Bachelor Pad

hope everyone’s weekend is going well :)!

my little brother, Joe, is graduating college in a couple weeks and moving out to the Sacramento, CA area for a great job offer from a major computer company.

this is him (on the left, in case you weren’t sure):


since he is moving across the entire country (we grew up in CT), he is heading there with zero possessions aside from his clothes and needs to furnish a whole apartment. i have never done any designing for spaces other than our own house before, but i decided to try some mood boards for his new place! Keep in mind that these are VERY basic and my first attempt. He is also only 22 y.o. and on a budget…really only looking for the basics right now. i kept that mind when creating these as he will be mainly heading to the local IKEA.

Here we go:

The Bedroom


1. MALM bed frame, high, black/brown, Full size: $179
2. ODDA 3 drawer chest, black/white, $99.99
3. ODDA nightstand, $49.99
4. KLAB table lamp, beige: $29.99
Total Cost: $359

The Living Space:


Living Space:
1. TIDAFORS corner sofa, edsken dark grey: $1,099
2. VISHULT gilded city picture: $49.99
3. BAROMETER floor/reading lamp, nickel-plated: $59.99

4. TOFTERYD Coffee Table, high gloss black: $199
5. HULDA VILSE, rug low pile: $39.99
6. BESTA BURS tv unit, high-gloss grey: $249.00
Total Cost: $1,699



1. STIG bar stool with backrest, black/silver: $16.99 x 2: $34
2. LJUSAS UVAS desk lamp, blue: $39.99
3. GALANT desk, white: $85
4. RUTGERS/JULES swivel chair with casters, black: $59.99
5. TORSBY/TOBIAS Table and 2 chairs, glass, grey: $308.98
Total Cost: $528


thanks for giving me some fun, Joe :)

exhibitionists no more (sort of)

our new master bedroom has wall to wall (100 inch) glass doors across from the bed that face the backyard, which currently has fairly bare trees. the scene in the mornings is not pretty… i get undressed and pretty much run crouching across the room, lest anyone be scarred by the view. last weekend, we decided that the first task was to fix our exhibitionist ways by getting a curtain rod so that we could hang some of our old curtains for the time being. IKEA was by far the most economical. for $9.99, we got a rod that can extend to 152″ and i got these awesome blown glass finials for $6.99 a pair:

of course, i made dan measure as high and wide as possible…to his chagrin, my high and wide ideas did not match up with studs, so he first drilled in anchors

you may notice that we have not touched the ceilings (or the wallpaper, for that matter) in this room yet. baby steps!

yay! curtains! even if the pattern is terrible…..

….except for one tiny problem…

we strung the curtains, raised the rod to the anchors, and…


can you see it? here is a better view:

ya..all of the curtains from our old house are approximately 6 inches too short. Yay for taller ceilings, but boo to needing all new curtains. at least all i will be exposing to the neighbors now is a little bit of ankle ;)

which brings me to my next bit of news…a very exciting purchase this week:


a sewing machine! dan found a deal on a Brother LX2500 for $40 and i couldn’t pass it up since i have been wanting one for a while. i am a little nervous, i will admit. i have never operated one before..but the idea of picking out fabric and making all of our curtains is very exciting to me :). does anyone have favorite fabric websites? patterns for curtains for beginners? i need help!

Bathroom Reveal

this is what we were dealing with when we moved in to the house on the day of our closing—

oversized dark vanity with ornate claw feet. i wish i had a better “before” picture for you.

here is a close-up of the mirror/lights situation.

I went from hating the downstairs bathroom more than you can imagine to absolutely LOVING it.

I know i mentioned here that we weren’t exactly enthusiastically shopping for a vanity just yet, but when we came across ours in IKEA, we couldn’t pass it up. The vanity bottom was on sale for $9.99…yup, under $10. The beautiful farmhouse style porcelain sink was $100, and the faucet we found on was $75.00. Not too shabby in total.

Here is the after:

the cabinet did not come with knobs. we purchased these at Lowe’s for $3.50 each. we had a LOT of trouble with the installation of this vanity. and when i say “we”, i use that term lightly. i was mainly providing drinks and food…it’s what i do best when it comes to plumbing issues.The first issue was that the hot water valve was not working correctly. We cut the pipes and replaced the valve, and then decided to go ahead and replace the cold water valve as well since it was also original (aka, really old and outdated). issue #2 was that the drain piping that came with the vanity was too short to reach the drain trap already in our wall. When looking for an extension piece, we found that IKEA does not make regular sizes. We assume that the pipe may be metric, but we are not sure. issue #3 was that the faucet hook-ups were not the same size as standard ones and they did not make a converter piece with the right sizes on either end. We tried rigging up some compression fittings to compensate, but they didn’t hold well enough. We ended up having to add more lengths of flexible braided tubing in order to get the right sizes to hook all up to eachother. very frustrating….but, it’s done!

how was everyone else’s weekend??

Spraypainted Goodness

Remember this guy that I got for a steal ($15) in the home section of TJ Maxx?:

before I show you the after, I have to admit that the downstairs bathroom sat looking like this for quite a while:

along with the mudroom frustration last weekend, we also encountered some more light fixture frustration. Dan has now not only banned me from purchasing ceiling fans and extended the ban to all light fixtures in general…

As you can see above, when we removed the old sconces, we found out that there were not any electrical boxes behind them like there should be. Mike Holmes Jr., errr Dan, didn’t want to take the lazy way out and attach the new sconces to the drywall because it’s really not the way it should be done.

A quick trip to HD and we got some new boxes to install:

then we encountered our next problem. the screws that came with the light fixtures assume a newer construction home with electrical boxes already recessed into the wall. definitely not the case with our good ole ’85-er, so the screws that came with the fixtures were too long (1 inch in length). No big deal, right? We headed to home depot and bought 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, and just to be on the safe side, 5/8 inch as well. NONE of them fit. I couldn’t make this up. Poor Dan spent hours pushing on the light fixtures with all his might to get the silver balls that secure them to the wall to screw on. He ended up having to craft something crazy behind them to push the just-too-short screws a little bit further towards the hole so that he could just screw the balls on the front.

Here is the before:

…and the after!


i have to say, this year i am really getting to enjoy the coming of Spring & Summer much more than last year. most likely due to the fact that last year this time, we were still working hard to make our house liveable. we still had lingering cigarette smoke smells, were still deep cleaning areas, and were busily attempting to powerwash, paint, and stain/seal the deck. all of which took away from potential relaxation time. we used a portion of our first-time home buyer tax rebate to purchase our deck furniture (approx $500):

martha stewart’s finest, right there. our deck pretty much looked the same all last year, but THIS summer, I am having some fun decorating it.

Here is today’s purchase, $25 for the base, $29 for the umbrella:

this citronella candle lighthouse snuck into my cart too :)

i can’t wait to add some fun outdoor pillows. i love the these:

{via west elm}

…but i just can’t bring myself to spend $35 per pillow. especially if i want about 6 of them. anyone know a place with great sales on outdoor pillows??

at least i know have a nice outdoor place to browse for sales! ahhhh…summer

a $20 find

a couple weeks ago, my mom was here for the weekend and we made the customary trek to HomeGoods, one of our favorite stores. my mom browses every aisle of the store, but being the cheap-o that i am, i make a bee line for the clearance aisles….gotta love those red stickers!

our living room has a lot of turquoise and blue accents. for example, this vase:

that fun tray i got at a TJ Maxx for $7, the back of our bookshelves (hard to see in this photo, but they are deep aqua, check it out here):

these pillows (can you spot ollie?):

and our rug:

so when i saw a large framed canvas print that was all blues, aquas, and greys, with a price tag of $19.00, i was grinning like a kid in a candy store. i have no idea why it was marked down to $19, the only defect i could spot was the fact that there was no hanging hardware included.

A quick trip to Home Depot and a $1 packet of picture brackets later and we were in business:

standing at our front door, here is the before:

and here is the $20 after!

i am so happy with this…i really think it completes the room. in my opinion, the best part is that the framing around the canvas sort of mirrors my wall collage:

what do you think?

One Man’s Junk is Another Woman’s Treasure

My place of work just finished up a multi-million dollar renovation which resulted in the coordination of a major Estate Sale which we have been coordinating all week. The Estate Sale begins tomorrow at 8am sharp and we expect a HUGE turnout since the venue is a famously historic building that once housed the iconic restaurant, Thompson’s Clam Bar. We have been organizing hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of furniture, paintings, fixtures, and other miscellaneous decor items for days.

One of the benefits of being an employee of the company holding just such an Estate Sale is that we were told that we were welcome to pop on down and check out the inventory in case we wanted to purchase anything.

*cue happy dance (!!!)*

Picture a kid in a candy store and that’s probably pretty close to what I looked like walking through 15,000 square feet stuffed to the brim with amazing items.

It only took me about 10 minutes to get on the phone with my wonderful husband (did I mention wonderful??) and beg that he rent the U-Haul i googled and meet me at my venue to pick up my loot. With surprisingly little grumbling, he agreed. What can I say,  the man loves a good deal almost as much as i do!

So are you ready to see what I got??

Item #1:

this beautiful side table for $25.00

check out the details:

at first, I was dead set on doing a full furniture re-do, painting, changing the hardware….but now I can’t decide. There is something charming about the antique-y look too. I am going to live with it for a little while and see where the room design goes before I take a paintbrush to it. Here is it’s new home in our guest room:

item #2:

a Williams Sonoma Home Queen-Sized tufted headboard (below) and base (not pictured because it’s too heavy for me to help Dan…currently living in our garage)

Cost: Free…be still my heart

i had no idea just how lucky i was until i got home, checked out the Williams Sonoma website and found the retail price.

