Before and after bathroom tub2

Painting a bathtub… and a toilet…and grout!

Weird colored tub? That can be fixed!

I’ve talked a lot about all the upcoming projects at my new (to me) old house but do you know where I actually started?  The nicest bathroom in the house.  Ok, nicest is being generous.  It is the least ugly.  And by least ugly, I mean Carrera look alike ceramic tile from floor to ceiling (varying sizes with a mid-wall border), white builder grade tile in the tub/shower, gold trimmed safety glass sliding shower door, crystal chandeliers (not the good kind), off white  circa 1985 laminate vanity with cultured marble top, gold faucets, and a grey tub and toilet.  I thought I could work with the tile, especially because I was not relishing the idea of demoing then re-drywalling the entire bathroom, but the rest was gonna have to go.  First up – a makeover was in order for that tub and toilet.  You really don’t see many colored toilets or tubs in new homes, they are almost always white or occasionally off-white.  Even though our grey tub wasn’t as offensive as a mustard yellow, avocado green or, gasp,  a burgundy tub, any color other than white just screams “dated!”

ugly bathroom
Before bathroom with grey toilet and tub and fancy gold shower door!

The Plan

Since I had no plans to totally gut this bathroom Plan A was to try and coat the tub in one of those specially formulated epoxy based paints for tub and tile.  If it failed, then Plan B would be to rip out the tub and toilet.  I’d heard good things from others who had done this project and read mixed reviews online but still felt it was worth a shot to potentially save over a thousand dollars and the sweat equity involved in replacing the tub and toilet.

Materials

I first checked my local Home Depot and Lowe’s but both only carried a brand of tub coating that got terrible reviews.  I bought Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinisher (2 kits) on Amazon and it was at my house in 2 days.

rustoleum tub and tile
This is a high quality tub and tile paint. Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean up drips.

Other supplies I used included:

  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Mask, rubber gloves
  • Calcium Lime and Rust (CLR) cleaner
  • Bleach-based cleaner
  • Alcohol
  • Caulk remover tool or razor blade
  • Mini paint roller for smooth surfaces
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Tack cloth
  • Screw driver
  • Drill

How to Paint a Tub (or any other ugly bathroom surface)

First, I removed the gold shower doors and track.  I planned on putting up a shower curtain afterwards.  After they were unscrewed, I had to remove excess silicone from the tub lip and tile with a razor blade.  I also went back later and filled the holes where the track had been screwed into the tile with white caulk. I also removed all the caulk between the tile and the tub and unscrewed the little brass drain doo-hickey.  I didn’t bother removing the toilet handle deciding to make it white since most toilet handles these days are the same color as the toilet anyway. The toilet already had a new-ish white seat on it so I removed that.

remove shower door frame
A utility knife can be used to remove the caulk or silicone between the shower doors rails and the tile.

 

With the doors out of the way, I gave the area in and around the tub and toilet a really thorough cleaning with a bleach based cleaner in a lame attempt to remove lots of mildew and other nasty stuff.

mold and silicone
This is the gross crud that may be under a 30 year old shower door. Eww.

 

This left me better able to see any other remnants of caulk or silicone that had to be removed around the entire tub.

silicone removal
Scrape off old caulk with a razor blade. The paint won’t stick to caulk or silicone.

Still there is a set of about 6 tiles with brownish yellow grout that I just could not get cleaned that will get new grout once I do other tiling, but these didn’t concern me too much since I didn’t want to paint the tile, only the tub and toilet.

Next, I cleaned the tub and toilet with CLR.  This was especially important because we have well water which generally has more minerals in it than city water and can leave residue on your tub.  Regardless of your water source, do this step anyway.  Your tub can’t be too clean for this process.  Note, CLR, when used in a small space has fumes so wear a mask, open a window and turn on your bath fan for ventilation.

