Archives For -Dining Room

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 hope everyone had a nice weekend! We had a good one here. I am finally feeling better and some time with the family was just what I needed. So for once I actually have my decorations up early! I was taking down some more of the Christmas decorations and I decided to go ahead and decorate for Valentine’s Day.


Funny enough the inspiration came from a Christmas ornament. I ordered a couple of clearance ornaments at Urban Outfitters a couple of weeks ago. One of them was this LOVE one, no doubt inspired by Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia (a favorite of mine). I was getting ready to put it away for next year, but then I thought it might make for a good Valentine’s Day decoration.  I pulled out some red books from the Living Room bookcase and decided to leave out some of the pink Christmas ornaments. Finally I mixed in some white ceramics that I am starting to collect.


The tree stump ceramic box is new. I picked it up at 90% off at Target. It is actually from GamaGo (which is usually known for its cartoon characters and t-shirts). I had seen it right before Christmas and thought it was cool, but for $19.99 decided to pass. When I saw it in the clearance section it didn’t even have a tag so I brought it over to the price check machine and was happily surprised when it came up at $1.99. There was only one, so I quickly put it in my basket. The ceramic acorns and pine cones are also a post Christmas 70% off sale from Target. The squirrel unfortunately is not. He is from Jonathan Adler, we picked him up this summer on our trip to NYC. He usually lives on our desk.


I like to think that I am getting better at “staging” this area. I guess there is nothing like practice and spending some time looking through a camera lens.


Shattered Stool & Germs

January 11, 2013 — 1 Comment


I ordered this beautiful ceramic wood stump table (Silvia Stool, $99)over the holidays from Joss & Main, one of my favorite flash/private sale sites. Isn’t it kind of ridiculous? Unfortunately when it arrived the other day it look like this:


I knew it was a bad sign when the box was wrapped with an extra layer of bubble wrap on the outside. I was planning on using it back by the piano and colorful chair kind of like this:


Alas it was not meant to be. Joss & Main was really good about giving me a credit back for the full amount and shipping but they don’t have any extra. It is one of those purchases that I looked at a bunch of times over a couple of days before ordering. Mr. S. even weighed in on which one he preferred, so I was pretty excited to get it. I did learn that it was made by Statements by J who I see makes quite a bit of stuff for both J&M and One Kings Lane. So I guess I will be keeping an eye out for something similiar. I was planning on using it to hold my coffee cup for when I sit in this chair and talk to Mr. S. while he works on the computer.  Oh well.

In other news the stomach bug has struck again (this time it was me). Yuck! After Sam was sick on Saturday I scrubbed the house down with Lysol wipes and washed all of the sheets, towels and blankets. I guess it wasn’t enough. I spent yesterday in bed watching bad tv. I’m up today and except for being really tired and not very hungry appear to be mostly better. Now if I could just get someone to do all of the other work I missed I would be all set.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and may the bad germs stay away from you!

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Piano Decorated for Christmas

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. We had a low key weekend here, including an afternoon curled up watching a movie together after putting up the Christmas tree. As much as there is a certain amount of annoyance with putting up our artificial tree, at least the kids are actually old enough to enjoy hanging up the ornaments (even if it isn’t in an evenly distributed manor), and we don’t have to worry too much about hanging the ornaments up so high.  In addition to our big tree I also put up our little silver tree (that I picked up on clearance last year).

Bowl of Ornaments and Small Silver Tree

I have changed up the top of the piano again! I guess in a busy house it is nice to have control of one area (even if it is a small one). It is also one of the few areas that the kids are good about not touching. I decided to put the cute little silver tree here and filled it with miniature ornaments that I have had since my apartment days. I wasn’t sure what to pair it with until I was strolling through the aisles at Target. I saw these cute (non-shattering) Christmas ornaments in lots of delicious colors. I decided that these were worth a try. I wasn’t sure whats I was going to do with them. I was considering making a wreath, especially after I saw this super easy tutorial by Eddie Ross, but then I remembered that I had this beautiful glass bowl (that is normally stuffed behind some stuff in an upper kitchen cabinet).

The 2 boxes of ornaments worked perfectly! Then I pulled out a cute cat figurine and a vintage angel candle snuffer. I think it could still use a few more little things, but for now I am quite enjoying it, especially because we spend so much time back in this area of the house.

Remember here is where I started this summer:

And here is this fall:

And here we are for Christmas:

I think my favorite thing about it is that the ornaments pick up on the colors from the chair (which I still really love).

How are your holiday decorations coming?


Fall Decorations for the Piano

I have to start by saying that I am not someone who typically does a lot of seasonal decorating inside the house. I don’t have the patience. Although lately I’ve been trying to pay more attention to my surroundings. I have found that the piles that creep into my house stress me out (I assume it isn’t just me) but having some nice things to rest my eyes on, even for a moment, does make a difference in my mood.

Fall Decorations

The area that I have been most continuously trying to keep clean and pretty is the top of the piano. It is the first thing you see when you come in the back door. I have also found that by putting a few nice things on top that I am much less likely to start piling things on it.

Piano area during the summer

I did have some birdhouses that the kids painted on top. I was recently feeling like I wanted to change it up with something that is a little more fall inspired. It also helps that I have been doing some shopping at Target.

Green Bottle, Target’s Threshold line on clearance (~$4.50), Marrakesh Bowl by Nate Berkus for Target ($7.99), Scarab (from Egypt), Woodpecker candle holder by Patch NYC for Target (on clearance)

I switched out the kids artwork for some metallic and green colored items. It started with the woodpecker candle holder by Patch NYC for Target. I had admired a lot of the items from this limited line but I had at least partially restrained myself and bought the matching lamp and pillow. Then Target started marking down some of the items a couple of weeks ago. So when I saw this one half off, I pounced. I wasn’t sure where I should put it, but then I saw the old bronze plate and thought some metallic in this area would be a nice change. So I scrounged around the house and found this scarab that a friend had given us. Then I saw the bowl from the new Nate Berkus line at Target.

I also literally picked up several of these “Osage Orange” from the kids daycare. They have a couple of Bois ‘D Arc trees on the property. For some reason I grew up calling them “monkey brains” (Did anyone else call them that?). They are a funny fruit, that is native to the US. They have an interesting history. They aren’t actually edible but they apparently repel bugs (good for storing in your pantry) and they smell nice like a mix of citrus and pine.  The trees are thorny and were used as “fencing” for early settler in the Midwest. And its name translates to “tree of the bow” since the branches make good bows. I am such a sucker for an weird and interesting plant!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. My thoughts are still with my family and friends without power.


One of my goals for last weekend was to pick up some plastic storage for the playroom. So on Sunday after spending too long looking on the internet I headed over to Walmart to see what I could find. On their website they had some storage that looked promising and was a lot less expensive then the Land of Nod colorful plastic containers. I ended up buying a couple of different sizes of plastic containers in clear and blue. Of course once I got them home I started thinking about how else I could use them, which led to me reorganizing the kids’ arts and crafts area in the Dining Room and using some of the new storage boxes here. I thought I would give you a quick run down.

Kids Arts & Crafts Storage Area in the Dining Room

This area is used a LOT. My budding artists are always looking for their supplies and I have been working on making them as accessible as possible, while trying to keep them organized.

Kvissle Letter Tray from Ikea, $20

1. Kvissle Letter Tray (Ikea, $20): I bought this a couple of months ago to help store the kids paper and coloring books. I quite like it. The only downside is that the “drawers” pull all the way out. I solved that by having it overlap with the cabinet framing by an inch, which acts as a stop.

2. Scrapbook Paper: I don’t scrapbook (I don’t have the patience) but I do like the paper. When I see cute packs on sale at Michael’s or JoAnn’s I will pick them up. I have a pack that I picked up in June for Sam’s party. I still have a lot left over. Fortunately the paper fit almost perfectly at the back of the cabinet. I just used permanent double stick tape to put it in place. You can’t see but I have a stripe in the same color at the back of the bottom shelf.

Kids Puzzles packaged in baggies: They take up a lot less space now but are easy to find

3. Sterlite Latch Box (1.55 Gallon $3.75): I like the size of these containers (11.5″x15″x 3.25″). They will fit a piece of paper and are shallow enough not to loose stuff. They also fit well in the Expedit shelves. So far I have used 2 of them. One for puzzles and one for smaller arts and crafts supplies. I heard rumors that Walmart is discontinuing this model (of course now that I found something I like). So I am considering picking up some more. I really like how the handles keep the box snapped in place. They also stack well and are designed to stack with the smaller sizes. I also picked up some that are 1/4 this size (so 4 fit nicely on top).

Cork Liner, Home Depot $9.95 for 18″x48″ piece

4. Cork Bottom/Liner: I had some leftover cork from a project a few years ago. It had started to dry out and crack so I wasn’t sure if it was going to be useable, but after removing the gross 1970s wallpaper that was covering the bottom of this shelf I decided that cork would be perfect here. The bottom was pretty gross and I was going to either have to do a lot of prep to paint it or just clean it and glue down some cork. Fortunately the old cork adhered pretty well and the cracks mostly disappeared once it was glued in place. I need to buy some more for the top shelf, but fortunately it is quite reasonably priced.

Drawing Bucket from the $1 section at Target

5. Miscellaneous Open Storage: I also have a mix of plastic open storage buckets and boxes. Most of these came from the $1 store or target. These red buckets that store the kids everyday coloring and drawing stuff is a favorite. They are good about pulling these out and putting them back when they are done.

We also have other arts and crafts supplies stored up high (where little fingers can’t reach)that are only for when they are supervised (including markers, paints, specialty paper and stickers).

Does anyone else have good storage ideas for the kids arts and crafts stuff?


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Our Desk Alcove (with Spike)

So this is where I work (most of the time). It is funny that it has taken me this long to show it you. I guess I spend too much time oogling other peoples offices and somehow felt that ours was a little lacking. I actually quite like our little alcove. I have a nice view of my overgrown trees and plants and I really like having our desk downstairs. Both Mr. S. & I spend a fair amount of time here and it is nice to be with the rest of the family. Unfortunately it tends to get cluttered up with paperwork and toys. For the last couple of weeks I have been trying to purge a lot of the papers and reorganize all of the “stuff” while also adding in some of our favorite tchotchkes.

Desk Area made out of an Ikea Wood Counter

Our desk area is the only “addition” to our house. We moved a couple of walls at the back of the house when we switched our kitchen and dining room. Our back porch and refrigerator room became one space and we added this 3′x7′ bump out to fit a desk. The space sits directly opposite from the piano and abuts the back french doors. The desk is made of the Numerar Oak Counter top. It is in a size that is no longer available (3′x6′). We cut a little bit off of the width and used those pieces to fill the sides to make a custom fit. There is also a 2×4 structure supporting it with joist hangers (it is a pretty heavy counter). We also have some low office units from Ikea (which appear to no longer be available) sitting below the desk. I made the valance and cut the Ikea roller shades down similar to the adjacent Dining Room. I have also added 1 vintage saarinen office chair and am still on the lookout for another reasonably priced one to replace our red Ikea office chair.

Wall Shelves

As part of my goal of making our space more pulled together (but still personal) I switched out some of our boring storage boxes and mixed in some favorite items including a Ben Franklin bust (our favorite Philadelphian), a vase painted by Sam a couple of years ago, a Missoni box, a Robot print and a small race car. On the upper shelf I added a couple of the green storage boxes that we really need and a small trebuchet that I bought Mr. S.  I also added a couple of his vintage albums.

My current favorite grouping

I really like that there is a mix of practical items with fun whimsical things that bring a smile to my face.

Photos, Ceramic Squirrel & One of my husband’s favorite photos by Leif Skoogfors

I have also been working on adding some personal photos to the desk. I am still on the lookout for the perfect tray to layer in below them, but I like being able to see a couple of our annual holiday card photos. We also picked up this awesome squirrel  from Jonathan Adler on our mini NYC vacation last week.

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Piano w/ newly painted red lamps and kids artwork

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I have been feeling more motivated the last few days. I’m not sure if it is the cooler weather, the deadline for getting images together of the house or the hint that fall will be here in a couple of weeks, but I am going to try and keep it going for a while longer.

The piano area in our house is a prime candidate for clutter and until now didn’t have anything in particular on top except for one small lamp (which has been relocated to the kids play area upstairs). This landing zone is where we come in and out of the house most days and the area often becomes cluttered with stuff, particularly the top of the piano and the floor space around it. In my quest to make the piano area more polished looking, I bought 2 new lamps for over the piano last week to add some height. Over the weekend I managed to paint them and add ribbon to the lamp shades.

Martha Stewart Craft paint in Tartan Red with a Satin Finish, $2.99

I headed over to JoAnns to see what they had in paint. I was originally thinking that I would use spray paint, but I didn’t want a gloss and the choices in satin and matte were not so good. So I decided to take a look at the craft paint. I liked the look of the Martha Stewart craft paint (in Tartan Red) and decided that for the price it was worth a try. I also thought it might work better anyway because the lamps already had a slight brushed texture to them. Fortunately, the paint went on well in one coat. It was really easy because I just squeezed the paint right onto the brush, so clean up was super easy and I only used about 2/3 of the small container.

Gluing Grosgrain Ribbon onto the Lamp Shade

I also picked up some aqua grosgrain ribbon for the lamp shades for $3.99. I decided to try gluing it directly to the shade with craft glue (Alene’s Original Tacky Glue). I started at the back and used some scotch tape to hold it in place. Then in about 9″ increments I added glue to the ribbon and pulled it tight. Keeping it tight is key because the lamp shade is slightly smaller on the top then the bottom and it will pucker on the top if you aren’t careful.

Fixing a couple of spots on the ribbon

I had a couple of spots at the top where I needed to add more glue. I took a small piece of cardboard and carefully put a little bit of glue in the gap and pushed down with my finger. Then I waited over night and put them back on the piano the next morning.

Piano with new lamps and accessories

So now that the lamps were done it was time to add some more accessories. I started with a table runner by simrin that I bought a couple of years ago. I really like the color and pattern, but find that I don’t use it very often with the kids.

The kids birdhouses and a few of Sam’s treasures from Artcamp

I had already decided that I wanted to feature some of the kids artwork on top. I found an old brass (?) plate that we had and added one of my favorite books (Pattern by Orla Kiely).

Copper bowl filled with the kids nature display (cicada shell in foreground)

Next I  added a copper bowl filled with the kids “nature display”. We let the kids collect pine cones, leaves, pebbles and cicada shells and had been putting them on a small tray that was getting too full. This new bowl works well.

I have also added a new basket (from Homegoods) that sits on the adjacent shoe rack, to hold miscellaneous stuff.

Next on the list is new valances to match the ones in the Dining Room. I sewed them over the weekend, but I still need to pick up the wood and brackets to finish them up.

So far I am really liking the red lamps and new bit of color to this corner of the house. What do you think?

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New Chair

July 16, 2012 — 1 Comment

New Chair from One Kings Lane

I hope everyone had a good weekend! We had a pretty relaxing weekend, although I don’t think I am quite ready for the week. I realized that I haven’t shown you my latest chair and its new home.

So I bought this chair a little while back thinking that it would go in our Master Bedroom. Well, we are still a long way from working on that space, so it was in the Living Room, until we did some rearranging and I moved it to the Dining Room last month. I like it in here so much that I think it will stay here for  a while and  I might need to look for a new chair for the bedroom.In its new location it is a good resting spot for putting on shoes or sitting and talking to someone while they are on the computer (which happens more than I would like).

Chair in Waverly Santa Maria Desert Flower

The chair was from One Kings Lane is no longer available, but the fabric is “Waverly Santa Maria Desert Flower” and is $19.99 a yard. They also have a coordinating zigzag and flower fabric, and it comes in a couple of colorways. I really do love the fabric. It is so fun, but it is definitely a statement piece.

P.S. I have some new exciting projects in the works, which I hope to share soon. I hope everyone has a good week and stays cool!

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Built-in Dining Room Hutch circa 1920 with new Glass Doors

One of the house projects that we wanted to finish before Sam’s Birthday Party were the doors on our built-in hutch in the Dining Room. This is not original to the house (built in 1888) but probably installed in the 1920s. Originally this was the alcove where the cooking stove was located (the brick is still behind this hutch) but since it has been here that long, we wanted to keep it. The previous owner striped off the paint and I repainted and papered the inside several years ago. The intention has always been to cut out the wood panels on the upper doors and put in glass. Well the doors have been sitting here for years waiting for that to happen. So last week Mr. S. went to work on them! I voted for the router, but he was concerned that it would damage the doors, so he went the route of carefully using a utility knife to the back of the doors (they are pine so they are fairly soft). He carefully took the back of the tongue off the frames and took out the wood, over several nights. Then he installed glass (Lowes will cut glass while you wait) with glazing caulk and painted the inside of them to match the blue (which is also the same blue as our kitchen island and bench).

Top of Hutch w/ Vintage Fiestaware mixed with new Plates

I dusted off everything in the cabinets and moved some stuff around. I also added some more plates and bowls on top of the hutch. I am definitely not an expert in arranging stuff but I am liking the additional color from the Fiestaware. These colorful plates and bowls were my grandmother’s (as is the chihuahua platter). The pitcher is from the Orla Kiely line at Target a few years ago. The big bird platter is Thomaspaul and the small plates are from John Derian line at Target a couple of years ago.

Close Up of Dining Room Hutch w/ Charlie Harper Tea Cups

There is more glare than I was expecting from the glass, but I am really liking that the doors are back up and it is looking more finished. I still need to tile the random little bit of floor in front. It is concrete (from the original cooking stove), so our floor installer didn’t want to put wood on top. We have tile that matches the tile behind our stove all ready (it has been waiting even longer than the doors).

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