Curbside find gets a stunning new look!

I don’t know exactly HOW it happened, but we were driving to get a coffee and I spotted it; a sad-looking wingback chair covered in horrible fabric that reminded me of ‘Who’s the Boss?’, sitting in a big pile of trash and yard debris.

“Oh! Can we stop? Look at that chair!” I said to John. He kept driving. He knows if we stop, we’re taking it home, always. We continued down the street to drive through for our drinks. The chair was talking to me the whole time. I convinced him to go back so we could just look at it. I promise, if it’s horrible, we won’t bring it home. Two minutes later and the chair is loaded in the back of the VW with John wedged between the trunk and the backseats, holding the chair in place.

Wingback Chair


It was not cute. But it had an amazing shape and the wings are SOOOO deep. Is that how you explain them? They aren’t wimpy wings. They are cozy, sinkintome wings. This was not a project that I was going to take on myself. While I’m capable of DIY’ing things to a certain extent, I know my limits. I’m not an upholsterer.

I took a photo of the chair into the upholstery shop to get a quote. It would be $800 to have it reupholstered. That wasn’t including if I wanted all of the nailheads replaced WHICH I DID. Upholstery work is tedious and you have to be meticulous, so I get it, but unfortunately, my bank account does not get it. Back to the drawing board.

I had heard about a program where inmates of the Arizona Correctional Department learn to reupholster and refurbish furniture. They take classes and this becomes their daily job. I called the company and they quoted me $230 for the entire job, including nailheads, a new cushion, and a pillow. Done and done!

The next step was to pick out fabric. By now you know that things have to speak to me, so there’s no guarantee that we would find the right fabric on the first trip to the fabric store. I knew I wanted something with a pattern because both the couch and the other chair in our living room are solid. I also didn’t want something too trendy because I didn’t want to hate it in a year. We looked for probably 45 minutes and a few fabrics were contenders, but then I saw it! A gorgeous cream and black fabric that looked to be crowns on a chain link pattern. The perfect mix of class and hood! YES!! We had the fabric cut, then spent way too long deciding on nailheads. The winner was a big box of shiny gold ones (duh) that I thought would just give that extra oomph to the chair.

We made an appointment to drop off the chair at Arizona Correctional Industries, and with the help of our neighbor (and his truck), John dropped it off. Inmates work at the building too, although the actual reupholstering is done at the prison in Florence, AZ. It’s all women inmates at the ACI building and there was much text-joking about Orange is the New Black while he was there.

There is no time-frame when you drop off furniture there, so you really can’t have expectations or a firm due date for your piece being done. We were fine with that, and when we got the call that the chair was ready, it was sort of like Christmas! I wanted to see it right away, but we had to wait until we had a day off.

I had decided that I would definitely go to pick it up, mostly because I wanted to see the inmates. When we arrived, they were all signing in for their day of work, in their bright orange jumpsuits. We stood off to the side until they were done, and then were called up to the desk by the inmate who worked in the front. She took our name and paged someone to come up to meet us. After meeting with our representative, we were told that we could pull the truck around the back and into the warehouse. John and neighbor drove back and I walked around to meet them there. Our rep and an inmate were standing by the chair which was wrapped in foam and plastic. The inmate began unwrapping it and I seriously almost started crying!

No pictures are allowed at ACI, but I wish I could show you the scene! The inmate was so proud of the work that had been done, and was so excited when she saw how much we loved the chair. The work was impeccable. Other inmates watched from the side to see our reactions. They take such pride in their work and have all the time they need to do things right. I sort of wanted to stay and hang out, find out their stories, and thank them all for what they do. Back in real life though, these ladies were probably not interested in hanging out and swapping stories with me. Haha!

Wingback Chair

Can you even believe this? I sort of can’t. I have named it “The Gwen Stefani Chair” because I imagine that Gwen would have a chair like this in her home. I had the option of having the legs stained which I declined at the time. Seeing them now though, I definitely wish I would have had them done. Luckily, I’ve still got a jar of black lacquer and can totally do this part myself.

Wingback Chair

Wingback Chair

It’s so ridiculous. I can’t believe this was in the trash!!

Wingback Chair

Perfection. And all for about 1/4th the cost. Amazing.