After everything was clean, I sanded the tub and toilet with very fine grit sandpaper.  I used a 400 grit.  Then I rinsed with water, dried it, sanded and rinsed again.

sand the tub
Sand the entire surface with a fine grit sandpaper to remove leftover scum and to slightly score the surface so it better accepts the paint.

 

…and sand some more… keep sanding….

 

Once everything is totally dry and dust free you are ready to paint.  It’ll be important to assess where you are in the process before you commit to painting.  The special paint is an epoxy that comes in 2 parts.  Once it’s mixed it must be used in 6 hours, after that it thickens to the point where it’s unusable.   I opted to come back the next day ready to paint.

I began day 2 by taking a tack cloth and running it over every surface to be painted to pick up any lint, dust, hair, and small particles that somehow magically appeared overnight.  The surface must be perfect to accept the paint.  I taped off the adjacent areas that weren’t going to get paint with blue painters tape.

I followed Rustoleum’s directions and poured the contents of one container into the other and mixed them.  The odors from this paint are noxious!  Definitely wear a mask, open windows and put a fan or two on.  No matter what you do it will permeate the whole house and linger for days, it’s that strong.  I filled a disposable pan with some paint, soaked a fine nap roller made for smooth surfaces and started rolling.  As advertised, the paint has unique self leveling properties… to a point.    It is runny and will drip if you use too much so it’s better to use many thin coats rather than glob it on.  Nobody wants a drippy tub.  This stuff dries pretty quickly so if you find yourself overlapping an area you already did 5 minutes ago it may get tacky and not re-level so be careful of that.

Just roll the paint right on in thin coats.

 

I also noticed in areas where there once was silicone holding the door on it still didn’t adhere to even after scraping the silicone off, cleaning and sanding.  In hindsight perhaps maybe using acetone might remove this residue, who knows?  But since I had already started it was too late.  I used the small foam brush in the corners where the tile met the tub and where the toilet met the floor.  I removed the lid from the toilet tank so that I could cover the entire thing and also the tank itself.  Now here’s where you might be wondering what I did inside the bowl which was also gray.  I suppose I could have been all thorough-like and taken the toilet bowl water out in cupfuls then soaked up the last bits in rags, but nope, I didn’t.  I just left it gray.  And you might notice if the seat’s up and your looking right at it (sorry boys), but otherwise the eye is fooled into thinking it’s a shadow… at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  I was honestly a little paranoid about screwing the inside of it up then having to rip the toilet out altogether, which wouldn’t normally be a big deal but some moron grouted, yes, grouted the toilet to the floor – ugh.

Anyway, 2 coats later and I could still see gray through, so I knew I was definitely doing a third.  I decided to wait until the next day for more complete drying.  I used what little I had left in my paint pan to cover a nasty looking fiberglass slop sink in my laundry room.

utility sink painting
The tub and tile paint works on fiberglass too, like for this utility sink.

 

This thing was so gross I wouldn’t have cleaned an old paint brush in it let alone laundry delicates (who am I kidding, I wash NOTHING by hand).  Anyway, the slop sink looks brand new now.  In between days 2 and 3 of this project is where I made my most critical mistake.  I learned an old trick a few years ago that if you’re painting project will take you the course of several days then you put your brush or roller in a plastic bag, wrap it up tight and stick it in the fridge and the next time you paint it’s still perfect and fresh, not at all gunky or dried up.  It can save you a ton of time cleaning brushes.  Whatever you do DO NOT PUT THIS (or any epoxy, shellac or varnish based paint) in your fridge.  Certain foods are very susceptible to odors and flavors that may escape the wrapped brush or roller and totally ruin your food.  I learned this the hard way.  I had an English Muffin the next morning with a little epoxy-butter. Yech. Butter itself isn’t healthy but chlorofluorocarbon laced butter is most certainly even worse for you.

