Sassy Green Painted Bench

Do you love magazines as much as I do? I think they are a great source of inspiration – even though Pinterest is to die for…I still like the look and feel of a catalog.

picture of magazine - bench

Do you get the magazine grandinroad? It is a great catalog for outdoor furniture and entertaining. When their Summer issue arrived way back when I fell in love with the Amalfi bench in Pesto – who does not like pesto? – it is awesome on pasta and in a Capri salad!  I just fell in love with the color.

inspriation bench

 

We inherited this wonderful wooden bench for the Hubby’s mom when she sold her house a couple of years ago.

unpainted bench

It has been a great place to sit and wait for a ride or to enjoy the sun shine. But it was starting to look a little weathered and needed some freshening up.

 

Bench painting supplies

 

So I went to my friends at Sherwin Williams to try to match this color – I think I did a great job! The color is Sassy Green – SW6416 – who doesn’t like the name Sassy Green?  What a great name for paint color!

I asked the Manager there what was the best paint to use for painting an outdoor bench and he suggested Emerald and I had them add the primer right to the paint.

So we brought the bench into the garage, I gently washed it up and cleaned off the dirt. Three coats later the bench has a new look and feel. I could have gotten away with 2 coats but since it was sitting outside I wanted to give a coat for good luck!

Front of our house

I love how bright and cheery the bench now looks and brings out the yellowish-green of the bushes in the background.

Close up of the new painted front bench

From the right side close up bench

All in all, time and money well spent – since the new bench would have been 200 dollars – I got a new bench for 23 dollars since the paint was on sale!!

 

 

Putting Up My Shingle!

 

 

When I was deciding on the name of my recruiting company (my day job)– I was not really interested in using my last name…Vitello Consulting did not sound very good…plus I wanted my name to have some separation from the business. My hubby thought I should name it “multitasking” in another language. But I wanted something simple that people got, since my first name is very different.

So in researching ideas, and thinking about names, I decided on the name Whiting, which is my maternal grandfather’s last name. The reason why this name was so special is that he too was an entrepreneur and had his own successful cabinet shop – so I thought the name would bring me luck. And I would have to say it has!

WC Sign

My grandmother was a saver and so is my Mom – some days I think it is great – and others – I wish items would disappear. My great-grandfather made two signs for his business – both of which I have. The first one is above my desk, which I was given when I opened up our first office space. I remember that day well – I felt so proud so have a piece of history in my office. The second one I was given when we opened the large space and it looked awesome in my loft office. I do miss the large windows and all the light – the space was truly grand.

the sign in the hall

Anyway when we moved out of the space the sign sat in our front hallway for about 8 months – sad I know – time really does fly. I knew I wanted to hang the sign in the house – but I was not quite sure where. I first thought it would look really cool in our basement – but right now our kids have taken it over and plus no one would see it. It is where all the toys are and I just close the door and pretend it does not exist. So when you enter our house we have this big 24-foot wall that is above our dinning room…so when I gave my Dad the challenge, with deep thought (he is such a thinker) he figured out how to hang the sign.

He first weighted the sign(sorry folks don’t have a picture of that) – we thought it was going to be really heavy but it is only 30 pounds. So Dad researched the type of wire and hangers we would need. Since I wanted the sign centered on the wall and sit about half way up we knew that a traditional ladder would not work. So Dad researched where to rent scaffolding (which was about $60 dollars for the day).

Dad and Steve assembling the ladders

We had to assemble the scaffolding in the yard and then bring it in.

Putting the ladder together

We enlisted the help of my brother-in-law and my little nephew– since the sign is so long we were going to need many hands.

Our little stud finder

My Dad ran wire along the back of the sign like you would for a picture frame and tied it off. I did not want to use the brackets that were on the side – I wanted then for character.

Dad attatching the wire

Once we had the sign all set up the boys figured out where the studs were on the wall with the stud finder. Then they brought the sign out on the scaffolding to make sure I liked where it was going to hang – then drilled in the holders.

