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.

collected vintage living room-514

grainsack vintage chair living room-491

woodstove vintage living room-500

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.

antique victorain secretary white chesterfield living room-536

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.

farmhouse white chesterfield living room-495

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.

bohemian home vintage kilim rug ammo trunk bench seat living room-505

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.

vintage mohair chair ladder blanket rack living room-527

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?

collected boho living room-489

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

vintage collected bohemian farmhouse living room-514

living room before

vintage kilim rug window seat-505

Thanks for visiting!

garden antiques in the living room

 

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finding inspiration

November really brings a battle between Christmas enthusiasts and those standing-up for Thanksgiving from a decorating/shopping standpoint, doesn’t it?  I mean who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?  No one wants to skip the feast.  However, some are overlooking the cornucopia for the twinkling Christmas lights immediately after Halloween.  I’ve always been a fan of keeping autumn harvest decor fresh, until the day after Thanksgiving when it is game-on for Christmas decorating.

As I’ve ventured further into the retail world I can understand why Christmas comes immediately following Halloween.  It is a very glitzy, very short selling season.  A lot of effort goes into merchandising for the holidays yet the season is definitely shorter than autumn harvest.  Perhaps that is why we’re seeing it grow just a little more every year, annoying as it may be to poor Thanksgiving.  With that said, I may even be behind the eight ball in getting all of my holiday inventory on the sales floor.  Yes, I surely am.

For me, November is all about balance.  Autumn harvest at home with Christmas on the brain and in the store.  While looking for inspiration for the season, I found some of my favorite holiday themed signs that I’ve painted over the past four years.  Here are the highlights…

Santa on a barn door is definitely a favorite which I’ve replicated again and again.

rustic santa barn door

Holly Jolly Christmas is indeed available now at The West End Garage.

holly joll christmas sign

Believe is always a crowd pleaser.

handpainted believe sign on reclaimed wood

The deer is a favorite from last year and it ended up in the home of a family member.  I may just have to make another one for 2015!

oh deer

Probably not my favorite work but any reference to classic Bedford Falls is a winner!

wonderful life sign

I love the juxtaposition of the message and the rustic canvas here.

rustic joy to the world

Moose Lodge is another one that I’ve done a few times.  Not necessarily reserved for Christmas either.

moose lodge

How’d this one sneak in here?

Painted Signs on Reclaimed Wood - maryland crabs

And the original “On the Way to Cape May” sign!  This one started it all.

Cape May Sign

Well, we’re most certainly off of the Christmas track now and perhaps back on harvest.  The sunflower seed packet resides at my parents.  I didn’t have the heart to sell it.  It’s possibly my all time favorite.

vintage sunflower seed pack reproduction sign

I’ve got a thing for fonts and vintage inspired signs which led me to start a pinterest board dedicated to other handmade holiday inspired signage.  Check it out here.

Where do you stand on the whole Thanksgiving/Christmas decorating debate?

the winemaker’s table

One morning a few months ago I set out on my treasure hunting route feeling extraordinarily optimistic.   You know when you know there is a good treasure waiting for you and you just have to uncover it.  Yes, that feeling!

fall table setting-256

The morning was off to a slow start though.  I hit several garage sales not turning up much more than then 1970’s ceramics.  But I knew the show stopping piece was out there.  The next stop was sort of barn sale at the end of a grassy lane.  I felt this one had promise until I got inside the dusty building and found nothing more than tools.  No cute wooden toolboxes but nails, wrenches and the like.  Not my thing.

I did another lap around the building feeling dissatisfied but not quite ready to leave.  It is like a game of hot/cold and I was getting warm.  I knew it had to be there.  That’s when I spotted a wine-press off to the side.  An antique, oak wine-press!  It was dusty, dirty and smelled acidic but I knew this was the treasure waiting for me and it certainly had potential.  It was screaming table to me.

the winemaker's table - antique oak wine press-245

Then that thing happened when someone expresses interest in a one-of-a-kind piece.  Suddenly everyone is interested and a near bidding war ensues.  As a buyer, this is extremely irritating but as a seller it is wonderful.  Being the buyer in this scenario, I found the other shopper to be in poor form as he elbowed in on my negotiation insinuating that he was going to use the press as intended to make wine.  Of course, it was evident that I wasn’t and merely loved the rustic patina.  I’ve always been a form over function girl.  I quickly handed the seller my cash and rolled it down the lane before anyone could change their mind.

