“Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.” Ralph Waldo Emerson “Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.” ― Robert Frost
Renting has its advantages. I thank my lucky stars every time something breaks and I can just call maintenance. Broken things are always someone else’s problem. Still, it has its disadvantages. Along with feeling like you’re throwing your money away month to month, it also can be tough to make a rental space feel like home. 🙂 I am striving to accomplish that one (CHEAP) update at a time. Because the last month or so has been filled with a few of them, I thought I’d share the “progress.” Not too long ago, our dining area looked like this. And it was cute! Our table was a $100.00 moving sale score. However, it was a bar height table. Great for grownups, not great for visiting children. 🙂 Also, the leaf was chewed up by the previous owner’s puppy, so it was limiting. With hopes of opening up our home to more loved ones, my dad and brother have agreed to build a new one for us (I get to be the glorified assistant). 🙂 For now, we’re rocking the above look. You can read about the chairs here. I MISS the warmth of the wood, but we have plans to reintroduce that ASAP (though perhaps a little cooler). You also may have noticed the new gallery wall. It’s important that you know what a challenge that was. Because it just looks “so-so” now, but it was some WORK!
Some people are naturally great at things like this, but I’m not. It took lots of gathering, moving, measuring, and editing. So, it may evolve over time, but it’ll stay put for now. 🙂 It’s full of items I love. The leaves aren’t sentimental, but they do remind me of home. The white grate was a gift from my Mother in Law, and I love every scroll-y inch of it. My favorite wedding photo is finally up in our home. It was taken by the very talented Kyle Gregory who you can look up here. The chalkboard is from World Market and currently features an Easter verse. while I love this scripture, I plan in changing it as soon as I get new chalk. A certain beagle pup ate my last piece. You can buy this chalkboard here. It also includes the thumbprint tree I drew for our wedding day. Instead of a guest book, we asked guests to stamp their thumb onto our “tree” and to sign our family Bible. I have occasion to look at these sweet reminders of our loved ones every day. 🙂 The “S” was on our gift table. All those teeny, tiny crosshatching marks in pen were a PAIN. Whew! (Our names have been removed thanks to the magic of Photoshop). 🙂 Also updated in the dining area was our sideboard. It was once in the home of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, then my childhood home, and is now in ours. When Mr. S. and I refinished it as newlyweds, he didn’t think it important to mention that he had no clue how to paint. Imagine the horror when I came to view his side of the project. 😉 The lamp and picture were once in my parents’ home, and the ruffled, linen runner was a too-fun sewing project of mine. The art that was in our dining area has been moved to our living room. It was purchased only a couple of years ago at Kirkland’s and was an already-dated shade of blue and brown. It’s got a new coat of white and a “ASCP French Linen” wash to make it good and grimy. I’ve tried to “cozy up” the white slipcovers with the yummy textures of this knit blanket and scratchy pillow. 🙂 P.S. If anyone tries to tell you that slipcovers like this are a pain, they’re liars. Just unzip, wash with bleach, and tumble dry low in case of a spill. The end. You can’t do that with a beige one. The tan-and-white mitered pillow was a Home Goods steal, while the blue-and-white, ticking stripe pillow was sewn by yours truly… ’til 2:00 a.m. with pin pricks and tears. Mitered stripes may have been a tad bit ambitious for a newbie like me, but I ended up with the look I love for just a few bucks. This is our desk area, where I’m hunkered down right now. You can read about the ASCP chair makeover here. I’m happy to report that the soft wax means the finish is holding up way better than I imagined! I added a blue mason jar of white roses, a newly-placed lamp, and a fantastic ball of twine from my folks (you can grab it here). This book brings to mind Mr. S. and was the inspiration for this steamy love letter. 😉 Just kidding, guys. But seriously. The man deserves a love letter. And here’s little Lucy lounging away on our ottoman. You can read about that lunatic of a dog here if you’re in the mood to cry over a dog story. I always am. The red-and-white loveliness was a quilt sewn by Mr. S’s grandmother. I keep it freshly laundered and proudly on display. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by for a visit. 🙂
As they say around here, “Y’all come back now, ya hear?”