Finding the studs

OK chair do you like where it is

They sign went up in less than 10 minutes. For some reason I thought this was going to be more of a complicated process, shame on me for letting it sit for so long, which is uncharacteristic for me anyway.

Dad adjusting the sign

I was a little worried that the sign would make the house feel country – and since that is not my style I think that is one of the reasons I was a little standoffish on hanging it right away.

Hanging the sign on the wall

But now that I have been living with the sign for a couple of months I don’t feel that way at all. Also, since I made the feature wall in our upstairs hall a little more dramatic it balances the two spaces quite well to alleviate the country feel.

The hanging of the sign crew

I love having a piece of history in our home – I can’t believe the sign is over 80 years old, it is in such good shape – all my Dad did was wash it up and it was good to go. We had the sign appraised and it is about $600 dollars believe it or not – antique signs are really in demand – businesses love to hang them in their spaces. So when you walk into our foyer now – there is a little piece of history hanging on our walls.

Sign on the wall - hall

Do you have an important family piece hanging on your wall?  Do you love looking at old signs wondering what the history is behind it?

The Ever Changing Guest Room…..

Do you have a room in your house that, no matter what you do, you never feel it is quite “done”? Sure, you have made a lot of changes, but you feel you could do better. I think my guest room is that room in my house where it never feels quite right….

the new nightstand web

In May we had our dear friends stay with us for a couple of days. They both were in our Wedding and we had such a great time – it was like we were back in college! Sometimes I miss those carefree days.

Anyway, in preparation for their arrival I wanted to make a couple of changes to the guestroom. Like getting new pillows and fixing up the side table by the bed – it was just the wrong color.

the before of the side table

I love the shape of this table – it was one of the pieces I kept from our office – it is Victorian I think – and I loved the gold accents…but the mustardy yellow did not really go with my white accents in the guest room – so I thought I would paint it white – I was not sure if I was going to use chalk paint or latex – but I had a feeling I wanted the look a little shabby chic – no surprise there!

The side table with journal white

So I went with Old White from Annie Sloane and then I distressed the piece with Gold craft paint – just rubbing it on in certain locations as well as taking a fine brush and roughly going over the edges with the gold paint. I wanted it to look eclectic and not perfect – not like I just painted it.

all the gold on the side table

I kept the same accessories as before on the little night stand – I think flowers on your night table just add a little something special to look at when you wake up.

 closer view of the table

I also changed out the shams for the bed, originally they were the same muted taupe color as the bedspread – but felt it was a little too matchy-matchy for me now.

Close-up of the pillows and shams

So at Target I purchased these cute white ruffle ones from their Shabby Chic line. They pick up on the white within the Euro shams I made which ties in so well with the room.

white ruffle pillow guest room

 

When decorating adding layers and mixing colors and patterns just add that bit of interesting detail to the room.

Upclose of the pillows

Have you been updating your guestrooms this summer?

 

 

Reading Nook Contest – see the Details

Hi All! I am writing this while on vacation in the greater rainy finger lakes. We are having fun relaxing and swimming (in the rain, of course) when I learned that our reading nook was chosen to be part of a DIY Book Nook contest!! I am so excited to share the details with you!

 

002580_rea_nook_contest (1) copy

 

I was contacted by Readers.com and they asked us if we would participate in their reading nook contest. It starts today, July 15th and runs through July 29th. Here are all the details:

Prizes

The blogger whose reading nook design receives the most votes will be selected as the winner of the contest. An individual who voted for the winning design will also be selected, at random as a winner. Both individuals will receive the following (amazing!) prizes:

  • $100 Home Improvement Gift Card

  • $50 Amazon.com Gift Card

  • Kindle Paperwhite

Official Rules

  • You may vote for your favorite reading nook once per day beginning 7/15/2014 through 7/29/2014. You must provide your email address each time you vote.

  • The blogger whose design earns the highest number of votes will win.

  • Anyone who voted for the winning blogger will be entered into a pool for a chance to win the voter prize package.

  • The winner of the voter prize package will be selected at random and will be contacted by the email address they provide.
  • Only U.S. residents are eligible to enter.