While the time frame is definitely longer than having something reupholstered at a traditional shop, the cost, the craftsmanship, and the fact that you’re supporting a great cause totally makes it worth it. They do all different kinds of furniture work and repairs. If you’re interested in getting a quote for reupholstering or refinishing something in your house, check out the ACI website here.

Get Real

Do you ever look around on the internet at homes or lives or makeup or meals (etc, etc) and wonder how people keep it all together? How they can go to work all day, find the time to work out and look incredible, make amazing meals, work on Pinterest projects (and actually complete them), and just have it all together? I figured something out! No one really has it together. Everyone has their “junk drawer” and that is pretty awesome.

Anyone who has been to our house knows that it doesn’t quite look like what is posted online. When I say “doesn’t quite”, I mean not at all. There is typically dog and/or cat pee somewhere, hair balls rolling around, dusty books, dishes in the sink… It’s easy to want to portray a perfectly organized and beautiful life, and I think it’s similar to wanting to put your best foot forward in work or with relationships. It’s NORMAL. Moving things out of the picture to get that “glamour shot” is normal. But so is chaos. And clutter.

Here’s where I’m going with this: it’s easy for me to want to wait to post anything I’m doing until it’s completely done, organized, locked away, cleaned, dusted, mopped and polished. I like the before and after, and not so much the process in between. You know the story of the laundry room and how it’s basically the bane of my existence. This room haunts me. It is small and awkward and kind of gross to be honest. I just don’t get it. It doesn’t speak to me and doesn’t tell me what it wants to be. I don’t have a vision for it and that kind of drives me crazy. For a long time it’s just been easier to ignore it. Usually I can see pretty quickly how to change a room, make it better, make it beautiful and functional. But with this room I just can’t. And that frustrates me to no end.

I decided that instead of waiting to have a complete plan, I would just take a step. Maybe that will get the ball rolling. So this week, we had the laundry room painted. Baby steps, right? I have been wanting to use a Jeff Lewis color ever since I saw him developing his paint line on Flipping Out. Boy do I love that man. OCD, emotional, a little verbally abusive, hilarious, sarcastic… sometimes I believe we are kindred spirits. But back to the paint – I picked out the color Smoke. It was between that and Dusk, two beautiful grey colors (duh).

Laundry Room

Smoke is the top, darker color. The yellow was the color we painted it in an effort to be “cheery” and have a sunny outlook on life. Who am I kidding? Grey all the way, baby. And look at all that clutter. Doesn’t it feel good to be real?

Laundry new

Look at that! Modern, fresh, not sunny. Clean and beautiful, like a new start. I have no idea what shelving or organization I am going to do in here, but that’s OK. I’m working on not panicking. We have a lot of stuff to store, and this is kind of the only place we can do it, so I will make it work. Not putting pressure on myself is feeling pretty good right now, and making this a little bit exciting! Do you have a favorite organizational system that you use in your laundry or pantry? If so, let me know!

The second incomplete project in the house right now is the wall between the kitchen and laundry room. So I was at Target one Saturday alone (which is a big mistake) and picked up a roll of the Devine wallpaper. It was turquoise and gold so it took about .5 seconds to put it into my cart. I’d figure out what to do with it later. And while I am OK with committing to a project, and OK with putting in work, the thought of wallpapering makes me want to die a little inside. So I knew the wall needed to be fairly straightforward, with not a lot of cuts or measuring and all of the things that come along with doing a project correctly. I picked the wall between the kitchen and laundry room because it fit the criteria. I assumed that with two of us working on it, it wouldn’t take long at all.

The wallpaper is peel and stick, and you can reposition it, so really, it doesn’t take a wallpapering master to do it. I think the issue with our project is 1. no wall in our house is straight, on any side. Ever. And 2. we put this wall in when we remodeled our kitchen and it was never sanded down or truly completed. There are lots of little spackle bumps and weird inconsistencies. Knowing this now, I would have sanded the wall completely before we put the wallpaper on, but hindsight is 20/20 and honestly, I kind of never want to wallpaper again. I think there was an argument while wallpapering (that usually happens when we do house projects), and at one point I started laughing hysterically because I didn’t know what else to do. Then my eyes got watery and I felt like taking a bath and eating pretzels, so I knew this probably wasn’t ever going to happen again.

