Life is still pretty crazy here. The air conditioning guys are going into their 4th week (and are ALMOST done) and the roofer finally showed up today. Nothing like being in your pjs at 6:40 am and realizing that they are ready to get up on their ladder right by your bedroom window!


We also decided on doors for our bedroom closet. We were all set to order custom doors from Barker Doors, but found that Ikea is now selling an all wood door (Hemnes door in gray-brown, $80). Of course it is in pine in the wrong color, but that hasn’t stopped us before. The style wasn’t bad and the price was a LOT less than we were going to pay for custom doors. Granted the custom doors would have been nicer quality, but in this case we decided these doors were a good savings measure. We may even try and use more of these doors on the third floor.  In between birthday parties, swimming and generally trying to avoid being in our unbearably hot house, we managed to buy 7 doors and get them primed and mostly painted. Mr. S. took the opportunity to buy a paint spray gun from Harbor Freight. The fronts now have 3 nice coats and the back have 2 coats of white paint. They will need a little bit of touchup (we had to move them before the rain).

Okay so back to one of my new favorite purchases for the bedroom. We have been in need of new laundry baskets for a long time. Did I mention that I think some of our old plastic ones are from college? Anyway, most of the plastic baskets in addition to being ugly, are too big for our not so big house. Plus I have to carry them down 2 flights of stairs. It has always been an issue. I was determined to come up with a better solution with the new closets. Previously we had a 3 bag hamper system that didn’t work very well. So I went on the search for something that would fit in the PAX system, with minimal wasted space, but could be picked up and brought down to the laundry without having to change containers.

Since we went with the deeper PAX for the laundry section we had about 23″ of depth to work with and 37″ of width. Unfortunately Ikea didn’t have anything that seemed workable, which is strange since they have a lot of other boxes and bins that fit perfectly. I ideally wanted 3 baskets: one for whites, one for bright colors and one for darks.


Needless to say when I found these awesome laundry baskets I was excited. These are by Umbra and are called the Horizon Rectangular Crunch Can ($19.99) and are available in 4 striped colors and plain. They appear to only be available at the Container Store. I bought the red, green and blue. They are perfect for going up and down our narrow stairs and they look pretty cute in the closet too. I’m not sure why I waited so long to buy these. Did I mention that you can collapse them when not in use? They will probably never happen in our house, but it is a cool feature. The sides stay up quite nicely and I have been able to fit a whole load of laundry in one. Anything to help make laundry more appealing!  You can see we haven’t started the bottom shoe drawers or trim yet, but we are getting closer.



I hope all the Moms out there had a great Mother’s Day! When I envision my ideal Mother’s Day, I picture sitting around in the backyard sipping mimosas with Mr. S., while my kids happily play nearby. Of course reality is quite different, but I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful family who I adore, temper tantrums and all.

We are making slow but steady progress in the bedroom. Mr. S. has left the critical path, but now we have an actual functioning ceiling fan complete with a ceiling medallion! I know that fans are often frowned upon in the design and blogger world, but for comfort and energy savings they are hard to beat.


Hampton Bay Vercelli Ceiling Fan in Brushed Steel, Home Depot $209

I also think this one is pretty good looking. It is definitely on the modern side, but I like it. Our cats are VERY suspicious and Spike won’t even come in the room, which is very unlike him. We also incorporated a ceiling medallion. Previously we added plaster ones in the Living Room and Kitchen but decided to give a lightweight urethane one a try this time. This is the Reece Ceiling Medallion from Architectural Depot, $24.45. I’ve never ordered from them before but the price was right and it shipped the same day I ordered it. It was easy to cut and Mr. S. was able to use longer screws on the ceiling fan bracket to make everything work with the added depth. I think the quality is pretty good and after some primer and ceiling paint I think you would be hard pressed to know the difference.VercelliCeilingFan-ControlsThe ceiling fan installation had a few small hiccups, but overall wasn’t too bad. I was going to have our contractor install it, but with the hot weather coming later this week, Mr. S. was growing very impatient. The wall control that comes with the unit is pretty fancy and so far works well. The light can even be dimmed. I give it the thumbs up! We may order the same one for the kids’ room.