Winemaker's Table- antique oak winepress 243

After a thorough cleaning and the perfect 48 inch glass topper, we have ourselves a beautiful table.  A swanky, rustic table fit for sipping cocktails and noshing at while admiring the craftsmanship of the press.  I have to admit that this one was almost a keeper.  We really love how it fit in our little dining nook.  But I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, “We can’t keep them all.”

Winemaker's Table-252

This one of a kind beauty is up for sale at The West End Garage.

home for the plants

With the fear of frost looming at the end of October, we had to come up with a suitable winter home for our plant collection which was taking up residence outside and our deck.

succulents reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

They’re now sitting pretty in our living room amongst my favorite pair of vintage chairs.

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug,  reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase, locker

terra cotta & olive, mohair chair

We came up with a game plan to extend our sunny bay windowsill in order to accommodate the plants and my favorite vintage pots, bowls and vases.  We started with fantastic weathered old 1×6 lumber that has almost a barnwood-like quality.  We needed 6 – 5 foot boards in total.  The boards previously made up a section of simple post and beam fencing in our yard.  Each was stripped down to expose the worn grain.  Two boards were paired together to make a 12 inch deep shelf.  Three sets of boards were attached vertically to one another to create a 3-tier shelf system.

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand/ bookcase

Plumbing pipe shelving is not a new concept but we came up with our own simple plant stand version using pipes and fittings to connect the unit.  There are 2 connecting points on each shelf therefore we used a total of 4 – 9 inch plumbing nipples and 8 flanges which screw into the wood.  These also double nicely as book ends.  The plumbing materials were the most expensive part of this DIY project.

olive tree,  reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-4999

We decided on a set of simple 7 inch turned legs for the bottom which cost less than $5 each at Lowe’s.   The raw wood of the legs and shelves received an application of hemp oil for a durable water repellent topcoat which also left a subtle stain highlighting the wood grain.

succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4992

simple DIY: reclaimed wood + pipe plant stand-

The plants have happily been relocated to the new plant stand where they are enjoying the expansive window and, normally, bright light.

indoor terra cotta succulent garden, reclaimed wood plant stand-4993

These snaps are from this morning during a dreary, cold November rain.  I love the mix of terra cotta amongst the saturated colors in the kilim rug and mohair chairs – all vintage finds of course.  Such a cozy new space!

vintage mohair chair, kilim rug, reclaimed wood plant stand bookcase

from the garden to the dining room

I know the Home Show was like weeks ago and you are probably so sick of hearing me talk about it and addressing the event as a proper noun but guess what, so many projects went into that little upcycled room.  So many hours.  I am going to talk about them until, well until, I can’t talk about them anymore and they fade into the dark night of the blogosphere.

Actually, until spring really when there is something new and fresh and worthwhile to talk about.  Or until we get married.  Yeah, the wedding will trump the Home Show for sure.

Anyway, what do you do with a garden trellis that you aren’t using in the garden?

Home Show - Milk painted dresser and trellis mirror

Turn it into a mirror of course!

Home Show - Garden Trellis Mirror

My neighbor is always finding little treasures along the way, much like me.  He handed this garden trellis over to me months ago and it sat in my garage ever since.  Until the aha moment came.  The moment I know you all wait for.  The moment Ryan cringes because I enlist him for yet another project.  As always, I promise him it is simple and will only take a few minutes…

garde trellis mirror

So the trellis got turned on it’s side.  Then we just sawed the ends off of the whole piece so it would be symmetrical.  And by “we” of course you know by now that I mean Ryan.

The great debate of January 2013 was whether or not the garden trellis should have 2 mirrors or one large mirror behind the entire trellis.  Hmmm…

Obviously we decided on 2 mirrors which gave a floating effect.  Still though, I ponder how 1 would have looked.

I speed dialed my old friends at the glass store and had 2 mirrors cut in a matter of days.  We removed the 3 middle bars from the back  of the trellis.  The mirrors rested on the bars in front.  Then we attached mirror hanging hardware in the back to those front pieces.  Finally, Ryan and I strategically screwed the back bars into place while keeping the mirrors centered.  You definitely need 2 sets of hands with this project to keep the mirrors centered and level.

how to make a garden trellis mirror

Yes, this was a team effort constructed right on the dining room table because as I recall it was like 12 degrees in the garage that day.  And you can also see how all of the projects in the dining room were evolving at that very moment.  Note the dangling new drapes over the old ones.  Hot mess.

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But of course, the dining room looks like this now with the mirror starring on one wall and reflecting light from the large window across the room.

