our collected living room

jungalow style

After nearly 3 years of tweaking, rearranging, shuffling chairs, plants and window treatments, I can honestly say that I’m thrilled with where we’ve landed in our living room.  While the kitchen is usually the center of the home figuratively, this living room is literally the center of ours.  It is a large room with multiple doorways, windows and traffic paths so getting the floor plan just right was really important.  Originally this room was two small rooms that a previous owner opened up.  I’m glad they did.

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grainsack vintage chair living room-491

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Form, function and scale were also very important for us.  Our house is small and although the rooms are relatively large, there are few of them so each space has to work just right for our needs.  The corner by our sliding door always stumped me and I knew it could do better for us.

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After months of searching, I found a fantastic antique Victorian secretary desk on Craig’s List.  Last winter we brought this stately piece home to finally give purpose to that corner.  It was immediately evident that this was what the room needed. It pulls triple duty for us as china cabinet storage, bar and work space.  The secretary opens to reveal the perfect little desk that Ryan works at almost daily.

bohemian style living room kilim rugs-511

Another game changer was finally pulling the trigger and purchasing just the right sofa which made its debut back around the holidays.  The white tufted chesterfield puts a smile on my face everyday and it brightens up the middle of the room.  I tend to wonder why I waited so long on this purchase.  Probably because it is the only thing, aside from the gifted yellow rug, that is brand new. Nearly everything else in this space was “found, free or flea” which epitomizes my vintage style.

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eclectic living room-501

Near the entrance, we were in desperate need of a freestanding closet to function for coat storage.  Again, after months of sourcing, I came across just the right scale antique piece.  Persistence pays off!  We drove about 3 hours to pick this one up and it was well worth the trip.  I painted the closet in MMS milk paint Farmhouse White.  The old finish resisted the paint just right revealing the perfect chippy texture.  Form and function wins again!

farmhouse white @mmsmp antique cabinet-521

Those rugs are possibly my favorite find of all time.  That’s a bold statement to make in this room because it’s loaded with favorite finds.  They are authentic vintage kilim rugs that I picked up for a song. I will never let them go.

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Along with the pair of vintage mohair chairs that I’ve sung the praises of here plenty of times before.  I doubt I’ll ever tire of those either.

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This room has looked like this for nearly 6 months and I have no immediate plans to change it aside from the occasional accessory or vignette. Famous last words but I think we’ve finally found a happy eclectic mix of vintage/collected/bohemian/farmhouse/jungalow/beachy style. Did I miss anything in that style classification?

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bohemian home vintage collected living room

Updating this room certainly didn’t happen overnight.  First there was the wallpaper which came down immediately and up went creamy off-white paint.  Cornerstone by Behr.  I’m still happy with this choice years later.  Then there was the wood stove installation and slate surround.  Next was the flooring which Ryan installed every square foot of.  Finally, the furniture finds and accessories which make the house a home.

bohemian home vintage collected living room

I’ll leave you with some before and after pictures for good measure.  Updates have come in phases but it’s always fun to look back at where we started when we bought this house, frilly curtains included.

living room before

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living room before

vintage kilim rug window seat-505

Thanks for visiting!

garden antiques in the living room









chicken coop coffee table

Our latest upcycled victim is a fantastic old crate which was once a chicken coop. I’d imagine that chickens were transported to and from auction in this coop.  Feathers flying as the birds were off to find a new farm to call home.

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The coop is larger than most that I’ve seen in the past and a bit more rudimentary in construction. The wear and aging on the wood can’t be matched.  It has that perfectly weathered & washed out color that retailers like Restoration Hardware try to replicate.

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We removed the door from the top of the coop as it was raised and not conducive to a new life as a coffee table.  Over the opening there is now a large piece of glass making it functional again.  We added casters to elevate the coop to coffee table height and, of course making it mobile.

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I always love a good coop coffee table.  We’ve transformed a few over the years!  This one is for sale at The West End Garage.