On day 3 of the tub project I mixed the second set of cans together to do coats 3 and 4 on the tub and toilet. (WARNING! Many a YouTube video will make this whole project look like it’s complete in mere hours, not days. Lies…all lies…unless one has nothing better to do that literally sit around and watch paint dry.) Anyway, after the third coat the silicone residue area on the rim of the tub was starting to get covered and accept the paint.  With a 4th coat the paint was fully covering this area and for good measure I gave just this area a 5th coat.

painted tub
The tub (minus ugly gold hardware) looks like new!

 

painted toilet
You’d never know this toilet used to be grey!

 

I still had some paint left over so I racked my brain about what else I could epoxy-paint.  And then, an epiphany!   What is the bane of every awesome looking kitchen or bath that at some point WILL definitely go down the tubes and look like crap? Yep, the grout.  I dunno what’s in that grout sealer they sell but I am convinced it’s a racket.  Grout never stays clean.  So it remains to be seen if this will last or not but I decided to paint the grout in between the bathroom floor tiles.  Figured it couldn’t be any worse than the dingy dirty gray-brown that currently flanked the bright white and grey tiles.  It was a bit tedious taping off each tile, but it seriously turned out better than I expected.

taping edges
Use painters tape against any edge that you don’t want to get paint on while completely coating the grout in epoxy paint.

 

I did 2 coats.  All of the tub and tile paint has to cure for at least 72 hours before it can get wet and sustain foot traffic.  I waited that long before I put back the toilet lid, the drain thingy, then I hung 2 tension rods at the ceiling one for a liner and one for my extra-long shower curtain.  Hanging your shower curtain at the ceiling makes the room look taller! And yes, I know, I know the chevron print shower curtain  is soooooooo 2016, but I had it leftover from my last house.  I’ll change it when I update the rest of the bathroom.

completed painted tub, tile and toilet
This bathroom is far from complete, but painting the tub, toilet and grout helped it a ton!

Results

It’s been almost 5 months since I painted the tub, toilet, laundry sink and tile grout and it all still looks great!  Admittedly the finish isn’t as smooth as a regular tub, it’s a little dimpled, sort of like an orange peel, but it looks 100% better than having a dated bathroom ensemble.  In the near future I’ll rip out the huge mirrored cabinet, fill the empty wall spaces left with remaining tile, and switch out the vanity and fixtures for something more current.  So I’d not consider this photo a true “after” shot, but rather an interim.  Now that we’re deep into the kitchen remodel and basement demo, it should only take me …. meh…. 3 years or so to get back to this project.  Who’s hanging in there with me?

Before and after bathroom tub2

Back in Business! And Demo Day!

Ok, I had a serious moment (truthfully, it was a long moment… like several days long) of panic last week.  I had heard that subscribers weren’t getting emails of my blog posts, so I set about trying to rectify this issue and found that all of the blog’s subscribers had vanished! Yikes!  I noticed a few other website issues too.  After lots of time on the phone and in chat with the help desk from my hosting company (who, um, weren’t so helpful), and then more time tinkering myself, I finally figured out how to fix it. Phew, HUGE sigh of relief!  So my fingers are crossed that all of my subscribers are reading this via the link sent to their email.  I “think” we’re back in business!

Anyway, I wanted to update you all on the progress here at my house renovation. I would technically not consider anything we’ve done so far as “renovation.”  Let’s be honest, it’s all still demo.  This will continue to be the case for a while.  It feels never-ending.   It’s definitely not as fast nor as fun as ‘ol Chip Gaines makes it look on Fixer Upper!  Every weekend we continue to tear out old paneling, mirrors, drywall, carpet and drop ceiling in the basement.  We are also trying desperately to track all the electrical and make sense of what had been done previously.  The entire drop ceiling is a mess of wires that we aim to nicely package in one existing soffit so we don’t have to do a drop ceiling again, cause let’s face it, drop ceilings in an already low basement are no bueno.

