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My Little House Design: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Projects Be Happening

Look what's happening this week:

If you follow this blog super closely you may be able to guess what this is but for those of you are newer you'll just have to stay tuned... (or click the image link and then it's obvious). 

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY: Fabric Covered Lampshade

This weekend I knocked two things off of my final 'to-do' list for the second bedroom. The first is that I bought a $25 used box spring to raise the bed up to a normal height. Are you grossed out that I bought a used box spring? Well, don't worry your pretty little head I checked it for bugs... ugh, now I'm grossed out.

The other project I did required more skill. In fact it required the ultimate skill: PATIENCE. Have I mentioned I'm impatient? Ugh. I can't even talk about it stress me out.

The set of lamps (here) that I bought for $26 had seen better days so I decided to give them a face lift. The lamp bases aren't bad, but the lampshades really needed some work. They are a good shape but a gross texture and color. So I weighed my options... I've painted a lampshade before and it turned out fine, but this time I decided to cover them in fabric. 

I've seen a hundred tutorials on Pinterest so I read through a few and then just winged it. I decided to use a hot glue gun (some tutorials used spray adhesive and others used tacky glue). Amazingly I don't own a glue gun even though I am relatively crafty so I had to buy one. It was $2.49! The glue sticks were more expensive at $2.99 but still cheap. 

Choosing fabric turned out to be quite a task. There are so many patterns to choose from! Plus I had to consider how it would look with light filtering through it. After a solid 20 minutes of browsing (I went to Jo Ann Fabrics) I narrowed it down to these three:

I ultimately went with the middle one. The geometric flower was awesome but I wasn't sure if I would like it long term and the pale grey chevron was a little too light for my bold taste. In this pictures it looks like the middle fabric is black and white but it is actually cream and navy blue. Chevron is trending down but I still like it so I went for it. It was $4.99 a yard plus 30% off which comes out to like $3.73 a yard after tax, not bad at all! The bolt was almost empty so I only got 2 and 3/4 yards and I crossed my fingers that it would be enough. 

I won't go into much detail on how I did the project because you'd be better off following another tutorial (like this one or this one) but the basic process was this:

1) I rolled out the fabric and sort of measured how much I would need. I did this at a friend's house and I was distracted because we were talking so I didn't do a very good job of measuring. C'est la vie. Side note: Don't try to measure and cut fabric on carpet. 

2) Once I had my piece cut out I started glueing it on. I only glued at the seam and around the edges, not the whole body of the shade. I also didn't take pictures because I only have two hands.

3) It started to look bad so I just make stuff up.

4) I get it home and turn on the lights and I see this:

Don't ever let me cut your hair because apparently I have no sense of what is straight. And I wasn't even drunk! Geez.

After a little trimming all was well in the world. 

 That is as long as you don't turn it around! Yep, seams be crazy. I'm a mess, I need help with my crafts. I am too impatient to do things right. I just get too excited and I don't think things through. Lame. Wow, that looks so bad, I'm embarrassed to even post that... don't judge me too harshly. That is actually the worst seam, the other lamp looks much better.

But everything looks good from this side!

The second one turned out much better. 

Overall, I am happy with how they turned out. I'm a little annoyed that I didn't do a better job on the seams, but oh well. After the fabric update each lamps still only cost $17! You seriously can not get a lamp that cheap anywhere so I'm very happy with two big lamps for only $34. 

Have you tried fabric wrapping lampshades before? It seems like it should be easy, but it definitely took more skill and patience than I expected. Thankfully, the 'bad' lamp is an a corner and hopefully no one will turn it around and judge me.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Decorative Items Make Me Happy

Christmas was almost a month ago and I have yet to share some of the cool stuff I got as gifts. Well, better late than never. Here are some awesome things I got as gifts some of which I asked for (and have blogged about wanting previously) and some were lucky good guesses.

Do you notice what is different in this picture?

I got a white ceramic tortoise shell! Before I had a Singin' in the Rain poster there. I love that movie and I've had the poster for about 10 years, but it was time for a change up (plus, I didn't want to drill another hole). 

But I love the tortoise shell there. I like how the light sort of spot lights it. 


The tortoise shell is from Nate Berkus' Target collection. I blogged about the shell here and here and I'm pretty sure I told my Mom like five times that I wanted it for Christmas so I was very excited that I got it. 

My Mom is a major Nate Berkus fan so she also picked up this black and white chevron urn. I love it! I love a good black and white graphic print so it fits my style perfectly. I have a feeling this piece will be traveling all over my house but for now it is in the kitchen. 

