Google+ House Revivals: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review {In Perfect Perspective}

Is it really possible that another year has passed? 
I feel like I blinked and missed it! 

Do you ever roll into a year with BIG plans, only to find yourself on plan B, or C, or D within a few short weeks?

We started our year gearing up to do some really big projects on our beach house, and to take the business in new directions, and to blog lots more. Then I got an email from a sweet older gentleman asking if I was still interested in buying his waterfront condo -- um, yes!  Isn't it funny how our best-laid plans can go flying out the window?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How to Make {Pretty} Three Dimensional Snowflakes

Here is a fun spin-off of the six-pointed dimensional origami stars I shared about here. If you can make those simple stars (and you can, I promise), you can easily make these sweet little dimensional snowflakes!

I made my snowflakes using six-inch square origami paper that I picked up in China Town, but you can use scrap book paper, or old maps, or vintage book pages.  Just go with whatever you happen to have on hand!

Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Make a Folded Paper Star {The Easy Way}

We've had a last minute change of Christmas plans.  Eeeeek!  Instead of going out to our beach cottage for Christmas, we are staying in the city to accommodate family work schedules. I wasn't actually planning on putting up a tree in the city, and don't really have too many ornaments here -- only a few thrifted Shiny Bright ornaments.

I did, however, have quite a few sheets of origami paper picked up when we lived in China Town, so I grabbed glue and stapler and scissors and ribbon, and went to work making these sweet little six-pointed dimensional stars.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Do You Have an Elf on a Shelf?

Do you have an Elf on a Shelf?  Maybe you have a newer one, or maybe, like me you have a vintage elf? I found this little crew of retro Christmas elves a few years ago in a Seattle thrift store -- the whole bag was only $1.99!

We didn't actually have this type of little pixie elf on our tree when I was growing up.  My mom thought they were tacky. Instead, we had yarn Santas and yarn angels -- you know, the high class stuff.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The World's Easiest Word Banner

Sometimes you only have five minutes to spare, but that's all you need to create a little JOY banner like this one!

This project couldn't be easier, and you don't need any fancy machines or expensive materials.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weave a Celtic Inspired Star from Vintage Book Pages

I think you all know how much I love working with vintage book pages.... and I'm pretty sure most of you know I love to weave traditional Scandinavian stars from folded strips of vintage book pages, right?  Well, last Christmas, my husband and I were at an Irish pub on the coast, listening to a favorite Irish band, when I started to notice the lovely Celtic crosses all around.

I thought it would be fun to weave a Celtic cross design into one of the woven stars I was making.  I LOVE how it turned out! I think it looks great made completely from vintage book pages, but maybe next time I will use a contrasting material for the cross portion. What are your thoughts on that?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Make a Driftwood Sailboat Ornament

My friend and I made some darling little sailboats on one of her visits out to the Pacific Northwest. We had so much fun beach combing and talking, and thrifting and talking, and crafting and talking.

Here is how you can make your own sailboat ornaments!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ideas for Displaying Children's Art

A couple of years ago I shared about our art collection. We have a giant portfolio of our children's artwork. At one point, years ago, the art lined the walls of our breakfast room.

It made our kiddos feel so good about themselves to have their work displayed so prominently in our home!

Of course, our kiddos are all in their twenties now, and they don't really care if I hang their childhood artwork, but I think I want to hang a few select pieces -- maybe incorporate them into a gallery wall of other art or family pictures.

If you want to display your own collection, but are not sure where to start, here are some beautiful art installations for inspiration!

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Bring Vintage Industrial Style into Your Home

As urban populations continue to grow, we are going to continue seeing residential areas expanding to abandoned factory buildings. More and more, people are recognizing and appreciating the need to preserve our history and our resources through adaptive re-use.

Of course, not everyone can live in a downtown factory loft, so here are a few ways to bring that look and feel into your own home!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Reclaimed Wood Projects

We are trying to decide on a new dining table for the beach house. While we've been making do with a big oval Queen Anne table, from our old Queen Anne bungalow, it doesn't really "fit" in a contemporary rustic beach house. Don't worry,  we won't throw it into a landfill -- we will donate it to a local charity shop when we replace it. We are considering having something custom made from reclaimed wood.

 Do you just love all the gorgeous things folks are making from reclaimed wood?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Swedish Advent Star -- A New Variation

I never get tired of folk art, vintage paper, or Christmas! 

