The Neutral Challenge

>> 1.28.2015

I think there are two types of people out there; those that are afraid of color, and those that are afraid of the absence of color. I fall in the second category. I feel like a house without color is a house without personality and if I were to remove all of the color I would be removing my personality and therefore turn into a lifeless manequin like on the beloved 1980's children's show, Today's Special.


....Do I hear crickets?

Well anyway. In my regular shopping trip to Homegoods, Ross and Target this week, (I may or may not go weekly, don't judge) I decided to pick up a few things and see if I could style my bedroom with more neutral colors like white, beige, gray and gold. I found this awesome seersucker bedding at Target which is white with tiny little gray Xs on it. Neutral, but still modern, and a great price for $45. The best part about this bedding is that if it gets wrinkled, you can't tell! I also got a cute gray and white accent pillow for $7.50 on clearance. Can't beat that.

With the bedding figured out, I moved on to the side table accessories. I went to Homegoods and Ross in search of accessories, but after walking around aimlessly trying to find neutral accessories that spoke to me, I decided that maybe I had enough neutral things at home and only ended up buying one thing, which was the glass and jute candle holder at Ross for $7. I already had the lamps, which I got for $20 ea. at Ross, as well as a Nate Berkus beige geometric vase and frame. I also had two gold-framed pieces of art that I used as a backdrop. The brass peacock has found a place of honor again, and I also added a quirky vintage pot that I got for 50¢ and a Threshold plate on clearance for $1 to use as a side table tray.

The same rules apply for styling color and neutrals, except you don't have to worry so much about color coordination. So in that regard, this little experiment wasn't so hard. But it was hard for me to make choices because everything felt drab. It reaffirmed to me that decorating with only neutrals can be beautiful, but it is just not my thing. I am drawn to color. I crave color! I NEED color.

Here's what it looked like before. Actually, this is what it looked like "before" for about three days. Because I'm always changing it up, so who knows how long it will stay this way!

So here you go! A more neutral Mandie. Thumbs up or thumbs down?


Navy Crazy and Ugly Lamp Makeover

>> 1.26.2015

Pantone's 2015 color of the year is 1990's burgundy Marsala. An absolutely lovely color for a dress or makeup,  but I don't see it fitting prominently into my home decor until well maybe, never. That color was just way too badly overused not twenty years ago, and just like the acid-washed jeans I wore in sixth grade, it's just too soon to try to bring them back.  So since Pantone's color of they year was a miss this year, I've decided I'm going to make my color of the year navy blue. Who wants to join me?!

I've always loved Navy, but I chose to center my decor in our new house around my favorite color, which is Teal. (Don't tell any of this to Navy. He'll be devastated.) But in the past year I've done two accent walls in navy as well as Brian's desk, and right now my mantle is styled in navy and white, so maybe I'm changing my mind about my favorite color. (But don't tell Teal. He'll be devastated.)

So when I was given this lamp, along with this gold pot and a few other things, I decided that I would paint it in a high gloss navy and put it in our master bedroom.

First I wrapped up the cord and light fixture with tape and a plastic bag.

Next I sprayed it with Kilz spray primer, and once it was completely dry I used 320 grit sandpaper and sanded the lamp until it was smooth.

Using Painter's Touch Navy Blue in high gloss, I sprayed two coats, allowing them to dry completely between coats.

Once it was dry, I inspected the finish to make sure there were no drips or rough spots. And then I sprayed one coat of Rustoleum Lacquer to give it a super high gloss, glassy look.

Definitely an upgrade from dated grandma lamp that it once was. The lamp was free, and only thing I had to purchase was one can of navy spray paint because I already had the other materials. So in all, it cost me $4!


Oh, What the Heck

>> 1.23.2015

I like free stuff. Sometimes I junk free stuff, and sometimes people who know my obsession with free stuff, give me stuff. Recently my sisters picked up a few random accessories for me when going through a relative's belongings, and this magically delicious brass pot was among them.