Now onto the closet wall (i.e. the unfinished side of the room)…

The Ikea PAX unit is looming at the moment, but I think once we get doors and install the floor to ceiling curtains on the other side of the room, I think everything will balance out. As you can see we have installed one of the four units. The base on the right one is ready to go, but our AC guys are going to be running a duct to the right and I was afraid if I put it in, they wouldn’t be able to get it in, so I am holding off temporarily. Almost all of my clothes are now piled up in the closet, not quite a girl’s dream closet yet, but at least it has potential! I am going to start the bases for the middle tonight now that the old cabinet is empty and can be brought out to the garage. Then we should be able to empty out the playroom enough to allow the AC guy to get into the closet in there. As you can see it is all a giant puzzle, that gets harder and harder to solve as we move along.

I have to say that the PAX was pretty easy to put together. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it didn’t take very long and Ikea has a new plastic “tool” that helps you properly space the nails for the back piece. It is interesting that the pins for the closet shelves screw into place. Clearly the shelves and the rails help stabilize the unit. I wasn’t expecting that, but putting those in really tightened it up.

How was your weekend? Did you cross off anything from your to do list?

P.S. I will be back with an update from the Scott Arboretum Plant Exchange later this week. It was a lot of fun and my garden is a little bit fuller.

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Things are still a little crazy and stuff is piled up high in almost every room, but 3 walls in our bedroom are painted! Fortunately I really like the custom gray color (which is a modified Classic Silver from Behr Ultra). And the white trim is looking good! Part way through the priming I was regretting our decision to paint the stained window trim, because well primer looks like crap. But now that they have had a good coat of paint, they are looking nice. We definitely still need to do another layer of caulk (since there are weird little gaps all over the place thanks to 125 years of use and settling) but the room (at least on one side is starting to take shape). The ceiling trim and ceiling paint still need to go on (which will be by our contractor after the air conditioning goes in).


The wall color was originally inspired by a picture from a Martha Stewart magazine that I literally had taped to the wall for years. She calls it “graceful gray” and has it listed with sophisticated neutrals, so I will pretend for a minute that I exude sophistication. I do actually think it is a pretty good match to the inspiration, although I plan on having a lot more color mixed in.


So while one side of our room looks somewhat organized the other side is a giant mess! I did manage to finally start the bases for the Ikea PAX closet systems. We are going to add a shoe drawer below that will be built into the floor molding. This has been a careful balancing act, trying to fit a drawer while not making the closets too high and still leaving enough space for a duct above. Hopefully my AC contractor will agree when he gets here at the end of the week. These pieces took hours to get leveled and set. Nothing in my house is remotely level, but anywhere near the fireplace is even worse. This location is not only next to the main chimney but also sits partially on the fireplace box in the kitchen below.

I started by installing a level piece to the back wall. Since it is screwed to the wall I didn’t need to level it at the bottom (phew!). But the two pieces coming out (which will support the majority of the closet) had to be cut at an angle to work with the sloping floor and then carefully tweaked around uneven floor boards. It took a bunch of tries with the jigsaw (because for some reason our circular saw has gone missing), but they are finally in.  I also installed the blocking at the back and one piece on the front. I don’t know if you can see in this photo or not but the front 1×2 is level left to right. It is tight on the right and has over a 1/4″ gap on the left. Yikes! I am hoping that this is square and level enough that I will be able to make the drawer work. This is my first try at making a drawer from scratch, so we will see! I am leaning towards making the drawer with the Kreg pocket screw system and routing out for the drawer base. I figure if it is a complete bust I can order some pre-manufactured dovetail drawers.

My goal this week is to keep ahead of the AC guys, so we get the ducts in place, without compromising too much of our closet and ceiling spaces. Fingers crossed!



