Monthly Archives

March 2009

Decorating Tips

How Much For This Room?

March 13, 2009

You’re going to love this week’s How Much For This Room? because it’s so budget friendly that you won’t believe your eyes. This living room belongs to Ashley Vaughn and her husband who own a record store, Vertical House, in Huntsville, Alabama. She is also a wedding photographer and a Realtor, and her husband is a graphic designer. When they have time to spare, they can usually be found restoring their 106-year-old house.

Deets on the house: The 2,100 square foot home was built in 1903 and sits in a historic neighborhood in Huntsville, Alabama. Both upstairs and downstairs boasts 11′ tall ceilings, original heart pine floors, transom windows, huge front porch, and six fireplaces. You can see the restoration process we’ve undergone so far in this flickr set which also include the before photos.

The bricks of the fireplace, mantle, and hardwoods are original to the house, so they are not including in the total, but here is the breakdown.

Living room: blue chairs (best thrift store find): $20 for the pair, couch (you can see the tip of it): $75, trunk (holds all of our records): originally from Panama and handed down to me from my parents (free), sewing table and chair (thrifted): $35, picture above the sewing machine (thrifted): $3, lamp on sewing table: wedding gift from target, but I believe it was $20, rubber man (the plant) was a gift, peace lily: found outside a house that was for sale in the garbage (free), green “seedling” tray: $10, Kitty (Sadie): free, “kinda! she found us, but I guess we pay to feed her hah!”. Everything on the mantle was either made by her husband (the hands, the 4 panel piece against the bricks, and the ‘birdhouse’ to the right of the books) or were found at thrift stores or yard sales and combined we maybe spent $10. On the other side of the room there is another identical blue chair, the cabinet that holds the TV (cabinet: $20 and the TV was a gift to my husband many birthdays ago…it’s nothing special). In fact, we only have it hooked up to play Wii), our record player and receiver ($100), and the Wii.

Grand Total: $293 (not including the Wii)!

Kitchen/Bedroom: These few photos were added just because I thought the space was cute and wanted to show you! No dollar amount to relate. I am also a transom window obsessed nut so when I saw one in her bathroom I had to post the pic. I also love her clawfoot tub, wallpaper, red chandelier, and her brown dresser – the lines are great.

If you have any questions for Ashley please just ask below!

Thanks Ashley for sharing your home today with us. :)

(images from ashley vaughn)


Creativity Series – Just Do It! {9}

March 12, 2009

Writing today’s topic for the Creativity Series was a bit of a struggle because I am sensitive to how the economy is affecting others and despite how badly I want to radiate hope and positivity I don’t want to come across as happy-go-lucky, annoying, or perhaps naive to the problems that many are facing. But you know what, I’m not going to over cook this because who knows, maybe some of you need this reminder so this week we’re going to talk about developing a sense of humor to not only help you be more creative but to keep you sane in a pretty messed up world.

print by paperfunkpress.

How does developing a sense of humor inspire creativity? How can it help you get though hard times?

It can really push down walls when you decide to lighten up and just be yourself without becoming overly concerned about the opinions of others. It can also protect you from your worst enemy which so often yourself. I can’t stress how important this is. When others are overly judgmental, negative, or when you find yourself being overly critical of yourself, it’s time to tap into your sense of humor.

This beautiful little ring says, “Let laughter save the day” by lucky life.

I believe that laughter stimulates great thinking. When you are under less stress your thoughts flow more freely and your mind can wander a bit outside of the box.

