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home improvement

Home Living

Wilson’s Piece de la Resistance

November 27, 2013

As promised, I am proud to debut Wilson’s award-winning claw-foot tub. I gave him an award for being the greatest, Craigslist-hunting husband.


 Isn’t she a beauty? Five feet of pure porcelain heaven.

tub 2

Me + this tub + a glass of red wine = night night. I actually do not get in it when I am home alone because I am afraid that I’ll fall asleep in it — it’s that good.


I love the chrome fixtures on this tub. The faucet is a narrow rectangle and makes the water cascade down into the tub so beautifully. It’s the little things.

tub 3

Wilson searched on Craigslist for a few weeks before he found this tub. It is made by Vintage Tub & Bath and retails for over $1,000 — we got it for $300. It has a small crack in the finish of the porcelain near the back that occurred during installation. The couple that purchased this tub — for their mountain house, mind you — asked the company for a refund, and instead of a refund Vintage Tub & Bath sent them a whole new tub! Vintage Tub & Bath’s awesome customer service turned into the couple’s luck to sell the old tub which translated into me having the tub of my dreams for the price we could afford. We will fix the crack one day, but right now it’s just fine. A little crack never hurt nobody, just ask the Toronto mayor.

Like the devoted person he is, Wilson picked up the tub from the couple’s home in South Carolina and hauled it back in the trunk of his Yukon. Wilson I am thankful for you and your crafty ways.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone! I am thankful for each and every one of you also.

Home Living

Sample This

November 20, 2013

One of my wonderful co-workers, Jennifer, just finished mold-testing the basement (get answers here) in her new house she found with As Is Now company. Her husband Jason chose a palette of grays to paint the walls, and she wanted some advice for how to brighten up the space since there is limited natural light — it is a basement after all. One of the grays they are using for the main TV room is Rockport Gray, a rich deep color made by Benjamin Moore.

Such a beautiful tone.

She liked how I integrated variations of aquas and oranges into my living room to give it more impact, so I have created a sample of a room that she can draw inspiration from when she starts to decorate.

Jennifer room

1. Sunburst on the Scene Mirror 2. Uttermost Tribute to Rene and Odette Art Set/2 3. DwellStudio Larkin Right Arm Sectional 4. Ethan Allen Areca Palm Tree 5. Turquoise Vintage Overdyed Turkish Rug 6. Nate Berkus Foil Print Decorative Pillow  Mumbai Batik Set of 3 Pillows 7. Serena & Lily Amagansett Chair 8. Ethan Allen Tracery Accent Table 9. Crate & Barrel Zak Table Lamp 10. The Basic Coffee Table in Bleached Walnut

 Again, most of these things are not in my plastic fork budget, but a girl can dream.

A good way to brighten up a room without always using a bright color is by integrating metallics. They reflect light and add modern elements to a room. Plus I love anything shiny. I like to stick with mostly neutral furniture pieces because they are versatile and can acquiesce with any space you put them in. Things like pillows, rugs and lamps are cheaper items that can be easily exchanged for other ones if you want to make a quick update to your home. A hearty coffee table like this one is perfect for a high-traffic room because it will weather naturally and can withstand kicking your feet up during a good movie.

As a side note, I despise how expensive sectionals are. They are ideal for a movie room or refinished basement like Jennifer’s, but they are so damn pricey. Makes me angry. The one in the above photo is over $5,000 — truly ridiculous. If you are planning on staying in your house for more than seven years, I would recommend getting a sectional that you like and spending the money for what you want. In my case, Wilson and I don’t have $5,000 to spend on a sectional, so when we were looking for one for our loft area we bought this one from IKEA and have been extremely pleased with it. Not that we are planning on moving any time soon, but I prefer to invest in pieces that I know I will have for a long time and that will go in any home I live in, like these chairs I purchased for our living room. Just a thought.

As for purchasing something from IKEA, Wilson and I vowed never to speak of our visit to the local IKEA store as it was an overwhelming and ungodly experience, so Wilson I’m sorry for spilling the beans. I almost fainted when I saw frozen meatballs for sale in the checkout line. 

Jennifer I hope this inspires you to construct the basement of your dreams. And don’t forget the metallics.

Home Living

Getting Crafty

November 18, 2013

I have great friends who give me great gifts. Even better, I have great friends who give great gifts wrapped in great handmade paper. Presentation is everything and it makes such a difference when using colorful handmade paper to wrap a present. Because of my love for handmade paper and my loathing of being wasteful, whenever I receive a gift wrapped in handmade paper, I line a drawer somewhere in my house with it.


My barware drawer got a serious facelift with this great aqua paper with gold streaks. I love it. To line the drawer, all I do is put the paper in the drawer, make a fold where any excess is and then cut the extra parts off. I put a few pieces of double-sided tape on the corners and in the middle and then press the paper to the bottom and edges of the drawer. I don’t use any permanent adhesive just in case I get sick of the paper. I need room to change my mind.


We have a lot of wine openers.


