Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Let's Get Ready To Auction

UPDATE (September 12, 2013): The auction's over! It was a huge success thanks to all of you who participated! I'll slowly be adding new inventory so please do check back from time to time. Or as always you can follow the blog in your favorite reader. 
If you haven't heard by now, I'm refining my business yet again and auctioning off everything in the shop for a fresh start. I've told many of you before that auctions are a great way for me to buy furniture to resell. I normally purchase something at an auction for half the price, thus allowing me enough margin to resell it. But auctions aren't just for shop owners like it's your chance to get a steal. Here's how: 
  1. Sign up and register through You'll get a bidder's number and choose a password to login with. 
  2. Click on the auction. There's one ending today, so you can play around and see if you like anything in this one. Bids start at $1 and you can enter in your maximum bid if you prefer not to wait around till the end. 
  3. If you win, you just pick up and pay for your item on the pick up day specified, or contact the company to make other arrangements. 

 I chose AYP because I use this website to buy a lot of my furniture, too. They're a family run business (like us) and I feel like they run things with great integrity and care for their customers. Plus, I think auctions are super fun! Working with them to sell has been a breeze as well. Here are some pictures below of the process. Yesterday was shooting day where three photographers came in and shot all my merchandise. Normally they do this in their warehouse, but since I have an entire store they humored me and came here. The crew was here from 11-9. It was a long day, but they were troopers. I, on the other hand, am taking today off to recuperate.
Everything got broken up into "lots" and got its picture taken. 

The photographers set up three stations. Two for accessories and one for bigger items. They used rulers to show perspective to online bidders. 

These are all "behind the scenes" shots.

After everything was shot and numbered, we staged it for the preview  (Saturday, Sept. 7th 9am-12). 

I had no idea I had this much stuff! 

You'll be able to see individual pictures and descriptions of all the merchandise online soon. 

It was a little overwhelming, but I'm excited to see the end results online. And it's a great feeling to unload everything so I can really focus on re-purposing specific pieces.

*Thanks Doug, Kathy, Jamie, Jackie, and Jack for all your help. It was a pleasure to work with you. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sprucing Up Before A Showing

A huge bonus to owning a furniture store is getting to switch out furniture in my house when I need a new look. I've had this butcher block table since the yearly Regent Square yard sale (can't remember the exact date of this past year's). It's been sitting in our back storage room ever since along with the retro server behind it. This table is awesome and exactly what I've been looking for for a long time. It was merely out of laziness that we hadn't switched out our old table for my new fave. It wasn't until this past week that I got a bee in my bonnet and starting sprucing things up for our first showing.
I've had our house listed on craigslist for the past month or so and plan on listing it properly with a Realtor as soon as my husband's new garage is finished on the church property. We've actually had neighbors who were interested already come through, but this is our first real showing to someone we don't know and I'm kind of nervous.

In addition to switching tables, I also exchanged the retro, slim server for what used to be that big glass table. It makes the room feel so much more spacious. I painted the doors white so they'd pop (they were this really muted, beat-up shade of grey).

Somebody photo bombed my picture.

This is my inspiration photo. I'd love to find some mint colored chairs to go around the table like these. 

The old table, in case you're interested in a farm-like pedestal table, will be auctioned off this coming week, along with all the other contents of my shop. If you missed that post, you can click here.
Other things I've been doing before our big day is de-cluttering the kitchen and painting the floorboards. Now I swear I clean and dust these babies often, but they just looked embarrassing. I took a can of Dove White paint all over the house and hit most of the floorboards and door frames. I just feel so much better about it now, and it's amazing the difference something so little makes. Observe:

Doesn't that look so much better? I don't expect the first person to see my house to be the end all be all to selling, but it doesn't hurt to put my best foot forward. What do you think of all the changes? Any other tips?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Real Estate Monday: South Side Flats

A couple weeks ago we visited this house in the South Side. It's a 4 bedroom, 1 bathroom complete gut on the flats close to the new South Side Works shopping center. It's amazing to see what you're money can buy in different parts of town. Up on the slopes, $189,000 would be almost enough to buy a completely renovated home. Down on the flats, however, it's a different story. You're paying top dollar for the ability to walk and ride your bike to everything- the trails can connect you all the way downtown. Even though it's at the top of my budget (it needs about $100k worth of renovations), I still wanted to see how much work we could do on our own to make it work for our family. We decided it'd be too much for us, but I still wanted to share with you just in case you're looking for a project to tackle and have some cash sitting somewhere waiting to be invested. I say invested because realistically you could treat this house as an investment, fix it up, and probably sell for about $350,000. That's a pretty nice profit. Here are the pictures I took of 2210 Sarah St., but you can click on this zillow link  for more info. *Side note: 2206 Sarah is right next door, also for sale, also a complete gut in my opinion. Listed for $229,900. It has a garage and a yard, thus the higher price tag, but it's not even a true 3 bedroom- the 3rd is a captured room on the 3rd floor- unless you reconfigured the layout. 
Back to our house:

Front sitting room

Close ups of the floors.

Dining room in between front room and kitchen. Neat floors.

The kitchen
The original kitchen sink.
Tiny bedroom on 2nd floor
Bathroom at the top of the stairs.
Bedroom to right of bathroom. Definitely worth expanding old bathroom into this bedroom. 

It has an old sink in it, too. 
Front bedroom
Middle bedroom. 
At least the rooms have lots of natural light. 

Stairway to third floor
3rd floor. Some water damage under the window needs replastered.

Clearly it all needs redone, I said that from the start so hopefully I didn't scare anyone by the time you got here. I wouldn't show this house if I didn't think it had HUGE potential though. The owner gave me a drawing of a suggested floor plan which I would have put up a picture of had my 2 yr. old daughter not eaten it. I thought we were past the eating paper stage, but I guess not! I thought that was really smart of him to do since a lot of us have trouble envisioning a space especially when it's in such disrepair. 
 That concludes this week's house hunt. Until next time...Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Spray Painting Lamps & Shades

 I had a couple of lamps that were really boring, and one super dirty lamp shade. My solution: spray paint. Of course. I think this might be the easiest thing EVER.
For the shade- all I did was clean it up with some soap and water (there was so much dust on this thing). I let it dry and then lightly sprayed it with a left over can of gold spray paint. Voila! Instant new look.

 The second little mini project was an old, wooden lamp base. It's pretty traditional and did not reflect the look I was going for, but for some reason I just can't part with it. I'm really not a hoarder, I just like the general shape of this lamp. So we (my two yr. old and I) decided to paint it pink. Yes, pink! I'm still reeling from this picture on Cup of Jo's blog:

 While a brand new kilim rug isn't in the budget, adding some pink accents won't break the bank. Taliila helped me sand the base first. We covered the harp and cord with a plastic bag and some tape. Then coated it with two light coats of pink spray paint. So easy.

Clearly need to still find a lamp shade for this one.
Definitely a great way to save money and reuse what ya got! I'm sure I'll be painting more shades in the future. Has anyone out there attempted making their own shade? That's on my to do list. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Going Backwards: From Business to Blog

Let's get personal. I feel like I'm moving backwards (even though I'm super excited to simplify things).  If you don't feel like reading all the details, then just skim down past the picture and you'll get to the most important part!
Opening a store two and a half years ago with no prior entrepreneurial experience was both the most frightening and exciting thing, next to spending the night in the Sahara Desert during a sand storm. I had NO idea what to expect. Isn't that just like life in general? You start something new then you realize as you go how to get the hang of things. You pick up tid-bits along the way to make things easier- learning what you like and don't like. Well here are some things I learned:

  1. Starting your own business is easy. Owning your own business is hard. You can pay people to help, but when it comes down to it, there's no one who can do things just the way you want like YOU can. 
  2. You're your own boss. This is great. No one to yell at you. No one to force you to do something you don't want, say something you don't want, sell something you don't want, or wear something you don't want. You make up the rules- my personal favorite part.
  3. Store hours are long and can be boring. I think owning a store is the end-all-be-all goal in a lot of creative peoples' minds. Not factored in the dream are all the hours you are obligated to put in, and the fact that your brain never stops. I'd lie in bed at night thinking of all the stuff I had to get done-taxes, spreadsheets of inventory, pricing, refinishing, supplies, etc. and whether or not I'd make enough money to survive at the end of the day. There's no such thing as leaving your work behind. 
  4. I love buying, refinishing, researching furniture, and blogging about it. The blog has become one of my most favorite tools. It allows me to share all the fun and the real stuff. It allows me to communicate the work that goes behind a piece, or the inspiration where things come from. I read a lot of blogs as well to keep inspired and informed. A lot of people I read about seem to do creative things on the side, blog about it, then open some kind of business after building up an audience (rather it be an online shop, or a physical location). 
Throw back pics from the old shop

