Thursday, March 31, 2011

A.T. Tour - Hollywood Glam on a Budget

I have been finding quite a few wonderful house tours on Apartment Therapy's website lately.  I especially love that they include renters in their tour selections.  Today they posted about a wonderfully tiny apartment decked out in Hollywood Glam, and on a budget no less.

Her use of light colors, bold metallics & dark accents are right on with what I consider "glam" to be.  You will see a mirrored desk, gold fixtures, lush rugs, expensive looking furniture and flowing draperies.

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Photo: Apartment Therapy
 The all-white and grey living room, with a weathered table & focusing on the beautiful fireplace is very "Old Hollywood" to me.  You can just imagine an old starlet relaxing with her favorite drink in front of a raging fire.  Modern touches with the drapery panels and modern lighting, even the paint colors, keep the room current.

Photo: Apartment Therapy
 I love her use of space in the kitchen.  It's amazing how much extra storage you can get by using dead space on a wall.  Look at all the bake-ware that she was able to fit on this pan rack!  I also adore the butcher block side table, and I am currently looking for something similar, but smaller for next to our stove.  It's a great place to store the oils and spices you use most, set your stirring utensils & is able to give you more storage space to boot!

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Photo: Apartment Therapy

I think she did a beautiful job putting this apartment together.

Please check out the entry, how she keeps her spending down & the whole tour on Apartment Therapy:  Hollywood Glam

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Uses for Closet Items

Good Morning Everyone, and Happy Monday!
I know it has been a week since I posted, and I apologize, but it has been a busy week at work & at home - so I haven't gotten on line much.

I do have one piece of exciting news, the drapes for the basement are done & hanging, but need a TON of ironing, so as soon as the ironing is complete & I have a chance to clean a bit, I will be showing the final product.  Because we have been gearing up for the bathroom renovation, there is bathroom stuff everywhere!  Including our brand new toilet, which takes up a bit of room, but I'll freshen the place up so that I can take some photos!

But because I love to share fun tips & info with everyone, I thought I'd throw together a quick post with information that I found in a Real Simple article sent to my email.  They love doing articles on re-purposing things in your home 1,000 different ways, and this is a similar one - it's how to use things in your closet in a fun new way.  Enjoy!

1. 5 Slot Pant Hanger as Gift Wrap Central:  Hang tissue paper, ribbon, tape & all the "extras" used for wrapping onto one of your pants organizers!  It keeps everything together in one place.  You can even attach a hook to the back side of your closet door, and hang this here, with a basket at the bottom to hold all of your wrapping paper as well.  Then it really is a one-stop shop!

2. Wine Box as Shoe Storage:  Ever get a case of wine, and then just recycle the box?  How about covering it with wall covering, or wrapping paper, stacking a few, and using it to store your shoes?!

3. Chip Clips for Small Coat Hangers:  Okay, so your kids favorite coat doesn't fit on the hangers in your closet... problem solved.  Use your chip clips to clip the coat to the hanger.  This works with spring jackets best.

4. Clothes Pin as Hanger Stop:  How many times have you picked up your favorite tanks after they have slid off the hanger for the 400th time.  Here is a quick solution.  Clamp one clothes pin on each side and use it as a stop, so that the straps stay put.

Photo: Real Simple
 5. Dryer Sheet as Shoe Freshener:  Don't like to just throw away the dryer sheet after you have used it?  Stick it in a pair of shoes to absorb odors and moisture!

6. Felt Circle for Hanger Help:  Another way to keep those tanks and strappy dresses on the hangers is to attach a felt circle to each side of the hanger.  These circles are like the ones that you put under your furniture to slide on the hardwood floors.

7. Lingerie Bag as Sock Reuniter:  They suggest hanging a lingerie bag in your closet, and every time you have a spare sock, stick it in there until it's mate reappears.  I do this as well, but with a linen bag that is hanging on the handle of the door.  It's a great way to keep track of the extras.

8. Shower Curtain Rings as Scarf Sorter:  If you are going to replace your shower curtain rings, wash a few, and keep them to keep your scarves organized.  Hang them from hooks, or link them together to keep your scarves all in one place.

