Archives for May 2012

Get set for summer!

A few summers ago my dad got an idea in his mind and went immediately down to his local farm/ranch supply store and came home with a large round galvanized stock tank as a pool for all the granddaughters. I thought it was a super idea! It will last summer after summer (unlike the mildew prone, blow-up variety that last 1 summer at best) and it’s adorable. Here’s the idea:

{this one is from Sioux Steel, but you could find one at any local farm/ranch store in a variety of sizes}

The one my dad got is on the smallish size (although still way bigger/deeper than a blow-up pool), but it can be emptied and refilled fairly easily. This family took it a step further and turned a large one into a permanent back-yard pool. Brilliant!

{see how they did it in the original post at apartment therapy}

And, while we are on the subject of stock tanks, how about this clever idea of using the long, narrow variety for raised beds:

{originally found on thinkingoutsidetheboxwood}

Now that you have your pool all set, how about some outdoor seating options to compliment your adorable galvanized pool:

{zigzag outdoor beanbag from OneKingsLane}

{vintage-inspired set by crate and barrel}

{love this simple porch swing – directions for building found at the Ana White blog – If you don’t have a porch, I think it would be nice hanging from a simple pergola in your yard}

{modern take on a picnic table by Scout Regaliait comes in 210 color options!}


Now that you have a pool, garden and a nice place to sit. Here are a few outdoor extras to add to your summer fun:

{you can find this lovely at zgallerie & if you need some inspiration on how to fill it look here}

{multistripe hammock by crate and barrel}

{oversized, waterproof picnic blanket by PoBa}

{Turkish Bath Towel by TheAnatolianwhich is claimed to dry 5x faster than a traditional towel}

{disc string lights by pigeon toe ceramics these come in 15 color options; all her work is simple/beautiful, take a look}

{kerosene lantern by Red Hill General Storefor late night games, while sitting at your picnic table}

{charcoal table grill by Eva Soloour housemates have convinced us anew of the superiority of charcoal grilling – worth the effort!}

{this cutey by Lodge -the cast iron pros- is a little more budget friendly. You could get 2 or 3 and let people grill their own portions at the table tapas style}

{this vintage ice chest is a charming alternative to an open bucket full of beverages swimming in melting ice – to find something similar check ebay, etsy or google “vintage ice chest” or “vintage cooler”}

Art for your kids room

I know, I know, ANOTHER post about art. Well, get used to it. I like art and there is a lot of it. So, here I go again. This one is strictly art for your kids rooms (so all my bachelor readers can sign off now – I know you loved my pouf post, but I think I’ll lose you here). Here is what I am loving:

{ Animal Tutors by mylittlebuffaloeven the name of the print is cute!}


{Lounging Lion by twoems her whale & hippo prints are also fabulous}

{wooden alphabet by book hou at home}

{baby giraffe by Creative Thursdaywe had 3 of her prints in our daughters nursery, you may have seen it here}

{customizable family tree by eva juliet}

{up and away by PrintParty}

{twin calves by Lucy Snoweshe’s the photographer of the beautiful buffalo seen here}

I was watching my friends kids the other night (really just sitting on the couch while they were upstairs asleep); as we were chatting before they headed out, I said “I’m so proud of myself-” and before I could tell her why, she interrupts me with rolled eyes and says, “what, did you make play-dough or something and let your kids get messy.” (btw: she home-schools her 5 children and runs a chapter of classical conversations. Overachiever). OK, I get it friend: embracing the whimsy and imagination of childhood is not my strong suit. I’m pretty sure it never was, even when I was an actual participant of childhood. I admit it, I am NO expert on creating a kids room to draw out imagination, etc. I just know what I think looks good & that’s what you see here. However, what I lacked in that area as a child my sister, Katie, amply made up for and still does to this day. Her daughter, Haley, is the lucky child to have a mom that FULLY embraces all the whimsy (she’s even in the editing stage of writing an epic fairy tale, so if you know a good literary agent…). She has a super aesthetic when it comes to home decorating too, more bohemian/eclectic than my modern rustic/simple style. So, for those of you who tend towards something a little more free and easy in the decor department I think you’ll be glad to know she has agreed to be a regular contributor. Mostly she will be blogging about creating kids rooms and spaces (since, as previously mentioned, she got a hefty dose of those genes) and showing you some of her favorite finds. I thought this would be a great place to start, since she recently started an English Institute in Arica, Chile (where she lives) and I saw her purchasing loads of art for the school during her last visit to the states.


