My Mid-Century Dream Home

I like to play a little dangerous game where I peruse Trulia.com. We are not looking to move any time soon, but every once in a while I just like to see what’s out there. This time it started when our neighbor’s house across the street went up for sale, and I wanted to see what it looked like on the inside so I started searching.

Which led me to a house SO VERY PERFECT FOR ME that I could openly weep at its unaffordability. ($399,000 for the record.)

How gorgeous is this?

The only thing it’s missing is a beautiful, simple, sleek mid-century style pool outside that wall full of windows.

And me, of course. ūüėČ

Now would be a GREAT time to win the lottery. Coincidentally over the weekend we bought a Powerball ticket when it went over $400 million, and got 2 numbers and the Powerball number correct, so we won (a whopping $21!!!). Hahaha. So, you know, we’re basically almost there. Whimper.

DIY or Do I Buy?

For as long as I can remember, I have had this uncanny ability to preempt purchasing trends. This has been both good and bad. ¬†I find myself frustrated when what I want doesn’t seem to exist in any stores, but because I can’t, I end up creating it for a lot cheaper than when it gets popular.

Two examples:

  1. Mid-Century Modern furniture – Okay, so I can’t truly claim this trend, because I am pretty sure it never really went out of style. BUT it’s become so hot, they are selling it at West Elm for $900 at a time.

West Elm today:

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And the dresser I bought three years ago for $80:

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(And here is further evidence of my obsession with MCM furniture, as early as 2012.)

2. This 2013 doomed-from-the-start lamp project.¬†There is often a very large disparity in my vision for a project and the realization of it. And sometimes I assume quite wrongly¬†that if I just have the necessary raw materials, surely I’m halfway there. Wrong.

For a grand total of¬†$7 at¬†Goodwill¬†I bought this¬†lamp that eventually ended up in the trash¬†after being spray painted. The¬†embroidery thread I’m still holding on to, in the vain hope my skills improve. (Pet Wookie not included):

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And these beautiful, $187 lamps currently on Etsy:

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This is probably why I have never spent more than $200 on a single piece of furniture and still managed to decorate a three bedroom house rather nicely. It’s also part of why my husband thinks I’m nuts spending hours on the internet looking for milk glass and hoarding old wine corks.

The good news is YOU can do this same thing, only in reverse, and save yourself some money. Found something you love online? I guarantee you can find something similar on a Facebook Trading Post, Craigslist, or Goodwill for a fraction of the price.

I have to admit, just looking at these pictures inspires me to try again with the lamp…

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I’ve been doing a few little projects around the house that I’ve yet to share.

1. Inspiration from my friend’s uber-chic NYC condo:

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Made it so that I couldn’t resist using the same tongue-in-cheek illustration in my own WC:

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2. Autumn-izing the shelf above my TV (aka my pseudo-fireplace ledge replacement):IMG_0411 IMG_0409

3. Terrorizing the mid-century modern-loving community by reconstructing this unsuspecting dresser to work as a media cabinet/TV stand.

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3. Realizing My coffee table accessories are very similar to the ones on E! News (am I hip or what?)

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4. Christmas-izing aforementioned shelf…

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…and the rest of the living room.

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Best of: Free Printable 2014 Calendars

After falling hopelessly in love with this Rifle Paper Co. wall calendar (and spending the money) I did a little research and found that there are quite a few beautiful, totally free printable calendars out there for the taking.

So, buy a little pack of card stock, use that special tray on your printer, and check these lovelies out:

From Oh the lovely things:

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From Elegance and Enchantment:

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From Design is Yay!:

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From eat drink CHIC:

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Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year

Today, Pantone announced the 2014 color of the year will be¬†“Radiant Orchid.” Which is¬†a color I’ve been obsessed with for precisely 237 days, or since¬†April 12, 2013. And just happened to be wearing today (shirt below).

I am always ahead of trends.

ALWAYS.

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Do you think this color is hot right now? Up and coming? So yesterday? Do you even LIKE the color? I feel like their selection of Emerald for 2013 was welcomed (I love emerald) but off-trend. Mint green would have been a more appropriate (accurate) choice.

Curious to hear your thoughts.

Christmas in Two Time Zones

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It started innocently enough. A couple of years ago I found these ADORABLE glittery retro Christmas cards. I loved them, the hubs hated them. But it was too late, the seed was planted. Fast-forward two years and my house official has two time zones – my office is retro modern and the rest of our house is modern rustic. (I suppose that’s what you could call the two styles.) Either way, there’s a whole lotta Christmas going on, and it all makes me so cheery I thought I’d post a few (million) pics to share the inspiration.

The office:

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The house:

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Winning the Lottery and Painting Furniture

I know exactly what I would do if I won the lottery.¬†And like Peter from Office Space, I know exactly what I would do. But surprisingly enough, it wouldn’t be nothing.

My lottery list:

  • Pay off all debts
  • Help my family
  • Buy a house in Houston to use as a home base
  • Travel the world
  • Open a furniture store where I sold unique pieces (some of which I refinished myself) and original artwork and accessories (I would only curate – my skills aren’t that great)
  • Travel the world again, looking for cool items to put in my shop

THAT’s how much I love interior design. Sometimes I think I missed my calling. I mean, what kind of person uses rearranging furniture as a relaxation technique? Seriously, when I can’t fall asleep at night, I calm myself into my happy place by mentally moving around the furniture in my house and finding creative ways to mix it up.

