the tornado lounge

tornado lounge cover Living in central Ohio, there is an occasional tornado. And more frequently than actual tornadoes are tornado warnings.

Things get all conflabbergested when there’s a tornado warning (for those of you not living in the Midwest, this means that a funnel cloud has occurred or is imminent based on radar) – the tornado sirens go on and the TV meteorologists get all serious, trying not to look as excited as they are about the impending weather phenomenon, and people are advised to take shelter.

Where? In your basement if you have one.

Well we have one. It’s unfinished and inglorious. Not exactly a place where people are dying to spend time.

But since we do head down there at least on several occasions each spring and summer for the inevitable tornado warning, I wanted to put together a little something that I call the Tornado Lounge. A mod little place where we can cool our heels while the weather does its thing.

Introducing the Tornado Lounge…

tornado loungeIt’s got a lofty, industrial mod feel with the exposed rafters and the concrete floor and walls. Perfect for the occasional hangout in the basement. (And don’t mind the folding table off to the right of the pic…it *is* my basement after all.)

Just about everything is from Ikeacouch, coffee table, side table, TV stand, and orange chair. The orange chair is actually from Ikea by way of my local town’s Facebook buy/sell housewares page, where I picked it up lightly used for a mere $15! If you’re not already a member of your local Facebook buy/sell, I suggest you check it out.

The coffee table and TV stand are older products from Ikea and no longer available. Ditto for the couch cover. Needless to say, several aspects of this project spent some important curing time. I mean, why should this project be different than any other of my projects? It wasn’t until I asked my gentleman caller for help putting together the TV stand that I was finally able to finish this project.

tornado lounge closeupThe paper lanterns and light kits are from World Market. And the dehumidifier is, well, a necessity.

I figured that the hanging cable wire and lamp kit wires were no big deal in this setting and just add to the industrial feel of the space.

tornado lounge paper lanternNow let me give you fair warning in the event that you’ve never hung a paper lantern before…you need to get rid of your need for perfection, because these damn things will not hang perfectly straight. Trust me. I tried. And tried. And tried again. So get comfortable with imperfection folks.

Not too bad for a Tornado Lounge!

Now off you go to design your own Tornado Lounge…don’t get caught without one in bad weather!

 

 

 

getting started

Kathleen front My first home

Your first place. Just those three small words evoke so many images for so many of us. A first apartment when you go out on your own. Or a hip bachelor pad. Or maybe the first home you bought with your new husband or wife. Or the first home you bought after your kids were born. Or the first place you lived after getting a divorce. Or maybe it’s just you and you finally screwed up the courage to realize that maybe it’s going to be just you for a while and it’s time to dive in and buy your own place.

No matter what your first place means to you, it’s a place of new beginnings. A fresh start. A place where you can express yourself and no one else gets a vote. Your home.

My first home was a wonderful place that I loved so very dearly. And still love it and miss it to this day.

38 Willowbrook Lane. There couldn’t be a sweeter sounding address.

And this home was close to perfect.

It seems like it was yesterday, but it was almost 17 years ago that this adorable little place was built. Hard to imagine how time flies and how much has changed since. My sweet little toddler daughter was a wild little three year old when we bought our first home.

Zoe at 38 WillowbrookMy daughter, then 3, exploring the house that would soon be home

Back then I was still married and we would drive by that cute little house every day as it was being built. Even though we drove by daily, I was so afraid to get my hopes up, fearing that somehow we wouldn’t get the house, wouldn’t qualify, or something would just fall through.

But we did get that house. And we moved there in 1997 and began to make it our own.

38 Willowbrook back yardThe fabulous little back yard at 38 Willowbrook

Before I lived in this house, I had no idea that I wanted to be an interior designer. Or even that I wanted to create. That lovely home nurtured in me something I never even knew existed. It made me realize the importance of creating beauty in the space in which we live.

Stained glass

Stained glass flowers that I painted

So I experimented there. Some experiments went better than others. Like the carnival-colored sheers in the family room – probably not my best work.

carnival

Carnival sheers…not so great!

But trying this and trying that led me to find my style and to nurture and grow it, leading me on a path of creativity that blossomed into a full-blown passion!