Innocence Mission

Katie: It is true that I am a big fan of kids rooms and spaces.  It is my not so secret fantasy to be a designer purely of children’s spaces.  I need a twelve step program for my Etsy/Pinterest addictions, and 99% of my “favorites” in either are kid related.  When I was a kid, my mom would always go to a now defunct store in Portland called “Lads and Lassies,” and my obsession with lovely childhood confections began.  In the rear of the store was a small area sectioned off by an extra few steps, and sitting magically at the top was a bookshelf sized dollhouse-I swear I heard angels humming when I looked at that thing.  It was my dream come true-along with every other magical thing in that store.  The store specialized in european brand clothing and beautiful vinyl dolls, in the style of American Girl, before they were a brand.

L &L  was my first exposure to a child centric world where things coordinated in macaroon pastels, and nothing was tacky or kitschy.  It was a place of beauty and order, and what is salient to me now that I am a mother is the emphasis on quality and sweetness the store had, and the lack of “branded” products.  In the world of sparkly lame underpants labeled “diva” and “sassy” marketed to the under 12 crowd, and Hannah Montana Beiber mania, I still long for that store.

As my sister has said, I love all things whimsical and sweet.  I love the innocence of mini adult sized items for children, of well made, beautiful toys, and original art work.  I believe a child’s room is a wonderful place for adults to follow their “bliss,” and create a place that is equally pleasing to both the adults and children in a house.  And yes, I  think a child’s room should be whimsical, and could be bohemian;)  Because all children are bohemian by nature!

{An Unexpected journey by Elly MacKayshe makes lovely, atmoshpheric little paper theatres, and photographs them.}

{An Animal Alphabet Poster by MarlaSeaIf you love all things Anthropologie, this would be an excellent addition to your child’s room.}

{Bird’s photo by Magnetised by Life. Would make a lovely addition to a room with a rustic feel.}

{This devine nursery is decorated with Alphabet wall cards, designed by Ida PearlMy daughter has these in her play room, and they go with everything, mod or vintage.}

{This child sized bookshelf by Nurseryworks has an adult sized price tag.  But it serves as a nice reminder that artwork doesn’t have to fit behind a frame}

{These Charlie Harper wallcards are similar to the Ida Pearl cards, in that they can be used with a variety of styles.  They would be equally at home in a vintage or modern styled room, and the colors are gorgeous.}


{If you wish for more personalized artwork, these charming prints can be personalized, by LeoLittleLion studios.}


Nikki: Aren’t you glad I invited her to share with you? I am inspired by all that her treasure hunting has unearthed. Stay posted for more kid related finds from Katie.

Backyard fire pit love


This picture is basically the perfect combination of summertime pleasures (other than maybe a few more chairs with friendlies sitting around):

{originally found on this old house}

If you know me personally it is no surprise to you that I don’t particularly like the heat. 68 degrees is about my favorite, after that it’s all sweaty. I complain long & loud about it and ask everyone around me, “are you dying? It’s so HOT.” However, hot days mean really lovely evenings here in Oregon and sitting around a fire on a summer evening is just about my favorite thing (you may have read here that wood smoke is my favorite smell). While others immediately wash everything after a camping trip, I try and hang on to the smoke smell in my pillow case as long as possible.

