Linen Curtains

Oye… I’m having flashbacks of my childhood days, trying to write in my diary.  The story would go something like this:

After picking out a new diary from the Disney/Sanrio Store (you know Hello Kitty, right?), I’d get home and write an entry along the lines of “Dear Diary, I am so excited to write in you EVERY day.”

The rest of the diary would be completely empty.

I do not want my blog to be my “diary” of my adult years, so I’m checking in with you all!!  Since I last posted about our fabulous new fireplace, I’ve made so many other updates to our new place – many of which I’ll be posting about soon enough, but for today, let’s talk about the new curtains have gone up in our dining room.

They are a light grey.

They are linen.

They are perfection.

Here’s a close-up of the fabric…

Gorgous right??

You’ll never guess where they are from…

I’ll just tell you – Ikea.  Yup.  Ikea is amazing.  Two 98″ linen curtain panels for $50.  Can you believe it?!

I have my sister to thank for this amazing steal – she found them originally as she’s been furnishing their new house.  After doing some Googling, I found that the Aina Curtains (that’s the name in case you want to find them online or in-store) have quite the following.  And why wouldn’t they?!  They are so cheap for such a luxe looking curtain panel!

My favorite posting about them came from Rosa Beltran Design – she has posted some really amazing photographs of the different rooms she’s designed using these curtain panels, but it was this photo that sold me on the grey…

Stunning, right??

I’m still toying with the idea of adding on curtain rings like the above photo, but for now I like them as is.  Plus I’m lazy, so there’s that…

It’s not that we didn’t have curtains in here before – I’d actually hung up the ivory silk panels that had been hanging in our living room at our last place, but with the current paint color, it was looking very yellow.  The rug wasn’t helping matters either…

I’m not saying I hated the silk panels that I’d hung initially… I’m just saying that the walls made the curtains seem really yellow, and vice versa.  It sort of cheapened how these curtains felt, and I didn’t love them.
Eventually we are going to paint the dining room, but after tackling the massive job of painting the living room (twice), and as I’m gearing up to paint the kitchen and breakfast nook (which will require A LOT of painting), the walls in the dining room are going to stay as is.  We’re going to pretend the scuffs I couldn’t get off the walls aren’t there in the meantime.  And honestly, once we hang up the shelves (you can see them leaning against the wine hutch on the right hand side of the room), artwork, and everything else, the scuffs will sort of fade away. Fingers crossed.
I actually think that with the grey curtains the walls look quite a bit more “tan” than “yellow” – don’t you think?

Another close up of the curtains hanging up – they are wrinkled since I photographed this after just taking them out of the package, but I’ve steamed them since, and they are wrinkly in the way that linen should be… not like they’d been sitting in a hot car for days all crumpled up.

Since taking these pictures, the room has already come a bit further, but we’re at a crossroads.
Originally, we’d decided to use this room as an office, and after sitting at the table a few times for “formal” meals, we’re kind of liking it as a formal dining room.  
We were at West Elm over the weekend, and Kris was the one who was fawning over one of their dining tables.  It was one of the few times he’s rendered me speechless.  I was all, who are you, and what have you done with my fiance?! In his defense, the table was kind of awesome – but it didn’t have leaves, so I’m on the fence about it.  It could only ever seat 6… 8 if you squeezed… so it seems sort of limiting.

Anyway, if this does stay as a dining room, it may change my plans for hanging the shelves as an “office” so I’ve been hesitant to put holes in the walls…

What should we do?

I think the answer is “wait some more” since we just spent a small fortune buying a new sofa.


We BOUGHT A NEW SOFA – after talking about it for 2 years.  I forced Kris into making a decision last weekend.  Hooray!  The sofa is being made right now, so it won’t be here for another 2 months…. but it’s gorgeous.  Trust me.  You’ll obviously hear all about it (and see it) once it’s here!

Happy Wednesday!

Ikea 2014 Favorites

Did everyone else get their Ikea 2014 catalog a few weeks ago??
I read some pretty negative reviews online around how disappointed people were with the new products – not enough exiting updates… nothing too mind blowing…
Ummm… were we looking through the same catalog??  I thought that they had some AMAZING new things this year!

I love this idea of pushing two butcher block tables together to create a large workspace / floating island in the kitchen… (also, the bin pulls on the drawers are great, and the tall glass bookshelf is another favorite)…

And while this rug isn’t new, it’s been a favorite of mine for the last year, the clock is cool, and that black and white curtains are so on trend!

Pretty much everything in the Stockholm collection caught my eye – that coffee table… the lines on that sofa??  Are you kidding me??  It looks like it walked right out of West Elm!

I mean, right??? 
It comes in white, tan, grey… I LOVE it.
The Stockholm chandelier is also one of my favorites, and I’ve seen those billy bookshelves everywhere – here used for shoe storage, and in other places as library shelving.  And at $79 for each bookshelf, they are A STEAL.

Loving the mint shelf tucked in the corner, the floating glass shelves, and the wood flat tabletop they laid on the floating legs.  

Ahh, my favorite black and white striped throw over the back of this bed, the modern lighting flanking each side, and more of those Billy bookshelves…

I mean, it’s REALLY good, right??

I rounded up a short list of all my favorites that just came into stores – note there is SO MUCH other good stuff at Ikea, but I’m only making note of what’s NEW…

1. Shelving Unit – ok, this looks plain and boring at first glance, but imagine this sprayed a really shiny navy blue, or a bright yellow.  How fun would a few of these be in a grey kitchen to hold your cookbooks, pretty plates, glassware, and all your shiniest pots.
2. Modern Chair – a pair of these in a window with a small table between?  Stop it.  This DOES NOT LOOK LIKE IKEA.  It’s too freaking good.  Hello Mad Men.
3. Vintage-y Cabinet – another mid-century esque piece – I might consider drilling holes for small round brass pulls, but it’s awesome just as it is… and let’s be honest, sometimes we need concealed storage.
4. Round Mirror – a large round mirror is hard to find, and this one is GOOD. Perfect for an entryway, over a bathroom sink, or pretty much anywhere…
5. Mod Chandelier – A little Ikea, but really cool.  Totally reminds me of Jonathan Adler’s Sputnik Chandelier… right???
6. Woven Basket – super good price for a large basket like this.  Good for large potted plants, or for corralling all your magazines.  Perfect for holding throw blankets, kid’s toys, dirty laundry… you name it.
7. Desk Lamp – imagine this sprayed gold.  Yes. Please.
8. Wall Decor / Cabinet Front – while this is supposed to be for a cabinet, it would be kind of cool in a shabby chic space to hang these as window frames on the wall… sort of like this or this or this.
9. Mid-century Chest of Drawers – awesome in an office, or flanking a bed (all that storage) or even in a living room.  Functional, and hip.

What do you think of the new Ikea 2014 catalog?  Awesome or what?

Black and White

I have a little love affair going with graphic black and white patterns right now…

It’s apparent from the black and white pattern mix going on in our dining room right now with the wicker chair makeover, and I’m finding myself picking up fun black and white accessories here and there.  Our living room has been saturated with color for months now, and while I’m not one of those people who can live in a home devoid of color for too long, there is something so appealing about this simple color palatte.

This clean white room is a favorite of mine – it’s simple, but not boring, with the graphic punch coming from the pillows and striped rug.

If this were our bathroom, I could die a happy girl.  The wallpaper is fabulous in all it’s psychedelic glory, but the clean white shower curtain gives the eye something to rest on amid the busy patterned walls.

While I’m sure this rug isn’t from Ikea (my guess is that it’s the Madeline Weinrib version… quite pricey), but it’s so fun.  Nate Berkus uses a similar version in many of his designs as well…

Striped curtains – everything else in here is pretty simple, but these curtains make this room something to stop and look at!

And again, more fab black and white wallpaper.  We’re still renting, but one day a sweet little powder bath is going to get one heck of a makeover in our house with something fabulous like this…..