Family room

I grew into a classier design style in my first home

Not only did that first little home introduce me to my great love of decorating, but also to my love of whimsical decorative painting.

blueberries and fireflies

Blueberries and firefly evenings, painted on my kitchen wall

First with my daughter’s room as I decorated with flowers and gardens and whimsical fairies, but then when my son was born and we brought him home to this lovely little house, I painted his room with silly jungle animals, all painted in shades of blue. And let’s not forget their underwater bathroom, teeming will all manner of whimsical sea creatures!

undersea bathroom

The undersea bathroom…one of my favorite rooms ever

As the kids grew older, so did their rooms, and garden fairies and jungle animals were replaced by preteen girl funky stripes and a little boy’s cowboy room.

Pre-teen girl's room

My daughter’s room when she became a teenager

And before you know it, there came a time when we felt it was time to move on – to another state far away and soon to another life very different from the one we all shared in that quaint little house.

But it will live on fondly forever in our memories. Such is the power of your first place. A first home is the true meaning of getting started.

Twig over entertainment centerA birch branch from our old home hangs in our new home

another glorious chalkboard project

another glorious chalkboard projectRemember the 1990s?

I do, mostly because my kitchen table and chairs remind me of the 90s on a daily basis…

90s tableWith the table legs being a full-on tribute to the 90s…

90s table closeup
But the 90s table is all I have and nowhere in my mostly non-existent budget is there a line item for a new kitchen table, so I had to get creative.

You know how I love chalkboard paint, right? It’s already kind of a theme in my kitchen, since I painted my kitchen cabinets with chalkboard paint and did a section of the wall in chalkboard too. Why stop there?

I decided to paint my kitchen table in chalkboard paint.

Of course the peanut gallery (ie, my kids) thought it was a terrible idea. And of course I could care less about their opinion on such matters because I had a vision! So I set about painting it with chalkboard paint.

I started out with the legs and underside. I used an angled brush to get into the corners, nooks, and crannies, but mostly used a small foam roller designed for painting cabinets to get the smoothest application.

After just the first coat things were looking a little scary. Like maybe my kids were right and I had made a GIANT mistake…

First coat madness

  1. Chalkboard paint not looking like it’s going to cover or stick to the surface. (No I didn’t prime or sand…this is me we’re talking about!)
  2. Christmas tree not yet decorated, despite it being 3 weekends before Christmas. Yes, in fact, I was procrastinating on my decorating by painting my kitchen table. What of it?
  3. My son’s laundry. Just keeping it real, people.
  4. Dog photobombing my picture like it’s her job. And yes, she does have bows in her hair.

With regard to #1, what could I do, other than press onward. So I did…

First coats of paintI painted 5 coats on the legs and sides of the table. Not too bad – only took a couple of hours. Then I let it dry and flipped the table over to paint the top. The top got 6 coats. Sounds like a lot of time and effort, but since it was such a small area (not a complete wall or room), the actual painting time didn’t take long. And while each coat was drying, I just went on about my business. You know, avoiding decorating for Christmas and whatnot. I started the project at 2pm and put the last coat on around 11pm.

Here it is, beginning to come together and not looking so scary…

Beginning to come together

The most awesome finished product…Chalkboard table completeNot only does it look fabulous, but I’m thinking it looks a kind of Pottery Barn. All for the price of a can of chalkboard paint, which was about 10 bucks! Can’t beat that!

Plus the formerly 90s table legs got a new lease on life, with a line of chalk drawn in the inset…

Line of chalkI had thought about maybe doing gold leaf in the inset, but then realized that a chalk line would be the perfect casual addition to the table! Plus I can change the colors when I feel like it or erase it completely, depending on my mood.

Here’s my first scribbling on the new table…

Merry Christmas tableNow if you think that’s the end of the story, you clearly haven’t been reading here for too long.

It was only moments before I realized that with a 14-year-old and a 21-year-old, I probably made a very grave mistake in painting anything chalkboard. Let’s just say they added some “commentary” to my otherwise glorious chalkboard project…

Merry Christmas commentarySigh. And it only got worse from there. Most of it wouldn’t even be considered PG-13, so I won’t elaborate. But I’m sure you can use your imagination. At least the table looks great.

PROJECT UPDATE

And by project update, I mean project FAIL!

