When He Said Kitsch, He Wasn’t Kidding

I adore people who know what they like, which means I have a real thing for John Webster of Kitsch’n. He gets his kicks with kitsch and isn’t afraid to take his flair for retro chic decorating and DIY to the next level.

kitsch galore

Ooh la la! I’m loving that little wall clock… and how about that mantel? Gorgeous! (I’ll leave it to you to decide what you think of the other odds and ends.)

kitschy living room

Lots of the furniture you see here has backstories that can be found in the archives, like the weirdly shaped coffee table and the pretty blue side table. Anyway, Webster’s entire blog is delightful, and I thoroughly recommend that you give it a read.

NtB Loves: Checkerboard Floors

I’m a huge fan of hardwood floors for both their beauty and their durability, but I’ll admit that they can be pretty boring. Paint can do a lot to fix up a dull floor, but painted wood floors can be a little overwhelming if you’re not showcasing them as the focal point of the room.

Painted checkerboard floors that feature wood floors are a good compromise, as they’re not so in-your-face as, say, a bright blue floor or as blah as a plain white floor, but at the same time they appeal to the eye. Here are six examples:

checkerboard floor

A soft, low-contrast checkerboard floor doesn’t steal a room’s thunder.


This patterned floor adds a lot of oomph to what might otherwise be a fairly drab kitchen. (via)

red and white checkerboard floor

This red and white checkerboard floor is playful and fun. (via)

checkerboard painted floor

The border on this painted checkerboard floor gives the floor the finished look usually provided by a fine rug. (via)

green checkerboard floor

In a room with built-ins like cabinets, your checkerboard floor colors can match or not, depending on the sort of look and feel you want to achieve. (via)

And when I say you I mean *you* — as DIY projects for the home go, painting a floor is one of the easier ones. The Wood Floor Guide has a how-to that takes you through the floor painting process step-by-step, though I much prefer the how-to on the This Old House web site because it includes not only steps, but also a video.

Style to Fool the Eye

Commitment-phobic decorators can still get their fun on, sans nails or paint or anything else that will leave a lasting impression. Decals are the order of the day for those who can’t fathom keeping the same decor for more than six months and apartment-dwellers whose landlords have given them a clear thumbs down when it comes to changing anything more than the window treatments. Stick ‘em, unstick ‘em, stash ‘em when maman comes to visit, whatever.

Trompe L'oeil Chair Decals

Old chairs become new again!

Trompe L'oeil Chandelier

Low ceilings no longer mean having to forgo pendant lighting!

Trompe L'oeil Headboard

Why spend a lot on a headboard that doesn’t actually do anything?

Trompe L'oeil Mantle

No fireplace? No problem.

Trompe L'oeil Lights

The chair backs, socket lights, and headboard decals come from Blik, while the mantle decal comes from Urban Lola and the chandelier decal comes from Single Stone Studios.

Daybeds: Five Ways

The humble daybed was my dream bed as a girl, which is why I’d like my daughter’s first big-girl bed to be a daybed. I’m sure she’ll despise it because the grass is always greener, meaning she’ll dream of a lovely wooden platform bed or a sleigh bed or perhaps even a round hanging bed if she peruses the Manolo for the Home archives. A daybed can be thought of as a cross between chaise lounge, couch, and a bed, and may come with a trundle bed that stows away underneath so two can find a night’s rest.

I still love them, I’ll readily admit, which is why I went looking for pictorial daybed inspiration. Here are five daybeds done five ways…

For the sunroom, where guests can sit on it year round or sleep on it in the summertime:

daybed 4

For the home office, where one can lounge between frantic sessions of productivity:

daybed 5

For the living room, where it doubles as the couch:

daybed 6

For kids’ rooms, whether it is a seating space or a bed for sleepovers or both:


For a cozy, out-of-the-way guest bedroom (otherwise known as the room your dog thinks of as his own):

daybed 2

Life, the Universe… and a Chair

Regardless of how you feel about the legitimacy of the sixth installment of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, I think we can all agree that this is a pretty sweet chair.


This take one the iconic Egg chair designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958 is being produced in a limited run of, you guessed it, just 42 numbered chairs. The design pays homage to the Hitchhikers Guide series with a beautifully rendered hand-finished embroidered exploding earth on the back. The front of the chair features optical white hide with a cowhide seat cushion (which frankly, I could do without, but I suppose one could remove it).

No Room For a Chandelier? No problem!

