Thursday, May 13, 2021

One Room Challenge Week 2 - The Hall of Mirrors

 As with most of my previous ORC's this one involves a base of white paint. 

Before anything else can happen the entire space needed a coat of white paint - ceiling, walls, trim, floors. Everything gets white paint. It has been dingy  for so long I just wanted the space to be bright and white. The hallway doesn't have any natural light and it is also the connector space to 4 bedrooms, a bathroom and the laundry closet. All of this white makes it a very neutral territory. 

So this week I started painting all the things white.

(Still have to change out this riser board and fix this gap.)

And also because I have zero chill when I start a project I went ahead and hung this huge gold bamboo mirror that weighs a ton!

I've been dying for the first mirror to go up!

All it has to reflect is a messy work zone but it looks fabulous and I'm excited to have the first mirror up in the "Hall of Mirrors"!!

And in true thrift style fashion it wasn't always this gorgeous gold! 

It was a dark reddish tone and the finished was scratched. No worries. I knew my favorite gold spray paint would work its magic.

It was a quick an easy fix despite the fact that Cooper thinks all dropcloths are put down for his enjoyment!

I'm spending this week finishing painting walls and floors so the fun parts can begin.
And I found the fabric for the laundry area curtain!  
Stay tuned.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is working on this week. There are literally hundreds of amazing projects happening!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


 I had the fabulous opportunity to join 4 friends from Instagram for a fun, thrifting based, porch refresh this Spring. It was all about creativity over cash and you know I love that. 

And you know I love my porch so it was a win-win for me. 

Be sure to check out everyone else's fabulous porch refreshes:

@cjswank_newyork    @paigekontrafouris       @speakingofdiy        @cgumin

The "reveals" were on Instagram but I wanted to share a few more details about my porch and it's thrifted history.
Our screened in porch is big but it didn't start that way. It began as a small, about 10 x 10, "builder deck" and we actually thrifted the rest! Not quite all of it but most of it. My husband called one day from a construction site and said they were moving the office trailer and it had two big decks on front at the doors. It was the exact materials our existing deck was made of and did I want him to bring them home and add on to the deck? Umm, yes! And the rest, as they say, is history. We just kept doing that and eventually the southern mosquitoes motivated us to screen it in as well. We have put a lot of hard work, sweat and a few tired muscles into creating this porch!
It has evolved through the years and didn't happen overnight. We added on with salvaged materials from building sites for years and almost everything on the porch - furniture, planters, accessories - has been thrifted over time as well. 
And when something wore out we went thrifting again to replace it!

Since we have thrifted a majority of the furnishings, there was no worrying about the huge amount of wear and tear that our porch has taken over the last 20+ years. We have hosted literally hundreds of people on our porch - 200 people in our porch and yard for Mollie's HS graduation, a band and a large group as a fundraiser for a school we were building in Haiti, entire HS track and XC teams and of course family and friends in much smaller numbers. Last year it was just us but it was a blessing to our family every day. And it is, by far, Cooper's favorite place to be. 

Here is a post to show you what our porch looked like last Summer after I finished repainting our floor. (It's a project for sure!)

 I made some changes early this Spring and then a few more for our #thethriftedporch refresh.

Again, our porch is large, but I urge you to thrift some comfy seating and create an outdoor space to enjoy. We use our porch so much and I'm thrilled when people say our porch has inspired them to create an outdoor space to enjoy. There's nothing like fresh air to make the day better.
So here is what #thethriftedporch looks like this Summer.

We had a limit of $200.00 for this refresh. I'm going to count the fabric I ordered right before this came about because it has been the biggest expense this year and done a lot to pull the separate pieces of furniture together. 

(The new green outdoor fabric from The big vintage couch in the background!)

Since I'm working with what I have and it's accumulated over time, there needed to be an element to make it all more cohesive. I ordered $80.00 worth of outdoor fabric in a deep green to recover quite a few cushions on the porch and to coordinate with our huuuuge vintage bamboo couch. The big couch is covered in a high quality laminated fabric and is in excellent condition. It's maybe not what I would choose but this couch is so tough and wet dog proof that I can't complain. (Let's face it if I won the lottery it would all be covered in white Sunbrella fabric!!)
 We actually saw this couch on an episode of Magnum P.I. - the original one! That's vintage!!

