Friday, February 29, 2008

Day 243: more coffee table love

At The Cross.

Day 243's crush

For no reason at all yesterday, I was poking around e-bay looking at dining chairs (and no, I don't have a dining table). I would die for an antique set of Louis XVI-style chairs, but I'm wondering if a set of Chinese Chippendale chairs would be a better fit for our house (not these, Wes, I realize they are more than we'll be spending any time soon!).

Which brought me to e-bay. There were none. So I did the next logical thing: I Googled them. And who do I see but the fabulous and wonderful Memphis designer Biggs Powell! He just put together a gorgeous "man bath" for the remodeling section of Southern Accents, and I've had a slight crush on him since. I knew he had a reproduction furniture line, but I didn't know he sold antiques, too. Be still my heart.

First, there's the dream dining chair set:

Oh look, he has round ones too.

And here's the prettiest little coffee table ever! Surprise, surprise, it's way out of the budget:

Look at this dreamy little light fixture, how pretty would she be in a big, fancy bath?!

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are mirrors galore, light fixtures and lamps of every imaginable style, chairs all shapes ... I could go on. If you've got serious cash to blow, check him out.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Day 242's adoption

It’s official. We are getting a puppy. After my last post about getting a dog, Jennifer and I talked and we decided that right now it probably wouldn’t be best to pay $750 - $1000 on a pure bred Whippet so we opted to go the route of rescue adoption. We went to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society with some friends and found some great dogs, but none that we really HAD to have. The adoption fee was $150 for most of the dogs, which seemed a little ridiculous to me, but the place was nice and they're obviously using the money well because they have a great turnover rate. We were also moving in a few days and having a dog would have made things pretty difficult.

I was talking with the co-ops in the office across the hall about getting a dog, and one of them mentioned that she had a friend at Miss. State who bought a dog without her mom knowing and has to give it away. I told her to get me some info, and the girl sent me an email that night. Just looking at the pictures on Barney the Blackberry I knew this was possibly the cutest dog ever. She's a 10-week-old Australian Shepherd. And get this, she's giving me the dog, the vaccination records, bowls, leash, collar, food, and the crate for $75. I emailed her back and told her to let me talk it over with Jennifer and to not sell it until I had given her an answer. Yesterday Jennifer gave me the go-ahead (Jennifer was very awesome during the discussions and I think she's 100% on board with it). The other Miss. State co-op is going to Starkville this weekend and he’s bringing her home for me on Sunday.

Here’s the deal though. The dog’s name is Ava or Eva -- I don’t even know because I’m not a fan. No offense to anyone named Ava that’s reading this, but I just don’t like it for my dog. I’m thinking of going with Maddie, which will be short for Madison. I'll probably call her Mad Dog or Madison when I'm mad at her. Pictures are below and more posts on life with Maddie will follow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Day 241's progress

We're finally making some progress in the house! The new couch came yesterday, so we were both motivated to get going on the living room. Now with one room in order (though not completely finished), the rest of the house doesn't seem as daunting. We also grounded and replaced an outlet in the office all by ourselves! It was a proud moment, and hopefully not our last renovation success.

This Ashley Whittaker-designed room (featured in House Beautiful) is the inspiration for our's, and so far we're on the right track, I think. Our new sofa is upholstered in brown suede-velvet and it looks even better than I remembered. You already know I successfully scored a seagrass rug, and my mom gave me pale minty (but not in a bad way) green silk curtains for my birthday. They're almost ten inches too long, so I'm hoping to be able to reuse some of the extra fabric somewhere after we hem them (er, after I get them hemmed -- not yet handy on a sewing machine, unfortunately).

Last night I moved the green ceramic lamps that were on our bedside tables to the little tables beside the sofa and they look great! I love the way they looked in the bedroom too, so I'm a little sad to see them go. I think it's just that I'm obsessed with the lamps, and I want them in every room. Since they were $17 a pop at K-Mart, that's not totally out of the question!

I hate the way our camera washes everything out. I promise the lamp is green. At least the rug looks good!

