Archive for March, 2011
***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!***
And the one lucky winner (as selected by random.org) is… Laura (who says “Me likey fall. The air smells so fresh and clean!”) Congrats!
Everyone’s favorite modular carpet square maker is back for another giveaway, and this time it’s bigger and better than their awesome 2009 prize. This time FLOR is gonna hook our winner up with enough tiles to build a custom 8 x 10′ rug – which also breaks down to be enough tiles to create a runner and a smaller area rug if that’s more your style. Oh, you’ll be able to pick from ANY of their 100+ colors and styles too. Here are some of our favorites below:
- PRIZE: An 8×10′ area rug in any style from FLOR (roughly 35 tiles of any design)
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “FLOR ME” and…
- BONUS QUESTION: … tell us which of the
four seasons is your favorite and why. Are you into hot summer days at the beach? Bundling up on a cool winter night? Or is the arrival of spring the best thing ever in your book?
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, March 23rd at 8pm EST
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
- PRIZE SHIPS: The United States and Canada
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday morning for the announcement of our winners. Good luck…
As we PS-ed in last week’s rug post, our hunt for a new master bedroom dresser recently came to a surprise end. We’d been trying to find something to replace this old Malm dresser that we’ve had for 5+ years (we literally bought it on an Ikea stop the day we moved from NYC to Richmond in a big red minivan) which will soon go live in the guest room.
It’s clearly too small for the wall. It’s not 100% functional anymore (the middle drawer got little wonky during the move) and it has a few visible battle scars from bouncing around our last house (at various points it lived in our bedroom, our guest bedroom, and finally the sunroom).
So we wanted something bigger. And something a little curvy and ornate (for some contrast to the modern elements in the room, like Ed the Bed and our big snowball-ish light fixture). Because we don’t want our bedroom to feel like a modern furniture showroom, we want it to have that layered, collected over time look. We both liked the idea of a dresser that was up on turned legs, especially since our bed also has a leggy design, so that similarity might tie the old dresser and the modern bed together in a not too obvious way. You know for a nice marriage of old meets new. And of course we wanted something that we could rescue (who doesn’t love “saving” sad old furniture) but we’d been unsuccessfully perusing thrift stores and stalking craigslist for weeks with nada. And then it happened. A dresser miracle. The perfect piece materialized seemingly out of nowhere. And by nowhere I mean my parents’ bedroom.
My mom and dad are actually prepping to downsize to a smaller house (now that their nest is empty) so they’ve been trying to find new homes for lots of their old stuff (I’ve already inherited stacks of old photos, school papers, childhood art projects, etc). So when we spotted my dad’s dresser on a recent visit we asked if they were planning to keep it (since it was old, leggy, and pretty much the perfect width). The answer: “Nope, we’re planning to put it on craigslist. Unless you want to take the old clunker off of our hands?”
“Uh, yes please.” Cue the cartwheels by Sherry in the background.
Turns out they’d be in our neighborhood to babysit our nephew two days later so they brought it down (we assumed it might take a few weeks to mosey over). Best dresser surprise ever. And that’s how we ended up with this beauty pretty much out of nowhere:
It’s bigger than our old Ikea dresser, so it fills up that wall properly. It’s also more traditional looking, so it balances out the modern pieces like Ed the Bed and the light fixture (just as we hoped). It also makes us really excited to get some old night tables in a similar tone and shape to further tie our whole old meets new thing together. Possibly with the same cool ring-pulls (we could also order those online and add them later) and a few drawers for concealed bedside storage, which we’ve always wanted.
And just as we hoped, it could use a little love (one of the drawers was busted when we got it, so I whipped out my screwdriver and whistled while I worked to get it secure again). Took about ten minutes. But (spoiler alert) that’s pretty much the extent of our “work” on the dresser for now. We’re not planning to paint or stain it. Even though we were excited at the idea of re-staining or painting an old seen-better-days piece, we just can’t justify that whole dog and pony show this time around. And this isn’t the polite way of saying that my parents wouldn’t let us touch it (in fact, they were dying to see what we’d do). We actually think the warm wood color works really well with the cool tones on the walls and in the bedding (while bringing out the honey tones in the curtains, the jute rug, and the gold leaves in the duvet). Plus as you can see from this shot…
… the rustic wide plank floors in the bedroom need more than just a little work (they’re discolored, stained, and splintering in a number of places). So we plan to refinish them in a darker mocha tone, along with the rest of the hardwoods in the house for a nice cohesive effect. So that should make the warm wood dresser feel even more special once it doesn’t blend into the floor quite as much. Especially if we have two antique-looking nightstand friends going on the other side of the room in the same warm wood tone (maybe we’ll get to refinish some old dark craigslist/thrift store finds with some lighter stain to get a not-perfect-but-good-enough “match”).
We’re totally charmed by our hand-me-down dresser’s imperfections, and love how they preserve the history of the piece. Maybe we’re being overly nostalgic since this is our first item of inherited “antique” furniture, but there’s something special about knowing the back story. My dad bought it from his cousin back in the ’60s for $100 and has used it ever since. It still boasts a scratch on the front of one of the drawers from when he transported it in his car’s trunk over forty years ago.
We don’t know exactly how old the piece is, but it has a stamp in the back of one of the drawers that says it was made by the “Abernathy Furniture Co” and they appear to have started operations in the 1850′s in Kansas (thanks Google).
After a couple days of using it I realized it possesses some weird auditory memories for me. When I heard Sherry opening and closing the drawers from the other room, the sound of the metal pulls clanging against the wood gave me distinct flashbacks to hearing the same noise coming from down the hall growing up. Weird how sounds can do that to you, right?
The only other “work” it really needed (besides a few screws to secure that broken drawer rail) was some help getting the drawers to slide more easily (each one of them stuck and dragged a little bit). Sherry had heard the old “rub soap on them” tip a few times, so she broke out a bar of Dove that we had leftover from her mom and stepdad’s visit (we use Dr. Bronner’s soap, but she worried “eco soap” might not be the same).
Off she went rubbing the dry bar of soap on each of the rails. Both on the bottom of the drawers…
…and even on the tracks inside the dresser itself, in an attempt to “wax” them so they’d slide more easily without catching.
The verdict on this little trick? It made a noticeable difference, but it didn’t solve things 100%.
For being a totally free solution, we’re happy we gave it a try. But if you guys have any other suggestions for helping this baby slide a bit better, please share ‘em. We’re thinking we might try wax or something.
As for what’s on the dresser, the big white lacquered box is a charging station that we got at Pottery Barn Outlet a while back (as seen in this road trip video), the ceramic egg crate is full of Sherry’s jewelry, the table fan is for the summer, the two white bowls are full of Sherry’s bracelets/necklaces/glasses, and the three frames are pics that Sherry and I snapped on each of our wedding anniversaries. And yes, there’s a ceramic animal friend worked in there too thanks to my weird wife (a bronze ceramic pig that she found at HomeGoods for $6 a few weeks ago). I actually think the dark bronze twist is kind of cool, but don’t tell her I said that or it’ll feed her strange addiction.
Now for the bigger picture. Here are some more bedroom photos, just so you can see how the new dresser plays with the other things in the room (which is most definitely still “in progress” and in need of some art, a nice long bench, a big white built-in or cabinet to the left of the bed to balance the door, those aforementioned leggy honey-colored night stands, and maybe even some new table lamps among other things).
Should be a good time (or not, depending on what we find and how many places we have to go- haha, there’s the husband perspective on shopping). In the end, as exciting as resolving our dresser dilemma is – one of the best parts is that we’re finally able to move some of our clothes out of piles in the closet and into proper storage (four full drawers of it). Which means after 3+ months of living here with mountains of shirts and pajamas on the floor of the closet thanks to a smaller dresser with one inoperable drawer, we officially have no more excuses for not organizing things. Uh oh.
So that’s our first antique hand-me-down adventure. Or “furniture inheritance experience” if you’re fancy. And I’m not gonna lie. It does feel kind of fancy. The idea that we own something older than my dad is, in the words of Miley Cyrus, “pretty cool” (anyone else watching SNL lately?). Even if it’s a little beat up and didn’t come from an auction house. Have you guys ever gotten something especially awesome or particularly sentimental handed down from a family member? Anyone run into the moral dilemma of whether or not to make changes to it? We got lucky in this instance (since my mom and dad were more eager to refinish it than we were) but we know that might not always be the case. Sticky.
Pssst- Wanna see how we completely refinished an old craigslist dresser with stain and paint for Clara’s nursery? Click here.
We’re back with pics of our hallway that we “wallpapered with frames” for lack of a better description. We think it created some pretty quick dimension and interest that’s sure to be fun for the whole family. Literally. We love that we can work in drawings by Clara, class pictures, and photos of favorite vacations for the whole family to enjoy.
As for how we did it, you saw how I cut out little newspaper templates for all of the frames that we already owned (we actually had a lot of them from various arrangements in our first house, seen here, and even had a few unused ones snagged on sale a while back that were begging for some action). So we just taped up all of our pre-cut templates with a few of the larger ones staggered in the middle (to ground things) and built things out from there, placing most of the smaller frames around the perimeter for some subtle balance. We shifted things around a little, stepped back, went back in and moved stuff around, and stepped back to look at everything again. This happened about ten times with smaller and smaller tweaks until we decided we liked it. But we still wanted to sleep on it and study it one more time the next morning before breaking out the hammer (hence this post about that first phase of the project).
We try to stay as real-time as possible, but we also like to take a ton of after pics and write a big wordy post for ya, so it can take a few days from project completion to post publishing. If only we had a live camera feed going 24/7. Just kidding, my nightmare is to get caught picking a wedgie on camera. It’s why I never auditioned for the Real World (side tangent: John actually sent in an audition tape once when he was 19).
