Monday, August 30, 2010

clear & simple

In early Victorian times the frugal homemaker did not set spoons out at each place when setting the table.  She most likely did not have enough spoons for each persons plate.  Instead spoons were kept in a "spooner"  This was a glass vessel that would sit in the center of the table within reach of those who might need one.  They came in lots of patterns and colors including a large goblet shape.  The "spooner" was in use until around the turn of the century.

This weekend I went to a huge old estate sale of a 150 year Victorian home.

the entire contents were being sold, off including some amazing and expensive antiques

out in the yard and the garage were the "junk tables" 

My favorite place of course

everything on any table was $1.00

I found the most simple old clear glass, including these Victorian pressed glass spooners

most of the glass was dirty and on the tables surrounded by lots of other stuff.  I wasn't sure how it would look once it was cleaned up.  For a dollar each I filled a box.

I loved the simplicity of the shapes, and clear glass is my all time favorite

I washed it all when I got home, and it was just as I had hoped it would be

I can think of so many possibilities, including their intended purpose of holding spoons in the center of a table

sometimes the best finds are dirty, overlooked and ignored from the dollar table

My Place - Breakfast Area Lighting

Sometimes making design decisions for my own home is easy. I have a pretty innate sense of what I love and what looks good (at least to me!). There are those times though that I struggle with all of the options in front of me - just like my clients do. My recent struggle was selecting the lighting fixture over my breakfast area table. 

We've been in our home almost 10 years, the time when feels to me that things need a pretty serious freshening up.  We've removed a lot of wallpaper, repainted and added hand scraped hardwood floors. My next project was updating some light fixtures - including my breakfast area.

I'm a little obsessed with drum shades and especially love the ones with a rustic vibe. My home is a little on the eclectic side and I like to mix things up a bit. In this case, I visualized a more contemporary form (the drum shade) in a more rustic finish (rattan). 

After viewing 100's of options, I settled on the drum pendant below, a Carolyn Kinder design from Uttermost.  The fixture is knotted rattan with a hand rubbed ivory finish and brown dry brushing. It is also very reasonable priced - which I love!

How did I do? I'm loving it - especially when it's lit! Notice that I strategically pointed my camera away from my bare breakfast area windows....I'll torture my readers with that project soon enough!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Staying Positive in a Tough Housing Market

If you are a home seller, it's tough to stay positive in the face of so much awful housing news these days. When navigating any set of difficult circumstances, its important to remember what you can control and what you can't. You can't do anything about macro economic trends that have been years in the making, but you can absolutely do something about the two most important factors in a home sale: price and condition.
  • Price. Be realistic, listen to your Realtor and if you have to move relatively quickly, be willing to price your home slighting below the market. Pricing your home higher than the market hoping for that one elusive buyer that just has to have your home is a recipe for a lengthy time on the market and future price reductions both of which add to a negative perception of what might otherwise be a terrific property. Long market times and price reductions cost you money, plain and simple.
  • Condition. Buyer these days have incredibly high expectations - not only in the sense that they often perceive the opportunity to get a "deal" in this market, but they also expect homes to be move-in ready and in pristine condition. Delaying maintenance, updates and having a poorly staged home invites at best low offers and at worst, no offers. This blog is filled with tips on staging your home for sale. The condition of your home will have a direct impact on the ultimate sales price.
These uncertain economic times seem made for the serenity prayer (paraphrased) reminding us to have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage (and the energy!) to change the things that we can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I always wanted to try this

Ever since I saw Martha Stewart feature make your own "mercury glass" with paint.  I have always been curious about giving it a try.  Martha gives as a source for the spray paint called Looking Glass - Mirror -Like Paint.  I had a really hard time trying to locate it, I actually ended up purchasing a can on Ebay for $11.00.

here is a grouping of mercury glass containers featured in Martha Stewart magazine.

the paint can is small only 6 oz.  Enough to spray a large piece of glass and one container

I wanted to see what it would do to an old cabinet door

this was a free door that someone gave me, so I had nothing to lose if it did not work

   I used frog tape along the edge before I sprayed on the paint.  I lightly misted the glass with a tiny bit of water (just like Martha did)  to make the mirrored surface look aged.

the trick is layering on the paint in very light coats, making sure that each coat dries for a few minutes between spraying.  I did 5 very light and quick layers.  The side that you spray looks dull, but when you turn it over - sure enough there is a mirrored surface.  You can't really tell from the photos, but it looks like an antique finish.

you can see how well it reflects

oh - I see an old gray glass door cabinet in my future with mirrored doors.

I made this with the left over paint just to see what it would look like.  It had a previous life as a giant water globe holding a preserved rose.  I have no idea what I will be doing with it now.


If this paint was easier to find - hint hint Krylon people - I would use it again.  For more ideas and directions on using Looking Glass Mirror Like Paint see the Krylon Website.

Accessorizing Shelves and Bookcases

Shelves are one of the best decorating opportunities that you have in your home. Unlike paint or furniture, you can change things up easily, be creative and corral your collections. 
Some quick tips on making the most of your shelves or bookcases:
  • Showcase your treasured items. After you've edited your collections, display your favorites.
  • Group like items together. This is especially true of smaller items. Scattering small items tends to look like clutter.
  • Avoid symmetry. With few exceptions, symmetry can be boring.
  • Vary heights. See symmetry above. Your eye should travel up and down as it scans your shelving.
  • Vary textures. Ceramics, plants, book bindings, cowhide, baskets, gilded accents and pressed tin all add interest through their textures in the example above.
  • Add shine and sparkle. Glass (even an apothecary jar filled with M&M's as above!), mirrored items, or anything with a reflective quality adds interest.
  • Create layers. Elevating accessories on books, stands, whatever gives them an interesting platform.
  • Group your books. My homeowner above had great collections of cookbooks and gardening books. We grouped them by both size and subject for an interesting display and easy access.
One last tip (I can already hear the groans from the blogosphere!), start from scratch. Pulling everything out of your shelves and sorting before you begin will give you a clean pallet to start with and you'll have a great display in no time!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Privacy Policy

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