If you share my love of fire, you should build a fire pit this summer (or have your handy husband/brother/dad do it), it is way less daunting than the backyard cottage project and can be done really cheap. I’ll show you some pictures of one we built (& by we, I mean Jeff) and then tell you what we will do differently next time and where to buy the products:

1. clear a spot, lay down your circular pavers (the kind used to rim a tree).

2. draw around the pavers (a stick will work for this), move them out of the way and then dig out to the depth of the pavers.

3. Put pavers back in and pack around the edges with some of the dirt you dug out of the hole.

btw: after this picture my husband decided it was too shallow and went and got 3 more pavers, dug deeper and did this all again, but as usual I didn’t get those pictures.

 Now you have built a fire pit for $11.96! (when you buy 6 of these from Home Depot):

What you do next could completely blow that tiny fire pit budget, so don’t go too crazy (after all, this is supposed to be a cheap & easy project). If you already had grass around where you put in your pit, you could just clear a small area around it (to prevent sparks from catching fire) & call it a day, or you can make more of a seating area, or whatever you want (let your imagination be your guide). Here is what ours looked like after we finished everything up:

We bought the slate off craigslist and while it wasn’t expensive we would just skip it all together next time and put some sort of small rock or gravel down. The slate was pretty low-quality and it was impossible to level, so our chairs were always teetering back and forth. You could spend more on better materials, but I don’t think it is worth it since your chairs will settle nicely into the gravel & it looks just as nice:

{originally found on fresh home ideas}

If you like the look of the surround in the above picture better, and are willing to spend more money you could use something like this:

(this company is in California, but you can google concrete ring + your location and find something local):


If you don’t want to put something in-ground or aren’t allowed to have real fire in your backyard here are some good options:

{hammered copper fire pit}

{modern steel fire pit by austin outdoor – you may remember me praising their mailbox/house number combo here}

{fire column by real flame burns “fire gel”}

{fire pit by ChimineaI’m not sure why it’s called the “Brad Pitt”}


Hope you have many nights singing Kumbaya around your new fire pit!


I think it’s fair to say that reclaiming old materials has hit a fever-pitch. With the amount of pallet-related DIY projects on pinterest I can only assume that there will be no old pallets left anywhere in the universe by the end of the summer. Since my mom is an antique dealer, and has been my whole life,  the idea of re-using old things should come naturally to me. Not so! I think maybe being dragged to a googillion (thank you Ben Stiller for the invention of that number) thrift stores and estate sales backfired. I recycle & I attempt to garage sale and thrift shop about once a year, but I give up easily. However, I do love industrial & architectural salvage & my mom has found us a few amazing pieces over the years (that I will show you when I move into our new/old house – they are currently in storage).

If you happen to be lucky enough to live in the Northwest you should visit Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage (or google architectural salvage + your city to find something near you). They have an ever rotating selection of unique items, like this cart for instance:

or this sweet little industrial revolving cabinet {if I was an artist I would buy this to store paint and supplies}

or this industrial stool with a beautiful weathered look

One of my absolute favorite applications of reclaimed goods are wood floors. You can make  new construction instantly have real character by adding floors that have had a previous life. Here are some favorites:

{this is weathered antique heart pine by mountain lumber}

{chestnut plank by pioneer millworks}

{black & tan oak by pioneer millworks}

{my personal favorite – douglass fir by viridian reclaimed wood}

Here are a few other inspiring {or inspired} applications of reclaimed goods:

{these stairs originally found on the style files}

{this scrapwood and glass cabinet by Piet Hein Eek}

{reclaimed stria storage collection by west elm}

{this dresser made from old telephone poles by Sundance}

{these lockers by Sundance}

btw: we have some pretty neat old lockers that I’ll show in another post & we DIDN’T pay $1800 for them {in fact one was in the barn of my parents home when they bought it & the other my aunt got at a garage sale for $40 & kindly re-sold it to us}, so start looking around for an auction at an old school, on craigslist, or get some awesome treasure hunting relatives like me.