Anyway, so when we woke up the next day and agreed that we still liked the proposed frame placement, it was time to lay out all of our frames on the floor of the dining room in the same arrangement, just to check if some of the actual frames conflicted (since all we were looking at on the wall were their outlines and not their actual styles). Of course we ignored the art since most of it would be switched out anyway.
The frames all looked just fine together, so we decided to bite the bullet and grab the hammer. It was hangin’ time (here’s where a lot of MC Hammer was sung). Since our newspaper templates were still up on the wall, it was actually really easy to hang stuff. We just measured how far down from the edge of the frame that our wire, hook, or other hanging device was and just marked a centered “x” right on each template (the horizontal line is the measured center of the template, and the x below it is the spot where the nail should actually go to catch the wire or hook so the frame hangs in the right place).
Then we just hammered directly into the “x” in the template…
… and pulled the template off the wall to reveal a lone nail waiting for a frame (even though it looks like a jacked up hole, that’s just a tiny bit of paper caught above the nail that we easily removed with a finger flick).
We slowly worked our way around the wall using this method. It probably took an hour or so.
Sadly our old plaster walls don’t work with 3M Command hooks or velcro alone (since that’s always an easy way to create a frame collage without making any holes) but we do plan to add heavy duty Command velcro to the lower frames that may be within Clara’s reach when she starts toddling around. She’s a pretty docile girl who definitely seems to listen when we ask her to be gentle (when petting Burger for example) so our plan is to sweetly request that she be nice to the frames and “look with her eyes” and we might even try the “you can only touch them with one finger” technique that an awesome varsity mom shared with us a few days ago (she said it actually works!). But of course if we think those few low frames ever start to pose a safety hazard, or even just become too high maintenance for the way we live, we’ll definitely just get rid of them until the bean is a little older. Clara first!
But back to our process. After following our templates and hanging every frame we stepped back for a little look-see and frowned. Somehow they seemed a little tighter in the top right corner (which we actually really liked) and a bit too loosey goosey everywhere else…
… so we adjusted some of the frames on the left and added in a few little “filler” items to get the same full look that we had on the top right corner going on everywhere else.
So yes, there are probably ten extra holes in the walls hiding behind those frames from fine tuning them an inch one way or the other. Our bad. But they’re all out of sight so we’re at peace with it. They can just be our little secret. Oops, I just told The Interweb.
Once everything was hung we scavenger hunted the house to find things to display (since many of the existing items in the frames were horizontal images that were now hanging vertically or the frames were completely empty to begin with since we hadn’t used a few of them yet). Which puts the cost of the entire frame wall plus all of the “art” that you see (since that was also already owned) at 100% f-r-e-e. Except for this cool $16 frame from Target that we splurged on because we adored it’s “special capabilities” to store and easily showcase lots of kid art. We love that we don’t have to take it off the walls to change things out. Come on Clara, don’t you feel like drawing mommy a picture or two?
So this is our current arrangement with all of the just-for-now stuff that we found around the house. First here’s the view from the kitchen (which is why we placed the console table there, so it looks centered through the doorway:
And here are a bunch of other angles:
From an old Banana Republic ad with a llama (or is it an alpaca?) carrying sweaters…
… to a vintage milk cap that we found at our first house glued to a small square canvas…
….and a white paper key that I cut out of card stock (which I hope to replace with a DIYed ceramic-looking one)…
… it’s definitely a smorgasbord. And there are probably way too many photostrips, but they’ll do for now.
We’re actually planning a post later with more detailed shots of various items and directions for making your own stuff, like an arrowhead shadowbox for example. Or a long skinny wooden pinboard (still have to make that, for now we have a placeholder piece of card stock with a photostrip taped to it). We also thought it would be fun to take a picture of the wall every few months just to see what comes and goes (new Clara art? updated family pics?) and what always stays (the sketch of our first house’s lot? a favorite photobooth strip of the whole fam?).
We anticipate that at least 25% of the wall will be changing pretty regularly as new things steal our hearts – like a particularly good (or bad) fortune cookie fortune and Will Bower’s first birthday invitation. You know, the important stuff. We definitely feel like this gallery will be the most personal, eclectic, and fun display spot in the house. So while I’ve already asked for some awesome art prints for my birthday (which is this Saturday- woot!) we also want to frame everyday objects that hold meaning to us. From Clara scribbles to little love notes and even particularly funny greeting cards with chihuahuas on the front.
In short: We are so in love with the whole hallway frame gallery. It took a spot that was just a way to get from A to B and made it feel like a bonafide destination. We both keep finding ourselves being drawn to that wall like magnets, just standing there gazing at all the frames. Even Clara loves to stare at it. Ah gallery wall. How can you make us so happy? We’re nerds.
And surprise. We’re so enamored that we’re planning to “wallpaper” the other two walls on the other side of the hallway with frames too.
Here’s the pile that we grabbed from Ikea (feast your eyes on that pretty shattered fireplace tile).
Should be good times.
Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winners. Click here to see if you’re one of them.