Monday, January 25, 2010

What You Didn't See

I was fortunate to have the sitting area of my basement renovation featured in the July 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens (click HERE for article) and basement bathroom in the winter 2009 edition of Kitchen and Bath Makeovers (click HERE for article).  The articles featured many wonderful pictures of the completed projects but did not to show some of my favorite features of the renovation. Here is what you missed.
To get to the basement before the renovation we had to enter through this door.  It was constantly being left open by the kids. As it is located in the main downstairs hallway, it really got in the way. 

After much thought, we decided to open up the wall to make the basement more accessible and to make it feel more a part of the rest of the house.  Here is how it turned out.

The only minor adjustment that had to be made was moving the light switch down a few inches. The columns on either side were made to match the rest of the woodwork in the house. 

 I also was able to find this wonderful little light on Ebay to install at the top of the landing.  Less expensive than a comparable new light, I love how it adds a touch of character to our home.

Another major change was the stairs entering the basement itself.  As you can see, they were standard, enclosed pine treaded stairs. (Isn't that sofa pretty!)

I really do not like carpeting, especially in high traffic areas like steps.  One of my absolute requirements for this renovation was to have the basement stairs match the stairs in the rest the house.  This meant oak treads.  We were lucky that our builder was able to pull out the old treads and simply slide in oak treads instead of rebuilding an entire staircase. You can see a few of the treads missing here already.

The new basement staricase looks like this now and is very similiar to our staircase upstairs.

Here is the before looking back towards the the stairs.  Notice the steel columns.

Here is what it looks like today. Steel columns wonderfully concealed and a little bar area under the stairs.

As part of this renovation we also replaced all the door knobs in our entire house with vintage crystal knobs bought on Ebay.  I was able to find retro fit kits, also on Ebay, in order to use them on my existing doors.  They are available in regular and privacy sets.

The basement renovation also included a bedroom.  The colors of this room coordinate with the rest of the basement, making it one cohesive space. I do not have any before pictures of this space, but here is what it looks like now. You can just see the bottom of the other crystal chandelier hanging above the bed.

So that is the compete tour of the basement as it stands today.  There are still parts that are not finished.  The floor is just painted concrete except in the bedroom and bathroom.  I am thinking I will eventually use a prefinished hardwood but I may end up changing my mind.  In all honesty the concrete (although a bit cold in the winter) with a few scattered area rugs, has worked just fine. We do not have a place for the TV so it will remain sitting on a small bookcase until we have an entertainment center built.  I would also love to add some more furniture. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hold Those Papers!

I am happy to announce the new line of paperweights I have recently completed. Simple and fun, they are a great way to add some character to your office or work space.  They are also a neat way to organize all those stacks of paper.

Sold in sets of three, each paperweight is made of vintage feed sack cloth, filled with rice and features a hand sewn vintage wool applique. These sets can also be customized.

Other paperweights in the collection include a charming starfish and fish.

To see more, visit my Etsy store HERE

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Setting a Record I Hope to Never Break!

Once the holidays are over, many people begin the process of cleaning, organizing, and decluttering their homes. I am no exception. Besides working on some new ideas and finishing up my daughter's new room (more on these later), I have been cleaning out unused objects and trying to come up with ways to better maximize the space in all the rooms in my home. I will have to work a little harder on the cleaning part though.Although I am happy with the way my son's room looks - simple but perfectly functional for a boy his age - I knew I could do better in helping him display some of his ever growing collection of art and awards. Anyone who receives the Pottery Barn catalogues is probably familiar with their Stanton Collection square magnetic chalk boards and cork boards. I find them to be a great way to dress up a wall in a kid's bedroom. I also like them because they give kids a chance to express their creativity by deciding what types of things they want to display.My son had six of these hung above his long dresser (also from Pottery Barn). After looking at the size of the wall, I decided I could increase his display space simply by adding two more cork boards and mounting a small shelf below. It was a fairly easy process - take down the existing boards, rehang all eight boards higher and hang a shelf below. Here is a real life picture of how it turned out.

I was tempted to style his room but thought it better to just show the room the way it really looks. The blog world is filled with beautifully perfect pictures and I find it refreshing every once in a while to see homes the way people actually live in them - half made Legos on the dresser and floor, pictures hung crooked, baseballs with no cases yet, etc.

So what is the record? I am now the proud owner of a wall with 30 (yes, 30!) holes. The original six boards had twelve holes, the new ones sixteen and the shelf two. Total of 30. I am hoping he will never out grow these boards as I will have many holes to patch.
Note: I have been absent the past few weeks due to computer problems. I am trying my best to catch up on everything I missed. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Who Knew?

This month's edition of Country Living Magazine has an interesting feature on Girl Scout memorabilia. I was a dedicated girl scout up until eighth grade when I decided to focus on sports instead. I remember loving the camping trips and all the other wonderful experiences the Girl Scouts had to offer. Even at a young age I was a type "A" personality, obsessed with earning every single badge. I fell short by four badges but held onto my sash for all these years. When I saw the article and the value of the badges - $5 to $10 a piece for common badges and $50 to $60 for rare skills - I was pleasantly surprised. Above is a picture of my sash, complete with pins and troop information. I am not sure what the pins, red rectangular patches and wings signify. If you know I would love to hear from you. Here is the back of my sash. As you can see I never finished sewing all the badges on, as the top three are just pinned in place. In the second row you can see a handmade bowling badge. Each troop had the opportunity to make their own badge and my troop choose bowling. It is funny to think that bowling must have been considered a life skill!

As a Girl Scout I also received patches (like the ones shown above) for various camping trips and special projects. I must have been quite the saleswoman as evidence by the "cookie queen" badge.

So what badges didn't I earn? Here they are:
I find it very ironic that two of the things I like doing best - running and cycling - are two of the badges I did not earn. If you would like to see more information about vintage Girl Scout collectibles, visit

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Basement Rerun

Yesterday while flipping through magazines at my local bookstore, I was quite surprised to come across two pictures of my basement renovation in two different magazines. You may remember the original story about my basement renovation was published back in July 2009 in Better Homes and Gardens. (Click here to see the original article.)

A picture of my walk out basement entryway can be found in the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens 100 Decorating Ideas - Big Style for Small Rooms.

100 Decorating ideas Big Style for Small Rooms / Photographer - John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

The original picture is the same as above except that it included me walking through the door holding a bucket of flowers. If you look closely through the opened door, you get a small glimpse of the blue stone patio my husband had just completed. Since the photo shoot, I have changed the door knob you see in this photo to polished nickel to coordinate with the rest of the basement and house.

The second picture of the basement renovation can be found in Better Homes and Gardens 2010 March issue of Remodel.

Remodel / Photographer - John Bessler
Stylist - Donna Talley, Regional Editor and Producer for Meredith Publications

This picture of the sitting area is also very similar to the original except that it gives a little broader view of the space. I was so pleased to discover these photos had been used again. I hope you will get a chance to see them in the magazines.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Belated Greetings and Thanks

I have been away the past few weeks enjoying the holidays with my family. I had a wonderful time but never had the chance to express my gratitude and holiday wishes to the blogging community. So I send you all this bouquet of flowers from my garden, hoping your holiday was wonderful and your new year will be filled with health and happiness.

When I started my blog just six months ago I had never read another blog and truly did not know what to expect. I have been amazed and humbled by the warmth, support and creativity of the blogging community. I am looking forward to 2010 and all its possibilities and hope you will continue with me on this journey.
A list of my favorite blog parties:

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Make it for Monday at Cottage Instincts
Its so very creative at Its So Very Cheri
Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick
Today's Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality
Market Yourself Monday at Sumo's Sweet Stuff
I Made the World Cuter at Making the World Cuter  

Trash to Treasure at Reinvented
Do It Yourself Day at A Soft Place to Land
Get Your Craft On at Today's Creative Blog
Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Tips and Tricks Tuesdays at Brambleberry Cottage
Tutorials and Tips Tuesday at The Stories of A 2 Z

Penny Pinching Party at Thrifty Home
Power of Paint Party at Domestically Speaking
Show and Tell Wednesdays at Blue Cricket Design
Whatever Goes Wednesdays at Someday Crafts
Be Inspired at Room to Inspire
Ready Set Vignette at Homes Stories of A to Z
Idea Sharing Wednesday at Women Who Do It All
We Did It Wednesday at Sew Much Ado
Make it Yours Day at My Backyard Eden 
White Wednesdays at Faded Charm Cottage       
Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice at Seven Thirty Three

Strut Your Stuff Thursday at Somewhat Simple
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Show Off Your Stuff Party at Fireflies and Jellybeans
Giveaway Directory at Someday Crafts

The Shabby Nest
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints on the Fridge
Furniture Feature Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed
Tickled Pink at 504 Main
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Simply Designing Linky Party at Simply Designing
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous
Remodelaholic Anonymous at Remodelholic
Inspiration Friday at At the Picket Fence
Friday Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense

Weekend Wrapup Party at Tatertots and Jello
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Check Me Out Saturdays at a Vision to Remember

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