ATX Digs

I love finding really fun and unique homes. I love it even more when they are from my hometown, Austin, Texas! The McCarthys were only in this home for SEVEN months before they almost completely transformed this house. Every room has quirky prints, bright colors and unique design. To see the original article on Design*Sponge and more pictures, click here. Read Bailey’s blog, Peppermint Bliss for design tips. All photography by the lovely Paige Newton Photography!

Image above: who wouldn’t love sailboat wall paper and quatrefoil tile?! I know i would…

A lot of furniture is from estate sales, hand me downs or from her old own in Chicago.

Ok seriously, does this chick love to take chances with fun wallpaper or what?!

I love this kitchen and the two part door… modern feel with older touches. Love it!

This picture definitely tells me these are Austinites. Who else would have longhorns above a guest bed? Hook em Horns!!

Yup, more fun wall paper!

This one would definitely be my husbands favorite part of the house. Freaking awesome shower. I love the unique look of it thats its almost window panes.

So many elements of this house I’m drooling over! Found any cool houses lately?

Have a good weekend!

-Rachel

Decorating 101: Walls

So Ive had multiple people tell me this week that i need to come over and decorate. First off, heck yes! I love to decorate, especially when its with someone elses credit card. What I’m realizing is how hard it is to move into a house with horrible paint color… throw your furniture wherever it best fits and then to be overwhelmed with how the heck to start decorating. So i put together a few tips! The most important thing to know is that its going to take time. Its not going to change overnight unless you have the money to do so. Even then, its better to just gather pieces you love, pillows you adore and random crap to make your house (or apartment) a home!

So first up, we are talking about cho walls. This is the easiest way to change up the feel of the room. And sometimes drastically. You can add paint, wall paper, shelving, pictures or art… this is a great way to add some color and have a little fun!

Paint

My first advice is not to go too crazy. or too boring. I’ve been house hunting and some houses are completely white… not a single hint of color on a single wall. And theres other houses where you feel like you’re walking through a rainbow. And thats not a good thing. Feel free to go bold on one wall, but not 20. Not sure about what color you want? Check out My Colortopia! This is a great new website where you can import an image and it comes up with multiple corresponding colors for you. For example, i uploaded this image from Desire to Inspire.

I uploaded the image and then it asked me to select a part of the room that i love in particular. It came up with a few selections of colors. Pick each of those colors and it comes up with a full color palate for you. This is a great option when you have no clue or maybe you like one rug or accessory in particular but youre not sure what colors would go great as paint colors. So definitely check it out, its a great resource!

A coat of paint can do wonders to a space. West Elm turned this boring office into a cozy space with a great deep ocean blue.

Your color choice always determines the mood of the room. If you want a calm, relaxing “spa-like” environment, go for lighter colors like sea green.

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Also dont be afraid to try some crazy colors. Maybe a bold yellow, green or even purple. I wouldnt suggest your whole house be eggplant, but one accent wall in the bathroom would bring out a nice relaxing space to come home to.

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Wallpaper

How about some wallpaper? Theres a ton of really great new modern wall paper like what MadebyGirl used in her office over at Graham and Brown. Isnt this so cute?!

Stencils

What about stenciling? I love the look of a high glossed stencil over a matte paint color. Does this look classy or what!? I’ve heard it takes a while but its always worth it. Image from Cutting Edge Stencils.

I love everything about this shot. Such a pretty wall!

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How about a chevron accent wall? How can you not love this!? Adorbs.

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Shelving

The best way to keep your house from feeling like your home is to have big blank walls. I know that you’ve got a ton of really cute pictures that need to be printed and framed. How about a cute mirror to add some depth. Even an old poster could be spruced up by throwin a fancy frame on it. Put up some floating shelves and add some decor, frames and accessories.

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Frames

Over at Young House Love they snagged some inexpensive frames from ikea that are huge and square. Then they simply added colored paper! Its really that easy to get a fun pop of color.

You can always change it later to polaroids or photos.

