Archive for March, 2011

A Touch of White

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Posted by Rebecca, March 14th, 2011

Waaaay back in January, we visited the Crate & Barrel outlet and finally purchased something(s) I’ve wanted for about a year. We scored these bookends for 30% off the original price.

I have always loved the wooden chunkiness of these guys. I love the ampersand and I actually handwrite it often. The “@” symbol has become a little part of me since I started this blog. I comment on other blogs and use it as part of my name multiple times per day. Throw in the discounted price and I felt like we could finally take the plunge…the only problem was where to put them.

I’ve shared our original office plans before, which included built-in cabinets in a dark stain. We have since obviously decided to go with a black/gray/white/green color scheme that the bookends did not fit in with. I thought maybe we could put these in our bedroom or on our dark wood entertainment center in the family room, but at the end of the day they felt much more office appropriate.

The solution? Spray paint them white.

I know, it hurts. I love the wood grain in these possibly more than anyone. My rustic loving self is still shaking this one off. But at the end of the day, the symbols were the right fit for the office. I’d rather have white symbols than no symbols. So yesterday, despite 20 mph winds, I managed to get outside to do some spray painting. Scratch that, I decided to spray paint in the garage. No worries, I left the doors open of course, I just needed some barrier from the wind.

I used the same box that I used to spray paint my Pier 1 star basket at Christmastime, how is that for thrifty? 🙂

After a quick coat, I was feeling much better about my decision.

It was a little tricky to get in all of the nooks and cranies of these things, but all it took was one coat and a round of touch ups and we were good to go!

They are definitely different than they were before, but I love the crisp modern vibe that the white gives off.

I love the contrast between the shelves and the symbols and how they add that pop of white we’ve wanted to have in this room. Once we add the other white items we have planned, as well as some actual books to the shelves, I know they are going to look great!

ps- I did use my green spray paint this weekend, but the verdict of that project is still pending…

A Little Logical Thinking

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Posted by Rebecca, March 10th, 2011

Since the weather this weekend is supposed to be this…

I’m hoping to finally get outside to play with this…

And even some of this…

 

I bought this spray paint a while ago, but because of cold, rain and being busy, I haven’t had a chance to use it. I’m hoping to spray some office accessories this weekend, as long as the weather cooperates. I would tell you what I’m spraying, but I am slightly nervous to take my beautifully traditional things and make them funky with glossy green spray paint. It is either going to be a brilliant idea or a complete disaster.

Good thing I have this blog to publicly humiliate myself if this doesn’t work out, but I have a feeling I’ll be just fine 🙂

Birds of a… Fabric?

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Posted by Rebecca, March 9th, 2011

I know it’s Wednesday, which is normally What I Ate Wednesday, but Mike and I are being super lazy this week. I’m on spring break from school (yay!) so we’re trying to enjoy my stress free days with lots of catching up on shows and ice cream on the couch. We made shepard’s pie again this week since we loved it so much last week. We’ve been eating the leftovers of that, plus some pizza and bagels we got from a visit to my parents’ this weekend. So we’ve been rather uneventful food-wise… as well as house-wise. We’ll be back to our normal antics this weekend 🙂

One thing I’m hoping to decide on this week is the fabric choices for the office. Here is where we are as of tonight…

These are all from the Ty Pennington collection at fabric.com. Who knew Ty made fabrics? Weird. I was drawn to them because of the mix of greens, grays and white that would perfectly compliment our gray stripes and green carpet. Plus I could have sworn they were around $8/yard compared to the Dwell Studio or Waverly fabrics which were around $16/yard. But of course, after I order samples the prices go up! Or maybe I’m imagining things…

My number one choice from these options is the one I thought I would love and the reason why I chose these fabrics- the white “kaleidoscope” one as Mike calls it…

It’s the blossom pattern in chartreuse.  I love this for a few reasons… 1) it has both shades of gray from our stripes 2) it has a white background to lighten up the room 3) it has a circular pattern to compliment the linear-ness of the stripes. Online Mike thought it was too girly, but after seeing the sample he agrees with me. This pattern will make our curtain panels, plus it will cover half of our Ikea storage boxes.