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Which reminds me, when I posted our new and improved dining room on Monday I don’t believe I shared this angle with you which shows both the new mirror and Ryan’s vintage ball jar sketch that he made as a child.  Quite the gardeny feel this space has now.

dining room

I love how the artwork looks in the new room.  It is a perfect fit.

ball jar artwork

What do you have planned for the weekend?  Stop by the ol’ brick & mortar shop on Saturday from 10-5!

all American

Hello!  Hello!  For all of my American readers, did you vote yet today?  Don’t forget, mmm kay?  It is your right!  Here at casa di Circa Dee we always vote Beagle.

How could we not?  Everyone knows Wilson is the boss around here.

I found that great beagle political poster at cafepress.  They have a few other breeds as well but you’ll probably just want to obey the beagle.

No, this isn’t a sponsored post by beagles around the nation.  Or cafepress.  I am getting to the project here…

The posters come in different sizes but none are your standard frame size.  Ours was 11×16.  As you probably know, having a custom frame made costs oodles of dollars.  So Ryan made one for us.

Out of…ready for it…chestnut wood!

Why am I so excited about a chestnut frame?  Oh because the horticultural nerd in me is about to come out.  Have you ever heard of the American chestnut blight?

Back in the day, a.k.a. like 100 years ago, nearly all chestnut trees in North America were wiped out.  They’re practically extinct now because of a fungus that was introduced to the trees.  If you’re so inclined, you can read more about the chestnut blight here.

So if you come across anything truly made of chestnut you can A.) pretty much guarantee that it is an antique and B.) buy it because it is a little piece of American history.  We had the opportunity to buy a few chestnut hardwood floor boards recently.  Honestly, they sat in the garage for a few months.  Until Ryan put together this custom frame for our beagle propaganda.  I ordered a piece of glass and we added some hardware and foam core board to the back.

Of course I love the wear and tear the hardwoods show from a previous life of being walked all over.

Our new to us frame coordinates nicely with an antique chestnut chest we just got to use as a media console.  I will share that in a future post as this room is not quite finished yet.

As for custom frames, I love them!  The look and feel of reclaimed hardwoods, painted floorboards and molding being given a new life as a frame is just so cool.

We have a few open frames on our mantel right now.

We just completed a set of 3 layered frames for our friend’s wedding photos.  They came out really cool too.  Also, another photo I will have to share at a future date.

And you may remember our original floorboard frame.  Still my fave.

However, we are moving away from creating our own reclaimed wood frames due to time constraints.  But we’ve found a great US-based company who does just that!  We’ve started stocking them in our shop.  Part of growing a business, I’ve quickly learned, is figuring out what to outsource and what to keep in-house.

They make unique gifts!  And we can still have custom colors and sizes made.  In fact, they have a stellar selection of colors!  I’m so happy to have found this artisan.  I’m pretty sure Ryan is too since frame making sort of fell under him.

In honor of election day, I kept this post all American for you – voting, American history and outsourcing in America. Now go vote!

more seeds

Remember when I shared my vintage sunflower seed packet reproduction a few weeks ago?

And remember how I mentioned that I wanted to make a pumpkin seed packet sign too?  Well, I finally got around to it last week!  You may have seen a preview of it on facebook if you follow Circa Dee there.

I am always on the hunt for old boards and wood that will make a good canvas.  In this case, I used an antique playpen.  This sucker was heavy for an on-the-go mom!

Some of you may cringe when you realize I disassembled this into 6 pieces.  But this playpen was really not functional or safe in the ‘as is’ state anymore so doesn’t it make more sense to upcycle the wood into something new?

The side rails make the perfect towel display rack (more about that another time).  That leaves the bottom pieces.  There were 2 sets of slatted wood with hinges on the side and a finger hole where you’d close the playpen from.

One of those bottom pieces created the canvas for the large pumpkin seed packet.  I liked the raw wood and left it unpainted in some areas to give a rustic, timeworn autumn feel to this piece.

This is the actual seed packet that was the inspiration for this sign.  I modified the colors and made them a bit abstract in my version.  I used latex and chalk paints – mostly custom mixed colors.  Then clear waxed all of it with some dark wax over the pumpkin.

I particularly like how the slatted wood broke up the image a bit.

I still think the sunflower sign is my favorite though.  Although I do enjoy the rustic feel of the pumpkin sign.  I have another, smaller reclaimed wood board devoted to the autumn vintage seed packet collection.  Any votes on what seed you’d like to see next?  I’m stumped!