A sense of humor helps us during the journey. Drama seems to up ratings on television but in real life, it only brings our ratings down. Friends may start to dodge us, clients could begin to call us into question, family members will avoid “stepping on eggshells” simply by withholding information that you really should be hearing. It’s a lot easier to communicate with someone who doesn’t fly off the handle over every little thing. This is the sign of someone who may need to tap into their sense of humor. The world does not revolve around any of us, we’re all going to hit problems and deal with annoyances often on a daily basis. There is no problem-free life, no perfect government, no ideal marriage partner. We’re all broken in one way or another with our own fears, dysfunctions, inabilities, dark sides, etc. It’s important to accept that fact and realize early on that nothing we take on is easy, whether that’s a new child, a career, or something that should be fun like starting a new hobby. Developing your creative side takes effort, failure often rides alongside success, so it’s unavoidable that the path you thought would be perfect may not be the same path you find yourself on in a few years. That’s where a sense of humor helps. Trust that the journey is often as rewarding, if not more, than reaching the actual goal. Allow your sense of humor to take the wheel when you feel like giving up or flipping out. During the hard times you may need to step outside of the ‘bubble’ you’re in and laugh at the situation a little. Remind yourself that you’re human.

While sense of humor is important, going through life laughing things off and ignoring potential issues is dangerous. I’m certainly not encouraging laughing at funerals or telling your depressed friend to stop feeling sorry for herself. You have to take things seriously but there does come a point where you’ve taken something seriously so what’s next? You then have to start dealing with it, mending the problem, repairing or rebuilding, etc. It’s at that point when you can decide to put a positive spin on the situation or not. You can find some relief as you deal with your issue if you remember the good during the bad times.

Happy people are more creative, creative people are more productive, and productive people are well, happier. I once read somewhere that developing a more optimistic world view can help you become more resilient and that it’s good for your emotional and even physical health to lighten up and laugh. That’s good stuff there.

I could go on and on but you get the point of what I’m trying to say. Look at the good side. Keep your goals in front of you. Laughter really can be the best medicine. Before I sign off I want to leave you with a few tips on how I keep a positive outlook. First, I don’t take myself too seriously. If I screw up, I admit and move on. I even laugh out loud at myself in public — I once fell down the stairs at a party and laughed so hard I cried – and I was wearing a dress and high heels and clearly made an idiot of myself but I got up and started dancing again and just shook it off. Sometimes when I’m moody and crabby I don’t feel like laughing. At all. That’s when I immediately notice something is wrong so I’ll call a friend who I know will make me laugh, I look for my online friends, I put on some good music, or I watch something really random and stupid on YouTube. :)

Now I want to hear from you… How has your sense of humor helped you during the dark times? What tips can YOU share with others on how to develop a sense of humor? How has your ability to laugh at things, from your failures to your stumbles, helped you as a person?

(images linked above)


Inspired by House Beautiful

March 12, 2009

Is it okay with you that, aside from today’s upcoming creativity post, we escape a little and simply look at beautiful rooms together? I really need to tap into some beautiful interiors today for inspiration. Let’s first look at some rooms as featured in House Beautiful, a magazine I’ve decided to subscribe to in an attempt to replace Domino. I’m going to play a little game. With each photo below I’m going to call out what I personally like the most in the photo. If anything strikes you, please feel free to join in on the fun.

Everything. I just love it all. This is my dream bedroom for sure. Love the gold picture frame. Fabulous.

Art wall, darling side table, blue walls…

Silk curtains and bedding. Lush, embroidered details. Random stack of blue books.

Chandelier, white table, foo dogs, purple, white pedestal table, fab geometric chair covers.

White chairs, striped rug, wallpaper on the ceiling – fun!

Soaking tub, gorgeous blue walls, amazing turquoise glassware.

Lavender and blue, combination of textures, very Paris in New York.

Mirror above writing desk, lots of yellow and blue, window seating.

Energetic color with lots of white.

Velvet bench, lovely headboard, drapes with a border, lovely peonies.

Wall color, blue lamp, pink bedspread.

Yellow side table and ornate white side table. I want the white one.

Chandelier in a bathroom, massive soaking tub, heart-shaped chair, funky avocado bedroom.