Seriously, an heirloom ornament for inspiration, some Christmas carols, an old book and some glue = my happy place.  I first shared how I make woven advent stars from folded strips of vintage paper in this post.

I shared a picture of my dear friend's family heirloom woven star, as well as some history and important copyright information in this post.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ideas for the Thanksgiving Kid's Table

I will confess that I have never gone overboard decorating for Thanksgiving. Beyond a door wreath and some mums on the porch steps, Thanksgiving decor is usually limited to the tablescape. How about you? Do you decorate the whole house, or keep things pretty simple?  Whenever possible, we kept the kiddos at the big table, but some years there just wasn't space, and having a kid's table gave the cousins a chance to build their own special memories and bonds.

Here are a few ideas and links for decorating kid's tables with treats and activities.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ideas for Updating Lampshades

Have you priced lampshades lately?  Yikes!  Those things can cost more than lamps!  My husband accidentally knocked a floor lamp over the other day, and I nearly had a heart attack worried about whether the shade was damaged (and it's part of a pair, so replacing one means replacing two).  The lampshade survived the fall, but the incident got me thinking about creative lampshade ideas.  Here are a few:

Many of you saw the wild pants lampshade I did a couple of years ago.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Is it Okay to Mix Paneling Styles?

Have you ever wondered if it is okay to mix paneling styles?  I always remind my clients that designers don't follow "rules" -- they apply design principles and psychology and creativity.

You can mix paneling, but it should be done thoughtfully.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How We Care for our Natural Flagstone Floors

I've talked about our natural flagstone floors at the beach house a few times. Recently I shared a little about how our nephew patched them, and why we chose not to rip them out and replace them.

When we originally bought our beach house, the flagstone floors were pretty dirty.  Actually, they were filthy.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Decorating with Re-Purposed Vintage Lockers

My husband has several banks of old gym lockers in our garage. He bought them at a building supply salvage yard a few years ago to use for tool storage.  They're not working out.  His tools are all the wrong sizes and nothing is fitting quite right. He's offered them to me for the beach house!

At first, I really wanted the lockers for my beach house loft studio.........., but somehow the studio got bumped for an office/ secondary family room..... sigh...., and my studio stuff is still boxed up in an attic room. (which may be turning into another bunk room.... sigh...)...  I think I may still want the lockers, though.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Six Reasons to Buy a Vintage Appliance for your Home

Over the years, I have loved many vintage appliances.  When it comes to making a statement, buying a retro appliance can give you a great return on investment!  Here are six great reasons to consider a vintage appliance for your home.

Beauty. There is no denying that many antique and retro appliances have style and grace. They make a statement.  While a new professional quality stainless appliance also makes a statement, a vintage appliance makes a statement that is unique to your home.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tips for Finding the Perfect Vintage Stove

We've decided to go all electric at the beach house.

Our propane stove is gorgeous, and we plan to keep it, but it will go to another property we own.  For the beach house, we want to make things really simple, thus going all-electric. Plus, our climate is really hard on propane tanks and valves.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our Flagstone Floors

It's been a while since I talked about the floors at our beach house.  Some of you may remember that we bought a beach house about three years ago that was full of rot and mold and rat poo.  Because, everybody wants those things, right? I know you're going to be feeling jealous when you see this picture, but don't hate me, okay?  Not everybody can have all this....

It had been a foreclosure that sat empty, then someone had tried to renovate and flip it, but had only gotten as far as taking a sledge hammer to much of the drywall.  Rats had moved in. Moisture was taking it's toll. This house was a big mess. At the time, I thought the floors were kind of terrible, too.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What to Expect from a Home Energy Audit

I recently shared why we decided to get an energy audit for our beach house.   We LOVE our beach house, and being able to share it with our family and our friends, but the west side of the house was cold, not energy efficient, and cost a fortune to heat.  We knew we needed to do something, but we wanted to make sure we made the best use of resources to make improvements.  Sooooo, we had an energy audit done.

This is what you can expect if you are planning to have an energy audit done for your house.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Three Best Reasons to Have an Energy Audit Done on Your Home

Earlier this year we had an energy audit done on our beach house.  This was pretty much the coolest thing ever!

If you have never had this done, I would encourage you to look into it!   We had three reasons for doing the audit:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Design Secrets for Creating Beautiful Presentations

Do you ever look at beautiful renderings, sketches, and models created by interior designers and think you could never create anything like that?  I'm here to tell you, yes you can!  

Drawing and modeling are learned skills, and anybody can do it.  Most interior designers will have eight or ten art, computer drawing, and graphic design courses under their belt, but you don't necessarily need a million classes to create simple drawings and models for your own projects.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Secrets to Creating a Beautiful Heritage Gallery Wall

When I was thirteen, I got a new piano teacher.  Once a week, I would go to her home after school, take my lesson, then wait for my mom to get off work and pick me up. While I waited, I would explore her home. I loved her home. It was full of handcrafted items and mementos, all beautifully arranged.  My absolute favorite thing was the heritage gallery in their main hallway.  I loved how all the generations were sort of jumbled together and none of the frames matched, and yet it looked really cohesive. It even contained items that were meaningful, but weren't actually portraits or photographs.

I eventually talked my mom into letting me create a heritage gallery in our dining room.  I studied lots of shelter magazines and gathered up nails and hammer and, of course, lots of pictures.  I gathered some unusual things, too -- like a round copper shadow box that I filled with grains and stuck a little sepia toned school photo of my Dad into.  My mom thought that was a little weird, but she liked it in the end.

That was the beginning of my obsession.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

How to Weave a Rush Seat

A few months ago my beautiful mother-in-law passed away very suddenly.  She had many beautiful pieces of furniture -- mementos of her travels and of a life well lived.... aaaaand she had a few not so beautiful pieces.

In the days before her funeral, her seven children flew out from every corner of the country and began the heart-breaking task of sorting through her belongings. The children took turns selecting items they wanted to keep, then they decided which items to donate and which items to put in the huge dumpster that had been delivered to the house.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

High Chair Makeover

Several months ago I found this little wooden highchair at a local thrift store.  We do a lot of entertaining at the beach house, and our guests often include babies and toddlers, so a good sturdy highchair has been on our list of things to get.

When I saw the price of this highchair, I knew it was coming home with me.  Are you ready for this?  It was $4.99!  I loaded that baby into my shopping cart!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Little Seattle Tudor

I recently did several paint consults for this little Tudor. This was going to be a big project -- repainting the entire home interior, plus plaster repairs. Basically, this meant that over the course of a few weeks, my client was going to have to move his furniture around over and over again, and move some of his belongings temporarily into storage. As you can see, however, repainting was long overdue!

(I suggested addressing the light fixture while we were at it.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{Inspired} Ideas for Pretty Painted Beds

In a couple of days I'm heading back to the beach house -- hopefully to paint some bedroom furniture! For inspiration I've been scouring catalogs, websites, and furniture stores. I don't know about you, but I love color. I have these conflicting voices in my head, saying "paint your bed a cheerful pretty color" and "paint your bed a safe color"....  Guess which voice is winning?

I know, I know, it's been two years since the major part of our remodel, and I am still working on finishes and furnishings......  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

If You Don't Do Anything Else When You Visit Seattle

Do this:  See our city from the water.

What You Should Know Before You Start Your Kitchen Remodel

This is a re-visit of a popular House Revivals post, with a few updates. Enjoy! 

A popular topic in on-line forums and on blogs is kitchen design.  All the amazing new cooking shows have contributed to the interest, as have many of the real estate and decorating programs on cable TV.  And, I have to tell you, there is a lot of great stuff out there!

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 Pretty Ways to Re-Use Vintage Books

I adore crafting and decorating with vintage books.  Vintage Book pages are probably my all-time favorite crafting medium.  

Here is a collection of seven projects made from vintage book pages from around the web:

This darling apple from Cheeky Magpie  would be a perfect edition to a fall mantel.

This garland was a Valentine's project, but it is totally adaptable to other holidays.

Etsy seller BookBW,  makes these beautiful folded book page ornaments.  I love how they are displayed on vintage candlesticks.

Joan, at Anything Goes Here, used almost an entire paperback to create this lovely wreath.

This garland was inspired by spring flowers, but again, the idea can be adapted to any season.  How about creating a similar garland of fall mums?

This bedroom wall is to. die. for.  LOVE.  Find the tutorial at A Well Dressed Home.

This rolled book page star looks great on a Christmas mantel.  

So, how about you? Do you love creating new things from old?

P.S.  I know I've been absent for a while.  Our family just needed a little time to grieve and re-adjust.  We're doing well. Thank you all for your kind words.  Lots has happened since my last post that I can't wait to share.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Upcycle a Skirt into a Cute No-Sew Apron!

I've been wanting to up-cycle a thrifted skirt into an apron like the one I shared about here.   But, for some reason, the idea of dragging out the sewing machine had me dragging my heals.  Does that happen to you?

Some would call that lazy, but I prefer to call it "energetically challenged"  :)

So, I devised a way to up-cycle a skirt into an apron without sewing one single stitch!  The trick is to find a skirt that has belt loops.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Before Pictures of our New Project

Are you ready to see some interior shots of our newest project?  I can't promise you your eyes won't burn.  This condo has some truly ugly spaces.  Did I mention that there is pretty much not one finish in this condo that I like? 

Here is the fireplace wall.  Somewhere along the line, someone gave it a make-over by tacking on a tiny little mantle that is totally out of scale and out of place.  But, it is a real fireplace, and that cosmetic stuff can easily be addressed.

 This is the bank of windows adjacent to the fireplace wall.  A great view can make up for a lot.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Our Newest Make-Over Project

We signed our closing documents today for our newest project!    It's another condo in our building -- right in the middle of a big city, but right on the edge of a lake and wetlands.  The seller signs tomorrow, and hopefully the rest of the closing will go smoothly. (closings are different here -- sellers and buyers don't sit down together, and you usually sign a day or so before the actual closing)

I was waiting to share more on this project till the closing was completely finished, but I was too excited, so here is a peak of the views from the new condo.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Make a Pretty No-Sew Cuff Bracelet

Do you just love a pretty cuff bracelet?

All the fabric cuff bracelets floating around are so pretty I decided I needed to make my own.  But I did not want to sew -- I didn't even want to sew on one button.  And I didn't want to spend any money, either. And it needed to be a quick project.  Basically, I wanted a quick, cheap, and easy project :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

What NOT to Buy from the Thrift Store

Do you ever wonder if there are certain things you should not buy from a thrift store?  Here are a few things you may want to skip on your next trip to the thrift shop:

Skip poor quality sofas.  It can be really expensive to reupholster or slipcover a sofa, and typically, a low end sofa is worn, and sagging when it hits the thrift store.  It's probably not going to be worth the investment to reupholster or slipcover a poor quality piece.  Even if the piece looks "pretty good," it's likely to look pretty dumpy, pretty soon, and you will be stuck paying someone to haul it to the landfill. 

Here are some clues to help you determine if a sofa is good quality:
  • The piece should be very heavy.  If you can easily lift one end of the sofa, it probably does not have a hardwood frame.
  • Press down on the "deck" of the sofa.  Does it "give", indicating that it has springs?  That's a good sign.
  • Try to peak under the dust cover on the bottom of the piece.  Look for eight-way hand-tied springs.  Avoid pieces with sinuous springs, or no springs.
  • Check the label on the sofa (generally found on the deck, under the middle cushion).  Is it from a high end maker?
  • Try to press your fingernail into the underside of the frame.  Does your fingernail easily leave a mark?  This would indicate you are not dealing with a good hardwood frame.
  • Check for cracks or breaks in the frame -- does the sofa bend where it shouldn't?
  • Check to see if the arms "wobble".

Particle board?  Pass on by!   Particle board is heavy and difficult to transport without breaking it.  Did you know that many moving companies won't move particle board pieces?  Very often, particle board pieces are already broken, sagging, or delaminating when they hit the thrift store aisles.  And, they are usually ugly and in need of a makeover. 

Your time and energy are valuable.  Why waste it on a piece that won't last?

If you not sure whether a piece is made from particle board or not, see if you can look at the back side of the piece. Usually, backs of furniture pieces are not laminated or veneered, so you can see what the material is.

Are you sure that safety helmet is "uncrashed"?  Here is what Cleveland Clinic has to say about used or hand-me-down helmets:

If considering a used or hand-me-down helmet, never purchase or use a helmet that is cracked, broken, or has been in a crash. Keep in mind that used or older helmets might have cracks you cannot see and might not meet current safety standards if manufactured before 1999.

We want our little ones to be safe, so inspect helmets carefully.

Now, I don't want to step on any toes, but my personal preference would be to avoid used undergarments. 

Just my own very humble opinion.... (that said, I would scoop up used training pants and good cloth diapers in a heartbeat)!

Think twice before buying that used child safety seat!

Here is a link to the National Safety Commission website, that gives information and links to more information about child safety seats: