Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY Family Heirloom

Yes you read that title correctly - DIY - family heirloom - how- you say? Check it out...
Photo taken by Allen Enriquez see more of his work here
SO this fabulous sign is an actual sign that was hanging outside my great-grandfathers furniture upholstering store in Great Neck, NY. How cool is that?? Vintage and it has my last name on it! However what you are looking at above is not the real sign, it is a picture of the real thing that I had blown up and framed. The real sign is here:

This is hanging in my aunt's bedroom in Park City, Utah. It is unfortunately not quite my turn in the inheritance line to possess this just yet. BUT that didn't stop my from wanting (needing) this hanging in my apartment so I got creative and decided to make my own!! SO yes it's not quite the real thing... but it sure looks like it? Right? What do you think? 

OK and just so you don't think I got a raw deal in the family I do however have a few pieces from the Venzke lineage that are the real thing and reside in my living room today. See here..
The China cabinet was in my grandmother's mother's house and the two side chairs were as well. I had the chairs reupholstered and they were predicted to be from the late 1800's.

Do you have anything in your home that stems from several generations back? How do you display it?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cross Country for Starbucks Mugs

So I recently went on a coast to coast road trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific (through the north) with my brother (the soon to be internet billionaire). You can check out our route here on Tripline thanks to Foursquare we were able to track our check points throughout the whole trip (kinda cool being as we reached some of these destinations at the wee hours of the morning after hours of driving on long, dark roads and recalling them would have been nearly impossible).

So we started on Saturday night at 9pm (odd time to start I know but life gets in the way - you gotto do what you gotto do) and got there on Wed. afternoon. Oh and did I mention my brother was moving to San Francisco? And this was the reason for the trip. I was merely there for the company. OH but I did have an ulterior motive! Read on...

So we were traveling in a packed up Mercury Mountaineer. (Something I don't even think a quarter of my belongings would EVER fit into - but my brother is more of a "get-up and go"  kinda guy and doesn't hold deep ties to "stuff") We are def. polar opposites there! But off we were!

Let me just start off by saying that there are many states in between New York and California - and well it just has to be said - we could probably do without some of them.  Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and most definitely Wyoming (to name a few). Sorry if these places are close or dear to anyone out there - but all I saw was a whole lotta nothing and I spanned the length of all these states. I have to say Wyoming was the worst. I think they only have two populated areas in the whole state!!

However, we detoured to one of the USA's most renowned spectacles Mt. Rushmore - located in the lovely state of North Dakota. And just figured when else would be have the opportunity to visit this place - so why not! It was beautiful!! Check it out!

OK now for the main reason for this post and my goal on this trip. At the beginning of the year I started a new collection - of Starbuck City mugs. So each city or state that I go to I check out each Starbucks and make sure that I get a mug with that city name on it. Like this one here.

So collecting these mugs has at this point (I am afraid to admit it) become an obsession of mine. I figured I was going to hit the mother load on this trip with all the states we were going through. But oh so not the case. I started off the trip being selective. I mean there is only so much shelf space for these mugs and did I really want an Ohio mug?? I was looking for cool and unique states - like Iowa and North Dakota! But to my great dismay we entered Des Moines at 9pm on a Sunday (Starbucks was closed!) and North Dakota - apparently does not have enough Starbucks locations to warrant the production of such mugs. And then I continued to face disappointment in Utah, Wyoming and Reno. Apparently these mugs do not exist for these places either. So here I am across 9 states and no mugs (and literally kicking myself for snubbing Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana) at that point there was no turning back.

I found my first mug right outside Reno and it was the California mug! I was happy to get it and have some shred of success on this trip. And then of course when we entered San Francisco I snatched up the first one I saw. So these were my only additions on this long trip =(

Here is my entire collection to date. Displayed on these nifty shelves I installed for just the purpose of displaying my collection!

SO clearly I have a long way to go. Granted there is no more space on these shelves but not to worry I will come up with somewhere to put them. A friend of mine got me one in Berlin - so that will be joining this group soon. And if you are ever going to visit me and live in a place that I don't have a mug for - well I think you know what to bring with you. =)

Does anyone else collect these mugs? Or seen a cool one? Or what do you collect? And how do you display them?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Nightstand Re-Vamp!

Can you guess how I spent my weekend?
OK so I admit I bought these nightstands several weeks (ok or maybe months) ago - and finally got around to sprucing them up! Below is how I found them at the Meeker Avenue Flea Market which I just learned to my own great dismay - has gone out of business???Can this be true? Granted there items were slightly overpriced - but as I learned when purchasing these bad boys - bargaining works! I walked away with these nightstands for $25 each - when initially they wanted $50 each!! But they really had some amazingly fun finds - and this closing makes me very sad =(
But on to my re-vamp! So you can see here the tables have nice lines, are in good condition and they match! But the color wasn't working for me (they weren't pink!) so this is how I fixed that.
I cleaned them up and sanded them down a bit - with my new handy dandy electric sander (makes me an official DIYer!)
(If you are wondering what that interesting wood shelf in the background is - stay tuned for a future post on a steal of a street find!) Next step: I applied a coat of primer (I had left over from painting my living room). And then I put together a little mixture of paints. I had bought these paints to attempt a striping effect in the bedroom but did not like the results so instead they become the paint for my new nightstands. See everything works out in the end.