So this happened…

so this happenedIt started out with a couple of scratches in the paint, then a couple of areas that bubbled, followed by the kids and I having a paint peeling party one day at dinner.

Lesson learned: USE PRIMER!

So we continue to peel away portions. It’s far more rewarding than sanding. And I guess I will either a) leave it as it once it’s fully peeled, or b) eventually repaint, this time using a primer.

Why can’t anything ever be easy? Hahahaha! And that, my friends, is the true nature of DIY!

If you enjoyed this blog post, please share…

 

work in progress :: rose painting

WIP rose paintingSo, I’ve had a project on my mind for a while, curing. It’s to take this pic that I received as a thank you…

Thank you rose

…and paint it on a large canvas.

Oh, you didn’t know that I could paint? Neither did I, until I took an oil painting class about 10 years ago. In fact, the teacher was visibly irritated with me because she thought that I had certainly painted before, which I had not. Which is weird, because shouldn’t one be happy to discover someone with talent? Well, whatever. She has since passed away, so I’ll not speak ill of the dead, lest they haunt me or something.

So anyway, I discovered that I can take a picture of something, like this orange rose, and paint it. If I’d been born in another place and time, I probably could have made a fortune as a forger, but with science and all, that’s just another dashed hope.

But I digress…back to my work in progress.

After caffeinating excessively in an attempt to inspire myself to do yardwork – a successful venture, I might add – I decided that it was high time to begin this painting project. I had already purchased a large canvas (36″ x 36″) several months ago in anticipation of curing for a while and eventually beginning this project.

First step was to add some picture hanging wire to the back. This time there were no injuries, like last time when I was contemplating a tetanus shot.

Next step was to do some sketching, which you can sort of see here…

Work in progress rose paintingThe painting will hang on my giant one and a half story stair wall, as you can see it hanging here as a work in progress…

Stair wallIt will have to hang there to dry as well, since a) I don’t have a big, giant easel, and b) I have a cat who will walk on my painting and ruin my life…

My cat who will walk on drying paintHopefully having a blank painting on a main wall in my house will inspire me to do more painting and less curing!

I will post updates throughout the painting process, so you can see my work in progress.

 

when things get boring in the bedroom

when things get boring in the bedroom

Sometimes things get boring in the bedroom. Stale. Just the same old thing, day after day, week after week, month after month. A sense of ennui sets in and all you can think about is how something has to change. You just can’t continue the way things are.

No, I don’t mean that has gotten boring! I mean your decor has. Geez, you people always have your minds in the gutter!

Well, when things have gotten dull, spice it up! Consider it a marriage encounter for your decor!

Recently I was feeling bored (with my decor) and so I decided to spruce things up a bit. As always, I’m on a tight budget, so it included a combination of rearranging some of what I already have, using some things that have been curing for years, and adding a little bit of new to the mix.

In general, I’m moving from a more traditional look to a more eclectic look – vintage and shabby chic marry mod. OK, so that’s more of a threesome than a traditional marriage, but when we’re decorating we don’t always need to follow societal norms!

Let’s start with the armoire. Here’s the before pic, with fake plants that look just fine, but no doubt more in the traditional vein…

Armoire beforeGoodbye fake plants, hello gold dress form trussed in faerie lights!

Armoire after with lightsThe faerie lights were $11.99 plus shipping. Well worth the expense. They’re battery operated, so there are no pesky wires running over the side of the armoire. Plus they run on a timer, so I can turn them on and six hours later they go off automatically. Perfect for when you need to spice things up with some ambiance!

Here’s how it looks during the day with the lights off…

Armoire after in daylightYou will notice that the dress form is off center, and there’s a lot of empty, open space on the top of the armoire. I’m really trying to get OK with imperfection. That includes getting comfortable with negative space and off-center presentation. I’ve actually grown to love the oddness of it all…it really highlights the dress form as the featured element.

Speaking of the dress form, this beauty has been curing for years! I purchased her for $1.25 at a local high school rummage sale. Been waiting to find the perfect place for her. Think I’ve found it!

Moving on…

Let’s take a look at one of my favorite possessions. A Picasso print of A Mother and Child and Four Studies of Her Right Hand. This was my grandmother’s print and I always loved it in her home from the time I was a kid. I’ve had it in my bedroom since I got it, but thought it needed to be featured a little more prominently, so I added some black and white polka dotted washi tape to frame it out…

Picasso print 1I just eyeballed the tape placement, because that’s what I do, but you could always be more precise and measure it out like a normal human.

