Author Archives: Jessica

About Jessica

Hi, I'm Jess, designer, wife, and new mom. I'm also an analyst, now part-time so I can spend more time with the wee one. Read more about me here: http://tentwentyinvites.com/blog/about-me/

DIY Anthropologie-Inspired Chunky Necklace

I fell in love with this necklace from Anthropologie.Anthro Necklace sm

So I decided to make my own version. I modified the design somewhat, but it still has the same overall feel. I decided to add a brooch to the center and use fabric covered beads instead of a ribbon. This is what I came up with.DIY Statement Necklace

It really wasn’t too difficult. A little time consuming, due to all the bead work (I probably spent a total of 4 hours working on it), but anyone with a little time and patience can do it. Here’s how.

Supplies (I use mostly vintage supplies when I make jewelry, but you could use new and still get the same effect):

  • Headpins
  • Jump rings (2 plain and 2 large decorative)
  • Different sizes and styles of beads (I used pearls, glass, and faceted crystal)
  • Different sizes and styles of bead caps
  • 5″ to 6″ length of heavy chain for attaching beads, split into two equally sized pieces (this gets mostly covered up, so don’t worry if it’s not that pretty)
  • Brooch and felt for backing (optional)
  • Jewelry/bead glue (optional)
  • Two 2″x10″ strips of chiffon (or other lightweight) fabric
  • Large inexpensive beads (these will be covered by the chiffon; I used 20mm faux pearls from the craft store)
  • Thread

Supplies sm

ToolsTools

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Barrel nose pliers
  • Wire cutter
  • Sewing machine (there’s not much sewing involved, so you could also sew by hand)

Instructions

I started with my brooch (if you’re not using a brooch, you can skip this step and move on to the beading). I found a fun vintage brooch while antiquing in Savannah, GA, and decided to use it for this. It originally had a faux turquoise cabochon in the center, which I was not crazy about, so I popped it out and replaced it with a vintage crystal aurora borealis cabochon instead. I wanted to keep the pin of the brooch intact, so I decided to cover the back with a piece of felt to prevent the pin from accidentally popping out during wear. I traced the outline of the brooch onto my piece of felt, cut it out, and attached it to the brooch. This brooch has tiny loops all around the edges, so I decided to use thread to attach the felt, sewing in and out of the loops all the way around. You could also use glue in lieu of sewing it, if preferred.

JewelyDiagram1Next, I attached my two chain sections to either side of the brooch, using a plain jump ring at the points of attachment.

Now to attach the beads. Take one of your beads, insert a head pin, and curl the pin around using your barrel nose pliers to make a small loop. Attach the loop to the chain. Then you can either trim the extra length of the pin, pinching the loop closed with a needle nose pliers, or wrap the pin around itself a few times at the base of the loop (most secure) and snip what is left over.

JewelyDiagram2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One by one, start attaching the beads to the chain until it is as full as you want it. Don’t forget to add your bead caps to some of the beads before inserting the head pin.BeadBroochNecklaceClose

The hardest part is over! Now take your strips of chiffon and fold them in half lengthwise. Sew along the long edge to make a tube. Turn it right-side out, so that the seam is on the inside. Place a drop of glue on one end of the chiffon tube. Then take one of the large decorative jump rings and tie the end of the chiffon tube into a tight knot around the ring (the glue will help keep it secure). Now drop in one of your large inexpensive beads, tie a knot, and repeat. Stop when you have about 3 inches of tube left. Do the same with the other strip of chiffon. Then fold the ends of each tube inside about 1/4″ and sew shut. Now simply attach to the beaded part of the necklace, hooking the large decorative jump ring through the end of the heavy chain. And voila! You are finished! Just tie at the back and it is ready to wear.BeadBroochNecklaceBack

 

 

 

Savannah-Inspired Guest Bedroom Makeover

I took a trip to Savannah, Georgia and fell in love with the place. So when I returned home, I decided to make-over the guest bedroom with a little old world charm, a Savannah-inspired theme.

