Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

January 9, 2012

Dining Room Revamp & Other Swaps

by Cait

Robert and I were very fortunate to receive a lot of furniture from family when we bought our house in 2009. Over the past two years we’ve been able to settle into our house without breaking the bank on furniture, buying everything at Ikea, or having a bunch of empty rooms. It’s also been very comforting to be surrounded by familiar furniture.

Having said that, we’re starting to get to the point with our house where we want to swap out a few pieces to make our home fit our style better.

If you follow me on Pinterest you may have noticed me pining for a set of metal Tolix style chairs. I thought they’d look great with our existing table that I bought with my grandma years ago. I finally found two reproduction chairs I thought were perfect, but I could never pull the trigger on them (I even missed a sale on the chairs on the left – $79/each with free shipping).

left from Home Decorators, right from Industry-West

After seeing Kara Paslay’s new Eames chairs the idea of mid-century modern chairs with a farmhouse table was planted in the back of my mind. Our table is very much like the one Kara has, though the base of our table is dark green instead of white.

 Kara Paslay’s dining room

I came up with this design board for our dining room. The room is already painted (I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t shared any daytime shots of the green below the chairrail), the light was a DIY about a year ago, you saw the chairs here, and the rug will be moved from the living room. As for the other bits, I’ve been lusting after that vase for quite a while, and I’ve been toying with the idea of adding french doors & a faux transom between the living room and dining room.

Here’s how it turned out:

yes, the Christmas decorations are still up

Since we swiped the living room rug, we picked up a replacement from It was 50% off, and with some Paypal money from Etsy and eBay sales we only spent $49.

Morroccan Trellis Rug Navy

please ignore the squished couch cushions

I’d love to add some better lighting behind the couch and over the round table (which has taken the place of the rectangular one in front of the birch trees), but we have some things to take care of first (you know, the bathroom, and our Pinterest Partayy project).

What have y’all been up to?

January 1, 2012

Pinterest Partayy!

by Cait

If you read What The Graham (and if you don’t, you should!) you might have heard a little something about the Pinterest Partayy Jami is spearheading. Robert & I aren’t typically big on resolutions, but we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to start the year off right with a completed project (and maybe a chance to check another thing off my 25-before-25 list).

Here’s a little preview of what we’re going to be tackling.

from BHG

from Our Midcentury

seen on YHL

If you’d like to join us, we’re going to be linking our Pinterest inspired projects up on the 15th (two weeks from now). You can either come back here, visit one of the other lovely ladies’ blogs (Baby Gators Den, Design Build Love, Merrypad, Mrs PrissThe Stucco Bungalow and of course What the Graham) to link up, or both!

Happy New Year, y’all! Did anyone make resolutions?

September 20, 2011

Desking it Out

by Cait

Yes, the title is a terrible pun.

As I mentioned, we’ve been working on the Closet Office recently. In the photos above you’ll notice the desk surface we were working with was quite small (the desk was about 47 inches but the workable space was about 25 inches, with space behind the left monitor for cables, a lamp, etc). We increased our desk to a 96 in long surface, which allows the monitors to be placed side by side instead of at an angle to each other.

I’d like to take a second to say thank you for all your color suggestions on the last post! It was so fun to read your opinions. We really planned on going with Spun Honey or Churchill Hotel Hazy Yellow, but a trip to Lowe’s changed our minds. I don’t have any pictures for you just yet (the computer with Photoshop is still disconnected), but I updated our Paint Colors graphic (that’s a new section filed under Source List, but the blog re-org is another story).

You’ll notice that it’s quite different the general trend we started with the other colors in our house, but we were in Lowe’s buying supplies for the desk surface and scored a $3 pint of Valspar’s Deep Peri (from the Waverly line). It was a spur-of-the-moment choice to buy the can, and we ultimately decided to go ahead use it instead of going with a “safer” option like one of our already-owned colors. It’s definitely bold. A take-your-breath-away kind of bold. But we think we like it. (Kind of shocking, right?) Fortunately it’s only paint, so if we end up hating the choice we still have our already-owned options.

I also wanted to mention some of the ideas we’re thinking about for organization.


I saw this post on Unplggd a while back, which led me to the above photo, where Rasterboy cut a Ribba picture ledge in half and combined it with an Ekby Tony shelf to create a monitor riser. I think we can create something similar without trekking down to Ikea (which is about 2 hours away).