With my latest project, I do feel a little like I won the lottery. The hutch is exactly the style I love, oh-so perfect for my home office needs, AND has some great open shelves just itching to be backed in wallpaper.

Here’s progress so far:

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photo 2

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Now I’m just down to one final decision – what “wallpaper” should I use to match the paint?¬†The color paint I chose is called “Little Sprout” and is a pale greeny yellow.¬†The sample image from Valspar looks a little neon, but¬†here¬†and¬†here¬†are some good pictures from other bloggers who used the color. (I also managed to find the¬†hex code for the color. You know, just in case I’d like to match things on my computer to my office. Don’t you just love the internetz?)

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TANGENT.

What this is all very slowly getting to is the fact that I am now at a standstill. I’ve narrowed it down to three paper patterns, and I’m not sure which to use:

1. Rifle Paper Co. “Midnight Floral” paper

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2. Glasses wrapping paper from PaperSource

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3. “Spring Rain” by ChicShelfPaper.com

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Please vote in the comments below!

Delicious Mod Sale on HauteLook Today

Be still my heart. HauteLook is having a sale of everything lusciously mid-century mod, including chairs identical to the ones I lusted after last time I was antiquing in Austin:

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Other mod goodies I don’t have the budget for:

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Talk about inspiration pieces. People ask me all the time how I find cute stuff on Craigslist, thrift shops, etc., and this is how. I know what to look for because I know what the nice stuff looks like. Kind of like shopping in the Galleria’s expensive section (you know, the part with Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo and such all in a row) and then going to Target and using those mental images to tell which designs are the decent-looking knock-offs. Works every time.

A Clockwork Orange

That’s right. After six very long months of waiting on an ironically unpunctual clock repair store, I can finally FINALLY use the pun I’ve been hanging onto for approximately five months, 29 days.

Remember that cute little 1970s German alarm clock I picked up at that Sugar Land arts and crafts festival forever ago?

Well, it was all disassembled, cleaned up, reassembled and now fully functional (despite a couple of cosmetic issues that occurred because apparently German plastic clocks were not built to break, and therefor not built to be easily serviced and repaired.) Even the bells for the alarm work.

Isn’t it cuuuute?

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Killing ’em with Kilim.

First comes Meredith,

then comes Design Sponge,

then comes me spending two hours on ebay shopping for antique rugs with money I don’t have and a house that doesn’t match any of it.

The patterns found in antique Kilim rugs are apparently the new chevron (well, a lot of it still pretty much is chevron) and even though I don’t really want to make a big purchase on a presumably short-lived trend, I do have a very bare dining room/kitchen floor…

My dining room:

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My favorites:

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Design-spiration: Vintage Postcards

Design-spiration: Vintage postcards from where you live. (Especially if it someplace new, other than home, like this is for us.)

Remember my trip to the Austin Antiques Mall? Well, I did find two things that were affordable and totally perfect for me – the bottom two postcards in this series below. (The top one I already had, but thought the series needed a third for framing.)

The middle one depicts a church in downtown near Aaron’s office, and the bottom shows a park where Aaron and I regularly go hit golf balls, just down the street from our house, which was cool in itself to find all the way in an Austin market. But, it was the note on the back that really made me smile….

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Isn’t the penmanship beautiful?

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“We are all o.k., only too warm.”

If I were to have written a letter to my loved ones upon moving here, it would have started the exact same way.

In The Spirit

Aaron told me we need to decorate more for the holidays. ¬†It was odd coming from a man, but I didn’t ask any questions. Instead, I picked up these lovelies on my last trip to Walmart, and was pleasantly surprised by what they had. I bought everything below (except the red candle) for under $30 total.

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Close Encounters of The Third Kind

The problem with antique stores (and I suppose the delight of them) is that no two are alike. However, they do generally fall into three main categories:

  1. Complete and utter junk. A store full of the remnants of garage sales past, where the selection has already been depleted of anything worth having.
  2. Mixed bag. This is the best kind. There’s less complete and utter junk (though I suppose that’s entirely subjective) and more unusual, fun finds that are reasonably priced. This is mecca for those of us that live for the hunt.
  3. Just plain snotty. Masquerading under a mom and pop or pseudo-hippy mentality, these stores are operated by hoarder elitists who have elevated ephemera to heartbreaking heights. Here, the picking is done for you. For every object there, they’ve already identified it as treasure and marked it up accordingly, which leaves you with only two choices Рmax out your ATM daily withdrawal or prepare to hold back the tears to keep from smearing that window shopping.

It just so happened that on my recent trip to Austin, I had an encounter of the third kind. So here are the fruits of my window shopping Рsome delightful, yet tragically overpriced (or appropriately priced, rather?) inspiration pieces from Austin Antique Mall:

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Necessities.

Every PR girl needs a retro silk shirt with telephones on it, aka the perfect shell for a power suit.

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courtesy: Anthropologie (of course)

Also, I’m pretty sure every PR girl/writer needs a mid-century mod desk like this:

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Which, if the Craigslist seller does not respond to me soon, I may have an absolute aneurism waiting to see if I will actually be able to make it mine. (Did I mention they only want $65 for it??!!!!)

Because, really, what modern American twenty-something whose teeth were cut on the girl power of the Spice Girls, fueled by the woman power of Madeleine Albright (my personal hero as a child, along with Garbage’s Shirley Manson – yes, I realize a weird combo) and cured and set by the lasting influence of Gloria Steinem, wouldn’t want to live out some well-groomed but power-packed newsroom fantasy a-la His Girl Friday?

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Yep, I’m pretty sure Rosalind Russell would approve.