Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Only one room in this house had wallpaper but it happened to be the room that I wanted for my son Reis who is 9 months old. Moving a 9 month old from one house to another can mess up his sleep schedule....and I don't like a baby who won't sleep. So, in an effort to make this transition as easy as possible I was determined to have Reis's room striped, primed and painted before we moved in.

We started on Saturday morning with help from some friends, one to watch Reis and another to help with the wallpaper (thanks friends!). We went with the mostly-cheap strategy of purchasing a wallpaper solution from Home Depot. Everything started out fine. The initial layer of vinyl came off with little effort and the next layer of paper adhesive came off with a little more elbow grease....but then things got interesting.

After several days of studying the walls in this room I have determined it's decorating history. The room started out with the bottom half of the walls painted a bright shade of purple and some kind of wallpaper border. It appears that at some point someone started to strip the wallpaper border by striping the vinyl layer but didn't finish the job by striping the paper adhesive layer. Instead the painted the bottom half of the walls a bright neon blue...including painting right over the wallpaper border paper adhesive. This bedroom's third life included a striped wallpaper and yet another wallpaper border. That paper adhesive with the blue paint on it was not fun to remove!!! We spent ALL day striping that stupid border. My arms and back are sore and my knees have carpet burn. Oh what I will do for design!

So the room is striped and the walls are clean. Tomorrow I vacuum, sand and prime. Friday I paint. Saturday we move in. We are cutting it close but I think we can do it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Sofa

So I went to the house this morning and taped out the dimensions of the sofa we were thinking of getting. I wanted to make sure it would fit and i needed to decide which side I wanted the chaise. It's a good thing too because I flipped the chaise from where I thought I had wanted it. Originally I was going to put it on the left against the corner of the room but I decided to put it on the right. This way I have room for an end table on each side. While I think the size is a good fit, I do have to say I am still a little worried that it might feel too big. I just really wanted to make sure that it was comfortable for Andrew. The last sofa we bought was just way too small for him. I didn't want to make that mistake again so I erred on the side of going larger.

Since the sofa was on sale, we went over and put in our order today. However, the cost is giving me an ulcer...this sofa better last us 30 years! Part of the reason we decided on this sofa from Bassett was because we got to customize the size, arm style, leg style, cushions, fabric and we get a lifetime warranty on the frame and seat cushions.

The bottom fabric is for the sofa, the top fabric for the pillows. Selecting the fabric was a nightmare. I tend to select colors that have yellow undertones and unfortunately our new house has a LOT of red undertones. The room that this new sofa is going in has gray carpet with faux slate porcelain tile. I hate the gray carpet. Hate it. Awful. Ultimately I think I would want wood in the foyer and family room. The tile is freezing right now and hardwood would just warm up the space SO MUCH! I'm just praying that my fabric selection for the sofa will play nice with the gray carpet for as long as it needs to.

And since stressing over extremely expensive sofas isn't enough to keep me busy, here are some more foyer pendant options... Do you have a new favorite?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's ours!

We closed on the house Friday morning, complete with celebratory Dunkin Donuts breakfast (it just arrived in St. Louis a couple weeks ago....and for east coasters...this is big news!). We headed right over to the house so we could look around, sit on the floor, and contemplate what we had gotten ourselves into.

Since it had been awhile since I had seen the house the first thing that I noticed was that the dimensions in my head were all WRONG! Real estate photos tend to be distorted so I was thinking the living room and the master bath were about twice and long as they are in reality...bummer. Also the vaulted ceiling was not really as high as I remembered. Other discoveries...the old windows on the back of the house which have fake muntins, the muntins are between the panes of glass and can not be removed. Currently they are faded or disintegrating.... lovely. I have also found an outlet that doesn't work and one toliet that has a very weak flush...welcome home!

Saturday and Sunday were spent striping wallpaper. This went pretty quickly...until we realized there was some kind of second layer of wallpaper that had been painted over. Now we are stuck trying to figure out if we can get away without stripping this weird second layer. No home improvement goes unpunished.

We squeezed in some sofa shopping this weekend too. First we went to Bassett and are considering an option that would look like this...
We also stopped at Crate and Barrel and fell in love with the Axis sectional....we could afford the sofa with chaise but we really want the corner sectional.

Considering our budget is nonexistent it will probably be a sofa with I just need to decide which one and what fabric. Decision, decisions!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Andrew just got back from the walkthrough and everything looks good. The house is clean and ready for us to move in! His one and only comment was that he can't wait to change the light fixture in the foyer (see above) and he hoped that I was planning something "cool" for that spot. I'm not sure if these will meet his definition of "cool" but this is what I have been thinking about.

My first thought was this bentwood pendant by a Danish/Costa Rican artist named Hennig Dyes. I've been coveting this fixture for several years but never had the right place for it. Now it appears I have lost my chance, a quick Google search informed me that Dyes has retired and his fixtures are no longer available.... serious bummer! So I had to start fresh.

First I came across these two fixtures which are very similar. I like the feel of the black iron but also the leafy natural patterns.

I also thought this fixture from Ballard Designs might be an option. It has a more traditional feel than I usually go for but it is still clean and simple. My plan would be to modify the glass a bit to give it some more character and to hide the bulb. I hate having to stare at a naked bulb.

So give me some feedback. What do you think? Do you have a favorite or should I keep looking?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Full Disclosure

Minor detail...but we haven't actually bought this house yet. Don't worry! The walk through is tomorrow and the closing is Friday, it's as good as ours. If only I could remember what it feels like inside... I've only been in the house ONCE, the day we looked at it, probably for 30 minutes. It will be interesting to see if my memory of the house is as good as the reality of it. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

In the meantime I am packing up our stuff that we have had with us for the last 3.5 months and enlisting friends to come and help me strip wallpaper this weekend. One of the bedrooms is half covered with wallpaper and it happens to be the room I want to use for our son Reis. This is the photo from the house listing. Check out that awesome neon blue pegboard shelf! I actually do think the pegboard is awesome...just not the color. It will stay but will be painted.

In order to make the transition as easy as possible for Reis I want the room to be striped, primed and painted before we move in. I have one week to make it happen. Anyone want to weigh in on whether I should rent a steamer or just try getting it off with vinegar solution?

The plan for Reis's room is a recreation of his nursery at our old house in the city. I LOVED how the nursery came out and I was very sad to leave it. Here is a mood board I made up while I was pregnant and some photos of the room almost finished. Sadly in my new mother haze I never took pics of the completed room at the old house but I won't let that happen again! I'll be sure to take before and in progress photos this weekend and by next week it should be completed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I was living in a 102 year old brick home in the city and I'm about to move into a 30 year old multilevel in the suburbs. I've got GRAND plans for this little gem, the problem is that I don't have a GRAND budget. So, changes will be in small steps and phases as money and time permit. It may take a bit of time but I'm excited to document the process and to see where it takes me.

I'm a LEED AP commercial interior designer by trade, interested in green design, anything vintage and a modern country aesthetic. My husband of 2 years, my 8 month old son and our little black cat, Della, will be along for the ride.

No more time to waste....let's get started!