This green fabric also ties in with all of our painted wicker and bamboo. I use the darkest gloss green spray paint I can find to mimic my beloved Charleston Green.  

Other than moving some accessories around and covering the cushions the only major thing I did for this refresh was to paint a buffalo or gingham check rug between the glider and the swinging bed on the opposite side of the porch. 

I used the ochre paint from last Summer's One Room Challenge where I gave the Powder Room a refresh. It is Sherwin Williams Anjou Pear. It took a couple of hours and the blue painter's tape and paint I had on hand. 

 If you want to paint a floor - inside or out - I'll be posting my how to's on the blog tomorrow.
The porch was actually one of my One Room Challenges a few years ago. You can see how it has changed since then here.

I wintered over our big ferns in our "greenhouse/coldframe" experiment so I didn't even need to buy ferns this Spring!

And P.S. this isn't the first time this porch had a painted rug! 
Look at cute, little Mollie on our porch in 1996!

Also note the dark green wicker chaise, green porch floor, fountain on the porch and  a handpainted gingham rug! When I like something , I like it!!
This was before we screened in the porch and there are vintage milk glass compotes on the porch rail that I used as votive holders :)  This vintage thing is not a new gig for me!!

I made a few changes to our bar cart area too. First, I had to clean off a thick layer of pollen. 
Then I hung a large seascape that I found at Goodwill for $1.99 behind the cart.

It's always fun to gather up cocktail napkins, cute stir sticks, little pitchers of herbs, bowls of nuts or munchies and set up the bar cart. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Most of these items were thrifted, including the camel lamp, the cute pineapple swizzle sticks came from the Dollar Store and the herbs came from the yard. Don't have a bar cart? I didn't either for years! You can still gather up all the pretty and creative drinks accessories and put them on a tray or a designated counter space. It just makes things seem a little more festive.

Whew! That was a long post!
Thank you for sticking with us all the way to the end!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

One Room Challenge Week 1- The Hall of Mirrors

 I think of Versailles every time I think about my upstairs hallway which is the location of my latest One Room Challenge, which is my 11th time to participate!

 Versailles is very grand and one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. My upstairs hallway is none of those things :) But I am going to use a collection of mirrors that I have on hand in this hallway and that is where the comparison starts... and ends - Versailles has a very beautiful, famous Hall of Mirrors. My hallway will be much less opulent!

So this is about as much of a before shot as I have. The hallway was dreary and dated with very old, poor quality beige carpet. I had done a few superficial face lifts over the years but nothing all that great, honestly. You can see the dingy carpet above left. We are ripping it up and replacing it with the DIY plywood flooring hack that has been around forever. The hallway is our first space to get new flooring upstairs. I just want glossy white painted floors so this was the most reasonably priced way to go. (FYI during this process - in less than a week- this type of plywood went up almost $20.00 a sheet!)

Oh boy. This is quite the uninspiring space to share on social media!

You can see the handrail (and dirty handprints) in the picture below. We come up the stairs from the lower level there and to the right is the laundry closet (more on that later.) To the left is a small landing area and doorways to two bedrooms. The doorway across from the top of the stairs leads into the hall bathroom. The black door at the end of the hall is a linen closet. At one point many years ago this space was faux painted and the attic trap door was painted to look like a skylight. Everything is getting a coat of glossy white paint.

In the picture below you are looking back toward the landing at the top of the stairs. The laundry closet is to the left. It is handy to have it upstairs but because the hallway is narrow it had to have bifold doors. They were the jankiest things in the world. I pulled them out and quickly hung a curtain in the opening moments before company arrived (obviously that was a few years ago!) Not great but anything was better than those bifold doors.

As long as I live here those janky bifold doors will be stored in a dark corner of the basement. I plan to hang another curtain treatment at the opening. I'm going to go higher and wider than the opening and it will camouflage the opening and the mechanics of the opening much better. It will also add a textural and warm touch to the bright white space and the "hardness" of the flooring and mirrors.

