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Gray and Yellow Bedroom

30 Jul

I have been on a quest for the perfect set of bedroom linens.  After much hand-wringing and disappointment at the oh-so-anticipated Orla Kiely bedding at Bed Bath and Beyond, I decided that gray was the way to go. I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms and I like the sleek and minimalist design that soothes and comforts.  Deeper tones with a minimal splash of color here and there.

At first I thought about a splash of orange.  Our bedroom is just to the left of the orange accent wall at the end of the hall and I wanted a transition that wasn’t too jarring.

But then I realized that would look weird with the piece of art that always hangs above my bed.  I’ve written about this piece before and it has become my #1 most popular post.  Everyday.  I am not sure why.  Maybe people just like the piece as much as I do.  Maybe the world’s search engines decided I am the expert on pop art.  Regardless, this has made me shift my color decision from orange to yellow.  This and the fact that pretty much every bedroom I pin on my Pinterest board is gray and yellow.

And my urgent need to make decisions about my bedroom come from the fact that I finally found the perfect gray linens.  At West Elm.  Of course.  I always end up loving their linens.  I just needed to wait around until they had the ones I wanted.  They are a perfect summer combination of linen and cotton.  Plus, I got them for 20% off.  What’s not to like?  (Okay, what’s not to like is that I can’t ever leave West Elm with only what I came for.  I also ended up with some lovely vases and a planter.  On sale too.  Does that help?)

I just propped the painting on the headboard for now.  The photo below gives you a sense of the vision.  Minus the wallpaper and the lighting above the bed.  And the green curtains.  And the mirror and other art stacked against the wall.  Yeah, you can imagine it if you squint.  I also think we need much larger lamps.  Eventually.

The bedroom is very long.  Long enough that the other end is almost totally empty.  And also long enough that window coverings are a challenge.  Neither Brett nor I appreciate waking up with the sun at 4:30 in the morning and I think our moods might improve significantly if we had better drapes.  

But when I say long, I mean LOOONNNNGGGG.  The stretch of windows to the left of our bed are 155″ in length.  The stretch on the other side of the room is 108″ long.  Yikes.  I really like the look of ceiling to floor drapes, but they usually come in a standard 48″ width, which means that someone with a sewing machine who loves me would need to sew together some panels to make them fit all the way across.  Hmmmm.  I wonder who that could be.  (Actually, I really should probably learn how to sew myself.  Maybe that person can teach me.  You know who you are.  Cough…Ida….cough.)

I love these panels from West Elm too.  I think this is the wee bit of pattern that I want.  They even feature them with a yellow chair!

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I also have visions of a writing desk at the other end with a lovely yellow Eames chair.  Except they don’t make them in yellow anymore.  I have seen vintage ones on Ebay that are a fortune.  I guess I will just keep looking.

And so long as we are at it, I am considering these colors.  We all know I am gray challenged when it comes to paint.  I want something a little more on the warm putty-ish side than the cooler purple I always end up with.  I found this set of paints on Pinterest and I really like the Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore.  But please…if this looks TOO purple, someone stop me.

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Of course, now to start all this, we must first remove the wallpaper.  The extreme amount of wallpaper, which you know is not our favorite things.  Sigh.   We’ll get it done.  Someday.



5 Jul

I wish I could remember who I was talking to the other day when I mentioned that Maeve makes a lot of her own money with her own Etsy shop.  Whoever it was had never heard of Etsy.  How is that possible?  Then a reader contacted me and asked me if I had seen the infographic below.  Wow.  I mean, wow! 

I love supporting Etsy and I highly encourage you to as well!

Putting It All Together

1 Jun

In the past week, I’ve shared a lot of recent estate sale or thrift store purchases.  The rug.  The lamps.  The end tables.  I intentionally didn’t show you their new homes because I wanted the effect of the whole reveal.  I also knew I needed to go buy some accessories that I wouldn’t want to buy in thrift stores, like pillows.  (I am kind of squeamish about thrift store fabrics, as I have mentioned.  Just think it’s harder to get the cooties out of there.)  So I made a trip to Tar-jay to see what they had to pull it all together.  I came home with two lampshades ($19.99 each), two turquoise vases ($25 each) and three pillows (on sale for $13.99 each).  I probably could have found the vases at a thrift store for way less, but they were right there and just jumped into my cart.  This seems to happen a lot at Target.

So other than the items above and Taylor the sofa, everything in the living room has been bought at an estate sale or thrift store.

Side chairs:  $90 for both (Okay, the upholstery was not cheap.)

Side table between the side chairs:  $19

Sofa end tables:  $20 each

Rug $50

Lamps:  $20 for the pair (plus $1.45 for the other)

Parvez Taj art piece:  FREE

And just to remind you what things used to look like when we first moved in:

To the middle stage:

To final:

From the other direction:

To now:

And, of course, gratuitous photos of Molly the Beagle…a Snoopy-inspired very mid-century breed.

I love the whole thing and am super proud of how we have gone about it, buying things that weren’t new and things that we really loved.  The room has a sense of history and authenticity and is probably, for me anyway, the most peaceful room in the house.  In fact, I am sitting on Taylor writing this post right now.  (I would like a coffee table but it works without one for now until the right thing comes along.)

