When I was growing up we moved often because my dad was in the Air Force. With each move, my mom always found a way to make our home as warm and stylish as possible while on a shoe string budget. She expressed many talents, and there really wasn’t much she couldn’t do: sewing, decorating, cooking, baking, gardening, and turning a yard sale or antique store item into something beautiful. She and my dad also found the means to ensure we had great travel experiences to mark our childhood. She has been an inspiration to me on all fronts. I didn’t inherit all of her talents – I don’t sew, and my husband is a better gardener than I will likely ever be, but I’m so grateful for the example she has set, in showing me the rewards of creating a stylish life that you want while not having to spend a fortune to do it.
I have loved sharing my ideas and experiences with friends over the years, but until recently the thought of creating a blog had not even crossed my mind. A very good friend inspired me to do so, and I thank her for planting the seed. I’m excited to get started, and I hope that you will find some inspiration as well!
My first thought when I was considering this thing called blogging was that I needed a dedicated space in my house – a space that would inspire me. Plus it’s a space for me to work on my day job projects too, so that’s a bonus!
Converting A Guest Room
I hadn’t redecorated our guest room much since we bought the house over 10 years ago – I think guest rooms are the most under-used spaces in most houses. Once I removed the bed, side tables, chair and ottoman, I had a great space to work with (the bed is stored in the garage, and we’ll bring it in for extended friend/family visits, and the other items were donated to Habitat for Humanity).
For storage, I bought 2 Besta cabinets from Ikea, and “hacked” them with mid-century legs and agate door pulls from etsy. Full disclosure – I am not very skilled at furniture assembly, but I’m so lucky to have a super handy husband who put these together in a snap. (Thanks Jeff!) If I had assembled these cabinets, they would look like major Ikea fails. I felt the cabinets needed a bit more glam and thought about buying wallpaper to cover the tops, to add a bit more interest. Then I had an aha! moment and realized I could use wrapping paper for a fraction of the cost. Initially I bought these 2 wrapping paper patterns – which do you like best? I need to make a decision between the two, I’m leaning to the Polka Dot. The beauty of this is that I can update the look often at minimal cost! The glass tops were a great finish to the look.
Converting a mirror to a Chalkboard
This ornate mirror has been hanging in my garage for 12 years! (Thanks mother-in-law). When I asked her if I could convert it to a chalkboard she was happy to comply. It was simpler than I thought – a little spray paint to glam up the frame, and then primer and chalk board paint to cover the mirror!
Don’t you just love a gallery wall? We have one in our den too. What I love about them is that there aren’t any rules – anything goes – shapes, colors, etc. We leaned mostly to photographs for our den – some that I had taken on travels, others that we had purchased, but also a postcard from a particularly memorable trip to Napa and a beautiful day that we wanted to always remember, so I had the postcard blown up at Kinko’s and matted and framed. I think a general guideline for any gallery wall is that whatever is captured there sparks a smile, a laugh, a great memory – it doesn’t have to be expensive art!
For my home office gallery wall – it is quite the mix, a few highlights are below:
– Images of my grandmothers – one was a badass woman of the earth who raised four children in rural West Virginia essentially alone, and the other was born to affluence in London, and disinherited by her family for falling in love with and marrying a poor Irish lad (there must be a movie script in that story!)
– Old postcards of Hollywood that I found at an antique store in West Virginia and had enlarged
– A Parisian watercolor painting I bought at an estate sale for $5
– A postcard from a restaurant in London that I went to many years ago and remember fondly
The accessories in this mid-century shelving unit are a combination of finds from Target, TJ Maxx and Marshalls, as well as antique store relics.
A few years ago I bought a mid-century slat top coffee table on Ebay that I’d been storing in the garage, where I had also stored a rug from Homegoods. Both were a good addition to the desk and chair I purchased from West Elm. Next, I found a Room & Board couch on craigslist. I love Room & Board – clean lines and great quality. The couch converts to a bed and will be good for a friend in town for a day or two, but won’t do for extended visits (hence the queen bed stored in the garage until needed!). My parents have already expressed concern about where they’ll sleep when they visit (not to worry, Mum and Dad!)
So this is what the room looks like now and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I had a great time creating it and it has already been a great space to work in!
But it’s not quite finished yet. See this sad little dresser?
I bought it 20 years ago in a used furniture store in Santa Monica. I have some ideas on how to transform it or replace it and will share with you in a later post.
And, here’s a bonus photo of George in the room, because every room is better with him in it! (That goes for Jeff too, but he is MIA right now).
Thanks for indulging me in sharing my space! I hope you enjoyed it.