Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Big Move...Say It Isn't So!

Well, as much as I tried to live in denial and wish the move away it didn't work.  The packing crew showed up Monday and by Tuesday evening everything was in boxes.  The cars were picked up Tuesday as well.  My black and white beauties are safely (I'm hoping) on the back of a truck and waiting to meet us in Chicago next week.   Today the movers showed up to load the truck and they'll be done tomorrow afternoon.  Since everything is packed up in boxes we moved into a hotel Tuesday. We'll be living in hotels for the ten days until we move to Chicago.

I'm not being a Debbie downer, but this particular move has been a really tough one.  We looked for so long to find our house in Connecticut and were all ready to set down some roots.  However, this wasn't in the cards for us,  as someone had other plans for our family....a new life in the Chicago area.  I've been reminding myself that everything happens for a reason, but I have to admit this is something I've been struggling with.  The thought of starting over again with friends, a house, city, school, doctor the list goes on and on has been a bit overwhelming.  

The last couple of weeks I've been keeping myself motivated by looking at the listing of our new house and doing some room planning.  I sold a lot of furniture at my recent sale which means I have lots of pieces to replace and rooms to figure out.  Instead of focusing on the fact I have to start everything all over, I'm trying to get excited about the possibilities.   

I figured today I could share the listing pictures with all of you!!  I'm hoping this will also encourage me and get my creative juices flowing again.  

Here are a few pictures of the new place!  (these are all real estate listing pictures so the furniture and decor are the current owner's)

This is the snowy front of the house

This was one of the features that sold me on the house.  I love how there's a gate on the entrance and inside the gate is a great courtyard with an outdoor fireplace.

Here's the courtyard.  The gate locks and in order for people to come to the front door, we have to let them in.  I like the idea of the privacy and the added security.  Plus, I've always wanted an outdoor fireplace!
This is the front entryway.

 The first room you see is the dining room and the double sided fireplace.

 This is the family room, which is open to the kitchen.  The dining room, family room and kitchen are all open concept.

Here's the other side of the fireplace.
The kitchen, which is open to the family room.  This was another feature I really liked.  It's nice to be so close to all the action.
This is the eat-in kitchen.   The white door in the back corner is my office.  I like how much light comes in this house through all the big windows.
This will be the office.  Again light-filled and that ceiling made me swoon.
This is called the 'den', but it's technically a fifth bedroom that is located on the main floor.  We're going to use it as a TV/Family room.

This is the view from the top of the stairs.  Behind the archway is another sitting area.
Here's the upstairs sitting area.  I think we're planning on using this as the video game area.  This way when Hunter and his friends want to play games they have a quiet space.
 This is the master bedroom.  I know the Hubby is looking forward to the new space and it's his and hers closets.  He doesn't like sharing with me!
Master Bath

Master Bath
This is going to be Hunter's bedroom
 The plan for this room is either the play room or a guest room
Last bedroom and again we're either using this as a guest bedroom or play room. 

Hunter's bathroom

Powder room.....I have plans for you!
Laundry Room

Unfinished basement or my workshop.  We also have a 3 car garage that will also serve as my workshop in the warmer months (they have those in Chicago, right?!).

The backyard...I'm not going to lie, it was hard to come to the realization that we had to trade our 3.5 acres of woods and creek for a small yard.  On the bright side, it will be a lot easier to take care of!

This ends the tour of the new house!  I do have lots of plans for the house, but first I need to unpack and get settled.  The first room on the list is the kitchen.  I got rid of my kitchen table and chairs so we need something new.  Also, we left the bar stools in the house we're selling so I need to find some for the new house.  I want vintage drafting stools, but it's hard to find them in sets of 3!  

We close on our house Wednesday and the movers arrive on Thursday.  We will then be able to begin the process of settling in.  Hunter is starting his new school hopefully Thursday as well.  There are lots of changes in store for us, but also lots of new adventures.  The most important thing is we'll all be together living under the same room.  We've missed having Daddy around during the week!

Thank you for reading!  I'm happy I get to share the excitement of the new house with all of you.  I'd love to hear from you.  Let me know if you have any amazing or fun ideas for me to try in the new house.  Oh and if you know of anyone selling 3 vintage drafting or industrial metal stools please email me immediately :-)

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

For the Love of Stripes

I love a lot of things.  I'm starting to realize the older I get the more 'things' I love.  Of course I love my family, friends, dog, cat and UPS guy (who doesn't love it when the UPS guy delivers packages!).  BUT I'm taking more about 'things' as in collections.  I've never been a huge collector, until the last two years.  I did collect two things in my early 20's however....wicker baskets, anything black and white cow and Mary's Moo Moos.  Here's a pic in case you don't know what a Mary's Moo Moo is.  