I can’t remember how I ran across this sold-long-ago Etsy listing, but I love it! Here’s hoping we can rig up something similar.


I ran across this desk on Pinterest fairly recently, and I can’t stop thinking about what a lovely stain it is. I think I remember reading that she used driftwood stain, but now I can’t find where I read it. While we were at Lowe’s I saw a Sunbleached stain by Rust-Oleum, but I was worried the color wouldn’t look right with the wall color we used. We ended up just oiling our desktop, but I’m thinking maybe we will sand it down and gray things up a bit if we decide we don’t love the natural look.


Our closet opening is just the right size that we may be able to to mount an Ekby Alex drawer unit beneath the desk surface (unless we dedide it would take up too much knee room).

In addition to the Alex, we want to add a couple of chunky white shelves above our computer monitors. We will probably use this method as laid out by Emily of Merrypad.

Just a few of the office-related things on my mind today. Anyone else working on a office update? Shocked we went with such a bold color?

September 15, 2011

The Room With All the Art

by Cait

Wow, thanks for all the sweet comments on the last post! I guess I may have to talk about our budget more often!

I’ve had a quirky, not-everyone-will-get-it style for most of my life, possibly even before the days of reading my sister’s cast-off Seventeen magazines (the “My Room” section was always my favorite). Of course, in those days I mostly daydreamed about what my room would look like and focused on expressing my quirky side with fashion. (I use that term loosely; it involved thrift store tshirts and a lot of pining for a leather biker jacket. If I had remembered to put a zipper in my Target bag dress I’d probably have worn that, too.)

These days I’m a little more West Elm than Spencer’s Gifts or Pottery Barn Kids, and I no longer want to paint clouds on my ceiling, but the soft spot for rustic & quirky mixed with bright colors remains. I’m beginning to realize that our style is probably best described as eBay Chic, or Rustic & Repurposed. I know it’s en vogue now to decorate in what people call the “collected” look, but around our house we just call it “buy what you love” and/or “make it work”.

I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but I feel like certain rooms in our house embody our style better than others. The rooms that feel the most “us” are probably the Art Room, the Library and the back porch (or at least what the back porch will one day become). Others are a constant struggle, like the living room and dining room.

those green chairs are so gone, and we added a little something-something to the wall

desperately in need of paint, a new chair, desk surface, and maybe a new curtain

The Art Room is very, very slowly shaping up. I didn’t really touch on it in this post, but it pains me to work on this room sometimes, since I don’t get to actually use it as my office every day. In spite of that, I’m trying to make it a space that makes me happy, both because I spend a lot of time in it (granted, usually with my head in the Closet Office blogging) and because it’s visible when you walk down the hallway.

I am drawn to a variety of styles, and sometimes it takes me a while to figure how the best way to mesh everything together. Fortunately with the advent of Pinterest the direction of the room seems to have gotten clearer (or maybe I’m just more confident in that fact that my ideas are not completely wacky).  I am still smitten with Sara’s art room, but I also pinned a bunch of fun, colorful, slightly rustic rooms on my Art Room Inspiration board.

Curbside Chair

A while back we found this chair in a neighbor’s trash and painted it yellow. Since then I had Robert spray paint it a brighter, more golden yellow (that coincidentally matches our curtains perfectly, though I didn’t even have the fabric when we picked the paint). I know that I could have spent a lot of time sanding it down, staining it, and giving it a nice glossy coat of poly, it would have had a very nice Chilton Academy-esque look to it, but it was destined to replace another curbside chair in front of the rolltop and I thought that would have been too much wood.

For the Ikea Jonas desk we are working on a chair that is very similar to the Emeco Navy Chair With Wood Seat, which we were lucky enough to get from my dad’s garage a while back. The Closet Office will get another chair we found in the neighbor’s trash, which we hope will look like this Pottery Barn chair when we are done with it (though we may not stain ours quite that dark).

from Flickr; pinned here

Ironically, the walls in the Art Room are almost completely bare (aside from the shelves we added a while back). Fortunately browsing Pinterest often reminds me of things I’ve wanted for years but then chalked up as never-gonna-happen and tried to forget about. Most recent example: pulldown maps. I have wanted one of these maps pretty much ever since watching Sleepless in Seattle. (“Look, one, two, three, four, there’s like twenty-six states between here and there.”) After seeing the above (and several others) I decided I finally needed to make it happen, so we ended up buying one on eBay (similar to the US map here).

seen on Design*Sponge; pinned here

Also, after seeing a lot of fantastic linen and burlap pinboards I remembered seeing a pinboard made with a coffee bag a while back. Fortunately Google came to my rescue, and a few minutes later I had found the Design*Sponge post I was thinking of, and also ordered a coffee bag of my very own from Etsy.