Photo: Real Simple
9. Soda Bottle as Boot Supporter:  There are months and months when your boots go unused.  To keep their shape year after year, use an old soda or water bottle to keep them upright.  Reusing & keeping your boots in better shape for longer - win-win!

10. Step Stool as Shoe Organizer:  Looking for an extra shelf for your shoes - use a step stool to create more room for shoes.  For that matter, you can bridge over your shoe collection and use the step stool as sweater storage, purse storage or put your laundry sorter here!

11. Lingerie Bag as Extra Storage:  Looking to coral your scarves, tights, leggings, anything that is hard to fold, or doesn't really have a home?  Hang a lingerie bag from a hanger & fill it with these odds and ends.

12. Mirror as Centerpiece:  If mirrors do one thing well, it's reflect light!  Have an old mirror with a broken frame that you don't have a purpose for?  Take the frame off & set it on your dining room table.  Cover with pillar candles & viola!  A great centerpiece.

Photo: Real Simple

13. Rubberband as Strap Supporter:  Yet another way to keep those straps on the hangers.  Wrap a rubber band around the end of your hanger - another sure-fire way to keep the straps from sliding off!

14. Shoe Storage as Art Supply Organizer:  Take an old shoe cubby system, paint it a fun color, add baskets & store all of you or your child's arts and crafts here!  Added bonus, the top is a flat surface to work on, or to stack something on top of!

15. Shower Curtain Hooks as Handbag Hangers:  If you have hooks on your shower curtain rod & are looking to replace them, keep a few, hang them from your closet rod & keep all your favorite purses together in one place!

16. Tea Bag as Drawer Sachet:  We have a favorite tea, that smells amazing, even before you make it.  Take one of your favorite tea bag and throw it in your unmentionable drawer!  It will leave everything smelling that great!  PS, works great for mens' sweat socks drawer too, just make sure it's a spicy scent, like spicy chai tea.

Photo: Real Simple
17. Wire Hanger as Static Remover:  This might be the only good reason to keep a wire hanger or two around.  They can stop static in it's tracks.  Try rubbing one on your skirt to keep it from sticking to your leggings!

18. Freezer Bags as Clothing Storage:  Want to keep all of your kids winter gear in one place during the summer season?  Toss everything into a gallon freezer bag, label it with your child's name & put them all together in a bin in the closet!

Photo: Real Simple
 19. Vinegar as Sweater Fluffer:  Apparently adding a few drops of vinegar to the rinse cycle will fluff up your wool sweaters.  Keep this one in mind come fall!

Here is a link to the article on Real Simple:  Closet Repurposing!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stacked Cabinets

Hello everyone, hope your weekend's were fun and productive.  I made it through a few projects at home that I'll photograph as part of our living room update soon, but I wanted to drop in and post one of the greatest ideas that our good friend "Martha" has ever had.  Stacked Cabinets. 

When I came across this, I thought that it might be the best idea, and one of the simplest to achieve.  You can also use this project in several different rooms in your house:  Kitchen, Dining Room, Entry, etc... I encourage you all to get creative!  If you don't have enough storage space, but don't have room to add extra cabinets in your kitchen, or don't want to spend a ton of money on a new sideboard or curio cabinet, try this on for size.

Photo: Martha Stewart

Head to a flea market, a Habitat for Humanity Restore, or even a local second hand shop and look for a set of double lower and upper cabinets.  Make sure that the lower is a little wider than the upper.  Keep in mind also, that upper cabinets are usually 12" deep, while lower ones are 24" deep, so you will have an automatic step back. 

In the photo above, the upper cabinets have glass doors, which can make the cabinet pair a curio cabinet style display case, allowing you to show-off your dishes, nick-knacks, etc.  However you could go with solid doors for hidden storage, or even remove the doors & have an open shelf cabinet on the top and/or bottom.

Sand, prime and paint both sets the same color.  You can use crown molding to dress up the tops of both cabinets and get matching pulls to make the set appear to match. 

