Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Creative Outdoor Living Ideas

I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend. We spent ours with friends and family, had multiple cookouts and explored new bike trails. Saturday evening my fam and I headed out to some dear friends' house in the Sewickley area. They own a little farmette, as we like to call it, where they're investing a lot of time and labor into growing their own food. It's always exciting to visit them and see what's new. This time I took pictures of some inspiring ideas. Rebecca's really good at re-purposing things. Check out this little seating nook on her deck:
Doesn't that look like a high-end outdoor coffee table? You know what it is? A ceramic planter, topped with beveled glass, and voila! instant table. Instant chic. I love this idea because think of all the pretty planters out there you could use as a base. And when you're tired of one look, switch it out with another and use the old one for plants. Also notice the actual plant in the background. Potted plants are great for making decks feel intimate and cozy (so are candles).
Inspiration #2: An old, dark wood sewing chair revamped with some white paint. She bought a high-back outdoor cushion and it became another clever seating option. Also to the right of the chair, a small wicker stool, painted a fabulous apple green and topped again with glass. Below the table sits a little ceramic giraffe. I don't even know if she realizes it, but by incorporating the three pieces, she's created a completely decorated nook that doesn't look out of place because it's part of its own little grouping. My imaginary rule of 3's = one thing is too sparse, two is a pair, but the third thing really anchors a grouping.

Inspiration 3: Rebecca found these three chairs at a garage sale. They were $1 each (I'm assuming the seller didn't think someone would want three chairs without the forth). She used a bench to act as the fourth seat, repainted them all in the same fresh white paint as the sewing chair, reupholstered the cushions with a turquoise, outdoor fabric, and achieved a cohesive look for about $10 per chair. I love the bench idea as a fourth seat option. She wasn't bound by our normal idea that we need four of the same chairs around a table, and by getting creative she found a great solution. So now when you find an awesome odd number of chairs, don't be afraid to snatch them up.
Their next project- a hanging, twin-sized bed. I can't wait to see the result. Something like this would be lovely.
Thanks for inviting us into your lives, John, Rebecca, Rach, and Jake. We love hanging out with you, and I can't wait to try your planter-coffee table idea for my own deck.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Painting on Fabric

I have this huge Duncan Phyfe dining room set that's in impeccable shape aside from the upholstery on the chairs. I was going to reupholster them (a job that's usually pretty simple), but they have nail-head trim all the way around. The thought of popping off hundreds of nail-heads is NOT my idea of fun. Fabric paint crossed my mind, but I was also curious about how acrylic paint would fare. It's a much cheaper option than buying new fabric, so with nothing to lose, I bought some inexpensive, black acrylic paint and some cheap foam brushes. No frills here. Taliila, my two year old, even got in on the action. I think it turned out pretty nice. The striped design on the fabric still shows through, and now it just looks like it was meant to be a sleek, black fabric. I'm probably going to hand-sand the black paint off the nail-heads to bring the brass accents back. Then I'll rub some Old English furniture polish on the wood, and they should look good as new. *Side note: if you've never used Old English, you should. And once you do, I guarantee you'll be touching up all your wood furniture.
The end result- the fabric is slightly rougher with the paint on it, but I've read a couple places about setting the paint with an iron, and I think this might help with the roughness. I'll let you know either way. But for now, I'm quite please with this so-easy-even-a-two-year-old-can-do-it option.
How about you guys? Have you ever tried fabric paint on your upholstered furniture? Or even acrylic paint? What do you think?

Notice how old/yellowed the fabric is?

I think I'll use painter's tape around the edges of the wood next time.
The paint does wipe off, but it dries super fast so you have to catch it right away. 

Voila! Good as new. 

Already the dedicated painter. 

I think I'm going to get creative with the captain's chairs on the end and paint some classic black and white stripes. We'll see... 
My inspiration

Monday, May 20, 2013

Real Estate Monday: Convert a Church

Convert a person
Save a person
Convert a church
Save a building?
Ok, I know I'm no good at bumper sticker-esque jokes, but in the spirit of redesigning, let's look at a couple of churches for sale for Real Estate Monday. 
I have no idea where the website went where I fist saw pictures of this church. It was months ago, my apologies, but the inside looked pretty awesome. Huge, cathedral ceilings, an alter, very typical church. Yes, it's in Braddock, but I'm a big proponent of moving in urban areas and reclaiming them! I met a man named Mark Harvey (he probably doesn't even remember me) that wrote a book specifically about this and he specializes in realty in these areas. You can check out his website here. Anyways, here's the one picture I could find. I did do a drive by, but completely forgot to get a picture of my own. It's on the flat part of Braddock, close to the river. A little Lord of the Rings down there, but still fun to look at. 

