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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Not Your Grandma's Sectional

After revealing our new floorplan for the Den yesterday, I was surprised at how many of you are on the sectional bandwagon! So I started digging around for some inspiration, and was shocked at the gorgeous rooms I found with sectional sofas.

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They are surprisingly sophisticated, yet provide a cozy and comfortable seating arrangement for a larger group. I'm really drawn to the moodier shades of charcoal.


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I think a sectional is a great choice for our current Family Room, but who knows if it would work in future homes...unlike a traditional sofa, which is likely to fit in any room. For that reason, I'm leaning towards a more affordable option like Young House Love's Ikea sectional. I like that it's slipcovered for easy washing, and can be converted to a standard-sized sofa, too.

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Anyone have any experience with this sofa? Oh, and for those of you who asked...I created the Den floorplans yesterday using this site.

Monday, July 30, 2012

{Den} A New Floorplan

Hello friends! I'm physically back from my girl's weekend, but don't quite have it together yet. The bounce-back rate isn't what it used to be! But the shakes and dizzy head are all worth it for a few days of non-stop laughing. So today we're taking things at a slower pace.

I recently showed you the updated wall color in the Den....huuuuge improvement over my previous choice.

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Then I showed you the unexpected purchase we made during a big holiday weekend sale. We're still trying to figure out how to mount the TV, where to place all the components (we started the new shelves here), and what to do with all the wires!

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I'm sure some of you wondered why we didn't just place the new TV in the old TV's spot. For starters, it wouldn't fit in the cabinet. Our old one was 32-inches, and the new is a beastly 50-inches.

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Some of you suggested mounting the TV to the wall with a cabinet below it for components. Problem with that, is the odd size and configuration of this room. Every wall has either windows or a door opening, which doesn't leave many options for furniture placement. It's also a long room, so with the TV in it's old spot, there was really only two seats with a good view. I made this crude rendering to give you a better idea (update: using this site)...


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The TV and sofa were originally swapped, but I hated seeing the back of the TV from the Living Room. The room also feels cluttered with so many individual pieces of furniture, yet there's not enough places to sit. We have played musical chairs with this room for seven years, but I think we've finally found the best layout.


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A single sectional replaces the sofa and a chair, yet provides much more space for wallowing (this is the Family Room, after all). Placing the larger TV above the mantle eliminates the TV cabinet, and gives every seat a direct view, yet the room doesn't look like it's centered around it.

I like the new plan and am excited to pull it together, but I'm still a little leery of a sectional sofa. I know they've come a long way in the last few decades, but I'm worried it will overtake the room. Do you have a sectional? Have you ever launched an entire room makeover because of a single purchase?!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Debauchery

de·bauch·er·y [dih-baw-chuh-ree]
-noun: immoral self-indulgence

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I'm off today for a Girl's Weekend! This is a group of docile, meek and well-behaved friends I've known since Grade School. We never got in to any trouble back then, so we certainly won't now. (FC, how's the sarcasm font coming along?)  These girls are my second family...we have a bond and history that goes beyond just friendship.


Perhaps debauchery is too strong of a word to describe our weekend. Let's go with intemperance.

Hopefully I'll win the 'Cute&Funny Award' that's given out on our trip every year. I guess if I don't, I'll just have to share the un-edited pictures of the weekend with you next week.

Happy Weekend, lovebugs!! I hope you're spending it with special people, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Organized

In anticipation of my new gig with I Heart Organizing, I've been scouring my house and the internet for post ideas. No spot is safe from an organizational overhaul! My friend, Courtney, at A Thoughtful Place is hosting an OCD's dream today....a link party of all things organized! I can't wait to go check out all the projects and get some much needed inspiration. Here's a few of my favorite organization projects I'll be linking up.



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So hop on over to A Thoughtful Place to check out all the organizational bliss! Have you been organizing anything lately? With back-to-school around the corner, I need to get busy!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

{Your Questions} My House

It's time for another round of Q&A. I recently opened the blog up to any and all of your questions, and I'm slowly making my way down the list. First was my gut-wrenching revelations about Doing It All, and then came Blog Bidness.

Today, I'm answering your questions that were specific to my house.

Where did you buy your blue sofa?
This is hands-down, the most frequent question I receive. I'm sorry to report that I don't have a link to share. We bought it seven years ago in Nashville, at a store called American Signature. Mr. Sugarplum thought I was crazy for buying a blue sofa, but I've yet to tire of it. The blue velvet is a gorgeous statement, but is still neutral enough to go with everything. You can see all the Living Room projects to-date here.



You've talked about your rockstar contractor...will you share his information?
Of course! If you're in the Dallas area, I have a great contractor and a speedy, affordable painter. Just shoot me an email for their information. 

I'd love to know more about resurfacing your kitchen cabinets.
Refacing cabinets was a foreign concept to me, too. And what kept us from remodeling our Kitchen sooner, is we assumed makeovers like that were in the $50,000 range! But when our contractor introduced us to refacing (rather than replacing) the cabinets and drawers, we were able to tackle our Kitchen for about one-fourth that price.