I turned to the National Trust Historic Paint index to pick out a color. I was looking for something in blue; bold, but not overly bold. Something a little more subdued than royal blue, but bolder than the grayish-green-blue we used in the master suite.

Valspar 4008-4A, Jekyll Club Pulitzer Blue

Valspar 4008-4A, Jekyll Club Pulitzer Blue

I ended up picking out a color called Jekyll Club Pulitzer Blue, a color used in one of the rooms at the historic Georgia resort on Jekyll Island (which I just happened to have visited on my Savannah trip!).

When I think of beautiful old houses, I always picture wainscoting (a decor trend that started in the 18th century, where the lower portion of the wall is covered with decorative paneling). To create this look without the cost and labor of actual paneling, I added a chair rail and painted the lower portion of the wall using the trim color in a satin finish.

 

Faux Wainscoting sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For furniture, I decided to mix and match a few different fun pieces. The iron-frame bed I had purchased previously and a random antique store in the middle of nowhere was a perfect fit.

Headboard

Headboard

Footboard

Footboard

Funny story about the bed frame… I brought it home and gave it a little TLC (scrubbed the rust and applied a matte finish to seal it). I knew the old frame was a little narrower than a queen size bed, so we made some wooden slats to lay across the frame which would hold the queen size boxed springs in place just on top of the metal frame. I put it all together with the metal bed rails that came with it and was ready to lay the mattress down and make the bed. But something wasn’t quite right. The mattress didn’t fit! The bed was about 6 inches too short! What?! That possibility never even entered my head. I don’t know when they started standardizing mattress/bed sizes, but apparently not until after this bed was made. The fix was pretty easy, though. I just brought it to a welder/metalworker who cut the bed rails and added some length to them for a pretty low cost.

I outfitted the bed with bright white sheets which I happened upon while staying at a Bed & Breakfast in Jacksonville, Florida. Their sheets were sooooo soft and they had a little sign in the room telling you where they were from (Comphy Company). I was afraid they’d be terribly expensive, but decided to at least check it out. To my surprise, they were actually very reasonably priced. So I ordered a set, and let me tell you, they are like buttah! Every guest who has slept on them has commented or asked where I got them. I put a light tan duvet with embroidered white bees on it. A few accent pillows, including one bright orange velvet one for a contrasting pop of color.

Guest Bed

 

On either side of the bed are mismatched nightstands. One is a whitewashed, chest-style table, and the other is an antique game table, with an agate chess table top. It’s always nice to have a lamp next to the bed for reading and so guests don’t have to stumble back to the bed in a dark, unfamiliar room.

Whitewashed Nightstand

Whitewashed Nightstand

Chess Table Nightstand

Chess Table Nightstand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always enjoyed antiquing (at least in my adult life), so I also already had an antique empire dresser I thought was a good fit for the room. Above it I hung a mirror with hooks (great for storing guests’ keys) and a trough, which I like to use to hold little goodies for guests.

Empire Dresser

Empire Dresser

 

Rug

Safavieh Lyndhurst Collection LNH224A Area Rug, 6-Feet by 9-Feet, Beige

The flooring is a whitewashed boathouse pine laminate, so I wanted to add a rug to make it a little more “homey” and inviting. I picked out a Persian-style rug with a weathered look. 6×9 feet is just the right size to place it under the lower two-thirds of the bed if laid perpendicularly.

 

 

Rug right side

Rug left side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the foot of the bed, I put a fun antique cedar chest that was re-finished in a periwinkle blue, which I adore. And it was nice that it was already refinished, as opposed to my usual finds. No work required! And to one of the footboard rails of the bed, I tied a little sun hat that had been mine as a little girl. I wove a yellow and tan floral scarf through the base of the hat, just above the brim to use for tying.

Cedar Chest

For wall decor, I framed a few of the photos I had taken in Savannah. One, probably my favorite, is a bright blue door with ornate awning that we passed by on the street walking from sight-seeing to our vacation rental.


