my day off…

IMG_1540This is my day in a nutshell.  Coffee and catching up on interior design magazines.

And the yellow asiatic lilies are from my garden. Apparently I’ve picked up a new hobby and I’m into gardening now (who would have ever thought).

Why can’t my hobbies can’t be finance or hedge funds?  I’m only vaguely aware of what a hedge fund is (and if I were having a glass of wine with you and not writing this on a public forum that is the internet, I would honestly inform you I actually have no idea what that is).

I don’t know, hedge funds?  Sounds like it might have something to do with gardening.  Maybe I will like it.

 

a girl needs her privacy…

On my days off, from slinging flowers and designing jewelry (such a multi-faceted life I lead…), I find myself relaxing around the house.

And by relaxing, I mean not-relaxing and stressing myself out over self inflicted home improvement projects.

Our house is really open.  Lots of windows, open floor plan and tons of natural light.  Sounds great until you groggily stumble your way to the kitchen in the morning for coffee in your underpants.  And there are middle aged golfers 15 yards away waving at you.

I needed some privacy.

ferns1

{breakfast nook [I don’t know how to spell ‘nook’] before}

But unfortunately I live on a corner lot on the 18th green so privacy isn’t really on the radar.  Plus, I’m not trying to keep out the apocalypse, I just want my coffee in peace.

So after going back and forth with ideas, we decided on ferns.  I’m going to pump them so full of Miracle Grow, it will be like a fern wall protecting my coffee drinking, underpants wearing self from the golfing public.

ferns2

To begin my ‘Project: Privacy’ I bought ferns, flowers (unrelated to my project but I just can’t leave without buying more flowers), chain, s-hooks and heavy duty overhead hooks.  I didn’t like the plastic hook crap on each fern so I replaced with chain, combined on an s-hook.  Then, I had to screw overhead hooks into the drywall (honestly, I’m proud of the fact I knew how to do this yet also incredibly weirded out) and hung my ferns.

Three hours after I begin, The Boyfriend called.  “You’re still doing that?!”  Although I may know how to do it, apparently I don’t know how to do it in a timely fashion.  Whatever.  He’s sitting at a desk in front of a computer while I’m making our entire house pants optional.

fern3

This picture is ridiculous.  It looks like I live in the amazon, not New Orleans.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can people watch with the best of them.  I’d just rather see you in your underwear than vice-versa.

design…of the floral nature

I’ve recently taken up floral design.

Now what I want to do with it, well that remains to be discovered.  But unfortunately the great-ish state of Louisiana is the only one in the United States where one needs a floral design license to stick flowers in a vase.

flower book

So I paid the Louisiana Horticulture Commission $55 for my text book (which was last updated in 1986 and originally written in 1954) and have set about being a flower student.

Wish me luck because I like studying about as much as I like doing laundry.  Which I don’t.  At all.    
camellias

{camellias from the backyard}

In the last couple months I’ve been asked to do two of three small weddings in New Orleans (apparently illegally since I didn’t know you needed a license- oops) and it has made me want to delve further into design.

Now I have The Boyfriend (an attorney) yelling in the background “don’t admit to doing something illegal in print!”

Hopefully the Horticulture Commission isn’t on their way to come arrest me.

follow @filledefleurnola for pics

DIY…”expensive” lamps

IKEA is a great starting point.  There’s nothing wrong with IKEA.

That said, everything I’ve bought there at some point, has turned to absolute crap.  Although, if I really think about it I’m almost positive it might be more of a ‘user problem’ than a ‘manufacturer problem.’

Like the time we mapped out a floor plan of our office to determine the exact size and quantity of bookcases we needed.  Somehow, someone’s measurements were off by an additional six bookcases.  IKEA was over an hour away and I’m lazy, so we left them in the box and I sold them on Craigslist.  And the bookcases we did build, half turned out like Pisa.

Unfortunately, that was my half and I’ve yet to hear the end of it.

I’m also not allowed to measure anymore.

lamp

{my lamp reno arsenal: junky lamps, new shades and spray paint}

I’m thirty (Jesus, that was harder typing than I thought) and being thirty I’d prefer not to have college-dorm looking lamps anymore.

So, of course, looking for replacements, I fell in love with a gorgeous chinoiserie pair for a little under $1,500.  And while you might not be privy to my current finances, I’ll fill you in- I currently don’t have $1,500 to waste on a pair of chinoiserie lamps (honestly if I ever have $1,500 to waste on a pair on lamps to go in my bedroom we should all be amazed).

But as Pinterest informed me, since Pinterest is quickly replacing all other media outlets in my life, I can upgrade my terrible lamps with spray paint (!).