Since learning all these things about myself, and getting back to my point about moving backwards, I've realized that owning a store isn't exactly what I want to be about. It's merely an outlet to make money off doing what I love. I'm "shedding a layer" once again in this quest called life, and moving forward with a liquidation sale of almost everything: a fresh start. I can't wait!
I'll be posting a link soon connecting you to an online auction where you can bid on anything/everything in my shop. It all starts at $1 and there are no other fees incorporated.
***update: here's the link***
On the other hand, I'd like to ask you to stay with me as I expand this little blog. I'll be focusing a lot more on DIY topics to both teach and {hopefully} inspire you. The furniture I redo on my blog will be listed in the inventory tabs if you're interested in purchasing (I'll also be taking on more custom orders). I'm going to continue on with my Real Estate Monday series, as well as implement a new #spotted series (on facebook & twitter) to let you know when and where I've discovered awesome, new pieces. It'll be like letting you in on a little secret every time I find something. So follow along if interested. And be sure to check back soon for the auction link (or contact me via if you're interested in buying anything before going to auction).

Here's to going backwards and moving forward! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Real Estate Monday: Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking a trip to see Falling Water for the first time. I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I got a little choked up when I walked through the dark and narrow front entry way into the main room of the house. It's equatable to coming out of the Fort Pitt Tunnels, for those of you who are from Pittsburgh, you know what I mean. The beauty of the outdoors brought inside just hits you, and I wanted to cry. It's the most organic design I've ever experienced. Everything from the floor, to the walls, to the ceilings and windows pointed to the exquisite outdoor waterfall, on which it sits cantilevered over. Simply breathtaking. If you haven't been, then you should go. Seriously. Best little weekend jaunt and it's so close. Tickets are $20 each, and you must call ahead to book a reservation. I didn't know this, and we didn't get in on the first day (forehead slap).
So here's what to do. Don't look at pictures of the inside. I purposely didn't. I like surprises. They don't let you take pictures inside anyways*, so all of mine are from the outside looking in.
*I got really bummed out when I found out I couldn't take pictures inside. I figured if I got a pic of the Mona Lisa (without realizing it was illegal), then I could surely sneak a peak). But once inside, I really didn't want to ruin the moment by hiding behind a camera. I wanted to enjoy the tour and engage with the tour guide. And I want you to be able to do the same.
So here's a little tiny background, I don't want to spoil it for you though. The house was built from 1936-1939 for what totaled $155,000. It was built for the Kaufmann family, from Kaufmann department stores, now Macy's, and entrusted to The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. It's so mid century modern, before that term was even coined. I can't imagine how people back in that time must have reacted to its controversial design. Wright went on to build 200 more homes even though he was in his late 60's when he designed this house. I like to imagine people walking through it back then for the first time. How in awe they must have been. How in awe I am now almost 74 years later!
Here are some outdoor shots we got.

Where the tour starts. 

From the foot of the driveway before entering the house. 

Standing on the veranda over the waterfall, which is almost as large as the family room inside. 

There are steps down to the left of the veranda to wade in the water.
From the spot where the Kaufmann's thought their home was going to be built so they could look at the waterfall. They never thought they'd be on top of it! 

Churchill, a suburb of Pittsburgh, also has its own "little" Frank Lloyd Wright house.

105 Merrie Woode Drive, Churchill Boro, PA 15235

And here are two more contemporary ranch style homes that are a little more affordable, but with the right furniture could be AMAZING!

3404 Mccrady Road, Churchill Boro, PA 15235

I love contemporary ranches that focus more on bringing the outdoors in. Thank you Frank Lloyd Wright for being different! 


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