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Did you spy the Victorian pink baluster lamp?  Another new upcycle from Circa Dee!  This one might be a keeper though.  It’s still up in the air.  We’re working on this living space so we’ll see how things shake out.  That color & patina though…

victorian pink baluster lamp #upcycle #lighting vintage card catalog


creating age & patina

A few months ago, my sister-in-law and I tackled this large hutch for their home “landing area”. It was the perfect candidate for milk paint. An older, well made piece with slightly porous wood in most areas and a dulling finish left on it in others.  We predicted the dulling finish would create a resist and cause chipping.  Sorry, I can’t seem to track down a before picture but it was looking slightly dated.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3415

We chose to use “half strength” bonding agent. That’s a term I sort of made up meaning I don’t measure the recommended one part bonding agent to one part paint ratio. I don’t recommend “half strength” bonding agent until you really have a feel for how the paint works on different surfaces because it can be a bit of a wild card in terms of adhesion.  Of course, that is the fun of it!

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3419

For the look we were going for, it worked out just right. We did little to no prep on the piece other than removing the hardware. We applied 2 coats of Mustard Seed Yellow with some bonding agent as described. We used antiquing wax around the edges, handles and details and waxed the rest with furniture wax. This created a perfect warm patina on the yellow.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3425

We were thrilled with how natural the chipping looked as if this hutch has been gracefully aging in a farmhouse for decades.  It chipped a little further after the piece was moved into its permanent place.  Once they felt the finish was just right, my brother applied flat polycrylic to those areas to stop any further chipping from occurring.  This essentially locked the age in.

For the inside shelves, we applied 2 coats of Linen. We thought the yellow undertones in the neutral would be a nice complement to the Mustard Seed Yellow.  We used regular furniture wax on the linen to keep it bright.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3426

When evaluating whether or not to paint a piece of furniture and what color to paint it, I feel you really have to honor the style and era of the piece.  I’ve learned this with trial and error of course.  But not every piece can handle every color.  This hutch is just perfect in a warm chipping yellow.  It has a nice farmhouse feel.  Yet, it can also complement some contemporary homes and decor as well.

I really love how this one turned out!  I’d love to see your latest milk paint project too!  Email pictures or tag @circadee on instagram with your finished project.

Mustard Seed Yellow Milk Paint Hutch-3428

farm fresh

Hi friends!  We are officially a day into spring. Yay!  Did you get your free Rita’s Water Ice yesterday?  Is that just a regional thing here in PA?  Mmm, I love Rita’s but the lines were so long so I skipped the free water ice.  Free is nice but time is money, now isn’t it?  Anyway, a day into spring and I am already getting so behind on posting my spring projects.  Life is just flying by so stay tuned as I try to get the projects up starting with our farm fresh Easter Mantel…

I went hard on the Easter theme over a general spring theme.  You can see there are eggs everywhere.  I couldn’t resist lining the mantel in all of my vintage egg baskets and flea market coop finds.

I don’t know if I will ever get sick of chicken coop wire.  I love it.  Oh and this little basekt sent me on a wild goose chase.  (Duh, that wasn’t an attempt at a lame poultry pun.)  Seriously, I bought it last fall and tucked it away for Easter decor.  I about threw in the towel on finding it.  Then I did some garage purging last weekend and it surfaced amongst the other farmy decor.  Obvi.

This is another adorable small egg basket.  I switched it up with moss balls instead of more eggs.

I also had a wiry canning jar holder that supports our jar turned vase full of felt roses.  Do you like how it is all framed out in my favorite aqua color?  So springy!  The aqua frame is made from old door molding found in that color and condition at the salvage.

In the center of the mantel is a pink chicken coop baby carriage.  Have you ever seen such a thing?  I put a ceramic baby chick in there.  Maybe a little bit creepy but whatever we are celebrating new life in all forms here!  Not all babies are cute.  Sorry chickadee.

All of the “grass” in the baskets are phonebook pages that we shredded.  Which I’ve learned also makes great shipping material.  And the vintage handpainted daisy tray has been floating along the mantel adding another pop of light aqua. I found it last year for 5 bucks and just love it.

With all of the pastels in place, the arrangement needed a dark color to ground it so I used faux moss flowers.

The box is an original vintage egg box, never used, and I have more than one so if you love it as much as I do, you can go snag it from my etsy shop in time for Easter.  Here is what the graphics on top look like. 