Our Master Bedroom may still look like a giant mess (fingers crossed we will get some paint on the walls this weekend), but I am making progress on selecting products for the space. I have the carpet, ceiling fan, fabric for the curtains and new bedside lamps, not to mention a bunch of Ikea closets in the garage. I decided it was time to update my mood board so I could show where it stands. I feel like we are finally getting close to the aesthetic that I was going for, even if it has been a couple of years in coming together.


Besides the new ceiling fan the other new items that arrived this week were a pair of lamps. I am quite smitten with them. I ordered them from Joss and Main and they are made by Krush a division of Luminance and called the Elle Table Lamp in satin gray. They are nice and tall but flat. They have a very Venturi feel to them, which is fitting sitting in front of the Best Panels. We were planning on using a more industrial looking lamp, but I actually think these will work out really well.

Another unexpected change is that the large metal panels for the behind the bed (from the Best Showroom) won’t fit like I thought they would. They have been sitting in the garage for about the last 8 years and I thought I had checked my measurements, but well I didn’t! Instead of 4 panels we are going to have 2 panels going vertical instead. I still like the abstract pattern (part of a flower) but now I have 2 more panels to find a home for (maybe outside?).

I still need to decide on a chair (the current one is a place holder). I also need to make the curtains, which I am not particularly looking forward to, but will hopefully go okay. I am going to order pleat tape, which should hopefully make the pleating part fairly straightforward.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! We are suppose to have lovely weather here, too bad I will be spending most of it inside.

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Ikea Summer Accessories

April 26, 2013 — 2 Comments


While we were at Ikea ordering up our PAX closet system, we did a quick trip through the store (after all why not take advantage of the ballpit for a bit). I wasn’t on the search for anything in particular, but I saw some really cute summer accessories that I couldn’t resist. How cute are these summer items? So colorful! My favorite are the flamingo cups ($1 a piece).


Here is a breakdown of some inexpensive summer accessories that I picked up and a few more that I considered:


Rotera Lantern for Tealights, Ikea $3.99

I didn’t pick up this large glass lantern, but it was really nice in person. I need to think of how I could use it before I can justify picking it up.

Has anyone picked out any cute accessories from Ikea lately?

P.S. Our closets are in the garage waiting to be assembled. Pretty exciting! Now please try and excuse my dusty wrinkled clothes for a couple more weeks while we get our room together.


I have been holding my family extra close the last couple of days. I am so saddened by what happened in Boston and my thoughts have been with the families affected. I didn’t post yesterday and still feel kind of ridiculous posting today.


We are making progress upstairs but I thought I would take a break from showing you half finished walls and show you the latest decorations for the piano.


Maisie and I did a little shopping last Friday. She even picked out her first decorations. She is in love with the elephant and rhino (after all who isn’t) although she doesn’t understand why I would buy something like that and then not let her play with them. But the thing she actually picked out were the seashells. We were at Homegoods and she gravitated to the bag of pretty seashells and asked if we could bring them home. She then very carefully put them in the bowl.  I guess it is time to start having her help more often. She also insists on having a bouquet of felt flowers next to her bed.


I also finally picked out a side table for my chair. I originally ordered a metallic ceramic wood stump stool, but after the disaster decided I should get something that didn’t require shipping. I bought this metallic garden stool at Homegoods. It didn’t have a price on it, so they decided that it should be $49.99. I said sold, considering most of the metallic ones I have seen are over $100! Mr. S. said he still preferred the tree stump, but I am excited to have a place to put my coffee cup and wine glass.


So for my spring decorating I started with the brass elements and paired them with some nice bright blues. It was feeling a bit boring so I tried mixing a few of my more colorful kitschy items.


Who doesn’t want to be welcomed home by a picture of vintage apple computer and some wacky creatures?



I am on a Jacobean fabric kick! I was going to write about where I am headed on closet doors for the third floor tower, but I got distracted and thought I would show you my latest find. I have been stalking fabric again on And they do have some pretty good deals, if you have the patience to sift through fabric pictures, since they don’t usually give you the fabric’s name. Granted these curtains won’t be installed for months, since we will be a construction zone until then. But I saw it and decided to pick up the fabric now, especially since I have been on the hunt for way too many months.