Sweet hip printed cotton canvases by DuffyLondon take the place of actual lighting fixtures when tiny houses and apartments simply cannot handle the introduction of something as impressive and imposing as a full-size chandelier. All the glamour without the threat of banging one’s head or snagging delicate glass!

crystal chandelier print 1x

Some of the DuffyLondon prints even glow — the images are digitally printed onto cotton canvas and stretched over wooden frames that installed with low energy strip lights that illuminate the prints from within. Interesting, but sounds kind of ghetto, a la the glowing crucifixion scenes one can purchase at the Dollar Tree.

crystal chandelier print 2x

Or you could just opt for a straight-up crystal chandelier poster, like this one from ElectricPopSpot on Zazzle:

crystal chandelier print 3

It’s not quite as chic and cheeky, but the colors are fantastic and with the right frame it could be a lot of fun!

Let a Year Go By

When you’ve just bought a house, especially if it’s your first and the house itself could use a little fixing up, it’s hard not to want to start knocking down walls and building additions. Yet as strong as the urge to remodel right away can be, I’d council you to wait. At least a year. Maybe two if you’re planning on doing anything drastic like starting your own business, becoming a telecommuter, or having a baby.

“What?” you say, both incredulous and impatient to get those renovations underway.

But hear me out. Unless you have solid, unchangeable life plan that will guide your every action for the next decade or you have enough spare cash to re-remodel whenever you like, you may find that one or two years from now what you need from your home is quite different than what you needed from it when you closed. It’d be shame to build a dormer and turn two bedrooms into a single master bedroom just to discover that the bedroom you sacrificed would have made the perfect home office or crafting room or nursery. It’d be even worse to renovate without thinking very carefully and end up with a mishmash like this:

strange home additions

So consider letting a year (or more) go by before you nail down your remodeling plans. I guarantee you that in a year or two, your house will tell *you* whether you need to expand your kitchen or build a front porch or install a bay window. The Beard and I have been in our little house just over two years, and only now have we come to realize what we need to do with the upstairs, which is add a landing with a banister and divide one of the two bedrooms into a home office for each of us. I’m glad we waited until the house told us what we should do because if we hadn’t, we would have ended up with two bedrooms upstairs. It would have been nice, but not what we needed.

Dear Ikea,

I’ll take one of these:

melltorp table ikea

And four of these:

urban chair ikea

And while you’re at it, I may as well have you send me one of these:

spoling high chair

Never teh Bride (who is redoing her kitchen)

Why Don’t We Take This Outside

Walk around any town with more than a few triple-decker apartments long enough and you’re bound to see at least one or two faded armchairs or loveseats that have obviously been exposed to their fair share of rain, sun, and, here in Massachusetts’ North Shore, snow.

outdoor couch

I personally have always maintained that there is indoor furniture and outdoor furniture, and never should they meet. No plastic chairs in the living room and no couches on the deck, in other words. Not everyone shares my opinion, however. Just out of curiosity, I thought I’d post a poll to find out just how many people do or don’t. Have at it, please:

Do note that so far as I can tell, this pretty upholstered plum settee from The Quill Pen was only let out of doors for a few moments for a unique furniture photo shoot. Otherwise it dwells inside where it is protected from the elements awaiting its forever home. If you’re interested, the price is listed at $850.

DIY: Throw Pillow Covers

If you’re strapped for cash but desperate to update your living room, you can always start small, with something like new throw pillows or throw pillow covers like these from Ruby+Stella Home.

throw pillow covers

Twenty bucks or so won’t break the bank, and a burst of color where you park your butt might be just the thing to brighten a dark mood brought on by the American economy. Then again, why spend even that much if you happen to own a sewing machine and have easy access to fabric you like, whether already in your collection or at your local sewing shop? Personally, I’m partial to the Eames tribute fabric I found in the LA Times, but any fabric will do.

Slipcovering a couch may be too difficult / time-intensive / annoying to contemplate at this point in your life, but it takes hardly any time at all to whip up covers for square or rectangular throw pillows!

Here’s the DIY skinny: Choose your favorite fabric. Measure the pillow you want to cover, up and down and from side to side. Add a bit to both measurements since you need to account for a seam allowance, but don’t add too much since you want the end result to fit rather tightly on your pillow. Cut one piece of fabric that matches your measurements-plus-a-little-more, then two pieces that are as tall as your measurements-plus-a-little-more but only about 3/4 as wide.

You can probably see where I’m going with this… Finish one up-and-down edge on each 3/4 piece. Then, with right sides together sew your single side piece to your two pieces with those two pieces overlapping. Turn inside out and, voila! You have sewn your very own custom (and customizable) throw pillow cover. Once you have the hang of the basic cover, you can add embellishments like borders or buttons or whatever else strikes your fancy.