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Decorating for Christmas

A wee bit of holiday cheer for you today! I love the way my little white tree turned out this year. I was inspired by the Confetti System tree topper and garland I picked up from West Elm. Full of cheer!

The little side trees were only $8 at Target!

Read the story of how my white Christmas tree came to be. 

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Before & After: Grandmother’s Vintage Buffet

Today’s before & after is all about reinvention. When my beloved grandmother Blanche passed away a few years ago, I was the recipient of a few pieces of her furniture, a buffet in particular.  A delightful shade of green, the buffet and the matching china cabinet (that still – to this day – smells like Grandmother’s house) have been sentimental to me, but also have proven to be super versatile.

But after several years of heavy use (not to mention the decades before that at Grandmother’s house!) the buffet was starting to look a little, well, sad. My aunt painted it back in the 60s or 70s and as much as I loved the green, I was wanting to make this piece a total showstopper. A little less country and a little more glam, if you will. Additionally, I am not a fan of any kind of faux finishing or faux aging, so the brown glaze that covered it was not my cup of tea.

The plan was to paint it a nautical navy blue with gold hardware.  Here’s the before (photo from right when we moved in – pre stripes on the wall!)

And the after!  Paint color is Martha Stewart’s Wrought Iron (which you’d think would be black?) at Home Depot.  Please ignore the dust bunnies underneath. I’m keepin’ it real, y’all.

The thing that was really going to make this makeover complete was the right hardware.  Simple and understated but in the right finish, I chose super-sleek hardware in a brushed gold (or brass, depending on your POV). The ring pulls are from LA Hardware (and also come in a ridiculously glamorous square shape, as well) while the bar pulls are from Lewis Dolin’s bar series.  Lewis Dolin also makes those pulls for refrigerators. Crazy fabulous. Can’t you just imagine those on a custom-facade fridge?

Runner on top is from eBay and is just a length of ikat fabric that’s unfinished.  Lamp is from Target (Victoria Hagan for Target from a few years back). Mirror was a gift. Rug is Madeline Weinrib.

It’s funny how emotional you can be about things. Admittedly I felt a certain pang as I brushed the first coat of paint over the original green, like it was sacrilegious or something. Simon asked me if I was going to paint the matching china cabinet and I shook my head. Nope. that’s staying as is for now.

But I do think that Grandmother would be pleased with the way it all turned out.  And I smile as I think about her every time I pass it.

Now my next step is to replace the semi-frilly light fixture to something not only more fabulous but also more functional. The teeny chandelier might be cute, but it puts off a terribly dim amount of light and isn’t quite the right piece for the space. Here are my picks for the entryway -

Sources (clockwise from top): Flower drum shade ceiling light (Shades of Light), Pagoda Pendant (Furbish), Simple Scallop Pendant (Circa Lighting) 

Whew! Makeovers are fun but they’re a lot of work!  What are your thoughts on the light fixture? What would you pick?

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I’m Ready for my Touchup, Mr. DeMille

Over the weekend, Mr Shingleton happily installed his new toy, the Nest thermostat. In fact, I have zero doubt that right at this very moment, wherever in OKC he may be, he is gleefully adjusting our thermostat from his iPhone or iPad.  However, once it was all installed, the new round thermostat was sitting in a lovely beige rectangle: the old paint color in our now aqua living room. Uh oh. It didn’t take 5 minutes for that to drive me absolutely bananas.

Which meant it was the perfect time to do this little project I had been planning for awhile. Last summer when E&C redid their house, I noticed a lovely shelf of mason jars holding varying shades of paint in their utility room. Chrysi told me that she makes small jars of every paint used in their house so she can grab them as needed for touchups. Genius, no? So a few weeks ago, I grabbed a bunch of cute little jars at Hobby Lobby for this very purpose as it was one of those things in the back of my mind that I wanted to do.

The fact is, it’s never fun to go out in the garage and grab those yucky old cans of leftover paint for jobs that only take a few minutes. They’re always messy and bulky. And frankly, I’m bad at follow-through, so I need something to be quick, easy, and accessible.  I’m also noticing lately that we have lots of little scuffs here and there that need to be fixed. I have zero idea how these things happen, but I think it has something to do with toys flying down the stairs. Or wrestling boys.

I brought all the paint into the kitchen and got to pouring. Much of the paint is a few years old and was in varying states of yucky. Be sure to mix up the paint really well. You want all of that pigment to get properly blended. I used an old spatula to really get the job done and scrape down the sides when need be.

The end result is the perfect little jar of paint, just right for touch-ups. I personally didn’t find it necessary to label these beyond the room that they’re in. If you’re pickier, you might want to include the name or formula, although since I have all these cans out in the garage I already have those on the original paint cans.

Now I have a lovely selection of paints all stored away in the laundry room, ready for action. I already put the living room version to use and I’m thinking about all the scuffs on the stairway walls that I’m going to attack too.  Oh, and the always-fabulous washi tape made for the perfect write-on labels.

Voila! This project fit the bill for me: attractive, easy to store, and easy to use on a regular basis. 

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Spring Clean Fever

Back in the day, the time which we refer to as “B.C.” (Before Child), I considered myself a pretty organized person. But then now I have a kid who likes to make his own messes, which makes me want to throw in the towel every.single. day. Additionally, I have to keep my business running smoothly, and to be frank, the housework always falls to the bottom of the to-do list.  Honestly I’m not that great of a housekeeper anyway. The housework makes me crazy. But part of my main problem with working from home is the guilt and total ADD that happens when I sit down at the computer but then I spy the dirty dishes or the pile of laundry that needs to be folded. I just can’t win!

After The Great Wardrobe Intervention of 2012, I sat back and started thinking about all the things that I would like done. The things I would like to do, but always get put on the back burner. Or even the stuff that I don’t want to do – the stuff that gives me a pit in the bottom of my stomach. After the closet makeover,  I ended up hiring the Riley Group to come help me out with some things, and I have to say it’s the best money I could spend right now.

It isn’t that I couldn’t physically accomplish this stuff; the fact is that I could. But it’s nice to have it scheduled so I know that I have to do it. It’s forcing me to focus on a house project at a time, biting off manageable portions. The accountability is fantastic.  Plus it’s given me the boost I’ve needed to get other smaller projects done, such as cleaning out drawers and the like, that don’t completely overwhelm me. I managed to completely reorganize several drawers and cabinets in my kitchen, and it feels so good!

The past few weeks, Lauren’s worked on my filing system as well as overall organization & cleanout of my office. From there we moved on to Jude’s closet and the guest bedroom closet, which are still in the works. The ultimate goal is to get the laundry room better organized, and finally the big one – the garage. I literally shudder at the thought. The garage truly is the final frontier.

My other favorite trick is how much stuff I can hide underneath the skirted table in the living room. It makes it the perfect mix of form and function.  Did you know that table is just your regular ol’ garden variety plastic folding table? Yessirree.

Can I tell you something, Internet? We had four – count ‘em, 4! – junk drawers in our house. That’s like 3 junk drawers more than anybody needs. Redonkulous. So I’ve been slowly getting them all pulled together too.

Working from home means that I have to have all my ducks in a row to be truly productive. I don’t know who said it, but it’s true — if you have an organized house, you have an organized mind, and I could not agree more.

Now I’m off to go survey all the damage from last night’s crazy hail storm. Check out my instagram for the photo of the giant hail that broke out one of the windows upstairs! Uhhh… I was kinda kidding about those 10 plagues.   Didn’t we just do this 2 years ago? Dadgum!

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