Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bargain Outdoor Dining Area

Our deck leaves a lot to be desired. The boards are warped and the color is strange, but we're not quite ready to renovate it yet. In the meantime, I wanted an outdoor dining area that would let us use the deck, but not commit us to really expensive, permanent outdoor furniture.

After getting some inspiration from Scarlett, another designer at Julie Couch Interiors, I went to The Home Depot and bought a $99 unfinished pine picnic table.

I sanded it smooth and drilled a hole through the center for an umbrella. After that, the table needed 1 coat of outdoor primer and 2 coats of outdoor paint.

I went with Ralph Lauren Warwick Lodge, which is one of my very favorite paint colors. Luckily my grandparents had already given me an old umbrella stand (I love when things are free!), so I only needed an umbrella. Tuesday Morning ended up having the best deal in Nashville and I was able to find a neutral taupe one for only $39.99.

I'm really happy with the end result! It feels finished, but I like knowing that I can always change it out for something more permanent down the road.
But until then I'll enjoy hanging out under my umbrella! Are you working on any outdoor projects this fall?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vintage Wedding Stamps

Man, I've been gone from the blog for a looong time! I needed some time away to appreciate the fun in it again. I hope all of you had a wonderful summer. I've missed you!
As some of you may know, I have an Etsy shop where I sell vintage stamps. I was so excited when one of the brides I worked with this summer sent me this awesome picture of her wedding invitations featuring my stamps. Thanks Michael and Jenn!
You can find my Etsy shop here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thanks for the Support Everybody!

Thanks everybody for the support for our My First Place episode! It was very strange to see ourselves on TV, to say the least! For anyone who missed it, it's supposed to air again on July 2 at 6:30pm Eastern time. You can find info about our episode on the HGTV website here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Our Episode Is Finally Airing!

Kane and I started filming our episode of My First Place in April 2011, and we wrapped it up in September of 2011. It's finally airing on Sunday June 10 at 1:30 Eastern/12:30 Central! Everyone be sure to check it out! Here's a link to the Episode Guide.

It's had to believe we've been in our house for almost a year. Time flies when you're having fun!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Birthday Postcards

I want to share a really fun project with you by artist Maura Meyers. She recently purchased lots of fun vintage stamps from my Etsy shop.

Check out how she used them! She took a piece of her artwork and cut it up into 30 postcards. She's mailing one postcard to her boyfriend every day for 30 days leading up to his 30th birthday!

Once he receives all 30 postcards she's going to tape them together and paint the image.

What a fantastic birthday keepsake! I'll be filing this away in my rainy day file. I love the creativity! It's so much more exciting than a standard birthday card!

You can see her other artwork on her website here.

Thanks for letting me share your inspiring project, Maura!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Our First Flowers

I've never had a green thumb. So I'm taking baby steps toward learning to grow flowers. I started with three flower pots on our back deck.

I added the rocks and the potting soil...

Broke up all the roots...

And watered them all in just like I'm supposed to. Here they are! 

And exactly one week later, they are still alive! So far so good.

Have any of you started any great outdoor projects this Spring?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Updating a Fireplace - A Work in Progress

This is the lovely fireplace in our Den. Don't you love it? An awkward mantel and a brass insert...I don't think I need to go into the reasons why I hate it. One good thing is that it's not actually crooked in real life, that's just my bad photography.

Within a few weeks of moving in we removed the mantel and ripped out the brass insert, which left us with this. Marginally better than what it was before.

And then we proceeded to leave it sitting like this for months. Needless to say we haven't made the Den a priority at all. But, the fireplace is the first thing that we see every time we walk into the back door so it was high time to start fixing it up.

This room is always a little dark, even with five windows. So I'm planning on painting the walls Benjamin Moore White Dove, and the fireplace the same color in order to lighten everything up.

I started by giving the brick a good cleaning with a damp rag. There were years worth of old soot in the nooks and crannies.

Once it was as clean as I could get it I applied a coat of Kilz Original oil-based primer to seal in all of the dark stains on the brick so that it wouldn't bleed through my light paint. I got as much coverage as I could with a masonry roller, and then finished getting in the crevices with a brush.