Check it out

no big deal.

item #3 (and #4):

a pair of tall table lamps= $25/each

I haven’t decided whether or not i will change out the shades…what are your opinions?

i love these bases!

their new home:

item #5:

chair- $50

i am going to tease you with the beautiful details first :)

my favorite part about this chair? I like it just the way it is…no reupholstering needing!

this chair will live in our future office

items #6- 18:

a dozen crystal glasses, 6 tall, 6 small= $5

i was drawn to the really neat design in the bottom of these glasses as soon as i saw them

items #19 & 20:

a pair of glass candlesticks (aka- fireplace/built-in decor)= free

item #21:

storage unit?= $100

the minute i laid eyes on this, i knew i had to have it. I will definitely be re-doing this piece, just not sure the style I am going to go for yet. My initial thoughts are that this would make a great entry-way table for our mudroom. Maybe with some hooks above it for scarves, purses, etc. I’m still debating though…I also like the idea of this for the guest room.

someone paid a lot of money for this at one time…

total cost for all my loot= $230 plus $80 for the moving truck (mileage + $19.95 4 hour rental)

Ignoring the white fluffy stuff.

Yup, it’s snowing outside and I am pretending it’s not happening. It’s almost April for heaven’s sake…you would think we moved to Siberia instead of Massachusetts by accident!

In the spirit of ignoring the snow, I decided to freshen up my dining room tablescape for Spring since I haven’t really touched it since winter!

Thanks to the 70% off section at Crate and Barrel Outlet online, I picked up some spring-y items.

how beautiful is this burlap table runner?

do you see these cute “bowls” in the center of my new bamboo plates? Dan laughed hysterically when I took them out of the packaging. This is not the first time I have purchased something from C&B without reading the dimensions. They were called BOWLS so I guess I assumed they were larger!! Don’t get me wrong, they are adorable….but in case you can’t tell, they can fit approximately 1 olive or grape in them :)!

speaking of olives, how cute are these little bowls?? They have adorable little olives drawn in the bottom

i think their little feet are my favorite part!


guess what other surprise greeted me at the door when I got home from work today?

this awesome ladder currently on sale at Home Depot for $149 with free shipping! It folds into all different types of ladders and we have been needing one for a variety of projects around the house. SO excited to finish painting my entranceway!

picture grids

one of my favorite blog duos, John & Sherry of Young House Love, posted this post last week about a picture grid they ended up making on their family room wall with Ikea frames and colored pieces of paper from Michael’s.

In the post, they explained that they had the frames, but had not yet decided what to fill them with and decided to put in some colored pieces of paper in the meantime. As soon as I read this, it struck a chord as i thought about  4 empty frames I had purchased from HomeGoods about a month ago. The frames had been sitting in one of our spare rooms because i hadn’t yet decided what kind of art i wanted to put into them. Ironically enough, they had been stored right on top of an old box of scrapbook paper that I hadn’t touched in years.


I looked through the paper to find 4 matching patterns/colors for my frames and then set to work. Making a grid is actually really difficult. It takes a lot of measuring and using a level before you actually hammer in the nails. I used YHL’s suggestion to tape up pieces of paper on the wall first so that you get an idea of where to position everything.

Here was my first attempt:

the home inspection committee was keeping a close eye on my work :)

I LOVED how it came out, but it didn’t quite give the impact I was looking for since it is such a huge empty wall. I ran out to HomeGoods and was pleasantly surprised and relieved to find 4 more of the same frames…which is quite surprising since HG’s stock seems to change daily, never mind month-to-month.

Here is the final product:

yes, this picture was taken 3 hours later than the first set and this cat is in the same location. wouldn’t you like to be a cat for a day??

at $5 per frame, the total cost for this HUGE piece of artwork was $40 since the paper was already in my possession!

Menu Planning- First Full Week!

the Hubby and I managed to successfully plan out an entire week’s worth of meals this morning and then braved the mob scene, aka grocery store on super bowl sunday, for our first big shopping trip. Planning ahead is not our strong point…after living in cities with grocery stores within walking distance for 4 years, we got used to deciding day-of what we would eat.

Week One:

Sunday: homemade black bean salsa/chips (super bowl themed), and salmon over risotto with broccoli for dinner (mmmm!)

Monday: BBQ Chicken Pizza (leftover chicken and peppers already in the fridge)

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Ground Pork Meatballs & homemade tomato sauce

Wednesday: Tortellini Soup with leftover ground pork

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Tuna Casserole

Saturday: leftovers

Friday is all about comfort food as I have the sad task of driving my hubby to the airport where he will depart for France for two weeks…this is pretty much twice as long as we have ever been apart in all of our years together (almost 5). Definitely the first time i have been all alone in our big house for more than 1 night…wish me luck!

I also bought:

Organic milk

A crate of clementines

Brownie Mix/ Vanilla Ice Cream (our dessert for tonight for our Pre-Valentines Dinner since hubby will be in Paris)

Cream cheese



For the week, i spent a total of $53.00 and saved $9.95 with our Stop & Shop Card….is that a lot for 2 people for one week? I guess i honestly have no idea what a “typical” grocery bill is.

Here is a pic of our salsa:

YUM! ingredients: can of diced tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, black beans, garlic, freshly squeezed lime, and a jalapeno