Yes, I used to love those little white and black cows.  It became my go-to gift, so every time I had a birthday, etc  got another cow.  That's when I realized I really didn't like them anymore.  I have to point out this was the the early 90's people.  I was into anything sea foam green, peach, wicker and black and white cows!  I did keep the cows for about five years and then I moved on and never really found anything else I loved collecting until I started collecting globes, kitchen scales, carpenters rulers, levels, anything metal and industrial......I think I will stop now before this gets too embarrassing.  

I've always loved and been drawn to stripes.  I like just about anything that's striped (well maybe except large horizontal stripes on my clothing...I'm not that brave!).  I'm drawn to stripes like a moth to a flame...ummm might be the wrong analogy, but you get my drift.  

I've painted a few pieces with stripes and I know I'll do more before I'm done painting furniture, If that ever happens!  

Speaking of striped my super smooth segue???  I finished a striped dresser a few weeks back I really like, but forgot to write about. 

Here are a few before pictures

Basically this dresser was ugly, super dirty and really lacking in any character or personality.  I figured I knew what I could do to change all that....Paint on some stripes!!

I started first by giving this dresser, purchased in the basement of an estate sale home, a very thorough cleaning.  It surprising how much dirt comes off this old and neglected furniture.  After the dresser was clean and dry, I gave the inside of the dresser body and the insides of the drawers a coat of Zinsser™ Shellac.  I like to do coat the insides of old pieces with shellac because it takes those old dresser smells away.  I also like knowing it's a fresh clean surface when putting items inside for storage.

Next step was to paint the dresser.  I painted the entire outside in Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan in Coco.  I applied two coats of paint then let that dry in between coats.  I wanted to make sure the dresser was dry so when I applied my painters tape I didn't pull the finish off.  

I measured to find my middle and where I wanted to place my stripes.  Then I taped it all off and painted the stripes in Chalk Paint™ in Napoleonic Blue and Pure White.  I applied to coats of each color then pulled off my tape.  One trick I've learned to avoid bleed through when painting stripes, is to take a credit card or something similar and run it across the edges of the paint.  It makes a big difference!

After a coat of soft clear wax I very lightly distressed the piece to accent the details on the drawers and give it an aged feel.   Last step was adding new hardware and I was done!

Here's the finished dresser. 

One thing you might notice is I love navy blue.  My favorite colors for an older boy's room are red, white and blue.  I like the nautical, Americana, and rugby vibe of all these colors together.  The Coco, Napoleonic Blue and Pure White work perfectly together to give the dresser the look I was going for.

I had planned on selling this dresser and had some takers, but I think I'm keeping this one.  Not sure where it will go in the new house, but I have lots of room and know I will find somewhere for this one.  

I had a furniture sale/tag sale at my house this weekend.  I sold a lot of pieces that I hadn't planned on selling and WOW it felt so great!  It was nice to pass on some of the pieces I've worked on and loved to some great new homes.  When I get to the new house I will definitely need to find out where all the great thrift stores and flea markets are so I can replace the pieces I sold!  

By far the best part about having this sale was meeting so many of you!  I've dreamed of owning a store where I could sell my furniture and vintage finds, but also offer design advice, etc.  After having the sale I feel like this dream will become a reality.  I'm not sure where or when, but I know it's going to happen for me.  Now all I need to do is convince the hubby to stay in one place long enough to open a store!  Not sure either one of us has any say in that :-)

I'm really thankful for each and everyone of you that reads this blog, follows me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Hometalk or Instagram.  Every time I hear from one of you, it makes me smile!  Thanks for coming on this long and winding road with me....who knows where it will take me next!

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Passion For Decor's New Monthly Contributors

I'm sure you've all noticed my posting frequency has changed a lot over the last 6 months or so.  I do have lots of good reasons or rather excuses for the this.....moving, decorating a new house, etc. My lack of posting or even accomplishing blog worthy projects has been at the top of my to-do list for awhile.  I've been thinking of ways to post more often, but we're moving April 19 to Chicago which will make it even harder to start and finish projects at least for a couple of weeks  

While I was away on vacation, I'm sure you all noticed some new blood posting here on MPFD!  Charlotte and Anne were kind enough to fill in for me and I thought they did an outstanding job.  I asked them both (surprisingly I didn't have to bribe them!) if they'd be interested in being regular contributors to the blog.  They both agreed to post once a month, so you'll be seeing a lot more of them in the future!!  

I met both Charlotte of Ciburbanity and Anne of Anne Thompson Designs at the Haven conference I've written about many times.  Charlotte and I connected because we were the only bloggers from Connecticut.  I still can't believe there were so few of us CT people there!  Anne and I connected via a love for design and painting furniture.  They're both extremely talented and manage to balance life, blogging and family like the super women they are!  Anne has two children and Charlotte has four.  Both have beautiful homes and their own unique style.  I figured I would 'virtually' introduce you to both of them so you can get to know them a bit better.

