Table Testing

I’m looking for a table to put on the back of the sofa between the two chairs (which still need to be recovered. I want the table to offer some storage, room for a lamp, and still go with the modern moroccan theme for the room. I found a few new options at World Market that I think might work well, but needed to bring home the photos and measurements to see what might really work.

The table on the left here is likely my favorite, though it’s a bit dark. It has a drawer for storage and it’s 29”w x 14.5”d x 29”h and is currently around $180. I do have a few coupons for World Market, because I just signed up for their mailing list, so I can get a little bit off.

The table on the left here has a bit more modern/craftsman type look. It’s 36”w x 11”d x 30”h, has a drawer and a lower shelf and is around $190. The one on the right has a rounded element that I like, no drawer, and just a shelf at the bottom. It’s 35”w x 12.5”d x 30”h and only $120.

The back of our sofa is 30” tall, so any of the tables would work as far as their height. And though I’d probably have room for a 35” or 36” wide table if I moved the chairs around, I think the narrower one will work better. Additionally, the dark color of the wood matches the wood elements of the chair a bit better.

So, the winner is….

…now I just have to convince the husband ;).


Living Room Chairs

I’d been looking for quite a while for two chairs that we could put on the other side of our living room. I was determined not to spend a lot on the chairs, because I knew I’d likely have to recover them in order to tie them into my theme, and yet I knew I wanted some nice, comfortable chairs, that would be good for reading in front of the fireplace on cold winter evenings and pulling around to the other side of the room for additional seating and creating a separate conversation area in the large expanse that is my living room. So I’d scoured the internet, looked during garage sales, and watched Craigslist on a near-daily basis.

Then, this morning, I saw these on craigslist:

A few e-mails, a change of plans and a trip to the ATM later, we were out on the street sitting in chairs that had been delivered by a woman and her mother from a model home her mother had just sold. Purchased only to be used as staging chairs, they were practically brand new and oh-so-comfortable!

So, at just $60/chair, we were sold and hauled our treasure up to our condo and placed them behind the sofa. They’re a bit taller than the back of the sofa, but I think with reupholstering, the right table in between and a lamp, they’ll add just the right touch of comfort and pizzaz that I was looking for on the other side of the room, to help separate it from the darker pieces in the main area.

Now, to look for the right fabric!

Our Beach’n Bedroom

Well, you learned on Wednesday that we finally finished building our bed! And so after a few more finishing touches to the whole room, our bedroom is finally starting to look like an oasis, rather than a war zone!

We went from this:

Early Bedroom
To this:

Bedroom In Progress
And finally to this:

After Bedroom

Ahh… that’s much better!!

Let me show you around. First, in the photo above you can see that I finally added the curtains in front of the wardrobes to hide our clothes and drawers. I picked up three packs of the Ikea VIVAN curtains for around $13/pack and placed them in front of the wardrobes, in front of the mirror behind the bed, and in front of our real-life window!

The window behind the bed is a mounted mirror with an old paned window (purchased for $25 at a garage sale we stumbled upon in the burbs and painted white) hung in front of it. Hanging the window was quite a challenge.. it is extremely heavy and due to the construction of our condo, finding studs on some walls is nearly impossible. But, we found a solid solution with two of these brackets, which we hung above the mirror, ensuring it was both level and secure!

We finished off that end of the room with two wall-mounted lamps, which I ordered online from CSN Lighting. Unfortunately, the white shades that came with them were HIDEOUS! when the lights were in use, because they made everything look super yellow. So, first, I attempted to recover the shades myself; it was no use, the plastic that held the two rings together (there weren’t metal rods between) was what was causing it to be yellow, so even in a thicker brighter white fabric, the shade was still yellow. When that failed I went searching high and low for new lampshades that would fit with the feel of the room and wouldn’t be too large or too small for the fixtures. I finally found these at Lowe’s and while I had originally planned to recover them in white fabric, particularly because I wasn’t too sure about the pleats, I thought the pop of sand color and the texture of the darker bits actually worked perfectly and ended up loving them just as they were!

I had been looking for a coverlet to fold at the end of the bed in winter and use as our “heavier” sheet in the summer when I found this one at Target for $30 and JUMPED on it. (Seriously, I think the other women in the aisle thought I was trying to steal it I grabbed it and ran to my cart so fast!) It’s super soft and works absolutely perfectly with the teal of the chest of drawers we repainted on the other side of the room:

Bedroom from the Other Angle
In these photos you can also see the seagrass laundry basket I purchased from QVC (this is version 2.0, since the first one’s casters broke off too easily, but they replaced it for free – which is good because I was already pretty frightened by how much I spent on it but it was SO perfect for the room). And you get a glimpse of the fun and practical linen storage bench I got from JCPenney. They each, along with the lamp shades, bring in some nice neutral, earthy touches to the room to help ground it, while the rest is light and airy and just “beach’n”!

