Category Archives: DIY Home Decor

Adding Age With Vintage Fabric

I recently complained that our kitchen’s looking too ‘new’,

+ I mused that a reclaimed lumber box beam might help with that:


So.  What else could I do to add some instant age?

Enter vintage fabric!


I bought this very pretty table cloth today;

it started out as a flour sack in the 30’s.

Look at the sweet hand stitching at the hem!


Darling, right?


 And the red goes with our glass cabinet pulls:


And that cheerful blue is nearly identical to our ceiling!


Since I love vintage fabric,

I already had this gingham check tablecloth:


Don’t they look great together?

My plans for them include sewing short tiers for here:


And here:


And possibly on the glass doors of this upper cabinet:


I know!  That’s a lot of curtains in just 1 room!

But wait!

I’m even toying with the idea of this:

sink skirt

Country Living magazine

A skirt for our farmhouse sink!

Stay tuned!


Lately I’ve been planning our Dutch colonial’s living room in my head.

What fun!

Of course, we’ll need comfortable seating + lights for reading.

I must incorporate a TV, my books + artwork, too.

Me being me, I need to try + do this as stylishly as possible.

With a miniscule budget.


Let’s see what we have,

looking in from Dutch colonial’s front door:


Next, as seen from the adjacent dining room,

through our fabulous pocket doors:


A closer view of  that large, south-facing window bay:


Here’s the view from that bay past G.O.

+ into the dining room (+ the kitchen, just beyond):


We’ll have ourselves a nice, bright room!

But again — what to do with the TV, my books + artwork,

a.k.a. the media wall?


That large, blank wall opposite the front door.

Here ’tis again:


Just this week while perusing Pinterest,

I found a fantastic inspiration for our media wall, here:

Don’t you love it?

It’s inside the L.A. loft of Kristan Cunningham + Scott Jarrell:

lonny magazine -- kristin cunningham and scott jarrell's LA loft

You might recognize her from the old HGTV show, Design On A Dime.

These 2 kids also own the L.A. design firm + shop,

Hammer + Spear.

lonny hammer + spear

lonny magazine -- victorian turned wood easel with mirror $750

Victorian turned wood easel with mirror $750

lonny -- painted parchessi and checkers game board hammer and spear $499

Painted Parcheesi + checkers game board $499

lonny hammer + spear laboratory perfumes scented candle $60

Laboratory Perfumes scented candle $60


Cowboy Grass unisex fragrance by D.S. Durga  $106

Cowboy Grass (what?) unisex fragrance by D.S. Durga

Okay.  So I love everything, but it’s all too spendy for me!

It’s that miniscule budget I mentioned, before.

* * *

But I digress!  Back to their fab media wall!

Let’s have a look-see + determine why it is so awesome:

lonny -- kristin cunningham's living room mid century + walls

While it looks like a wall of expensive built-ins,

 upon closer inspection,

one realizes that they’ve actually used light-toned wood cabinets

with a matching, light-toned wood wall behind them.

It looks like those are relatively inexpensive brackets + shelves, too.

lonny -- kristin cunningham's living room mid century + walls

Please notice the high contrast between the lighter media wall

+ how dark they’ve painted every other wall.

It creates an amazing focal point!

* * *

So.  That’s what I want to try + emulate for our media wall!

Instead of the cabinets,

we could use our new/old mid-century dresser.

(We drug it home from the curb about a month ago.  Score!)


I like that our rescued dresser’s a whopping 64″ long;

it’s really going to make a statement in our room!

Its simple, mid-century modern good looks will ramp up our style, for sure.


Now to match our dresser with our wall,

as they matched their cabinets with their wall in the L.A. loft.

Our options are to refinish our dresser’s wood

+ install some sort of wood wall behind it.

Or paint everything.

I’m leaning toward painting the dresser + wall, like here.

See how the artwork “pops” + the TV kind of “disappears”?

gray dark tv and artwork pottery barn

As you no doubt noticed, I’d be switching the lights + darks

from the original loft’s media wall . . .

lonny -- kristin cunningham's living room mid century + walls

. . . + go darker for my media wall + much lighter for everything else, like this:

Look how the dark gray renders the TV nearly invisible!

gray dark accent wall -- houzz.

YAY on the TV “going away” . . .

