I’m a design wannabe. I want to refashion, redecorate and redo.

To shift from stylishly-plain to remarkably chic... Moss Abode a la Mode.

Feeling Retro

May 11, 2010

For a while now, I've been actively looking for new bedroom furniture.  But rather than hit the box stores, I was hoping to find something with more of a vintage, mid-century feel to it. Craigslist and I are currently dating and frequent visits have yet to turn up anything new.  But while cruising eBay on Sunday, my eyes were opened to something new.

I stumbled upon a dresser and a pair of nightstands designed by John Keal for Brown-Saltman.  From what information I could find, John Keal, along with several other designers, like Paul Frankl, designed furniture for Brown-Saltman of California in the 1940's and 50's.  In my opinion, they truly defined the style of the era with their modern, mid-century design of clean lines.

The bidding for these pieces started out really low.  And the double bonus was that they were located in Phoenix, so shipment costs would not be a factor.  I thought the stars had aligned, the furniture gods wanting me to have these pieces in my life. 
Sadly, it didn't happen.  I was outbid.  And the winning bid was still well below what normal market price would be.  I was able to find the seller's local website and the listing for these items was A LOT more than the winning bid, so whoever won it got a great deal.  Too bad it wasn't me.

Have you ever...

April 26, 2010

...painted wood blinds? 

Please ignore the dust.  It's gross, I know.  But I want these to be white!  And they came with our house in the odd shade of green.  I'm thinking they can be spray-painted....after a good dusting of course.

What to do?

April 21, 2010

I have this small table that was given to us by my in-laws.  It currently sits in the small hallway outside the master bedroom.  It's the catch-all; keys, mail, small change, but mostly dust. Lots of dust.  Arizona, if not only known for its heat, should also be know for its dust.

I don't know what to do with it. Not the dust, the table. 

I want to move it from this area (where it fits quite perfectly) and hang a custom full-length mirror on the wall to the rear/right (of the 2nd photo). 

The table is tall, about 40 inches.  And very square, about 24" x 24".  So, unless it's going in a corner nook, it doesn't do well by itself as a stand-alone.

Before the mirror idea, I thought about sanding and going heirloom white with it, so it fit better with the light gray walls and white trim.  But now I don't know.

It may find its way to Craigslist, which makes me sad because it's such an interesting piece.  But it just doesn't fit in our home.

What would you do?

Goodwill Hunting

April 19, 2010

In our effort to revitalize, we've begun in earnest to clear out any unused, unnecessary and unwanted items.  So much so, that I've made three trips to Goodwill this weekend.  Mind you, most of it was baby/kids stuff, but it was eating up a lot of space in our garage and various closets throughout the house.

Now, I've been known to scour Craigslist to find certain pieces I think would fit in our house, but I haven't been much of a Goodwill, yard sale or thrift store shopper. 

I think I need to become one.

Look what someone left at the drop-off on Saturday:

Marble-topped dresser and nightstands (the tops were in one of the bins).  Absolutely gorgeous!  And in pristine condition.

After unsuccessfully attempting to sweet-talk the nice young man into letting me just load them into my car, I got to thinking, did their owner try to sell them at a yard sale or on Craigslist?  Did they try in vain to sell them and then decide to just unload them at Goodwill because they couldn't?  Did no one in their family want to take them off their hands?!

They say one person's trash is another person's treasure, and whoever lands these beauts is one lucky treasure hunter.

The Backyard

April 16, 2010

Our house was a short-sale when we purchased it.  Built in 1998, the original owner sold it to an invester in 2004, who used it as a rental.  At the turn of the housing market and when we were in the market to buy, the house sat vacant for almost 18 months. 

The neighborhood eyesore from the yard alone, a house empty for that long is sure to fall in a state of disrepair.  Fortunately (and surprisingly), when we took ownership, the house itself was in pretty good condition.  The previous tenants had dogs, so the carpet was gross, but all the appliances still worked, fixtures were in tact and general state left us with a clean slate to do whatever we wanted without having to do major overhauls.

Let me remind you that our home is on a 12,000 square foot lot, and while we have a large front yard, we also have a mighty big back yard.  Imagine how great that looks when it's overgrown. 