 

Remember you can vote once a day! We are up against some great reading nooks, the folks are so talented and could see myself reading a good book in any of these great locations!

 

Click here to vote.

Happy Voting!

Goodbye Stripes! Hello Floral Curtains!!

 

Hi Guys – hope you are all having a great Mother’s Day weekend. We had the whole family over and it was a perfect weather day to sit outside and just hang out! Where did April go?  Time is going by way too fast and April was filled with many events. We took a well deserved vacation with my family – which was a blast – it was so nice to defrost on the beach after such a long winter.

I was also  able to get some projects finally done around the house, which felt awesome!  I was even able to paint some furniture outside – which felt like that would never happen again after this long winter!

We had some great friends of ours visit last week – which put the pressure on to do some projects around the house before their visit.

Stripe curtain family room

The first one I wanted to share with you all is that I updated the curtains in our great room – I have wanted to do this for some time. I think the stripe curtains were over 12 years old. Though I loved them – the stripes were getting kinda of dated. Since I added the brown and lime green curtains to the living area – it really has brightened up the room – which was feeling a little bit dark.

Then in February I replaced the dark leather ottoman with the two toned coffee table to add a little bit more depth and color to the space. It is holding up awesome and the kids don’t even miss sitting on the ottoman.

Over the winter I was stalking various fabrics on-line in the process of trying to find the right curtain fabric for the space. Should I go solid, pattern, color, geometric? I looked at everything.

I decided on this fabric from Joann’s. It is actually fabric that I have used before as an accent in our bedroom. I love the use of color and the fun floral pattern within the print. It has the brown for the sofas, and the lime green from the pillows.

Back window by TV Curtain panel

It is amazing how the landscape over the room has changed with the curtains, the room became warmer – not darker and less preppy as my Mom said with the stripes no longer being there.

Back window new curtains web

The curtains were really easy to make – for 4 panels at 84 inches in length I needed about 10 yards of material. I had a Joann’s coupon for 50% off so the panels were about $45 dollars a panel – for this type of material that is awesome.

Right side of bay window web

 

I used rings to hold the panels on the rods which are great to move the curtains back and forth – and I had the rings from the old curtains.

Bay window center new curtains

 

I think I bought them at Bed Bath and Beyond – but you pretty much can buy them anywhere now. It took about an hour and a half to cut and sew the curtains together – which is just a Saturday morning and then you have a whole new look and feel to your room.

 

 

Two Toned Furniture – With a Hint of Chalk Paint

Last week and into this weekend I really needed to get my painting on….you would have never guessed what happened Saturday night – we received yet another snow storm – I have lost count to how many we have actually had. But this winter feels like it is never going to end!!! Hopefully, spring is knocking at our door soon.

So since the weather was messy I decided to get some painting done. My TV area of my living room is rather eclectic. We have 5 tables in the area – and none of them match. We have two metal ones, a coffee table and then two accent tables.

Different views of of the tv room

So to bring a little more symmetry to the space – and since I fell in love with this two tone color combination that I have on our new coffee table, I thought it would be cute to paint the end table and accent table graphite and country gray…by Annie Sloane.

First Coat Annie Sloane

I truly have missed painting – it has been such a long winter – I will definitely have to find a place to paint for next year. And I forgot how great it is to work with chalk paint. It just goes on so easy to the furniture you are working with and the colors are truly awesome.

 

First I want to give a shout out to the Purple Painted Lady shop – they are located outside of Macedon,, NY and this is where I buy all my chalk Paint. Sometimes I do visit the shop but mostly I order online – and it comes within 3 days. I was having some issues with the graphite I bought last summer – for some reason it was going on differently than the other colors. I called Trish the owner – we were troubleshooted over the phone and realized something was wrong with the paint – without even asking Trish offered to send me a new gallon of paint at no cost to me. She has excellent customer service – always willing to help out or give advice on painting techniques and always sends a nice smiley face on the box! It makes my day!