. . . sure, we have one, but who wants it to be the focal point?

Now that that’s settled (one hopes), next up is the question,

“Dark gray or dark navy?”


navy houzz

Stay tuned!


Hola, fun seekers!

I wish to join the 21st C. by actually incorporating prints into my next décor.

That’s not so easy when you’re a plain Jane like me.

First up: huge buffalo checks somewhere.

Note to self: hang plates in the new hacienda, too!

I’d share more, but it’s (past) time to sew like the wind

+ maybe finish Christmas shopping online.

Hope you’re enjoying the season 1/2 as much as I am!


There’s been plenty of progress over at our Dutch colonial project . . .

. . . it’s just that none of it is particularly photogenic at this time.

Oh, how I can sadly relate, but I digress.


The above photo op shows the downstairs bedroom in progress.

To the left will be a closet, + here are the doors that I want for it:

bedroom closet doors -- cl magazine

Country Living magazine

I love their texture + their slightly-but-not-too-country style.

Modern country, if you will.

At this moment in time, I plan for our walls to be a similar shade of pale blue,

perhaps something of the wallpaper persuasion, like this:

Ralph Lauren Home

Ralph Lauren Home

Yummy, no?  Could it be possible to love grasscloth wallpaper MORE?

 I think the texture would warm things  up a tad,

which would be nice since that bedroom’s on the northeast side of the house.


Downstairs bedroom with closet to the left.
The facing wall will be for the bed.

That window (above), which was smaller than the originals,

screamed: ADD-ON, so it had to go.


There, that’s better.

There’s ^^ our framed-out bedroom window in the proper length!


Now we’re still in the bedroom,

 standing with our backs to that bed wall + the eliminated window.

Beyond those studs, where G.O. (insert joke here) is standing,

is  our future divided bath.

This space used to be a bath + a hall,

+ here it is, in mid-gut:

Are words necessary here?  I think not!

Pretty, no?

We eliminated the hallway, which means we increased the bathroom size.

We’ll now have a larger, 4-piece bath with an adjacent powder room.

Here’s my sketch of said-same:


“Nice” photo, no? — but I just snapped it, in a rush,
to include in this morning’s blog!

All those 30″ spaces in walls are doors.

The first one, on the left, is a future door between the bedroom + bath,

+ it will be in this wall we just saw:


To save space, we could install a pocket door, like these:

Source unkown

Source unkown

I like it, but what I like even more is that horizontal bead board!

Bob Vila radio via Yahoo

Bob Vila radio via Yahoo

That crazy accent color is fun, isn’t it?

What crazy accent color could I use with pale blue walls?

* * * *

G.O. has already cast his vote for a pocket door,

but would something of the barn-track-door persuasion

be more hipster + happening?  I wonder?

Rustica Hardware

Rustica Hardware

There are plenty of tutorials available online; just go to Pinterest!

Here’s one:

I need to investigate this further, because that looks a lot like repurposed steel.

No problem, right?

G.O. has already used said-same to make the brackets for our art ledges!:


Disclaimer: This is exactly the kind of thing that I do to drive G.O. crazy . . .

. . . but people.  Sometimes it can’t be helped!

Anyway, let’s look at a slider between a bedroom + bath:

Looks good!

* * * *

Meanwhile, between the main bath + powder room,

there’s another door (with the arrow)

 that could go either pocket or barn . . .


. . . + once again, G.O. has cast his vote for the pocket door,

while I’m leaning toward something on a sliding barn-style track!

I’m not sure our Dutch colonial is calling for something so industrial,

but I love the idea of what looks like frosted glass.

That power room’s going to be windowless,

so any added light’s a major plus in my world!

Speaking of frosted glass, HERE WE HAVE IT!

barn door #5

Source unkown.

Ding ding ding!  That’s a winner!

We just happen to have a similar 30″ wide, old white exterior door

with a window,

so I vote for repurposing it!

I’m not fond of that metal BATH they’ve affixed to their door (above),

but I would like to apply BATH letters to the frosted glass!

Yay.  Now I need to find someone local who does this glass frosting I desire.

I trust that won’t be too difficult.

Stay tuned!

4 Befores + Afters In My Head


Look what I discovered at the Dutch Colonial just this morning!


