FACT: It took longer to prepare this post than it did to achieve my latest home update—painting and recovering a forgotten chair.
Many, many moons ago, when I was just a lass, good old mum picked up this little number from Denton’s own Downtown Mini Mall for a sweet $20.
That was more than 15 years ago, but we’ve gotten a lot of bang for our buck. I’ve modified this chair at least three times over the past few years as my style changed from juvenile bright, to bohemian cool, to modern eclectic. But ye old chair has endured each look with gusto. She’s taken on the challenge of being painted both cyan blue and dusty red, and her cushion has been covered in everything from kitchen placemats to old scarves—looking surprisingly appropriate with each passing style. Good job, chair. So why not take 15 minutes this weekend to update the familiar beauty once more? After all, it’s easy as 1…2…8.
No kidding, without factoring in the time it takes the paint to dry, this project was completed in 15 minutes. How’s that for instant gratification? And in addition to being crazy easy, it’s also cheap to pull off. I had the chair and the fabric (leftover from another project), so the only cost was the spray paint…bringing the cost to complete the project to a sweet $3.75. If only all projects could be that easy on the watch and the wallet.
What what?! It just came to my attention that The Doodle House was featured in Apartment Therapy‘s Room for Color contest! Unfortunately, I didn’t know my pad was featured until today, so I couldn’t get the word out to have folks vote for my “retro bright” color pallet before the contest voting closed, but it’s still pretty cool to be featured on such a prominent platform. I’m weirdly gratified by this.
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I might very well be the living, breathing, walking, talking, blogging symbol of American consumerism. I sees something I wants sprawled across the pages of a catalog or draped stylishly over some hipster walking the chicest of city streets or proudly taking up real estate in a post of some brand name design blog, and I inevitably come to the conclusion that I must attain that picnic scenario, those awesome Ikat shorts, that fantastic living room–or at least a cheap knock off version of each. Every now and then I’m temporarily relieved of my obsession after some life-changing adventure, say a trip to India for instance, but at one point or another it’s certain I will find myself curled up in secret with the iPad at 11 at night, googling pictures of “homemade earring stands” so that I can emulate some totally random, completely irresistible image I saw in that catalog, on that girl at Whole Foods, in that post on Design*Sponge. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I have a shopping problem (see homemade earring stand comment above), but at the very least it’s a browsing problem. As of late, I had been eyeballing these, as Heath would say, “super omega krunk” modern orbital light fixtures.
I’m not entirely positive as to why I am so drawn toward and mystified by these quirky living and dining room accessories. I’d like to say something about how we view light as a symbol for life and I feel rejuvenated by them. Or that their incessant circular design holds some alluring magnetism. Or that proper lighting determines the mood of the room and ultimately oneself and that these examples reiterate the attitude I want reflected in my home. Yes. I’d like to say that. But really it boils down to pretty…so pretty.
Good old mom knew I had been toying with the idea of swapping out our not-so-terrible, but also not-so-special 80s light fixture for a illumination source that’s more stylish and charismatic (and remnant of something from that website, magazine, catalog, street corner, etc). Next thing I know, a mystery package from Joss & Main shows up on our door step and I’m staring this thing square in the eye.
Its formal fancy pants name is the “Aumi Pendant” but I just like to call it “SUH-WEET!” It cost $136, through whatever black magic Joss & Main works, and I was able to put those awesome waves together in about an hour while sitting on the living room floor watching a rerun of Saturday Night Live. The only trouble with it was, while it was labeled as a “pendant” it actually didn’t have traditional pendant wiring and instead was equipped with a standard plug-in for a wall outlet. But our local handyman was able to rewire the thing in about half an hour and we wound up with this impressive get up that’s still far cheaper than anything I would have been able to find at a fancy lighting or faddish vintage store. The doodle doggies don’t seem to mind the imposing orb.After all my catalog flipping and blog scrolling you might say, I’ve finally got my eye on the ball (ey….ey?!). Consumerism Shmonshmumerism. I’m a happy girl with this new, magazine-inspired, designer knock-off ball of brilliance—a stylish charm that radiates beauty, whimsy, serenity and, oh yeah, light.
