Paper perfect

Wallpaper has always struck me as a pain-in-the-tush design element. Tearing old outdated paper off can be a long, arduous process if the glue underneath is old and the wall underneath that is pitted. Cutting the paper and putting it into the wall is often a recipe for disaster when you’re working in oddly-shaped spaces. Think about it…how many sitcoms have had crazy wallpaper plots?

And yet, wallpaper is just too, too classy. It’s got all of the patterns, colors, and textures you just can’t get from paint. I want to redo my little cottage in all of the wallpapers below!

Dresses on chairs!Gothy crosses!

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My town is nicer than I thought!

I live in one of those towns whose name inspires images of grand well-established homes to form in people’s minds. The fun part is that some people will automatically assume I live in some sort of high class manse when the truth of the matter is that I live in a home more akin to a cottage. Looking a the homes for sale in my area is odd because I think of my town is being squarely suburban when I am indirectly surrounded by richie riches. Hey, at least the schools are good!

So just for fun, I thought I’d post some pics taken from the real estate listings of homes currently for sale in my area. If there’s the same sort of economic divide where you live, give us a link to some of the more beautiful houses on the market.

Nice yard!

This home costs $3,150,000, which means it’s ten times more expensive than my little abode!

I love the shelves

The room you see before you is part of a house that’s even pricier at $4,600,000.

That’s what I wish my yard looked like

$4,950,000 will buy you one heck of a view, apparently.

I’d planned to post more snapshots of opulence –being that there are plenty to be found — but WordPress is apparently having some kind of uploading hiccup. So for now, all I have to do is sit and wait for all that prosperity to trickle down to my side of town, right? They do say a home is an investment!

I’m a secret magpie

Bring on the metal, I say! I love the occasional splash of color with my white, but I’ll happily incorporate any number of metallics into my kitchen. You’ll find loads of silver and chrome in my abode, which is why I sometimes smell of polish. Of course, by “sometimes” I actually mean “frequently,” being that all the nice southern light pouring through my windows turns my beautiful silver tea and coffee services a yucky shade of yellow. Perhaps an argument for keeping nice things hidden away?

So what sorts of things can one slip easily into the decor scheme one has already established? How about lovely items such as these:

Waterford Gadroon Ice Bucket - W321Ricci Bernini 5 Piece Place Setting
The Adams Company Chrome-Plated Fireplace Basket  -  800057Faberge Grand Duke Silver Barware Set
Breville Ikon Tea Kettle - SK550XLKitchenAid Artisan Series With Pouring Shield Stand Mixer - Metallic Chrome

Here’s an example of how white and metallics can be used together (with a splash of color) for good effect in a tiny kitchen:

Cold, but inviting

I think that the simplicity of the space keeps the smallness of it from becoming stifling. The plainness of the white and silver helps in this respect by showcasing the bursts of color afforded by the planter, the cups, the bowl, and the apples ensuring that one feels the length of the room more so than the width.

What are you waiting for, exactly?

I’m bummed out today because I just found out that I recently received my last ever issue of Blueprint . Apparently, I’ll be receiving Martha Stewart Living in its place. Waaaah. Why does this bum me out so? Because Blueprint was one of the few mags I could rely on to show me stuff for the home I could actually afford. Sure, it’s fun to browse through House Beautiful with it’s $10,000 couches and $800 lamps, but I get a little discouraged when I can’t afford to implement any of the ideas!

One of the best ideas I ever came across in Blueprint was easy, free, and pointedly logical. Summing it up, the tip read: “Why are you keeping your “good” stuff hidden away? Put it out around your home where you can enjoy it!” I can admit that I’m guilty of having both everyday stuff and nice stuff. While keeping some stuff hidden away, like the good towels for instance, makes sense because you want them to look new when guests come over, there’s plenty of stuff that can take a little wear and tear without changing much.

Too pretty to stay locked away

So what did I keep hidden away until fairly recently? A beautiful full set of Dirilyte flatware in the Empress pattern, for one. What was the point of owning it if I was still using a bunch of mismatched, hand-me-down forks, knives, and spoons? Now my kitchen sparkles every single day. There was also a beautiful khokhloma table that my grandparents brought back with them on a long ago trip to Russia — I found a nice spot for that in my already red office.

The point is, life is short, so we really ought to live fabulously whenever possible. If you entertain a ton, then I suppose there’s no reason not to switch out the workhorses for the show horses because both will see plenty of use. But if you’re like me and prefer that parties take place in other people’s abodes, there’s no reason to keep all that good stuff hidden away. I’d wager that there is at least one beautiful thing — a wine bucket, a candy dish, a footstool, a tablecloth, or a pitcher — that you’re saving for some future day when the right company happens to stop by.

What I’m trying to say is that YOU are the right company. You deserve to eat your microwave burrito off of fine china with the most beautiful of silverware. No one need know that the coffee in your silver coffee pot was made with instant coffee crystals. Similarly, why nibble pricey French pastries off of plates you bought at the Wal*Mart if you have something better right there in your kitchen cabinet? Why put the aromatic teas you love so much in any old pot when your gram’s silver is languishing in the cupboard?

Bust it out! Use it! Trust me when I say your home will be all the more beautiful because of it.

Don’t call me a tomboy just because I’m a capable woman

But does it benefit breast cancer research?

You know I love color. I love bright playful colors enough to somehow overlook the fact that a purple toaster will run you a sick $300! So you’d think that I’m sitting here with credit card in hand ordering myself a pink tool belt, right? Wrong. The Beard will tell you that I am the DIY queen, whether you’re talking about epoxying the hell out of something wobbly or refinishing a cabinet I found in someone else’s trash. Sure, there are some things I won’t do–big appliance installations, for instance–but I’m competent when it comes to small home improvements.

