Conformity is unavoidable in some circumstances, but individuality reigns supreme in most of them. I like to use elements of surprise, or at the very least, ones that invariably make someone ask, “How did you come up with that idea?”
I distinctly remember my first I could’ve had a V8 moment in regards to this practice. It was 1986, and we had closed on the first of many of our dream homes. Flipping afforded us the opportunity to have many dream homes. The reason we had many was simple- as soon as we would complete one Dave the builder would sell it and we’d start all over again. Our first dream home is still occupied by the same couple we sold it to. They love it even more today, and have never changed one thing about the interior or exterior of the house. Either I’m very good at making timeless decor and design selections or they are incredibly lazy. I tell myself it is the first one.
The den fireplace was in the center of a brick wall that was the focal point of the room. The original fireplace mantel in the house found a better home by the curb, and the choices for its replacement were less than impressive. Today’s choices in the arena of home furnishings are infinitely better, and I for one am eternally grateful for the strides that have been made. Anywho, back to the late 80’s.
Dave the builder went to a neighboring town to look at a property. He came home that evening the proud owner of another depressed property in need of flipping, but even better than that he brought home a stroke of genius in terms of interior eye candy. In his rounds that afternoon he stopped by an antique shop and purchased a salvage piece. Well, it might not be truly defined as a salvage piece, but what it was defined as was our new fireplace mantel. In its previous life the piece had served as the pediment of an antique Mahogany armoire.
Surprisingly, the pediment was in pristine condition as a stand-alone item. We turned that baby upside down and the “ledge” was deep enough to allow my favorite lamp and Staffordshire dogs adequate display room. The centrally located broken arch looked great upright, but inverted it went to the next level of wow! Our “eyedea” and ideal mantel graced four fireplaces out of six of our homes. When we sold our second to last home the new homeowner begged me to leave the mantel. For a split second I considered doing so, but couldn’t find it in my heart to part with it.
I like incorporating a pediment into home decor. The one in the picture below is one I purchased for a client. Her plan was to use it as a bed crown in her daughter’s bedroom, but we went in another direction. I grew fond of it and the finish by default while handling it five hundred times during her creative process.
When she said no I said so and brought it straight home. I went antique on antique and placed it above the vintage balustrade lamp in my kitchen.
The one below is really nothing special, definitely a salvage piece off a piece of funky furniture. It has a bad spot on it we filled in. The gold spray paint put up a fight not wanting to adhere or cover. It won, I settled, and it found a home over the picture hanging in my bathroom.
I ran across a really neat idea in my treasure hunting two years ago. Don’t throw those old dining chairs away- recycle the top rails and use them as smaller scale pediments. I purchased two sets and placed them above medium sized frames as a finishing complement.
Dave the Builder and I had big, big plans for the renovation of our new house, which also happens to be my childhood home. Plans change, life throws you a curve ball, and you find yourself “the guest” who will now be using the guest bathroom. It’s time for the bathroom remodeling ideas to begin.
The before pictures have been lost in the shuffle, but you don’t need a great imagination to envision what we were working with.
A vast knowledge of outdated ugly will do.
The first question Dave the Builder asked me was are you going to leave the existing tile walls.
I’m not a fan of what’s involved with the removal of ceramic tile, so no, Dave, we will not be removing the majority of the existing ceramic tile.
We will be adding to by taking away from.
The bathroom walls had the original gray and green decorative 4″ square tiles, randomly placed on a background of predominately white 4″ square tiles.
Not exactly atrocious, but leaning more to what was hot in style 40+ years ago.
I decided not to remove the existing white tiles for one simple reason- the exact style of tile is used today.
Dave cut around and extracted the gray and green tiles, replacing them with 4″ glass tiles. The original ceramic floor was left in place and overlaid with 12″ square slate purchased from Lowe’s.
Step three involved the removal of a double flush mount sink vanity.
Dave replaced it with a custom built vanity for the wow factor effect. A decorative single sink and faucet from the Artist Editions collection by Kohler completed the look.
The gorgeous framed mirror was a gift from my equally gorgeous mother-in-law.
Now came the time to select colors and make the decision to paint or paper.
I selected a classic brown Toile pattern with blue background wallpaper by York to enhance the colors of the slate floor and vanity.
