REDEMPTION! A dresser “recovers” from a botched paint job.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the tragic saga of the dresser that turned into a chicken. Today, I’m happy to report that the dresser makeover that went horribly wrong has been corrected! Or, at least it’s slightly less repulsive?

To jog your memory, our story began with a completely adequate dresser that I destroyed when I forgot what the color “gold” looks like.

The original

Dresser before

The Inspiration

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The Resultunnamed

The result was more eeek than chic and whatever my next move was, I knew I wanted to retain a geometric pattern because, well, it’s simply the best.

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But I also knew I couldn’t be trusted with paint again. Nor was I especially eager to repaint what took several painstaking hours to achieve. My solution? Cover the drawers in a large-scale geometric fabric print. Much like these crafty Design Sponge artisans did.

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An afternoon trip to local upholstery shop Spruce got me just what I needed. After looking at a handful of fabric samples and even wallpaper swatches, I ended up walking out some clearance fabric for $20 that was just barely perfect amount to cover the front of the drawers. No paint or sander was needed. Armed with just a staple gun and a pair of scissors, in 30 minutes I was able to save the dresser from the DIY disaster hall of fame.

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I’m not sure this is going to be my permanent solution for glamifying the dresser, but at least the fabric do-over is a vast improvement from where we started, and it didn’t require an obscene amount of effort or money to achieve. Let’s upgrade this project from a D-I-Why did I do this? to a D-I-Why, it could have been worse.


Love Thy Neighbor

Enough with this internet googling business.

When I need ideas for landscaping and home design why am I not drawing more inspiration from the other homes in my neighborhood? After all, most are from roughly the same time period (1950s-1960s), the neighbors are all dealing with the same soil and vegetation issues, and I would assume our budgets for creating a gorgeous front garden and entryway are probably in the same neighborhood (literally). So armed with Heath, the doodles and my Nikon, I decided to capture some of my favorite neighborhood images to stash away in my idea bank.

Idea One— The colorful front door.
Nothing says both “welcome” and “I like to party” quite like a splash of vivid color right at the doorway to the home.

Lime green door peeking out from behind the blue bonnets

I adore this turquoise color and will most definitely be painting our door a similar shade.

Not only a red door, but matching accents too. Job well done, neighbors.

Idea Two—The natural privacy fence.
Obviously building a fence or some other permanent structure is one way to create separation between you and your neighbor, but getting creative with plants is appealing as well (and probably cheaper). The only drawback is it takes patience for the plants to grow to appropriate privacy height…and patience is not one of my virtues. Still, I can admire the patience of others and appreciate what they have done to create privacy with plants.

Stare at the street? No thanks. I'd rather create a beautiful view of bushy greenery to gaze at from my side windows.

I like the idea of having an evergreen vine to separate you from your neighbor's car. Cost effective and very attractive.

Idea Three— The unconventional details.
I’ve already implemented this in my backyard with wine bottles and a repurposed pallet, but having an unconventional element in the front garden has it’s bonuses, too. It generates interest and sets your house apart from some of the others in the hood.

I don't necessarily picture us having bowling balls in the garden, but it's still an interesting concept.

Artichokes in the front yard. Super neato.

It's a small architectural detail, but the tiny structural slant and mini windows on the front porch brick is incredibly appealing to me. It's a little detail that makes a huge impact on this house's curb appeal. It's not every day you see slanted walls, but I'm smitten.

Idea Four—The curbside garden.
In the past, I tended to think of frontyard landscaping and gardens as existing closer to the house, hiding the foundation and framing the structure. But dozens of our neighbors have built their gardens all the way out to the street and I love it. It’s less lawn to deal with and its visually appealing too.

One of the deciding factors that led us to choose our house over others we were looking at, was the neighborhood. The streets are wide and wonderfully walkable. The trees are towering and mature, and each house has its own unique features. We adore our hood and hope to draw dozens of more inspirations from it in the future.

Yep. The doodle house is right at home here.


Rug Realities

When Heath and I were looking for a house, one thing on my “must have” list was wood floors. Both of our houses prior to this one had wood floors, and we adore the sleek appearance of it so much more than we like the look of carpet. Wood has clean lines, light reflecting properties and brilliant color dimension within its brown hues. Plus, and this is were practicality comes in, wood is just better when you have two mud-slinging labradoodles traipsing through the house. But as house hunting gets underway and reality starts to rear its ugly head, you realize some of the “needs” are really more like “wants” and you give in some places to get in others. I gave up my wood floors.

The thinking was that ripping up carpet and putting down wood is something we could do ourselves. (And we know it’s possible because we helped friends Mark and Ranjana tackle a wood-laying project last year in their home, which is documented here.) It would be a project that would take time, but it was something that could realistically be done by Handyman Heath and myself at a reasonable cost. The problem, like with any home renovation, is getting finances in order before the project can get underway.  I’m not particularly patient, so knowing it might be a year or two before I can get my hardy, shiny, beautiful wood flooring has me in pouting toddler mode.

I have grown to like carpet more than I originally thought. For one, the carpet in our home had recently been installed when we bought the house, so we didn’t have other people’s stains or wear and tear to deal with. It’s also a neutral color so it’s not horribly offensive to the eye. Plus, it’s remarkably  soft and feels good on bare feet, especially in the winter. As far as carpet goes, we could have done much worse.

Where I get bummed (and yes, I know this is a stupid, STUPID thing to get “bummed” about),  is that with wall-to-wall carpeting, I feel like it’s a design faux pas to decorate with rugs in the house. I imagine my friends coming to visit and thinking, “Oh snap, you put rugs over carpet? Girl, what are you hiding?!” (In this fictional scenario I have really rude friends with a background in interior design.) But  I loves me some vibrant, colorful, sensationally patterned rugs! Since we were wooden people before, I has acquired quite an impressive (“impressive” for someone in college with practically no income) collection of these darling area rugs to decorate with.

Woven multi-colored green rug from Crate and Barrel

Abstract floral from Target

Graphic yellow from Ikea

So, as I am known to do with any problem, I Googled it. Can a girl decorate with rugs if she’s already got a house full of carpet? Answer: Sometimes. Check out what other carpet cursed designers did. (Photos courtesy of my design bible, Apartment Therapy).

All is not lost! There’s even some modern eclectic vibe happening in these inspiration scenes. Maybe, just maybe, I can work with this carpet business.  Seriously, I have to overcome so much in this cruel, cruel world. But as Frederick Douglass once said, ” If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Wise words, Freddy D.You must have been referring to this same issue.