Linking to Thrifty Decor Chick & Funky Junk Interi0rs

P.S.  Did you guys know that our shop is open this weekend and we are fully stocked with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint?  Come check  out what the craze is about!

celebrating a birday

Good day friends! Remember how I mentioned we celebrated a whole bunch of birthdays over the weekend? Yeah? Well, Friday was Ryan’s dad’s bday. He’s a bit of a backyard ornithologist. He’s got a collection of birdhouses and bird feeders that his feathered friends flock too. His yard is a great spot for bird watching. Soooo we decided to add to the collection with a touch of Circa Dee.

That’s right we gifted him a handmade bird house for his birday.

Made entirely from reclaimed wood with fabulous colors and texture.

The bird house has some history, naturally…remember our spindle candlesticks?

They were upcycled from this old Victorian porch railing.

After pulling the spindles apart, we did not waste the railing.  That became the chunky “front door” for the birdhouse with 2 openings.

And in case you were wondering, this bird house is a duplex.

Surprise there is a pop of yellow on the back!  The yellow and green walls are old wide flooring probably also from a porch.

There’s the master craftsman at work.  Rumor has it that there will be more reclaimed birdhouses coming to Circa Dee!

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Linking to Home Stories A to Z

backsplash follow up part 2: pallet wood

Let’s discuss the controversial pallet wood backsplash, shall we?

I’m totally in love with it as are many of you based on the sweet comments I’ve received. But I also got a ton of questions about how practical it is.  Let’s see if I can overcome your objections!

Several were concerned with its cleanability after a deep fry.  How will grease be removed?  Fortunately (for the backsplash and our health), we don’t fry much so I’m over that issue.  If you decide to replicate this look in your house, you can easily treat and seal the wood with varathane.  We like the look of raw weathered wood in this particular kitchen.  And you can take a soapy rag to it if necessary.

Let me take a minute to remind you that this is not our primary kitchen.  This makeover was completed in a beach house where the kitchen gets little use in comparison to our everyday kitchen.  We tend to use the grill more.  We certainly do prep work on the counters but overall wear and tear to the galley is minimal.  While I love the transformation, I’m not sure that I would do it in our primary kitchen that gets a ton of use.

And for the most controversial topic that was commented on…I’ve read quite a bit of hubub on the internet about the safety of pallet wood.  Or lack there of.  The concern being whether pallet wood is heat-treated or chemical treated as a shipping pallet.  Chemical treated being most dangerous. Pallets are supposed to be stamped with this information.  Fortunately, we do know a little bit of back story on the pallets we used and where they came from.  I am not going to pretend we know its entire life story as if the wood could speak.  “I was born on a cold winter morning in a manufacturing facility in Newark.” No. 

I soaked the wood in an ammonia based cleanser and scrubbed prior to use for my own piece of mind.  Research that I’ve done on the potential hazards of wood pallets seems to be published by plastic manufacturers as in plastic pallet manufacturers so I have to question the source and how much of a sales tactic it is.  At any rate, I am quite comfortable with the pallet wood on the wall.  I do not plan to eat off of it and there are no small children in the house.  Plus the counter goes up the wall about 6 inches so if food were to lean against the backsplash it would most likely touch the counter.  Anyway, this is our choice and it may not be kosher with others but that’s life!  We are comfortable with this decision as I am sure there are many other potential hazards we encounter everyday in and around our home. 

This reminds me…our headboard in the same house is made of an old reclaimed door.  Yes, as in lead paint.  We’re ok with that.  We took necessary pre-cautions.

If you really like the look of the backsplash but are not comfortable using pallet wood, you can certainly buy new wood.  We desired the aged and weathered look of the pallets.  Plus we like recycling.  I will also suggest using slate as your backsplash.  Many readers thought the wood was actually slate at first glance so you could achieve the same rustic look that way…and maybe fool people into thinking it is pallet wood!  It will obviously cost you more than FREE though.

And another reader was worried about the wood having room to expand.  I’m on top of that Rose.  There are little spaces between the wood.  See?

We take risks everyday.  That’s life.  What you bring into your home is your choice.  You have to find comfort in the materials you use to decorate and introduce to your family.  The vintage chair you picked up on consignment last week, you don’t know where that came from.  We choose to recycle and repurpose instead of constantly buying new.  It keeps things out of those pesky landfills.  And we like the eclectic style that recycling allows.  Bottom line:  Trust your gut when reclaiming materials for your home.

Did you miss the follow up on the laminate cabinets in the kitchen?