(images from house beautiful)


Design Mole Blog

March 11, 2009

British interiors writer Ellie Tennant who is a contributor at Ideal Home magazine in London left a comment on decor8 earlier and so I clicked on her link and discovered Design Mole, a design blog she authors where I found a slew of really interesting posts focused mostly on design and decorating in England. I love blogs like this because it helps a new writer to really stand out in the enormous sea of decorating blogs when they focus on what’s going on locally within their home country. I personally love that and hope to see more and more blogs like this pop up. That’s why I’m so fascinated by the many Australian and Swedish bloggers because they tend to focus on local design so I’m always being exposed to new things and learning about stuff I just can’t find everyday in shops or magazines here in America. I’m hoping to see more blogs rise from hidden corners of the globe talking about what’s happening in their own backyard. Lovely design blog, Ellie!

Design Mole Blog

Ellie spotlights Sanderson’s 1950s-style Dandelion Clocks fabric priced at £29 per metre as seen on these armchairs in LivingEtc magazine. Fab!

Design Mole BlogShe also talks about her love of the adorable British shop called Acorn & Will. Now I’m loving them in a big way as well.

Design Mole BlogDesign Mole BlogDesign Mole BlogThrough Ellie I also learned about Berry Red and their delicious ceramics along with all of the other goodness on their sweet little country website.

Design Mole BlogDesign Mole BlogAnd finally, she highlighted some of her favorite new products from Not on the High Streetblock letters, vintage plates by designer Lou Rota available for purchase here and some recycled hand painted signs by Norfolk Boy.

(image sources linked above)

Books + Magazines, Rooms

Book Review: From My Mother’s Kitchen

March 11, 2009

I love doing book reviews and since I started in ‘06 it seems you enjoy reading them so for this year I plan to keep ‘em going and hopefully schedule reviews on a more regular basis (weekly). In fact, I already have two slated for next week so stay tuned! I find that books matter more and more as some of our favorite magazines fold, I’m referring to my bookshelf more than ever for inspiration, advice and ideas. I can’t imagine a world without beautiful books, I love to pick them up, crack them open for the first time, breath in all that yummy paper scent, and cozy up under a blanket to take in all of the words and images. In my wee attempt to save books and promote reading and the purchasing of them, I want to continue to point you to some of my favorite titles.

Today I’m giving you a glimpse inside the pages of a brand new cookbook (published a few weeks ago) that I recently fell head over heels for called From My Mother’s Kitchen. It’s a collection of comfort food written by London-based freelance food writer Jenny Linford who founded the well known Gastro Soho Tours (something I want to sign up for in the future), and published by Ryland Peters and Small. I love the recipes because their uncomplicated, wholesome, and very delicious which is the whole reason for buying a cookbook in the first place right, to prepare delicious meals. I also found the ingrediants pretty basic – eggs, olive oil, herbs, cheese, veggies… stuff you already own so you don’t have to run out to buy some exotic ingrediants especially for a recipe that you most likely will never use again. These days, I’m all about affordable, local and healthy foods.

You can purchase the book from my Amazon shop for $18 if you’re interested or find it elsewhere too, search online for ISBN:978-1845978181

(photographs: holly becker for decor8)

Handmade, Objects

Pigeon Toe Ceramics

March 11, 2009

Oh lord. Too tempting. Do you dream of having a kitchen shelf showcasing an assortment of handmade ceramic dishes and bowls? My shelf back in my German kitchen has some lovely things (see below) but I think it could also use Pigeon Toe Ceramics based in Portland, Oregon.

In fact, I think every kitchen could use at least a few things from Pigeon Toe, don’t you? I love their dents and organic shapes and imagine serving dinner using some of their bowls or sipping my favorite tea from a dented mug. Although it’s hard right now to buy a lot of stuff (at least for me), I definitely try to put some money aside from time to time for special treats so Pigeon Toe is definitely going on my wish list for future purchases, especially their darling footed bowl!

(images from pigeon toe)

Scroll Up