(If you’re wondering why I have such weird angles with the wall hangings, it’s because I get a lot of light in this room so the angle is the only way to avoid glare in the pic. Carry on…)

Another angle…

Picasso printI love, love, love how this looks! It really brings out the tiny, black rim on the frame, as well as the black in the sketch. Plus the washi tape was a steal – I got 3 rolls for $2.99 at Michaels. More to come later with one of the other rolls of tape.

By the way, polka dots are my fave. Especially black and white polka dots. So this just makes me happy every single day when I see it! Here’s a close-up so you can better see the polka dots (as well as the aforementioned glare)…

Picasso print 2Enough about that. On to the one splurge.

Before the splurge, there was an angel print, accompanied by a broken vintage bracelet

Angel print with braceletThe splurge was spending $40 on a custom-printed Lumineers poster on Etsy

Lumineers 2I love the Lumineers and I superlove the poster art! The perfect mod piece to start the sexy love affair with vintage and shabby chic.

Sadly, I won’t be sharing the artist info here, because it took over a month and opening a case on Etsy to finally get the seller to ship, despite having paid. But at least I finally received it and I’m in love!

I tossed it into a basic poster frame and voila! Here it is from another wacky angle…

Lumineers 1And you can see the vintage bracelet remained.

To the left of my bed I tightened up the placement of the pieces that were already hanging on that wall, to give them more of a vignette feel…

frame artAnd on the right side of my bed I added a gorgeous mermaid print I bought a while back on Etsy from artist Amy Huddleston. (You know the drill…it was curing for a while.) I placed it in a mod white frame, which really brought an eclectic feel to the grouping. Talk about mod and vintage and shabby chic!

eclectic art grouping 3The blues and aquas and in mermaid print bring out the blue in the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer. Which, by the way, I found on the back of a Reader’s Digest magazine and decoupaged to a piece of painted wood.

But the white frame seemed too stark. Something was still missing…know what I mean?

eclectic art grouping 2Oh yeah. Washi tape, part deux.

eclectic art group with washi tapeI added some black and white chevron washi tape – part of my $2.99 three-pack – and it did the trick! Toned down the starkness of the white and tied it to the black in the other two pieces. Here’s a close-up…

eclectic art with washi tapeTaping perfection. Just eyeballed this as well. You could do the same, or maybe even be more precise and measure.

Although those are all awesome, we’re still not finished.

Previously, I had this angel art all lined up in a row…

Angel art beforeVery pristine and orderly, but where’s the flair?

I’ll tell you where the flair is…right here…

angel art groupingI mixed those bad boys up for a touch of the unexpected! We can’t be angelic and perfect all the time, especially when things have gotten boring in the bedroom!

Here’s where they are in the room…

angel artAnd finally, I dug deep into the world of curing and found these vintage mailbox doors that I purchased on eBay approximately 10 years ago.

mailboxes as artI figured that it was time to take the focus off the alarm system and the light switch – boring! – and add something interesting to this spot!

Now mind you, I did slice my finger open adding picture hanging wire to the back of these and heavily debated whether I needed a tetanus shot – I didn’t end up getting one and fortunately lockjaw has not set in – but they were certainly worth the effort!

mailboxes as art 2They just look so cool all lined up and are another metallic element, adding to the mixed metals in the room, accents of silver and gold and bronze.

A  whole new fun, updated bedroom for less than $100. Cheaper than sexy lingerie and a night out on the town! Who’s bored now?

Take my advice…don’t be afraid to mix it up in the bedroom!

little things :: closet edition

I decided to have a little fun in the closet…man, your mind is in the gutter! I mean the place where I store my clothes!

I found these awesome, vintage-look galvanized metal letters at Michaels. I especially fell in love the the letter “F” since it’s so thick and chunky and stylized. So I had to buy the “F”! And what word could I spell with the letter “F” other than “FUN”? (Well, there is one other word I could think of, but I was trying to come up with words that wouldn’t have anyone calling children’s protective services on me…)

So here it is…FUN in the closet!