And if you're not into doing the converting yourself, just up the hill in Swissvale is an old church that has already been split into condos. I believe there's one left and you can see it here. This 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath condo is for sale for $85,000. 

Love the architectural windows. 
Here are two more links for two other already-converted church listings I found, if you're interested. 314 Hill St. and 1 Pius St.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Great Gatsby's Bedroom

In preparation for The Great Gatsby last weekend, I dug out my old copy from high school and reread it. For some reason, I loathed reading in high school (sorry high school English teachers). I even had my mom help me with some of the reading. I know, I know, gasp, shock, awe. I blame it on my eyes. I got glasses somewhere around my senior year, and finally in college, I learned to LOVE reading. That said, I never really got into the full swing of Gatsby (pun intended). But I've always liked period pieces and the roaring 20's, so this time around it was much more exciting. My mom was telling me about a book called The Paris Wife, that I can't wait to pick up next.
My husband and I made a date of it last Friday, and let me tell you, the movie did not disappoint! It was pretty close to the original text-I hate when movies take liberty to add different plot twists just for the sake of drama- even one of my favorite quotes was in there. And boy was it LAVISH! The colors, the music, the cars, and yes, the decor! I was glued. Did you see Gatsby's bed? In the center of his room? If my room were big enough, I'd totally throw our platform bed smack-dab in the middle. These pictures I snatched off Architectural Digest don't even do it justice...just do yourself a favor and go see the movie!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Real Estate Monday: Aspinwall

I found this cute, little house in Aspinwall for today's Real Estate Monday. It was built in 1987, which is basically a baby in the Pittsburgh market. It has 3 bedrooms. plus what looks like a den, and 1 and a half bathrooms. I'd repaint the 80's oak kitchen cabinets something lush/ redo countertops & appliances, but other than that it's pretty clean and fresh on its own. The nice thing about Aspinwall is the Fox Chapel school district without the price tag of a Fox Chapel house!
Take a look here, or click on the zillow link for more info.
This reminds me of San Fran even though I've never been there.

Plenty of space in this eat in kitchen.

Two car attached garage.

Large living room. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Real Estate Monday: Wilkinsburg

Just another manic Monday, whoa-ooh. 
This weekend I toured a house that my husband and I seriously considered buying. If the timing were right (i.e. our house now was already sold) we probably would have. It's in the almost Regent Square area of Wilkinsburg. 411 Rebecca Ave.  Listed at $78,000. I'm not going to lie- it needs a lot of work, but there are a lot of positives about the house that don't need touched. It's not listed by a realtor yet, so if you'd like the owner's information send me an email at shopredesignation@gmail.com.
Selling Features:  
  • The hardwood floors throughout the house are in really good shape. I wouldn't touch them. 
  • The original wood paneling on the staircase and banisters are still in tact, and gorgeous-something extremely rare in a house that was previously stripped and sold in a sheriff sale. 
  • The original front door is in tact. 
  • Newer windows were installed in the house 9 yrs. ago, as well as a furnace, new toilet stack, and water pipes to the road. 
  • It's walking distance to Frick Park.
  • The bathrooms are a decent size (for me) as to not require knocking out walls to expand. 
Needed Renovations:
  • I personally would want the converted sunroom in the front to be turned back into an outdoor porch ( see pictures below).
  • The kitchen. Hello dropped ceiling and porcelain Italian tile on every wall. The 70's called and wants its kitchen back. This would be the most expensive part of the house to renovate. 
  • Both bathrooms on the second and third floor need updated. I wouldn't touch the one in the basement, only to shut off the water and never go down again. Who wants to shower in a cellar anyways? 
  • The whole place could use a fresh coat of paint, maybe some new plaster in areas where there was previous water damage. 
With a $78,000 price tag, I'm confident if you did a lot of the grunt work yourself you could get away with spending $30k on a reno, and have a beautiful house to show for it, in an up-and-coming area. Here are the pics- I took a lot this time:

Front door

Looking at back door in kitchen


I'd make this the living room, and take out the wall to the left to make it open to the kitchen. 
Outdoor sun room/ originally the porch
Sun room

Dining Room w/ two sets of french doors.

2nd floor Master Bedroom

 (was originally two rooms, but someone took a wall down).

2nd floor bedroom #2
2nd floor. Bedroom #3 
2nd floor bathroom


3rd floor bathroom

3rd floor bathroom

3rd floor bedroom #4 walk in closet

bedroom #4

3rd floor. Bedroom #5 

Back, there is a 2 car garage as well.

The neighbor's fixed up backyard 


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