Purple Painted Lady Box

 

The accent table first, I purchased this table at Homegoods this past summer for Steve – he needed a little table to put drinks and the remote on next to his big manly recliner. At first I painted it a pretty sage color but the table just got drowned out in the corner.

Black hat on top web

So I decided to paint the top graphite and the rest of the piece country gray by Annie Sloane. Since I wanted the graphite to be rich in color I did paint the top portion with three coats. Then I just put on one good coat of clear wax also by Annie Sloane.

close-up on the table

 

For the end table – which was one of the first pieces of furniture Steve and I bought right after we got married with the Wedding money – needed an update too. Again to look similar to the coffee table I again painted the piece graphite on top (3 coats) and country gray on the bottom.

end table finished web

The color country gray is really a milky cream in my book with a gray undertone – it is a great color to work with within the collection.

 

So now we have some similar but not too matchy-match tables in our TV room to balance out the electric feel.

 

What colors of Annie Sloane do you like to work with – do you ever paint furniture in a two toned look?

You’ve Got Mail……….

My Hubby and I love to watch movies – he has an insane recall for movie lines and actors’ names.  I one day hope all this great knowledge will somehow bring us some type of income on Jeopardy or something….anyway…we are both a fan of Nora Ephron movies….do you remember the cute movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan called “You’ve Got Mail”?

you got mail movie image                                                                                                                               Source

A couple of weeks ago when I was sick with my cold, it came on HBO and I so enjoyed seeing the movie again!  I also was struck by how much this movie introduced us to Vintage and French country décor.

First of all – I loved Meg Ryan’s hair in that movie – and I think I had it styled that way a couple of times…. Secondly, did you ever watch a movie and just say “boy, I wish I could live in that space”? That has happened to me a couple of times. The first time was when I saw “About last Night” with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore – it was an early 90’s movie and when I went to find images of the apartment to share with you I couldn’t find any online!  I guess that goes to show how old it is!

view of the you got mail apartment meg ryan                                                                                                                             Source

But I digress from “You’ve Got Mail”. I loved both Tom’s and Meg’s apartments in the movie for different reasons. Meg’s apartment was a prewar apartment I would say; a large studio with all this wonderful character and windows and nooks and crannies– who would not want such a quintessential NYC apartment?  I know I sure would!

youve-got-mail-flowers

 Source

The set designer filled it very eclectically with the Vintage rustic table in the kitchen – with the big white breadbox underneath – which of course I would love to have…. Then the rustic table in the eating area – with the cute flower love seat (which by the way was the material I used at one point in time in our master bedroom.)

Meg-Ryans-brownstone-in-Youve-Got-Mail-5                                                                                                                    Source

To the wonderful wall to wall bookcases, the use of old signs, to the free floating desk where she would sit to hear those classic words when email first came on the horizon (you’ve got mail).

Meg-Ryans-brownstone-in-Youve-Got-Mail-1                                                                                                                       Source

Do you remember logging on to see if anyone would ever email you back? – Or was anyone out there?  Have times changed, our kids will never know that feeling.  They will always have mail.

Meg-Ryans-brownstone-in-Youve-Got-Mail-6                                                                                                                     Source

Finally, the piece that I think really influenced my design and my love for French décor was her headboard in her room. I have always loved fabric headboards and hers had a fabric insert with wonderful details of wood. I loved how it fit the space and how the room seemed all eclectic and yet at the same time, flowed so well from one part of the space to another.

So after I watched the movie and looked around our bedroom – which probably is the most concentrated area in our house of French country, I see the influence in our headboard, the eclectic mix and match of furniture, the fresh light that Meg Ryan’s apartment had in the movie.

bedroom1-web

New master curtains setting area web

Oh to be a set designer – wouldn’t that be fun! What movies have influenced your design and had you ready to just want to crawl into the TV and curl up and read a book?

How to Pick the Right Pendant for your Kitchen

Last week I was so excited to share with you our new Pendants in our kitchen, I forgot to walk you through all the choices out there and how I narrowed down my decision. It can be overwhelming.

2014lights from above

I think when you are picking out light fixtures in your home you need to consider where they are going, how you use the space and what  mood you are trying to create.