Bloor Door Photo Framed

The second is a house on Monterey Square, the same square of the Mercer-Williams house (from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). I love the rusted ornately framed windows.

Rusty Windows Photo Framed

And the third photo is an arched doorway in an old alley with a painted green deck and mossy bricks.

Savannah photo framed

As a last touch, in the corner as you enter the room is an old wooden ice cream parlor chair. I always envision guests using it to hold a purse or small travel bag as they settle in to their new, temporary home.

Ice Cream Parlor Chair

So I reckon that’s it. My “Savannah Room.” Have a look around and make yourself at home!

Guest BR from right side

Guest BR from left side

Guest BR from hallway

 

 

Fabric Covered Bulletin Board

Ever since I had a baby about a year ago, I’ve been feeling VERY disorganized! I am a person who makes lots of lists and does lots of planning. But for the last year, time management has become a much harder endeavor. My “to do” list is just in my head, getting longer and longer, which usually means I forget to do some of those things when I needed to do them. Like, “get the oil changed in my car,” or, “schedule an appointment with the doctor.”

I needed some inspiration to get back on top of things. So I decided to make myself a “fancy” little fabric-covered organization board to help keep track of everything. My “Inspiration Board,” which will inspire me to get things done… right?

I wanted to hang it in the kitchen, next to my grocery-list chalkboard, which meant it would have to be a long, narrow board in order to fit. So I went to Hobby Lobby with my dimensions and picked out a suitable frame and some cork squares.

01

I already had the fabric I wanted to use: a Belgian linen sheet I had purchased from Restoration Hardware a few years ago that had since gotten a hole in it. Not suitable to use as a sheet anymore, but it gives me lots of gorgeous fabric to use for other crafts (I also made a bonnet for my one-year old out of it!).

After removing the glass, backing, and matting that came with the frame, I cut the cork to fit the back board and glued it down.

03

Next, I cut the fabric so that I would have 1-2 inches of overlap around the back of the board.  I decided I didn’t necessarily want the fabric to look super smooth and tight, so I simply stretched the fabric around the board and stapled it along the sides.

04

If you wanted it to be smoother and tighter, I would recommend using some fabric (or other) glue on the cork board side, smoothing the fabric down, and then stapling it around the back side. I decided I liked the “shabby” look of the Belgian linen being a little loose.

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Almost done! Now I just had to pop the board back into the frame.

06 07

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished!

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I should have started with what inspired me to do this in the first place. It was an order I got from someone wanting “weekly planner cards.” So I came up with a 5×7″ note card, with a weekly schedule format on one side, and a space for notes on the other side. I love bicycles in print designs, so I added one to this. And I just love this quote I randomly stumbled upon: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein. Perfect for a weekly planner!

Note Cards Front Back2 Note Cards Notes-1

I hung my new Inspiration Board up in the kitchen and started pinning reminders to it. I used a couple of the bicycle weekly planner cards on my board, too. And I found some super cute bicycle shaped paper clips, while I was at Hobby Lobby, and couldn’t resist.

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Well, that was fun! Sigh. I guess I better start checking some of these things off now…

Home Remodeling / Restoration (Part III)

Last time I talked about the remodel / restoration of the master suite after our house fire. If you missed it, you can read it here. This post is about what we did with the living room.

When we bought our house, the living room had a very light beige (almost white) carpet. About two weeks before the fire, we had brand new hardwood floors installed. If only we had waited a little longer! Oh, well. Except for the flooring in the kitchen, which was ruined by the water used to put out the fire, the rest of the floors were salvageable. They just needed to be refinished.

Newly Refinished Hardwood Flooring

Newly Refinished Hardwood Flooring

Half Wall Replacing Bannister Rail

Half Wall Replacing Bannister Rail

One thing I was never crazy about in our living room was the bannister rail with spindles that housed the staircase to the downstairs. We had two dogs at the time and all the shedding fur liked to hang out in the spaces between the spindles. My plan, even before the fire, was to eliminate the spindly bannister and replace it with a simple half-wall. Clean lines and no trapped fur-balls! To our delight, it was actually to our advantage cost-wise, as well. Apparently the wooden bannister rail was a more expensive option than the half-wall, so we were given a credit for that expense, which we were able to apply elsewhere. Bonus!