The top of the lower cabinet will most likely need a new flat surface, as not all cabinets have a fininshed surface on top, so you can go simple or go fancy with a new top for your cabinets.  For the simple approach, pick up a 3/4" sheet of plywood to cover the lower cabinet top.  Then add matching trim to both the top and bottom cabinets.  For a fancier and more modern approach, get a remnant slab of granite, soapstone, concrete, etc. to act as a "countertop" and place the upper cabinet on that flat surface.

You can bolt the cabinets together, or keep them separate & attach the upper cabinet to the wall with a tie-back.  You can choose from several different attachment options, but make sure that the upper cabinet is secure.  There is a chance that the floor or the furniture may not be level, which could be a disaster if the cabinet is not properly secured.

You can use this as a curio & server in your dining room.  It can be used as extra storage in your kitchen or eat-in area.  You can put it in a mud room fully equipped with baskets & bins to keep winter gear, toys & even outdoor tools kept neat & put away. 

I thought it was a wonderful idea & wanted to share it with everyone today as a quick & easy DIY project for your home.  It is also eco-friendly, as you can re-use someone's old cabinets -another great example of up-cycling! 

Have a super week, everyone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Small Living

I have something to admit:
I am in LOVE with house tours.  Taking 10 minutes to look at other people's houses & gain inspiration or see where other people's inspiration lies.  Just getting a sneak peak of some of the most beautiful homes around makes me want to go home and get everything done!

So, in an effort to find some beautiful house tours, I have been totally craving Apartment Therapy's House Tours Section.  Below are a few photos from one particular 800SF home in California.  Now if California wasn't 3,000 miles from everyone else we know and love, I'd live there in a heart beat - it's beautiful & there is nothing like a sunny day, every day, to keep you upbeat & positive.  Apparently this home is just part of a much larger home that was relocated to the beach!

Check out a few photos from Apartment Therapy:

Overall Neutrals, Bright, Natural woods & Pops of Orange, make this bachelor pad a clean, modern home to envy.  Maybe I'm just a sucker for the vases full of bright orange ranunculuses!

Check out the link for the entire house tour at Apartment Therapy:  Relocated Beach Cottage

Getting Ready for our Outdoor Garden

It is ALMOST spring... and I can't wait!
One of the first things that I do when spring is coming around is plan for our vegetable garden.  Last year, the wedding planning put gardening on hold, but this year - watch out!  I have been planning.

There is a method to my madness.  Our home faces South, so the best sun is in our front yard.  This does not make gardening ideal, so we tend to do a container garden.  I have found that large tomatoes do not grow well in a container garden, artichokes do not grow in our area, and other things along the way - so this year I think I have the solution. 

Instead of littering our entry stairs with containers, or throwing them all about in the front yard, I am going to gather them in a corner of our patio that gets pretty decent sun throughout the day.

Here is a two-minute sketch of my plan (literally).  I would like to group three large containers in the middle of the display, near the corner that will get the best amount of sun.  I will put Roma tomatoes in the largest container (smaller tomatoes, so hopefully slightly smaller plant that will deal with being in a container).  These tomatoes can be used tor salsa, soup & sandwiches, making them the most versitle of the tomato family.  I am going to do jalepenos and another vegetable, yet to be determined in the other two round pots.  I might use the other round pot for some of our favorite herbs as well, we'll see when I go to buy plants!

In the larger rectangular pot with the trellis shown, I will be planing beans.  They tend to want to climb, so I will either use a screen or mesh and attach it to the railing as well as imbed it in the dirt, so that the beans can grab the wire and climb!

In the other longer, shorter rectangular pot, I plan on growing salad greens.  Probably something like a mesculin mix.  I am very excited about this!  I might get a hanging garden box or two, and hang them over the railing, either way, I am ready for free salad greens - Maybe even some spinach!

There are two hanging basketsin the image.  From the one, I will hang 2-3 pepper plants (green and yellow) & the other is made for strawberries! Yum.  I haven't tried the strawberry one yet, but we'll see how it goes!