Our kitchen is going to go through some major changes this year…from a look and feel perspective (I hope that is, if I get up the courage to do what I want to do.) Our kitchen is the main hub of our house, it is where I usually work during the day now, even though I have a home office, I love the light in this space. Emma does her homework here, we eat dinner here when we are home and it is just a gathering place when people come to visit.

view of the eating area kitchen web

So the mood in our kitchen is casual, with a little bit of funk in that our furniture in our kitchen is mix and match – modern with some vintage. From vintage yellow chairs paired with modern print parson chairs makes up our eating area. So I wanted something soft that would blend in when it came to lighting. Also, when you first enter our home you see right into our kitchen area, so I wanted something that looked good too.

Example of pendant light

Source 

From the beginning I was drawn to a drum shade, at first I was thinking wicker, since I love it so and have a wicker lampshade in our family room area which I just love.

wicker pendant lampshade

 

 

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But since the color gray is starting play more within the space, I did not want to add too much brown to the area. Spoiler alert: the kitchen color is going to stay red, I think Peter will move out if I change it, and since I would like him to stay around, Brick Red by Laura Ashley is just going to get some freshening up later this year. So I thought linen or glass would be a good alternative for pendants.

white-kitchen-with-3-pendant-lights-550x720

 

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I love the picture of this kitchen, but of course this lighting was $400 dollars a piece, leave it to me to always pick out expensive light fixtures, like the chandelier that I would love to add in our dinning room is only a mere $800 dollars, that is not happening anytime soon.

Since I already have a lot of silver in the space, I did not want the cord to be silver, I wanted to add another layer into the mix and sometimes silver feels cold in the area and I wanted to create warmth. Don’t feel that all your metals have to match within a space – mixing it up adds some dynamic to the room.

You also have to consider do you want more of a soft light or a brighter light? Since I was leaning more on a cascading look and soft light, a drum shades were a calling…To keep myself organized on what I liked for Pendants I created a pinterest board. That way they were all in one spot. Also, I would Google the type of light out on pinterest to see if someone else posted a picture with that said pendant in their space and see how it looked.

So finally I went with this shade and conversation kit from Home Depot. It was very reasonably priced at about $30 plus per pendant. The bronze metal really pops on the ceiling and complements the chalkboard door as well as anchors the eating area. I really was impressed with the quality of the shade as well as the lighting is actually better than when we had the canned lights. I did order a couple of more lights just in case I wanted some choices, but we opened these first and never looked back.

pendant light conversation pendant homedepot

 

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So if you are in the market for pendant lighting I would check out Ballard Designs, HomeDepot, Potterybarn and Home Decorators and Lamplus. All great resources to find the right light for you. How do you go about picking lights for a space? Do you research, more gut feel or just go with what looks pretty?

Canned Lighting to Pendant Lighting in an Instant

light table pendant web

Our kitchen is now “en Vogue” – I finally have pendant lighting in our kitchen even though I did not have to hire an electrician! Do you want to learn how?

When the Hubby and I built both of our houses we avoided pendant lighting like the plague over our kitchen table and island. In both houses we had an open kitchen to the living room design and liked the clean look of recessed lighting – please – if memory serves me (and it is going) I don’t think there were a ton of pendant lighting options 15 years ago and even 9 years ago when we built House 2.0.

Today everywhere you look there is pendant lighting – and awesome options at that. So I guess I was feeling a little left out that I could not have pendant lighting in our house without hiring an electrician and then having to patch the ceiling etc.… It was going to be a “to do” – and the Hubby is not a big fan of that.

So about a year ago I was browsing through one of my go to magazines, Ballard Designs, and saw these conversion kits where you insert a device into canned lights and you can convert the light into a pendant fixture – I was like “how cool is this?” I filed it into my memory bank – and I told you my memory was going, and forgot about it.

Then I started seeing these conversion kits coming out of the woodwork, Home Decorators was now carrying them  – Lowe’s and Home Depot had them – they were now “en Vogue”, so I decided I would give it a try. I was reading how easy it was for Chronicles of Home to install the kit in her new kitchen and thought the Hubby and I could do this.