Not willing to commit to a pricey rug, or anything so permanant as wallpaper?  Ikea has recently produced some AMAZING pieces (and this is not a sponsored post – I am really just that impressed with them right now) so I pulled together 6 of my favorite pieces they’re selling right now…

1. Staggered Stripe Rug
2. Woven Aztec Lumbar Pillow
3. Diamond pattern Area Rug
4. Striped Dinner Plate
5. Striped Knit Throw Blanket
6. Houndstooth Throw Pillow

I actually bought several of the lumbar pillows (they are thick, and look really expensive in person) and the striped throw has been a staple in our living room for the last year.  I also couldn’t help myself, and bought four of the large striped dinner plates last week too!  They really are amazing, and would look so great with all white dishes, and a simple table setting.

What do you think? Are you loving black and white as much as I am??

Have you found other fabulous black and white finds recently??

Wicker Chair Makeover

Hey guys!!  I was at a conference for work all week, and have missed my little blog!  It feels good to be back at home, and I am SO excited to share a little project I finished late last night…
I haven’t shared many pictures of our dining room so far because it’s not “finished” but I’m tired of waiting around!!  Remember this lonely little corner?  I was on the hunt for a comfy overstuffed armchair to wedge in here…
As it turns out, comfy, overstuffed chairs come with a hefty price tag, and since we’re about to spend quite a bit on a sofa, I decided to look for alternatives.  This room is now functioning more as an office than as a dining room (side note: I really need to stop referring to it as a dining room) so we just have one chair at the table now.  Since painting the walls, I had put one of the dining room chairs in the corner, but aside from attracting clutter, it was completely non-functional.  So I moved it down to the garage, and turned to plan b…
The wicker chair that used to be in our living room, but has been sitting in our garage all sad and lonely since I haven’t been able to sell for months. 
I couldn’t even give it away, but since I’ve had it since I was a child, I just didn’t have it in my heart to leave it on our street corner.  I wanted it to find a good home, so it just sat in the garage collecting dust…
Remember it from the living room??
It was white, wicker, and oh so perfect for a little girls room… Not so perfect for a city apartment shared by two adults…
Well, it’s nothing that two cans of Rustoleum Bronze spray paint can’t fix! Here is the chair sitting all sassy and happy in the corner of our dining room as of this morning…
HUGE CHANGE right??  
The chair is hardly recognizable now that it’s been sprayed a dark brown.  The paint color is “bronze” but it’s not metallic at all – I promise. It’s a nice dark brown when all is said and done.  Here’s a close up:
This is actually a better, more accurate depiction of it’s color:

Chocolate-y.  I kind of love it.

Ok, let’s talk about the new seat cushion and accessories, shall we?  I have a little crush going on with black and white right now, and while I still think our living room could live without SO MUCH black furniture, this space needed to be grounded with some black since everything else was white, and grey.

Both pillow case, and fabric for the seat cushion are from Ikea.  The pillow cover is one of my all time favorite Ikea finds actually.  It’s thick, and woven, and has amazing texture in person.  And that graphic pattern is like mod-meets-aztec.  AND (it gets better)… it was ONLY $10!!!!  I know – run, don’t walk to Ikea – it took all my strength to limit myself to just two.

The striped fabric was $7.99 a yard.  Pretty good as well.

I’d ordered some striped fabric online, and when it arrived, it was sheer.  Clearly not going to work for any sort of upholstery job.  This is thick and durable – perfect for throw pillows, or projects like this.

Well, I’m sure you don’t remember the seat cushion on the chair when it was white, but my mom (who by-the-way is as talented as Martha Stewart, but unlike Martha hasn’t served prison time) had made a custom fitted cover for it when I was in high-school.  It was cute – a tan color with french quotes scattered on it. Again, perfect for a teenage girl.  We needed an updated cushion cover.