Now to choose a color for the walls. I ended up picking out a warm medium-tone gray. (Dorian Gray) Our ceilings in the living room are vaulted and were originally popcorn. We decided to just do smooth ceilings and opted to have them painted a shade darker than the walls. (Dovetail)

SW 7017 Dorian Gray and SW 7018 Dovetail

SW 7017 Dorian Gray and SW 7018 Dovetail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fireplace was originally outfitted with dark green marble tile, and the hearth came out about two feet from the wall.  We decided to redesign it with a hearth that only extended out about one foot (to maximize space in our long, narrow living room), and used a slab of brownish gray quartz instead of tiles for a smooth, seamless look (and no required maintenance). We also made the fireplace mantel a little wider, with columns that were a bit more stout. There was a slight miscommunication about the corbels that I wanted, and at first they ordered and installed a set that looked smaller than what I had envisioned. I wanted them to be the same width as the columns, so we changed them out for a larger set.

Fireplace with little corbels

Fireplace with little corbels

Fireplace with bigger corbels

Fireplace with bigger corbels

I decided to repurpose the old corbels to hold a picture shelf over the stairway. I just painted and distressed a 4×4 and voila! Pretty simple. (Hanging it over the stairs, though, was another story!)

Picture Shelf with Repurposed Corbels

Picture Shelf with Repurposed Corbels

I also picked out a fun sconce for the stairwell from Restoration Hardware.

Stairwell Sconce

Stairwell Sconce

Another change we made to the living room was the removal of the “bar area”. Originally there was a bar overhanging the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It was a nice idea, but we never used it, so it was really just taking up space. And we would need all the space we could get for the coffee table I ended up picking out.

On to picking out the furniture. First, we needed to replace our two sofas. I ended up getting a great deal on a pair from Restoration Hardware, They were having a pretty decent closeout sale on some of the fabric options for their sofas. I picked out the English roll arm sofa in stone chenille faille fabric. At the time, I just so happened to also have a “friends and family” coupon for an extra 20% off. The total ended up being almost exactly what we were allotted from insurance for our smoke-damaged sofas, so it worked out perfectly.

Next, we needed a coffee table. I somehow managed to stumble upon the most amazing find at an antique market. (This is now my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house, by the way.) Two 1920s era old post office pallet carts. They were covered with various other antique doo-dads, which may have made them less noticeable to passersby (fortunately for me). As soon as I saw them, I was smitten. The wooden planks would definitely need some substantial sanding, and the rusty iron framing and hardware would have to be cleaned up. But once I finished all that (with some help from my sweet mother), we stacked one atop the other and the old splintered and rusted pallets were transformed into this beauty. At about 4 by 4.5 feet, it’s a pretty substantial piece of furniture, which is why we wanted to maximize all the living space that we could.

Repurposed Post Office Pallet Coffee Table

Repurposed Post Office Pallet Coffee Table

Repurposed Post Office Pallet Coffee Table

Repurposed Post Office Pallet Coffee Table

One of my favorite little details about the coffee table is that on one side, there is a stamp which is supposed to read “Receiving Dept.” But instead, what it actually says is, “Recveing Dept.” Grin.

"Recveing Dept."

“Recveing Dept.”

In the corner by the large bay window, I created a reading nook. I placed our big comfy chair and a small end table catty corner to the window, accented by a large distressed oval mirror.

Reading Nook

Reading Nook

The last piece we needed for the living room was the entertainment center. Before the fire we had a tube tv (gasp! This was way back in 2009, mind you), which was stored inside a giant armoire. So we upgraded to a modern television, which we hung on the wall inside a wooden frame.