I think that double X chromosome construction workers rock. More specifically, I think they rock because they have made a career for themselves in what is still considered a tremendously masculine profession. The construction trade has its own line of accessories…safety glasses, hard hats, work boots, and such. These typically come in shades of brown and black with the occasional bit of gray. They come in these colors for one simple reason: they are going to get very, very dirty.

How long will those Tomboy Trades pink boots stay pink? How long is a Tomboy Trades baby blue tool belt going to be baby blue? If they’re still pink and blue after a couple of weeks, you’re doing something wrong. Construction work is dusty…there are solvents and paints and oily liquids to contend with. Thus the brown! The lack! The gray! And how about that Charlie’s Angels-esque design on the hard hat…I’m sure that’s gonna command plenty of respect down at the construction site, right?

You could pair it with this for spectacular effect:

Something nice for the ladies?

A rainbow in the kitchen

As I mentioned previously, I like my kitchens and my bathrooms to be white on white with white. However, there is a caveat. As much as I prefer a nice sanitized look where walls and floors and cabinets are concerned, I know that bringing in a splash of vivid color really makes a space pop from a looks point of view.

RED!ORANGE!YELLOW!
GREEN!BLUE!PURPLE!

Does your kitchen need some brightening up? If so, you could do worse than to incorporate any of the yummy, pretty things pictured above into your food prep area decor.

(stay tuned for a rainbow in the bedroom *wink*)

Won’t someone think of the Slinkies?

Friends of mine bought a house with narrowest, scariest staircase I’ve ever seen in my life. There’s no handrail because there’s no room for a handrail — as soon as you installed one, there’d no longer be room for people! I’m not kidding you when I say it’s skinny, but that’s not all. Their staircase is also hecka steep. Woe unto those attempting to traverse its angle in the darkness!

Steep stairs in skinny spaces look cool but should be feared

If you’ve got no choice but to work with a skinny space (such as one formerly occupied by a ladder) you could do worse from an aesthetic point of view than to install stairs like these. Apparently the whole works was created out of stacked pine boxes — presumably they were anchored to the walls and to each other in some fashion. Or not…some folks do like to live dangerously. Me? I can hardly traverse my normal staircase without slipping and sliding into perilous territory so I think I’ll look into non-skid rugs instead of crates in bulk.

Inspiration to fuel your creative fire

If you’re into stuff for the home, you probably already know that there are 80 billion jillion time wasters out there in Intertubes land. Being that this is the case, I can offer up another time waster without feeling guilty because I know that I will not be responsible for ending your employ or your relationships.

I already know from your comments that at least some of you are into things like Freecycling and furniture hacks, so at least some of you will get a kick out of the stuff at Superuse.

Hang your coat on old Atari controllersLive in a recycled cardboard abode
Pop a squat on some old inner tubesLight up your life with hangers

A quick look around my home tells me that I’ve never re-purposed anything to the extent you see on Superuse. I haven’t, for example, turned an old television into a fish bowl or made a museum-worthy stepping stool out of old glass bottles. My paltry claims to fame usually involve turning an oldeat up desk into a farmy kitchen table and things like that. I am definitely not l337 when it comes to my home decor. Not yet, anyway. I’m working on it.

The sorry tale of my sinking sink

I’m of two minds when it comes to appliances and fixtures that are getting up there in years. On one hand, the logical part of my brain says something like, “If it’s still working all right but looks a little outdated, that’s no reason to toss it to the curb. We’ll find some creative way to incorporate into a new decor scheme.” It’s the budget friendly choice. It’s the environmentally friendly choice.

On the other hand, my reptile mind is saying, “Baby, you’ve just found the perfect excuse to get that new sink you’ve always wanted! You can put it on your credit card…screw the environment.”

Long story short, my kitchen sink is currently propped up on a tower of paint cans to keep it from sinking any deeper into the hole beneath, and my reptile mind has already spent quite a bit of time pricing new sinks. What I discovered, of course, is that there are two kinds of kitchen sinks: the sort I can afford and the sort I actually want.

Model 58173:  Delafield™ Self-rimming Kitchen Sink - White

I can afford the sink above. It’s all right…it’s white, and I like my food prep and personal hygiene spaces to look invitingly antiseptic. It has two basins, which is what The Beard desperately wants in a sink for some odd reason. But the sink I truly desire? It is as beautiful as it is deadly to my bank account, as it would require a partial remodel to even fit it into our current kitchen set-up.

It makes me WANT to wash the dishes

My logical brain sang a little happy ditty when the contractor who came over to have a look at our sinking sink said that an el cheap-o clip could likely shore the whole thing up. Meanwhile, my reptile mind was somewhere sobbing in the background of my subconscious. *sniff*

Unfortunately, the economics of the situation has dictated that we go with the clip fix instead of a new sink, meaning I will have to live with my boring old stainless steel number for a little bit longer. Oh, but I’m putting my pennies in a jar and saving the odd dollar here and there so that one day I can approach our contractor and say, “Rip out the shite you see before you and build me the kitchen that I have mapped out for you in crayon on an assortment of cocktail napkins!”

Furniture porn, and I don’t mean that figuratively

As of this morning, there was a rather…unusual couch for sale up on San Francisco’s Craiglist. A certain Willow created a decidedly NSFW couch…not safe for work if your employer is really uptight, that is. Unfortunately, some uptight Craigslist users decided to flag the classified page before I could find out how much it cost, but a friend of mine just happened to grab the pics so I could show them to you.

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