Friday, September 30, 2011

Missing Summer?

Yeah, me too. I'm not a big fan of Fall.


But visit me over at Loft & Cottage today where I'm making the best of the crisp autumn weather while Casey is off galavanting in Italy. Lucky duck.
This is the extent of my Fall decorating.
My girl Casey has an amazing talent when it comes to decorating and styling. So of course, her blog is a wonderful source of inspiration. You'll want to pour yourself a big mug of coffee and set aside some time to scroll through her previous posts.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Knock Off

If you happened to catch the guest post I did on Room Rx a few weeks back, you may remember how I professed my love for this fabric. It is Rosenholm from Designer's Guild. 

Now guess where you can find a similar version? 
At Ikea. 
For $8.99 a yard.
Yup, I saw it with my own eyes a couple of weeks ago. It is also available in the reverse. 
I wish I had a use for it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Project List

Chris and I didn't get a chance to make any progress on our family room over the weekend because we were out of town, but the long car ride together gave us an opportunity to put together a draft To Do list for the room.


(My Type-A tendencies compelled me include two items we already completed just so that I could cross them off and get that warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment). 

Unfortunately, these aren't the kinds of projects we'll be able to finish all in one weekend. I figure it will take us about 7-8 weekends. This will be a true test of my patience as we've only just started and I already can't wait to be done! 

How did you spend your weekend? 


Friday, September 23, 2011

Really Big Houses

Remember when Chris's parents came to town? Well, in addition to taking them to a polo match, we also treated them to a sailboat ride in Narragansett Bay, RI.
I know, we're really fabulous hosts.
Let me re-live the experience for you. 
Hop aboard! My name is Carrie and I'll be your tour guide. Forget about the water and beautiful scenery, I'm just going to show you some extraordinary houses! 


Some of these homes are so big and grand that they have names. The one below is called Horsehead-Marbella. The founder of the Wharton School lived here. Joseph Wharton originally named it Marbella, but it later came to be known as Horsehead because of a rock formation on the property that looks like a horse's head.

And this one? Hammersmith Farm.
History buffs might recognize this as the childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It also served as the location of the wedding reception of Jacqueline and John F Kennedy.


This "little" yellow victorian is my favorite. It has me thinking we should consider pale yellow as an option when we paint our house next summer.

(Um yes, I did feel a little bit like a celebrity stalker taking pictures of famous houses from a boat with a zoom lens...)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Side Tables R Us

For whatever reason a vision for side tables in my family room just wasn't coming to me as easily as everything else in the room has. I scoured magazines and blogs for something that might catch my eye as the perfect "I must have that in my family room" piece, but nothing seemed to fit the bill. Or if I did see something I loved, it was out of my budget. Isn't that always the case? 


One night, Chris suggested that he just make them. 
Custom made furniture...an interesting concept indeed.


But with his offer to make the side tables came a million questions:
How tall and wide should the tables be? 
Round table top or square? 
What kind of wood?
Should the legs be turned, rectangular, or square? 
Should the tables on either side of the couch be an exact match? 
Storage? 

OMG. 


After a LOT of indecision, I finally arrived on a design similar to this table. I like the simple lines and the shelves.  Chris was able to find free online instructions that he can modify to my specifications. 



I think the table will look really cool with some little brass shoes.
It's a win win. I get exactly what I want and Chris is all pumped up fine tune his fine woodworking skilz. He bought himself a new saw and everything.

Monday, September 19, 2011

And the Wallpaper Comes Tumbling Down...

Some things get worse before they get better. That certainly seems to be the case in our family room.

 Our weekend-o-wallpaper removal started out promising. The vinyl "grasscloth" came down easily in long strips, just like the wallpaper guy said it would.
 Unfortunately, there was another layer of paper under the vinyl. It was a layer of wallpaper that had been painted. Awesome.
Painted over paper isn't easy to remove. We tried scoring the walls and soaking them with DIF, but got the best results using a steamer. 
 It took FOREVER.
A surprising discovery was the plaster in one section of the room was once dark burgundy. It was kind of interesting to see what the room may have looked like at one point.
 
 We could make out a faint design where the burgundy met the white stripe at the top of the wall. Can you see it?


Lots of patch jobs done to the plaster over the years. 
If Harry could talk, he'd say, "No offense or anything guys, but the room looked way better before you touched it. Just saying."
So what's next?
Skim coating. We need to smooth out the rough and pitted texture of the plaster so that the imperfections don't show through the wallpaper. Good times.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Virtual Vacation

Chris came across this inn a couple of weeks ago, and we couldn't stop drooling over the decor on their website. The Stone House was built in 1854 as a private residence of the Sisson family in Little Compton, RI.  Today it is run as an inn that has been dramatically restored and decorated.
Isn't this a fantastic staircase? I love that the treads  and handrails are stained a darker color than the floors.
 You know how much I like a historic building filled with contemporary furnishings.
 Do I spy silver leafing on the wall?
Oh, the view!
 I don't think I'd leave this tub.
 Hello gorgeous.