Then I followed that up with two coats of Benjamin Moore White Dove satin latex paint, using a masonry roller and finishing with a brush.
Such a difference! I'm really happy with the change.

Now I just need to:
1) Prime and prep the strip along the top of the brick where the mantel used to be to get it ready for paint.
2) Get this old gas log insert removed and the gas line capped by a licensed professional. I don't want to take the rist of blowing up my house.

3) Scrub out the firebox as best I can.

4) Accessorize! I have a few things in mind that I can't wait to get together!

Oh, and paint the wood paneling in the rest of the room, which is going to be a huge job. Have any of you started any new projects around the house? How about any outdoor projects now that the weather is so pretty?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lauren Dunn Art Show - Julie Couch Interiors

Last night we celebrated our new relationship with local artist Lauren Dunn at the Julie Couch Interiors showroom! Julie and the rest of us on staff hosted an art show to feature a selection of her paintings. We're very excited to represent her work in the shop! We have paintings available for purchase, and will also be able to arrange custom commissions to suite your needs.

We had a great turnout. Thanks to all of you who attended! Here are a few shots of the showroom before the event started.

These are my favorite pieces that we featured. Her churches (like the one in the background) are always wonderful, and I couldn't resist the hydrangeas in the foreground either!

For more information about Lauren Dunn and her work check out her website here, or follow her on Facebook here. Or just drop by Julie Couch Interiors and see her work in person!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Night of Music and Friendship

Hey everybody! For those of you who are in the Nashville area, I'd like to invite you to a fundraiser for Kristi Jo this Thursday evening. Kristi's a fabulous friend and coworker of mine. We'll be at the Tin Roof on Demonbreun Street from 6-10pm. It's $10 at the door and all proceeds will go toward Kristi's cancer treatment expenses.

Check out this website for more information.

I'd love to see you all there!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Big Changes Around Here...

Image from JCI.
As a lot of my family and friends already know, I started a fantastic new job in January! I've been at it for a little over two months and I'm SO happy with my decision to make a change.

I'm now a designer at Julie Couch Interiors here in Nashville! Julie is beautiful, talented, fresh and energetic. She's pulled together a great creative team and I feel very lucky that I get to work with them everyday. You can check out the team right here.

Be sure to look through our awesome portfolio here. And Julie also did a fun Q&A about me on her blog!

Image from JCI.
For all of you that are local to Nashville, be sure to stop by our showroom and see us. We have a great retail space filled with beautiful furniture and home accessories in addition to our full service design studio. You can find our locations and hours right here. I'd love to see you all!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thanks for the Wishes!

I know, I know...I've been gone from the blog for a really long time! I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I needed a little time away. I was craving that extra hour that I gained every night by not blogging, so instead I've spent it with Kane, and spent time re-starting lots of home improvement projects!

There's been a lot of spackling, sanding, caulking, nail hole filling and painting going on around here. All of the things that must be done but take lots of time and don't give you much "wow" factor when they're finished!

Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes yesterday! I'm excited about 27!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review - Wildwood

Image found here.
What a fun, fun read! I picked up Wildwood at Parnassus Books because of Grace Bonney (of Design Sponge) and her recommendation of it. It didn't disappoint!

The characters are sweet and the setting - the 'Impassable Wilderness' outside of Portland, OR - is magic. But what I love about it most is that it's a collaboration between a husband and wife author and illustrator, Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis. How great is that?

I've missed you all a bunch! I hope your week is off to a great start! Are you reading any great books right now? 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nashville Antiques and Garden Show

I spent a bit of time at the Nashville Antiques and Garden Show this weekend, and as always I found lots to love. I started the weekend by attending a Miles Redd lecture on Friday (inspirational!), and then walked through the show with my Mom on Saturday. Here were a couple of my favorite things!
Did any of you attend the show? Did anyone find something inspirational while enjoying your weekend?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade Valentines

Instead of buying Valentine's Day cards this year, I made some of my own. I picked up this stamp that reads 'I'll always cherish' in the dollar bin at Michael's a while back and finally found a reason to use it. I got a black ink pad in the same dollar bin, and the red glitter glue was also a dollar at The Dollar Tree. I love a good value!
Are any of you making things for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Design Books I Need in My Life

Images found via Rizzoli.
I was perusing design books in the course of my work today, and decided I need all of these for myself!