Charlotte of Ciburbanity

After living in New York City for ten years, Charlotte and her family move to the burbs of Connecticut.  She loved living in the city (I can't blame her!!) and moving to the suburbs was a difficult decision to make.  Her Husband however loved the idea.  Charlotte writes about life, kids, her gorgeous home and whatever else happens to be on her mind.
Here are a few random things about Charlotte from her 'About Me' section on her blog

  • I bought a Kindle because I was too embarrassed to be reading the Gossip Girl series on the NYC subway. (On a related note, I own the Sisterhood of the Traveling pants and the Hunger Games trilogy.)
  • Our youngest daughter, Louisa is named after my grandmother, Mary Louise.
  • I wish I could play the banjo and/ or the trumpet.
  • Chances are I won’t change the channel if I stumble across Apollo 13… I’ve seen it more than I can count.
  • Peppermint Stick is my favorite ice cream.
  • I could watch the TV show Hoarders all day…they make me feel inordinately better about my junk drawers.
  • I learned how to make homemade pasta at my not so raucous bachelorette party.
  • My friend, Lisa, and I used to sell tie dye t-shirts from my front yard.
  • My husband and I went to the same high school but didn’t start dating until we were both 30.
  • I’d love to drive an RV across the country one day.
  • I love sewing but am so bad at it… I couldn’t sew a straight line if I tried.
  • As much as I love a clean house, I love watching my kids enjoy a messy craft.
  • I like my milkshakes with malt.
  • I’m hopeless at editing and worry that our house looks like 25 people have been decorating. MDPD= Multiple Decorating Personality Disorder)
  • I’m pretty confident that the value of our home has increased since the addition of the 
  • Home Goods 2 miles away a few years ago.
One of Charlotte's recent posts that really caught my eye was her Dining Room reveal.  She has a great eye and style.  I love how she put this dining room definitely need to see this.  I was WOW'd  Lavender Dining Room Reveal.

Anne first started blogging under a different name, "Because Home Should Be Great."  She changed the name in favor of something simpler so now her blog is simply titled Anne Thompson Designs.   Her mantra remains the same however, 'home should be great'.  She's also  a firm believer that home should be affordable, comfortable, but most importantly it should be uniquely yours.  This is probably one of the reasons I like Anne so much!  We both feel the same way about what home should be.  

Anne is a former news reporter and anchor, which didn't surprise me at all.  She looks like someone I would want reporting the news on my TV!  Her blog is now her outlet for writing and telling her stories.  Her blog is a place she can showcase her custom furniture pieces and home decor now that she's a stay at home Mom to her two adorable children.  Anne is married to her husband whom she describes as "the love of my life."  

One of my favorite things Anne does on her blog is a series called "What I'd Buy on Craigslist This Week."  She scours Craigslist for great finds and shares them with her readers.  This week she took her show on the road and wrote about what she'd buy on Craigslist in Dallas.  Have a look! What I'd Buy on Craigslist This Week-In Dallas.

Anne recently refurbished an heirloom rocker and I fell in love.  The color she chose was perfect and it was definitely a labor of love.  You will fall in love when you see it too Reviving an Heirloom Rocker.

I must say I kinda want to pinch myself right now.  I can't believe that these two over the top talented women want to contribute here on my blog.  I'm honored to have them on board and can't wait to see what they have to share with you in the future.

I'm not going anywhere and I will still be here writing my long, drawn out, picture-filled posts for you to read.  I love this blog and the people I've been able to meet in person and virtually.  I've got lots of ideas for the new house and later this week, I will share some pictures of the house with you.  

I'm busy right now with getting things ready for a sale I'm having at my house on April 5 from 9AM-4PM.  If you're local and interested in coming and don't follow me on Facebook you can follow me here (Connect With Me On Facebook).  All the details will be posted and updated via Facebook.  

One last thing, I'm looking for rookie bloggers who would like a bit more exposure who would be interested in guest posting.  If you have a fairly new blog with just a few followers, send me an email to with your blog address.  I know how hard it is to get started and get your name out there, so I would love to help a blogger out!  :-)

I hope you'll all stop by and visit Charlotte at Ciburbanity  or on Facebook Ciburbanity Facebook and Anne at Anne Thompson Designs or on Facebook

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Guest Post: Vintage Tables in Vibrant Yellow

Hi there! I'm pleased as punch that Melody invited me to post in her beautiful piece of blogland (even though I'm so jealous that she couldn't sneak any of us stuck here in perpetual winter along with her to escape)! I blog at Anne Thompson Designs, which is something I started after leaving a career in television news to spend more time with my two kids. It's been such a blessing - more than I ever could have imagined. And no small part of those blessings has been the incredible women I've met who share the passions for home and DIY that I do.