Framed Television

Framed Television

 

Silver Media Cabinet

Silver Media Cabinet

Then I picked out a cabinet to hold all of the other electronics, which I decided to refinish/paint in a champagne-y silver.

Since the house had to be stripped down to the studs, we were able to have the surround sound system easily installed with the wires behind the walls.

In keeping with our industrial decor, for the main lighting in the room I decided to make (with some electrical help from my father) a chandelier out of a wooden pallet. I sanded it and applied a grayish glaze to give it a weathered look. (The tissue poms in the photo are from my baby shower quite a while ago, but I left them up because I thought it might be something fun for baby to look at… and she actually DOES like them, as it turns out!)

DIY Pallet Chandelier

DIY Pallet Chandelier

DIY Pallet Chandelier

DIY Pallet Chandelier

That’s pretty much it for the living room, which ends this series on our home restoration.

Home Remodeling / Restoration (Part II)

Last time I talked about our fire story and the kitchen remodel. If you missed it, you can see it here. This post is about the master suite remodel.

We didn’t change a whole lot in the actual bedroom part of the master suite, other than the paint color, and (as with the rest of the main level) no more popcorn ceilings. Yippee! We did change the layout of the his/hers closets a little, but that was it.

SW 6206 Oyster Bay
SW 6206 Oyster Bay

The color I chose for the walls was Oyster Bay.

The furniture we had in the bedroom was all salvageable, which was nice because some of it had a little sentimental value. My dad is a pretty talented (hobby) carpenter, and he built us a sleigh bed and a large heavy-duty easel (Restoration Hardware-inspired). I decided to arrange the bed at an angle for a dramatic flare, and put a decorative metallic-champagne framed mirror on the easel.

 

 

 

Sleigh Bed and Easel
Sleigh Bed and Easel

 

Now we just needed new linens for the bed.  It just so happened that my mother-in-law had offered to make us a quilt and asked what we would like (colors, design). I did some looking around for ideas and fell in love with a bedspread I found at Anthropologie. Then I found a blog about how to make one yourself. My mother-in-law found some light ivory jersey fabric to use and got to work on it.  This is how it turned out. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Comforter

Knotted Comforter

 

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

As opposed to the minor updates in the bedroom, we made a lot of changes to master bath. It looks COMPLETELY different. I wish I had some “before” photos of it, but unfortunately I don’t. So I’ll just have to be descriptive. Our bathroom is laid out in the shape of an upside-down “L”. Originally, it had a linen closet, one sink, a small corner shower, and a Jacuzzi style tub.

Bathroom Floorplan Before

Bathroom Floorplan Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The floors were white linoleum and the vanity was the same oak as the former kitchen cabinets, with brass hardware.

One of the first decisions we settled on for the new bathroom was to have a double vanity instead of just a single. I looked through catalogs for ideas and showed the carpenter one I liked from Pottery Barn. He pretty much replicated it for us, except customized it to fit our bathroom dimensions.

Custom Built Double Vanity

 

For continuity, we chose the same paint color, cabinet door style, and hardware as we had in the kitchen.

For the bathroom walls, I chose a color in the same family as we used in the master bedroom, but a lighter shade. Sea Salt.

SW 6204 Sea Salt

SW 6204 Sea Salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For mirrors, we went with two simple dark brown framed mirrors we found at Home Depot. I also hung a large metal / glass sconce between the two mirrors.

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

 

The bottom shelf of the vanity is great for storing bulky items, like towels and toilet paper, which leaves the linen closet open for storing medicine, band-aids, and other toiletries. To keep things looking neat, and because I love industrial decor, I put a couple of large heavy vintage metal bins on the vanity shelf to hold the towels and toilet paper.

Vintage Milk Crate

Vintage Milk Crate

The next decision we made was to lose the separate shower/tub set-up (in order to create more space for a double vanity) and instead, put in a large, walk-in, tiled shower. We chose porcelain tiles that have a stone look (easier to maintain) and had them laid out in a staggered brick pattern. For the shower floor, we went with the same tile, but in a two-inch mosaic cut. The shower has a tiled bench on one wall, and two inset cubbies for shampoo, soap, etc.

2-inch Mosaic Tiles (Shower Floor)

2-inch Mosaic Tiles (Shower Floor)

Tiled Shower Cubby

Tiled Shower Cubby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The toilet was moved to the opposite wall and we had a half-wall built to separate it from the vanity area.

Bathroom Floorplan After

Bathroom Floorplan After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far, one of the hardest decisions for us to make was what tile to use for the bathroom floor. It took us forever to settle on something. We looked everywhere and nothing really jumped out at us. We wanted a natural look, but no maintenance, so we were mainly looking at porcelain. We had a hard time finding anything we really loved. Eventually we returned to one of the first tile shops we had visited and wandered around looking at more samples. They had some of their tiles laid out in little sections on the floor of the store, and the husband and I were discussing a couple of samples we had picked out. We looked down at the tiles we were standing on and remarked, “I wish they had something like this in porcelain.” One of the store reps happened to hear us and said, actually that IS porcelain. I had assumed it was stone, it looked so natural. And we both loved it. So it was settled. We finally found a floor tile. Drumroll, please… This is it.

Matte Grey Porcelain Floor Tile

Matte Grey Porcelain Floor Tile

The light grays, taupes, and browns actually pick up the Sea Salt color from the walls quite well. We picked out two different tile sizes, both square, and decided on a pinwheel pattern (the tile guy loved me for this – apparently this pattern is a bit of a pain to do, as EVERY tile has to be cut differently). Oh well. I don’t feel too bad. That’s what he was paid for. And it really creates an entirely different look than tiles laid out in a regular grid.

 

 

 

Pinwheel Tile Pattern

Pinwheel Tile Pattern

 

With the bathroom tile decision finally out of the way, we could focus on what we wanted to do in the living room, which will be my next and final post on the remodel and restoration. Stay tuned for part III.

 

Home Remodeling / Restoration (Part I)

Did I mention I love designing? A few years ago I was thrown into the biggest designing project  I’d ever taken on: remodeling / restoring our home after a fire. A lot of our things were ruined. But we did get to totally remodel the main level.  This part I was excited about.

First, though, let me back up to the beginning of this story. It was Thanksgiving and we were spending the holiday in town (normally we travel to visit family, since none of us live in the same place, but not this time). We went out to dinner with a couple of our in-town family-less friends. At the end of the evening, they dropped us off at our house. We were talking in the driveway and noticed something smelled like burning tires. A few jokes were made, we said goodnight, and opened the front door. Confusion. That’s what I remember. A wall of smoke hit us in the face. You couldn’t see into the house, it was so thick. Then panic set in when it hit me my dogs were inside. Our friends were thinking more quickly than I was and dialed 911. I got down on my hands and knees and called the dogs. One came right away. Relief. They were hiding in the basement, thankfully, and were fine. The other dog was much more timid and was frozen at the bottom of the stairs (you could see him from just inside the front door as some of the smoke dissipated), so my husband went down and grabbed him quickly and got him out. The fire department showed up within 5 minutes and everything was under control pretty quickly. We had gotten home just in time. The dryer apparently had randomly caught on fire (it wasn’t running). None of the home structure had actually caught on fire yet. The smoke damage, however, was bad. So bad that the entire main floor would have to be gutted down to the studs.

Main Level Gutted

Main Level Gutted

We would be living in a hotel for the next 5 months. People always remark about what a pain living in a hotel must have been, but it really wasn’t that bad. Our room was pretty much like a studio apartment, with a kitchen and small living area. We didn’t have kids yet, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. The real pain was the almost daily phone calls we had to make to the insurance adjustors, contractors, and cleaning services to try to keep things rolling as smoothly as possible.