Ultimately, given the current state of the basement, we’d probably have been better off if the basement hadn’t been finished in the first place.  When the home was inspected we saw that the ceiling of the basement was insulated (which isn’t required) so we thought it was a real plus.  Well, now we have to rip it all out.  Why?  Because it’s made a nice cushion-y bed/ graveyard for mice.  As we pull out walls and ceiling and insulation we’ve come across 44 mice (all dead) so far and a TON of mouse poop.  We’ve also found some black mold on the western wall sheetrock so even though we weren’t planning on ripping that drywall out, now we must.  I’ve put out a few more traps in case there are any surviving mice and once demo is complete will probably have a pest control company come in to close up any possible points of entry. In the mean time we’ll keep the dead-mouse-tracker going and continue to be skeeved out.

This basement demo has been riddled with issues, but already it  looks so much better. It’s much more open and airy.  It feels like a larger and more usable space.  Here’s a few progress pics.  And if anyone has a surefire way to rid a house of mice once and for all I’m all ears.  And yes, I plan on dropping about a grand at the container store to finally get the Pinterest perfect pantry complete with pretty mouse-proof glass containers for all of my flour, cereal, pasta, et cetera.  For the peace of mind that I am certainly eating  mouse poop free Cheerios, I think it’s worth it.

demo day

open stairs

demo day

demo day

demo day

demo day

 

 

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Before and after bathroom tub2

Dreary Basement Looking for a Refresh

In the last post I took you through the main level of our big renovation adventure, “before edition”.  Today I’d like to take you through the downstairs.  Well, actually, I don’t want to, because it’s a bit embarrassing.  It’s the basement level of our 5200 sq foot house and the basement is just as long and rambling as the upstairs. Right now it’s filled with moving boxes and furnishings scattered aimlessly.  Our justification for this helter-skelter appearance is, “Why bother to take a ton of effort in establishing this space as livable rooms since so much of it will get renovated?” Maybe this is lazy, but we’re saying it’s practical. So hold on to your hats for this messy tour.

The 2 really great things about this basement are that a) one side is completely at ground level, so we have full sized windows and doors, rather than those mini basement windows and b) the basement stretches the full length of the house.  You can enter this level right from the foyer, which is a little odd.  Hopefully we can make the basement feel more like the lower level of the home than a basement so this setup won’t seem so bizarre.

Basement Before Tour

entry to basement

The stairs lead to the main living space which also shares space with a built in bar.  There is an interesting 3-sided box window (like a bay window but with 90 degree angles) that has a small seat area with awesome vinyl tile on the top.  This room also has a 2 sided fireplace and like most of the basement, a drop ceiling.  The bar area looks straight out of the 70’s with wood paneling, linoleum flooring and lots of mirrors.  The bar’s saving grace are the pendant light fixtures which are actually kinda cute.  Mind you, they neither go with the wood paneling nor are they my taste nor will they coordinate with the future style of the home, but they are sweet little fixtures.

basement living room

basement 2 sided fireplace

retro bar

bar mirrors

Around the corner from the bar is a wide hallway  which houses the utility room hidden behind sliding mirrored doors.  There is a very small room on the right that was at one point a home office. I know I won’t be able to use it as my home office because there are no windows.  The current  laundry room is also off the hallway and doubles as a storage room.  The utility sink got a quick facelift this week with leftover Rustoleum Tub and Tile paint (more in a future post) and the washer and dryer will eventually be moved upstairs to the mudroom.

hallway

tiniest office ever

ultiity room

laundry room

There is a small bathroom at the end of the hall. Oh, how I wish it was closer to the exterior door to service the pool!  We can at least work on updating the finishes and fixtures.  We’ll also look for a way to rearrange the shower since there is a large HVAC soffit running right over the shower head.  This shower is for short people only!

soffit in shower

Two bedrooms at this end of the home have flowered wallpaper, mirrored closet doors and carpet.  However, to their credit, they each have a full-size window overlooking the pool and patio and a real drywall ceiling.  I can’t believe I am getting excited by drywall ceilings.