Not pictured, but contributing to the light and airy feeling is the new ceiling fan I installed which looks a million percent better than the old one. I jumped on this new one while hubby and I were in Home Depot on a completely unrelated task. It was calling my name – on clearance, clean white lines, and a simple round white glazed light flush to the bottom of the fan, no points or extra space at all! Of course, the installation didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped (what does, really, in this condo?) since one of the screws for the light mount REFUSED to turn and I broke a screwdriver and ended up having to dremel the manufacturer’s screw off and make a new hole to install the light, but it all worked out in the end.

It looks a million times better than it did a few months ago, but I still have a few finishing touches to add, including artwork above the chest, a few extra beachy touches and something to fill those glass fronts of the drawers.

And I’m sure that the Youngsters will certainly see now that I wasn’t kidding when I told them they were my inspiration!

Early Bedroom


A Bed, A Bed I Said

We finally finished making our bed!!! And it was super easy! 🙂

Well, not quite. It took a lot of work:

And quite a bit longer than we planned… as in MONTHS (but that’s mostly because we only worked on it on weekends, took a few weekends off, and my handyman, aka my husband, was out of town for a lot more of the project than I had hoped.)

And we definitely had a few mishaps… can anyone spot the difference between the photo on the left and the one on the right that DOESN’T have to do with the paint job? I’ll give you a hint. the photos were taken from the exact same location… and yet you can see the end of the bed on the right…

That’s right, we definitely built the bed too long at first!

We built the bed using modified plans from Ana White’s Stratton Bed design. We added the drawers, adjusted the plan to remove the “wasted” space in the middle of the bed AND forgot to account for the fact that we were making each of the benches bigger, and would therefore probably need to make one a bit smaller. So, after it was all assembled, trimmed and primed, and we were nearly ready to paint (center photo), we realized that the darn thing was WAY longer than we wanted it to be! Well, time to improvise! We brought in the circular saw and hacked off a section of the top piece, which brought it nicely back down to queen bed size. Phew! Then we repositioned the trim (which we also shortened, obviously), patched a bit more and then painted:

You’ll notice we also designed and built our own bookshelf headboard. We did this because we placed the wardrobes on either side of the bed, which, while providing plenty of extra closet storage, didn’t allow us room for nightstands. The bookshelf headboard gives us the space for our alarm clock, phones, books we’re reading, a waterbottle or glass of wine, a box of kleenex, the remote for our mattress, and anything else we want to have by our bedside.

To do this, though, we had to make sure that we left a space for the motor for our bed, and holes for the plugs to run through for our alarm clock, phone chargers, etc. So we cut a hole in the front of the headboard that was high enough to reach, but low enough that it would be covered by our mattress. We also mounted two surge protectors inside on 2x4s there to keep the shelves stable. Then we drilled holes in the bottom of the two side bookshelves, which we use to run the cords through to the surge protectors.

Then, we added some finishing touches to the drawers.

Handles on the outside:

And fun colored paper on the inside:


And the end result was a heck of a lot better than this:

But you’ll have to stay tuned for the full bedroom reveal!

A Chair Makeover

I forgot to take a photo of the chair as it was when I bought it, with the fabric cover on the seat, but you can see that it definitely wasn’t pretty.

But I found this really cute fun fabric at the fabric store that looked as though it was made for our kitchen area, so I wanted to redo the chair and add this fabric for the seat.

So first I sanded it down, really well. using an electric sander mostly, but digging in with my hands and some small pieces of sand paper and the Dremel for a few of the more detailed design elements. 

Then I primed it with oil-based primer, per the directions I saw on Young House Love.

Next I painted over it with fresh bright white paint. I did about 2-3 coats of the paint as I went around the chair and touched up each time.

Then I recovered the board for the seat with the fabric I found. And decided the chair needed a few extra personalized touches. So I painted my monogram on the front and blew up part of the fabric to paint onto the back of the chair:

What do you think? I think it turned out pretty well!