I have one thing I am not sure about.  That’s the Parvez taj piece over the sofa.  I love this piece of art.  Love it.  Love it because I love Parvez Taj and love it because I won a $500 piece of art in a contest from Grassrootsmodern!  I would also love your thoughts and opinions on the piece and whether or not it works.  Just not 100% convinced.

Orla at Bed Bath and Beyond

26 May

It’s here.  Finally.  I have been waiting and waiting and practically stalking Bed Bath and Beyond in anticipation of the Orla Kiely bedding.  And like all things for which I pine and pine, it is honestly a let down.  I was actually able to walk away buying nothing.  And we know how hard that is for me when faced with all things Orla.

Don’t get me wrong.  The patterns are lovely…pure Orla goodness.  There are two sets:  the traditional stem pattern and what is called ‘Field of Flowers’.

Lovely, right?  I personally think the Field of Flowers would be perfect for a kid’s room, but I am sure it works for grown-ups too.

My issue is this:  I don’t like patterned comforters.  I like duvet covers for use with a down comforter.  I like them because I am commitment-phobic when it comes to bedding.  I need it to change often.  I need variety in my bed.  Or rather on my bed.  Ooops.  Plus, for some reason, I always end up thinking some comforters look cheap.  And for me, this stuff looked cheap.  I know it’s 100% cotton and I know that it’s 300 threadcount, but I don’t want a comforter with polyester fill.  The bedding at Heal’s was so much more attractive.

Maybe I am in the minority here.  It’s happens often.  And I will grant you that the price is right…twin set $149 to king at $199, includes comforter and shams.  But I can’t pull the trigger.  I couldn’t even pull the trigger on the throw pillows.

So now I am back at square one for the bedroom.  I usually plan the room around the textiles and I got nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  I think I am back to gray and now wondering where to find that perfect gray bedding.  On the hunt again.  Suggestions, anyone?

Is it possible I am over Orla?

Treasure Hunting

7 May

I have often bemoaned on this blog about how I never find great furniture at thrift stores or estate sales, which isn’t entirely accurate.  I have found some chairs (here and here) and the great dresser but nothing that I had considered a real score.  And of course, the desk fiasco. Until now.

Maeve and I were on out running errands last Saturday and saw a sign for an estate sale off the main road on our island.  Of course, being the junkies we are, we had to stop.  On the whole, the house was picked over.  There was a cool mid-century king sized headboard, but we didn’t really need that.  However in the dining room was a table and chairs that I kept going back to.  A 1960s Drexel Heritage table with two armchairs and four side-chairs covered in some hideous upholstery.  Solid wood.  Perfect condition.  Even came with those table pads that no one seems to use anymore.  It reminded me so much of my grandparents table and I had visions of Thanksgiving dinners with our brood and someday their own broods.

It had three leaves, which would make the table almost 10 feet long when all were in.  Perfect for our huge clan and extended family members.  Plus, now I could have more of those dinner parties Maeve is always bugging me about.

The card on the table said $700, which is more than I was willing to spend.  It was a deal, no doubt, but $700 or $7000, both were out of my budget.  However, the person managing the sale came up to me and said, ‘If you really like it, I’ll make you a good deal.’

‘How good of a deal?’ I asked expecting him to say $500 or $600.

“$400,” he said.

I swooned.  But I still couldn’t pull the trigger.  I loved it but wasn’t 100% sure it was the right table for the house.  Maeve and I headed off to our errands, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

On the way home, I said to her, ‘Let’s go look at it again.  If it’s not there anymore, then it wasn’t meant to be.’  I picked up Brett and took him with me because I needed another opinion.  The sales guy saw me come back in and smiled.  He knew he had a sucker.  I made a beeline and yes, it was still there.  Sigh.  He came back over.  I wasn’t messing around this time.  I said, ‘How about $350?’  I looked at Brett and he said we could sell the one we have now for a few hundred dollars, therefore making this purchase only about $150.  How can one not love a man who comes up with such brilliant rationalizations?


And it was mine.  All mine.  But now I had to get it home.  Ooops.  Hadn’t thought about that.  Thankfully, my friend Jenn comes to the rescue and loans us her truck.  Brett and I went back to get it and loaded it up, nicking one of the chairs in the process unfortunately.

After getting the truck, I started to have a moment of buyer’s remorse.  What if it wasn’t right for our house?  I guess I could re-sell it and possibly make a profit, given that I got it for a song.  But once I had it in the dining room, I knew it was perfect.  It needs no major work, except for that minor ding I made.  I will also eventually re-cover the seats when I find the right fabric, but that isn’t hard.

And it shines.  It shines so much I had a hard time taking a photo of it.  (Who can resist shiny things, really?   I feel like I am in a commerical for Pledge.)  The wood blends perfectly into our house and now all of us can sit down to dinner without two having to sit on folding chairs.  Ainsley picked some flowers for me from our garden and put them in a cup on the table…without a coaster!  After having a silent mild heart-attack, I thanked her profusely and then asked her to please put it on a coaster.  Whew!  However, I don’t want anything in the house to be so precious that we can’t really live with it, especially with a bunch of kids and dogs around.  Will have to work on that and not over-protecting my precious table.  I’d welcome any suggestions on how to do THAT!


Oh. Muh. Gawd. Orla Alert.

9 Mar

So it goes without saying I have a serious Orla problem.  Right?  Multiple handbags.  Visits to mecca, her stores in New York and London.  The canisters.  The wallpaper art.  The adoration.  The drool.  (Read about my Orla passion here, here, here and most recently, here.  And I am sure I have missed a few.)

I have actually been working on a blog post about my dilemma finding the perfect bed linens.  (These things actually take time to percolate.  Sometimes I will let a post roll around in my head for days before it actually sees the light of day.)  I have ordered and returned more linens than I care to admit and have yet to find the thing that hits me right.  My bedroom is special.  It’s my sanctuary.  I need it to be perfect.

Right now, we have a duvet cover from West Elm that I really love.  It is a stem pattern reminiscent of Orla and has a bird on it reminiscent of the Eames.  It’s a calm blue color with gray and navy accents.  But now that I think about our new room and potential new linens, I am feeling the gray.  Of course.  Gray and yellow I think.  I am inspired by a variety of images that are on my Pinterest board.  At least that’s what I thought.

Well Eureka, here it is folks.  Yes.  Orla is coming to my neighborhood in May.  That’s right.  Orla will be at Bed Bath and Beyond.  This post in Apartment Therapy bloody well made my day today.  (And let me tell you, my day needed making.)

Thus far, her linens have only been available at Heal’s in London, one of my favorite shops.  They have an Orla dining table and chairs that I covet.  If only I could figure out how to get it over here without having to ransom my own children.

Last week, I was at a dinner and between the primi and secondi I heard about a new line coming this spring to Bed, Bath & Beyond. It’s the latest project from one of the Apartment Therapy readers’ favorite designers, Orla Kiely.

I mentioned that we’d all really LOVE a sneak peek and today, this hit my inbox. Get ready to get excited for a whole new level of access to the British designer’s home goods for those of us in the US…



We heard the bedding will be available in most Bed, Bath & Beyond stores starting in May. No details yet on pricing or fabric compositions, but based on the retail partner, the design Magic 8 ball says “all signs point to yes” for affordability. I can’t wait to see them in person!

Sigh.  I can’t wait until May.  Linen problem solved.

Cover Me

10 Feb

Life, work, travel and February have gotten the better of me. February in general is a difficult month, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. The wintry fun of the holidays and New Year has passed; spring feels beyond our grasp. (That rhymed…poet that didn’t know it.  Ha!) My enthusiasm for house projects wanes as I simply try to re-coup after traveling to the UK last week and heading out to New York this week. I am ready for my house to be my home and sanctuary, which is difficult when everything feels half-done and I have no energy to touch the other half.

Enough whining already. That was a long rationalization for why I said in Monday’s post that I would share the update on the chairs with you ‘tomorrow’ when I am now doing it on Friday.

So today is the grand reveal of the multiple chairs I have purchased in the past six months at thrift stores.  Remember this and these? (And oh my, the old furniture in the living room!  So glad that is gone.)

Today, they are fresh and new after being re-upholstered with fabrics I love.  The two chairs will live in the living room, cozied up opposite Taylor when he arrives.  I envision Taylor against the back wall (until we get my fantasy wall unit, of course) with the gorgeous ladies opposite him. (The ladies need names.  Suggestions?  UPDATE:  The marvelous Michelle suggested Betty and Joan.  Perfect!)  The fabric I chose for the wood chairs is a warm neutral with green, orange and a wee bit of red woven in. It pulls in the green from the entry wall (Yolo Leaf 04), the orange from the dining room (Yolo Petal 01) and the hallway buff color (Yolo Air 04) perfectly. (Read about Yolo here.) The chairs still need a bit of sanding and refinishing on the wood, but they are still in pretty good shape and really, one thing at a time, people.

My favorite fave is the armchair.

I love the fabric, a nubby deep charcoal gray, and I have visions of it in the corner of my bedroom, making a little reading nook with my imaginary but very cool mid-century floor lamp and side table.  Kind of like this (photo from Braxton and Yancey blog):

Pinned Image

The legs still need staining, but we will get to that eventually as well.

So here’s the kicker: The re-upholstery was way more expensive than I thought it would be.  I thought I’d spend $500 and it would be good.  For the fabric, foam inserts and labor, we paid $1200 for all three pieces.  That’s in addition to the $130 for the original purchases.  Hmm.

At first, I thought, so much for being thrifty. But then I started looking around and decided I got a pretty good deal.  Chairs like these are going for way more than that on Etsy and Ebay…one pair for $2500.  Three chairs for $1300? Sounds like a good deal to me given the market for this kind of thing.  Plus, the work and craftsmanship on the reupholstery is excellent.  (I have a great resource in the western Washington area if you would like.) What do you think?  Have you had reupholstery sticker shock? Was it worth it?

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