This is a great piece of aqua and turquoise chevron paper that makes my linens drawer so much more exciting. If you see a wedding present you gave me, thank you again…




Because I have never found a jewelry box I really liked, I made one in a drawer in my bedroom chest of drawers. I lined this one with a piece of hand-painted paper I bought in Florence, Italy, when I studied abroad there. The technique used to stain the paper is a very old method native to Italy, and makes this piece of paper very special to me. The edges curl up a little, but I think it makes it unique.


The paper makes the perfect backdrop for my jewelry.

The next time you give a gift, I highly recommend you wrap it in handmade paper. It’s like giving two presents for the price of one — pretty wrapping and a free drawer liner. I love free.

How to Speak Southern

Southern Curb Appeal

November 15, 2013

To me, there is nothing better than for a house to have a welcoming stoop. Something to say, Hello and Come in! to your visitors. My uncle also pointed out once that it’s good to have a covered one too because it’s rude to make your company stand in the rain potentially. Our porch ceiling is painted a grayish blue to stay within the muted tones of the house.


I love our front door. This was another crafty find of Wilson’s. He found the door frame from our local Habitat ReStore and the actual door on Craigslist. The door is made from pine which is naturally a light wood, so we had the door stained to match the frame because I like the dark stain better. Look at the beveled glass — can you believe we got it off of Craigslist? Here’s the best part — the door was $300, and the frame was $200 — now that is a steal.



A full post coming soon once I finally finish the front porch to my liking.


These planters add some pretty color to the porch. The actual black planters are plastic — ha! — and were $15 each from Lowe’s. Eventually I will break down and buy some nice pottery ones, but they are very expensive — anywhere from $50 to $100 for ones this size — and I wasn’t ready to commit to that just yet. I also got the pansies from Lowe’s for $7 per pot. And the little tree? It is rosemary! Each tree was $13 and not only adds height to the pot, but also smells amazing and I can use it for cooking throughout the winter. Pansies are great winter flowers as is rosemary — I’m thinking the rosemary may die back a bit, but for $13, who cares? I love ordering my flowers from the #1 Deer Park florist.

A good rule of thumb to remember when planting a pot is that you need a hanger, a grower, and a shooter. This means to give your planter that made-for-a-magazine look, you need a plant that hangs, a plant that just grows regularly, and a plant that is tall and grows straight up. This adds depth and interest to the pot. In this one, the pansies serve as both my hanger and grower and the rosemary is my shooter.

On a separate note, I have been extremely touched by the amount of support and love I have received for officially launching this blog. Your kind words mean the world to me and I so so appreciate it. I have the best family, friends and husband… love to all!

Home Living

The Elephant in the Room

November 11, 2013

I found this gold elephant at Target last week and just adore him. He is a member of the Nate Berkus collection — oh Nate… In an effort to exercise extreme self-control — see here — I did not buy him, but because he was only $10, I may go back…

Here’s a board I put together if I was going to decorate a room around the elephant. None of the other items are in my plastic fork budget, but we’ll just classify them as inspiration.


1. Nate Berkus candles candleholder  2. HAY black furniture  3. Heathfield Co rectangular lamp shade  4. Teakwood table  5. Abstract wall art  6. Mills Floral Company boxwood plant  7. Sunburst wall art  8. Linea table lamp  9. Serena Lily cable knit blanket

Speaking of inspiration, I would like to say an enormous thank you to all U.S. veterans. Your bravery, courage and tireless commitment to preserving our freedom is nothing short of remarkable, and inspires me everyday. Thank you for protecting the greatest country in the world, allowing us to do the things we love — like write this blog.

Home Living

Welcome to the Craigslist House

September 20, 2013

Over a year ago my husband Wilson bought this house. Quaint, isn’t it?

Wilson in Old House

That is him standing proudly in the doorway. The weeds — landscaping — came free with the house. What a deal! As the house was originally built in the 1930s, the earth was taking the house back as its own possession. My mother-in-law thought the chimney was a tree because it was overtaken by ivy and various weeds. It really did look like a tree.

As this house clearly needed some help, we decided to take on this small — cough, enormous —  project ourselves. We hired an architect and contractor of course, but made all of the final design, construction and finishing details decisions between the two of us. And did I mention we’ve never done this before?

The majority of our purchases were made from Craigslist, which included a fabulous claw foot tub and a hearty wooden front door. We also picked up some great fixtures and other finishing elements from Lowe’s.

After a few months of hyperventilating — and heavy consumption of wine — because the house looked like this:



Construction 2

At least we had a bigger trash can?

Construction 3

We finally finished the house. For the most part. After laboring over every detail and figuring how to get the biggest bang for our buck, we moved into the house in October 2012. Did I mention we were recently engaged and my future husband following the Guy’s Guide to Surviving Wedding Planning, while wrapping up construction on this house?

I think we are very lucky, because this is how it turned out:

photo(1) - CopyA sweet little bungalow with so much character, and even more love. And even more blood, sweat and tears. And wine.

This is just a teaser post because there are a myriad of examples of how I used my silver spoon taste to get the look I wanted without spending a fortune. And if you keep reading, I promise I will show you a picture of the fantastic tub.

Also, in case you were wondering, Wilson and I still got married.