So what we have here is a tester container of Glidden Fresh Pink Lemonade (it was a little too pink of a color that I had wanted for the walls) and a jar of Martha Stewart Metallic Glaze in Mercury. I just mixed them together and came up with what you see here.
I also had to scrub the hardware for the handles - (I soaked them in white vinegar and soap then took a q-tip to those suckers) they were covered in some grime and underneath found a nice brass finish! Then to add just another detail I took some metallic gold craft paint and VERY CAREFULLY painted in the detailed lines around the nightstand.

OK OK I admit it ...I had some help...this is Jules - he is very creative.

And here it is in the room right beside the bed! Remember that mirror from this post? And yes still contemplating the closet doors discussed here. What do you think?

Hope you like my re-vamp! And hope it inspires you to look again at something old and see the potential. If you need a nudge in the right direction, email me a pic of something you have that has seen better days, and maybe I can give you some ideas on how to make it new and fabulous!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Closet Doors - Which way to go?

SO I am in a bit of a decision dilemma. I figured I would blog about it and see what all of you think. As you remember from my previous post I am still plugging away at my Bedroom Redesign. And my focus today is on the closet doors. They are not working in any way, shape, or form. Not only aesthetically but functionally as well.
Blank Slate

So here are the options.

1.) Keep the doors and just live with the function issues BUT paint the outside to really pop. I was thinking stripes or something like this?

2.) Take out the doors and replace them with curtains. Like this. Maybe beef up the outside molding like they did here?

OR there is the option of putting the curtains outside the closet area like this.
Or even making an entire wall of curtains like this.
And then of course this option would present another decision - which fabric to use!

If I go with just covering the doors themselves it falls into the perfect size for a shower curtain. I have been searching for the perfect pink striped shower curtain but I am coming up short. BUT I did come across these fab. ruffled ones - what do you think?
From Urban Outfitters $49.99 each
OR here are some fabrics I found that might work

1.) Amy Butler $8.98 per yard
2.) Robert Allen $14.98 per yard
3.) Michael Miller $8.98 per yard
4.) Michael Miller 48.98 per yard

OR I can make my own stripe fabric by sewing together pink and white material since I can't seem to find the perfect wide stripe material.

So what do you think? Anyone have any ingenious closet door solutions they want to share?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The show must go on!

This week I went to the The Nate Burkus show! I got four tickets and rounded up some friends that aren't slaves to a 9-5 and off we went! Living in NY I try to catch tapings of shows whenever I can easily score some tickets. In my days I have been to the Rachel Ray show, Dave Letterman, Montel Williams, The View, just to name a few. In this case all I did was go onto the website and hit request tickets!
But yes it can often be a time consuming event - all afternoon waiting on line, being shuffled from room to room and then finally earning a seat where we act like monkey's and laugh when we are told to laugh, clap when we are told to clap, and looked stunned and interested. But all in all it is always a good time - and that prospect of seeing my face on TV -is exciting! I have to say the experience at Nate Burkus show was probably one of the best -people were very nice and it was entertianing. DESPITE the fact that as we are on line (or 'in' line if you are from the west coast - as several west coast transplants pointed out to me as I retold this story to them) anyway - NY (or the whole east coast for that matter) was hit by an earthquake!

We of course felt nothing - but we were ushered to the other side of the street - where we were told we are avoiding a fire hazard. Anyway my friend on her way to meet us called and said - did you hear? There was an earthquake and they have evacuated all the buildings. I then look over to the building next to us and see all these people standing outside - ha! who knew!? Anyway I then jumped on Facebook - and it all poured in... let me share a few of my favorite Facebook posts from moments after the ground literally shook all over NY.
um....i just felt an earthquake

damn nature, you scary

what??? there was an earthquake? no way, i just thought Chuck Norris went for a run

pshhh, california WISHES they had earthquakes like this

I just felt my first earthquake. Not for me.

I was walking too fast to feel the earthquake. Or maybe it was the already-rattling of the overhead subway line

Earthquake survivor

Things Im mentally prepped for.. Stray bullet - Check, Stabbing - Check, Deranged Homeless - Check, Alien Invasion - Check, Zombie Apocalypse - Check.. EARTHQUAKE!?!? - Er, not so much...

Anyway reading all these helped pass the time of waiting and waiting until we finally got seated in the studio.

