Need a Craig-ervention?

Our house has reached it’s boiling point…it’s busting out at the seams…we are addicted to craigslist! I know I’m not alone out there, scouring the daily posts, amazed at some of the smokin’ deals people are posting.  But after this weekend I have come to the realization that you CAN have too much of a good thing.  After living in a furniture-free house for the first year, I think it’s gotten a little out of hand…


Backyard Yard-Sale


We moved all the furniture that has got to go, to the backyard because the living room couldn’t take any more.  I’ve been told we are a pair of…well, a hoarder and an enabler.  I’ll admit I can’t argue, so I’ll have to improve. New house rule…get rid of what you want to replace BEFORE you buy something to replace it.  In theory it sounds good…then you find these:


Club Chairs

I am seriously addicted to tufting.  Okay, new rule starts NOW!



Dreams Really Do Come True

This post isn’t really going to give you any tips, instead it’s about inspiration. And that patience is a virtue…and not just for Job I swear it has been at least 2 years since I spotted my first Buster chair in the Restoration Hardware catalog.  I’m pretty sure I ripped the page out immediately, and have it stashed in my nightstand table with all of the others items I have coveted, but couldn’t afford.  I’m a sucker for anything tufted, and this beautiful wing-back leather chair with nail-head trim is totally dream worthy.  But, alas, spending $3,500 on a chair isn’t even an option for me…I couldn’t begin to justify it.  I have watched it lovingly through the catalogs, throughout the seasons….and then gasp I could no longer find it on their website.  Eeeek! Not that I would have been convinced to buy it on-line, but I still wanted to look at the pictures. A quick web search later and I learned that RH had replaced my lovelies with their new Churchill Chair.


RH Leather Churchill Chair


It’s okay, I guess…just not the same.  I guess the universe knew it too, because over the weekend we happened to take a quick trip to the outlet malls, in particular RH and Pottery Barn.  You’ll never guess what they had! I still can hardly believe it myself…2, yes TWO, nutmeg leather buster chairs at 40% below clearance price.  Be still my beating heart.


RH Leather Buster Chair


Mind you, this was still not an easy purchase for me to pull the trigger on.  I had to think about it a lot while wandering around PB.  In the end, I just couldn’t picture my life with out it…I mean, them. And still, no buyer’s remorse!


My Buster Chairs


You’ll be happy to know that these are ‘real people’ size chairs too.  Meaning that I, being 6′ tall, can relax comfortably and the cushion actually reaches the back of my knees.  Not an easy feat! Now we need to get rid of some of our CL furniture to make room, and get the right configuration with the Haverty’s sectional I have been keeping my eye on. Fingers crossed for a sale!


Chastain Sectional


One last look, just for kicks and giggles.


Soon to be my Home

~Welcome home Buster~


So Much More to Master

I don’t know if the master bedroom could possibly house any more dressers, but they will only be staying for a little while.  Thank goodness such a wonderful thing as CL was discovered, so that I can afford to furnish a house until my REAL plans are finished.  Real plans that include a lot of custom construction, perhaps some shopping, and many, MANY detailed and dimensioned drawings. I don’t doubt that there are many gifted craftsman who can build with only a vision and their skills…I prefer to limit the margin of error by mapping everything out.  With careful measurements.  And detailed drawings. So there is no misunderstanding of the outcome.

On to the master bedroom, of which I have plans to replace the dressers with a wall of built-in dressers, storage and shelves. But for now, the bed is situated between two windows and facing the armoire.


MB Dresser and Armoire
Bed and Nightstand

After all the re-arranging I was even more inspired than ever for my built-in plan, so I quickly sketched out what I had in mind.  Mind you it was not to scale that will be done later but at least I was able to communication my vision clearly to the lucky man who will be building it.


Grand Future Plans

Because the space is so large I’ll have to get a space plan posted one of these days I really think that it could accommodate a full wall of cabinetry, and it would not dwarf the entire bedroom.  White mill-work is my first choice, as I think it would be bright and not enforce a cave-like atmosphere.  I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned to find out if it can be done…

And don’t forget about my little bench down there…still needs trim. sigh

Nearly Finished Bench

Organizing the Office

I have found myself not motivated creatively lately.  The new year gave me a little surge, but overall just not feelin’ it. That must mean it’s time to change things up, and what better place to start than my office.  Ideally, this is the room that I would work on my blog, study design and work on sketching in layouts for the rest of our renovation plans.  My thought was, if I rearrange the furniture, the room can take on a new vibe and perhaps that will get the juices flowing.  Do you ever feel like a space is just ‘ugg’ ?  You’re not comfortable there, you can’t think creatively, or it just isn’t working for you?  Then play the rearrange game! I was one of ‘those kids’ who would shut my bedroom door and move my furniture around, every couple of months or so…just because I needed a change.

If you have quite a bit of furniture, I would suggest sketching out your idea first.  Maybe even go so far as to take measurements, and map out your layout to ensure everything will fit where you want it to.