Here's another think my Mom picked up for me. It is a sweet little spice jar from Anthropology. The name plate is chalkboard but I lost my chalk so I haven't written anything on it yet. I love the red lid and how it works perfectly with my other kitchen stuff. I keep matches in it.

My Mom also got me this awesome chain link from the Nate Berkus collection (I told you she was a big fan). I featured it in this post. I don't know what to do with this really, I just like it. It has moved around the house this past month, but at this moment it is on a side table in my living room. 

So those are few of the cool things I got for Christmas. Oh, I also got this:

But I somehow missed taking a picture of it. I've wanted this for like two years so I was very excited to get it! 

I love decorating but I can't go out and buy everything I want all the time so Christmas is a good time to ask for stuff like this. One of the major benefits of being unmarried is that my parents still buy me lots of gifts! 

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Room Reveal: The Second Bedroom

A few months ago I revealed that I have too much space (I know, major first world problem). My house is just shy of 1,000 sq ft, hence the blog title 'little house', but for one person and medium sized dog that is a lot of space. At least more than I was used to. The truth of the matter is that I do not need a guest room/office which I mood boarded here. So I decided it was time to face the fact that I need to rent the room out. My hesitation in renting before was that I really, really enjoy living alone. It is so nice and quiet, I don't have to wear pants like ever, and I can paint a room at 2 am with asking anyone's permission; it's basically heaven on earth. BUT, I was beginning to feel like a bit of a space glutton. I have this perfectly nice room that isn't being used and I can always use extra money so I (reluctantly) put on my big girl pants and looked into renting out the room. I debated about opening up the listing to friends but instead I opted to go a completely different route. I decide to host an international college student. The reason I chose this route is because it is extremely flexible. The students come for four week sessions and if I ever don't want a student for a particular month I can just say 'no.' I also have someone I can go to if for some reason things aren't working out and I want the student to move to a different home (you definitely don't have that option when you rent to a person on a one year lease!). I'm a little nervous but mostly I think it will just be really weird and interesting. Since I decided to host someone as opposed to rent out the room I had to completely furnish the room. Thankfully, I already had a rug, dresser, and bed so this entire room makeover only cost me $100. Not bad!

Keep in mind this isn't my best work. I by no means love this room and I didn't 'design' it like I have any other part of my house. But I figured that an international student who will be completely out of their element wouldn't really appreciate my putting them up in a room that had navy blue walls with orange accents. So I went for subtle and sparse instead which is basically the opposite of my style but ah well, here it is... Oh, if you want before pictures go here.

So we are in agreement that this is a really sad makeover right? It isn't at all what I would have done if the room were for myself. But, I do think it will be perfectly acceptable for a student. 

What I did:
- Since this was a zero to low-cost makeover I used the half gallon of paint (Behr- Graceful Gray) I had left over from the first kitchen wall color (here. It is also the color of the stripe in the entry way, here). I should get an award for this paint job. I painted the whole room with half a gallon of paint and I did it under an hour and a half! I just high-fived myself. 
- I got the desk chair and matching lamp set from a used furniture store for $44.00 total. I love the chair because it is that old kind that gently bounces. 
- I got this awesome desk on craigslist for $60. It was one of those old steel case desks that weighs about 200lbs (seriously). I love the green. I also really like how big the desktop is. It's perfect for a student. 
- I hung art that I had lying around. I tried to pick pieces that weren't offensive or anything. I got the vintage French ad for my 12th birthday. I was obsessed with it forever. The trend is way over but I still love that piece and I'll always keep it around. 

What still needs done:
-  I want to buy a box spring for the daybed so the bed will have more height. I saw some used ones on craigslist for about $35 so not too expensive.
- The lamps still need some love. The bases are in good shape but the lampshades have seen better days. I'm thinking about wrapping them in fabric or something. Stay tuned...
- I did not get around to changing the light fixture in this room yet, but someday I will. Thankfully the one in there is innocuous. Next time I go to IKEA I'll probably pick up one of the ones I mentioned in this post about lighting.
- Eventually, much further down the road, I will refinish the hardwood floors.

Overall, it's an improvement over the former storage room that it was, but not by far. 

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Online Window Shopping: Whimsical Items

Yesterday, I posted out all the silly/quaint/fanciful items that I keep around my house to make me smile. Today, I've rounded up some awesomely hilarious/sweet/odd items that can be used to add a little whimsy to your home's style. Here we go!