blue bedroom

guest room

An awkward large foyer-ish space with sliding doors that lead outside to the back yard is on the opposite side of the steps leading upstairs.  Even with the large doors this portion of the basement is still very dark because the adjacent exterior is covered by a deck.  Adding to the darkness is a deep grey slate floor, which doesn’t sound that bad, right?  Buuuuut, it’s bad.  It’s bad because the slate is coated in some sort of high gloss impervious sheen.  I don’t know why anyone would do this to an otherwise perfectly good slate, but it is what it is, and therefore it will change.  Note the chair underneath the askew ceiling tile is where we found another leak in the house.

basement foyer

The small gym is located just behind the foyer area.  It is covered from top to bottom in mirrors.  Big mirrors, little mirrors, rectangles, squares and cracked. I don’t know how anyone worked out in there without getting vertigo from all the mirrored surfaces and mirror seams that weren’t lined up perfectly.    It also has awesome fluorescent lighting so of course you’ll look great as you gaze into those mirrors.  We would like to have a home gym but we may borrow some space from the shiny slate area and we will certainly redo the mirrored walls.

mirrors gym

 

To the left of the basement foyer are 2 final rooms, one with a window that looks out to the defunct hot tub.  We’re not sure what this room will be used for just yet, but are considering adding a bigger window or more doors to let additional light in. Just adjacent to this room is a nicely tiled room with some strange wood paneled pillars and half walls.  This room is home to the pool table and the coordinating Coors beer pool table light.  This area will remain a pool and game room but will see some upgrades in wall-covering, ceilings, and lighting.

rec room

rec room

pool room

Phew!  I think that about covers it for the basement area.  Check back next week or a picture tour of the home’s property which is the REAL reason we bought this house.

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Before and after bathroom tub2

Ottomans and Poufs Under $200

It’s a staple in many of my designs. A good ottoman or pouf is an excellent way to fill an empty void in the floor space and is so, so versatile in both use and styling. They provide so much more than a place to prop up our feet. Ottomans can be extra seating, double as a coffee or end table, be a pedestal for art or tchotchkes, and in some cases, include storage inside. I use them solo and sometimes in sets of two or three. Afraid to commit to a bold color or pattern on an entire sofa or chair? Add a bold ottoman instead. Want something easily moved from one room to another or swapped out for the seasons? A pouf just might do the trick.
Ottomans have been around for a long time but I think our recent love affair has become so popular because the life of the ‘ol extending recliner with foot rest operated by the little arm or button on the side has passed (you know the ones I’m talking about, your grandpa still has one he won’t let go of). People are more style conscious today and are opting for a more updated look of an armchair and separate ottoman. Thankfully you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg simply to have a place to prop your legs. Here are a dozen great ottomans and poufs under $200!

Discount Dozen: Ottomans and Poufs Under $200!

cheap ottomans and poufs

 

1.  Soukaina Leather Pouf Ottoman    $174

2.  Botany Green & Ivory Ottoman  $199 

3.  Parton Linen Fabric X-Base Nailhead Bench    $67 

4.  Yorkshire Ottoman    $179 

5. Alseda Banana Fiber Stool    $30  (these are low so stack 2, and you still won’t break the bank!)

6.  Williams Tufted Fabric Ottoman Bench     $123 

7.  Becca Ottoman    $199 

8. HomePop Kids Storage Ottoman   $123  (don’t forget to shop the kids section – nobody has to know it was originally intended to hold toys!)

9.  Keats Button Tufted Oval Ottoman     $139 

10.  Hercules Imagination White Leather Ottoman      $199 

11.  Multi-Color Round Chindi Pouf    $80 

12.  BirdRock Home Woven Seagrass Storage Ottoman     $135   

Before and after bathroom tub2

Red Hot Rattan

Curvy rattan, cane and bamboo furniture is all over the place these days.  You can bet that retailers have been moving it to the forefront of their displays lately since spring as upon us (though as I write this there are weather forecasts predicting insane amounts of snow for the northeast in March)!  Rattan, cane and other natural elements are red hot right now and you can drop a small fortune on a designer or vintage piece like this, which without a  doubt is gorgeous, but yowza…it’s $1800!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re like me and can’t make that sort of commitment then these new pieces from IKEA, yes, IKEA may be more your speed.  They are beautiful and inexpensive. They have a number of great options in chairs, chaises, settees, end tables and pendant lights in several designs from their Jassa, Kungsholmen, and soon to-be-released Mastholmen lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s how I’d style these cane pieces in a wonderful, brightly lit sunroom!

  1. Jassa Chair     $79
  2. Jassa Pendant lamp shade     $30
  3. Knitted Tweed Throw Blanket      $29
  4. Jade Green Pillow    $27
  5. Capiz Shell on Ceramic Vase      $87
  6. Jassa Chaise lounge        $119
  7. White Bohemian Floor Pillow Boho Cushion Cover – 32“        $20
  8. 5×8 Blue Jute Soha Area Rug        $150

 

This post is not sponsored by Ikea or anyone – all opinions are my own.

Before and after bathroom tub2

Stupid Easy DIY Design Accessory

If you’re looking for accessories for your home but don’t want to spend more than like $5, you’re in luck.  This easy DIY design accessory trick is so simple and inexpensive and I use it all the time.  Buying actual coffee table books that look good and have attractive covers and spines is a nice idea, but they aren’t cheap and it can be hard to find those that coordinate well with your room and with each other.  Also, why buy a book you probably won’t ever read cover to cover, when you can take one of those extra hard back books that is laying around and cover it to match your décor perfectly?  So here’s my ridiculously easy step by step tutorial for how to cover books to adorn a shelf, coffee table, or nightstand (this is also great for staging homes).

Step-by-Step Book Beautification

1.Gather old hard back books.  If you don’t own any, you could hit up a thrift store with a pocket of loose change or if your public library is like ours, they give unwanted ones away for free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Buy some “fancy” wrapping paper. I find that HomeGoods usually has a great selection near their checkout aisles and most are about $3 per roll.  You could even use a huge roll of brown craft paper that you can find at Home Depot (they call it masking paper and you can get 180 feet for $4) if you need to cover a whole library’s worth of books or if you want to make it into a fun project with paints or stamps with the kids.  This would also work well with scraps of wallpaper.  Here are my supplies for a recent covering project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Unroll your paper and put your book down and open the front cover. If you have a patterned paper, be sure to orient your book in the direction you want the pattern to run and if you want consistency, be sure to orient all of your books this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Cut around your open book leaving about an inch and a half excess on all sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Fold the excess around the edge of the front and back cover creating a crease on those edges. Press down on the top and bottom edges to mark where the paper will need to be folded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  Remove the book from the paper. Fold the excess at the top and bottom to match the height of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Fold over the left and right cover edges to create a pocket for the front and back cover. For the back cover be sure to account for the extra space you’ll need when the book is closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Insert the front and back cover into the pockets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. If necessary, (it’ll depend on the fit and if you have thin or slippery paper) tape along the edge of the front pocket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Display your books artfully!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that is a stupid easy DIY design accessory.  Do you have an easy DIY design secret?  Let us know and we’ll feature it here soon!

 

 

Before and after bathroom tub2

10 Super Sectionals for Under $2000

I was recently faced with dilemma.  I needed to find a stylish, good looking sectional but didn’t want to kill the entire budget on one item.  Thankfully, I found that there were a ton of options out there that looked great for under $2000!    You can easily drop $2000 on a just a loveseat or armchair these days so finding a sectional with copious seating for the same price was impressive.  These are REAL sectionals… with a corner and 2 ends… not one of those sofas with a chaise at the end that retailers call a “sectional.”   The style available for sectionals has come a long way too, we don’t have to subject ourselves to overstuffed, puffy armed monstrosities with weird patchwork and tufting.  Nope, these sectionals give maximum seating to fill empty corners and look great doing it.

Under 2K for a Sectional Selection!!

sectionals under $2000

 

  1. Simmons Venture Smoke Fabric Sectional    $1320
  2. Kivik, Sectional, Hillared Dark Blue    $1999
  3. Ektorp, Sectional, 4-seat corner, Nordvalla Red,   $999
  4. Salonne 3-Piece Sectional,    $1999
  5. Alex 3 Piece Sectional      $999
  6. Ethan Cumulus 2-Piece Sectional        $1599
  7. Niels Danish Modern Tufted Sectional     $1650
  8. Emerald Antoinette Grey 2pc Sectional       $1682
  9. Melantha Sectional       $690
  10. Empress Sectional, Wheatgrass     $1759

 

Before and after bathroom tub2

Stylish End Tables Under $150

Sometimes I have the most trouble decorating my own home.  Revamping my living room has been a several months long work-in-progress.  Is it because we’re doing something dramatic? New flooring? Something special with the ceiling? Nope, absolutely not a hard thing about this room, and yet it it is still taking me forever…. but the end is in sight… I think.  I need an end table to go next to my lovely Blake Chair from Crate and Barrel.    I’m looking for something that won’t break the bank, like maybe under $150 bucks.  I am in luck because there are a plethora of great options out there, many even under $100 from easily accessible retailers like World Market, Ikea and good ‘ol Target!  Between you and me I’m leaning toward #1 one since I’ve worked some copper accents into the room but I need to go check it out in person.  There’s one here for every style, which would you choose?

occasional tables, accent tables, tables under $150

 

  1. Antique Copper Alini Accent Drum Table  $78
  2. Monarch Oval Accent Table   $75
  3. Lovbacken Side Table   $60
  4. Kvistbro Storage table     $50
  5. Cole and Grey End Table   $93
  6. Asmara Side Table    $88
  7. Cement Grey Side Table   $149
  8. White Marble and Metal Round Accent Table   $130
  9. Stilwell End Table   $101
  10. Avenue Glass Top Accent Table   $100

 

Before and after bathroom tub2

Highbrow, Low Budget: Holiday Edition

Keeping up with the latest holiday design trends can be expensive, especially if you like a fresh look every few years.  Here we show you two very similar options for upgrading your holiday decor, with some staple items like a good tree and wreath as well as a few decorative accents.  The highbrow version can be yours for the yowza price of $3,525 while the low budget version can deck your halls for just $942!  And the looks are strikingly similar and both on trend for this holiday.

Highbrow

The highbrow version features a Frontgate faux tree with lights, and truth be told they DO make a really nice faux tree, but in reality you could buy a REAL tree of the same size for 30 years before you reach the cost of this tree.   This wreath is gorgeous with apples and varied greenery and rusty jingle bells and adds to the traditional yet natural vibe of this collection.  The most ridiculous item on this list is the large 29″ nutcracker from Crate and Barrel.  It’s price was originally $1200 but if you like a sale and still want to throw away money at the same time you can have it for $940- yikes!  Faux fur, plaid, and velvet keep you totally on trend for this holiday in the pillow, stocking and tree skirt.  Finally, I think this candleholder may be real antlers, ew,  but it is quite a statement piece, and at $575 it had better be!

high-brow-holiday

 

Frontgate Fraser Artificial Pre-lit Christmas Tree 9ft  $1500

Charlestown Decorated Wreath    $200

Natural King Nutcracker   $960 (yikes…that’s the clearance price!)

Tartan Wool Pillow Cover with Fringe, Red  $100

Cuddle Up’ Faux Fur Christmas Stocking   $40

Quilted Velvet Tree Skirt, Chili Pepper $150

Antler Candle Centerpiece  $575

Low Budget

Certainly, there are a few high end tree brands, but in reality, once you get it decorated with all your ornaments, will it really look all that different from one that you spent a fraction of the price on?  This tree, from Home Depot, is also a very full, 9 ft Fraser Fir, still isn’t “cheap”, but looks realistic and is almost a third of the cost of the highbrow version.  This low budget wreath adorned with faux apples and pine cones  has a beautiful natural look.  The over 2 ft tall nutcracker is much more affordable than the highbrow version and looks just as great.  I think I may even pick up this plaid pillow with excellent frayed edge detail, it’ll be a great sofa accent all winter long.  The big shocker of this group is the antler candleholder, which is totally fake, (whew, I feel so much better about that), and is $553 cheaper than the dead deer version!  Truthfully, it IS smaller, but at that price you could buy three of them to create the same scale and still not even be close to the highbrow price.