Well then, consider this project done; I wield a mean can of spray paint.  Especially while drinking cocktails.

lamp 2

I bought some white silk lamp shades but wanted to contrast the interior with a semi-gloss gold.  Since these are going in the bedroom on the nightstands, I wanted a dim, warmer light.

I taped the edges (I bought blue tape in bulk when painting the house.  I love it.  I wear it like a bracelet on my arm) and sprayed the interior.

lamps 3

We renovated the house we are currently living in (and hopefully moving out of soon) in brushed nickel.  Personally brushed nickel isn’t my favorite.  It’s a little generic for my tastes and I like character.

The Boyfriend would rephrase that as I like “old looking things.”  So for the base of each lamp, I spray painted each an antique brushed pewter/gold color.

He’s right.  I like old looking things.

lamp 4

So with my new pink screwdriver, I tightened and reworked everything back together.  No more wobbles, and all in all, less college-esque looking.  At least this is a step in the right direction., and took me less than thirty minutes.

I placed them on top of my upgraded IKEA side tables.

Maybe IKEA isn’t so bad after all.  You just needs a little spray paint.

And someone other than me to put it together.

one bar cart, two bar cart, three…

I saw on the internet the other day (I’m being vague on purpose, I was pinning) the idea of taking an IKEA laptop table and making it into a bar cart.  Honestly, who would’ve thought.  Definitely not anyone who has ever met me before.

IKEA, you just sold yourself another junky laptop table.

I LOVE bar carts.  I already have two, but they’re currently in storage (and I’m over them) so I’m using that as an excuse to make another one.  So not only do I love bar carts, turns out I love DIY too.

red table bar cart

{pic of previous bar cart area…}

Unfortunately when I get an idea is my head, it quickly becomes all I think about until exorcised.  This time it has proven to be a little harder because there’s not a single IKEA in the state of Louisiana.  Although I really didn’t imagine that to be a problem, I’d just do what I had originally planned to do and order from the website.  Apparently they’re shipping straight from Sweden because the shipping cost on my $38 table was $150.

Pass.  I don’t really need a third bar cart that bad.

Except apparently I do; I could not stop thinking about how I desperately wanted this dumb table.  Like I said, there is no moving on (for anyone) until I make this table.

How bad did I want it?  Not bad enough to drive five hours to Houston for it, but evidently enough to pay someone else to drive to Houston for it.  The most amazing company exists for people who live too far away from Ikea (or are too lazy).  I found Love Blue Bag online and they make weekly trips and charge a small percentage to pick up your Swedish junk for you.

They will even put it together for you.  I have my fingers crossed my table will come in a table sized box.  I didn’t pay extra for construction.  Although I probably should, my IKEA creations always end up slightly lopsided.  Or in the case of our old dresser (sold on craigslist to a artist who specializes in erotic art – that was a weird meeting), a hammer went straight through the side.

So wish me luck.  I get it next week.

Brittany's Bar Cart

On a side note, my close friend in LA had her bar cart featured on Popsugar as the “casual cool” alternative for a bar cart.  Love this idea.

Don’t drink that cat wine though.  Terrible.

office business…

I put off remodeling the office for as long as I possibly could; I think it was one of the last things I finally did in the house.  At least I think it was, renovating the entire house ended up blending into one giant stressful blur.

Executive Office/Suite.

{old office pic and also note this is not my furniture}

 {although I kind of like those chairs}

I ended up keeping the caged glass brass light fixture attached to the fan, I love it.  God only knows what I’ll do with it but I’m the new proud owner.  It’s currently sitting in my garage, awaiting further instructions.  Every once in a while The Boyfriend picks it up muttering “what in the hell is this…”

And just like in the rest of the house, the pink carpet had to go, even the bathroom had pink carpet.  The walls needed to be skim coated over the wall paper then textured and painted, the trim needed to be painted a white semi-gloss and, lastly, someone needed to stain the wood paneling on the walls.

The light oak look is not one of my favorites.  I’m sure in twenty years no one will like darker woods anymore but I’ll worry about that then.  And if I still haven’t sold this house in 20 years just kill me.

office stain

 I asked our general contractor how much it would cost to have someone stain it and was informed it would be around $2,500 – $3,000 (a sum I’m almost 100% positive he pulled out of his ass) and decided I would just do it myself.  Our contractor was terrible, it was just the blind leading the blind over here.

So I vehemently told The Boyfriend (who seemed rather skeptical) that “I can do anything I put my mind to“.  And since, let me tell you how many times that statement has been thrown back in my face.

This was actually one of the hardest things I did in the house.  Although, looking back on it, I’m pretty sure I said that after each thing I accomplished.