I am going to attempt to put a pot on the ground on the side of the house and try to get cucumbers to climb as well.  I would like to plant some garlic & some of our favorite herbs as well (basil, rosemary & cilantro).  Fresh salads & salsa as soon as these things start growing in!

Putting them on the porch will deter animals from coming too close and nibbling on them.  It will also protect them from extreme weather.  We can get some violent storms in the summer & potted plants tend to go flying in a strong wind.  It will also remind me to water them!  Sitting on the porch will be a constant reminder, rather than in the back yard, where we might not go every day.  It will also add some greenery without much cost to our porch area.

I like to buy most things as established plants, rather than seeds.  So I will be looking for pepper and tomato plants, while I will use seeds for the lettuce, herbs, garlic & beans.  I already have most of the containers, just need to get the dirt!

I'm so excited for spring & I love to watch the plants grow.  I plan on adding a lot of green touches to the porch this year, so keep watching for photos as the projects progress!  Happy "almost" spring to everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crazy Life!

Hello everyone!

Just wanted to check in.  Work has been hectic, life has been hectic, and in the meantime, not much has gotten done!  I'm making a list of things to get accomplished this weekend.

Right now I am organizing and tossing my magazine collection.  I just went through all the wedding magazines and pulled out the pages I wanted to keep & tossed the excess paper.  It certainly was lovely to flip through those pages again!   I cleaned out the bins under the coffee table & worked on organizing the shelves on either side of the fireplace.  I am really working hard to give everything it's appropriate place and do a good bit of spring purging!  Lots of work, but no real photos to share from it!

Photo Credit: Link
 I am going to try to work on my basement curtains this week, promise.  As I'd really like to be able to call the basement "done" for now.  We plan on painting it later, but it's the basement, it can wait!  Our upstairs hallway needs paint much more than the basement does :)

Also, with our tax return, we will have enough cash to finish buying things & start building things in the half bath.  I'm totally nervous to get started [gulp] as it will be the first real "construction" project we are doing.  We just need to purchase the toilet, light fixture & some miscellaneous building materials.  Then we can start the demo!

So, sorry again for the slow posting, hopefully I can get another couple design posts up this week before the weekend hits.  Thanks for following & reading!

Friday, March 11, 2011

How Small is Your Space

I am always super impressed by those who are able to make their tiny apartments look amazing.  I had 700sf in my downtown apartment (thank you cheaper cost of living) and still found it small for all my stuff!  However, the more I research, the more I realize that I just wasn't USING the space to the best of it's ability.  Looking back, now I can think of 1,000 things that I could have done to make that apartment amazing - given the time & a little extra cash!

Today on Apartment Therapy, I came across an article and a HOUSE TOUR of a man that lives in a 275 Square Foot apartment!  Can you believe that!  That is only 100sf bigger than our bedroom!  But he makes it work.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from Apartment Therapy of his dwelling:

Check out the link below to meet the tenant, find out where he lives & get a full house tour.  You wouldn't think it would take almost 20 photos to show his space, but it does & it's great.

Check it out here:  Tiny Apartment Living

This inspires me to get out there and really use the space that I live in & really makes me want to help other people realize the potential of the space they have!  Enjoy.

CasaSugar's Weekend DIY

Yay for Friday!  And Yay for Casa's Weekend DIY

Even though we are currently getting buried under a thick blanket of snow, at least it's Friday & we can spend the rest of the weekend bundled up and indoors if we have to!

Regardless of the weather, I wanted to bring you some DIY projects for the weekend - so if you are stuck inside with bad weather, here are a few ways to make your weekend more eventful!  And there is another Young House Love reference this week!  [Check out their website for progress on their new home!]

1. Make your own Raised Garden Beds (planting season is right around the corner!)
2. Easy Artwork - Young House Love Edition (seen above)
3. Clean White Crafting Station
4. Ombre Napkins
5. Paper Flower Key Holders
6. Magnetic Poetry (for your fridge!)
7. Jewelry Plant Charms

Check out Casa's Article for all the links to the instructions!  Casa's Weekend DIY

And more importantly have a super weekend!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Money Saver: When to buy What?