  How adorable is that charming little window in the gable?

My steel trap-like mind immediately raced to a ‘before + after’

involving a transformation of this boxy room . . .



. . . into something far more wonderful, like this one!



Sure, we’d have to vault that ceiling.

Is there a problem, she asks?

G.O. assures me that there IS.

(Stay tuned.)

* * * * * *


More do-able is our next ‘before + after’,

which is actually already underway.

It involves our front porch’s light fixture:



That Craftsman-style light fixture might look divine in someone’s dining room,

but not so much our front porch.

No worries . . . I’ve already ordered its replacement:



It was on final sale at Pottery Barn when I ordered it a few days ago . . .

. . . but I just checked, + it seems to be sold out already!

So glad that  I (for once) ordered in a timely fashion!

* * * * * * * *
And speaking of our front porch,
here ’tis, in the first weeks after we started our project:
You just KNOW that it wasn’t originally enclosed like this!
Currently, it’s in its mid-demolition mode,
en route to its ‘after’:
Fingers crossed!
Here’s what I’m envisioning:

Can’t wait!

* * * * * *


And, finally, here’s an ‘after’ which took place on Sunday:


Our new finials have been attached to our garden shed roof!


Love them!


Not loving those plywood doors,

still in their ‘before’ stage!

Once again, stay tuned!

Our Garage Gets Its Makeover

Today our garage gets a new roof!

G.O. spent the past several days prepping things . . .


. . . with new wood replacing rotten wood + nailing down roof paper.

We’ll be siding the house with Sterling gray on the 1st story,

with a darker Flagstone gray on the 2nd story gables,

similar to this house:

Speaking of inspirations,  this is our  garage's . . .

Speaking of inspirations,
this^^ is our
garage’s . . .

. . . + we've chosen board + batten  (in white)  from Certainteed.

. . . + we’ve chosen board + batten
(in white)
from Certainteed.

I worried about vinyl board + batten’s looking + feeling cheapie

or screaming “PLASTIC!”, God forbid.

We investigated at our local build-o-rama,

+ it was really heavy and “real-looking”!

SO, while G.O. was busy working on our roof . . .

SO, while G.O. was busy working on our roof . . .

. . .  I kept MY nose to the house grindstone, here at home,

shopping online for garage light fixtures!

Here’s my absolute favorite:

$169.91  Budapest Lampsplus


I know! — hubba hubba, right?

But that price!  We’re going to need 4 of them,

+ sadly, 4 x $169.91 is a tad over our garage lighting budget!

My quest, then, is to find something equally groovy

but at a lower price point.

Galvanized, check! $30 each from Home Depot

Galvanized, check!
$30 each
from Home Depot

I really do like this ^^ one.  It’s a plain Jane lantern,

which is right up my lighting alley.

It’s got the rustic galvanized metal, which I love.

My thoughts are to ramp up its awesome-ness

by springing for Edison light bulbs — LOVE!

$15 Schoolhouse Electric Co.

Schoolhouse Electric Co.

Quick: somebody multiply $15 bulbs x 4 light fixtures!

 J/K! — that’s why God gave us calculators!

Anyway, back to the light fixture choicee:

here’s something that’s more similar, in style, to my favorite, too-spendy light:

Hampton Bay  outdoor cottage lantern $29 from Home Depot

Hampton Bay
outdoor cottage lantern
$29 from Home Depot

What say ye?  I think it’s almost as cool as its $169.91 inspiration,

but I’m a little leary of the shiny nickel finish.

I prefer the more rustic galvanized metal of the other 2 finalists:

But wait!

Surely we could do something to tone down the nickel finish sheen, no?

As luck would have it, one of my favorite bloggers

— the guys from The Cavender Diary —

just posted about their own metal do-over project!



Something about spritzing with bleach.  Read for yourself:

? ? ?

I guess this means I need to investigate adding patina to the pesky shiny metal.

Then it’s time for me to make up my mind, already,

+ place an online order!

Is anyone going to help me by choosing between substitute #1 and #2?

No ‘Before’ Photos — The Sequel!

Somehow, we failed to take any before snapshots of our most recent past house re-do . . .


20’s brick bungalow, tricked out for the yuletide.

. . . so THIS time, we vowed to do better.

30's Dutch colonial, 'before'.

