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IKEA Greenhouse

20 Aug

I have a love/hate relationship with IKEA.  I love so much of the design.  I love the (ridiculous) accessibility of the prices.  I hate the quality of some of the items.  Not all.  Some.

But this really caught my eye.  How clever.  A little greenhouse.  Love it.

(Via Inhabitat)

green design, eco design, sustainable design, IKEA, SOCKER, mini greenhouse, terrarium, indoor gardening

Don’t have room in your yard for your own greenhouse? Never fear – Swedish retailer IKEA has a solution. Their new SOCKER mini greenhouse is the perfect place to raise your favorite plants, indoors or out. The planter looks just like a life-size greenhouse, and it easily opens via a hatch set into the peaked roof.


Simple Statement Exterior

13 Aug

I kind of like that you all know me so well you predicted with certainty that I would want to paint our new door with the Crestview Doorlite kit orange.  What you don’t know is that orange is part of an exterior color scheme that has been about a year in the making.  This is the article that started it all for me, from Eichler Home Network.

I was inspired by a lot of houses I’ve seen in books online and I have found myself attracted to neutral exteriors with bright accents and colorful doors.  Some of the ones from my Pinterest board that inspired me are:

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And if we lived in a warmer climate or if our house had a whiter exterior, I would be tempted to even go for green or turquoise.  But orange it is.

That left us wondering about the rest of the house.  If we want to go from this:

To this:

So there has been an ongoing conversation about exterior paint color.  Now that we landed on orange for the door, we wanted to find the right colors to accent it.  The original exterior of the house appears to have been stained a very deep brown color.  It still exists in the carport-turned-garage.

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I’d like to get it as close to its original color as possible and yet also have a somewhat lighter accent color to make sure it doesn’t get too dark and depressing looking.   I started with the Eichler exterior paint gallery as inspiration.

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After much consternation, we landed on a trifecta of orange, brown and gray, all from Behr:  Pumpkin Patch, Walnut Bark and Wood Smoke.

And of course, we will be doing it ourselves, which from what I hear, is one of those home improvement nightmares akin to Russian dolls, you find layers and layers of problems beneath.  Fingers crossed.  Not sure if we will get this done this summer (considering we’re in mid-August!) but it’s on the horizon for sure.

But there are lots of other things to consider for a beautifully simple exterior:  door knobs, lighting, house numbers.  Fortunately for me, I have given a LOT of thought to those as well.

Most MCM houses had doorknobs that were simple brushed metal with a geometric back-plate.  There was a trend in the 1950s and ‘60s to decorate modern doors with large geometric plates, called escutcheons, which were placed behind the doorknob and crafted in circular, diamond, square, star, and crosshair shapes.


I haven’t been able to find many of these online and the ones I have are pricey! The Starburst one above is from Rejuvenation and runs $224!  However, they do sell the escutcheons for less than $50 and I wonder if I couldn’t pair it with a less expensive simple doorknob from Home Depot or Lowes?

I would also love to replace some of the exterior lighting with snazzy mid-century fixtures that are like Bullet lamps, but I am not sure where to find them.  Any suggestions?  Rejuventation makes some for interiors, but again…with a hefty price tag! 


As long as we are dreaming, I also covet the Neutra house numbers.  While $48 each, this is one item I want an original of!

As with all things, we will be moving at a snail’s pace doing one thing at a time.  But it’s coming together in my head and I like the vision I am seeing.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

18 Jul

How does your garden grow?

After these posts on the vegetable garden we planted and the landscaping we did where the former deck lived, we had a request from several readers to show the growth progress.  On the whole, we are pleased.  Especially with the vegetable garden which is already yielding great quantities of broccoli, swiss chard, spinach and radishes.  Even our tomatoes seem to be growing like weeds.   Can’t wait for them and for the zucchini to be ready for picking!  (The herb section isn’t thriving however and I am not sure why.  Stupid cilantro.) 

Upon planting:


And probably one of my favorite projects has been the evolution what was once a walkway/deck to an imagined rockery to a planting bed.  What the bed looked like after first planting:

What it looks like today:

One weird and disturbing thing is that the grasses on the south end of the bed aren’t growing as well as those on the north.  I don’t think it’s sunlight, but maybe it is.  I am sure they will catch up eventually.  I am also wondering when they start to grow out in addition to up.  I am particularly happy with the way the succulents have spread.  They are so beautiful.  The photos don’t do them justice.

Have you had any adventures in gardening this summer?

Mid-Century Sale at The Foundary

28 Jun

I don’t know how many of you have heard of The Foundary, but I love this site.  It’s one of those ‘members-only’ sites that offers up products at greatly reduced prices.  In their own words…

We built the Foundary to share inspiring products with our members. You’ll enjoy an exclusive shopping experience focused on quality and convenience.

Daily Events capture the thrill of discovery at up to 70% off retail prices. Foundary members receive emails announcing new, limited-time Events. Expect to find home furnishings and accents, products for active lifestyles, and a touch of the unexpected.

Specialty Shops define your home with handpicked products. Quality and style lead the way for inspired layouts, coveted brands, emerging designers, and curated selections. These longer-lasting Shops create a rich look through integrated editorial content, style tips, and sharing features.

All that said, they are currently hosting a sale on mid-century modern design pieces and they are totally drool-worthy.  (Granted they are WAY more pricey than refinishing things you’d find at a thrift store, but the bullet planters are a pretty good deal.)  Curated by Julian Goldklang, owner of Mid Century Mobler, this event features exquisite teak and walnut pieces that showcase the clean lines and warm tones of the era. Artwork by Rex Ray and bullet planters are the perfect accents.


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(This is NOT a paid endorsement.  I just really like this stuff!)

