a design & lifestyle blog

vanity tables & french wine crates…

I haven’t owned a vanity table since I was seven.  Then, it was hot pink and had flowers.

Apparently my tastes haven’t changed much, I think I wore this headband last week.

me- beauty

I assumed I would be able to find a vanity table online; you can find anything online.  I bought a two pound bag of chia seeds on prime last week.  It’s all there, everything except a non-tacky vanity.

Along with my blind devotion to all things Amazon, I like to try and buy from small businesses.  So I looked on Etsy thinking I could find a vanity table that I could fix up.  Make into my dream vanity.

But there is one problem with this idea, finding something amazing is like finding a diamond in the rough. The Etsy cup overfloweth with homemade crap.  People had taken gorgeous french provincial dressing tables, painted them a baby blue or ‘distressed’ white, slapped some chevron contact paper in the drawers and called it “shabby chic.”  And then charge $450 for it.  I’m not paying $450 for ruined furniture that I’ll have to spend three days scrubbing with sand paper.

For example:

hideous

This shiny little gem I found for $400 plus $100 shipping.  People are crazy.  And God only knows how I would get the shellac off this desk.  And the groovy seizure inducing contact paper would have to go as well.  My first vanity was pink, at thirty (one, aaaaggghhhhh!!!) I’m looking for something with a little more subtly.

After my miserable failure that was Etsy, I opted for local shopping.  I love shopping.  I’ve been perusing the antique stores hoping to find a less pink, less shiny option.  I’ve yet to find what I’m looking for.

french wine crates

BUT, I did find these amazing french wine crates for $9 each.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with them but clearly I needed two of them.  It’s funny how when looking for one thing, you buy two of another instead.

So in the meantime I’ll continue to scour antique shops looking for non pink furniture then drink wine and scour Pinterest and figure out what to do with my wine crates.  I definitely get more creative when wine is involved.

Win-win!

mondays…

monthly plannerMy Monday mornings involve a strategic planning meeting with my cup of coffee and my planner.  Usually this consists of me drinking about five cups of coffee and looking at instagram on my phone.

All I have on the books this week is scouring antique stores for a vanity table (I haven’t discussed this with The Boyfriend yet but I’m sure he’ll agree this is a sensible buy) and designing bride and bridesmaids jewelry for a wedding in Canada.

But first, just one last peek on instagram.

 

 

c is for courtyard. c is also for cocktails…

When we moved in, the gated courtyard was not my favorite.  It had white stones instead of grass and where there weren’t stones there were overgrown azalea bushes.

The stones seemed a little out of place to me.  If this was Arizona or Nevada, I could understand but Louisiana is like a sunnier and way less hipster version of Seattle for the amount it rains here.  I wanted green.

Of course I asked our contractor (mistake number one of hundreds) if he could remove them.  He quoted me something astronomical, which I started to notice he did often when it was apparently something he didn’t want to, or couldn’t, undertake.  So the stones stayed.

It’s not like I was going to remove them.

DSC_0192

 {courtyard before}

Here’s The Puppy wandering around trying to find a spot to go the bathroom.  He’s scared to walk on the stones and he would be lost eternally to the azaleas.  He had no options.

courtyard grass

So I ripped up all the bushes, planted sod and decorated with giant pots of flowers.  Yes, I planted sod. I’m amazing even myself these days.

bistro set

For the rocky-part of the courtyard, since clearly they were there to stay, I thought about how I could at least make it slightly more attractive.  I found this amazing little bistro set on amazon (prime!) but was concerned when the box arrived flat.  Not sure what I was expecting but I thinking  maybe a more table and chair sized box.  Apparently someone had to put them together.

lightingAfter I put the set together (as The Boyfriend and The Puppy watch from the window) I started looking for other easy touches to improve our little courtyard.