Holla! I love this doormat because in my head I just keep thinking "Holla atcha gurl!" It is way too expensive (in my opinion) at $50 but you should DIY this and send me a picture. (here)

I pinned this tissue box like a year ago and it still makes me laugh when I see it. The best part? It's only $4.99! Amazingly cheap. Plus, if you have a tissue box cover you don't have to worry about buying the cute expensive tissue boxes, you can just get the cheap ugly boxes. Win-win! (here)

I think faux animal heads are probably on their way out as far as trends go, but I still think they are pretty funny. The smaller ones are $28 and bigger ones are $58, but I bet you can find them even cheaper if you look hard enough. (here)

This is also something I pinned a while ago that still makes me laugh. It's toast coasters! Hilarious! Is $14 expensive for coasters? I don't know but I think it may be worth it to have these lying around. (here)

I love this glass head from Pier 1. It is beautiful but also odd. I can picture her on a stack of books or on an open shelf. Here for $19.95. 

These are hilarious. Probably too juvenile for a grown woman to have in her home but if you have kids or an immature boyfriend by all means, get these. Here for $29.00. 

I love this for two reasons 1) its a glass Ziploc bag which is funny and 2) it's a candy bowl and we should bring back candy dishes. In college my roommate and I had a candy bowl and it was awesome. Here for $17.50.

This bookends are so silly. I think it would be funny to have a row of very serious books and then cap them off with such a whimsical balloon animal. Here for $39.95.

Tea towels are another easy way to bring whimsy into your home. My personal favorite is this dog walker tea towel from Fishs Eddy for $12.95 here

Skeptical about adding whimsy? These bird knobs are the perfect way to subtly add charm to a piece of traditional furniture. They are $7.98 here.

Happy Weekend!

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Adding Whimsy to Your Home

If I had to describe my design aesthetic it would be "vintage modern with a touch of whimsy." Quite a mouthful, uh? I've talked a lot about thrifting and antiquing but I haven't talked so much about the 'whimsy' aspect. If you know me then you know I'm obsessed with miniatures. It's uncontrollable. If you show me something tiny I will just start giggling and cooing like I'm insane. My love of whimsical things is almost to that level. What do I mean by whimsical? Let me show you!

Here is my biggest piece of whimsy:

No one needs a Union Jack dresser but I'm love with it. I wanted a dresser to put my TV on (more on dressers as TV stands here and where I got the dresser here). I could have gotten any old dresser off of craigslist, but why not get one with a huge bold statement painted all over it? It is by far the piece that is most noticed and complimented in my house. 

Gallery walls are the perfect place to add in touches of whimsy. My gallery walls (more on them here and here) are a mixture of art, objects, and photos, most of which are pretty normal and pleasing to the eye. But there are two places where I just let my whimsy go wild.

Why yes, that is a little child smoking. It's a fake cigarette and it's hilarious. It makes me smile every time I see it. Most people don't look close enough to see it but those who do are taken aback and that's my favorite reaction to evoke in people (insert maniacal laughter). 

My Mom bought me this little pink sombrero when she was in Mexico and I love it (hello, it's miniature!). One day it occurred to me that I should hang it on the wall and so I did. Honorable mention for whimsy goes to Bob in his graduation cap. (Excuse the night pictures... it is always dark when I'm home so I'm working with what I got.)

Kitchen accessories can be fanciful too. I love my matryoshka measuring cups! They look like regular ol' nesting dolls until you open them up and realize that they are 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, etc. Functional and funny is always a winning combination in my book! (You can buy them here)

I love my Buddha lamp (where I got it here). I guess I shouldn't laugh at other people's god, but it's funny because it's a lamp. 

Some whimsical things serve no purpose but to make you smile. Like this tiny ceramic paper plane which just sits around all day being adorable. Please note what's in the picture frame... it is the single funniest thing that has ever been given to me in the history of my life. When my youngest brother was eight he sent this letter to me, he had just learned 'text' language, the translation is this: "Hey Sis! Laugh out loud my friend." Straight up hilarious. 

I think my inordinate amount of Alice in Wonderland stuff may qualify as fanciful material, but you didn't hear that from me. 

The open shelving in my kitchen is very functional, but I couldn't help but add this sweet little pig that I DIYed (here). 

So that's my case for artfully blending in items with a sense of whimsy. Don't take your home's style too seriously.

Tomorrow I'll be back with a round up of some very whimsical and inexpensive (you know how I do) items that will add a touch of whimsy to any home.

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