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Basically, you keep the base of your cabinet, but replace the cabinet door or drawer front. The base is then covered with a thin layer of wood veneer that matches your door. We were able to choose our door style (Shaker with hidden hinges), and color (Espresso). We also had them add taller crown moldings to give the cabinets more height and heft. We've had no problems with it, and everything looks as pristine as the day they installed it!

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How did you paint your bathroom cabinets?
Since the cabinets were painted white before we moved in, I didn't know if the paint was oil or latex. So I first started with a coat of latex primer. Latex primer goes over either, and makes it suitable to accept latex paint.

Then, using a sponge roller (for no brush strokes), I painted several coats, allowing them to dry in between. Since it's a bathroom and lots of scrubbing is likely, I gave them a final seal with PolyAcrylic. The key is allowing them to cure for several days before replacing hardware and closing the drawers and cabinets. The longer you can wait, the more durable your paint will be. I do get nicks from time to time, and I just touch them up with a q-tip.

{Guest Bath Makeover}


How do you get good stripes?
My name is Cassie and I'm a stripe-a-holic. Seriously. I'd paint stripes on just about every wall, surface and curtain, but that'd be weird. So instead I wear them almost every day. There is something so perfectly cheery and preppy about stripes.


{Outfit Inspirations}

Also, the clean line of a well-painted stripe sets my OCD heart to racing. After your base color is completely dry, tape off the areas you want striped. If you want evenly-spaced stripes, there's some math involved. But if you're going willy-nilly, just place your painter's tape of choice where you want it. I prefer Frog Tape, but get great results from Scotch Blue, as well. The key is to make sure the tape is level (if you're going for a horizontally straight stripe), and pressed firmly to the wall or surface. If you have textured walls, be diligent about pressing in all those gaps.

{Lacquered Striped Pots}

Then roll the paint on, with firm, smooth strokes (or spray if using spraypaint). You don't want to blot around the tape because paint will bleed through. Here is the second most important part....as soon as you finish your last coat of paint, immediately peel the tape off. If you're completely anal (ahem, you know who I'm talking to), you can touch-up any necessary spots with an art brush.

{Son's Room}

How do you keep your house clean? Do you have outside help?
Like I talked about in this post, yes, I do have outside help. I use a service every 2-3 weeks, and it's the best money I spend. Honestly, while it's difficult for me to admit I have help, I would sacrifice about 100 other expenses before I'd give up that luxury.

But the byproduct of being slightly OCD, is my house never gets too messy or dirty. I clean the Kitchen counters every evening, sweep the main living areas every few days, and don't go to bed at night until everything is put away. Yep, I even fluff and chop the sofa pillows. I just love waking up to a tidy house, and I've found it's easier to maintain a clean house, than clean a messy one. Although I do have a room and a few closets where the doors remained closed!

What is your favorite cleaning product?
I love the Method line from Target! They smell amazing and work great. And it doesn't suck that all the bottles match when lined-up under my sink (that post coming up soon!).

Have you ever shown us your Master Bedroom? I'd love to see it and some of the lesser seen rooms in your house!
In one of our earlier Lamp-A-Looza posts, the Master Bedroom made an appearance.


After a few years, I grew tired of the red floral Ikea bedding, and jumped on something more masculine during a West Elm sale.

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Which meant the dressing table no longer coordinated. See, I was a blogger before actually becoming a blogger. I painted this piece red and glued zebra paper to the drawer fronts.

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This dresser from my room as a child got a stripe treatment, and glass knobs found on eBay.

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I'll be tackling this room eventually, and have even started accumulating fabrics. But for now, it's kind of a hodge-podge parade of heavy and dark wood.

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As for any other un-seen rooms...you've seen the finished spaces....our Son's Room, Daughter's Room, Kitchen, Entrance Hall, Guest Bathroom and Pool Bathroom. And you've seen the rooms in progress...Living Room, Breakfast Room, Dining Room and Den. That leaves one bedroom and the Master Bath...both of which are on the Makeover List, too.


Whew! I think that answers your questions about my house...which means we only have one installment left....and I've cleverly named it 'The Randoms.' If you've got any more questions, feel free to email me or leave it in the comments. And spill it...do you have help? Favorite cleaning products? Or tips on locating a blue velvet sofa?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

{Outfit Inspiration} Gray & Aqua

It's obvious my love of bright colors and patterns applies to both my home and closet (hello Stripes & Florals), but I can also appreciate a pretty dress in a lovely, muted hue. Okay, to be fair, I bought this dress for a Summer funeral. Had it not been for that sad occasion, I'd likely have brought the mint green one home. So to make the dress more 'me' in my day-to-day life, I paired it with bright aqua accessories.