Stained the bannister, “hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Painted trim and doors in 5,000 sq foot house, “hardest thing I’ve ever done.”  Actually, maybe not the hardest but definitely the most boring.  I thought I was going to climb the walls (painters joke, you probably didn’t get it) with how boring it was.

And I did learn painting a ceiling is significantly harder than I had originally thought.  I got so much paint in my eyes I thought I was going blind.

So after the hardwoods were laid, I got to work.  I had to sand the paneling twice to get the gloss from the original paneling off.  Then I stained the paneled walls twice and put on a satin poly coat.

I paid a handyman to skim coat over the wallpaper because I was told the process takes a lot of patience.  And as I learned bout myself when painting the trim, me and patience are like cheap vodka and Betty Ford.  It’s a difficult relationship.

Then I textured and painted with pale cappuccino.office final

 It ended up being a battle of wills as to whether we would paint the trim white (my idea) or stain to match the paneling (like in the original).  No one seemed to be able to visualize the white.  But the benefit of being the only person there painting from dawn til evening is that no one seems to realize when you just go ahead and do what you want.  White trim gave the office a more modern look and made it seem larger.  Sometimes you just have to stay the course and do what you feel is right.

Not to get all Taylor Swift but haters gonna hate (or maybe that’s Ice T circa mid-nineties).

But in the end, I created a gorgeous modern office perfect for people who like doing math and reading smelly books.

Me, I’m more a chrome and glass type of office gal.

wine trays for all…

It’s interesting when you want something so bad, for so long, then when you finally find it the greatest emotion you can conjure up is ‘meh.’

And after scouring the internets for years trying to find affordable vintage french wine crates, that don’t involve ridiculous over seas shipping charges, I stumbled upon some for only $9 in an antique store around the corner. No shipping charges, just throw them in your car.

I mean, I have plenty of Trader Joe wine cases, but I feel aesthetically, it’s just not the same.

wine tray 7I snagged two (a Bordeaux of course) and briefly contemplated buying all of them then reselling them on the internet at an astronomical mark up.  Is there a market for wine crates or am I the only person excited to buy a wooden box?

I had originally been to the antique store looking for a writing desk but found these crates instead.  They had about 20 or so and I told myself I’d come back in a couple days to pick up.  All I could think about for two days were all the boxes being sold out from under me so I hurried back before my anxiety skyrocketed even more.  All 20 were still in stock.  Apparently the market isn’t as strong as I had anticipated.

So I began searching Pinterest (please help, I’m turning Stepford) and found lots of interesting ideas.  Emphasis on interesting.  Someone had even refinished an entire wall with wine crate pieces.

Why would I want to staple gun pieces of wine crate to my wall?  I just spent three months painting every inch of this house.  I will die before anyone staple guns anything to it, I will guard these freshly painted walls with my life.

wine tray 6

Since clearly that was out, I found what I thought to be one of the easiest (WRONG) ideas.  I would make it into a tray.  As in- disassemble, rearrange then reassemble.  Oh, and stain and poly it.  God, staining is a nightmare.

wine tray 4

So I ripped apart one of the boxes and made measurements for pieces to be cut.  It just so happens The Boyfriend received a circular saw for Christmas. We’ve both been to scared to take it out of the box, as if taking it out of the box consigns one of us to losing a hand.  But  I was determined to make this tray (I get ideas stuck in my head and no one gets any peace until I do something about it) and somehow persuaded The Boyfriend to risk his hands and cut the trim.

wine tray 3

He cut the trim, I stained everything, including my hands (plural because I still have both of them), and I let it dry for a couple hours.  Last part was to reassemble.  Well, I was just going to nail the sides back on but with the first swing of my pink hammer, I smashed the trim into about 6-7 pieces.  It like spontaneously combusted in my hand.  So then I spent an hour gluing everything back together.

wine tray 2

Then I realized, screw these nails (construction joke, you might not get it), I’ll just glue the whole thing back together.

Et voila.

wine tray

So if you ever come over to my house, just remember don’t touch it.

happy weekend (early edition)…

I woke up this morning with the quick realization it was Friday and someone had served me too much Trader Joe wine at dinner last night.  camellia in vase

My first stop on this glorious Friday (!) is to Starbucks for a ‘double shot cafe mocha white russian valium latte to-go‘.  Skinny.  Obviously.  Then to pick up my french wine crates that will sit in my garage since I have no idea what to do with them.

So happy early weekend from myself, Phoebe & Phineas.  I named the dog and cat on my new DIY side tables.

It’s been slow making new friends in a new city…

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!

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.”