Chair: purchased at Brown Elephant $10
Fabric: $6/yard – 1/2 yard of fabric=$3
Primer: Bought for china cabinet/office space=$0
Paint: Bought it early for our bed project=$0
Polyeurethane: Bought early for our bed project=$0
Total: $13!

The (not so) Entertaining Center


Remember when I mentioned that we had ordered our entertainment center and planned to travel to Woodridge that week to pick it up? Well…things didn’t quite go according to plan. (I know, you’re all shocked, I’m sure!)

That Thursday night was a wonderfully stormy evening and the hubby and I had both had very long days at work. All we wanted to do was go home and curl up on the couch and watch a movie. But we’d I’d made an appointment to pick up our entertainment center and we were I was determined to make it happen.

So after several calls to the warehouse to confirm that the pieces would fit in the car, during which I was told that they couldn’t tell me what sizes the boxes were, but that they weren’t bigger than the individual pieces (well, thanks for that Sherlock!), we proceeded down to Woodridge in our small but powerful sedan.

On the way we wandered around (iPhone GPS wasn’t our friend that evening) and finally found a Menards RETAIL store (rather than the warehouse that the phone first directed us toward) and purchased a tarp, twine and utility knife because we wanted to be sure the boxes stayed dry on the way back, since we figured we might have to tie one or two on the roof or sticking out of the trunk.

Finally, we showed up at the warehouse a mere 15 minutes before it closed and waited for them to pull our order… which came out in four GIGANTIC BOXES!!!

The guys looked at my husband and I like we were completely crazy when they wheeled out four boxes each the size of the individual sections of the entertainment center. Yes, you read that correctly, these suckers were fully assembled and wrapped in cardboard. Needless to say, there wasn’t anyway we were getting these puppies home.

So on our way we went, sans entertainment center, back to our condo to restrategize just how exactly we were going to get our entertainment center from the warehouse to our living room. After discussing the option of renting a U-Haul or other truck, we finally decided to just suck up the delivery charge and have the store bring them to us. So today, while I was out with the sister in law for a dress fitting for her wedding, my husband and his dad received the entertainment center and put it together. (Well, put the pieces together into the grouping, since obviously each piece was already fully assembled!)

Now we have this:

Instead of this:


A Couch of Our Own

Yesterday, Nikki had the day off of work thanks to Presidents Day. So she set off in search of furniture with which to fill our apartment. After a long trip out ‘west’ to look at a bedroom set (in a catalog, since it turned out they didn’t have the set in stock), she headed back into the city to continue her quest for bedroom sets, couches, chairs, tables, well… you get the idea.

She stopped at several furniture stores, each one providing couches that seemed to be stuck in decades past or uncomfortable beyond belief, or bedroom furniture that would look lovely in a castle or some country inn. At long last, she stumbled upon a store that looked very promising from the windows – modern, clean lines and friendly “Sprechen sie deutsch, Mow nam Polski” signs beckoning on the glass. Not, that she actually spoke either German or Polish, but she figured the multiple European dialects might denote that the folks within might actually know something about European furniture.

She wandered around briefly before discovering a couch and loveseat set that seemed to be exactly what they had been searching for and not yet found. Clean lines, no cushions to get messy with crumbs or get pushed out over time, but still comfortable and inviting, the couch seemed to be perfect. So, after sending photos from her phone and promising the owner that she would be back with her husband, she looked at a few more stores and then made her way down to Dan’s office to pick him up and take him to see the couches.



After testing each and every seat of the couch (multiple times) Dan gave the “man of the condo” approval and we were making our second furniture purchase… ever. On Saturday, our TV will finally be accompanied by an honest-to-goodness couch! (The loveseat will follow sometime next month.) AND, to top it all off, the cable box has thawed out enough that we are expecting a visit from our friendly cable guy that morning as well. Hopefully this time it will be a successful installation, resulting in, well, actual cable!

A Place to Sleep

A Brand new place to lay our heads... and the rest of us! The wait for our new Sleep Number bed is over! And now, we really have no excuse NOT to sleep at our new place... well, other than the fact that the bed is pretty much the only furniture we have over there!

A few weeks ago, we ventured north to the faraway land of suburbia (namely, Skokie) to visit the Old Orchard mall and the Sleep Number store. A few hours later we had plunked down our credit card for our first furniture purchase as a married couple and as homeowners – our new bed.

And oh! what a bed. With air chambers that move at the touch of a button, providing comfort and sleep that can only be imagined. We’re SO ready for this. We can’t wait to sleep in it – so, I think we’re going to… right now! It’s a little early, but hey – it’s a Friday – why not!?