First Blogiversary

30 May

Wowie wow wow.  How can this be?  I’ve been writing this blog for one whole year.  This is the 184th post, which is a better average than I realized.  To celebrate, I thought I would do a look back.  There is a part of me that thinks…sheesh, is this all we’ve accomplished?  There is another part of me that, when I look at these photos thinks ‘Wow!’  and is inspired to keep going.

I am going to use this post as a new page at the top of the blog as well.  Enjoy!

The Main Bathroom

It had only one sink, wall paper, a rubber-type baseboard.

And this is after painting the countertop, removing wallpaper and painting walls and cabinets, putting in a new sink and baseboards.

The Main Hallway

Painting hallway and making the end atomic orange and creating the hanging gallery.

Maeve’s Room

Painting and installing bamboo blinds.  Her room was the easiest of all.

Family Room

Painted and new furniture!  Also, Orla art, a thrifted desk and a thrifted media cabinet.

The Dining Room

The Living Room

The Deck/Rockery/Planting Bed

Pretty Pots

10 May

This one was easy peasy and totally stolen (via 2Modern) from an old Weekend Show and Tell post.  It started when I got it in my head that we needed some chairs for the side deck.  It’s in pretty rough shape and in desperate need of paint, so I wanted to cheer things up a bit with these green and orange plastic adirondack chairs I saw at Home Depot for $17 each.  I figure we will eventually invest in nice outdoor furniture, but for now something inexpensive and cute is required for me to be happy sitting outside in the sun with my books.  (Brett also removed the railing around the deck this weekend, opening everything up and making a huge difference!)

But alone they would be so sad.  They needed some cheerful pots and flowers to surround them.  I remember this DIY pot post (wait, that sounded wrong) and decided that would be just the ticket.  I headed to Home Depot, bought the chairs and some terra cotta pots, some spray paint and plants.  Also, for the hell of it, I bought some side tables that didn’t match the chairs, but were only $9 each.  I noticed that the spray paint cans said it even bonds with plastic, so I decided to give it a try.

I taped the top part of the pots with frogtape and went to work.  It took about three coats to get the shade I wanted.

Then I started on the side tables.  I chose white for them.  I did the underside first and then flipped it over to do the top and legs.  These also took two coats.


The end result?  Voila!  A nice little corner for me, my books and maybe a glass of wine in the sun for little more than $50 and an hours worth of work.  Love spray paint.  It’s my new favorite thing.  Now wondering what else I can get after?

Formerly Known as the Future Rockery

9 May

We had big plans for this.  We did.  Visions of Mexican beach pebbles filled my mind.  That is, of course, until I figured out how much Mexican beach pebbles cost.  So, as illustrated in this post, we started filling the bottom with rocks on the property.  Using the children as slave paid laborers.  We started here with a deck covering the area that was 35′ x 5′ across the front of the house.  (Please note:  We started this in July 2011.  It is now May 2012.  These things take time.  A lot of time.)

And yeah, it pretty much stayed like that for a while, half filled with river rocks and growing weeds as spring sprung.  Life gets in the way, you know?  But then I had an idea.  We had all this soil delivered for the raised bed gardens and only used about half of it.  Let’s fill the bed and plant some things.  Yeah.  That’s it.  Flexibility and imagination are the ultimate advantages in these situations, right?  Right.

So that’s what we did.  We filled it with dirt.  Back-breaking, I tell you.  But I think my arms will be ready for sleeveless shirts after all that.  Hmmm.  Now what?

Brett had put in a new screen for the drain-like thing.  And he attached it with this goopy stuff that looked like icing.  (I just asked him what it is called and he said ‘yellowy foamy expanding stuff….that’s good enough for your blog.’  Lovely.)  When asked what could be done about that expanding ugliness, he said ‘sand it, of course.’

Next?  Shopping for plants!  That’s what.  I knew I wanted tall-ish spiky type plants.  Very mid-century modern and minimal looking.  Grasses and the like.  Maeve, Ainsley and I headed to Home Depot with very different interpretations of what that look would be exactly.  Ainsley wanted flowers.  She said we needed something ‘warm and welcoming’ for people coming to our home.  I didn’t disagree per se.  Maeve was into the succulents.  I wanted grasses.  So we compromised and got it all.

In uncharacteristic planning, I gave some thought to the height of the plants.  We planned to have the tallest plants in the back.  I wanted something around 5′ so we bought some Feather Reed grasses.  Then for some color, we added in a slightly shorter Cordyline in a lovely share of red.  In front of that, we planned to plant some lower height mondo grass in this lovely purplish black.  Then we added in some succulents, Stonecrop sedum and something called ‘Hen and Chicks’.  There is another one that is long and spiky but I don’t have the name for it.  (Mainly because my lovely husband threw away the tags I was saving for my blog!)  Ainsley still wasn’t satisfied and wanted something flowery still.  We ended up buying some interesting looking pink annuals that we call ‘Truffula trees’ in homage to the Lorax.  I don’t know that official name (yes, in the trash too, courtesy of the husband) but they are the perfect modern looking flower.

We laid them out according to height and recommended spacing and proceeded to dig and plant.  Maeve tamped them down with her bare feet, reminding me of a harvest crush festival.

But it was still missing something.  I was wishing I could still have some Mexican beach pebbles to fill in the bed.  And I remembered something I saw on Pinterest recently where a bed was simply trimmed with stones instead of filled with it.  I suggested this to Maeve and she was on board immediately.  I shoveled.  She arranged.

 The end result was perfect.  Enough zen from the rocks to complete the vision.  I still think we need some black mulch over the dirt, though I expect the plants to fill it in fairly well.  On the whole, I love the look of it and can’t wait to watch them grow.  (Why does new landscaping always have to look so bare and naked?)  The rockery is now a plant bed with a rock border and that works for me.


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