30’s Dutch colonial, ‘before’.


In our very first interior demo, our kitchen,

we missed the ‘before’ photo ops!

We did manage to get ONE picture of the last upper cabinets going away:

Bye bye cabinets!

Bye bye cabinets!

So, were lessons learned, you ask?  Sadly, no!

Our second demo of this project — the bathroom — suffered the same fate, photo-wise!

Camera M.I.A.

We did pick up the ball  mid-way through the demo:

Are words necessary here?  I think not!

Are words necessary here? I think not!

Just imagine one of those bad 70’s fiberglass tub + shower surrounds,

totally obscuring that window.


Can you believe it!?   The peeps next door did the same thing!

Just feast your eyes on the remudel:

Why?  People?  Why?

Why? People? Why?

Oh, look!  A cat!

Oh, look! A cat!

But I digress.  Here’s one more bad ‘before’ of our bathroom:

'Nice' paint job on that cast iron pipe.

‘Nice’ paint job on that cast iron pipe.

The wall bump-out next to that cast iron pipe is an obsolete brick chimney . . .

IMG_0521(1). . . . + I’m considering whether or not to keep the exposed brick.

I have OCD, though, + can’t decide.

Anybody have thoughts?

Stay tuned

Kitchen Reno Has Begun

Game 1 day of the '11 World Series.  We won.

Game 1 day of the ’11 World Series. We won.

We bought our current fixer-upper — a 20’s-era brick bungalow — in the autumn of ’06.

Fun factoid: our Cardinals emerged victorious in the World Series that year.  See also: ^^ flag.

But I digress.

This is hard to believe, because I’m all about the snapshot, but we took ZERO ‘before’ photos of this house.

How’s that possible?!?

That’s sad, because the ‘befores’ + ‘afters’ would have been pretty dramatic.

SO, we vowed to do things differently in or current re-do, but whoops!  — turns out we didn’t take any ‘befores’ of our gross kitchen! . . .

. . . just a few ‘in progress’ pictures:


There’s our neighbor, Bob, lending a hand. Hi, Bob.

Looks like those ^^  are the very last cabinets to go.

IMG_0485(1)Sure wish I could show you the naughty penninsula with cabinets above it, but you’ll have to trust me: they were awful!

And now, they’re gone, as are the suspended ceiling + part of the soffits.

SO, since we were finally able to take some measurements . . . last p.m. we took a trip to + designed our kitchen cabs.

It was a LOT of math but still super fun.

I’ve not yet decided on the style + color of the cabs — maybe we’ll just go all white.

I HAVE decided on hanging Roman shades for the kitchen windows, + this a.m. I’ve been online shopping for said-same!

More fun!

There's G.O., toiling away.

The single window to the left will be doubled to 2 side-by-side,
which means we need 3 shades.

Here’s what I’m liking so far — from Pottery Barn (of course!)

roman shade - gray ribbon

Grosgrain ribbon cordless Roman shade
Sale $189 – $249

Like just about everybody these days, I’m using lots of gray in my decor, so these ^^ grosgrain ribbon-trimmed pretties would work.

The colors are right, but I’m wanting some sort of print for the kitchen.  Maybe these will head to the living room.

roman grosgrain ribbon in room

These might be a tad too formal for me.
If I have doubts about stuff, that usually means ‘no-go’.

But wait! — there’s more!

roman shade - narrow red stripes

Mini Stripe Cordless Roman Shades
Sale $119 – $144.99

Hello, gorgeous!  I can’t resist a Frenchie stripe, I need to add pattern, + I love this ^^.

People.  I think that you can order the fabric by the yard!

This means pillows, + lots of ’em!

Since kitchens usually don’t need pillows, maybe I’ll use these in the bedroom, instead, as we have a yummy Ralph Lauren red coverlet.

Love it.  Got it at HomeGoods.  Photos soon.

roman shade - blue Frenchie stripes

Riviera Stripe Cordless Shade

Oh, dear.  I love this ^^, of course.

Pale blue is just about my favorite color!  I want a pale blue beadboard ceiling in our kitchen, so maybe these would go.

Whatevah.  I think I should order the shades that are on sale before they’re gone.

Same goes for some kitchen lighting from Pottery Barn.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ !

Stay tuned!



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