Art

You dont have to be a millionaire to have some great art. Etsy has really made some incredible art accessible. If you know me, you know i love Mae Chevrette. As must as I’d love an original piece, you can grab a high quality, archival print for less than 50 bucks (depending on what size you get!) $42 bucks for a 16 x 20 of this “Always” print would look just lovely on my walls.

How about 42 bucks for a large 18 x 22 print of this Boston skyline:

And one of my favorite “Bloom” paintings:

All four images above are by Mae Chevrette!

Just get on Etsy and dig around. You can find tons of amazing artists selling either originals or inexpensive prints! Go find YOUR favorite artist!

DIY Art

You could also always make your own art! I am no painter. Read here and you know i just like to push around paint… its more fun than anything for me. But just sometimes i come up with something i enjoy enough to put up on my walls. In this case, my best friend’s wall:

Or these recent fun, small little paintings that add a great splash of color to my office:

Or this piece that i put up in our bedroom. Love maps? Paint one! What do you love? What colors do you love? Its definitely the cheapest way to bring some art into your home.

I’ve even got a piece in my kitchen. If you cant paint walls while in an apartment, a large blue painting is a great way to add some color:

Wall Decor

Theres also other things you can put on your wall other than just paintings. I love adding dimension. Like these wall sculptures that are remarkable affordable bring nature inside and add a lot of fun depth to your walls:

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I also love these antique wall tiles i found for  a few bucks a piece at the City Wide Garage Sale. Just find fun things like this that are interesting or pretty to you and throw them up on the wall. I love the texture and interest those two tiles create.

How about just throw some freakin plants on the wall like here from West Elm. Just make sure you have a ton of light in this space or else you’ll have a lot of dead plants on your wall.

How about a chalkboard and 3D letters. I love this space because the walls are covered… but somehow its still not too much. Love it!

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So get to it! Go grab a bucket of paint and add a little character to your walls.

Also coming up, I’ll be posting Decor 101: Furniture and Decor 101: Accessories. Stay tuned!

-Rachel

DIY Vintage Trunk / Filing Cabinet

If you read my last post, you know that i hate filing cabinets and also that i decided to turn this vintage trunk into a filing cabinet and coffee table.

Step one was to wrap the leather handles. I waited until after i was done to decide what to do with those…

Here is what i used:

  • Paint – Olympic All in one paint + primer in semi gloss
  • Minwax Polycrylic protective finish
  • Small foam roller (get a high quality dense foam. trust me, its worth it)
  • Paint tray
  • Small angled brush
  • screwdriver

The trick is to do multiple THIN layers. Lay it on thick and you’ll get lots of bubbles and drips. Eww. So here it is after 2 thin layers.  You can see why you need an angled paintbrush… to get in all the nooks and crannies.

Ok so want to hear a funny story? Ok its not so funny for me, but now it is a little bit. So i tend to do all my woodworking on the porch but a lot of the projects i do in my living room. Including this sucker. Its just whatcha gotta do if you have a tiny apartment and no garage. Anyway, i had JUST finished the last layer of paint, id cleaned up the roller and brush, put the lid on the paint and stood back to admire the splendor. I wasnt sure if it would need another layer or any touch ups so i didnt seal the lid to the paint. Bad idea. It was sitting in the living room on the paint drop cloth you see above. Now it was Valentines day so I was eating dinner and enjoying the boob tube when Maggie came in from the porch. Now, shes a pretty clumsy dog. She actually just recently got rid of the “cone of shame” which was even worse… ok, heres a picture because its just too dang cute not to share:

And yes, that is a tree branch stuck in the cone. Awesome. Anyway, Kenny walked to the kitchen for seconds (because im the best cook there is) and he started freaking out and yelling for me to come over. Mags had knocked over the entire can of paint onto the paint drop cloth. Thankfully it wasnt directly onto the carpet… but the drop cloth is meant for drips. Not an entire quart. So i dive to the ground and lift the drop cloth off the ground trying to keep the paint from soaking into the carpet while kenny grabbed a plastic trashbag to put in between it and the carpet (good thinking, hubs!) He then took the trunk off, and wrapped up the drop cloth and threw it on the porch (getting paint all over the porch carpet and pavement). Here is my arm after i had it under the drop cloth trying to avoid getting paint all over the carpet. We then used up an entire roll of paper towel trying to get the paint off the carpet. Miraculously, the spot is actually behind my arm. Where you might ask? I dont know. We should be professional carpet cleaners. We got maybe 98% of it up! Crazy right? Moral of the story… A. Seal your paint when you’re done painting. B. Dont paint in your living room. C. Dont own a clumsy dog.