It is a proven fact that some months are better to purchase items than others.  There is always some type of sale that ties in to an event or date on a calendar, that make certian months hot for certain items.  I acertained this information from Real Simple & thought I'd share it here with you all.

February: Furniture
Retailers are clearing out old styles to make room for new spring lines. You can save 30-60%

March: Televisions
New models are released at the International Consumer Electronics show every January, so retailers want to get rid of their old stock to make room for new TV's which ship in March.  They also recommend Black Friday for another TV shopping day - if you can brave the lines & crouds!  March can get you a 15% savings.
Photo: Real Simple
March: Sandals The first markdowns on Spring Shoes begins in March (sadly enough).  20-30% off

April: Raincoats
Knowing that April Showers are common this month, retailers stock their stores full of rain gear, but don't want to keep it around long, as we all know May brings flowers - not more rain!  You can save up to 25%.

Photo: Real Simple
May: Athletic Apparel & Shoes
Retailers try to convince people that they need to replace last years duds with new gear.  Save 30-60%.

June: Dishware
Welcome to Wedding Season.  Because people are filling their registries with dishware, retailers offer discouts so that you buy more!  Buy buyer & register beware, some styles are only around for 12 months now a days!  Save 25-50%.
Photo: Real Simple
July: Home Decor
We are still in Wedding Season and the retailers are still wanting you to run out and purchase lots of items.  Look for 2 for 1 deals!  Save 20-50%

August: Swimsuits
As depressing as it is, August is saying good-bye to summer, so stores are saying good-bye to their summer inventory.  You can save a whopping 40-70%.

September: Plants
Nurseries are getting rid of their summer plants & making room for holiday plants & trees.  Look for savings of 30-50%.

Photo: Real Simple
 October: Jeans
Back to School is over, so retailers are dumping their extra inventory.  Because people aren't buying as much for Back to School & retailers are still ordering the same amount, they end up with lots of left overs.  Save 30-60%

November: Pajamas & Slippers
Popular Christmas gifts start going on sale to get people to buy boxed sets or sets with extras included.  You can save 30-50%.  Keep your eyes open in January though, these same stores will be clearancing their stock!

December: Outerwear
Sadly enough, spring gear starts hitting the stores in January, and retailers don't want these items hanging around for long.  So while you are out shopping for your family, pick yourself up some new winter gear this month.  You can save 15-40%

Check out their whole article HERE with links to retailers that they know offer discounts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Turquoise & Citron Inspiration Board

This has got to be one of my favorite new color combos.  We have a pillow on our couch that is turquoise & with the new citron pillows added to the couch, the bright color combo is amazing.  Now we aren't keeping that blue pillow there, it's just for added structure when we are both laying on the couch, but as I look around recently, I see that combo in other places.   I have never been a big fan of yellow, in clothes or in decorating, so how is it that I have fallen in love with this color?

One, it is in every magazine this year, from clothing to decorating & it's such a bright and unusual color, that I'm totally drawn to it.  Secondly, the color appears in the above mentioned combination on my new bags from 31gifts.  The combo is paired with a light grey, and warm grey & a white - leading me to want to create an inspiration board from the bag... here is a photo of my bag:
From 31gifts Spring Catalogue HERE

This picture doesn't really share the citron in as much glory as the bag itself actually does - but believe me,  it's there and it's great!  So this bag inspired me to throw together a room based on this palette.  I am going to start with a living room, but might end up doing a bedroom as well.  You know I'm in love with the Grey & White combo, so when you throw in two wonderful, bright, cheerful colors - how can I pass it up?

