Archive | July, 2011

A coat of paint. A dash of nice.

26 Jul

At the moment, there’s a loaner piano in the living room. I’m “storing” it for a friend. It’s painted black and is the first thing you see when you walk through the door. And here’s exactly where my head goes each time I take a gander at it: you are far too unfriendly black piano, heavy and unkind but I like your vintage style. What I most enjoy about this piano is that just yesterday when Lyndsay stopped by she sat at the piano and played for a good fifteen minutes.

How does one soften up an old black piano? How do you give it a dash of nice? I started with what I had—a box of letterpress type cards along with a blue bird perched on an old orange level which turned out like this. Clearly this needs something soft, a plant or something. But it is a start. Hello, friend.

I think a coat of paint will nice it up like nothing else. Take a look at these inspirations. I think a couple of coats of paint might be in this piano’s future.







As for the photos above. The yellow is my favorite. Or maybe I like the green? Yellow would look great with my gray walls? Which is your favorite? What would you do?

And, this is the piano (below) that got away.” I’ve only kicked myself like a hundred and two times for letting this get away. It was for sale through an online auction and it sold for next to nothing. Isn’t it perfectly worn out?

Here’s a before and after from Design Sponge.

Take a look at this super cute before and after “Monster of a Piano” from Manolo for the Home. Just how much fun is this?



Well. What do you think? A coat of paint?


Flea Market Finds

25 Jul

I went to the flea market this weekend in search of things full of character. My friend Allen (AP) and I tore through there in just over an hour because it was miserably hot and we were full of purpose. We found a boat paddle (which is just one of many I’m collecting for AP’s project),  a slate chalkboard (total steal) and a few other goodies.

I must say, I’m rarely disappointed by the finds at the Nashville Flea Market. Here are a few of my favorites.

I thought of my friends Pam and Leigh Ann, who are both graphic designers, as soon as I saw this. They would have snatched it up, I think. I wonder what sort of beautiful things were made at this table.

Perfect for someone’s front porch–maybe mine?

These flour sacks are framed at my house. I bought them not so much because I wanted flour sacks hanging around but because I have a love for graphic design and let’s be real, flour sacks aren’t what the used to be. Once upon a time there was an art to packaging flour. Pillsbury has nothing on Gurley’s Carolina Queen plain flour or Sweetheart flour.  I like the fonts, the logos, the feel of it all.

Something about this mirror I like but not enough to buy it.

I’m working on a project for AP. One of the ideas I have is to collect several old pipes and frame them in a shadow box. These were selling for $5 each but I left them behind because I haven’t worked this shadow box thing out in my head yet and I don’t need a bunch of old pipes sitting around in the meantime.

When I saw a table full of wooden/metal printing blocks and the seller said we could have them for $2 each (which I thought was a great price to begin with) and we left with 14 different pieces for which we paid $16. A great deal–you do the math. Because even after all these years, I still hate math.

I left with this.  I thought it was terrific. I love the orange. I love the distressed blue. I love the font. And it will look fine in my house until there’s a studio to stage.

Mantle Makeover

19 Jul

This is my mantle. (Minus the orchid. It died as orchids tend to live short lives under my care.) Last weekend I made major progress–hung blinds, bought curtain rods, returned curtain rods, rolled up and repackaged a rug to return. I took a lot of things back.  Sometimes progress is reduction.

I walked past the mantle and thought, you are not right. So, I began the what-do-I-have-that-could-fit-here conversation in my mind when I remembered a map tucked away in the basement. I suppose the map post was fresh on my mind, too.

Isn’t that better? Less piecemeal more thoughtful. But it needed just a little something. Oh, yes. A clipboard. With a quote that reads, “Wherever you are… be there.” Perfect!

I love mantles because they are easily changed and are a perfect landing-place for collections.  I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite mantle treatments. From collections to simple to bold statements to just-plain-fun, here are a few images to inspire you. Because sharing is caring.













Happy Day!

Exterior Before and After

15 Jul

Do you remember this place? This is the house I bought just over a year ago? Cross my heart, when I look at these pictures I can almost smell the way the house smelled. It was a hot moldy mess. Que the itchy eyes and scratchy throat. Mold is a nightmare, y’all.

In the midst of so much transformation, it’s easy to forget all the things that have changed. The overgrown holly bush, the old iron doors—these are the things I forget. But these pictures take me back to last summer, when I was somehow confident enough to believe that this house could be so much more than it seemed to be–days when I knew absolutely nothing about construction, renovation, how much things really cost or how much detail goes into creating an environment.