Now that i went off on a complete tangent, lets continue…

Here she is after a little sanding. I wanted a little more dimension and character so i sanded all the edges, made all the bolts shine a little bit. Some of the white underpaint showed up too which had a cool effect.

For sanding, its best to use a foam sanding block with a fine grain. I used a 220 grit block which just makes it just look more natural. If you use 60 grit for example it will just damage the piece and it will obviously be sanded instead of a more natural “over time” look.

Heres the edge detail. You can see the white under paint and the metal as well. Love that effect!

Once i was done sanding, I decided to go with the minwax finish because its going to be a coffee table. High traffic = lots of paint coming off if you dont. So i did. Threw on three layers on the top for good measure. I chose a semi gloss but you can choose a Satin or a high gloss. It starts off looking almost yellow but it dries completely clear.

Here she is open up with my new file organization. I’ll post soon all about what i did with the files. As far as the plan for the interior, if it was in better shape, I’d love to keep it as is – it has a great texture and a vintage feel to it, but it has sections missing, stains, etc. We could definitely throw a cork board in the lid which would cover up most of the stains, but I’ll definitely let you know when we decide! Theres also a trey that goes on the inside that can hold remote controls, still that needs to be filed, etc.

See? How cool is that white/brown linen texture?

And here she is as our fancy new coffee table! Have you ever seen a more beautiful filing cabinet? The other great thing is, if we decided to use something else as a filing cabinet later, we can jut use this to hold the 57 blankets that we have hiding behind the couch. Hey, i get cold very easily, ok?

I am definitely loving it, the grey really helps balance out all the other crazy colors in the room.

Dream Art Studio

So I’m goin crazy crammed in my little office corner. I am blessed to have as much space as i have… but I’ve been dreaming of a larger space… not just an office but enough room for an actual studio.

Heres some studios I’ve been drooling over…

Incredible studio for printmaking. Link found here

This colorful art studio just seems to draw out creativity… love the space for multiple different projects. Might throw me into ADD mode. See more pictures here.

LOVE this antique cubby. Great for storage.. theres antique boxes and shelves all over the room that add beautiful texture and peeling paint – just love it. See more of the studio here.

This is such a bright room! Check out more shots here.

I adore this bright, clean art studio. All the storage space and table space… oh the things i would create in there! Check out dozens of pictures on Donnas blog.

This studio to the artist Marina Dorignac is inspirational.

And of course last but not least, Mae Chevrette.

I’ve posted about her beautiful art over here but just wanted to show off her incredible, funky studio.

I know, right? I love it. The texture, the greenery, the color… love it. Also check out her work…  youll love that even more 🙂 Till next time!

-Rach

*For original source of each image – click image!

Buy Gifts that Give Back!

Well Christmas is coming up and i though id throw together a good Christmas list for different types of interests. But instead of just buying crap that youll use once and forget about, heres some gifts that will actually make an impact globally.

For the techie:

The Charity:Water Jambox : $50 from every Jambox will go to Charity:Water.

HelloSomebody watches! Theres so many bright and beautiful colors and proceeds support boys in Rwanda.

For the Artist:

Makarios Prints by Esther Havens: Prices ranging from 25 – 500 bucks you can easily purchase one print in your budget! Each purchase helps support Makarios school in the Dominican Republic along with projects in Haiti and Sudan.