I met Melody last summer at the Haven Conference, which is like mecca for home/DIY bloggers. It was the first time either of us had attended, and we both came knowing very few people. It was, for me, an exciting but also nerve-wracking time. Being among such awesome creatives, but being alone much of the time was kind of stressful, even though it was so completely fantastic.
I went to a painting class led by Shaunna of Perfectly Imperfect, and Marian of Miss Mustard Seed (holy cow, by the way, they rocked)!
And it was there I had the good fortune to sit at a table with Melody.  Man, did we have a good time!  We love furniture. And paints. And we have sons who are the same age. It was like we'd known each other for years. I've kept in touch with so many bloggers via social media, and now Melody and I get to be roommates at this year's Haven. It'll be like a reunion this time!

But for now, I'm very happy to be here with Melody's awesome readers!

I'm sharing today about a pair of vintage end tables I recently painted... I'll be honest. I was a little unsure when a woman I knew from high school said she wanted two vintage end tables/nightstands painted bright yellow.  The success of the way they turned out, I think, lies in the specific shade of yellow we ended up using.  Ironically, it's Sherwin Williams' "Overjoy." Coincidence? I think not!
 These two tables came to my friend via a yard sale.  Their simple shape and relatively good condition were well worth the $10 price tag.
 The polyurethane on top, however, was cracked and flaking off - it couldn't be painted over in that condition.
  They also came with a red-based stain on them that didn't want to quit.
 And they were basically filthy.
After sanding them with my RYOBI Corner Cat sander (LOVE that tool. And I'm not getting paid to say it. I asked for it for Christmas, and my husband obliged. I bought him clothes. #tablesturned) it was clear that a good primer was going to be needed. The table on the right is sanded below.
A quick swipe with a water based primer showed in no time that the red stain would laugh in the face of that. The table on the right has the water based primer. The other got the oil-based. Wow.
I'd have to turn to my trusty oil-based Zinsser Cover Stain. Man, I love that stuff. Again, not being paid to say that. It has proven itself over and over again. Zinsser better never stop making it or they'll have a revolt on their hands from furniture painters the world over.
Two coats of Cover Stain later, (I had to take advantage of the only 40 degree day this side of Christmas) we were ready to rock some yellow.

Yellows and greens, I think, can be tricky. You don't want neon (usually). You don't want sickly looking colors, or otherwise murky shades that may remind you of not-so-nice things that are green and yellow in the world. It can be hard to get them right. This time, we hit the jackpot. It was sunny and cheerful and just gorgeous. The paint went on like a dream.  Covered and leveled really nicely. The owner didn't want anything distressed on these pieces, and I completely agree with her call on that.
I will say, I had a devil of a time getting the topcoat right on these pieces. I tried a glossy finish Minwax Polycrylic, a brand I've used for a while now, with pretty good results.  It's not the easiest thing to get a streak-free finish with, but using the Satin finish I've taught myself how to manage it pretty well. (It just dries really fast, which makes it very hard not to over brush it, which effectively ruins the entire coat.) I kept getting streaks. I was about to lose my mind. I reached out to other bloggers. I read message boards on polycrylic. I even ended up posting (nicely) on Minwax's Facebook page, begging for an actual expert who has used the product to weigh in on what I might be doing wrong. Mercifully, they did. And their advice saved my sanity.
I was working in my finished, heated basement. But it has been a very long, cold winter and the heat naturally rises in homes. So the expert suggested the temperature may be chilly enough that it was causing the finish not to dry properly. I got out a radiator-style portable heater, sat it close to the pieces, and prayed. #notkidding. It helped. I ended up using some additional coats of the Sherwin Williams paint, as well, because it is an enamel paint that dries to a hard finish. In all, there are probably 4-5 coats of paint on the tabletops and 3-4 coats of poly. That stuff's not going anywhere! So thank you to the Minwax people for being so responsive. Much appreciated. I also cleaned up the original hardware with some Brasso.

 The bottom piece was how they looked when I got them. The top one is cleaned.
When I was working on these pieces, I realized they were stamped and numbered on the bottom of the drawers. I'm no expert on furniture. But I love to learn about pieces and where they come from. Mersman cranked out tables for American homes by the thousands. So, they aren't exactly collectors items, but still good examples of American made vintage furniture.
Luckily, my classmate/client was thrilled with them, and in the end, that's why I, and Melody, and so many others do this kind of work.

The hope that they are going to make her smile every time she looks at them.
And if that's not how you feel when you look at some of the things in your home, maybe it's time this spring to be asking, "why?" and then, "what can I do about it?"

 For help, I'd say keep your eyes here on my friend Melody's blog for a stream of beautiful pieces, gorgeously staged, to inspire your own space. I know I do.
Thanks for having me, Melody!
Bring on Haven, roomie!!