I want another pattern to add to the mix so it’s a little more interesting in this space. The second fabric will just cover some of the storage boxes so it’s more of an accent, I suppose. I thought this one was a shoe-in, but after seeing it, I don’t think it’s graphic enough or bold enough in the color department to compete with the stripes and blossom…

Then I thought maybe this bright green one would be good since it has such a visually appealing pattern, but I think it’s too much green…

So I was left with this guy, the birdy one…

Online I wasn’t crazy about this, but once I put it next to the blossom pattern? Something happened. And I liked it.

I like that it has a dark gray background, as well as some light gray birds to blend everything together nicely. Besides owls, I’m not a big bird person. The fabric isn’t appealing to me on it’s own, but within this context? I like it.

However, Mike does not. He’s not feeling the birds… or the butterflies. I’ve tried, it ain’t happening. Whaaamp whaamp.

I pick and choose my battles and this just wasn’t worth any sort of battle for 2 little boxes. We try very hard around here to make rooms we both love and enjoy, so if Mike really despises the birds, I’m not going to use them. I’m thinking of ordering one more sample in this pattern…

I know there is no green in this one, but I think that it’s the dark gray of the birdy one that makes me like it. We’re planning a couple of other green things around the room so I’m not sure I necessarily need any more green.

Halfway back to the drawing board I go! Goal: to get the perfectly gender neutral office!

Planning an Outdoor Siesta

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Posted by Rebecca, March 8th, 2011

This weekend was a little crazy for us. We ran around doing taxes, visiting family and… doing homework for 7 hours on Sunday. Needless to say, we didn’t make any office progress. But we did squeeze in a spontaneous Sunday morning Crate and Barrel visit! Of course C&B never disappoints me and since we haven’t been there in a few months, it was an extra special treat.

Yes we are that boring. I think I just lost a few readers.

Anyway, we went there not really looking for anything other than a dough separator for our pizza making adventures. We’ve had patio fever and I was hoping the outdoor stuff would be displayed since I have been in love with the Ventura furniture collection since I first laid eyes on it. It was even one of my first blog posts!

This is last year’s C&B image, I loved the orange the purple combo.

As we got upstairs to the furniture section on Sunday, all of a sudden Mike stopped and started drooling over something. I look over and of course it’s my beloved outdoor furniture collection. I was a little scared because normally one of us is the voice of reason, but when the 2 of us love something? It’s dangerous for the credit card. I decided in this moment that I had to pull my ish together and be the mean wife.

Mike: Thiis is awesome!

Me: That is expensive.

Mike: Well maybe it’s worth it if we’re going to use it and it’s a good quality.

Me: You might want to look at the tag…

So we looked. The table alone, without a glass top, is $900. The glass top is $200. Each chair? $300. Each cushion for each chair? $40. We ran away screaming without looking any further.

So I set out to research my plan since last year, which was to find a knock-off at Target or something. But first, I had to see just how much this lovely Crate & Barrel combination would be. We want a table, 6 chairs and a conversation set. Here’s this year’s picture from the C&B website…

Here’s what this would run us…

Um yeah. I’m not sure all of the furniture in my house combined costs that. My dining room table was $200. So on to the options!

First I checked Walmart…

Walmart has a looot of options that look similar. Apparently they sell things via CSN, so many of these were still around $2000 a set (we want a convo set and a dining set). So I moved onward to Target, which only has a few of their pieces out in stores right now. There’s the ever popular Rolston Collection, which I’m not too crazy about because of the legs.

Then I found the Belmont Collection

Still just okay. Then I found the Lexus Collection

So far this is my favorite! Even the dining set meets my criteria…

I was looking forward to putting some bright pillows on whatever we get to mimic my favorite purple/orange color scheme of last year’s Crate and Barrel collection, but these Target chairs come with those cute little pillows! I like the idea of the lumbar support in the dining chairs.

As of today, I’m starting to think of sectional more than conversation set type thing because it just looks so cozy!