I hope that you're all having a beautiful day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Inspiration: Black Lacquer

Image found via Canadian House & Home.
Today these black lacquer walls are an inspiration. If you're going to have a black and white room, you might as well go all out and throw in a zebra rug!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two Unfinished Projects

I started out this morning hoping to finish a project. I was in the mood to have a productive day. I decided to use a blank canvas and some embroidery floss that I had around the house to make some art. Then I ran out of embroidery floss. This is as far as I got...

So, then I decided to paint our Kitchen. Then I ran out of paint. This is as far as I got...
So then I went out and bought more embroidery floss and another gallon of paint. Here's to hopefully finishing something tomorrow! :) I hope you've all had a great Saturday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Snow of the Winter

I'm like a little kid today! Snow's accumulating on the ground for the first time this winter and it's beautiful! We've got house guests for the night and warm soup in our bellies. Doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

Image found via Wikipedia.
I haven't done a book review since September, so I think it's time for another one! I read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins before Christmas and was really impressed by it. They're in the 'Young Adult' genre, but like Harry Potter and the Twilight books, they're suited for adults as well.

The main character is a teenage girl named Katniss who lives in Panem, a country located in North America where the United States once was. Her story is dramatic and exciting, and addicting!  

I finished the three books in about four days, so that alone tells you how entertaining they are! The first movie comes out in March, so I'd recommend reading them before then! You can see the trailer here.

Have you read anything great lately?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dreaming of a New Kitchen...

Our Kitchen renovation is still a while away, but I've been daydreaming about it today. If I'm honest, my actual train of thought was: "Maybe if I had a Kitchen I wanted to spend time in I'd manage to cook a little more." :) This image is similar to what I'm after...simple black/white/grey scheme. And I love the idea of two different cabinet colors.
Image found via Shelter.
Plus a comfortable place to hang out. Preferably in leather, like this sofa.
Image found via Pink Wallpaper.
Oh, and a functioning dishwasher. But for now, I'll make due and be thankful that I have a Kitchen! What does your dream kitchen have?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Twitter, Pinterest and Etsy, Oh My!

Image found here.
Everyone be sure to check out the additions to the column on the right side of my blog. I've added links to my Twitter and Pinterest accounts, and also my Etsy shop! Thanks for all of your encouragement and suggestions that I add these. I'm just a little slow with teaching myself how to do these things, that's all! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Living Room Before and After

This is the first time that I've posted about the Living Room design of our new house. I've been waiting for ages because I was without a rug and a coffee table. But, in the last two weeks I've found both pieces so I'm finally ready to post!

Here's what the room looked like originally when we bought the house last summer. I think these photos speak for themselves!

Here's the room today. It's the epitome of 'design on a dime', to say the least! But it's cheerful and colorful which is exactly what I was after.
The sweet faux shagreen box is from West Elm, the metal picture frame was $5 at Wal-Mart (gasp!) and the glass lamp is one of a pair that I bought years ago at a rummage sale. I like to use this glass (which was given to me by Kane's grandmother) as a make-shift vase.
Books are my main accessories, since that's what I seem to buy more of than anything else!
I found the vintage blue-painted coffee table for $69 at Gas Lamp Antiques here in Nashville. Any of you in the Nashville area who haven't been should check it out. I never leave empty handed!

My copy of the Lady Gaga coffee table book was also a bargain find at McKay's Used Books, for $23.
The blue and natural chevron-patterned rug is from Home Decorators Collection. I'm very pleased with the quality for such a reasonable price! 
Now, the last two photos are of the opposite side of the room, which is still a little bare. I have plans for lots of art in the near future! I'll post more on that later.