When I was at a lighting showroom picking out exterior light fixtures, I found this little matching pendant light perfect for above my table.

pansies

My last stop was the gardening store.  Final touch, pots of pansies everywhere.  Then I was done.

table top

Now I see all the amazing things you can do outside.  Read outside.  Have morning coffee outside.  Drink cocktails outside.  Write this blog outside.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless.  I don’t know if I mentioned this but you can drink cocktails outside.  It’s amazing.

flower crown fridays…

Someone contacted to make several baby’s breath flower crowns for an upcoming wedding this weekend in New Orleans.

flower 5

Baby’s breath is so undervalued.  It got a bad rap due to being overused as filler in cheap red rose packages from Walgreens.  I was ecstatic she wanted to use them in crowns for her and her girls.

It’s time for a baby’s breath comeback.

flower crown 4

Just another excuse to sit around, eat Dove choco-minis and make flower crowns.  An ideal day in the House of Modern Vintage household.  A day like most others, only difference was this time I was paid.unhelpful helper

Here’s my unhelpful helper.  Some of us ate too many choco-minis and some of us ate too much baby’s breath.  I’m surprised we got anything accomplished.

flower crowns 2

When I dropped in the florists to pick up some baby’s breath, the elderly lady behind the counter commented she didn’t understand why more people don’t use it.  “It’s cheap.  Shove some in mason jars and there’s your wedding”.

So keep that extravagant option in mind for future reference if you’re planning a wedding.

@lovemodernvintage on insta for more pics

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DIY…side tables got a make over

Moving is hard.

And entrusting someone (named “Boo” no less) to drive all your worldly belongings from Texas to Louisiana is also hard.  I managed the drive to New Orleans in eight hours.  He gave the vague answer “I’ll be there sometime in the next three days….”.

On Day 3, Boo finally arrived.  And by the look of it, someone had broken into the moving truck, thrown dirt on all over our things and then took a baseball bat to them.  To say the least, I wasn’t terribly thrilled about this, to which Boo said “are you sure it all didn’t look like that before?”  Unfortunately, there’s no furniture police to call so I had to deal with it.  Which I did, with a bottle of wine.

And everyday while remodeling, I would look at my sad scratched up furniture, mentally give Boo the finger and contemplate how much it was going to cost to replace it all.

But one day I had the realization, here I am spackling walls, staining and painting various parts of this house,  that I could probably use my newfound “skills” and revitalize my furniture.  I’ve learned it’s amazing what a coat of paint can do.

So I started thinking about how I could improve some of the pieces I had.  Most of our things are in storage, minus our everyday stuff like side tables, a dresser, etc., so I started there.  I figured the side tables are smallest, therefore easiest and if my efforts went south, cheapest to replace.

side table 1

When we moved in, the previous owners had a “wood working studio” (who knows) and left behind this worktable. The Boyfriend, who loves to keep everything apparently except this worktable, wanted to throw it out. He’s crazy, I’m dragging this table with me from house to house for the rest of my life. I love it.

I used to love things like beauty products and four inch Manolos but it seems that was my past life.

side table 3

{my ‘revamp my side table’ tools}

I actually didn’t need my pink glitter tool box for this (it currently only houses a pink hammer and screwdriver – I’m working on it…) but it’s too cute not to add.  So I guess a little of my past life is still holding on for dear life.

The side tables came from Ikea, like five years ago.  I’ve always hated them but, until now, never did anything about it.  I’ve just lived my life, hating these tables all along the way.  Oh, and we have a matching dresser.  Hate that too.  I’m coming for you next dresser.

I originally was going to stain them (I care for staining about as much as I care for my Ikea dresser) but after a trip to Home Depot, I was informed painting them would be easier.  I’ve become a regular HD groupie, the guy in the paint department might as well be Brad Pitt for all the attention I throw at him.

side table 5

So I bought some dark hued glossy paint and was confused when I opened the can and it was neon purple. I briefly contemplated taking it back but the more prominent side of me (the lazy side) decided ‘if it turns out brown then great, if it stays violet then I’ll deal with it later’.

‘I’ll deal with it later’ is actually code for ‘I’ll just buy new ones online’.