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I've been searching for the elusive "perfect gray" paint color for our Living Room, so I've been pinning lots of rooms like this....and my favorites tend to include a touch of aqua, too.

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Gray pairs nicely with just about any color, but I'm drawn to the watery shades of blue. Not to mention, I jump at the chance to wear these floral pumps with the little bow on the toe.

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I need the name of this wall color!!!


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This picture is for my friend Chassity, who requested a full-frontal. Smile, that is. A full-frontal smile! This cheese is for you, girlie!

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And you guys always love behind-the-scenes shots...so here's what happens every time...Babygirl runs in for at least one shot. Then immediately panics and asks, "It's not going on your blog, is it?!" Of course not, honey.

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What's your favorite color to pair with gray?

{Outfit Details: Dress - JCrew Outlet; Shoes - Nordstrom Rack (also worn here & here); Bracelets - JCrew Outlet; Necklaces - JCrew & Local Boutique (also worn here & here)}

Monday, July 23, 2012

{DIY} How to Fudge Reclaimed Floating Shelves

Hello and happy Monday. I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend. Ours was the perfect mix of quiet, active, lazy and productive! You know the kind, where you get a little bit of everything? I'd be bummed it's Monday if I weren't so excited to show you our latest project!

You saw the original orange Den, then the updated new wall color and nook last week. And since we accidentally brought home a new TV, we had to find a new (and sturdy) location for all the components. You clever kids guessed right after seeing the inspiration on Friday....we made Distressed Floating Shelves!


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We happened to be out-of-town when the contractor was working on enclosing this pass-thru between the Den and Living Room (last Fall during this project). And while we were thrilled with the new look (see Before & Afters here), we knew those flimsy shelves and brackets would have to go.

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I love the idea, and look, of recycling and reclaiming old wood, but we live in the suburbs, people. There are no 80-year-old barns around for me to pick over. So I had to take matters in to my own hands, and make some pretend old wood TWSS.

The supplies are simple....the thickest board available at Home Depot (these are almost 2-inches), half-inch square dowels, stain and torture devices tools for distressing. The sweet guys in the lumber department cut the pine and dowels exactly to-size for me.

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After sanding the edges so they looked worn down, we went to work abusing the wood. TWSS (Nope, it never gets old.) We made divots with the back of the hammer, clusters of dents with the hammer, and chiseled out ridges.

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We draped the chain over the edge and hammered away, too. (Whipping it with the chain, while fun, didn't really do anything.)

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Then we applied a few coats of MinWax in Dark Walnut until it was the shade we wanted (wiping off the excess between coats). The stain really brings out the distressing.

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My favorite marks are the ridges we got from hammering a long screw. (Oh geez, not touching that one.)

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The wood went from perfect and pristine, to battered and distressed in under an hour. I'll probably seal them with wax or a poly, too....I'll let you know if I do.

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Next up, hanging the shelves. I wanted clean lines (no brackets), but needed to hold the weight of the shelves and TV components. We used half-inch dowels as the base for the shelves to rest, and 60-pound drywall anchors to hold them in place. I'm sure 60-pound was overkill, but I'm not taking any chances!

After you measure, level, and measure again for your shelf placement, hold the dowel just below where you want the shelf to hang. Using a smaller bit than the screws, drill holes through the dowel and into the wall.

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Insert the drywall anchors in the holes.

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Then place the dowel back over the holes and screw in place. Make sure the screws are long enough to go through the dowel and to the base of the drywall anchor (the ones that came with the anchors weren't long enough for our project).

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Here we are with the dowels in place and the previous bracket holes puttied.

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To get the look of floating shelves, I painted the dowels the same as the wall color to help them disappear.

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Once everything was dry, we just set the newly distressed and stained shelves on top of the dowels. The camera catches everything, but in real life, you barely notice the dowels. The shelves look like they are anchored directly to the wall.

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We keep them pulled forward a bit so the shelf has more depth, and room to accommodate the cords of the TV components

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If chin-ups happened around here, I could do them on these shelves. They're that sturdy. And since the wood is so thick, no middle brace is needed. See all that distressed goodness?!

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And while they aren't technically floating shelves, it's definitely a lot cleaner than big brackets mucking up the clean lines.

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Now we get to figure out how to get the cords from the components to the TV. But we're one step closer than we were! We plan to mount the TV on the wall, too, so the rigged-up ladder base isn't a permanent resident.

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So that's the long-winded tutorial story of how I made my shelves from the reclaimed wood of Christopher Columbus' 1492 ships, the the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Pretty cool, right?

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I'm currently scouring the countryside for a chunky, distressed desk top. That tutorial story coming up soon. Oh, and since I already had the stain and tools, this project came in under $20 for the wood and anchors! You can't beat that with a stick! Have you fudged your way through any 'faux' projects lately? This isn't my first....there was Faux Crown Molding, Faux Antlers, Faux Nailhead Art, and a Faux Wall Mirror! Faux shizzle!

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