Anyway, back to the fun part. Now I would get to redesign a lot of our home! I was most excited about re-doing the kitchen. I had been wanting to update the standard oak cabinets, so that was one of the first changes we made. Standard kitchen cabinets often have a space in between the ceiling and the top of the cabinets. I hate it. You can’t really use it to store much of anything or it looks cluttered. So you are left with two other options. Putting nothing up there, or putting a few decor items. Either way, it gets dusty, and who wants to climb up there and dust on a regular basis? Not me. Nope, our new cabinets would go all the way to the ceiling. More usable storage, and no dusting!

Smoke Damaged Oak Cabinets

Smoke Damaged Oak Cabinets. See the microwave? It got so hot in the house everything plastic melted!

Before the fire, I was thinking of painting the cabinets white. I love how fresh and bright a kitchen looks with white cabinets. The contractors handed me a few paint swatch books to look through for picking out all our colors. Who knew there were so many different shades of white??? After doing extensive reading on selecting white paint for cabinets (apparently you don’t want to go with the whitest white or it will look too stark), I settled on a color.

Greek Villa swatch

SW 7551 Greek Villa

Greek Villa. I love some of the names they come up with for paint colors. Greek Villa makes me think of a Mediterranean beach house. Ahhhh.

I was nervous that the swatch looked a little dark since I wanted white cabinets, but trusted what I was reading, so I went with it. It’s funny how a color can look so “not white” on a swatch, but totally different on the cabinets. They definitely look white.

Custom cabinets

Kitchen remodel in progress. See how the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling? We have 10′ ceilings, and I was amazed at how much bigger the taller cabinets made the room feel.

White Kitchen Cabinets

White Kitchen Cabinets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We chose knobs and pulls in an antique pewter finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the backsplash, I chose a glossy gray subway tile, and the appliances were all upgraded to stainless steel.

SW 6372 Inviting Ivory

SW 6372 Inviting Ivory

The paint color I chose for the walls reminds me of french vanilla ice cream (SW 6372 Inviting Ivory). We also changed out the popcorn ceilings for smooth ones. Yay!

The breakfast nook at the back of the kitchen opens out onto the deck. Prior to the fire, it was outfitted with sliding glass doors. We decided to change these out for French doors, which insulate much better than sliding doors, are harder to break into, and have a much more traditional look.

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook with French Doors.

Once the kitchen design choices were made, it was time to move on to the master suite. Updating and upgrading the master bath was one of the bigger challenges. That will be my next post. Stay tuned for part II of our home remodel and restoration.

Nursery Decor

I LOVE designing and decorating! One of my latest room makeovers was to turn our old office into a nursery for our new baby girl.

This room is in the downstairs/basement of our home and as many basement rooms do, it had one of those ledges on the outer wall (from the concrete foundation wall). I’ve always hated those things! They just seem like dust collectors or knick-knack holders. I decided to use the space above the ledge to put in some custom-built shelves. Finally, a use for this wasted space!

I didn’t want the open shelves to start looking too jumbled with all of the contents, so I got some simple white gift boxes with seafoam lids in bulk for storing some of the items. To the front of each box, I attached a small card-catalog style label holder to hold a card describing the contents within.

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

I hand-painted charcoal gray designs on the back wall of the shelving unit and trimmed it with molding to dress it up. Then added custom drapes made from a heavy brown duck cloth. I turned some clear glass knob finials into curtain tie-backs to hold them open. Now I have tons of room to store baby’s books, small toys, hats, hair accessories, socks, shoes, blankets, etc.

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

For a color scheme, I wanted to go with subtle, relaxing colors. For a while, I was planning on a dusty mauve for an accent, but in the end decided on a pale mint color for the accent color, which I painted on the half-wall below the bookshelves. I also found mint chiffon scarves and tied them onto the drapes for a splash of extra color. The rest of the room I painted in antique white. The floors are Boathouse Pine Pergo. To soften the room, I added a shaggy area rug in a warm cream color.