I am no seamstress, but I do own a staple gun, and so I improvised…

I went to the Home Depot and got a piece of MDF – super cheap.  It was $5 or something.  I also got a little hand saw that the guy at Home Depot recommended.  It looked like this:

I have no idea what it’s called and I tossed the packaging as soon as I got it home.  Sorry!
Anyway, I traced the cushion onto the MDF, and cut(sawed?) the shape out.  I should have gotten batting to wrap around everything, but I got lazy, so I just stapled the fabric onto the MDF – directly over the existing cushion.  I’m sure my mother is cringing at the idea of this.
Turns out, MDF doesn’t really like staples.  Many of them bounced back.  But some stuck (like REALLY stuck… they aren’t going ANYWHERE).
So about 200 staples later, we had this:

LOVE it!

On a whim, I also quickly tapped in a nail to the wall to hang up my new mantra below the final shelf…

Can’t see what it says??????  Here’s a close up:
I’m not sure that the size of the frame is quite right, and since I didn’t even bother measuring anything before tapping in the nail, it’s totally not centered, but it’s fine for now.  Maybe a slightly larger frame would do well here…
Moving on…  Since this is a far cry from an overstuffed chair, I wanted there to be a “cozy factor” and picked up one of the sheep skin throws from Ikea (just $30, and it’s oh-so-soft). Wicker is not the most comfortable to lounge against, so the fluffy throw is the perfect solution.
Cheap.  Cozy.  Textural.  I love it.
As a side note, they do have faux sheepskin throws, but they were not as soft, and looked kind of raggedy… 

You may also notice the art on the wall… also a few new additions.  I’d been obsessing over the abstract black and white brush stroke art FOREVER, and had debated trying to make some myself, but then saw that West Elm was clearing it out.  I snagged it for $60, and it’s BIG.

It’s really hard to see, but you can see it most clearly in the below photo (I’ll take more later – promise)

I’m working to figure out how to take the pesky door down to add one more large photo to this wall, and open things up (you can see the knob peeking out in the photo above) but the hinges have been painted over probably… oh…. a thousand times in the last 90 years… so the screws are not going anywhere for now.  I’m looking into different options… paint stripper?  Dissolver?  I don’t really know… but it’s like cement.  It’s one secure door.

Stay tuned for updates on that one…

But anyway, this little corner is MUCH happier now, and I am SO THANKFUL I didn’t end up getting rid of the wicker chair!  I am really liking how it looks here, after a little TLC.
In total, it cost me around $60 (fabric, throw pillow, sheepskin, + spray paint)… most of the cost comes from the sheepskin throw.  Pretty good though, right?!
We’re making progress!!!

Office Organization

I’ve been trying to get organized and make my totally bland office a little more homey.  If you want some really hideous “before’s” of my office click here… They are just too ugly to post again…
For the last several months, it has been just me and my computer, and the room looked exactly as it did when I first moved in.  
Then I hit up Ikea…
They had some fabulous stuff to help organize and corral all the papers, and “stuff” that piles up at work.  
I loved the citron yellow boxes paired with the periwinkle file holders (a technical term) – aside from the organization factor, they bring some much needed color to this otherwise totally drab space.
And I loved these woven boxes with labels on the front – I might go back for a few extras for our house!
A few small framed prints also helped spruce up the space…
And I totally stole this photograph from our living room – I love this picture of the Ferry Building with the bokeh effect, and it very conveniently matches the periwinkle file boxes I bought!  Don’t you love when things just work out??
This pretty abstract seaside painting just makes me happy…

This is no crowning glory, but my office space is a bit more livable now with some personal effects in here, and the fact that there is COLOR aside from the drab blah beige is a huge win.

I still feel that the bookshelf could use some work… unfortunately I realized that all the office furniture was rented with the building, and so painting was quickly out of the question.  I’m toying with the idea of covering the back of the bookshelf with paper or fabric of some sort – perhaps a bold black and white stripe… or maybe just a solid color.  Grey?

All that faux wood just hurts my eyes, but at least I’m making baby steps.

Now we need to get some artwork up in herreeeeee!!