Check out those weeds!  Some were almost 5 ft tall!
Nice huh?  Observe the nice grassy corner beyond the fencing.

Who doesn't love a yard with the waist-high weeds.

And after all the junk, random fencing and forest were removed.

Side yard and RV gate.

Cleared, mowed and watered. 
There's also a wood play-yard w/ swings/slide for our daughter just to the right of the AC unit.

Corner of lot (pool is to right)

The corner now

Well, we're finally calling on a designer to help us with some landscaping and patio extension ideas.   What we do know is we want a built-in bbq and a putting green.  Beyond that, we're clueless.

While not adding to the house or altering the enclosed patio, we'd like to extend a patio to the corner of the picture you see above.  Remove the planter, build a bbq/seating area there and work our way out toward the pool using pavers, flagstone, or whatever.  Again - clueless.

It helps to have friends with clues.

With My Kitchen In Mind

April 15, 2010

I was browsing through Design*Sponge one day when I came across this amazing before and after.  I was floored and it immediately got me thinking of the new possibilites for our kitchen, short of having a complete renovation.

Here's how Mike's kitchen looked before:

And after:

I heart this.

When financies permitted, we were planning to have a professional contractor renovate our kitchen with the works: granite countertops, new cabinets, double-ovens and removing the sink from the island to the main wall (around where the stove is now).  We also want a larger island that is angular with bar seating.  This is a minimum $20,000 undertaking if you include new appliances.  Much to my chagrin, the backyard redo takes priority to my kitchen, so we're a few years away from anything major in this area. 

But, seeing this before and after is inspiring me to do a few cosmetic things myself, that will not only make it look like a newer kitchen, but feel like one too. 

Our kitchen has changed little from when the home was built in 1998 and it still includes all the original cabinetry and fixtures.  I think the only razzle dazzle the area has seen are the brushed nickel pulls on the cabinet doors and drawers.  Well, and probably the new paint we've added, which is too minty a shade of green.  It's GOT.TO.GO.

Photo taken from eat-in kitchen area

My thoughts:
  • Paint the cabinets bright white. 

  • Paint the kitchen and eat-in walls a more olive shade of green, which would hopefully subdue the bright-whiteness of an area that already gets A LOT of natural light.

  • Resurface the countertops.  As much as I loved Mike's wood countertops, it just wouldn't fly for this amateur cake decorator, I'd feel more comfortable with granite.

  • Glass-tile backsplash to class it up.

  • Replace fridge, range and microwave with stainless.  The fridge is a no-brainer, since this one we have now is much too small.  And to save counterspace, mount the microwave over the range.
  • Replace kitchen sink.  Our current sink is far too shallow, thus creating a watery mess when doing anything and everything that involves using it. 
  • Replace non-functioning undercabinet lighting.  Another no-brainer.
There is so much potential and a lot of it can be done without spending too much money. 

Hmph, I think I'll start pricing and putting together a budget.  At minimum, I can paint the cabinets and get started with tips from this great how-to:  http://www.younghouselove.com/2008/11/how-to-paint-your-kitchen-cabinets/

What little things have you done to spice up your kitchen?

DIY - 1940's Sideboard

April 14, 2010

When my mom was recently visiting, we refinished a sideboard I found on Craigslist.

I love Craigslist.

DH and I have bought and sold furniture, tickets, found apartments, etc.  It's every San Franciscans tool -- shoot  it's every man's tool!  I've got mad love for Craig.  I digress.

Just so you know, my mother is amazing at all things DIY, especially home improvement projects.  Tearing out walls, building cabinets or furniture, installing wood flooring, renovating bathrooms, etc.  She does it all!  She's a full-time lawyer and a part-time DIYer who totally wishes her titles were reversed.  

The transformation of this ridiculously heavy, 1940's sideboard was astounding.  Like night and day from its original form.  And I love what it adds to our home. 



Aside from the time invested to refinish it and the assorted new tools, this was a relatively inexpensive undertaking.  The sideboard, new pulls, fabric, stain, poly and sanding papers brought the total to right around $200.

I'd still like to paint the insides of the cabinets and line the drawers.  Maybe a teal blue acrylic paint to match the shade in the material.  Something vibrant and unexpected.

I like the unexpected!

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