Here is the inspiration board for a chic living room scenario:

Lorimer Sectional - West Elm, Audra Slipper Chair - Pier 1, Round
Shell Mirror - Pier 1, Seaglass Lamps - Pier 1, Hive Vases - West Elm,
Recycled Spanish Glass Stacking Vases - West Elm, Remy Canary
Pillow - Crate&Barrel, Tamara Floral Erin Chair - World Market
There were so many other great items that I found like artwork:

Aqueous 1 - World Market
And Vases:

Ria Hurricane - Crate&Barrel
 Even these Floor Cushions:
Blanc Noir Floor Pillows - World Market
I think that everyone is in love with this color combo right now.  It's the perfect mix of bright and cheery for your room & easy to make sophisticated, relaxing, casual or any style you prefer.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Casa Sugar's Weekend DIY

Yay Friday!  It could not have come quick enough this week.  We have a busy weekend ahead, so I will try to work hard to get some things accomplished at home.  I've been inspired by looking at some great homes on line this week, and I'd really like to get moving toward the house we WANT.  If we are going to be there for the next 5 years, we better like where we are living, right?

Well here are a couple inspirational weekend DIYs for everyone.  I think it's funny that two of my favorite websites clash this week.... one of the DIYs is from Young House Love - great website if you haven't seen it yet.

Here are this weekend's projects:

Photo & DIY found HERE

1. DIY Stenciled Floors
2. "Date-Stamped" Gift Wrap
3. Coffee Filter Poms
4. Paper Garland
5. Display Shelves

Check out all the photos & links here:  Weekend DIY

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

10 Budget Ways to Spruce up your Bedroom

Since the economy is what it is, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share a few simple and affordable ways to spruce up your Master Bedroom.

1. Pillows:  You can add pillows to your bed to give a little extra color, texture or just a little something special to the room.  You can buy pillows or make pillow covers for ones you might already have that are a little outdated.  Check out how to cover your pillows HERE!

Deconstructed Rose Pillow - West Elm

2. Throw Blanket:  Again, this is a quick way to add color, texture and interest to the biggest feature in the room, your bed!  Make it a warm snugly one for the winter and something light and airy for the summertime.

Hand-Knitted Throw - West Elm
3. Paint your old Nightstands:  Are your nightstands looking a little dated or ragged?  The simple fix is to give them a quick upgrade with a coat of primer and two coats of paint.  Go bold with a bright color, or sleek with a glossy dark finish.

4. DIY Artwork:  Add an interesting graphic print, or even a great quilt to your wall to add interest behind your bed, and draw the eye to the focal part of the room.  You can even buy pre-hung canvases and give them a little touch of "you" by painting them to match the decor.  Make them solids, add a floral or graphic pattern & Viola!  You have a whole new room.

5. A New Rug:  Do you have hardwood floors in your bedroom?  A new rug is a perfect way to change the whole room.  Go with something dark, or bold to give the room a whole new flavor.

Photo from Real Simple

6. New Lamp Shades:  Pick up a couple modern lamp shades and swap out the old ones for a bright new look.  If the lamps are looking a little old, tape off all of the metallic elements & electrical elements and spray paint in thin even coats for a whole new look to the lamps.

7. Window Treatments:  It's amazing what a few new drapes will do.  Get some great voluminous sheers to make the room more romantic, or black-out roman blinds to make the room nice and dark at night.  You can buy great sea grass blinds & cover them with a light neutral sheer to make the room cosy.  You can even try drop cloths with a great border for something dense, but totally affordable!  There are some great deals on window treatments, so check them out!

Wood-Block Circles Window Panel - West Elm

8. A New Headboard:  Make your own!  Here is a DIY tutorial on how to make one for about $100.  It's easy, I promise, we made ours ourselves!

9. New Doorknobs & Drawer Pulls:  Freshen up the look of your door, closet doors or even your dresser drawers with new doorknobs & drawer pulls.  For a few dollars you can really spruce up the look, or even add some color.

Stanly Home Designs - Meis Cabinet Pull
10. Fresh Flowers:  Run to the store and buy a $5 bouquet of mixed flowers.  Grab two small bud vases, split up the bunch and place one on each nightstand.  Nothing makes the room look and smell better than fresh flowers.  Try Lilacs, Roses, or even Lavender to add a great floral scent to the room.

I plan on sprucing up our bedroom soon & I'd LOVE to pull up the carpet, but all in good time!