I love looking at lights – I could do it for hours – and of course I always pick out the most expensive light fixture – isn’t that always the way? In looking at our kitchen, I thought the best place to try out pendant lighting was over our kitchen table. Our ceilings are only 8-foot high so I was worried they would become bothersome over the island and we do use our island a lot.

In looking at the various sites and magazines that carry the conversion kits, I found that Home Depot had the best and widest selection when it came to the kits. I really fell in love with the looks of this pendant from Ballard, I just loved the shade and found one very similar at Home Depot for about half the price. The reviews were excellent saying the only challenge was getting them level…..more on that later.

They arrived before the weekend, and I have to say it put a huge smile on my face, since I just got back from the Dr’s with a sinus infection and the lights just made me feel better.

So on Friday night, the medicine really worked fast and I was feeling up to talking the Hubby into giving this a try.

Hubby figuring out the light feature web

I think it took him about 5 minutes to install the first one. It was as easy as we thought.

Steve looking at the converter web

steve danciing w the light on the table web

The directions were very straightforward….

lights up steve walking away

The cord hanging down was a little kinked from being in the box so we decided only to put one in and see if the height changed as the cord straightened through the night.

The next day the cord did indeed look straighter so we thought we would give the other light a try. It was easy to put in but I would have to say there were a few tense minutes and a few flavored words back and forth between the Hubby and I trying to get the two the same height.

straight on view of light web

Though, like Steve, I do like to “wing it” and not a fan of the tape measure – I just suggested that this might be an easier method to make sure both shades were the same height since they were off by a ½ an inch of so. But about 20 minutes later they magically aligned and looked awesome. Thank goodness!

view of the eating area kitchen web

I am really glad I went with the pendant shades; they offer a very nice light at night over the table. The shade is linen and matches well with the other textured elements in the room like the curtains and the rugs.

showing the bending of the cord pendant web They totally change the dynamic of the eating area of the kitchen making it a touch more formal and they don’t distract or block the view of the living room or heaven forbid the TV!

2014lights from above

So if you are looking for a quick and easy alternative for lighting in your house and you have recessed lighting – do try these conversion kits! They are truly a quick and easy game changer in your space.

DIY Project – Great gift for a Friend….

If you are looking for a fun gift to make for someone special in your life here is an idea, how about a frame with a letter in it. In looking at Pinterest this summer I saw a lot of people have framed letters on their walls. I thought that this idea was pretty cool and have made a couple of them over the last couple of months.

I put one together for my sister in law’s baby shower were the number 4 was the theme – since he was going to the be the fourth and it proudly hangs in his nursery. So when my girlfriend’s birthday was approaching I decided to make one for her. Here is how it is done…

Picture frame before brown

1). Find a fun frame to use….I like to use one with a lot of character. I found this frame at Kirkland’s; I liked the thickness as well as all the carving details on the front of the frame.

Frame painted B still unpainted

2). You can either stay with the current color of the frame or paint it. Since this frame had great detail I decided to paint the frame with Annie Sloane paint and then distress it! Which I really think changed up the look and feel of the frame.

3). Buy the letter you need. They have great selections at stores like Joanne’s and Michael’s, make sure you bring your 40% coupon.

Frame distressed

4). I really liked the shape of this B  – my friends favorite color is Tiffany blue. So I decided to spray paint it Tiffany blue (I actually made this gift this summer – thus why I could spray paint).

Another closed up of the b

5).  Then you need to find some type of backing for the frame and something to ahear your letter too. I have done it different ways – just cutting fabric and cluing the letter to it or I found this pre-cut burlap squares at Wal-Mart for 8×10 frames at Wal-Mart that I really liked using.

The finished product b letter frame
6). Once you have selected your backing take a hot clue gun and glue the letter to the backing.

b on the wall front view

Then you have a cute gift with some sentimental meaning for someone special in your life!

B on the wall

What types of gifts have you been making lately, do you have anything special up your sleeves? Have a great Monday!