Category Archives: Condo

Subway Sign

Several months ago I saw this post by Mrs. Limestone and I knew I had to recreate this project in my house somewhere. As the months went by I suddenly realized I had the perfect piece. Sitting in the storage closet off the patio was a dresser used to store gardening equipment and small tools. It was missing a drawer but that just made it all the more enticing for what I had in mind.

Over the Labor Day weekend I got the dresser out of the storage unit and emptied the drawers. I sanded it down with a palm sander and got to work painting it in Behr’s Black Suede which looks more like a Charcoal grey but I like it. A lovely friend let me borrow his drill and I was able to put a hole in the back of the dresser for power cord access.

I painted the drawers white and then added sticky vinyl backed letters in two sizes. Originally I had thought about putting stops from London, Paris and Rome but stuck with London to go with the other artwork in my living room.

I did sneak in a silly one – can you find it?

A neighbor came over this evening and helped me get my TV off the wall mounting bracket and on to the base. The top shelf area has my Blue Ray player, Wii, modem, router and a basket for my remotes. All of my DVD’s fit in the three drawers and I have room to grow. This allowed me to eliminated a shelf the DVD’s were previously sitting on.

Being non tech savvy, one thing that helped me was to label all of the cords and where they go before I unplugged them. I added my signature paisley to plump up my couch.

I am imensly pleased with this project. It makes me just a little giddy. Living room almost complete. Would like a rug and need to tile my hearth and bulk up my mantle.


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Filed under completed goals, Condo, crafts, Decluttering, decorating

So many shades of blue…..

Sorry I have been a little absent on this here ol’ blog. Due to a couple recent life changes I have just needed to chill. But I’m back.

To make a long dramatic story short, I find myself in the position of needing a roommate. I’m not going to go in to the story on here as I want this space to be a positive place. Suffice it to say – I filed for divorce last week. There I said it – on the internet. Moving on…..

I am staying in our condo but I need a roommate to ensure I don’t eat more than Ramen and PB&J’s morning, noon and night. I have been decluttering and clearing things out and doing some redecorating.

The master bedroom, closet and bathroom need touch up paint. Since my husband chose the paint color I currently have, I have decided to repaint in a blue that is a little more me – reminicient of the ocean. So my choices are three very similar colors (from left to right in the photo below);  tropical skies, peacock tail and moonlit pool.

Moonlit pool won my unofficial Facebook poll and turned out surprisingly to be my favorite.  When viewing them on the small little paint sample squares I thought for certain I would choose peacock tail. I painted a first coat on a small bedroom wall to see how I liked it.

It’s looking more green that I thought I wanted but I don’t hate it. Tomorrow morning I will paint a second coat and see how I feel about it. I have a tank top that is more the color I want so may have to do some color matching at my local Home Depot.


Well I woke up this morning and decided Moonlit Pool was just still too green. It’s a lovely color but not what I want surrounding me on all four walls. Back to my local Home Depot where my awesome friend Micah helped me choose two more colors. Bermudan Blue and I color matched my favorite Old Navy tank top and I’m calling it Paisley’s Pad.





Paisley’s Pad looks greener on here than in person. It’s probably the closest to a true peacock blue I am going to get. Bermudan Blue is lighter in the photo above than on the wall but doesn’t have enough green in it.

I believe the winner is Paisley’s Pad!

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Couch Slipcover – Finally Finished

This is a long one so grab a coffee and a pastry and settle in to your favorite reading spot…..

If your my friend on Facebook then you have already seen the finished result I posted this morning. Below are the dirty details.

In the 11 years C and I have lived together our living room furniture has changed three times (we even swapped our living and dining rooms once). When I moved in C had a love seat (which now resides at my parents house) and a really long couch (which we sold to friends) both in navy blue. C also had a large entertainment center. This was just too much furniture for our tiny living room which is open to the hallway and dining room plus one wall is a sliding door to the backyard and there is a fireplace on a 45 degree wall. Needless to say this is a really challenging space to decorate. (Note to self: when purchasing a house – NEVER buy anything with angled walls!).

For a few weeks we had a futon which I hated with a passion but it was free and it certainly beat sitting on the floor! The second incarnation was a couch we bought at IKEA. I loved the idea of it initially. It was space saving (only one piece of furniture) and we could fit the entire family on it. It was L shaped but had a part that could come out and up and make a full size bed, plus it had storage under the L cushion. It was extremely firm and we tried to live with it. It was also navy blue (at the time the only color choices were navy and white). Eventually it had to go. Mama was NOT happy!

