Monday, January 28, 2008

who knew I even LIKED table lamps?!?!

I think I'm in love. I saw this fabulous lamp at Target this weekend during my fruitless attempt to buy a shredder for my mom. It was in the new Global Bazaar section and it just made me swoon. I admit it looks better in person than in the picture so if you aren't swooning, I forgive you! I've been looking for two lamps to put on the dresser behind the couch because I think the lines of the Not lamp from Ikea are just all wrong in my room. I am a bit concerned about the light though; the Nots provide excellent uplighting that I'm just not certain these black-shaded lamps can match.

The funny thing is that the lamps I've been redoing are also now white porcelain (long story to be covered another time with photos) and I love them. They are too short to use in the living room, but will be excellent additions to my bedroom once I solve the lampshade fitter/socket problem. These Target lamps are 33" high which will bring them almost to the height of the Nots in the living room, but with much more dramatic lines.

Thoughts on these lamps? They were marked $69.99 in the store which is why they fell into the "think about" category; I just found out online that they are on sale this week for $49 which may move them into the "buy and try" category...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

lampshade dilemma

One of my January Jumpstart projects was reworking some lamps that my aunt bought back in the 1970s. I have no pictures right now, but I am very happy with my paint stripping efforts for the bases. The lamps needed new shades, and I found the perfect color and size at Ikea- the fun flocked Kivsta. The problem is, the Ikea shades have "slip uno" style fittings (there is a ring about 2/3 of the way down the shade that slips over the socket of an Ikea lamp base and is then secured with a plastic screw-on ring before the bulb is inserted) and my lamps have old-school harp fittings. Does anyone know how I can adapt the lamp to work with the shade? I'm replacing the sockets and wiring anyway, but I can't seem to find anything that explains if I need a different style of socket. The old sockets definitely wouldn't work because they are too narrow and just slip up into the ring on the shade fitting. Advice? Experience to share? Commiseration? I love these bases and I love these shades so I have to figure out how to make them work!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

shameless plug for votes

My January Jumpstart made it onto Apartment Therapy- take a look and cast a vote!

Our little group is doing well- Lorijo's January Jumpstart was posted yesterday and also deserves a vote. Anyone else in the mix? I keep watching...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

reasons why I need more space (part 1)

I really want to own more chairs even though I don't really have the space for them. I am always looking at chairs, thinking of how they could be repurposed or brought back to life. I love Lorijo's collection and am jealous she has space for so many lovely chairs. Here a few of my more recent favorite finds:

White handcarved curve back chair in champagne/parisian blue- $249 from Brocade Home.

Turned Leg Zebra Print Arm Chair- $180 from Overstock.

Vintage gold tufted-back chair with carved rosettes on arms- $375 from Washington Consignments.

Plantation chair- $100 on Craigslist.

None of these chairs look anything alike, and yet I love them all. I am really tempted by the plantation chair which reminds me of my time in Barbados. If only I had a spare corner in my living room for it...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

January Jumpstart #1- The Nightstands

Well I've had a very productive weekend and am working on three January Jumpstart inspired projects. Only one is finished right now, so while I'm waiting for the paint stripper to work on project #2, I thought I'd share the details...

I found two of these bureaus on Craigslist for $40 each, and knew they would make the perfect nightstands for my very tall antique bed. As you can see, they are quite battered- they were in the seller's bedroom from early childhood until his wife decided they had to go! They are solid wood and I love the shape and size, but obviously the finish (especially on top) was shot. I've been meaning to work on them for a few months; thanks AT and Blueprint for finally pushing me into it.

As you can see, I have very few tools for this project. I did not want the mess and hassle of sanding and stripping the nightstands, especially on this the coldest day yet of the DC winter. I decided to do what I could with Howard Restor-a-Finish ($8.99) and Howard Feed-n-Wax ($8.99). I bought the mahogany refinisher because the bed is mahogany so I wanted to add a bit more red to the nightstands to help them match. The screwdriver, old t-shirt, and pewter knobs were already in my toolbox so total project cost was about $20 with tax.