 

low-budget-holiday

 

9 ft. Feel-Real Jersey Fraser Fir Artificial Christmas Tree with 1500 Clear Lights    $600

Winter Berry Scented Wreath  $90

Father Christmas Santa Claus 3′ Nutcracker   $144

Hamilton Plaid Pillow Cover  $36

Grey and White Faux Fur Stocking  $20

Quilted Velvet Christmas Tree Skirt in Burgundy  $30

Gold Antler Taper Candle Holder Centerpiece  $22

What will you do with all of these holiday savings?  Maybe make a donation or buy a gift for a child in need this season.  Happy Holidays!

 

Before and after bathroom tub2

Highbrow, Low Budget

There was a show on HGTV a few years ago that I really liked called The High Low Project.  It’s unfortunately no longer airing, but the concept was fantastic.  A client had a dream room that they saw in a magazine that was finished with very high end furnishings that naturally the client couldn’t afford.  The designer would then recreate the expensive look for a mere fraction of the cost.  I was always amazed to see that with a little ingenuity and smart shopping that a great looking inexpensive room was achievable without having to resort to dumpster diving or hand crafting everything.  Sure, there was some refinishing, repurposing and yard sale shopping, but it certainly wasn’t the only trick up the designer’s sleeve.

I personally enjoy the challenge of creating a design on a budget. (This is probably because I am cheap….ahem, thrifty….ahem, resourceful).  I have never once had a client tell me that they had a limitless budget.  Don’t get me wrong, while that would be fun too, the reality of the situation is that there is always a budget and it’s great to know that good design is possible with just a little bit if money.

So in the spirit of The High Low Project I am creating what will hopefully be a recurring spot on the blog that I’m calling Highbrow, Low Budget.  This week, I kept the bright pink chairs as the focus in each room.  These affordable beauties go just as well in the highbrow room as they do in the low budget room.  The highbrow room comes in at almost $33K while my lower budget option was just over $4K.  Still a fantastic look for a fraction of the cost (and honestly I like some of the low budget items better anyway).

high-brow-1

 

Hickory Chair Silhouettes M2M Sofa $ 9810
Cynthia Rowley for Hooker Furniture Serendipity Coffee Table $ 2799
Spade Arm Chair by Mercer41 $490 x 2=  $ 980
Tommy Bahama Kilimanjaro 20 Round Harcourt Tangier Side Table $1214 x 2 = $2428
Qom Persian Rug 7x 10 $ 15244
George Kovacs Dorian Bronze Arc Floor Lamp $378
Arteriors Home Nathaniel Black Chiseled Glass Table Lamp $408
Crocodile Rectangular Tray by
L’Objet $170
Mitchell Gold Faux
Bois Throw Pillow $385
Faux Puma Fur Throw Blanket $300

low-budget

 

Pottery Barn Carlisle Upholstered Sofa $1359
CB2 Slab Marble Coffee Table $549
Spade Arm Chair by Mercer41 $490 x2=   $ 980
Vincent Rug in Taupe & Black 7 x 9 $289
Impressionist Garden Stool Java Brown Glaze $278 x 2 = $556
Alana Luster Glass Table Lamp Base Indigo $120
Tapered Medium Linen Drum Shade $59
Lite Source Jensen 1-light Floor Lamp Dark Bronze $97
Threshold Raccoon Faux Fur Throw Blanket $34
Etsy
Silkway Ikat Pillow Cover $20
American Atelier Croc Faux Leather Tray $55