Krochet hats from Krochet Kids International! As much as i dont like winter, i love love the hats 🙂 I have two of these hats (one in yellow and one in ocean blue) and i LOVE them… so cute and colorful. Every hat is handmade in Uganda or Peru and creates jobs for hundreds of people. Help support them this Christmas!

For the Fashionista:

Sseko Sandals: This is one of my favorite pairs of sandals… Everywhere i go i get compliments on them. The best part is Sseko helps women in Uganda raise tuition money for their university education!

Noonday Collection Jewely & Accessories : Noonday Collection purchases fair trade products all over the globe to help create jobs.

For the person that has everything:

Buy them a brick! No, seriously. At Glimmer of Hope, they started a campaign where you buy one brick for 20 bucks.

Trust me, your friends and family will love knowing that they were able to help out in some way! Merry Christmas!

-Rachel

How Pinterest Planned my Wedding

First off, let the record be know that Pinterest didn’t actually PLAN my wedding. A lovely wedding planner/kick a** friend named Ashley did. Pinterest didnt put in time, blood and lots of sweat like she did (no really, she was injured and bled multiple times, one from trekking through the forrest in high heels). With that said… here is how Pinterest inspired almost every element of my wedding.

Step One:

Make a Pinterest account

Step Two:

Make a Wedding Inspiration board

Mine is called “Tyin the Knot” with dozens of pictures of dresses, invitations, cakes, veils, photos, etc.

Step Three:

Post every photo of everything that you love or are inspired by on the board. Voila! Wedding planned!

For example… here is the inspiration for my dress:

And heres my dress!

From that first picture i realized how much i LOVE tea length dresses and sweetheart necklines. Before the wedding i knew ZERO about wedding dresses but it didnt matter. I saw a picture i loved and the FIRST dress at the FIRST boutique i went to was perfectly me. ( i went to maybe 12 other shops after that at the request of friends/family)

And how about the cake? Found this cake and loved the simplicity of it. Also the dimensions – having three different smaller cakes added a fun dimension to it. Throw on some of your flowers and voila!

I havent received all the photos back yet from the photographer but heres one side shot of the cakes!

Even the color palate was inspired by pinterest. Actually i’ll go ahead and say it was stolen. Heres the “inspiration” photo…

And here is the color palate that i sent to everyone:

So yea, lets go ahead and say it didnt inspire the color palate. It provided it.

And one of my favorites? The flowers… Chelsea Moon did all the flowers all while she was in LA! She flew in 2 days before the wedding to set everything up and she also sang at the wedding! If you need flowers, i HIGHLY recommend her! Also, get on itunes and buy her album “Chelsea Moon and Uncle Daddy” Hymn Project, Vol. 1  and shes in the process of recording an all new album to be out soon! Check out her website for more info.

Anyway, so heres some Pinterest inspiration shots of flowers that i just loved:

 I loved the huge roses with dozens of petals mixed with the blue spiky flowers and other unique plants

I’m obsessed with this arrangement. It has the same blue spiky flowers but with a fun pop of color!

Ignore the bad facebook photo but heres one of the beautiful funky bouquets:

It really couldnt have been more perfect or more me.

It just ended up being a fun, relaxed wedding that couldn’t have been more perfect. If you live in Austin and need any recommendations on a caterer, florist, music, photographer, invitations, programs – anything… they were all AMAZING. That was one of the easiest parts of the wedding… If you hire people that are fun and professional.. theres nothing to stress about. They will all do their job at the best of their ability.

And of course, i need to send out my thanks to pinterest for inspiring every aspect of my wedding. And dont worry, ill get into more details.. photos should be in in the next week or two so i can post more about the behind the scenes details!

-Rachel

Paintings – for the floor

Im really digging bright rugs these days. Especially in an apartment where you cant paint the walls, the best way to throw a gallon of color into a room: rugs!

This anthro rug is one of my favs… so bright! But at 400 bucks for a 5 X 7 rug, its definitely not in this broke artists budget.

This bright yellow West Elm rug has such a fun intricate pattern.. at 200 bucks for a 5 X 8, its more reasonable but still out of my price range.