OK, I have to admit that I had my doubts about the Restor-a-Finish right up until I started using it- look at the difference on the battered top of this nightstand! The process is so easy- saturate clean rag with Restor-a-Finish, wipe onto wood, let dry. That's it- no buffing, sanding, scrubbing etc; just wipe on and let dry. I did just half of the top to capture the difference- unbelievable isn't it?

Here is the nightstand after I did two coats of the Restor-a-Finish and then two coats of the Feed-N-Wax. The wax is a bit more complicated, but still pretty easy in the grand scheme of furniture refinishing. I wiped on the wax, left it for 20 minutes, then wiped off the unabsorbed excess. There wasn't much to wipe off the first time around- I suspect this nightstand was crying out for hydration- so I wiped on another coat. The second time around I was able to wipe off excess which I figured was a good sign. The last step was to buff the wax coat with a clean rag. Actually, I guess screwing in the new hardware was the last step, but the impact of that change pales in comparison to the waxing...

Look at that shine! I am actually astonished at how much better the nightstands look. Obviously, stripping and restaining would yield even better results, but that was more time and energy than I ever wanted to invest in these pieces at this point. For $20 and a solid day of work, I'm delighted with the final results.

Monday, January 14, 2008

loving the lack of chaos

I hosted book club last week, and therefore was forced to totally spruce up my house. Now I'm realizing just how much I love my space when it isn't cluttered up with random books, mail, magazines, etc. I've been fighting off a lingering cold, so I confess my Christmas tree is still up, but once it comes down (hopefully tonight) I'll have a nice bit of real estate cleared out under the windows that will add to the uncluttered happiness of my current living room. I like my house this way, and I want it to stay this way, so I'm making myself a promise that I'll take a few minutes every evening to clear up clutter to prevent it from building up again. Pinkie swear!

Relatedly, the cleared out living room will actually give me space to work on my January Jumpstart project this week, so I might in fact be able to get something turned in before the Jan 21 deadline. If I get the tree down tonight, I should be able to start on the nightstand project tomorrow. Since I'm hoping to spruce up the existing finish rather than to strip it off, I should be able to make good progress every evening so that I'm finished before the weekend. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

purses, and shoes, and boxes- OH MY!

These lovely teal open-toed shoes and matching purse were a Christmas gift from my mom, the enabler! She also gave me a case of 20 of the Container Store's plastic shoe boxes. I of course need many more than 20 boxes to store all my shoes, but these will be a lovely start and will be used for those shoes not currently housed in their original boxes. Thanks Mom!

I'm finally back from FL where I spent a lovely week with my husband vegetating and doing some light decorating. We didn't tackle painting after all as it was unseasonably cold in Pensacola, but we did tinker with some furniture. Many many thanks to the Waterfront Rescue Mission Bargain Center which accepted donation of an old couch, loveseat, coffee table and end table that I've been lobbying to dump for years! We picked up a lovely armoire on CL that fits on the now empty bedroom wall and will handily hide the TV in that room. We also got this storage ottoman to hold throw blankets in the living room (though my husband may move it to the foot of the bed instead).

Today my mom, sis and I went to see Spamalot at the National Theater courtesy of Christmas present tickets from my husband. I highly recommend the show which had me in stitches for two straight hours; even my mom (who is no fan of Monty Python) was rolling in her seat.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

begin as we mean to continue

Happy 2008 to everyone!

I'm focused on my couch redo project, and so have been looking around for inspiration and ideas. How is it possible I love both of these equally?

Loring sofa Yellow Settee from AT

Here's my couch:

and these are some color options I'm looking at for my couch (all are velvet):
Burgundy Velvet Crimson Velvet Paprika Velvet

I love the paprika, but fear that perhaps a giant orangey-terracotta couch might be a bit much for any room. I've scoured Fickr for some inspiration; the results can be found in my faves which I've also added to my Flickr links on the right.