Kitchen before

So here’s the wall before. It’s cute. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but it’s not exciting.

Devine wallpaper Target

At this point, it looked kind of straight. Like we had somehow been magical enough to perfectly install wallpaper on our funhouse walls. Then things got weird. The rolls are only about 29 square feet so this was where we needed a new roll. There was the same print in the clearance bin at Target because it didn’t have packaging so I really thought I scored. We started to hang the second roll, but some of the pattern at the bottom didn’t match up, even though it did on the top. This still baffles me. The spackle bumps on the wall caused the wallpaper to stick out, and this caused the seams to be “off”. This drives me a little bit insane, but you know, it is what it is. If you don’t look too closely, I think the wall looks pretty great. I love the color and I love that it’s a bit gaudy.

Devine wallpaper Target


There’s a good 18″ gap between the end of this counter run and the wallpapered wall, and I think we could fill this wall with open shelving. Either stainless or even a reclaimed wood. Then store dishes, pots, pans or whatever else here. So this project is also not yet done, but like I mentioned before, I think the process is important, and I think it’s OK to not have everything completed.

Both in home renovation and in life!



I am loving…All Things White

There was a time in my life when my favorite colors were hunter green and burgundy. I dreamed of a hunter green Chrysler Lebaron convertible with a tan top, and thought for sure that if I only had a car like this, my life would be complete. I remember discovering a reversible (gasp!) comforter that was hunter green on one side, and burgundy on the other. I had to have it. And I did!

For me, my favorite colors are very indicative of where I’m at in my life, and they punctuate different decades and memories. The hunter green/burgundy combo was the time period of wavy crimped hair, playing trumpet in the school band, and getting my first bra. What an awkward time!

I would say that I have loved white as a color for many, many years, but recently it has seemed much less boring and safe, and more glamorous, refined and elegant. Is this just the excuse people use when they’re getting old and boring? I DON’T THINK SO!

White Room

There is something about a white room that just screams confidence. No, we don’t need to accentuate with a “pop” of color. No, we don’t need to keep to the three-color-in-a-room rule. We have one color and it is white and it is fabulous.

Another white room

This room is amazing. All white, but the mouldings keep it from being boring. The grayed out, ash floors compliment but don’t distract from the rest of the room. And the broken, burned out fireplace? Forget it. This room is magic.

White bathroom

You know how I feel about white subway tile. In the above room, they even tiled the ceiling, added can lights, and used tile as the wainscoting and border around the entire room. It’s an absolutely beautiful finished product.

Another white bedroom

OK I have to be honest and say that I do not love this white tufted headboard and footboard. It looks like it’s made of linen, which to me, looks too casual. The studs in the footboard are also too spaced apart for my liking. If I’m going to glam something up with studs, you best believe I’m going 100% and doing them edge to edge. However… they added touches of beige, cream, gold and even black in this room. Rather than making the room look busy and fussy, your eye takes in the whole room as one cohesive picture.

White room

Now this. I love this room and can imagine curling up in this white duvet and taking the best nap ever. What IS IT about white duvet covers that is just absolutely magical?! The poured concrete columns, beige Berber carpeting and brushed nickel bedside lamps add visual interest. If this was my room, I would definitely add some texture through moldings or picture frames/artwork as the all white above tends to be a little too stark for me. Overall though, this room seems relaxing and classic.

This past week we were on vacation visiting friends in London and took a quick getaway over to Dublin. This whole vacation was kind of a splurge for us, so I decided to book a very nice hotel in Dublin, called The Morgan. It is in a very busy and trendy part of town, and the photos online showed it to be very chic and beautiful. Here are a few iPhone photos of our room, which we absolutely loved. I’m not 100% on the modern boat, and do like a bit of “junk” around, but the minimalism and beauty in this room were perfect! The carved headboard, the mirrored wardrobe, the ghost chair and the white duvet were all the perfect match and made for such a relaxing experience.

The Morgan Hotel Ireland






The moral of this story, as usual, is to do what you like. If you are into all white, do it! Try it in a room and see how you like it. Don’t worry that people think it’s too safe or too boring or that you’ll get it dirty or blah, blah, blah. Be confident!

And if you’re not into all white, that’s OK too. Colors are beautiful and can be just as relaxing and expressive.

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