So what about this beauty from ikea?

Oh man… those colors and patters! So gorge…. wait a sec… nope. This one is fugly. But at 39.99 bucks thats MUCH more in my price range! Especially as a dog owner, its much easier to spend 40 bucks on a rug rather than 400! But then again youre stuck with an ugly white boring rug. Unless you throw some paint on it like these guys:

Before:

After:Oh yea… thats the same $40 ikea blah rug… dont you love it?! Check out what Bird House Blog did here. Want some more eye candy? Try this one out:

Oh yea… same rug! Crazy right? Check out the step by step how to on her blog right here.

Man… so anyone in Austin want to make a trip out to Ikea with me to pick one up and get to painting!? Love it!

-Rachel

Dominican Sea Glass

Definitely spent a lot of time on the beach in the Dominican Republic and found tons of sea glass… there was SO much of it…

Make sure when you bring it back, NOT to carry it on the plane in your carry on…. im pretty sure they wont be too happy with shards of glass on a plane! So, first, i took all the pieces and cleaned them. I just used water to get the sand and salt off.

Once they dried, i just decided to throw them in a little bowl for my living room!

Oh! Also, i got these new pierced metal hurricanes from target – yay for clearance! I’ve loved them for a while but i wasn’t willing to shell out 40+ bucks so snagged them soon as they went on sale. Woot!

-Rachel

Orchid you not!

Did anyone notice my new buddy in my office?

If the title wasn’t hint enough, it is my oh so pretty orchid!

First off, I have to admit i have a history of killing easy to care for plants. It might be a curse. A few years ago, i planted a bulb of stargazer lilies at my apartment (oh how i adore some lilies!) And after months of caring for it, i FINALLY got a bud! I was super excited and watched it every day to wait for it to grow and finally bloom. It was about 80% open when my dog’s tail smacked the crap out of it and sent my beautiful lily flying across the porch and slamming into the wall. It was so destroyed i couldnt even admire it unattached from the stem. It was mush.

After that, a friend bought me a plant for my office that was deemed “the most impossible to kill”. The thing was completely dead in a month.

Well! I’m at a new stage in my life and determined to get rid of my “black thumb”. Ok, one thing everyone MUST know is that if you are going to buy plants – go to Home Depot. No, I’m not sponsored but their return policy is ridiculous! They basically have a life time warranty so even if you run it over with your car, just bring that sucker in with a receipt and they will reimburse you. I’m really not joking – try it out. Anyway, i went in last week to bring a little life to my place and found the orchid, two modern simple vases and a leafy plant (no clue what its actually called) all for 20 bucks! Considering everywhere else I went charged at least 15 for just an orchid, I’d say thats a super awesome deal.

 Check out those sweet, simple and colorful vases they came with!
 
For now, this lil guy is going to chill on my living room ottoman. By the way, how to on that spiffy DIY tray posted soon!

So feel free to be jealous of my beautiful plant life and improved oxygen flow… or go out and get one for yourself!

Who wants to put in bets on how long these guys stay alive? I’m determined, mind you. My vote is that they will never ever die or be unhealthy. I can 100% guarantee that is not at all accurate but i can dream, can’t i?

*UPDATE: All plants are dead or dying. of course. 

Cocoa & Hearts

Do you know Madebygirl yet? She is one of those blogs i can’t go a day without reading… her style, her love for color, her paintings have always been inspirational. In fact, her beautiful office was huge inspiration for my newly updated office! Jen Ramos is an incredible designer and graphic artist that proves you can make a living off blogging and online sales. Jen recently just opened her new shop called Cocoa & Hearts an online shop for all of her original paintings. They are all acrylic on canvas and generally pretty large – 48 inches long! They are definitely statement pieces

And good for Jen – most of her paintings were sold in only a week or two! Incredible! But don’t worry – there are still more to purchase and also she will be coming out with some 8x10s for the oh so stylish yet oh so broke ones of us! Go check the place out and check back often – she’s a paint-o-holic and I’m sure will add new work weekly.

-Rachel