Tuesday, May 19, 2015

DIY: Floating Shelves

One of my favorite blogs is Content in a Cottage. Unlike me, she always has fantastic photos and short but sweet descriptions. It's just one of those blogs that makes me smile. On one of her blog posts I saw these fantastic dishes. I searched high and low and finally found that there are several china patterns that are similar.

I thought I would start a slot collection process but then I saw a full set for 4 on ebay. I put in a ridiculous offer and the seller accepted so I found myself in a predicament: where do I put said fabulous dishes in my ever-slightly-larger-than-the-original-teeny-tiny-galley-kitchen I have??

Already, I have been in great need of space in this tiny kitchen. I love to cook- love it. So of course that means I have appliances and cookwear and I need the space to keep it. I had this counter top over a little bar as you enter the kitchen and I use it to hold my dog products: her cookies and arthritis chews. I also keep my Sodastream machine there that I use to make carbonated water. Yeah, it doesn't look too good.

Initially I thought I would try to match the white cabinetry and add one for this space but when I looked at ideas for Pinterest the idea of floating shelves came in. I thought it would give the space a lovely French Country feel. So I had the boards cut to size and then I set to all the work to sanding, staining, and protecting them. With three brackets placed and a level, I was able to create strong shelves that don't have a lot of messy hardware.

I found a stain in Provencal and voila! I have an organized space for Michelle's doggy stuff, I can display my new dishes and my favorite Colonial coffee pot that my mom gave me, and I can also highlight those odd baking tools that I love: pie birds and Springerle cookie presses.

It's a simple fix but what a difference it has made! My kitchen looks organized and intentional, and that means a lot to someone who loves her little cottage but is sorely lacking in space.

Later on I will tile a back splash all around but next on the agenda is the patio. No rest for the wicked!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DIY... Striped Walls

I own my first home which at 40 may seem very late to many. But I'm also doing this on one income and my vagabond lifestyle of yesteryear just wasn't too interested in ties. Apparently people also get help from their parents which just seems weird to me (cut the cord and earn your own living!) so I borrowed some against my TSP, put in a down payment, and bought a two-story condo in one of the most expensive places in the Country. I never do things the easy way. Sigh.

I love my place though. It's in a dog-friendly, quiet, historic village in Alexandria and it has this lovely cottage feel. It also gets cracks after the mini-quake a few years ago but the good thing about condos is that I don't pay for the fix!

I DO, however, pay HOA fees out the watoosie and I have to clean up after the plaster mess left behind. They'll technically "paint" but it will just be touch ups and would look uneven. The biggest mess was in the guest room, which I also call the Tower. I love this room- I watch tv, do yoga, knit, hide out from the world on a hard day- it's my special retreat. It's also tiny but as a hangout it's perfect for me.

Originally I thought I would get the same color albeit not matte paint, for it drives me crazy when I'm attempting an inversion and I feel the powdery cheap paint dusting on my feet and floors. There was a whole progression of contemplating *gasp* actual color on the walls. I decided to get some new pillows and brighten the space a bit and finally decided on yellow.

My sister told me about vertical striping on the walls to make them appear taller. What a cool idea- painter's tape and a level and it could be done. So I went on Pinterest and after much soul searching decided to paint 16" horizontal stripes in two tones of yellow: summer moon and chickery chick. How do those names not instantly lift your spirits? My sister is very Traditional in her design choices and I am very Cottage in mine so I took her idea and I think I gave an updated look to the Tower (now the Lemon Tower):

I feel like it went from generic small bedroom to updated Hamptons room. I painted 3 walls with the stripes and left the 4th the pale yellow color to give the illusion of depth.

My accent pillows are a cheerful blue and apple green and isn't that the happiest room you've ever seen?? I love everything about this room and I LOVE this pullout couch. I took my friend shopping with me and made her try out every pullout couch until she found the comfiest. That's the one I bought. It is super comfy. I even keep my dog's (aka Michelle, aka Gran Madame) stairs in case she wants to come up for a belly scratch.

This will be the room where I do my first hand stand but in the meantime it remains my retreat and instantly lifts my spirits to be there.