Nursery

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

I decided I would use a dresser as a changing table (why waste space with a separate changing table when a dresser can double for clothing storage and a changing station?). I searched and searched and finally found just what I was looking for on Craigslist, a French provincial style antique! It was already painted off-white, but the paint was really sticky and I had already been toying with the idea of doing a silvery finished dresser anyway, so I decided to re-finish it. I read tons of DIY blogs (Little Green Notebook Blog, A Bit of Whimsy Blog) on silver-leafing. One of them mentioned using aluminum leafing instead of silver to cut the cost, which got me to thinking, “I wonder what would happen if you used aluminum foil?” So I Googled it, and sure enough, I wasn’t the first one with the idea (The Ivy Cottage Blog). I was a little nervous about doing it since it would pretty much ruin the dresser if I didn’t like the results (and aluminum foil just sounds kind of tacky), but I went for it anyway. I am pretty happy with how it turned out, though I wouldn’t recommend tackling it while 7 months pregnant (it was a lot of work on my hands and knees)!

Dresser collage

I have a small collection of old metal crates (I buy them at antique stores whenever I see some for a good deal). So I hung two of them on the wall above the changing table/dresser. One holds stuffed animals, and the other diapers, which is super handy!

Vintage Crates

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

 

For art, I found some champagne colored metallic oval frames at Hobby Lobby and hung 8 of them in two rows of 4. Inside, I put vintage themed carnival images in muted hues of blues and greens.

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

I decided to paint the crib in a dark grayish brown using organic, non-toxic paint (Ecos Paint) and an eco-friendly low odor varnish. To dress up the changing pad a little, I took the box that it came in, cut off one side to make it into a “tray”, then covered it with a taupe brown textured fabric and trimmed with a ribbon of frayed white fabric roses. A comfy rocking chair/glider and ottoman in a neutral linen color sits in the corner, for nursing and rocking baby.

Painted Crib

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

As a final touch, I hung a beautiful, sparkly chandelier I found at Home Depot. Probably my favorite part of the whole room!

Nursery Chandelier

Photo credit: RPM Photography (Kansas City)

Lavender Gray Baby Shower

When I found out my sister was having a baby, I was thrilled! I was really excited about becoming “Auntie Jess” to her little girl. When she called to tell me the news, one of the first questions I asked her was, “Can I throw you a baby shower?”

I ended up co-hosting the event with one of her oldest friends. My sister decided on a mid-afternoon time-frame, so we went with a tea with light appetizers.

The color scheme was lavender and gray, and my co-hostess provided her lovely old house as the location.

I designed the invitations. I drew a feathery, muted lavender wreath to frame the main text of the invitation. I had them printed on pearlescent card stock, so they had a slight shimmer to them. Then picked out a coordinating metallic lavender envelope.

Lavender Invitation

Since I flew in from out of town, I was somewhat limited as to what all I could bring for decor. So I hit the local supermarket (to get groceries for making food) and as luck would have it, they had a BEAUTIFUL selection of flowers (white hydrangeas, bright plum gerbera daisies). I grabbed a few bouquets to make some arrangements. We wound up with several mini-bouquets, and used tea tins as vases.

Flowers

As guests arrived, we served them hot tea in beautiful china tea cups my mother bought in Germany when we were kids.

Tea Cups

For the guest book, we used a hardback version of Harold and the Purple Crayon, which just so happens to be one of my sister’s favorite childhood books. I found some fine-tipped Crayola markers in three different shades of purple for guests to use for signing.

Guest Book

My co-hostess folded lavender napkins to look like little dresses, gluing a little button at the collar. So cute!

Napkins

For lunch, we served pecan-chicken salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, cheddar biscuits, blueberry scones, and vanilla cupcakes with lavender icing.

Food

For departing favors, each guest received a box with Earl Grey Lavender tea and homemade Earl Grey tea cookies (recipe from Martha Stewart). Half of the cookies we left plain, and the other half we lightly iced with a lavender vanilla buttercream glaze. I designed coordinating “tea and cookies” labels for the boxes, and we tied a sprig of lavender to the handles using pale lavender ribbon.

Favors

We finished off the afternoon sipping tea, eating cupcakes, and “oohing and awing” over all the sweet baby gifts.