Tag Archive | dining room

An Old Church Cornice

No babies were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Healthy baby.

Healthy, happy baby.

My friend, who will remain nameless to protect her identity, and I had an adventure. On a recent excursion to Community Forklift, we spotted treasure: Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Or something like it. It was definitely a cool piece of architectural…. something. Something that I knew I had to have. It turns out it was a cornice from an old church. A very dirty old piece of plaster, with foils and a cross in the middle.

The Art Piece.

The Art Piece.

Possibly, I was just delusional after loading 500 pounds of gravel into my friend’s car in 95 degree heat. But there was no price and I had to leave it behind. They let me put it on hold and wait it out until I was quoted a price.

They called me as I was almost home, to give me the price. I pulled over, sleeping baby in the car, and called my friend. I agonized for about 30 seconds about whether to go back and get it as it was slightly over the price I had decided was the limit. I had just helped her load 500 pounds of gravel, so she owed me a favor, and we both headed back to Community Forklift.

In the Dining Room.

In the Dining Room.

 Her simple statement, “it’s really beautiful” rang pure and true in my head.

Cleaned up.

Cleaned up.

When we got back to Community Forklift, I thought it would be easy. Baby was asleep. I ran in and paid for the antiquities in question. The air conditioning was still running in the car. Only I soon discovered it was too fragile and too big to fit in my enormous station wagon… together with the baby.

Ahhh the dilemmas we so often face in life. I considered whether or not to leave the baby behind. How do I manage to fit the art and the baby together in the car? The answer was clear: The art came home with me, and the baby went with my friend and the gravel.

A little worried.

A little worried.

The funny thing was, the baby was not the least bit alarmed by it all. Well, maybe just briefly, when she was sitting in her car seat in the parking lot; she did look a tiny bit worried. But I reassured her and said, “sometimes we have to go to extreme measures for art.” A valuable lesson indeed.

Old Church Cornice.

Old Church Cornice.

 And she was fine. Together we acquired a great piece of old art from an old church. And it was a perfect day, gravel and all.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Advertisements

Hidden Treasure

The mini-tyrant and I had a very exciting morning. After sipping coffee together and throwing some blocks around, we photographed a finished dining room. A dining room that we helped create.

The Carpenter Dining Room

The Carpenter Dining Room.

It started with talk of paint colors, admiring the old chicken-feeder collection, and snowballed into cashing in some old savings bonds.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Actually, this entire makeover cost $500, including the bottle of gin on the mini-bar. (Note to self: always budget for alcohol when planning a reno.)

Pie safe and mini-bar.

Pie safe and mini-bar.

I worked with her existing furniture and drew her out of her comfort zone. A little at a time, we watched the room transform and got more excited as it went along. The ceiling is a beautiful blue, Benjamin Moore’s Sylvan Mist and the walls gray, Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. The wall color is hard to define…. A little lavender, a little taupe or gray, depending on the light.

Testing out the paint colors.

Testing out the paint colors.

Dining room, before.

Dining room, before.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

We rearranged the furniture and the homeowner was then inspired to hang some art she had hidden in the basement. A fabulous old woodcut block print of a flag with blue accents, which she hung above the pie safe. I cannot believe this treasure was hiding out in the basement!

Throughout this process, I would occasionally say, “You know what we need? We need a whatchamacallit…” and she would inevitably say, “Oh! I have one of those! In the basement!”

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

We brainstormed about the light fixture and I eventually convinced her it needed to sparkle. She chose the contemporary light, which adds drama with whimsical shadows, and has a black finish that is elegant.

View into the living room.

View into the living room.

She had to have the chandelier re-centered over the table, because originally the chandelier was installed about 18 inches off-center. This would have caused me to twitch. The new chandelier sparkles, and brings just the right amount of crystal bling into the room, and now, it is even centered.

A little bling.

A little bling.

 The adjacent living room was also painted Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. This keeps the rooms connected and feeling open. She added white sheer curtains and painted all of the trim a crisp white.

The rooms flow.

The rooms flow.

These rooms now look fresh and clean, traditional, but with a hint of the unexpected. The adjacent living room is updated and the whole space looks pulled together. It reflects the homeowners’ personalities completely. Traditional with a pop of the unexpected.

Here’s to basements full of hidden treasure, and to friends willing to step out of their comfort zone. Cheers!

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

The Perfect Tool

No, it is not my husband.

Milwaukee 12 V. Drill

Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Drill

I have to report that I have found the perfect tool. I am unstoppable with this little, cute and lightweight drill. It was a gift for my husband, but I think I may run off with it.

Portrait of the tools.

Portrait of the tools.

Secondo and I put up three sets of curtains, without any help… or drama. It was easy. This is a drill I could hold over my head for hours, and it packs a punch.

New curtains.

New curtains, with a navy blue stripe.