Another change this season is the brick fireplace. I finally painted it and am so glad I did. I don’t know what I was waiting for. We had acquired the painted red bricks when we moved in last year and I never liked it but wasn’t sure what I wanted.

I finally decided on painting the bricks with one coat of ASCP cream allowing the brick color to show through.  So glad I did and hard to believe I waited so long because the simple change really brightens up the space and feels more like us.  And yes that is another egg basket down there – larger size.  How many egg baskets are too many?

Happy Spring!  How have you been decorating for the season? 

Linking up to The Lettered Cottage

ambush makeover

Those of you that follow Circa Dee on facebook probably recall my status update last week about doing an ambush makeover at my parent’s house while they were away.  Well, today is the day for the big reveal.  Let’s first walk through the before so you can see what I was working with.

The “brown frown”.  As I like to call it.

See? Brown furniture.  Brown wall.  Brown floor.  Frown.

That room that you are looking at is their living room.  At least it was.  And it was seriously lacking color and character.  It needed to be injected with some life!  This side of the room had the most color.  A wall color that I am fond of however do not know the name of.  The least amount of changes happened over here.  In fact, the furniture configuration did not change at all.

More brown paneling on the banister.  And dark furniture.  And yes the Soprano’s always seems to be on in this house. 

Ok so honestly this is not some epic makeover where the room gets turned upside down and inside out in 24 hours.  I just can’t operate like that plus I didn’t want to give the ‘rents a heart attack upon their return from vaca.  The plan was to paint that god forsaken paneling.  I know some of you out there will cringe at the thought of painting one of the original characteristics of this mid-century home but if you’ve lived with it for the past 40 some odd years, you’d want it gone too.  Time for a change! 

Side note for those of you that don’t know: my mom grew up in this house and then it became her own house with my dad where they raised our charming family and now my niece is a regular in the paneled room.  It has been around for 4 generations now and that paneling has been the backdrop for many holidays, family parties and birthdays.  Although the paneling may sound iconic, it was just time for it to go.  But don’t fret, I didn’t just paint over family history that easily.  I have to admit that my mom knew the paneling was getting painted.  My dad, however, just knew they were flying off to Jamaica for the week.  uh-uh-uh (que creepy laugh)

So now that you know the background on the casa let’s get to the makeover, shall we?  Drumroll…

Like I said, it isn’t gonna knock you over but it is a much-needed change.  Whew!  No more brown on brown on brown.  Color and texture!  The room seems so much bigger and brighter with the painted paneling.  (Ahem, ignore the cords.)

The paneling got a coat of primer and 2 coats of Valspar Allen + Roth vintage.  Can you believe the paint color was called vintage?  No brainer choice for me, obviously.

The gallery wall tells a story.  Each piece of art was bought from local artists when my parents were traveling.  Looking at each piece can easily bring them back to that day and specific trip.  These paintings were scattered all around the house.  Some were never even hung so I thought it would be fun to have a statement wall that is like an album of their travels.  BTW I love how I’m making the ‘rents sound like world travelers.  They’re not.  They’ve been collecting these for a very looong time!  I left some holes in the lay out because I was sure they’d bring some new art back from Jamaica and do you know they didn’t? Shocking!  Oh well there is always next time.

Then I took it upon myself to accessorize the room with more color.  I really had to restrain myself when it came to pillowing up the place.  I would have at least doubled the amount of pillows but I knew they’d hate that.  So I went with these ginormous blue textured pillows found at Home Goods.  They look like they are part of the gallery wall.  The colors and size.  It’s like the art comes right down onto the sofa.

Cool blue is the main accent color throughout the room to contrast with the warm brown furniture.  The floral motif on the pillows is perfect as it pulls in red accents which are subtly every where and also some green, white and gold.

They had been talking about getting an area rug.  Naturally I shopped the home and came to the realization that we each had a burlap coffee sack with bold red and blue graphics.  When layinglengthwise next to each other they make a neat little throw rug that packs some punch.  I put a slip pad underneath and we’re still working on getting the creases out.  Honestly this accent may just be a little “too Dana” for them and may not make the long-term cut in the room.  Bummer because I love it!  It provides so much texture which the room needs to balance out all of the dark leather.