I should have an updated design board, pictures of the pulldown map, yellow chair and maybe the Emeco-lookalike for you tonight, as Robert will be in class late.

 Anyone else drawn to several different decorating styles? Or want to paint something like clouds in your childhood bedroom?

August 31, 2011

Hip to be Square

by Cait

I don’t know how many of you work in a cubicle every day, but for me 40+ hours a week in at a drab desk with standard-issue tan cube walls makes me just a little bit crazy. It also makes me a little bit jealous of all of those full-time bloggers, freelancers, business owners and telecommuters. I had to stop reading Apartment Therapy because I couldn’t take seeing one more pretty office. My little cube just couldn’t compete.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to dress the place up a bit. I added fun accessories to my desk, changed my computer background to something cheerful, considered getting a plant for my desk (and then a faux plant, after I killed all the real plants in our house). It worked for a while, but then one day when they were working on the front office building at work I walked out of my window-less cube in the back of the warehouse to see this:

did someone order a pallet o’ West Elm?

Yes, that is a pallet of West Elm Parsons Desks. There was also a smaller stack of tables. It might have been the most beautiful thing I had ever seen if I wasn’t so busy being jealous and enraged.

I tried to forget about it. I tried to focus on working, and spend my time away from work making our house into the kind of inspiring space you see splashed across decorating magazines and blog house tours. I tried to tell myself I didn’t even want a Parsons desk (“Where would I even put things? There’s hardly any drawer space!”) That worked for a while, too. Work was work, a place where I put on blinders and tried to pretend I didn’t spend almost every waking second thinking about paint colors, fabric swatches, furniture and design boards. A coworker and I dubbed the recently completed front office building Swankyville, and I vowed never to go there. Even after hearing the rumors about coffee that wasn’t 40 cents a cup . And especially after learning that my ID badge won’t even open the door to Swankyville!

Finally one day I had a reason to go over to Swankyville. After having my coworker use his badge to let me in, I sat waiting for my interview. I allowed myself to look around at the warehouse-chic breakroom, with its matte black ceiling, dark furniture, and stainless appliances. Just for a second I imagined myself working in the surrounding offices and far nicer cubicles. I even snapped a terrible iPhone picture (which it came out horribly blurry, thanks to the glare from the freaking atrium with picnic tables and the idea of being caught being that girl who takes pictures of the breakroom).

I spy with my little eye, a lot of West Elm furniture.

Since the photo came out so poorly, I threw together a quick design board with the furniture (and vases, which are not pictured) they used.


West Elm Overlapping Squares Bar Stool; West Elm Scoop-back Bar Stool; West Elm Klismos Dining ChairWest Elm Round Dining Table with Cutout LegsWest Elm Hive Vase

Back over in… whatever the opposite of Swankyville is, I looked around my cube. Maybe I don’t have West Elm furniture, maybe I won’t be working in Swankyville, and security sure as heck won’t let me in the building with much else to spruce the place up with (they give my paper bag the stink eye daily), but I can probably at least pull off CB2 chic. Even if I am on more of an Ikea, Target and Amazon kind of budget.

Aladdin To-Go Tumbler Clear; Ceramic Greek Coffee Cup; Black & Decker 5 Cup Coffee Maker; Tape Dispenser; Red Swingline; San Fran Tumbler

I have tried to deck my desk out with fun pops of color to keep me sane during the work week. A few of them have been on my desk since I started this job over two years ago, like the ceramic Greek coffee cup, my red Swingline, and my cassette tape dispenser. I added a plastic tumbler (similar to the San Fran one, though mine actually has leaves on it) as a  pen cup. My mom gave me a heart-shaped box made from recycled magazines, and I thought it would be a cheerful reminder of home, so I use it as paper clip holder. Up until a recent company email preventing us from having coffee makers I had this Black & Decker 5 cup on my desk, which got me through a lot of overtime last year. Since I have to bring (or buy) coffee now, I thought an Aladdin tumbler like this one would be nice for the tail end of summer and iced coffee (I haven’t actually decided which one I want yet, I might just buy whatever I find at HomeGoods).