As for the mirrors I have a stack of thrifted bamboo and faux bamboo mirrors of all shapes and sizes. I'm going to use them in natural bamboo, gold tone and painted finishes. This hallway is dotted with annoying things like thermostats, switches for fans and lights and more. Hanging anything in a symmetrical or balanced way would be impossible so the mirrors will be a great solution. I love mirrors - I hung all 4 walls of the first bathroom I ever decorated on my own with a collection of thrifted mirrors. That was almost 40 years ago. Here I am doing the same thing again.

I literally have no idea how I will photograph this space with all those mirrors. It may look more like the mirror room at the circus funhouse than Versailles. We'll see!

I thank Linda for all of the motivation to improve our spaces each challenge.
You can check out my previous One Room Challenge posts here:

Fall 2020 - My Family Room Fluff which was a very simple, budget-friendly, shop the house "fluff" of this space.

Spring 2020- My 9th-ish ORC and Wash Your Hands!

Fall 2019 - I attempted to complete my kitchen. I had started it in the Spring 2019 ORC but life had other plans than a kitchen ORC!

Fall 2018 - I worked on our Screened In Porch.

Fall 2017 - Come On In! The Entryway

Spring 2017 - Our Guest Bedroom.
 This was the second time I ORC'd this space. It was my first ORC I ever attempted and I never felt like I had really pulled it off so I just gave it another go!

Fall 2016 - Yes, There is a China Cabinet in our Bathroom!

Spring 2016 - Black is Back Library! 
The title is in reference to a lot of design hype at the time that 'black was back'
 but it never left at my house!

Fall 2015 - #motherdaughterorc
Mollie was transitioning home post-grad and beginning a new job in the area. Her bathroom needed an update so we took it on together. 

Spring 2015 - My first ORC and the first attempt at the Guest room. Looking back over 10 ORC's is amazing. It's a great opportunity to refresh, re-design, etc. any space in your home. It can be a gut job or a very budget minded project. I encourage everyone to give it a whirl. I have learned so much since this first, very basic attempt!

Be sure to follow along with all of the other ORC'ers here.
And be sure to check out my Instagram account for updates in between the weekly posts!

Also, the rest of my ORC posts will be shorter than this! Promise!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Thrifting for Your Home is the Ultimate Recycling

Thrifting home decor is the ultimate recycling or, at least, that is how I feel about it. 

We celebrate Earth Day this week and focus on greener, cleaner practices and think about sustainability, fair trade, repurposing, reusing and recycling. Hopefully there are things we all do that go far beyond this single day to positively impact our planet. But it's always a good time to reevaluate our practices and plan to do more in our efforts to preserve and conserve.

I think thrifting and shopping vintage definitely qualifies as a sound, sustainable practice. Items are kept out of landfills and impulse purchases of trendy items are hopefully reduced. It is educating to see vintage and antique items that have been around a long time and were well used but are still be viable, desired even. 

One of the things that I feel checks all the sustainability boxes is thrifted bamboo furniture.

 It's a lesson in, and of, itself:

"Eco-friendly, strong and stunning, bamboo is ideal for creating sustainable furnitureBamboo grows rapidly, requires no chemicals to thrive, offers maximum strength and durability and shines in its warm, rich tones. Bamboo creates eco-friendly furniture of the finest magnitude."  via

I don't think you could find a better argument than above for bamboo furniture's many earth friendly qualities but when you add in thrifting that piece of furniture then you add in another positive layer.

Vintage bamboo items are proof that not only is bamboo easily and responsibly replenished but it lasts and has style and appeal that spans the decades. If you think it is 'trendy' right now then, yes, it is popular with lots of people in lots of styles but bamboo furniture is a classic. Cultivating and building with bamboo can be traced back 7,000 years. There are examples of many styles of bamboo furniture in many different cultures. 

I love when I find an amazing vintage or secondhand bamboo piece for my home. I love its qualities, warmth, and texture. 

I truly believe every room could use a touch (or more) of fabulous, sustainable, thrifted bamboo!

My motto is #nobambooleftbehind when I go thrifting :)

All images are from my home - inside and out. 

There are many items that can be thrifted and repurposed or put to good use in our homes. What's your favorite? You know mine, bamboo furniture!