Fun in the Closet 3aIt’s kind of perfect, since it’s someplace I visit every morning and now I have a friendly reminder to have FUN every day!

A view of FUN with my laundry basket…

Fun in the Closet 2aAs I’m walking into the closet…

Fun in the Closet 1aSome people might not even consider decorating their closet, but I say, why not have some fun in the closet? ;)

 

organic mod kitchen update

A while back I did a little kitchen update but didn’t get around to sharing it here. So it in the spirit of better late than never, I introduce you to my organic mod kitchen update.

My house is kind of traditional, especially considering the kitchen cabinets. I always like to let the house speak to me, rather than forcing a certain style of decor. But I decided to move out of my “funky chicken” phase and into my new phase in which I combine modern, more organic elements with the more traditional style of the house.

But enough yammering on about it…here are the pics!

Let’s start with the simple things…my new napkin holder…

IMG_0433aYes, indeed, you are correct. It is a rock.

Part of what I was going for was bringing in some organic elements – things from nature. What says nature more than a rock? That’s right. Nothing. So a rock it is. Plus it has some sentimental value. It’s a rock that my son found in our yard when he was little and he gave it to me as a gift. Now it has a purpose in our home. And the price was right. Free.

Next I swapped out a chicken lamp – you know, part of the funky chicken phase – to a cool, glass lamp.

Here’s the chicken…

IMG_0428aKind of traditional. A look I’m moving away from.

The new glass lamp…

IMG_0436aIt’s a gorgeous green glass. I have it on a timer, so I never have to mess with it.

To the left of the lamp is the phone and answering machine, along with some funky chicken art covering the phone jack.

IMG_1069bI swapped out the chickart for an amazing art piece of my own making, designed by framing a dish towel. Oh, but not just any dish towel…

IMG_1084bThis amazing dish towel says:

you drink too much. you cuss too much. you have questionable morals. you’re everything i ever wanted in a friend.

The moment I saw this dish towel, I bought one for myself and my best friend! Because it just says it all.

Of course, framing a dish towel is not as simple as one might think. I imagined (in my mind where all projects work perfectly) that I would just lay the towel in this awesome wood and metal frame from Target and that I’d just fold the rest of the towel and tuck it inside the back of the frame. All 24 inches of fabric. Um yeah, that didn’t work out. So I had to cut down the towel and tape it down on the cardboard insert. Me telling this story now makes it sound as if it took about 5 minutes. Trust me…it didn’t. Probably took an hour to get the whole thing worked out to picture hanging perfection. But the time spent was worth it, because it is fun and awesome!

IMG_1083bAnd then there’s my pink fruit tray. Talk about adding a touch of mod! Got this as part of a food gift basket a couple of years ago.

IMG_0434aPlease excuse the fact that there’s hardly any fruit there. Let’s just pretend that we ate it.

Well, if you thought that those were the only incidents of funky chickens in my pre-makeover kitchen, you’d be mistaken. There was also this tray, which was covering an electrical outlet…

IMG_1063aI found this amazing cheese cutting board, also from Target, that I decided I wanted to hang on the wall because it just shouted organic mod to me.IMG_1073aThe wood grain called my name, lulled me into a trance, and made me pick it up and carry it to the cash register.

This is a perfect example of decorating with things that you love and that are beautiful and using them in ways other than they were originally intended. And also a way to decorate on the cheap. I can’t recall the exact price, but I’m thinking it was in the $12.99-$14.99 range.

It was flat on the back as well as the front, so I figured I would hang it with Command picture hanging strips. The chicken tray was hung this way as well. In fact, I had attached it to the outlet cover and thought I would do the same with the cheese board. But the cheese board was heavier than the tray and therefore wasn’t as stable. Plus the tray back was set in, so there was an allowance for the outlet cover, whereas there wasn’t with the cheese board, making it stick out too far, as well as being wobbly. Then this happened…

IMG_1068aYeah, so the outlet cover broke right off the wall. Guess the solid wood cheese board was too heavy for this approach. Fortunately, I have a stash of outlet covers in the basement and then I came up with this brilliant idea…

IMG_1075aI nailed paint stirring sticks to the wall, which were just about flush with the outlet cover. Yes, necessity is indeed the fricking mother of invention!

Then I attached the command strips to the paint sticks and voila!

IMG_1076aThe perfect way to hang the cheese board and cover the outlet!

IMG_1077aAh, the cleverness of me! Doesn’t that look fab?

 

road trip :: alexander hotel indianapolis

This past week I traveled to Indianapolis for work and had the opportunity to stay at the very cool and very mod Alexander Hotel. It was so hip, the moment I opened my hotel room door, rather than doing my usual paranoid routine of checking in the closet, shower, and under the bed for a murderer lying in wait, I started a photo shoot. The room was so awesome, I didn’t even remember to lock my door!

The very welcoming word search art…

Word search

Drawing me in was this fabulous runner made with super colorful carpet tiles…

RugSeriously, any one of us could make one of these at home with Flor carpet tiles.

More fab art…

Water finds its own levelA mod bed set-up…

BedAnd a funky chair and lamp by the window…

Chair and lampAnd you can see a bit of the flooring…woodgrain ceramic tiles. Love!

Even the note paper was artsy!

Inspirational notesAnd the naughty little doorhanger…front…

Door hanger 2And back…

Door hanger 1

Then there was the dream house bathroom…

bathroom lightsA perfectly gorgeous sink…

bathroom sinkWonderful wallpaper, ever-so-slighty pearlescent…

bathroom wallpaperAnd then the shower. Ah yes, the perfect shower. Shower perfection. Dream house quality.

ShowerSo overall, a wonderfully designed hotel room. Mod perfection. My only complaint, if I had one, would be that the room was a little cold. Not temperature cold. The coziness factor. Not warm and fuzzy enough for me.

But it wasn’t only the room that was great. The whole joint was fun and funky.

Upon walking in, these amazing glass globe lights were hanging in the lobby…

Glass lights This was a giant hanging piece of metal art by the elevator. Silver script writing. Shocking orange wall behind it.

Elevator artCheck out this cool panel and geometric wallpaper in the hallway…

Wood panelAnd if that wasn’t enough, how about this awesome wall decal?

Hallway wall Another angle with my favorite colors – black and white!

Wall decal 2Well, that concludes today’s road trip. Believe it or not, I wasn’t even paid for this. Probably should have been!

 

all points bulletin [board]

IMG_1161bOne of the great features of my son’s angsty teen boy bedroom update was the floor to ceiling bulletin board. Remember?

bulletin board 1Cool, huh?

Yeah.

So this happened…

IMG_1159aNot cool.

All points of the bulletin board fell off the wall. Every. single. cork. tile.

The double-sided tape that came with the tiles came was seriously irrelevant.

Now to be honest with you – and you know I always am – I vaguely recall reading somewhere on the internets that some blogger had experienced a similar problem. But as is often the case, I don’t believe that such things can happen to me. Until they do.

But by that point, I had forgotten where I read about the irrelevant double-sided tape and cork tile dilemma, so I had to come up with a solution of my own.

So of course I let the problem cure for a bit to allow me to come up with the most creative option.

Problem solved! With these…

IMG_1160aSome sort of washers and galvanized roofing nails…

IMG_1165aAs always, it was an entertaining Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus conversation with the guy helping me at Home Depot, when I tried to explain my creative inspiration and that I needed silver-colored nails with a big head and large washers with a small hole so that the nail head couldn’t fit through. Complete with hand gestures that could have been mistaken for a mild form of sexual harassment.

After looking at me like I just offered him a hit on my crack pipe, he led me to something I didn’t need in the nail department and something else I didn’t need in the washer section, at which point I pretended that was exactly what I needed so that he would move along, then I ferreted out what I really needed on my own.

But I digress…back to the project…

Starting at the ceiling, I placed the tile back on the irrelevant double-sided tape – I left it up as a guide, plus it acts as a spacer between the tile and the wall, so that hopefully the push pins don’t puncture the drywall.

Then I eyeballed the placement (because that’s what I do – why measure when you can eyeball?) and tapped the nail through the washer. Lather, rinse, repeat, and voila! Project salvaged and with an industrial chic flair!

IMG_1163aLooks better than it did before! (And if you look carefully, you can see a reflection of my girlish figure in the poster to the right of the bulletin board.)

IMG_1161aSuccess! And super stylish to boot!

Here’s a close-up…

IMG_1162aA super-fun save for what could have been a massive project fail!