Okay who am I kidding, I love the sectional because I want to take a nap on it like this dog…

Sticking with the conversation set for now since we’re just in the research phase, I added the Lexus conversation set, the table and six chairs to my Target cart to see the price difference…

Still a large expense, but that’s nearly a $5,000 difference! I think I would like it more if Target offered free shipping on all of the items rather than just one or I had some sort of coupon. I bought our dining room chairs from Target and a set of 2 of those were cheaper than the sets of outdoor chairs! Oh patio, you are so pricey.

Hardwood stamped Patio Guy is coming next Saturday, cross your fingers our patio dreams (whatever they may be) come true! 🙂

Spring Fever

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Posted by Rebecca, March 3rd, 2011

We visited our neighbors this weekend and as we were leaving they said something along the lines of “well pretty soon we can hang out outside and grill!” Mike and I looked at each other, realizing that not only do we have no outdoor “hang out” space, but we don’t even have a grill. The back of our house still looks like this….

We put zero effort into thinking about this space. Well, realistically thinking for the near future. I have high hopes of a pool with a waterfall and slide, but I know that’s not likely to happen. I am not a good landscape/hardscape envisioner… I am still new at this part of homeownership. I can think of the “feel” and “mood” I’d like our outdoor space to have but as far as actual materials, layout, size.. I am clueless.

After our neighbor’s reminder and the long and cold winter we’ve had, we started to think that this may be our big project of 2011. I love being outside when it’s nice out and sitting on the porch by myself got old quick last year. We originally thought we’d do a deck, but a) it’s expensive to do composite b) there’s maintenance involved with real wood with a dark stain and c) not sure if it would be the best place for my firepit dreams. So then we thought (in our dreamland) that we’d do a deck with an eating space with stairs down to a patio with a firepit/loungey area. Then we decided that we didn’t want to eat up too much of our yard and want to keep our future options open. So we started to think about just going with the patio.

Once again, not only I don’t know much about this, but most patios don’t really do anything for me. We don’t want pavers and figured we’d go with stamped concrete. I just wanted to get a base down that we can work with over the next few years. I’ve seen some different things done with planters and whatnot that peaked my interest in outdoor space a liiiitle, but for now I was settling for just a start. So we were thinking we’d go with a fieldstone or cobblestone pattern to compliment our house, though neither option really overwhelmed me with excitement. Then Mike discovered this stamp pattern…

No that is not hardwood, it is stamped concrete! Mike found this idea on a local contractor’s website. We contacted him immediately to get an estimate. I have a love for wood that is dark and rustic, so to be able to have the warmth of a deck combined with the ease of concrete? Heavenly! I’ve never seen anything like this before and it definitely had that little extra we were looking for! Here are some more pics I found while googling…

(via)

(via)

I love the added texture in that last picture! Now, Mike and I can almost guarantee that this pattern and color will be the most expensive stamped concrete option in the history of the world… we just have that sort of luck. But we figure it can’t hurt to ask around. The next question we had to tackle? What size do we want.

Mike asked me what I wanted out of the space and since he often responds to me with “I’m not following you” or “can you put that in terms I understand”, I had to do one of my awful Paint sketches that are not meant for the general public…

I’m hoping we find a creative contractor that can do better than my pathetically planned out rectangle. We would like all of these elements, just in a well thought out and planned space. So we started throwing some ideas back and forth after thinking for it a bit, so I revised my sketch to push back the grill to save some room for growth…

Mike then elaborated on this and came up with the best sketch ever…

Wait, do you need a close up of the best part?

I married such an artist.

But I think we just came up with a patio the size of our backyard. So I came back with this one, cropping the patio at the edge of the bar and table and adding a lower level for the loungey/firepit…

I think this will still be too big, considering the mass amount of dead space in the center, but hopefully this is just a jumping off point. We’re hoping to actually go outside to the backyard (what a novel concept!) to get an idea of how large we want this thing. We had an appointment with the concrete man for Saturday, but we had to cancel it because we forgot we had other plans. So hopefully, concrete man will come soon with tons of ideas, thoughts on maximizing our space and a cheap price!

Until then, our Paint wars will continue…

 Update! For those of you just finding this post, we did go forward with the wood plank stamped concrete! You can read all about it in this post and here are some of our very own after pictures 🙂

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