To go above the couch, we have a set of four architectural prints we bought on our honeymoon in Charleston. They need to be framed, but I can't decide if I want simple wood frames, or something a little prettier, like a thin metallic frame.

Our little knock-off Parsons-style coffee tables look pretty whimpy next to the new, taller couch, so a new one is on the ever-growing list of furniture we'd like. With a heavy, dark couch, I think we need one that will lighten things up a bit. I'd love an antique metal and glass one, but I doubt it's in the budget. I like the legs on this one, but the shape of this one is probably better for the space. I like that finish, too. This one is more-budget friendly, but it's my least favorite of the three. Anyone know a good source for similar tables?

This side of the room is coming along nicely! The other side is a different story. More on it later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 240's fun story

My faith in humanity was restored this weekend. Not only did we have several generous friends and family members totally sacrifice their weeekend to help us move, but I experienced a little home-decor kindness from a complete stranger.

After we unloaded everything into the house and ate lunch, the fellas headed to Home Depot for supplies, and my mom and I headed out to buy a rug for the living room. Wes and I spotted an 8x10 basketweave seagrass rug at HomeGoods the week before for $150, and decided that we needed it only after we left the store. A quick internet search revealed how great of a deal it was (the same rug is going for about $400 elsewhere!), so I was anxious to get over there and bring it home to mama.

So mom and I drive to the other end of town for this rug, and when we arrive at HomeGoods, we decide that we should take a look at what else is in the store while we're there. Mom finds a pretty hem-stitch tablecloth and matching napkins and I find some serveware that I've been promising to buy her for her birthday. So far, the trip is a complete success.

As we walk up to the wall of rugs, we spot it. The rugs are hanging on rods from the ceiling, and it was like the Red Sea parted and my rug is hanging front and center in all its discounted glory. I'm elated that it's still there, until we find out why my rug is out in the open. Literally, just as we're walking up, we hear a woman say, "well, for $150, I'll take it." Crap. "This rug?" we ask the salesman as he removes the price tag from it. Yes, this rug. We ask if he has another. He might, so the woman leaves to find the cart full of items she has apparently left somewhere in the store and the salesman heads to the back to check for another rug. Twenty minutes later, he drags out a rug that isn't the same, and isn't the right size. Darn.

At this point, I am much more devasted than I ever thought I could be about a stupid rug. Yes, seagrass is the easy and obvious choice, but it was just so ... well, easy and obvious. And CHEAP. The deal cannot be beat and I'm already dreading spending more money. We were in the store for at least 30 minutes before we walked over to the rugs, so this is clearly our fault. If we had just stuck to the plan, we would already be on the way home with the rug safely in the car.

Mom and I are thinking the same thing. This woman clearly doesn't need the rug like I do. We watch as she fills out an application for a HomeGoods credit card (really?!) to save 10 percent on her purchase as we formulate our plan. We're not going home empty handed.

We decide to approach her. Okay, to be fair, Mom decides to approach her. "What can she say? No?" Mom asks. This is way out of my comfort zone, but Mom's right, and I really, really want that rug. So we scour the store, and there she is on the towel aisle, with a cart full of other items.

"Excuse me," says Mom. "Are you the woman buying that seagrass rug?" She looks slightly frightened; she obviously didn't see us walk up behind her and the salesman 30 minutes ago. So we plead our case about me being a newlywed and having just moved into our first house and driving all the way down here from Vestavia just for this very rug. I can see she's sympathizing, but I didn't really expect her to actually volunteer to give the rug over, but she does. It's a HomeGoods miracle! We act surprised and thank her profusely and make small talk until she hands over the price tag. And no, she didn't need the rug, but decided she could use it somewhere since it was so cheap.

I still can't believe she actually gave it up, and I'm really not sure what I would have done had the tables been turned, but I did learn a valuable lesson: it never hurts to ask.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Day 239: adventures in homeowning, part I

Well, we did it. We successfully purchased and moved into our first house! The whole process happened much more quickly and easily than either of us anticipated, so it's no wonder that the "adventures" began our first day in the house, and continued through the weekend.