I remember pulling all my ideas for the house together into mood boards (of sorts) and sending them off to Brad (the really great contractor) and thinking,  I think I have good taste but what if I don’t? What if these ideas are stupid? That makes me smile now. If life were made entirely of magic and I could travel back in time I would whisper a secret into my ear: Silly girl. Don’t be afraid to share all your far-fetched ideas. The ideas that are great will be celebrated and come to life before your eyes. The ideas that aren’t so great, well, you’ll find that you’ve got a friend good enough to take what’s right about them and make the rest better.

Just a few days before demo started this is the view from the corner of my corner lot.

Last night , I was thinking of you (my very kind readers who have followed this story and chimed in with encouragement nearly every day of the journey) and I thought Amy, you are a terrible blogger. Give these people an update even if it isn’t “perfect.” So, I ran out to the corner and stood on the slab of concrete where two sidewalks meet and snapped this picture of a  little house that has been loved back to life. My, my, my… we’ve come so far.

Thanks for reading. And thanks for joining in on this project—there’s still much more to come.

Off the Map

14 Jul

I’m drawn to most things vintage. Lockers, tables, flags, posters, chalkboards–if it’s old I seem to like it. The idea of using maps in decor is nothing new but I’m especially drawn to the use of old school/teaching maps  in interior spaces.

From traditional frames to layers tacked to walls, here are a few great examples of maps well-used.

Via Emerald Design

Via Underbaraclara

Via Kiki’s List

Via The Nester

Via Pinterest

Via Fric & Frac

Via Apartment Therapy

Via Sepia Smiles

Via The Lettered Cottage

Via Centsational Girl

Via Pinterest

Via Nursery Notions


Via Tumblr

Via re-nest

New Life for Old Pallets

7 Jul

Pallets—I like ’em. Some of my strongest childhood memories were made bouncing from pallet to pallet in my grandparent’s seed barn. Piles of splintery fun, in this barn is where my love of pallets began.

You can’t tell much about this grainy picture from the early 90s but I can. I can almost feel the cool concrete under my bare feet, smell the distinct scent that accompanies seed–I can almost hear Travis and Ashley negotiating who could drive “the car” (aka forklift). Pretend. We don’t pretend enough anymore. It would serve us well.  Around these pallets we made obstacle courses, rode bikes, roller skated, pretended the fork lift was a car and played serious rounds of hide and seek.

I never see a pallet without remembering this old barn and my granddad. Would you just look at him with his cool old glasses and his cap cocked slightly to the side? His jacket covers it but if I had to guess, I’d guarantee that the strap on his left side of his overalls is sliding just off his shoulder. It always did.

So much has changed yet pallets remain the same. These utilitarian objects are finding new life in homes and retail stores.  I’ve even seen them used to stage a beautiful outdoor wedding. Take a look at these pallets being put to very good use.

There are lots of pictures floating around but these are a few of my favorites.

Love this idea From Under the Willow Tree

Via Lori Danelle

Via Le Petit Garage

Via Ashley Ann.

Via Cheeky Cafe

Via Bower Power

Via Too Much Time On My Hands

And, in case you’re tying the knot or into set design pallets are for you, too. This is hands down my favorite outdoor wedding design made from—wait for it—pallets. Read how they did it here.

You like pallets now, don’t you? Can you believe how unique and stylish each of these projects turned out to be? I think I’ll incorporate a pallet or two into my house. It seems like the right thing to do.

Barn Light Blogs

6 Jul

There are maybe a hundred million blogs. I am sort of kidding and sort of serious. I have no idea how many blogs there are. I also have no idea how many fish are in the sea or how many hairs are on my head. None of this matters.  I do know that inspiration can be found if you let your fingers do the walking.

Lighting is a huge element in any room–a primary mood setter. Lighting is also one of the hardest/trickiest decisions in any remodel/redesign. Here’s a blog you can add to the list of inspirers. The Barn Light Electricblog feature ideas, projects, products and customers.

In May, Barn Light Electric featured a bit of my house on their blog. You can find a link to that here. Thanks, Barn Light! You’re too kind.  Here are a few of my favorites customer features–all using Barn Light lighting.

Velvet & Linen

Patty from New Jersey

Melanie from Ontario

Like Barn Light on Facebook to see more inspiring pictures. And, they’re generous. Every now and then they give away lighting. After all, that’s what friends are for.

P.S. They don’t pay me to say this stuff. I just like them that much.