INSPIRATION: Dreams Can Come True

Farmhouse

Last year Hubby and I made a real effort to go on dates that forced us to explore the Bay Area, see here and here. As we got to know Sonoma better, we fell in love with the area and started dreaming about owning a little piece of land that we could get away to.  The dream turned into active searching and after much looking, and many disappointments, we can now say we are the proud new owners of a Sonoma farmhouse.

The house is exactly what we were looking for, small enough to encourage quality family time indoors, but with enough land for the kids to explore and go on adventures while we learn to grow vegetables and other edibles.  I think we’re still in a daze that our dream came true.

As you can imagine from looking at this picture, the house needs quite a bit of TLC.  We’re excited to make it our own. So check back regularly to see our work and our vision unfold.

Monika - Congrats to you and yours. May complete happiness be at the core of your home with loads of memories built now and well into the future.

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Before and After: What a Difference a Frame Makes

The Difference A Frame Makes 1 copy

 

There’s good art and bad art, but sometimes that depends on the eye of the beholder and sometimes it depends on context. Sometimes good art can seem like bad art, in the wrong environment, or in this case in the wrong frame.

Buying original art can be expensive, which is one of the many reasons I love to look for vintage original art at flea markets, thrift stores, etc. But you have to be willing to look beyond the frame and concentrate on the art itself. I bought a number of vintage pieces for a client, a few pieces were good enough to go straight on the wall, but most needed reframing in order to be transformed.

Check out these two pastels in blond wood with matching colored mats.  They scream cheezy 80’s, but look at how each gets a complete makeover and is brought back to life with completely different approaches.

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What about this piece?  The frame wasn’t hideous, just a bit chipped, but the frame was so thick it made the piece feel so heavy.  With the new frame the art breathes.

The Difference A Frame Makes 2 copy

Lastly, here is a delicate watercolor I found at a salvage yard.  The frame and mat were actually in great condition, but the feel was so “granny”. By reframing the painting in a simple gilded frame we were able to elevate it to a chic painting which highlights the painter’s gentle brushstrokes.

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Wouldn’t you say these pieces were all completely transformed through framing?  So, next time you look at a pile of discarded art, concentrate on the art, not the frame.

Kat Wachter - I am a huge fan of thrift store/ yard sale art! Everytime I’m at the thrift store, I check out the art. You’re absolutely right – look at the art, not the frame. I would add: you can also look at the frame and ignore the art. I’ve found great frames that I’ve recycled for other pieces. Basically I think you just need to look at the pieces individually, rather than as a whole.

I’ve also discovered that it’s really easy to take apart a piece of art, and change both the mat and the frame (spray paint!), to make a custom piece that works for you. I’ve spray painted so many mats and frames! It surprised me the first time I spray painted a mat (it was a bit of a why-not?), but they take paint really well.

isadorag - Hey Kat,
Thanks for stopping by. You’re so right, sometimes you can find great frames with bad art… or even frames with no art. I have a whole collection of vintage gilded frames in my garage waiting for an opportunity to be reused. Here’s to seeing through the ugly to find the hidden beauty.
Best,
-isadora

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Inspiration: Modern Concealed TV Solutions

Before & After: Cozy Breakfast Nook with Concealed TV

For the record, we are a TV family. Whether it’s the kids watching cartoons, or us watching cable, TV is a part of our lives. However, that doesn’t mean I want our TVs to dominate the rooms the live in.  In the case of our breakfast nook above, I made the TV work with a wall gallery in order to draw attention away from it.  But how about concealing the TV entirely?  Here are my Top 5 modern and elegant solutions for a hidden TV.

1) Rolling Panel

This is the cleanest, discreet solution. The whole wall moves to reveal the TV.

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2) Moveable Art

If your TV is large, large scale art can conceal a multitude of sins.

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3) Mantel Disguise

TVs are often placed above a firelplace. But why not keep the attention on the fireplace and keep the surround clean and uncluttered.

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4) Piano Hinge

Of all the solutions, this one is probably the easiest to DIY with some plywood, some frames and of course, a piano hinge.

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5) Barn Doors

These days barn doors are very much on trend, so why not use the trend to your advantage to conceal your TV.  This solution will require your TV to be tucked into an alcove so the doors can float in front of it.

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We’ve all seen the design shows where the husband wants a BIG TV and the wife doesn’t want the TV to be the center of attention.  With these modern TV concealing solutions everyone can have their cake and eat it too.

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Celebrate: Semi-DIY Batman Party + Printable

Semi DIY Batman Party 1

I’ve been known to go a little cray-cray putting together my kids’ birthday parties (see here, here and here for evidence of my craziness), but this year I was just too busy so I opted for a semi-DIY  Batman Birthday Party.

Semi DIY Batman Party

The key to making the party feel Batman-esque was to stick to a color palette.  Initially, when I’d put together my Batman Inspiration Board, I thought I would go with a black and grey scheme, but as things developed I opted for a black, yellow and blue scheme. Switching out the colors helped to punch up the decor and gave me more options with store bought items. The Batman cookies were from here. The bunting and birthday banner were from here. While I usually make cupcakes our local super market had a deal that I couldn’t say no to, so I bought the cupcakes and topped them off with DIY cupcake toppers.

Semi DIY Batman Party 3

I could have bought all Batman plates, table cover etc, but I felt that it was better not to overdo the theme. Instead, for the table I opted to create a cityscape with items from here and here.  I particularly love the tall tower. It’s so cool and took less than 1 minute to assembleand made a big statement.

Semi DIY Batman Party 2

For games we had a scavenger hunt, a Batman themed bouncy house and of course, a piñata.

Right about now you must be wondering, “what did she DIY?” I made same DIY Batman flashlights and DIY Batman party favor goodie bags.

DIY Batman Flashlight

The flashlights were from a local dollar store.  The Batman printable is from here.  The design was originally intended as a candy wrapper, so I shrunk the design to suit my purposes and added the words “Bat Signal”.

DIY Batman Favor Goodie Bags

I bought simple black party favor bags and embellished them with a DIY thank you tag printable which I made.

Batman party favor thank you printable

You can download my free Batman party favor thank you tag here.

By mixing DIY and store bought items I managed to create a Batman Party that felt personalized, but most importantly it was a party our little Monkey LOVED.

 

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Vintage Finds: July 2015

Vintage rattan etagere, black and white photograph, set of brass candleholders

They say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, in this case the trash is this woman’s treasure.  I found this lovely rattan étagère abandoned on the sidewalk along with some stinky old rugs.  The étagère is in mint condition, with not a single break.  While my preference is for closed storage (it hides a multitude of sins), I couldn’t pass up this charming little thing and did a quick U-turn to rescue it from its fate.  The other items weren’t set out to be trashed, but they were cheap. The three solid brass candleholders were from a garage sale, they’re not vintage but have a vintage look, $7 for the set originally from Crate & Barrel.  The B&W photograph is a weird, super intriguing image, almost ghostly and $20 for original art is good price in my book. This month’s expenditures, a whopping $27.  I like the sound of that!

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