Our Memorial Day weekend was pretty excellent on all counts and though not quintessentially American, at least was quintessentially us. There wasn’t hamburger grilling or lake going, but there was Broken Spoke dancing, Grandfather visiting, Greenbelt hiking and—perhaps most excitingly—thrift store shopping. What started as a What-Else-Do-We-Have-To-Do rainy Saturday quickly turned into an OMG-I-Can’t-Believe-We-Found-All-Of-This-Affordable-Second-Hand-Stuff-That-Is-Precisely-Exactly-What-We-Have-Been-Looking-For awesome Saturday. We found stuff like…
…these two framed and matted Craig Holmes prints of the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges. We picked them up on the cheap from Corner Collectors Market, one of my favorite Austin junk stores. Heath is planning to hang them in his classroom as a classy and educational addition to his U.S. history curriculum. Pay attention kids, that’s what you call [hashtag] wining.
Another treat for Heath was getting his hands on some old books from Recycled Reads, the Austin Public Library’s used bookstore where they sell all the titles they no longer want in circulation for dirt cheap. Hardcovers: $2. Paperbacks: $1. Watching Heath make a pallet on the office floor so he can lay in a sea of his newly acquired library: priceless.
But the real “HOLY MACARONI” moment (For me at least. Let’s be real, Heath was checked out by this point, he had books to read and posters to hang.) was finding this midcentury dresser from Room Service Vintage. It was in great condition, it cost less than humdrum Ikea furniture and it matched our other bedroom dresser like its long lost twin sister. Or actually, a taller, skinnier, prettier sister. Those were great perks, but most importantly, it met the must-have criteria I was looking for in a new dresser. Namely, it fits perfectly against this awkward, small bit of wall in our bedroom and it’s stupid cute.
Months and months and months ago I posted about how I have pined for a bar cart for our living room. Why? Because they are fancy and decorative and useful and classy and awesome. Allow these next few photos to demonstrate my point for me (from houzz.com).
After months of online shopping, vintage-store cruising and craigslist scouring I finally found a decent looking bar cart for less than $100. It was Etsy that came to the rescue, with a ’50s brass bar cart for an affordable $60 (versus the $100, $200 and $300 pricetags most online retailers charge). Hallelujah! My dream of being a Mad Men cast member is that much closer to being a reality.
As a belated Christmas gift, last weekend Heath mounted the TV for me. For us, this is one of those pesky projects that (in the grand scheme of things) is pretty easy and affordable to accomplish but, for one reason or another, never made its way to the top of our to-do list. Though I don’t know why, as the end result has made a HUGE difference to our GDH. Just to jog your memory, here’s what our TV setup used to look like.
And here is what it looks like today.
It’s like people actually live here now! The project took about an hour and half to complete from start to finish. That time span includes Heath putting the TV up, me deciding it was too high, and him redoing the whole project again. Plus the time it took to hide the cables and arrange the fixins’ on the dresser. So basically, I’m embarrassed we didn’t get to this DIY fix earlier.
To say the living room has gone through many iterations would be an understatement. We’ve (I’ve) changed furniture and wall colors in here so many times I can’t event begin to give you the actual number of layout switch ups (maybe 5). Fortunately for Heath, now that the TV is on the wall, we are pretty well set with our current layout, and that’s just great with me. It’s quite possible I’m close to reaching my goal of having a living room that fits the modern eclectic description I was aiming for. Of course, once I achieve that, I’ll probably decide to switch things up again to fit a more Downton Abbey-ish lifestyle. I wonder how a flat screen fits into that arrangement…
There are lots of things Heath and I add and take away from our dream home checklist, but there is one item that has stayed constant throughout: the built in book shelf, or rather, a wall of books. Having a mini library, a focal point around books, would be alright by us.
The wall-o-books is appealing for 23426423 reasons.
Reason 1: We’ve got tons of books. We needs a place to put ’em. Book cases are perfect storage units for said books.
Reason 2: They can be completely fantastic to look at. Not only do they bring color and interest to a room, they can also serve as little windows into a person’s life. You can learn a lot about someone by checking out what’s on their bookshelf….pictures of family or friends, the trinkets they want on display and, oh yeah, the books they enjoy reading. And if they don’t have a bookshelf, you probably don’t want to be friends with that person anyway.
And for something a little less remarkable, a look at our attempts to master the bookcase–albeit on a smaller scale.
Heath built this moveable unit for me back at the rental. Not bad for a DIY storage project, still not quite the Lordship’s library.
Trying to give some gusto to an Ikea unit.
Literally going outside the box with a floating book shelf.
Trying to get a little unconventional with something pink.
The book case from long ago, stained and re stacked.
So we have not yet created a room, a wall, or sadly even a focal point of books. But perhaps singing this ode to the book case will get us on our way.