Room Dimensions

And if you REALLY want to dedicate yourself, you will create a scale drawing of the room and furniture and cut the pieces out so you can move them around without really moving furniture.  I only had 3 pieces of furniture, but I’m a bit detail oriented and felt compelled to spend a lot of time on this project.  I won’t mention that I already knew where I was moving everything, but felt the need to exercise my layout skills. So I scaled my room using graph paper (2 squares =  1 ft) and cut out my figures.

Layout Planning

Now I made a much cleaner version using MS Word, and got some before and after comparisons for you.  Who doesn’t love a good B&A!

Space Planner

Office Layout - Buffet

Office Layout - Desk

Still learning my settings on the ‘point-and-shoot’ camera…how hard could it be to focus, right?

Cozy Corner

There is one poster missing from my collection of vintage maps, and it will be matter vertically, to hang in the empty space on the right.  I also want to get a floor lamp and ottoman to complete my casual seating area.  For the floor lamp I want to match the finish on the other table lamps to create unity, since the shades will be different. Something like this floor lamp from Pottery Barn:

Adair Floor Lamp, Bronze finish

I like the details at the base and the small details of the arm, and at the connection. However at $179.00 this will simply be a source of inspiration.  To complete the seating area I want to find a round, tufted ottoman, but the type of fabric is still up in the air.  I want a piece of round furniture to balance the boxy desk and hutch.  The tufted element will unify the ottoman and chair, if that is not done in the fabric.  My dilemma in deciding between fabric and leather is based on texture and availability of a match in the leather.  I want fabric to bring in another textural element, and perhaps pattern, and it will be difficult to find an exact match on the leather.  I want leather to create a more simple palate, not introduce any other patterns, and create a ‘set’ of furniture.  Which would you choose? Ignore the prices if you want, knowing I won’t pay that much.

Ottoman Choices

I do feel slightly more energized to finish my work space and it was really refreshing to clear everything out and get back to the basics.  But then…it is just me, or does anyone else feel you HAVE to make a mess to get something clean?  Case in point:

Closet Explosion

Once the office was clean, I need to turn my attention to the closet…which meant I had to clean out the boxes…which meant I needed to empty the boxes…and my clean office was no longer so. Back to work!

“Spruce News” – Feast on this Buffet

While trolling around craigslist, a while back, I came across of steal of a deal that I couldn’t pass up.  An 80’s classic maple-oak buffet, but with a unique scrolling, filigree detail running along the edge of the top.  At $20, I wasn’t too concerned with ruining it, and decided this would be a great chance to practice my “gel staining” technique.  Basically, this was my practice piece.  For around $15 I got a small can of Minwax gel stain at Lowe’s, however they did not have all the available colors.  I wanted one of the darker stains, and the darkest they had was “Brazilian Rosewood”.  Anything was better than honey maple in my opinion.


Buffet Before

I didn’t prep the buffet at all.

Let that sink in.  No sanding, no cleaning, no buffing and polishing.  To clarify, I will tell you that the piece is a mix of materials.  Real wood base, doors and top with particle-board sides and a thin plywood back.  This was not what you would consider quality hardwood construction.

I will admit, that I didn’t read the directions…and that seemed a bit out of character for me…and I learned my lesson.  I assumed it would be like any standard wood stain, wipe it on with a brush, let it sit, then wipe it off to reveal the color.  Repeat until you get the desired darkness you want.  I brushed it on, waited about five minutes, and then tried to wipe it off.  It did not wipe off this piece, and now I had small cotton fuzzies from my rag all down the side.

Take 2

I painted the buffet with stain.  Yep, that’s as easy as it gets with a really nice finish.

The last piece of the puzzle took me another couple of weeks to solve, and it was party because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted.  The back panel of the buffet was a piece of heavy-duty cardboard, with a faux wood finish over it (don’t you just hate fake wood) which I see myself painting over.  So I began a search for a black and white fabric, paper or gift wrap that I could decoupage over it.  I knew that I wanted what some might call a “busy” print with lots of scrolls, , maybe floral and curves and somewhat vintage.  Perhaps a paisley, or fleur-de-lis pattern, or even a floral, in black and white.

Black and White Prints

I was finally able to locate just what I was looking for at Micheal’s Craft Store in the gift wrap section. I pulled out the staples and took off the back, and using a 1 to 3 parts mixture of glue and water, I covered the fake back.  And here you have the finished product, in my office.  I think it goes nicely with the blue and the black and white ties into my color scheme and desk.


After - Buffet

Backing Detail

Sometimes Life Isn’t Fair…

…or you are just being too responsible with money for your own good!  I love CL. Mostly. And cannot believe that we have furnished nearly our entire house with this on-line mecca.  However, my rule is that I usually only search with the parameters that there is a picture (really, you think you are going to sell something with out a picture!?!) and for under $50.  But sometimes things are just so beautiful I want to forget about a budget and buy them! For instance…


Kidney Shaped Cabinet - $140

Velvet Tufted Armchairs - $60

Dining Set - $200

French Headboard - $400

China Cabinet - $400