.  Like, “Oh crap, I got the wrong color white” white.   And what’d you know, I accidentally got Pinto White instead of Navajo White.  I honestly don’t know if I asked for the wrong color or if I asked for the right color and Home Depot made the wrong color, but it doesn’t matter because Pinto White is now my “primer” which I need 3 coats of and Navajo White is now the top coat which I need 2 coats.  Lemons to lemonade people.

Navajo v

I figure it should take me about 2 full days to stain the entire deck since there’s a lot of deck to cover.  And, since the kids are home from school for the summer, I now have painters who will work for popsicles…  YEA!  If the weather cooperates and my workers don’t go on strike, hopefully in about a week I’ll have a post with our newly stained deck.