Next up, some funky furniture to add to the color palate and overall “lived in vibe” of the room.  I love this chippy green nightstand for a side table because it has drawers and corrals “stuff”.  Plus there are pops of red showing through.  You may remember me posting about it after scoring it at an estate sale.  It’s chippy in all the right places.

Next is a Phantastic Phinds find…and old farm bench turned side table which also has some fabulous red paint peaking through.  Again, subtle red.  Subtle farmhouse.

How fabulous are those modern lamps?  I never really noticed them until the makeover.  They pop off of the white wall.  And the shades, although brown, coordinate with the new colors just right.

And I brought in this old painted oak school chair that I’d previously been using as a prop.  It works well as a catch call.  The patina matches with the rest of the furniture .  The pale yellow also recedes into the white so it is not a big focal point and avoids creating a cluttered feel.  The orchard basket adds some more farm style flair while holding keys and things near the door.

They already bought the new media console.  We just set it up.  It was made in Lancaster county from reclaimed barnwood by the wonderful Clover sellers Reclaimed Crafts.  There’s that pale blue accent color and farm style again.

Oh and some pale blue cushions to give the hope chest color and purpose.  And de-browns it a little.  We always seem light on seating when gathering in this room anyway.

The once too high artwork behind the hope chest seems at just the right height with the tall lamp helping to put it in proportion.  The height of the painting works now that the chest will be used as a bench.  You can sit and lean back without hitting the frame.

To recap, here is how they left the room.

And here is what they came home to a few nights ago.

So there you have it.  A successful ambush makeover!  My dad seemed unphased by the changes.  In under 10 minutes he found his beloved sofa and crusty blanket and pillows in front of the tv.  Reality set in.  As predicted he moved the lovely new pillows.

So what do you think?  We’ve still got a list of things to do in this room like putting up shoe molding, new window treatments, paint the door, paint the banister (I wanted to see how it would look with a wood top – not a fan), paint the wall behind the banister so the mid-century cut outs are less noticeable, and the list goes on.  Is any room ever really finished anyway?

And Tank likes the new space too…

Linking to:

Vintage Inspiration Friday

A Diamond in the Stuff


Is it really Monday night already?  

I didn’t manage to fit in any junking or antiquing this past weekend.  I know.  It makes me cranky.  We went away for my work holiday party at a beautiful resort in Western PA called Nemacolin.  It was fareeezing!  The resort was something like 2000 acres.  HUGE!  There were literally lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! Actually I don’t think there were tigers but there were zebras and camels and buffalo.  No lie.  It was like a zoo.  With a spa.  Strangely satisfying.  I was too lazy relaxed to take many pictures although the halls were certainly decked for the season.  Here are our new friends…

We had a good time hanging out with friends and enjoyed delicious food.  I wish I brought home leftovers actually.  It was definitely a great getaway that many would dream of but I have to admit we don’t the whole relaxing thing very well.  I was itching for a project and I missed my little guy terribly!  I have become such a homebody…just 2 days away and I’m “that girl” wishing our dog was with us.  Turns out there was a pet spa at the resort.  Yes, I am sure Wilson would have loved to get a pawdicure if he had come along.  I wish I made “pawdicure” up but that’s actually what they call it at Wooflands Spa.

After my relaxing weekend, a long day of work today, homemade turkey pineapple chili (seriously try it) and a ton of gift wrapping tonight, I finally fit a little vintage into my life.  I whipped out my new buffer (nerd alert) and worked on one of the final steps of the dining room table that I am restoring for us.  So close!  I am loving how it is turning out…

And for some more randomness since I seem to be all over the place tonight…a couple of weeks ago I spent my birthday out shopping, eating and antiquing.  My fave kind of day.  I’ve got some eye candy to share with you from that day.  I finally made it to the nearly famous Terrain.  This is a local greenhouse/cafe/shop owned by Urban Outfitters.  It is pretty much everything I love rolled up into one retail shop.  You’ve got your plants, Urban style, good eats, chic boutique, housewares, repurposed lovelies, reclaimed wood, the works.  How have I never been here before now?  I heart Terrain.  Here are some things that caught my eye since they’re inline with my current rustic decor.