I had this idea that I wanted an eclectic slip covered sofa that looked like I had pieced together a bunch of fun coordinating fabrics with patterns of houndstooth, herringbone and plaid (my sister has sipcovers like this – that was my inspiration) so we were on the lookout for a new (to us) comfortable sofa. One day at a thrift store I found it. It was $30. We paid for the couch and had a friend with a Suburban help us move it for the cost of $20 in gas and the muscles of his teenage son. We sold the IKEA couch. This was in June 2010. 

Now I had a neutral colored couch for the base of my “master plan”. This was going to be great – I could envision cuddling with the hubs watching a movie on my great new couch. World peace would enevitably ensue.

The only other requirement we needed in our living room was to be able to sit four or more people comfortably. On the weekends we have my husbands two teenage kids visiting us. We were on the lookout for two comfortable low profile chairs that would be placed facing the TV (now mounted over the fireplace on the 45 degree wall) and the dining room. If you are at the dining table you can see the TV so we didn’t want the view obstructed by heads or furniture. The answer were these two rounded chairs.

We lucked out in finding on Craigslist two IKEA chairs for $100 (regularily $100 each) in a neutral creme color. Comfortable and low profile. The goal is to eventually slip cover these to match the couch.

A few weekends ago I found two cranberry colored Pottery Barn boucle throws at the thrift store for $10 each. These throws are nice and soft and warm. After spraying with room spray (a scent that invokes sultry weekends in Cuba) and tossing in the dryer (to get rid of anything left behind) the slip cover idea has faded in to the background – for now.

A few months after buying the neutral thrift store couch I purchased two very large canvas drop cloths at our local Home Depot (the eclectic pieced slip cover was proving to be too expensive). One spring day in 2011 I ventured to create my slip cover. After carefully cutting the back cushions off (the dog refused to move for my photo) I was left with the basic frame (don’t mind the surge strip peeking under the couch – we often sit on the couch with our laptops).

The cushions that were on the back of the couch were too firm and we couldn’t “sink in” to the back like we wanted too. Never fear, I had plans for those cushions. C built a wood frame the length of the couch and the depth of the cushions. We placed the cushions on the top of this frame and secured it by stapling down muslin to the frame. This ottoman serves two purposes. When it’s just C and I we have a totally comfy lounging couch to sit (or lay) on and when we have tons of people over we can move the ottoman in front of the fireplace for extra seating (we can easily seat three or four people on it).

I’ll do a seperate post on the ottoman (with photos) after that slipcover is completed.

The drop cloth measures 12 ft x 15 ft and has a French seam down the center. I placed the seam where the back meets the base of the couch and proceeded to cut and pin around the couch until I ended up with an inside out slip cover. For those of you who watched Trading Spaces this will be a familiar process.

That is as far as I got before putting all the fabric in our bedroom for several months – pins and all. Yesterday I cleaned off the dining table (our catch all) and brought all the fabric out as well as my sewing machine and spent the afternoon and late in to the evening sewing.

The pins were my sewing guide and I test fitted the slip cover MANY times to ensure it would fit when done and that the hem was nice and even. In the back, just below the arm I sewed on velcro for ease of removal for laundering (people – we have a geriatric cat).

The cushions for the back of the couch are compliments of my sister. She bought me four pillows for my birthday that I also slipcovered with the same fabric.

The accent color of the main living space (living and dining) was initially supposed to be blue and green based on a peacock wreath and an entralac wrap I knitted.

One day at IKEA C discovered a print he had wanted for a couple years was 50% off. It’s a London city scene (he is a total Anglophile – I can’t really blame him) with a double decker bus. It’s black and white but the bus is red. I liked it too and we bought it for him for his birthday. It is mounted over the couch and due to the red color we decided to accent in cranberry instead of blue and green.

My kitchen is a pomagranite red so it flowed nicely (plus I scored those totally awesome cranberry Potterybarn throws). The wrap and peacock wreath moved to our master bedroom which is currently blue but we are going to paint dark grey this summer.

The two polka dot pillows are from IKEA and have all the neutral colors in them we are currently decorating with.

Once the living room is completely finished I will post more detailed photos (hopefully with a better camera!).


Filed under Condo, goals

Condo Project Update

We have been diligently chipping away at the old tile on the hearth and are making slow and steady progress. This is a long time coming. I know that all the work (and patience) would be worth it because I will love the result! I tend to have champagne wishes on a beer budget when it comes to choosing fixtures, etc. This time around I was pleasantly surprised that the tile I wanted to choose, 3 x 6 Carrara Marble is significantly less per square foot than anything predone on a mesh backing that is 12 x 12.

Saturday while out getting more tile we bought a table lamp for our living room. Our place has no overhead lighting in the living room or bedrooms.  The glazed part in the base also lights up but we need another bulb. We bought an LED bulb for this lamp which has a bluer tint to the light than the bulb in our floor lamp. I prefer a more yellow light but my husband has a hard time seeing with that.

I have my grandfathers WWII army trunk sitting next to the couch which is a little low. I like how the vintage books stacked under the lamp raises it to the right height. Slowly we are getting this place in to the shape we want it to be.

The project for this week is to start working on the slip cover for the couch. I have been putting it off long enough.

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2012 Home Improvement Projects

So I mentioned yesterday about our hearth and mantle project. We have a few other projects we want to complete this year. We hope to get them all completed and we can officially consider our condo – DONE!

Once the hearth and mantle are completed we will be installing shelving to the left of the fireplace. Right now we have two floating shelves that hold our components and it looks a little lost on the huge wall. Our shelving project will combine plumbing materials and wood such as the photo example below.

We love the industrial feel as well as the customizability (is that a word?) of this solution. Our goal for the wall in our living room is to have all of our TV components (Blue Ray player, wireless router, Xbox & Wii), books and my husbands collection of film cameras on this wall. We are also thinking about using this same treatment in our hallway which is where are DVD collection is housed and in our dining room for our bar area. The genius of this is we can take it with us when we move.

Last summer I purchased some large fabric drop cloths from Home Depot, cut one up and pinned it in to a slip cover for our couch. We also took the back cushions off our couch and used them to make a large ottoman (the width of our couch). I still need to make the slip covers. Here is what the couch looks like just pinned with no cushions.

Our bedroom needs some finishing touches as well. We need to install baseboard and crown molding and we really want a bigger bed. We are looking to get a king size bed with a frame that sits lower to the floor than our current one. A nice nubby rug for under foot on either side of the bed will be great too.

The bed and headboard above are from IKEA. They do not sell the frame in a darker stain in a King size and the headboard (made up of three pieces here) only comes in the birch stain. C and I are planning to make our own bed frame in a darker stain in King and add an all natural mattress. The headboard will be expensive and time-consuming so in the mean time we will hang our 48 star flag on some stained wood as a headboard and mount two vintage suitcases as bedside tables like the photo below from Flea Market magazine.

I love the look of vintage suitcases and have a few myself. One of them is a dog bed. In order to make this shelving I WILL have to cut in to the vintage suitcases which does give me pause. This project will only happen once I find new luggage pieces. I just can’t manage cutting in to my grandmother’s old pieces.

I have wanted a dress form forever. My mother gave me money to purchase one I spied at the local Hobby Lobby. I still have to pick it up (possibly today). The cover is not what I am going for but the form is just right so I plan to slip cover this form in a light linen fabric similar to my couch slip cover. This will act as my valet in our bedroom.

In our kitchen we will be adding butcher block counters and white subway tile backsplash.

We are keeping out kitchen painted a pomegranate red and repainting our cabinets in white.

Last but not least we will be installing a new low flow toilet in our bathroom and I may do a map treatment to a dresser we have in the dining room we use as a buffet. What are you up to project wise this year?

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Getting a Head Start on 2012

Yesterday we continued the process of taking old tile off our hearth in preparation for a long overdue fireplace project. The original tile was ugly so we painted over it several years ago. However, the front edge was chipped and it just needed updating.

Several months ago we bought a Dremmel Multi Max in order to make taking the tile out a little easier than the hammer and chisel we were using. The Multi Max works by oscillating at a very high speed to heat up the glue under the tile. It works great but get’s really hot pretty quickly. It takes about an hour to get ten to fiften 3 x 3 tiles up before we have to stop for the night so we don’t ruin the tool.