I have discovered the secret to handy men. The secret is… to own the right tools. 

The living room curtains

New curtains from Ikea.

I asked my neighbor (who was the first to recommend this little drill) to come over and show me how to change the bit. The tutorial took less than 30 seconds.

The living room curtains

The living room curtains

At first, I was intimidated by this new little drill. Periodically, I would eye it and wonder if I should touch it or not, when yesterdays rain inspired me to give it a try.

Secondo and I admire our work.

Secondo and I admire our work.

Now I am unstoppable! Excuse me, while I go hang a shelf in the bathroom.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Dining Room Saga

I had this idea that I would replace the light fixture in the dining room with a fa-beaux new one. The old ceiling mount fixture was #1 on my hit list, and it had to go. I wanted something large-scale, that did not obstruct the visual space, something that said WOW! I wanted the room to have a cottage feel. I wanted it to feel warm and cozy and different.

Dining room light, before.

Dining room light, before. The Hit List.

I eventually found one that was perfect, although not exactly. I had to transform it from it’s original brass finish before it would be perfect. It was a lantern that would capture the feel I was going for. It was hexagon-shaped, oversized with delicate lines and would do nicely in my dining room. I rescued it from Community Forklift. It cost $119.

The almost perfect chandelier.

Working on the chandelier                                                      

+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
BEFORE!
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
+++
I spent days painting this behemoth chandelier, taking it apart, letting it dry between coats. I eventually got Stuart to hang it, with the help of at least one neighbor. It was shimmering and I was so pleased! Then, I sat down at the table under my new light, and opened up the latest Pottery Barn catalog. A few pages into it, my jaw dropped and I thought, “NO Way!” How did they know? There was a lantern-like light hanging above a beefy table, and it looked a lot like mine:

http://www.potterybarn.com/products/bolton-oversized-lantern/?pkey=cchandeliers-pendants

I did not know whether to be happy or sad about it. I liked my version, and it must have been a good idea, but really? Did they have to go and ruin what I thought was an original-ish idea? At least I could take comfort in the fact that they had not painted theirs first and it cost three times what I had paid at Community Forklift for mine. My light was recycled to boot.

Dining room chandelier, after.

I figure one of the following things happened:

  1. I must be extremely stylish and capable of keeping up with the latest trends (Ha!)
  2. I am receiving subliminal advertising messages from the stores I like and it sunk in without my knowledge or consent
  3. Coincidence
  4. Pinterest is to blame

Most likely, it is a strange combination of all of the above.

Dining room chandelier, after.

Dining room chandelier, after.

I am thrilled with the way my dining room looks, but this project wore me down. Next time, I may just buy it directly from Pottery Barn and save myself the trouble. But where is the fun in that?

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Re-think and Recycle

I’ve been thinking about recycling lately. I am trying to fit my stuff into a new house and make it look as if it was always intended for THIS space, even though it wasn’t. On a purely practical front, people cannot go out and buy new stuff every time they move. The idea of repurposing your old and tired things appeals to me; breathing new life into some old junk.

Of late, my fantasies have consisted of beautiful dining room chairs prancing through my head. Once in a store, I occasionally have to wipe the drool from my chin as I ogle the chairs, until I am confronted with a price tag. Shocked, I take the reality check and walk away with nothing every time. Inevitably, this has lead to my recycling philosophy.

Chair Envy.

It all started with these chairs in a hotel lobby.

My wicker dining room chairs have lasted for twelve years and through several children who used to pick at them when they were in time out. The chairs refuse to wear out. I wish they would so I could justify pitching them. Rather than throw out perfectly good chairs, I decided to just give the cloth chairs on the ends a face-lift with new slipcovers. This changed the look of the whole room!

Slipcovered chair in my new dining room.

Dining room with a view of the not-yet-even-unpacked adjacent sunroom.

Fresh new paint in Benjamin Moore’s  picnic basket gives my dining room an entirely new look.

The solution turned out to be so easy. With the slipcovers from World Market, my chairs were new again in less than 15 seconds. The cost was $50 instead of at least 10 times that for new chairs. I successfully recycled the old chairs and breathed new life into them.

Recycling your old things not only saves money, but can make your home unique and add personality. I am challenging myself to reuse whenever possible and if I can’t reuse what I have, buy it used from Community Forklift, Craig’s List or The Habitat ReStores. When I rescue trash, I am actually preventing it from filling up the landfill and not giving in to the constant pressures to buy more stuff. Paint your frames if the finish is wrong, paint an old light fixture to spruce it up, recover an old fabric, or just add new hardware to an old piece of furniture. If the piece is solid wood, it will last forever. These ideas are not new, but to me it is refreshing to let the house be decorated over time and not rush into the latest must-have. You will end up with an eclectic look that is interesting as well as beautiful. That is a worthy goal.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio