Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Weekend: Brooklyn Bargains

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend!  Unlike so many New Yorkers who take any opportunity to get out of the city, we stayed in Brooklyn and are glad we did. With fewer people here we had less competition and were able to find some great deals for our apartments.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I despised my TV stand.  I meant it.  I don't have a great picture of it, but it was black, rickety, and let ALL the cords show.

I've wanted to replace it for awhile now, but have had a couple challenges: 1) because I always find deals, Devin does not understand how expensive furniture actually is (I got a past TV stand for $30, so that's what he thinks we should spend); 2) the TV stand would have to be at least as wide as our huge TV, but not very deep so that there is enough room to walk between it and the chair; and 3) most TV stands are hideously ugly.  Imagine my pleasant surprise when I walked into Housing Works and saw the perfect solution!

Housing Works is an amazing non-profit that works to fight homelessness and HIV/AIDS.  One of the ways they do this is through thrift shops.  Devin and I donated a bunch of our stuff when we downsized into this apartment and we like to stop by and see what new things they have when we're in the area.  This time, they had exactly what we were looking for:

It's actually a sofa table, which means that it's not very deep, and it's wide enough and sturdy, unlike our old one.  It's not the most interesting piece of furniture we've ever purchased, but at $95 we think it was a steal.  It's in place in our living room but I haven't gotten baskets for it yet.  I'll post pictures when I do.  

In other news, Devin has never been so excited about home furnishings - he won't stop talking about this thing.  Apparently when you set a 46" flat screen on top of anything, husbands are suddenly intrigued.  I'm thinking about setting a flat screen on top of this chair (that I would kill to have in my living room) and seeing what happens. 

After the TV stand, you would think that my bargain-hunting luck would have been over for the weekend, but you would be wrong.  As Devin, Bruce, and I were taking a walk yesterday, I saw the following pile of seemingly worthless junk:

Brooklyn is famous for its stoop sales; this sad group of items apparently didn't deserve a chance at a sale or a place on the stoop.  Despite Bruce's interest (see bottom right corner), we initially just walked by.  The green lamp had caught my eye, though, so we decided that if it was still there on our way home we'd pick it up. Lucky for my nursery, there it was.  It was disgustingly dirty, but nothing a little Basic H couldn't handle.

He's a good sport.  After some TLC, the lamp looks new and is in great shape.  It needs a new shade but is going to make a great addition to our nursery!  

More pictures to come once the nursery is finished.  I imagine the lamp looking something like this once it's all spruced up and mixed with other accessories:

I know it's kind of hard to see the lamp in that picture so, just for fun, some other green lamp inspiration:

Which look do you like the best?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

In The Works

Sometimes, when you're a big deal, you commission someone to create a painting for you.

And yes, you're still a big deal even if that person is your sister and the painting is free.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Julie's Master Bedroom: Before

Aside from our guest bedroom, our master bedroom is the most neglected room in our house.  We’ve bought a few great items for the room, but nothing has ever pulled the room together. Over the next few weeks, we’ll hopefully update the room and make it somewhere we actually want to spend time. Right now, our room looks like this:

We really need curtains, art on the walls, and…a bigger bed.  That’s right, my husband and I are both really tall and we are sharing an itty, bitty bed.  When I finally convinced him that we needed a king sized bed, I started to think about new bedding and a new headboard or bed frame.  Even though I’ve loved the shape and look of our Nate Berkus Wrap Headboard, it is a bit wobbly.  The wobbling has gotten so bad that we’ve resorted to stuffing my husband’s t-shirts behind the bed when we sleep so we don't wake up when the other rolls over.  In actuality, this set-up just makes us look like complete creep shows.  

So, this time around we’ll be going with an entire bed frame.  I think we’ve finally decided on the one we love most…Pottery Barn’s Raleigh upholstered bed.

This picture was my inspiration for bedding in our room.  Our walls are a light blue/gray color and I love the pop of red that the folded duvet brings to this space.

The bedding we have now is Rosette bedding from Anthropologie and was my first departure from all-white bedding.  While this bedding is fun (and SO comfy), I’m ready to go back to classic white.  In my dreams, I have Matouk bedding.  Just look at this gorgeousness:

Instead, we’ll be going with something simple (and by simple I mean cheaper)-- possibly with our monogram, like this bedding from Lands' End (it will be all-white/neutral, unlike this picture):

While I’d love the white linens to have a little pop of color, we’ll get color through throw pillows instead.  That way, when my ADD starts acting up, I can just swap out the pillows.  I bought this long bolster pillow from Pottery Barn on sale for $11.99 (now sold out). 

I love the classic Ikat print and think it will look great with the blue-grays we have throughout our room, like in this rug from Overstock:

I can't wait to give this room some love and attention.  It really is embarrassing that I have spent more time thinking about our dining room than I have the one space that is supposed to be our escape at the end of our hectic days.  What about you...is your master bedroom your most neglected space?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gender-Neutral Baby Prep

When I got pregnant, Devin and I were unsure about whether we wanted to find out the baby’s sex.  Dev was leaning toward keeping it a surprise and, after slight pressure from two of my best friends (Marianne and Lin, I'm looking at you), I thought: why not?  Although I almost cracked at our 20-week ultrasound, we still don’t know if Baby G is a he or a she.  And we’ve had so much fun keeping everyone guessing! 

The biggest problem with not finding out the sex is that I hate hate hate the typical gender-neutral options for clothes and decorating.  Luckily, JCrew came out with the cutest (and softest!) onesies, which at least gave me something for Baby G to wear home from the hospital. 

I wanted to be able to “girl” it up a little, just in case, so I also got this baby beanie from Etsy with a removable flower.  It’s 100% cotton and so well made…Charmaine at Kookstickers did an amazing job.

For the nursery, I wanted to stay away from the awful yellow/green color combo that is usually the fate of gender-neutral baby spaces. Instead, I was inspired by the design of C. Wonder, a store in SoHo that Julie and I LOVE.  The use of navy and lime green, bold pattern, and bright accents seemed like the perfect way to go gender-neutral without going design-neutral.

My plan is to add coral accents if it’s a girl and orange accents if it’s a boy.  For now, I’ve stuck to navy, lime, white, and gold.  I've tried to mix masculine and feminine elements, rather than staying away from either extreme.  Using Olioboard, Julie and I put together these inspiration boards, which start from the same basic pieces but then add gendered accessories:  

I can't wait to accessorize the room!  Pictures are on the way soon.  Spoiler alert: Gilbert Gottfried is involved in the making of this nursery. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Weekend: Flea Market Finds

One of our favorite warm weather activities is to check out local flea markets for any furniture or other home goodies.  While it's great that flea markets offer us the chance to buy these things at lower prices...we don't exactly have enough space for all the things we'd love to take home with us.  These are some of the pieces we saw this weekend that got our heart rates up, but that we had to leave behind.

This pink couch was our absolute favorite piece of the day.  It had a second piece, which made it more of a sectional, but didn't get a picture of it because two people were sitting on it.  We gave them the stink eye but they didn't move.

Here's a close-up of the yummy fabric:

Off the bat, a pink couch might seem like something that only belongs in an eclectic space, but we love the unexpected pop of color that it could lend to a more traditional space.

This gold mirror was only $22!  It could use a touch up with some gold paint or spray paint, and would would look amazing over a bathroom vanity.

These vintage nightstands had great shape and leather on top.  We hope that whoever bought them heard them calling out for creamy white paint and gold hardware.

This peach, tufted chair almost came home with me.  I think it would have been great in our master bedroom, but the husband was not a huge fan.  Not gonna lie, at only $85 (before batting my lashes) and with the upholstery in perfect condition, leaving this one behind was a little traumatic.

We thought this copper tub would look fabulous as a storage container for baby toys, cozy blankets, magazines, fire wood, etc.  It needed a good polish, but at only $40 it was quite the steal.

We try to only buy pieces that we really need, but occasionally furniture hoarding is necessary.  It just is.  I ended up bringing home a beautiful, serpentine chest from the 1920s.  It's got lovely detail and is in really great shape.  For now, it will be used by our guests but (full disclosure) I have changing table plans for it in the future.  As I said, furniture hoarding is sometimes necessary.  Like when you're not pregnant but you know that, whenever you are, you don't want an ugly changing table.

Because Sarah is pregnant and I'm weak, our husbands schlepped it home for us.  With the NBA Finals on, it was exactly what they wanted to do with their weekend.  You're welcome.

Right now, the dresser is waiting on a  good clean.  Pictures to come!

We always seem to have luck at the flea market, although we tend to find a lot of things we aren't currently looking for.  All in all, flea markets are great places to find some fabulous pieces (for less) that we can customize for our individual spaces.  We think they're especially great for apartment dwellers who don't want to make a huge monetary commitment but still want style.

Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Build a Library Baby Shower

For those who don't know, Sarah is expecting her first baby at the end of this month.  Our aunts hosted a shower for Sarah in Chicago, for all of our family and friends back home, but I wanted to host one for her in New York, as well.

I started the planning process by figuring out a theme for the shower.  I wanted something that I could base all of the decor around.  Because Sarah and Devin are not finding out the gender of Baby G (as we affectionately call him/her), I had to get creative.  Baby Shower Land is chock-full of the tackiest baby shower ideas ever, in case you were wondering.  All of the themes and games really made me cringe (the thought of adults melting candies into diapers to try to guess the flavor almost pushes me. over. the edge.)

One of my fondest childhood memories, that I know I share with Sarah and our brother, is reading children's books together and with our parents.  All that reading must have paid off, because Sarah is now a Ph.D. in English Literature. Start early, people.  I decided on a Build a Library theme for the shower, so that Baby G could be stocked with some children's lit classics from Day 1.

After deciding on the theme, I started a hunt for cute invitations.   I knew that I wanted an invitation that looked like a library card, and was ecstatic to find the perfect design. Jen from lilmoptop on Etsy was great to work with and created the CUTEST invitations for the shower.  She also created bookplates for each guest to place on the inside cover of the book they brought.  At the shower, it was so fun to see all the books that people chose.

I wanted to pull the orange from the invitations into the rest of the decor for the shower.  I found the idea for a book banner from this Martha Stewart baby shower post.  Oh, Martha.  You're too good.  Using different colors of orange scrapbooking paper and some pages torn from college textbooks, I made the banner.  I attached the books using clothespins and glued on paper stars.

Out of the same paper, I made star cupcake toppers.  Super easy to make-- I just punched stars out of the craft paper and glued them on either side of a toothpick.  

I had a picture of baby Sarah surrounded by books blown up by a local print shop.  I glued it onto foam board, and then used clothespins to clip other pictures of baby Sarah and books around the edge.  This I displayed on the center of the dessert/book table.  Sugar cookie favors shaped like onesies (in various orange patterns) were made by a friend's amazingly talented mom.

All of the shower festivities took place in our dining room.  I converted the dresser/buffet into a drink stand.  Paper straws in mason jars are from Sip Sticks and orange drinks are our very favorite Izze's.  

We spent most of the shower drinking mimosas and inhaling cupcakes, but also decorated onesies for little Baby G.  The results ranged from puffy-painted gold chains to bow ties and are SUPER cute.  Just doing our part to ensure that Baby G is always effortlessly styled.

All in all, it was a great day and a great way to celebrate Sarah and Baby G!


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