I love brass, don't get me wrong, but this was just a little too dated for my taste. So I thought about passing it along to a friend of mine who I thought might appreciate it. But when I offered it to her, she refused it, and then shamed me and told me how disappointed she was, and that I was dead to her if I didn't try to makeover this pot. She also threatened to put me in a stock in the town square and watch as people laughed and threw paint cans and called me worthless scum and an unruly artisan. Because apparently that's what creative friends do to their other creative friends. 

Not really though. She's actually pretty nice. But she did refuse to take it because she wanted me to try, and so I thought, oh what the heck, and took on the challenge of trying to make it something that didn't look like it belonged at the end of a rainbow. 

The first thing I did was pull out the Barkeeper's Friend and polish it. Already so much better. 

Next I took some Scotch Blue painter's tape and taped off and covered the area I didn't want painted. Then I took it out to the garage and painted it a fun salmon color by Krylon. 

After it was dry I removed the tape and then filled it with rocks, soil and a pretty succulent. 

It still may not be everyone's cup o' tea, but it's so much better than it was before! And the best part? 

It was free. 


Mid Century Metal Desk Makeover

>> 1.22.2015

Have you ever done a makeover project that was completely a labor of love? This desk was a labor of love. Aaand a pain in the butt. But isn't love like that sometimes?

My husband recently got a new job where he gets to work from home (yay!) and he needed a new desk because the dinky one upstairs just wasn't going to cut it. He had pretty specific wants, and I really tried to find a desk that fit all his needs because 1. I lurve him, and 2. Because in the ten years that he worked as an IT consultant, he never had a desk of his own at work. That's the life of a consultant for you. So this was kind of a big deal, or at least it was for me.

I searched online and Craigslist for a week or so and finally settled on this l-shaped metal desk for $50. Awesome price, and we loved the industrial/mid century vibe, but not random black drawer and the oyster shell finish from 1963. This is the picture from the Craigslist ad:

For durability reasons, we decided to leave the faux wood top alone and paint the bottom navy blue.

So let me tell you how this refinishing process went down.

1. We painstakingly removed the top and legs from the body of the desk, which left a lot of wobbly metal parts to handle.

2. We primed it all in 50 degree weather, just barely warm enough to do it without ruining it. We used Kilz spray primer, which is awesome stuff.

3. Knowing that a cold front was coming in, a few hours after we primed we put the "first coat" of spray paint on. I use the term "first coat" loosely because the spray paint we used was crap and the first coat was embarrassing. But it was the color he wanted so we decided to see it through to the end. We used the plain old Rustoleum Navy blue, which is not awesome stuff.

4. We waited over a week before it was warm enough to put on a second coat, and then a third, fourth and fifth coat. Some areas needed even more coats after that. It was pretty ridiculous.

5. I polished the chrome legs with Barkeepers Friend (awesome stuff,) and they look good as new now.

6. We let it cure for 24 hours before putting it together and moving it, and then waited four days before adding the hardware and drawers.

So you may have noticed that there weren't any pictures of the process. That's because it was cold, the lighting was horrible with the overcast weather and dark garage, and overall the process wasn't going too smoothly, so I decided to not blog about this one.

But in the end, it didn't turn out too bad. It's definitely not a factory finish though. There are parts where the paint didn't go on evenly and some parts are glossier than others, and places where the paint left a few rough bubbled up patches. But it's DONE, and my husband is happy!

Here's the desk in his office. I am still working on some parts of the room, but I'd totally like to work in this space, wouldn't you?

Pardon all the wires! I booted my husband out of the desk and hastily hid his equipment and took pics and let him get back to work.

And just for kicks, here's a reminder of the identity crisis the spare room has gone through in the past two years.

First it was a guest room that I pulled together with things we already owned.

Then we babysat a family member's queen bed and mattress for a while. The headboard is mine though and I'm going to refinish that with an awesome pop of color one of these days.

Then we made it into an office space for my hubby with a really lame, little desk.


Thrifting Thursday

>> 1.15.2015


Visual Comfort floor lamp at Pickers Paradise in Wylie, TX
I bought it for $10 but its online value is $750 regular price.
It might be the best treasure I've ever found, and you're going to have to pry it from my cold dead fingers.


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