The fabric is Braemore Wonderland in Pearl. I have actually pinned this fabric twice on my fabrics board on Pinterest (once as a close up and once in a bigger repeat). There are several reasons I like this fabric. First is the scale. It is hard to understand in the picture but the pattern is huge!


from Lily on Blue on Etsy (no longer available)

I think it is easier to understand on this pillow. The second thing I like are the funky leaf patterns. I think that the fabric will play well with my giant Best Panels that will be installed behind the bed.  The third thing is the color palette. It works really well with the crazy striped rug, particularly the yellow and oranges. It doesn’t have a white background like I wanted, but it does have a white highlight which I think is important to work with the white trim in the room.


The third reason is that Mr. S. liked it and agreed it would work well in our bedroom. I held up a picture of it on the ipad next to the window and he gave me the thumbs up. And how could I say no after I found out that Sarah Richardson likes it. The picture above is from her Sarah 101: Premiere Episode. She is really a master with color and pattern!

So the downside is the price. I need about 18 yards of fabric, so price is pretty important. When I first started looking at fabric I really wanted to use a Premier Print fabric, in large part because of the affordability. The cheapest I had found Wonderland for about $30 a yard at OnlineFabricStore. Which wouldn’t be SO bad if I were only buying a few yards. At fabric guru they had 2 lots this week of this fabric. Just to make it confusing 1 lot was listed as Braemore (no pattern name) and one lot was listed as Kaufmann. The 2 totaled just about the right amount. Apparently it is fairly common for the different brands to have some of the same fabric listed under different names. I haven’t seen this particular fabric ever listed under Kaufmann before, but I suppose it is possible. The pictures online looked identical. We will see if there is any variation between the two when they get here. I ended up paying just over $12 a yard for 18 yards including shipping, which I think it a pretty sweet deal. The fabric shipped this morning and I can’t wait to see it.

Has anyone scored any good fabric deals lately?



I was over at Target last week and they have all of their spring/summer outdoor collections out on display. Aaaaaahh…thoughts of spring!  They also had a nice their Patio Look Book 2013 available, so I quickly snapped one up! I know I am suppose to be focused on a certain third floor, but sometimes you need a quick little diversion! So I thought I would show you a few of the items that caught my eye. I don’t actually  NEED much for the outside but a little virtual shopping is still in order. Above I am totally digging the Moroccan style metal lantern, round blue and white ottoman/pouf and the blue pot (which is actually durable resin).


Their outdoor rugs are also looking really nice this year, although the prices are a little higher then I am use to.


This wicker set is pretty cute. I actually reminds of something CB2 would sell. I am also really in love with the pillow.


More of these faux-ceramic resin pots. I hate having to bring pots in over the winter to avoid problems with frost and these at least in the pictures look like a great option. Plus the resin ones tend to be lighter! I am also digging the hakonechloa grass in the pot. This could even possibly be left in the pot over winter (in part sun to shade).


I am also liking this colorful wicker ottoman. I don’t have a place for this but I like the option of using it for a seat, a table or even turning it over and using it to store stuff.  At $39.99 it is a little more than I would want to spend, but I will have to check it out in the store next time.

targetoutdoorpatio6-outdoorpillowdahliaI think the one item I may actually consider picking up are these really cute outdoor dahlia pillows. At $15 a piece, I think that they may add some drama to the backyard.

Time to get back to thinking about a certain upstairs space!



In the midst of trying to figure out all of our second and third floor plans, I was temporarily distracted by some pretty fabric. For some people it is shiny things, but for me a good pattern makes me happy and distracts me from more important endeavors (especially late at night while surfing the internets after Mr. S. has fallen asleep). I have been on a very long search for the perfect fabric for our bedroom curtains and while searching one night (specifically I came upon a nice Jacobean pattern with good potential (Richloom Kathrann Printed Linen Blend Fabric in Garden). It had a nice large size pattern, a good mix of colors and the pattern and was a nice mix of modern and pretty. The only issue was the background color. I really want a white background, to work with the future white window trim and to lighten the gray walls. By the pictures it was a bit hard to tell how far off the background color was. I stopped by JoAnn’s to see if they happen to have it in stock.