Dave wanted to go with a dark brown glass tile, and I wanted to go with Café au lait glass tile.
We compromised with the old half and half trick.
The four light bronze bathroom fixture perfectly matched the mirror frame.
One successful shopping trip to our local Marshall’s for guest towels, and one easy order placed at JCPenney for the shower curtain set put us in home decor business.
I could not be happier with the finished product. It was the logical, practical and most cost efficient choice for us to make.
If you’re a TV child of the 70s, it’s probably safe to assume you remember a particular question from a little show long on corny and short on my do we really have to watch this nerve.
As much as I tried to forget the corny antics of the Hee Haw gang throughout most of my teenage years, invariably I hear “Hey, Grandpa, What’s for Supper?” in my ear every time I ponder what’s for dinner supper ideas.
Hee Haw was a Saturday night must see TV staple in our house.
Country music, silly skits and rounds of pickin’ and grinnin’ rang out from the Zenith.
I did chuckle when Grandpa Jones answered the “Hey, Grandpa, What’s for Supper?” with his here’s what’s on the menu tonight menu monologue.
Speaking of questions, here’s another question for you.
When the architectural vision of near perfection captures the viewers attention and commands top billing it doesn’t necessarily speak to the weakness of the movie, but to the strength of the chosen piece of real estate.
Nineteen sixty seven is dear to my heart.
It’s the year I turned five, the year The Beatles introduced the world to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the year one of my favorite movies, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was released.
I hit the Turner Classic Movies jackpot when I noticed it was on the afternoon viewing schedule.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner holds my attention on three points:
A relevant and positive message.
Three Academy Award winning actors showing why they deserved Academy Awards.
It’s the perfect, lovely, sexy, and inviting setting for the lady of the manor to discover that in fact her mojo hasn’t left the building, and for the viewer to glean a few ideas of their own in both the love and decor departments.
Disclosure: As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale. To read the entire policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure page.
Set decorator Susan Bode Tyson wonderfully re-created Julia Child’s kitchen for the film Julie & Julia, a film contrasting the early years of Julia Child’s life culinary career with Julie Powell, the New York blogger who deliciously mastered the culinary detail of cooking all 524 recipes printed in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook, one recipe per day for one year.
Places In The Home hails from the house I grew up in.
My parent’s built the house in 1965, and in the forty years they lived in the house it underwent two major renovations.
My partner in this crazy home improvement ideas life, Dave the Builder, convinced me we are up to the challenge of home improvement ideas renovation.
The standard issue formal living room/dining room combination of the 1960’s ranch house served its entertaining, special occasion event, and makeshift photography studio for homecoming and prom pictures purposes for many years.
Thankfully, my mother received the all good things and trends come to an end memo and did away with the design relic during the great renovation of 1986.
My mother design ideas included turning the formal living room into a formal dining room, and repurposing the small formal dining space into a sitting parlor.
What designs worked then do not work now, so here’s the new home improvement ideas plan: keep the formal dining room space in place, but with one major design modification.
I’m a huge fan of taking down walls and opening up a space to new design and decor possibilities, so taking down the wall between the sitting parlor and the kitchen it is.
With the home improvement ideas flowing, it’s bye-bye swinging ’60s, get down tonight ’70s, and don’t you forget about how you hated the decorating trends of the ’80s interior design.
As soon as the subject of home improvement ideas came up, Dave the Builder read my mind.
“The wall is coming down, isn’t it?”
Yes it is.
It’s really the only option.
Running the numbers through my head convinced me even more I was on the right track.
It would be much more cost efficient to repurpose existing rooms in order to emphasize function, relaxed formality, and flow.
Although eight foot ceilings are not exactly a hot design favorite, they’re not a design deal breaker either.
As I snapped the shot the bulb went out. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
We vaulted the ceiling in the foyer and added the decorative molding to accommodate our taste.
For less than $200 we added the beveled glass panes to the front door unit.
The five figure estimate from the architect to raise the ceilings throughout the house put a big “that ain’t happening” damper on that idea real fast.
Change comes again.
Subtle replacements, salvaged fixtures, deeply discounted flooring and wholesale lots helped to make this a cost efficient update.
Two and a half rooms down with a few more to come.