I’m linking up to:
It’s been that kind of delicious Spring day. The kind where you fling open the windows and are greeted with blue skies and puffs of warm air. Kids were laughing, birds were chirping, and it was time to put cream and sugar in my usually-black coffee.
If you’re anything like me, a day like that means it’s time to whip out a paint brush and put some pretty in the world (you get that, right?!).
When Mr. S came onto the scene a couple of Septembers ago, we realized that our little apartment, just perfect for one, needed some upgrades to accommodate two. Alas, my sweet little bedside tables were stored away and replaced with a pair of nightstands with real drawers. Though it sure was a good choice for our little family, I missed those pretty cottage-y tables with their curvy lines (Home Goods steals).
Armed with some French Linen Chalk Paint, whose fateful purchase you can read about here, it was time to bring one of them back home. I found the perfect spot for it and transformed it from a deep green to a lovely taupe-y gray.
My favorite reading nook just got better!
My next victim was one of the most used items in our little apartment. In fact, I’m sitting on it now. I wanted to lighten up our cheap-o Target desk chair. This baby is not heirloom quality by any means, so I felt no guilt or hesitation when painting it Duck Egg Blue.
The only before photo I could find (smack to the forehead for forgetting to take one) is this one of Mr. S who while
fist pumping to “Eye of the Tiger” completing a research paper. I am positive that everyone is secretly as weird as we are behind closed doors… At least I hope we’re not the only ones.
I feel like the chair is much happier herself in her new shade of blue. It was the first piece of furniture I’ve ever waxed, and I was somewhat surprised by the process even though I’d read about it before. It was a LOT of elbow grease, but well worth it! Today, a few hours after the last coat, it’s surprisingly hard and not at all soft or tacky.
Last but not least, I thought it was worth including my loyal companion, keeping guard against the outside world as I did some reading in bed this morning. My fellow dog lovers can read about little Lucy’s less-than-smooth transition into our family here. Pet adoption is tough but worth it!
She was a great defender with her distinctive beagle baying directed at each passerby (our neighbors love us, guys).
Thanks for stopping by, friends!
Linking up to:
Hello Again! I am so glad you decided to join me once again for some more window shopping, my one and only “sport.”
If you missed Part 1 of our Asheville adventure, you can find it by clicking here.
I have to begin with my big “splurge” of the trip. We visited Southern Highland Craft Gallery just to kill some time. It features work by local artisans who have incredible talent. Featured artists include exceptional woodworkers, jewelry makers, painters, sculptors, quilters, and more.
Truly on a whim, we decided to purchase some wooden cooking utensils. I love the idea that everyday objects can serve as beautiful, functional art. They require a little more gentle care than my steel utensils, but they’ll put a smile on my face every time I use them. Though we both agreed to purchase them, I know Mr. S just wanted to see me smile.
If I ever decide to make over our buffet, I think I’d do a painted pattern like the one on the left. Can you make out the red and white leaves and birds? Though I am a fan of light whites and soothing neutrals in our home, I love the contrast a dark focus piece like this provides.
The chair on the right was one of a set of four. They made my jaw drop. I loved not only their classic shape but the unusual, muted, inky-blue fabric with pops of orange and red. Together with the dark wood finish, it stole the show.
The rest of the shop included many beautiful, fussy things I’m not quite sophisticated enough to appreciate. 😉
We actually even found some furniture and light fixtures equal in price to my entire salary at a nearby store. Can you just picture me holding my breath, praying not to knock anything over?! We couldn’t stop gawking like total tourists at every price tag and yet couldn’t help feeling quite relieved when we left!
We next stopped at “Screen Door,” and we are so happy we did! It is sort of a co-op including MANY dealers and a variety of vintage, re-finished, re-purposed and hand-crafted items.