Above is a photo of what our hearth looks like after taking a few rows of tile off. The tile around the fireplace is actually the same color as the tile on the hearth and looks very pink in this photo. It’s actually a light mocha color. You can also tell we are missing a traingular piece of parquet flooring still. Once all the tile is removed we will need to remove the left over glue and sand the entire area before we can lay down the new beautiful grey and white Carrara marble tile we picked up at Lowe’s tonight. They measure 3 x 6 and are just $5.98 per square foot.

Once the old tile is off and the new tile is on we will be taking the brass front piece off of the fireplace and purchasing or making a fireplace candelabra like the one pictured below (minus the glass holders). We don’t use our fireplace at all so these plans work for us and will help in resale value.

Then we will beef up our mantle. Right now we have a piece of wood supported by two decorative wooden shelf brackets. We will have somthing that extends from one wall to the other (our fireplace is on a 45 degree wall) with floor to mantle “legs”. Our 50″ flat panel TV has been mounted over the mantle. We will need to get a longer TV power cord and some paintable cord hiding material. This project has been on our list for years and will make the room we spend most of our time in so much better!

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>Hello World

>Wow, it’s been a bit since I wrote here. I have been busy.


Photos below may not be “pretty” as they are “in progress”. You have been warned!

*************************************END WARNING*********************************

Our living room is REALLY hard to decorate. I have lived here for going on ten years and we FINALLY think we have a solution. I will NEVER live with angeled walls EVER AGAIN!

Walls, crown and baseboard trim all completely painted, we mounted our TV on our angled fireplace wall (the bane of our existence – see note above) last weekend. We mounted two floating shelves to the left of that wall to hold our components (top shelf Wii and modem, bottom shelf XBOX, wireless router & Blue Ray player). We will probably get a guitar mount for the Wii Guitar leaning against the lower shelf.

Now we are dealing with wires. Lots of them. (Notice how the power cord for the TV does not reach to the outlet and we have that very attractive surge strip nesteled in our fireplace tools? I think it really adds something). The mantle in the photo below is part of our old one and will be replaced. The tan tile surround will be replaced with grey and white Carrara marble tile.

Hiding the power cords is going to be a challenge. There is no option to go in to the wall. So far my husband has used flexible hosing to “hide” them and plans to paint them to match the wall. I still don’t think painting them will completely hide them. We have not built our mantle yet so I hope we can encorporate hiding the cords in to the design. Especially on the right with the surge strip. Even if the surge strip was mounted to the side of the mantle “legs” and the cord hidden by one of those squared off cord covers you can mount to the wall and paint your wall color. This actually looks better then it did when first put up. Don’t even get me started on a surround sound system which we have yet to purchase. This living room project is going to take a bit longer than planned I think.

C and I both tought the floating shelving would make the room feel less cluttered but I am sad to say I don’t feel that way right now. I thought about a small lingerie chest that could sit there and cover the outlet. We could change the drawers to flip down when we needed to access the components. I dare not suggest to C since he worked so hard getting it this far. I just really need camoflage for that wall under the shelf. It’s complicated by the angled (and unfinished) hearth.

Any suggestions would be appreciated as well.

Because we mounted our TV we were able to move our couch to a wall instead of blocking traffic flow through to our dining room. This makes me incredibly happy and almost makes up for the cord situation. Last weekend we scored two IKEA chairs through CL for half off. I bought some great brown and cream zebra printed fabric yesterday to slipcover two pillows for the chairs. You can just glimpse our DVD storage in the background – oops didn’t notice the storage box behind the chair. In my defence I did warn photos were not pretty.

The room feels really roomy and I am loving it! With the curtains open and the couch facing the window it feels much brighter in here. There is no glare from the window on the TV anymore either. We have furniture we were sorely lacking for a family of four as well.

We have a few more tasks to complete before the big reveal. We need to take the rest of the old tile off our hearth and replace it with yummy grey and white Carrara marble and redo our mantle. We have decided to purchase a surround sound system first (our old one died about a year and a half ago) so we can design the mantle after we have ALL components. I also need to make a slip cover for the couch and I have an art piece I want to do to go on the wall over it.
Down the road we will be purchasing a rug but not until after our cat is gone. She is responsible for ruining our last one. We will eventually replace the sofa with something nicer and do some in ceiling can lighting.

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