Other than the things pictured, I just try to pick up things I think are cute (and usually cheap). I have a little Florida license plate with my name on it, the VW that popped out of one of my car’s center caps a few years ago, some pins with funny sayings, a small yellow desk fan.

What do you keep on your desk (at home, or the office)? Anything other than basic office supplies?

PS- I’m sure this post sounds like I hate my job. That isn’t true. I’m thankful to have a steady income, and a job where I get to use some of the skills I went to school for. Is this the job I want to work the rest of my life? No. But I do feel fortunate to have a job, even if it’s one that makes me want to strive for more.

May 20, 2011

Guest Bath Redux: More Inspiration & Features

by Cait

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been pinning a lot of things on Pinterest. When I found this bathroom I pretty much fell in love with it. And then I sent it to Robert who said “That is one of the most amazing baths I think I’ve ever seen”.  Score.

from Better Homes & Gardens

Keen observers will notice that this somewhat similar to what I said we wanted. White tile, lots of light, blue-ish walls, etc. I also really, really love those shelves.

Our tub is like the one above, and we both agree that the solid surface top looks better than how it was previously tiled. Now the next question is: what do we use as a counter surface? We’re considering Paperstone, recycled glass counters and concrete. Anyone have experience with any of those? I know that Kara Paslay and her husband DIY concrete counters and tables a lot, but I don’t know how keen I am to try that.

from re-nest

Another good thing about using a counter is that it would provide a small lip at the edge, which is good because we wanted to try to DIY a tub tip-out. That’s right, I said tub tip-out. The image above is The Stowaway made by GW International, but I think we could probably rig something up using bead board and wire baskets. (Hopefully without those large, obvious handles, too.)

Speaking of hidden storage, I love this idea from Donna DuFresne Design. We’re using bead board on part of the walls, so maybe we could make this work with some of those cabinet hinges that open when you push on the door? (I know there has a technical term for that… it’s escaping me.)

 from Donna DuFresne Design 

 What about y’all? Do you prefer hidden storage or open shelving? Freestanding tubs, apron tubs, or garden tubs?

April 20, 2011


by Cait

I came across this post on Apartment Therapy last night, which features Camila of High-Heeled Foot in the Door‘s DIY chevron rug. I’m beginning to think it is just the right solution to my “our hallway is 16 feet long and the runner I fell in love with is 7 feet long” issue. I was going to paint one like Amanda at Our Humble A{Bowe}d did in her boys’ room, but I can’t find any runner over 8 feet long. 

from High-Heeled Foot in the Door

I think this could be a good solution (with a lot o’ Scotch Guard and a washable fabric). Especially since the project will cost about one-third what the too-short runner from West Elm would if it works. What do y’all think?

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April 14, 2011

I’m Floored

by Cait

When I made our design board for our porch, I was thinking about using pallet wood for our floor.  Then I thought about just how long with would take to yank all the boards off enough pallets to cover a 14×28 porch floor. And then I saw this post on re-nest, and now I can’t stop thinking about laying sheets of ply down and stenciling them.

from here, seen on re-nest

from here, seen on re-nest

Both the photos I’m drooling over are done on planked floors, but I could see this working on plywood floors (there is actually a geometric design in the re-nest post done on plywood).  I’m debating between the design above (which Lori so kindly provides here) and picking one or two of the Sunny’s Goodtime Paint stencils below.

stencils from sunny’s goodtime paints

On the plus side(ish), I have plenty of time to decide, because there is currently a big, hulking pool table in my way. And while pool table + friends = rocking good time, pool table + installing a new floor = nightmare. I’m thinking the best way to go about doing the porch project(s) is going to be 1. make & install barn doors (and maybe plexi windows), 2. move pool table, 3. install plywood floor and paint. 

Being the bull-headed person that I am, I want to just get a bunch of guys and a couple of dollies to move the pool table to the side, but Robert says we’re going to have the guy who moved it the first time come out and move it (By disassembling it all. Again. And paying him.)  I’m nervous about how that’s going to work out, because I don’t want some guy waiting around for me to stencil. Hopefully we can have him move it, go away for a couple of hours/days while I do the floor directly under the table, and then have him come back to move it back in place.

If you’re itching for some stencil-action, check out Emily at Merrypad! She just DIYed a stencil that she will be adding to her sunroom’s floor.