Though I am picturing items that suit my personal taste below, believe me, there was something for everyone at this place, from mid-century modern, to mountain-cabin rustic.
This huge sign caught my eye right off the bat! I would estimate that it is about 7 feet wide.
Antique tobacco baskets with missing pieces are a common sight here in the South. What is uncommon is to see such baskets artfully repaired with another material.
We laughed together as we agreed that this would be an excellent way to finally protect our little plants from our ruthless Lucy. If you don’t know who Lucy is, you can read about her here.
This table is great inspiration for our soon-to-be-built table (to pair with the chairs featured in I Snagged A Deal, Y’all!)
Mr. S. was frustrated that all these teeth and gears had no function, but we both appreciated the industrial look of this “bar cart.”
Beautiful frames made with scrap wood and beadboard for a cause. You can find them here.
To understand how awesome these next three finds are, you must visit Restoration Hardware’s wooden mirror collection.
Then, compare the products featured online with these in the Screen Door booth for a fraction of the price!
I think this craftsman did an incredible job. He/she had other finishes available, too!
I’ve got a confession.
I’m completely obsessed with a chair. Would you be surprised if I told you said chair is from none other than Restoration Hardware? Of course you wouldn’t! Because nearly everything in that store is a lovely mixture of tasteful, refined, and bold. Meet the Vintage French Round Upholstered Side Chair (that’s a lot of adjectives).
This drool-worthy beauty comes in several color options, and I happen to adore every single wood finish and fabric. It’s feminine and traditional, but the casual linen fabric saves it from being too stuffy. This is just the look I’m going for in our home (I bet I don’t have to tell you that we’re still pretty far from achieving said look). Though it has a lot to offer, it comes at a price. Literally. These things start at around $200.00 and creep their up to around $400.00 with shipping and tax. Yikes! I don’t judge anyone who forks out that much for a chair, but there’s not room in our teacher/police officer budget for such a splurge. Could we? Sure. Should we? Nope!
I had resolved that, while I’d never own such a lovely chair, I could be sincerely happy for whoever’s home was filled with such delights. Then lightning struck. I saw this beauty at T.J. Maxx of all places! Along with all three of her perfect sisters! I am not the girl who magically finds the “perfect thing” often. So when I say lightning struck, I really mean it!
She has the pretty pickled-pine finish, linen cushions, oval back, and carved legs of my dreams! And I got all four for about the price of a single chair from RH.
We currently have a bar-height kitchen table. It was an awesome moving-sale steal, so I’ve been thankful for its sturdy build for years. But as we’ve increasingly had toddlers visiting our place, we’ve discovered they’re not ideal for company with young children. Additionally, the leaf is destroyed beyond repair, so hosting more that two other folks is a challenge for us.
We have plans to build a new table with the help of my handy dad, but we definitely don’t have the time/talents to build chairs, too. I’m so thankful for this economical alternative that I truly adore as much as the RH version and can hardly wait to build a table for them. If anyone has a suggestion for a specific wood finish to pair with these beauties, I’m all ears!
For now, they’re scattered all over our tiny one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, so we’re a little cramped. 😉
Another relatively recent change is the addition of this little seafoam pillow from World Market on our bed. I know, it’s not very attention grabbing. But to a neutral-loving girl like me, this is quite the pop of color. 😉 I love that the soft velvet is such a contrast to the rumpled, rough linen duvet and shams.
Our room sure doesn’t look professionally decorated, but it is filled with things we love (like the thumbprint tree pictured left signed and stamped by guests at our wedding in the church where we met). I walk in the door after each busy day and feel such peace and comfort.
Little Valentine’s Day touches also abound thanks to some roses on clearance at our local grocery store. Flowers can feel like such an indulgent treat, but I’ve learned to make the most of single bouquets by spreading out small groupings of the flowers in little clusters.
Thanks for stopping by to tour our little home! It’s not grand, but it’s full of love and a whole lot of happy, that’s for sure. Hope you felt it, too!
Lastly, here is a shot of our cute, wet, miserable puppy after her bath: