I’ll show you my brass pineapples if you show me yours…

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Come on people, get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m actually talking about my brass pineapples. 

It’s no surprise that I hopped on this trend given that 1. It includes brass, and 2. Pineapples have long been known as a universal symbol of welcoming and hospitality.  Its been said that after captains had traveled to the Caribbean to bring back goods, they would spear the fence post outside their home with a pineapple letting everyone know they were home safe from sea.  Anyone who knows me, knows that my love of the sea runs deep, and even though I learned of this fact after my obsession with obtaining brass pineapples began, I still feel as if this bit of history that I unearthed sort of seals me to this whole pineapple trend-so basically me and pineapples, we are forever.

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Now I know I’ve pretty much set up this post to be all about my brass pineapples,and trust me I’m going to be flashing them around so much that you may experience temporary blindness,  BUT, I majorly scored on vacation this year, and mostly I have to show you errythang because it is awesome and plus also its all shoved onto the mantle in a conglomerate mess of awesome things.

First up, the ginger jar.  It’s.pink.  PINK! As if this fact alone wasn’t enough, it just so happens to be covered in flora and fauna and it’s just absolutely delicious, and whats more is that I bought it from my favorite family who’s shops I visit year after year when we go the Outer Banks.  I support their sea faring antiques business and they support my need to acquire more things.  Symbiosis at it’s finest. 

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A flock of Kokeshi Dolls

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These lambs are probably my favorite vacation purchase.  There aren’t any markings or labels that I can discern, though I do think they have a Lefton quality to them.  I  love their mischievous little eyes.

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And this cat.  She was love at first sight.  We didn’t exactly make eye contact, but when I saw her huge ceramic rump in the window I knew I was taking her home.  Her green eyes totally sealed the deal.  

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Do you hunt and scour the dingy depths of thrift/antique stores to find special things to take back home with you on vacation?  I love the Outer Banks and spend many of my days planning how I can make it our forever home, but in the meantime I have these special treasures that remind me of my days by the sea.  I hope you all can be so lucky to find as many special things that remind you of your favorite places.

XO-Tara

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Dining Room Revamp Part 2

I hope you all had a fabulous Valentines day-we ordered Chinese and watched The Vow-it was fabulous. 

Today I am sharing the finale to our dining room revamp!  

Our dining room table is the only piece of furniture that we kept for the new and improved space.  I’ve talked about the table before here, it’s such a solid piece and can totally withstand my two girls sitting on it (literally sitting on top of it because that’s how they do).

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girls 019Now lets talk Craigslist and the bench pictured above.  I rescued these lovelies from a playroom full of toddler jumping and marker scribbles.  Someone was practically giving them away at $40 for the pair.  I was sort of taking a gamble seeing as I had no idea how long they were, but in the end the turned out to be perfect.  Now while the benches themselves were cheap, the vinyl to reupholster them certainly was not!  I went with a more expensive vinyl that feels soft and buttery, and has a lovely stretch that cheaper marine vinyl does not have-it was $35 a yard, but I we (my mom purchased 5 yards for me as part of my xmas gift) held out for sales and ended up spending about $160 for 8 yards-which sure beats the $280ish dollars it would have been.  I don’t have a lot of photos from the reupholstering process because we had no idea what we were doing, and it would be like the blind leading the blind- we don’t know two shits about upholstering.  What I will tell you is that for first timers I think we really did a great job! 067

We had to remove the bench from the frame to reupholster it, and in order to get the benches to scoot under the table we sawed off part of the arm.  To conceal the staples, and add some interest we added gold upholstery tacks.  And remember when I talked about painting the wing-back chairs following that great tutorial from Hyphen Interiors?  Well, I did.  I can’t say I’m thrilled with the results, which is why I’m purchasing black slipcovers instead.  You can see from one of the photos that they are a little streaky, and the fabric does feel similar to a stiff canvas-but it’s just not comfortable.  And talk about lint magnets! 

Without any further jabbering, here is another before and after:

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I removed the wing-back so you could see the benches and the rugs underneath the table

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The gorgeous over-dyed rugs (they didn’t have one quite big enough so I bought two and put them together) are from Rugs USA.  I cannot find this particular rug (the Kimberly) on their site anymore, but I bought mine when they were 70% off, and they quickly sold out.  Nuloom, which I believe is the actual maker/supplier of the rug, is also sold out.  These rugs were normally around $500 a piece, and I scored two 5×8’s for $300!  They are hand tufted over-dyed wool, and the quality is absolutely amazing!  I love the way they ground the space.  

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I Love the Ikea Stockholm chandelier, the mid-century dresser, and the faux sheepskin.  All those elements together are glamorous without being over the top.

books on tableSince I decided not to put the books back into the room, I knew neat piles of books on the table would have to suffice.  This is where I read, sew, menu plan, and I needed the space to reflect that without being cluttered by books.cluttered classy

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ranarp ikea light

I knew these Ranarp industrial sconces from Ikea would become very popular, and I was right because weeks after I purchased mine Country Living featured them in their magazine.  These chic clamp on spotlights add a lovely industrial/boho vibe that tempers some of the girly elements in the room. I don’t know if this happens to you, but I seem to predict trends simply based on what I’m drawn to at the moment.  It happens all the time.  Like when HGTV had a feature recently on the Benjamin Moore paint color “Hot Lips”.  I was like, “whaaaa?” My kitchen has been hot lips for over a year! 

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032Painterly fabrics are so hot right now.  I fell in love with these pillows on Etsy, but couldn’t justify the close to $100 for the two of them.  Luckily I found this pretty painterly fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  It’s a satin broadcloth with a lovely bit of stretch.  It is incredibly soft, and feels a bit luxurious for the price since it’s just $16 a yard.  Since I splurged on the vinyl for the benches, I went with another heavier duty sateen broadcloth to cover the window seat.

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target tabeThreshold for Target table that I scored for $23!

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Hope ya’ll enjoyed my makeover story!

XO-Tara

A Dining Room Revamp…

 After years of living in white-walled apartments I was both excited and overwhelmed at the decorating possibilities that lay before me after we purchased our 1929 bungalow.  No more horrendous brown carpet, eggshell paint, and New York City sized kitchens.  But as a self diagnosed “serial decorator” I was a little too eager to get this house looking spiffy.  I made A LOT of mistakes.  I was impatient, and on top of that we were completely broke for the first few months because I wasn’t working.  Broke AND impatient are not a good basis for any worthy design plan.  In the first week of being moved in to our new home I painted our living room a yummy shade of Pepto Bismal pink.  Then without so much as a blink, stenciled a purple Ikat pattern on the dining room walls.  It looked like I hired a 12 yr old girl to do my decorating for me.  I had some sort of ill decorating syndrome from years of living in bland apartments, which prevented me from painting or doing anything that wasn’t completely over the top-and WRONG.  Because I had never been able to choose paint colors before, I thought I was relegated to super saturated intense colors.  Why after years of being held back from decorating the way I wanted, would I choose barely there paint colors that you could hardly notice??? I wanted to make a statement-and boy did I.  

Case & point:

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Hodge Podge is the word that comes to mind when looking at this photo.  This was right before we painted the living room Lily Lavender by Benjamin Moore.  (never mind the ghost lights or the folded laundry) Once we lightened up, everything started making more sense.  I still had lots of work to do, but that was definitely my turning point.  I realized that sometimes less is MORE.   And as much as I still hate things being “undone”, I understand now that it takes time, and I think the bottom photo proves that I learned my lesson.  

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 Now you might think I’m just getting ready to share a dining room overhaul with you-and I am, but I’m also sharing a lot more…Growth.  I like to think of this as a sort of decorating coming of age tale if you will.  I’ll be thirty-one this year.  I’ve spent four years growing into myself-in this house that I adore, and this dining room signifies not only personal growth, but the growth I’ve experienced as a decorator.  The design was well thought out, yet also instinctual.  It’s bohemian, and glamorous, and super comfy.  It’s truly a space to “hang out” in, and that’s exactly what we do each night as we put on Frank Sinatra, light the candles, and enjoy a meal together.  

I’m sharing this revamp (more like complete overhaul) in three stages.  It would be far too much to cram all into one post, and I want to compare each area with the before photos.  So suck it

I’m not going to lie, I nearly had a panic attack when we started painting over the Ikat, but I instantly knew I would love having a dark and cozy dining room.  The paint color is Mark Twain grey by Valspar.

before after

corner sideboard view

corner view light off

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I removed the bar cart from the living room, and opted instead for this tabletop version.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect tray to sit underneath.  books DR close up

I nabbed the mid-century dresser on Craigslist for $70.  The brand is Lenoir House, which was a division of Broyhill.  Lenoir House sold the companies more modest priced pieces. I’m also still (after all these years) thinking of a way to disguise that plywood covered hole in the floor which use to be where the coal burning furnace was.

window seat view

The floor lamp is from Target, and the shade is covered in a cheapie Ikea stripe, which I also used for some euro pillows on the window seat.  I like the unconventional pairing of the table lamp on one side, with the floor lamp on the other.  The large oval mirror (also Ikea) reflects so much light and prettiness from the rest of the room.  

As with most things, it’s not 100% finished-I will undoubtedly change things, but the bones of this room are so right that I imagine it will stay this way for quite a while.  

Xo-Tara

Use What You’ve Got…

As discussed in my previous post, you know, the one I posted weeks ago?! I had high hopes for the mantle going into 2014.  I’m sure the fact that so much time and attention goes into planning my mantle decor seems ludicrous to most people.  But, it honestly was about more than that.  Sure, I’m an obsessive decorator who’s dreams consist of wallpaper samples and paint swatches, but the obsession over the mantle wasn’t merely about decor, it was more about being a showcase of inspiration.  I am an avid resolution maker, and not just each new year.  ALL.THE.TIME.  I crave change like a Big Mac.  It’ s a blessing, and curse.  Now, obviously the mantle didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, and that is OK too.  I did buy a few prints that I had envisioned for it, but I ended up liking them better in our new and improved dining room, which I will share soon.  That’s the thing about planning, you can’t be too rigid because then you don’t allow room for things to happen organically, and no one wants their decor to feel forced and stuffy.  I ended up using things I already had to decorate the mantle after the holidays, with the exception of the white vase which I scored at Target on clearance.  I bought two, and I am kind of in love with them! While it’s not filled with the things I had originally intended, it is inspirational, and it doesn’t cost anything to decorate with things you already have!  I have a framed card that Ava made me for Mother’s Day, lots of family photos that I clipped on using the glitter pins that held the advent calender, and I even kept a few paper fans up there, because they are fun, and add a touch of whimsy that makes me smile.  
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Ikea does it again…

You know that ever popular hash tag #targetdoesitagain?  Well, Ikea needs one of its own, and hasn’t it for some time? 

I took an impromptu trip today with my mama, and came home with some delicious goods.  

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I’m not sure why it took me so long to nab one of these black & white striped blankets, but I finally caved.  I also got a couple books, one is on entertaining, and the other about outdoor spaces.  At $8 a pop, they were steal.  And lets talk about those plates.  I mean, come on! Under that stack of stuff is a HUGE cutting board that was practically a gift with purchase at just $10! 

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Pictured below is the most perfect light fixture, that will replace the one I’m tired of in the kitchen.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It has a vintage feel, and is much larger than it appears.  They also have this fixture in a slightly smaller accent lamp style.  

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So basically this whole post was a public service announcement to get your asses to Ikea, and pick up some cool shit at reasonable prices.  Your welcome. 

This week I’ll be sharing a holiday wreath DIY that is nothing short of amazeballs, and a recipe for pasta with caramelized onions, and a Gruyere cheese sauce.  

XO-Tara

What The Flock?

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Is there anything better than a flocked Christmas tree?  Hell to the no!  I bought this tree from Walmart a few years ago for $120, after searching endlessly, and only finding what I thought were overpriced options.  The flocking is top notch in my book.  It doesn’t come off the way you think it would, and the branches are heavily coated.  If your in the market for a flocked tree, this is the one to beat!  

Before it gets all Christmasy up in here, I’m going to show you some pictures of my revamped Ikea coffee table, since they are sharing the same space, and its hard to take a photo of one without the other.  In case you don’t remember, I recently shared this chalkboard table DIY.  Well, I’m already (mere weeks later) tired of it, and changed it out for the old one.  This is how I roll, people.  I change things.  A LOT.  The old and current table is the “Strind” from Ikea.  There is no longer a clear glass option for this table, it only comes in white, and black.  

 My recent obsession with all things brass/gold spurred this transformation.  It’s amazing what a can of Gold Rust-Oleum spray paint can do!  Before the table had an undeniable industrial feel, and now it is pretty, and chic.

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Now, back to Christmas trees…

A few years ago I fell in love with this vintage oriental themed tree by Mathew Mead:

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My interpretation of this fabulous tree uses mini party fan decorations:

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I am in love!  The leopard skirt is actually a couple yards of fabric that I got for cheap at Joanne’s.  It all seems very Christmas Mad Men style to me, with the bar cart being right by the tree.  The addition of the shimmery disco ball makes it truly festive, and over the top! 

I have a mixture of both new and vintage ornaments. I love to scour the thrift stores every year, and find new vintage beauties to add to my collection  My favorite ornaments are actually vintage reproductions by Christopher Radko for Shiny Brite.  

side treewhole tree view2013-11-11That’s it for now folks! 

XO-Tara

Hot Lips In The Kitchen

Hot lips in the kitchen, say what?! I’m referring to a Benjamin Moore paint color, folks! Yes, I’m prepared to show you something all kinds of hot pink, and delicious. But first I’m sharing a photo of my amazing family from Halloween-because, well, look at them! We DIY’d the Katy Perry costume for Ava for about $30, and my lovely Sadie was such a sassy 1920’s flapper.  Had to share! Also since it shows part of my dining room I figured it was a nice segue for me to tell you that It is being featured on Cutting Edge Stencils blog.  So go check it out! 
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Now, since I went an entire week without a post (again), I figured I better share something pretty fantastic with you.  I may be a little biased, but how can a pink kitchen be a bad thing?

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The paint color is “hot lips” by Benjamin Moore, I think it is very reminiscent of this foyer featured in House Beautiful, painted in their razzle dazzle shade. The kitchen used to be black, but it just wasn’t working. Even though the space gets an amazing amount of light, the dark color sucked the energy out of the room.  I didn’t like the black kitchen juxtaposed with the purple ikat dining room either.  Now the space is vibrant, and fun, and it just sort of glows from every angle.  

DSC02027The stove wasn’t always in this location, but after we put in a dishwasher and added counter space, this was only place for it to go.  I refuse to give up my breakfast nook to make room for a larger kitchen, so I’ve gotten comfortable with this arrangement.  Here is a before of the kitchen redo in progress:

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I gained so much counter space by switching the stove to the opposite side, and removing the cabinet that the old hood was attached to, only helped to open the space up.  When I was a teenager my mom removed every cabinet in our kitchen, opting instead for open shelving, the she skirted the bottom portion of would be cabinets in a floral Ralph Lauren fabric.  Yeah, traditional kitchens ain’t our thang.

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I did keep some black in the kitchen by way of a chalkboard refrigerator:

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And the hot pink peg board?! I adore it. In a smallish kitchen it helps to have things on hand.

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Lastly, Is a glimpse of the breakfast nook before it undergoes some transformation.  We are planning to do a built in bench seat on all three sides to cozy up the space, and maybe a few sconce lights, because I am not a fan of overhead lighting.

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I have some fun Christmas projects to share, and a chic (very simple) Ikea table redo, so stay tuned! 

XO-Tara