But in the end, no need.  My TCU tables turned a nice shade of deep brown with a glossy finish.  And clearly the bland knobs needed to go (into the trash) so The Boyfriend bought me these adorable kitty puppy pulls from Anthro.

side table 4

After I finished the tables (sand, paint, paint, dry, celebrate with a cocktail) I was pleasantly happy with how they turned out.  They weren’t the next coming of side tables or anything but they looked significantly better than the original.  Then I had the amazing idea, which I stole from Pinterest,  to finish them with some granite.

I contacted a granite yard (literally granite in a yard) and picked out a white granite with gold and cream running through, and had them cut some for my side tables from Ikea.  I only like high-end or low-end, there’s no middle of the road for me.

side table dog granite

There was a little concern as to whether the light weight (i.e. particle board) tables would be able to handle the weight of the granite.

So far so good.

side table cat granite

Now my high-end Ikea side tables look like they came from furniture Neimans.  Now onto the dresser.

every house needs a bathroom…

The house was a renovation (more painting, etc) until we decided to remodel (more like destruction) the master bathroom.

Master Bath/Spa.{this is the old listing pic for the house}

It was a interesting set up.  The sliding door in this pic actually doesn’t lead to the shower/toilet/sink area for the master bathroom.  This is a doorway into the bathroom for the office.   Essentially it was two bathrooms in one (two toilets, two sets of sinks, two showers), which meant the house was listed as only having three bathrooms.

DSC_0097

 We had work to do.  Again with the pink carpet, two prints of wallpaper, pale pink corain and the sinks only came up to about one inch above my knee cap.  Also the bathtub had a greek feel to it, like you walk up a staircase to your bath (only to slip to your death on wet feet when you climb out of it- I guess the carpet was to give you traction).

reno

So we decided to rip it apart; they knocked out some walls, opened casings to expand on the closets and added a wall between the office bath and master bath.  Now we have a four bathroom house.

And as you can see in the pic, no one informed me to move my make up.  Soon after this picture, they tore out cabinetry, smashed those mirrors (I was proudly told by one of the crew guys that he got the mirrors down by throwing a hammer at them) and ripped out the floors.  Bye bye bathroom and bye bye makeup.

master bathAnd here’s the end result.  I can’t help it, I love subway tile.  It’s cheap, clean looking and goes with everything.  I just love it.

I went with a gray/blue color scheme; dark gray tiles with white grout, white tiles with dark gray grout, cararra marble (I never want to see cararra for the rest of my life) and a pale dove gray for the walls.

master showerThe shower was my favorite though.  I want to recreate in it my own bathroom one day, using white tile, dark grout, calacatta gold, herringbone tile floors and brass fixtures.  Everytime I say brass, which was what we spent hours removing from this house (and I kept for future use!), The Boyfriend gets nervous.

Brass everything!

office bath

After we sealed up the wall in the master to the office bath, we finally had a fourth bathroom.  In here we only replaced the pink carpet with travertine-esque porcelain tile and replaced the pale pink corian with a travertine looking marble.

I told countless people via email and by words coming out of my mouth, “cararra is white and blue so the walls need to be painted blue.  Travertine is tan, so the walls need to be painted cream.”  Here I was thinking that was pretty straight forward, but alas, this bathroom was painted blue.  The lazy part of me contemplated saying “screw it” but it looked terrible so in the end I repainted the walls and the trim.

guest side by side When I was told how much the contractor wanted to update this bathroom I almost had a heart attack.  So I told him I would handle the walls and he could do the rest.

So, had we not bought this house to renovate and sell, I would have taken a quick second to think about keeping the wallpaper.  The border was hideous but I can’t help it, I love wallpapered bathrooms.

DSC_0087

This picture made me nervous.  Actually, every time they demoed they would come and get me to show me.  I don’t know if he was antagonizing me (we had a difficult relationship) or thought I should see he was actually doing something.  I found out, after we hired him, he doesn’t work Mondays or Fridays.  And I figured this out because he never showed on Mondays and Fridays.

guest updated side by side

Removing wallpaper is a real pain.  And a smelly pain at that.  But it all came off, the walls were skim coated and I textured and painted.  Blue.