April 12, 2011

I Need a Staycation

by Cait

Last night Robert and I started planning out the backyard projects. We broke everything down into four major parts: 1) the outdoor shower, 2) the deck, 3) the pool and 4) the fence(s).  Each part will most likely have sub-sections (we might do the shower surround one week and plumb it the next), but that is the general idea. I have no idea what all we’ll get done this summer, but I would like the backyard to be a nice place to relax on weekends and whenever we have time off.

from houzz

We figured out that the shower will cost about $250-300 for the galvanized metal sheets, wood to frame, stain & protectant and plumbing. We have a $100 Lowe’s gift card we’ve been hoarding*, and we just got a $25 off a $250 purchase coupon, so that should knock it down considerably.

from desire to inspire

After the shower I want to tackle a low deck like the one I talked about yesterday. We decided on a deck size of 12×32, but we haven’t fully priced it out yet. I know a deck would still be expensive (Robert said $1500-2000 ballpark), so we’re just trying to come up with the easiest way to make it happen. Contemplating the idea of using reclaimed pallet wood for the deck surface  to cut the cost down and framing the underside with 2x6s.

from bigBANG studio, seen on The Brick House

As I have said before, I want a pool like this really, really badly!  Technically the pool above is made from a silo (and deep!) while the one we want is only two feet deep (and either eight or ten feet, we haven’t decided yet).  Last summer we went to a Tractor Supply near us and I think the eight foot one was about $300.  Also, Robert’s parents know someone who have a somewhat similar pool, so we would probably discuss filters/etc with his parents’ friend.  We would probably buy the stock tank first, then the pump&filter/whatever. Eventually we also love the idea of having a smaller, heated tank (similar to the one below), but that would be another project in itself.

from Dwell via The Brick House

Around the backside of the pool I want an L-shaped fence similar to the top photo below. We would probably make ours from 1x6s or 2x6s with 4×4 uprights, and Robert says he wants the slats closer together for more privacy. There is also discussion about how far the long side of the L should go. He votes for all the way down the yard, and currently I vote for switching to a shorter fence a few feet past the pool. Also, we’d try to get the neighbor behind(/beside, since we’re on a corner) us to go in on the fence between our yards, and I’d probably suggest we do slats on both sides so that no one gets the “ugly” side. The front side of the pool would have a deck of some sort.

The weird jut-out  (that I tried to describe here; that some might call as a side yard but Robert describes as a “dog toilet”) would have a shorter fence like the one in the bottom photo below. Currently we have a picket fence that we (and when I say “we” I mean Robert&Ryan) put up when we moved in, but that was always sort of a temporary measure. When we replace it we’ll  make that area completely seperate from the rest of the yard (we might even add a second door off the porch that opens into it). And of course we’ll save the wood from the picket fence to resuse for other projects.

fence images from here, seen on The Brick House

As far as gates go, I want something fairly modern. I can’t decide if I want something wooden or metal, but I like the two images below.



from houzz

Going from the porch to the deck (and maybe the porch to the “dog toilet” area) I want barn doors kind of like the ones above. I can’t decide if I want something with glass/plexi or screen. I think not-screen would be the best option, because when we’re on the porch we’ll probably have them open, but it would be nice not to get rain insde when they’re closed. We’ve been talking about using plexi (or something) to replace the screen on the porch as well. 


I made a plan of what we’re hoping to do with help from  Better Homes & Garden’s Plan-A-Garden (which Emily used yesterday) and my BFF Photoshop. The large two-tone gray rectangle is the house/porch, which opens to a deck surrounded by river rock pea gravel. There will be stepping stones leading to both the pool/pool deck and the outdoor shower. The gray thing in the top left is the shed, and not pictured to the right we’ll have a short fence (maybe with an arbor) into the dog area. It’s not exactly “to scale” (it makes our yard look larger than it is), but you get the idea.

*We love gift cards! To anyone looking to get Robert birthday gifts next month, Lowe’s gift cards are always appreciated! We were saving this one to do the kitchen floor, but with summer quickly approaching, the outdoor shower will be more appreciated. We’re hoping to get as much of the backyard done as possible so that we can take a bit of time off and just chill out at home (preferably in the lawn chairs from our design board).

April 11, 2011

Living Outdoors: Part 2

by Cait

Apologies for posting a sappy post and now this one with pictures from Desire to Inspire, but I think a deck like this woud work where our weird concrete is.

our weird concrete

So today I’ll be daydreaming that I’m sitting on that deck at dusk surrounded by friends. And in my fantasy there are no gnats or mosquitoes.