While spending a weekend here might cost you a couple hundred dollars, the online eye candy is free :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hot Iron

A couple weeks ago, Chris and I were watching Auction Hunters. Have you seen this show? 
Cameras follow around these two guys, Allen and Ton, while they travel around the country and bid on abandoned storage units. Then they sell 
the valuables inside and make a lot of money. Quite frankly, it is one of the only shows Chris and I can agree to watch together. 
Spike tv
On one of the episodes they were cleaning out a unit and came across an old iron. Now they weren't terribly excited about it because it isn't worth much, but Chris got excited. Our conversation went something like this:

Chris: We have one of those in our basement!
Me: We do not
Chris: Yes we do! 
Me: We do? 


Auction Hunters gets put on pause as Chris runs down to the basement to get said iron


A few minutes later he came upstairs with this
Looks like someone may have left it in the fire too long...
Like most of the other treasures we've found in our house (a chandelier and some old doorknobs), we have no idea if this is something original to the home or if it was a random purchase made by the previous owner.
Chris looked it up on eBay and discovered that similar antique irons were going for about $25. Not bad considering it was free to us. But we aren't going to sell it. Turns out it makes a terrific doorstop for one of our guest bedroom doors that won't stay closed. 

Or maybe our guests would like to use it to iron their clothes...

Have you ever seen one of these before? 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Family Room Project Kickoff

Lots of activity has started on our family room over the last few days. The most exciting by far was the early arrival of our new couch. About 6- 8 weeks early! If you recall, I ordered it at the end of July and was told there would be a 10-12 week wait. So we had to scramble a bit and find a place to put it while we work on the room. For now it is hanging out in another room in our house where it is getting acquainted with the new rug. 
That's the fabric for the Salvation Army chair in the background
Then, between a girl's night out with my sister and sister-in-law to see The Help, a trip to Ikea, and another polo match, I somehow managed to find time to help Chris empty out the family room of all its furniture and lay down paper over the hardwoods over the weekend. 
Chris removed the antiquated alarm/intercom/speaker (we really don't know what it was) and found some pretty old wallpaper underneath.
 It made us wonder how the room may have been used and decorated way back when...
In any case, the stage has been set to begin stripping wallpaper. Fingers crossed that the walls underneath are in good shape.


Let the fun begin!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Side Chair Setback

Don't you just hate when you start a project you think is going to only take a couple of hours, only to get into it and realize it is much much more involved than you had originally anticipated? 
That's what happened to me recently.

I had a couple of free hours and thought it might be a good opportunity to start taking the old fabric off my Salvation Army chair so that I could paint it and send it off to get reupholstered. (Now, the upholster said they'd paint it, but if I did it myself, I'd save $100. Plus, I thought it would be a piece of cake).
However, when I started tearing the old fabric away, I realized that it was covering two very thin and brittle layers of wooden panels. 
One layer for the fabric covering the inside of the chair and one for the fabric that shows on the outside. Removing the fabric from the chair without damaging the panels was proving to be a frustrating task for a novice like myself. 
Did I need to keep those wooden panels intact because they'll get reused? Or would they get replaced anyway as part of the reupholstery process? I did not know and the upholstery shop was closed. 

Buzzkill. 

In the end I figured it would be best to stop what I was doing and wait until I could contact someone at the shop.

Fast forward a few days later when I spoke to the professional. She said to go right ahead and strip the chair down to the frame. No need to avoid damage to the panels as they will get replaced anyway. Whoo hoo! I love when I get get the answer I'm looking for.
So I'll resume stripping the chair and keep you updated on my progress.


(And to satisfy your curiosity, the estimate I got for recovering this chair was $350 and 4 yards of fabric.) 




Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Stomping Divots

Hope you all enjoyed a fabulous long weekend!

Chris's parents were in town for the weekend visiting from Washington. We took them to Portsmouth, RI to the Newport Polo grounds to watch a match. I can't think of a better way to spend a sunny summer afternoon than to sit in lawn chairs, drink cocktails, and watch men on horses.

There's a match every Saturday during the summer. It is best to get there early and claim a good spot on the lawn in the general admission section and have yourself a nice little picnic. Or if you are really organized, you can pay an additional $30 to reserve a parking spot next to the field, then invite all your friends to tailgate for the afternoon.
This weekend's match was USA (blue shirts) vs. England.



 I took this picture of Chris with his parents between chukkers when they invite everyone out onto the field to stomp divots. By the time we got there, the only divots left were the steaming kind.
 More people divot stomping.


At the end of the match, the spectators stand along the field to high five the players. This was the shot I got just before getting pushed out of the way by a toddler. Apparently, the kid takes his polo matches very seriously!

So that was our last hurrah of the summer. Soon the weather will start changing and Chris and I will be inside stripping wallpaper and painting trim in our family room.
(Which truthfully doesn't sound all that bad to me.)

How did you all spend your Labor Day weekend?
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