the game changer

Vintage fiends like myself always have a list of must-find items tucked away in the back of one’s mind.  Perhaps it is an industrial antique scale, a factory cart coffee table, a 1940’s 2-tier plant stand (not to be specific or anything).

For me, as of late, it was a brass bed.

vintage brass bed, ticking shams, French provincial furniture #brass

Not a cheap, shiny 1980’s brass bed but a high quality solid brass with a warm patina.  A queen size brass bed with serious antique style which would make it vintage, of course, because queen size beds weren’t available until the 1950’s or so.  And the price had to be right.  After only a few months searching, the perfect piece popped up on Craigslist.  The only problem was that it was over 2 hours away.  This was a great deal even factoring in gas and tolls.  Ryan made the trip picking up the head board, foot board and frame for my birthday.  Lucky girl.

vintage brass bed, ticking shams, French provincial furniture #brass

This bed was a game changer for sure.  It works very well with our existing French provincial family heirloom furniture.  That’s not going anywhere.  However, I decided to part with the coastal salvage vibe that we had going on previously.

I found a fantastic brass hued mirror that coordinated very well with the furniture and lamps.  I brought in Mildred, the necklace-wearing-bust, and other vintage jewelry vessels that I’ve collected.  The window seat got outfitted with more pillows because there are never enough.  And we finally did something with one of our wedding pictures turning it into a canvas for above the bed.  The shell lamps stayed as did the duvet with the addition of new ticking shams.

The biggest change of all is the flooring.  Previously this room was outfitted with pink carpet.  This winter our home has received many upgrades including new flooring throughout thanks to my patient husband who has redone almost every square foot.  I floated a flat weave, natural chevron rug over the weathered-look wood floor.

This bedroom now has a sophisticated yet collected vibe featuring vintage finds and family heirlooms.  Each one tells a story.  Of course, it is always entertaining to look at the progress of a space.  The ‘before’ picture is exactly how this room looked when we first saw the house.  It gives me the heebie jeebies.  The next one shows how it was last styled with a coastal salvage spin.  And of course the present look.  You can see that the symmetry remains the same.

What is on your must-find list?



Sometimes we grow up.  Ok its inevitable.  It happens.  We age.  We change. Interests change.

And rooms should evolve as their owners do.

My 30-year-old friends have a super cool South Philly rowhome.  Maybe you saw their kitchen renovation on the DIY Network.  They were living with a secret though.  It was in the room they call their den.  The den was straight out of college.  It basically housed all of their leftover furniture, CDs (yes we had CDs in college), DVDs and other early twenties paraphernalia haphazardly.

Leigh & Aaron looked to me for advice on how to turn the space into a room that would reflect who they’ve become.  On a budget.

No problem.  We established up front that the sofa would stay.

The maps in the room were also inspiration and they were to stay.  However, they really needed to be pulled together for a little bit more of a cohesive look.  In their before state, the map theme wasn’t evident.

The other “keeper” was the cool industrial built-in shelf that Aaron constructed recently.  But it needed to be highlighted for sure.

We came up with a game plan.  We decided the room would feature maps, have an industrial vibe and a recurring accent color of orange.

Having established those 3 items, we went shopping.

First for reclaimed wood for framing the maps and building the media console.

Next we shopped for pipes for the media console and curtain rods.

And canvas which was outfitted as curtain panels on curtain rods made of piping to drive home the industrial vibe.  Look out West Elm!

Because these two are handy DIYers I left them to execute the vision.  First was fresh paint.  Rejuvenate by Behr.  Second was organizing and purging.  What really needed to stay in the room?

Then Aaron architected a media console to coordinate with the industrial shelves.  The proportion and open shelves of the console helped to expand the space.

The blue bookshelf found a new home on an adjacent wall housing organized books and photos.

All of the maps were framed with dark reclaimed wood that was once used as trim.

Then came the accessorizing.  My contribution was reviving a plain photo album with an atlas page of Queens, where the couple used to live.

They upstaged my use of maps by making custom throw pillows.  Each pillow featured a different area – the town each grew up in plus the New York neighborhood they lived in early in their relationship.  It doesn’t get much more customized than that!  Did I mentioned they created the fabric and stitched the pillows?  And the orange throw pillows were created from a set of orange linen napkins.

So now that you know the plan, here are the full after shots of the grown up den.

A newly created map of Philly was added to the collection.

Lots of uses for industrial piping.

Bonus!  The space got a new flat screen TV.

Not a CD in sight.

Doesn’t it just feel more pulled together now?

Linking to Get Outta My Head Please

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