The same day, we stopped by an antique shop with a French flair called La Mason Home.  So inspiring.  The store was in an old farmhouse and every room was styled even better than the one before.  Gorgeous!  More eye candy for you…

Thanks for sticking with me and my wild train of thought tonight! I will be back this week with some new projects to share.

have a ball

Hey there!

I’m not the first and I’m sure I won’t be the last to transform a vintage Ball canning jar into a fancy farmhouse style soap dispenser.

In fact, I can’t really take any credit for this project.  Well, except maybe for finding the Ball mason jar with a perfect zinc lid…

and for pinning the inspiration on pinterest

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and for sharing my NEED to own this soap dispenser with Ryan, my handy man.  Who created this for me…

Perfect for the kitchen or bathroom.

I think it is screaming farmhouse sink though, don’t you?  I have one on my wish list to match my new Ball soap dispenser.  Do you hear me Santa Claus?

Linking to:
HOGFunky Junk's Sat Nite Special

treasure trove

Guess what!  It’s the beginning of the week so that means it’s time to show ya my vintage finds from last week.  There’s a few gems in the mix for your viewing pleasure.

I’ve got a thing for hand embroidered little tea towels. 

What can I say?

These adorable glass bottles will be a nice addition to our collection in the beach house bedroom.  Just add shells for instant gratification.

More bottles!  Definitely of the vintage variety.  These are old beer bottles embossed with the brewery and local origin – Norristown & Philadelphia.

Another day.  Another orchard basket.  This one is just asking for a poinsettia in it at Christmas.

It is always a good day when a beautiful antique ironstone dish surfaces for just a few bucks.

We got a new chandelier!  It’s really not vintage but I’ve been on the hunt for a simple farmhouse style iron one just like this.  That means we can take down the brass beast of a chandy that came with the house.  Thank goodness.  The new one also won’t be sporting the little lamp shades when it moves into the dining room.

The chair in the background of all of the pictures is solid oak and, although hard to tell, butter cream yellow.  I originally thought I’d repaint it but it is distressed in just the right places already.  A little soap and gloss will have it glowing.

Did you find any vintage treasures this week?

Linking to:

aqua beauty

Hola chicas!  I fit in some much-needed vintage love last week.  I finally found a few new treasures to share!

Let’s start small.  I grabbed this cute Christmas dish to use on my wall plate rack during the holidays.  I won’t actually be leaving cookies for Santa but I thought it was cute for 50 cents.

When I see blue Ball jars with zinc lids, I grab ’em.  Hopefully I will put this one to good in a lighting project soon.

Pretty vintage linens always catch my eye.  Do you like this sham?


Check out the pink doily border stitched on the yellow linen.

I believe this was hand embroidered.

I have a hard time staying away from kitschy Christmas linens.  This bright one is round and I dig the fringe.  I think it would make a good tree skirt.

Did you notice the chair?  I almost walked right by it.  It is an oak ice cream parlor style chair.  Love!

I’m sure you didn’t miss the aqua chest of drawers.  I didn’t!  I was so excited when I saw this.   I especially liked this find because it reminded me of my childhood.  We had quilted baby furniture in white that was very similar to this.  When I was wandering around a thrift store, the fab color just jumped out at me.  I immediately picked the chest up and lugged it across the store to a cart instead of bringing the cart to it.  I was afraid to let go of it because I didn’t want to risk losing it to another shopper. 

I didn’t think my quick reaction was ridiculous at all until I got to the register and the cashier was relieved someone bought the thing.  She actually used the word “hideous” to describe it.  I told her beauty was in the eye of the beholder and was hoping that some blog readers would support that this find was an aqua beaut.  Ahem. Thoughts? 

The cashier also asked what I planned to do with it. I explained that I would clean it, change the hardware and then it would make a perfect place to stash craft supplies. 

She must have missed the memo that vintage + aqua = awesomeness.

Linking to:
Southern Hospitality
Apron Thrift Girl
Her Library Adventures
House of Grace