So this show isn't taped live and won't air until sometime in September - so there were several retakes and shifting of segments but kinda cool to see how it really works! We were entertained by the crowd pleaser comedian where we witnessed several dance off's, lots of trivia, all while the set was changed and prepped for the next segment. There were lots of these "in between" times but the segments themselves were entertaining. And we got gifts!!

We went home with this cook book by former model Christina Ferrare. And Nate did a segment on RUGS 101 - going over tips of placing and picking the perfect area rug for your living room or dining room. AND he gave us all $150 gift certificate to -( future blog post may involve selecting a new rug!).

Nate's tips were - when placing a rug in a living room it is best to place the rug about a third under the coach, so that there isn't a slight gap of floor right in front of the couch. AND you don't want to put the run entirely under the coach - because well it can get nasty under the couch and how often is that really vacuumed? I can see how this tip makes sense BUT my first professor at FIT's interior design program, told us never to place furniture half on a rug - either put it all the way on the rug or all the way off, otherwise it looks off balance. So I am not sure who is right on that one - but I can see how that floor gap near the couch doesn't seem right. I found some tips online that seem to go along with Nate's advice here. And then here they agree with my professor either all on or all off. BUT they also say - "It's your home; if you like the look and the effect of a particular rug in your home, then it is perfect." So perhaps I leave the final verdict on that one up to you!

For the dining room Nate's tip was to make sure the dining rug is large enough to fit under all of the chairs even when the chairs are pulled out. Otherwise you could have some unstable dinner guests. And that could get dangerous especially if there is wine with dinner!

I gathered a few images of spaces where using both above theories where I think they all work - what do you think?

Sarah Richardson Design
In this one the furniture is only partially on all around. But perhaps the bold color/pattern of the rug gives it just the right punch that a larger rug would have been over powering? And well placing the furniture slightly on the rug can help to keep the rug in place.

Elle Decor
Here the furniture is all on! The rug is large enough to fill they space and put all of the furniture on it entirely and if it were to be half on I can see there would be an unbalance.

The final segment of the show was a spotlight on a blogger! Nate is known to feature bloggers on his show, fly them to NY and give them some TV air time - that will without a doubt help boost their readership! His feature blogger for this show was HannahKateFlora she was super cute and had some great  "street merch" as she called it - found treasures on the streets of NY. We were actually sitting in the audience near her boyfriend and roommates that came to support her. Her boyfriend (one of 5 guys in the audience) was quite the dancer and entertained us all!

 SO needless to say I am working my way to the Nate Burkus show ;)  you never know maybe one day I will be on stage and not in the audience!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DIY Mirror

Ever see a gorgeous mirror, or picture, or something else that you know will look perfect in your house... and then you look at the price tag... and it suddenly doesn't look that gorgeous anymore? Well this happens to me all the time- BUT this time I found a solution.

SO in my Bedroom redesign process I was searching for an interesting mirror for the wall. I came across this beauty here -

BUT with a price tag of $562.50 - no way?! My bed didn't even cost that - ha! SO I started to think hmm,... Can I just make that?

I already had a plain mirror (that I found on the side of the street years ago - someone was throwing it out!) and I didn't have a place for it yet - SO this could work!

I took out my T-square and ruler and measured out 3/4" thick lines and used a marker to draw the lines on the mirror. Then I matched up blue painters tape to the outside of the lines to keep it crisp! And I used regular white acrylic paint from the craft store. Then painted away! I did a good two coats to make sure the paint was fully covering the lines.

And TADA! This is what I am left with.... pretty close huh? What do you think?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Black Candles - Why not?

I saw a beautiful coffee table display at a friends house recently. She had grouped together a collection of crystal and glass pillar candlesticks that she had picked up at various places, flea markets, antique stores, even Ikea! And she put black candles in all of them. And they just looked gorgeous all together - take a look.
I think it also helped that my friend is an amazing graphic designer - check out her work here -
This really got me thinking about black candles - you just really don't see them that often in home design - and personally I have never really thought to use black candles, it had just never occurred to me. And why not? WELL I think black candles have just gotten a bad rap - glorified horror movies have helped people think of them with a sort of black magic connotation. OR they become only appropriate for themed Halloween decor - like these.

But after seeing my friend's display and thinking about it I say NO - this doesn't have to be. I did a little research and in fact the true meaning of black candles (yes apparently each color candle has a meaning...) is the color you burn when you are trying to destroy negative forces or rid of serious illness (So what is evil about that?) But those meanings aside - how great to they look? Especially paired with gorgeous candle holders! Here are a few more that I found.
Black Cherry 3 wick candle from PartyLite - sounds yummy!

How great would this look with black candles?
Add some green with your black candles!

What a cool idea - wine bottle candle holders painted black.

These are cool! No candle holder needed.
So look around your house can you fill any of your candle holders with black candles for a new, sleek look?
You can buy plain black pillar candles at a bunch of places like Pier 1, Amazon, Or check your local craft store!