I am pretty sure that tiny texas houses takes the cake on reclaiming stuff. They build entire houses out of old stuff. REALLY, REALLY cute houses. Here’s one:

{this one is the san augustine}

{this one is the essay house}

This is a serious dedication to ‘reduce reuse recycle’…and now of course I am going to have Jack Johnson singing that in my head all day {there are worse things}.

It has to get ugly, before it gets good

Here’s what our 3-year old daughter thinks of the current state of things at our remodel: “I don’t like this house, this isn’t a good house.” It turns out she doesn’t have ‘vision’ to see past no sheet-rock, no tubs, dust everywhere and carpet tack sticking up on every step. I hesitate to show the “progress” photos for the rest of you who might share her lack of vision…But, for the sake of you who love the messy part, I will. I am skipping the “befores” until we get to the “afters”, so here are the “middles”:

{living room}

{kitchen – nice chandelier, right?}

{main bathroom}

{downstairs bathroom}

{family room – good thing we are removing that framing with a wholelotta black mold – yuck!}

Since these pictures leave much to be desired, I feel the need to follow-up with a few pictures of one of our former remodel projects {at the time I took these pictures I had no plans of starting a blog & had a crummy camera, so please excuse the horrible quality}:

We loved the floor tile enough from this remodel we did 5 years ago to buy it again to put in the downstairs bath (it’s the black genesy from S’tile) . For that same bathroom Jeff has contrived a plan to make a fabulous sink console that looks something like this (we bought the sink, butcher block and heavy-duty brackets this weekend):

{originally found on decorpad}

Jeff tiled this entire bathroom with the vintage-style hexagon tile & classic subway on the wall & in the shower. We loved how it turned out, but it has forever scared us off from hex tile. I know it’s “period” and it looks pretty…for about a day, until you realize what a HORRIBLE job it is to try and keep all that white grout clean. Take my advice, stay away from tiny tile & white grout on the floor of your bathroom. It isn’t worth it, I promise (get that pretty dark grey tile from the other bathroom, it’s WAY easier to install & keep clean)

The thing that Jeff most wanted in this kitchen was the pot-filler. The thing I most wanted were the concrete counter-tops. By the time we finished this 2 year project I was pregnant with our first daughter and we decided to sell and downsize so I wouldn’t need to work, so we traded in 4 bedrooms/2 baths & 2700 sf  for 3 bedrooms/1 bath and 1100 sf – it was well worth the trade off & we found out we would rather have 1100 sf of well-planned space than a large poorly conceived home any day.  So, we didn’t fill many pots with that faucet, or prep too many meals on the counters, but they sure were pretty! (boy do I wish I had a before shot on this kitchen, because it was FUNKY, & not in a good way)

Stay posted for more “progress” shots.

It’s a Pouf! {small seating options}

I can almost not talk about this with a straight face. It’s a pouf, people! Wikipedia still thinks that “a pouf is a hairstyle deriving from 18th-century France – made popular by the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette.” Somebody needs to tell them that it is more currently a popular casual seating or footrest option. In spite of their silly name, I think they are great (along with their cousin the floor pillow).

I have been thinking of them because the upper floor of our new house is entirely hardwood, so I am wanting some options for comfier seating than straight on the floor. We have 2 now of the large, boxy, soft footrest variety. We use them all the time (the girls love them for building forts). So, I am wanting to add to our collection.

Here are some favorites:

 this over-stuffed one:

 this crocheted aqua one:

This burlap sack one:

these silver & blue leather ones:

This yellow rope one:

This grey wool one:

this yellow round one:

this terry cloth one {a pouf to sit on while your kids are in the bath}:

this modern floral one:

This simple grey one:

these pretty patterned ones:

these felted “stone” ones:

these floor pillows:

If I didn’t come up with something to suit your taste here, click on the links – there are MANY, many more options where these came from.