First, let me mention that the house has been used as a rental property for several years and was empty when we bought it. The owner sold it to us "as is," with a small stipend for the things that the home inspector flagged (dishwasher that doesn't drain and a broken knob on the range).

As we were moving in, we noticed that the toilet in the hall bath wasn't flushing properly. So we bought a plunger, and thought it was remedied. It wasn't. Okay. We decide to not use that toilet, so now we're down to the sink and shower in the hall bath, and the toilet in the master bath. It's kind of confusing, so Wes taped off the unusable fixtures with duct tape. Resolved, for now.

The dishwasher was not a surprise, but it was a surprise when the home warranty folks refused to come out to repair it per our arrangement with the previous owner. Status: unresolved.

After all of our wonderful helpers and visiting friends finally left us alone last night, we decided to get down to the business of unpacking and restoring order. The house had other plans. Halfway into a load of laundry, we find a puddle of soapy water spanning the width of the kitchen. Ahhhhh. I frantically search for the bag of old towels as Wes ends the wash cycle and pulls the machine out from the wall. Several minutes under the house and one call to his handy-man father later, and it's decided that part of the pipe has corroded from months of not being used and it all must be replaced with new PVC. Fine.

So now we have a load of clothes sitting in a washing machine that's half-full of water and several sopping-wet bath towels. Sweet, ingenious Wes pulls the drain tube out of the wall and sends it out the window next to the washer to drain into the carport. It was pretty ghetto, but at least we didn't wake up to mildewy clothes and towels.

Somewhere in this process, the corner of the metal screen door in the kitchen catches the back of Wes' leg and gouges a hole the size of a penny. It was gross, and it looked like it really, really hurt. Just as we think we're finally ready to hit the hay, he realizes he has bled all over our white sheets. Two Band-Aids were obviously not enough! Into the washer go the sheets, while we wait out the cycle (so we can close the window when it finished) with a glass of wine on the couch and watch the end of of "There's Something About Mary."

Despite it all, we're completely thrilled about the house. For now, these kinds of things are actually kind of fun, I just hope they don't become a frequent occurrence!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day 235's lazy post

Things are hectic, but I still need something pretty (and neatly unpacked and organized) to look at. I thought you might too. Enjoy Martha's pretty Cantitoe kitchen.

I only like orange juice when it's mixed with Champagne and called a Mimosa, but suddenly I have the urge to pour myself a glass -- just to look at.

I'm pretty sure her coffee station has more dishes than my entire kitchen.

Clean, calm kitchen bliss. Yes, please.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Day 233's famous book

While flipping through the March issue of Domino last night (should have been packing ...), I made an exciting discovery! I actually own something that is on the cover! So thank you, Wes, for giving me the book Chairs: A History for Christmas, even though you thought it was dumb. Look closely, it's on the bottom left.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Day 232's warning

I'm starting a new job this week while packing our apartment for the weekend's big move. It's pretty intense. Apologies in advance for light posting ...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Day 228's wish

Friends, I have a secret to share. It may surprise you -- it surprised me. The truth is, I kind of like Valentines' Day. I don't look forward to it with the same anticipation as say, Christmas, of course, but I do enjoy it. In fact, if it were the type of holiday that came with a day off work, I might even love it.

Maybe it's because it is pretty much the only day of the year I can wear pink without feeling completely foolish. Maybe I like chocolate just a little more than I'm willing to admit and will use any excuse to buy it, I don't know.

It's not even that I've always had really spectacular Valentines' Days, or that I've ever even had a great one at all. Until Wes came along, I'm pretty sure my dad was the only man who'd ever given me flowers on the "big day." Last year on February 14, I was on the way to Texarkana, Arkansas in the freezing cold to attend my great-grandmother's funeral. The year before that was pretty good. Wes and I hosted a mildly successful cocktail party. It was fun, but nothing mind-blowing. I can't even remember anything about the years before that, so they obviously weren't anything to write home (or blog) about.

This is our first supposedly-romantic post-honeymoon evening, and I don't really care what we do as long as we're together and maybe we can eat a little chocolate. Of course, having a pretty bloom or two to view from the couch can't hurt either.

So whomever you're spending Valentines' Day with, be it your husband, boyfriend, kid, best friend, sister, cat, dog or remote control, I hope you have a good one.

Image: Real Simple

Monday, February 11, 2008

Day 225's first look

Wes and I took at little mid-week field trip to Lowe's last week to check out the goods and start formulating a reasonable budget for our upcoming bath remodel.

Here's what we're workin' with:

A teeny-tiny master bath with a leaky shower stall, a drab little sink console and a peach/pink toilet. The floors and shower are tiled in funky yellow and brown. I'm pretty sure that Wes assumed something original could stay -- the lighting or the mirror, for example (both are slightly less than attractive, BTW), but as my mom and I found out when we did her bathroom, as soon as the paint is dry, everything else must be shiny and new as well or it just won't work (right, Mom?).

All-white baths (and kitchens, for that matter) are just so appealing! Wes seems to have gotten on board with my plan, even though he usually thinks my color choices are pretty boring (thanks for humoring me, dear). Luckily, amid the palm frond-shaped ceiling fan blades and typical suburban kitchen cabinet mecca, Lowe's had some nice things. And we think me may actually manage to maintain our budget, most importantly.

First up, love a pretty pedestal sink. And holy crap, this one is just $88.

With a pedestal sink, storage space is at a premium. While I'd love to have something like this beauty, it's just not practical enough. This handsome cabinet looks just like the popular Urban Archaeology one, but without the $1000 price tag. It checks in at $98.

Next to the sink, this cute little guy. I have no idea why some manufacturers make toilets that look like spaceships, but thankfully, there are some on the market like this. For a mere $180, he can be yours today.

For the shower and bathroom floor, love simple little tile like this. Timeless. Perfect. Yea. We're looking a lot like that picture up there, aren't we?!

I'm not sure I can take white walls with all of this, so let's talk paint color. I'm a little obsessed (okay, a lot) with antique nest and egg prints. I've got one from this series, and it's basically the color palette in our bedroom. Our towels are a frenchy-powdery blue and taupe, respectively. Thoughts?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Day 222

Wishing you a weekend with lots of moments like this.

At our house? Probably not going to happen. M-day (that's what we'll call moving day) is approaching, and there is much packing to be done!

Image: Real Simple

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Day 220: keepin' it simple

I spent the better part of my growing up years on a little farm in the rolling hills of Tennessee. It's still one of my favorite places on earth, and exactly where I want to be when things get hectic. Life in the country is just so simple. I love it. And today, with a new job and a new house on the horizon, I'm dying for some simplicity.

I told you about simply breakfast, now check out her beautiful postcards and such. This one, "still life with berries," is my favorite.

See the rest of this house at Absolutely Beautiful Things. She's right, it's absolutely beautiful in its restraint.

Couldn't you just soak in this bathtub for hours? I feel more relaxed already ... and I'd love to get my hands on that wall color.

Real Simple magazine has mastered the still life cover image. This one makes me want to purge, purge, purge before we move into the new house!

Image at the top: Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Day 219's update

This will probably come as a surprise to those of you who endured my whiny post about our house hunt, but we're in a contract with the very house that inspired the whining, and we close at the end of the month! We're really really excited, and think this is a good move. The market is just too good to not take advantage of, and we can't wait to delve into some improvement projects and make the house our own.

I hope we'll eventually have some dramatic before-and-after photos to show you, and I'm sure by the time this is all over you'll be pretty tired of hearing about kitchen flooring and the pros and cons of pedestal sinks. But I'm looking forward to hearing your input, readers and friends, so don't be afraid to share it! Especially you, blog-less anonymous stalkers with good taste (I'm talking to you, SM!).

Up first: the master bath. Last night's home inspection revealed a leaky sink and shower, so out goes the icky yellow and brown tile, and in comes ... well, all of our money.

Image: don't you just love these reproduction fixtures in Coastal Living?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Day 215's pretty

Loving this by Todd Romano today. Happy Weekend!