Because blue goes with cararra.

upstairs side by side

The jack and jill bathroom upstairs was interesting.  We had the pink carpet, double print wallpapered walls with floral border (didn’t contemplate keeping those though) and pink corian.  When you walked into the shower room, there was mauve bathtubs, tub surround and toilet.

DSC_0152

But, the amazing thing about this bathroom was the gems I found inside.  They had decorated the house in the 80s and all the bathroom fixtures were lucite.  A diamond in the rough!  I kept them all, much to the dismay of everyone around me.  I believe “tacky” was the word of choice.

I don’t care because now I am the proud owner of lucite towel racks, robe hook things, toilet paper holder, shelves, etc.  It’s going to look amazing with all the brass in my new home.

upstairs after side by sideHere we did the same color scheme as the office bath.  To avoid the color confusion again, I painted the walls and ceiling.  I also painted the trim and the cabinetry because over the years they had turned an unfortunate yellow color.  I had to have The Boyfriend rehang all the cabinet doors for me.  When I try it looks like we paid President Kitty to do it.

DSC_0178And after attending the “How to Install your own Tile” class at our local Home Depot, The Boyfriend spent five days retiled the tub.  We were both a little apprehensive as to what the result was going to be but it’s amazing.

upstairs tile

Not to mention it saved us $1,000.  I told him he can tile our houses for the rest of our live.  His answer was colorful but you get the gist.

But the bathrooms are now complete.

And now you know a little something about me; I love brass, wallpaper and subway tile. Oh, and I don’t care much for cararra.

The general contractor informed me “people now a days are putting cararra in their kitchens. It’s inexpensive and everyone loves it.”

“No.”

a new year, a new kitchen…

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I love to cook and that’s where we keep the wine.

And in the new house, fortunately we had the ideal lay out for a kitchen, open with lots of counter space, but unfortunately it wasn’t much to look at and smelled like it was last cleaned thirty years ago.

Kitchen.{oldie}

The tile had seen better days (that grout probably started out white) and for some reason the previous owners had installed a ceiling fan instead of overhead lighting.  Poor choice, I’d rather be able to see what I’m doing while wielding a knife than having food air blow all round me.

So we went for a very clean look, white subway tile with dark grout paired with the most amazing black and white granite.  And seeing as the appliances were so old, half of which we couldn’t identify (what the hell is a trash compactor?), we opted to replace them with stainless and found a matching overhead light for the island.kitchen : nook

Originally the kitchen was the one room in the house I wasn’t going to have to do any work, but then our painter (who spent more time smoking than painting) stopped showing up about halfway through.    Which is probably for the best, he was painting the same time the demo people were using a jackhammer to rip up floors (I can’t imagine where the contractor found these people) and pink dust coated all the wet walls.

Remodeling is so fun.    

kitchen 1

 And I’m pretty sure the painter stole my sunglasses.  Joke’s on him, they’re prescription and I’m blind.  Good luck seeing out of those bad boys.

staying cozy in the cold…

mark & graham set 3

Thankfully it doesn’t get very cold here since all my coats and cold weather accessories are locked in a small storage locker somewhere across town.

Funny I look back on the thought we had planned on being moved out of this house before this past Thanksgiving so I didn’t bother packing any warm clothes.  Silk maxis and crop tops?  That I currently have in abundance in my closet. A jacket or some gloves, not so much.

mark & graham set 2

{Mark & Graham}

But since I’m still here, for Christmas I asked for cashmere arm warmers and a beret (who doesn’t need a beret) to keep warm.

  Well, that and a hot toddy.  Now I’m set.

sundays…

mardi grasMy Sunday took a turn for the lazier when I decided to bring The Boyfriend with me to the grocery store.  This is when I find things like $20 bison jerky or a family sized box of Fruity Pebbles in my cart.  He discreetly puts them in, I less discreetly toss them out.

But here we are, 9am on Sunday, with King Cake and Mardi Gras beer (which tastes like cheap beads mixed in with poor choices).