And just by chance they did have some of the fabric, so I asked very nicely for a sample and they gave me 2 to bring home. I immediately knew that it wasn’t going to work in our bedroom with the cream colored base but as soon as they were sitting in the kitchen I thought that I definitely need to use this fabric in here for some window valances. Because that is a priority right now (hahaha)!


I ordered enough fabric for the windows with a little bit of extra for a couple of other small projects from for the awesome price of about $6 a yard for 4 1/2 yards in 2 pieces (this retails in the $25-35 range). In addition to selling fabric by the yard they apparently have a lot of leftover small lots that they offer at really good discounts. Wow, I have just found a new place to spend many hours searching for the perfect fabric!

It is funny that one of the first things that I did when we bought the house was take down a lot of curtains and valances to let in the light and now I am putting them back up (of course in much nicer fabric that is not from the 1970s). I’m not quite sure to think about this development. We do have solar shades on a lot of our windows, which I do really like but they are a little ho hum looking.


I just whipped up a rendering of what a valance might look like in here. I like it. I am considering actually making it with a solid backing and padding it slightly and using some decorative nail trim. Although if I follow something closer to my Dining Room valances, they would be easier to take down and clean. I do want to mount them inside the frame, so as to not obscure the nice trim.

What do you think? Does anyone else have a fabric obsession?

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I love a good salvage place! Unfortunately most of my old haunts have disappeared over the years, so I was excited to go and visit a relatively new place. Philadelphia Salvage Company has been around for over a year and I had heard passing mention of it, but one of Mr. S’s coworkers recommended it to him so we decided a visit was in order. We packed up the family on Saturday morning and headed over. It is in West Mount Airy (across from Weavers Way), Philadelphia.

Looking at their website I was concerned that pricing would be on the high side, after all the best places are usually in sketchy neighborhoods with dusty artifacts that have been sitting around for a decade waiting for someone to take them home. Fortunately I thought that their pricing was pretty reasonable, even if their stock wasn’t as extensive as some of the other places I have been to. I was pleased with the quality of what they had too. Here are some of the items that caught my eye.


Aren’t these vintage industrial fixtures nice? They are pretty big and have a nice patina. They require rewiring, but a row of these would look great over a kitchen island. There were a whole pile that were already sold (probably for a restaurant).


This table top is made out of an old bowling alley floor. It looks really great. They were also making a giant dining table out of the same material. One of the cool things is that they offer refinishing in addition to making furniture, which is definitely a bonus depending on what you need something for. Usually you have to lug whatever you buy to a separate place to get it worked on.


I loved their tile collection. We used similar new tile for our kitchen backsplash. The color and crackling is really quite stunning. They had also removed all of the old grout, so these are all set for installation.


I also really liked these windows. The colors of the glass medallions were really amazing. I find a lot of stained glass too fussy for my taste, but these are a nice mix of a little pop of color in a nice geometric pattern.


Of course I was like a kid in a candy store, so walking away empty handed was difficult. We didn’t end up buying anything while we were there, but I have since called and put 2 things on hold. One is for the house and one is for the garden. The garden one I will unveil later on, but we did choose this newel post. It is a dead on match for our newel post (which is a small miracle).  I have a bad habit of stockpiling old house parts (i.e. half of our garage loft is filled with extra house parts). So I told myself if I don’t have a place for this I shouldn’t buy it, even if the price is really good (which it was). So after I got home I was thinking about the upstairs hall and how we are going to have to cut the handrail at the bathroom wall, I thought why not use a piece of this to finish it off. Right now the rail dies into a piece of wood, and has always felt a little bit off, and I’m not sure how it was finished originally. I think if take one side of this, it will make a really nice detail.  Maybe if I can salvage one of the other sides I will add it down in the basement at the bottom of the stairs. Our contractor is actually going to be over later this week putting a closet in for us (one of those items that didn’t get finished last year).

Does anyone else love salvage stores or have any recommendations?

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