Tag Archives: Mid Century

Thrift Store Score: 80s galore

Before I even share my latest secondhand acquisitions, I must preface with the fact that I’m well aware not everyone will necessarily “get” it. As the post title suggests, these objects are distinctly 80s and not exactly mainstream, but I love them and am more than happy to give them a brand new life in our home. A little kitschy, they may be, but they’re MY kitsch.


With that out of the way, I will first introduce you to my new ice bucket. I’ve been hankering for a new ice bucket to add to our living room bar cart for, really, the past year. I wanted something sort of mid-century and definitely unique. I think I was able to succeed with this padded handled, faux wood grain number.


I am a big fan of wood grain in general, whether fake or real, so as soon as I saw this little guy sitting forlornly at the bottom of a shelf at Goodwill, I had to snatch him up. And when you factor in the $3.50 price tag, it simply couldn’t be beat. With a thorough rub down with multiple dish soap baths, it was good as new and party ready.


Now here’s where things get a little dicey. I know that many of you will be all “Say whattt??” when you see my new piece of art in the master bedroom, but I’m over the moon giddy about it. This massive decidedly 80s print is perfect in my book. Nice thin brass frame, abstract imagery, TONS of color – It’s got our taste written all over it. And, again, costing only $3.50 made it impossible not to take home. I figure, if our style changes, or we get tired of it, the oversized brass frame alone made it worthy of forking over the cash.



In hindsight after running a quick Google search of the artist (the print is signed in the bottom right hand corner), I’m especially glad that I decided to go for it.




Why? Well it turns out that my thrift store Carlton Sturges Abbott print actually could be valued at 30 TIMES what I paid for it (one lithograph print is estimated at $100-$200). Although Abbott’s work isn’t exactly “Picasso” priceless, I’m excited at the thought that I have an authentic print, done by an authentic artist. I consider this one an investment well made.



What era of art and accessories do you consider your guilty pleasure?


Studio reveal (one more time with feeling)


I’ve never encountered a space like this room. It’s gone through 4 coats of paint (in the last 2 years alone), countless arrangements, unTOLD hours spent on styling – But it just never felt “complete.” Now, I know I can’t possibly be the only one with a confusing space like this…Right?

Well thankfully, I think that I was finally able to hit the bullseye over the weekend, and all it took was removing one piece of extraneous furniture, repainting a small section of the room and updating my art and desk area.

First up, the “Before” shots.



It was a pretty room – VERY functional for an artist, with my oversized drafting table and custom built paper supply cabinet. But the room also functioned as a guest room, so the bed  had to be included somehow. That “somehow” solution? Sticking it out into the center of the space. Sure, it blocked flow, but it worked. And I lived with it. The other big feature in the room was the black feature wall. I was so afraid for the longest time that an entirely mint room (the paint color is “Icy Mint” by Valspar, btw) would read “nursery,” so I hadn’t even considered the thought of painting over it.

That is, until I reached my breaking point and decided it was time for something drastic. The first thing to go in my big editing-down-the-studio-slash-guest-room was to purge half (yes, I said HALF) of what was stored in my studio closet. I moved a 4 feet high, 4 shelf industrial unit into the upstairs hallway and proceeded to fill it with soon-to-be yard saled items. With half of the closet now empty, I was able to tuck the giant custom wood cabinet seen 2 photos up behind closed doors. This was absolutely the biggest improvement. I think the room threw me off for so long because it just had TOO MUCH FURNITURE. If you are also struggling with a difficult room, this would be my first piece of advice: Edit things down, especially furniture.

The next thing to go was my black feature wall.




Isn’t Valspar paint amazing? Those last 2 photos above show the FIRST coat! I was amazed by how well the almost white color covered the saturated black in just a few rolls. Ultimately it did take two coats, but it was nothing I couldn’t take care of in under 2 hours. Once the paint dried and I put my new desk back into place, things really started to come together. The black was definitely a fun, unexpected element of the room before, but with the mint now running continuously across all four walls, it immediately felt so much more cohesive and calming.


The next and final phase was to update the art. With a new blank wall to play with, I finally had room for a large scale art project that I’d been putting off for over a year. You see, at our wedding last year, my friends, family and I made tons of paper pinwheels as decorations. After the event was over though, they sat forlornly in plastic bags at my parents’ house, just waiting for me to come up with a fun place to utilize them. Well that time is now and that place is my studio…


The space over my desk needed a big “wow!” factor, and nothing suited it better than these pinwheels. The color! The shape! The pattern! And, of course, the memories of our special day…To hang them, I simply used a handful of clear pushpins and arranged them in a random pattern similar to our plate wall in the kitchen (as seen in our home tour). In case you want to make your own set of paper pinwheels, I will be posting a detailed DIY tutorial next week.





Now, I chatted about my desk yesterday, but you may have noticed a second new piece of furniture. My original desk chair was yet another hand me down – a little too traditional for my tastes. Plus, the thrift store find was in desperate need of some grease. Every time I moved a muscle, the entire piece would creak and groan – not good when your husband is trying to get some sleep in the next room for a 4am wake up call (and yes, it was really THAT loud). An original way of adding a different touch to your desk is by choosing one of the electronic massage chairs, that way you can get relax while doing your work. So I decided it was time to pick up a treat for myself in the form of a brand new acrylic ghost chair. I love the mod vibe, and the clear finish is just perfect for blending into the room, making it feel less cramped. It’s surprisingly comfortable too!




As for the art in the rest of the room, I rehung some of my existing framed prints to the side of my pinwheel collection, but I also threw in a couple of new pieces too. The first was a newly framed print of a Grace Kelly costume design that my sister gave me for Christmas, and the other was a thrifted find via Etsy. I recently discovered that Victoria of sfgirlbybay, one of my favorite bloggers, has an Etsy shop – I just HAD to snatch up something from her beautiful treasures, namely the vintage “W” seen a couple of photos down. It was exactly what I needed to offset the colorful pinwheels.






My inexpensive IKEA bookshelf also returned to the side of my desk, where it continues to display favorite books and thrift store accessories. (and, of course, I couldn’t help but snap a shot of Ginny enjoying the sun beam reflected from my camera…That girl loves her some dancing light)




As for the drafting table, that got shimmied to the side a bit and now sits unobtrusively just inside the door to the space. This piece of furniture has always been essential to the room thanks to its functionality as both a crafting table and a drawing/painting surface, so it had to stay. Thankfully, my dad did a beautiful job making it slim-lined, but attractive all at the same time.



The final issue was making the bed work. Having it stick out into the middle of the room just wasn’t cutting it for me, so I eventually decided to push it against the wall, day bed style. To make it feel less like a bed and more like a lounge area, I removed the covers and opted for a single gray fitted sheet. Then I topped it with a folded quilt (think table runner) and piles of pillows to add softness and pattern. If you can ignore the wrinkly brand new, out-of-the-box fitted sheet (which will obviously soften over time), I think it was the perfect solution – one the cats are THOROUGHLY enjoying.







So there you have it! 2 years, 4 coats of paint, 6 different art arrangements, 30+ photos and 1,136 words later, I got the studio I’ve always dreamt of. Not to sound too cheesy, but the journey to get to this point has been enormously educational. Despite alllllll of the challenges, I think it has helped me to realize that trial and error will eventually reward me with the room I know I can have – it just takes a little perseverance. Although I’m sure there are changes to come just because, I couldn’t be happier now and it finally feels like home.




What sort of challenges have you faced while designing (and REdesigning) a favorite room?

All in the details…

lake cottage bedroom


That headboard! Seriously, need I say more? I’ve always loved brass bed frames – The curvy details, the antique cottage feel and that tell tale gold sheen. But this redo of the same look in a shiny red finish is too tempting to ignore.

Let’s talk details…

1…Okay, there’s ONE other thing that made me develop a little crush on this room – The nightstand. You knew I’d be drawn to the mid-century silhouette, but I’m also loving the sky blue paint job! It all comes back to that big debate, huh?

2…The third piece that makes this room a slam dunk for me is the painting above the bed. It’s huge! And that wide expanse of green color really adds a nice layer to the room. Don’t you just love how the whole bedroom looks like it was curated from a thrift store or flea market? We could all easily throw together a similar room with a couple hundred bucks and a Saturday morning bouncing from one second hand store (or booth) to the next. Is that a challenge? Take it as you will.

3…Here’s another great example of mixing patterns successfully. Although I’ve heard so many times that mixing small patterns with other small patterns is a “no no,” this collection of linens kicks that rule to the curb. It’s eclectic, colorful and oh so cozy…

What are your favorite details?

For past “All in the details” features, click here

All in the details…

Pink kitchen

Source | A Beautiful Mess

I guess I’m feeling bold this morning! A hot pink kitchen isn’t usually my cup of tea, but I love that SOMEONE went ahead and did it. You must click through to the original source on this one for more shots of the space. It is truly a show stopper – Maybe even the definition of one. Whether you love it or hate it, I think we can all appreciate the POWER of this room.

Let’s talk details…

1…Thank goodness for white. If this room was ALL color, I’d be running in the opposite direction. But since the color is limited almost entirely to the cabinets, I took a second look and briefly considered the uncharted possibilities. When playing with a bold color, it’s no secret that BALANCE is of the utmost importance. The white countertops, backsplash and appliances seem to gleam next to those fuchsia cabinets.

2…Yeah…I can’t get over that color. All things considered, it’s probably the most neutral pink there is. It’s definitely not neon, and it’s definitely not dark. There’s a lot of gray in this color, which helps it to feel rich rather than overbearing. It just goes to show how important the right SHADE is when choosing a bold color.

3…The other thing I love about this space is the retro vibe. That old style oven is calling my name. Again, you should definitely click through to see the retro-meets-mod stainless steel farmhouse sink.

What are your favorite details?

For past “All in the details” features, click here

P.S. Thank you everyone for the sweet birthday wishes yesterday, and for the support on my Better Homes and Gardens shoot (happening tomorrow!!). Love you guys to the moon and back!

Thrift Store Score: Mid-Century Couch

It’s finally (finally!) time to reveal what we’ve been up to in our finished basement, or what I’m now referring to as our den because I hate the stigma of a “finished basement.” I’ve teased tons of photos through Instagram, but if you haven’t caught wind of the project, John and I decided to flip this particular living space upside down – figuratively, of course.

The room as it was before (which I’m not even going to bother sharing in photo form, because it was that bad) was full of mismatched cheap pieces of furniture. It was KIND of functional as a TV room, but for the most part just served to give me nightmares at night. It was time to fix things. So we Craigslisted all the furniture, making nearly enough money to buy all NEW pieces! You’ve seen the awkward nook in the corner transform into a desk, but it’s time to see the rest of the space…

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 5.14.53 PM

The first thing we needed was a new sofa. I make it a point to check Craigslist at least once a week, searching for furniture listings under the “mid-century,” “midcentury” and “mid century” labels (I get different hits for each unique term). And my prayers were answered a couple of weeks ago with my most incredible “Thrift Store Score” to date. That big beautiful VINTAGE mid-century couch was not only within price range (in full disclosure, we ended up getting it for $440) but also within our own zip code. After following the lister’s directions, we discovered that she lived only about 3 miles away. Easiest. Pickup. Ever.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it – For any locals loving this couch, the matching side chair is still for sale. Click that link for details!

We brought the new-to-us couch home, set it up in the cleared out space and knew that we had landed on some kind of magic. It was perfect…But, of course, the new couch upped the art ante and I started dreaming big. What to hang? Once I narrowed my vision down to an eclectic gallery wall, I realized that I had an accidentally perfect collection sitting in storage in my studio. After hanging the art (for FREE) in less than 20 minutes, and setting up a new arc lamp (scored from the Yellow Brick Home curated sale on Joss & Main), we stepped back and called this half of the room officially “done.”





Please forgive the highly fluorescent photography…There are no windows and therefore no pretty natural sunlight to use to my advantage. Oh, and for anyone curious, the two gray pillows came from The Everygirl curated Joss & Main sale (more on those scores here), the geo lumbar pillow is from Target and the shag rug is from Lowe’s. The wooden box to the side of the couch and the foot stool are vintage.

We still have a few things to do to the rest of the space, but I’m sick of sharing teasers while I hurry to perfect it. The reality that I have to face (yet again) is that these things take time and it will evolve slowly – And frankly, that’s exactly how it should be. That said, here is our progress in the rest of the room thus far…




Quick interjection: That white dresser above is another Thrift Store Score worth noting. Believe it or not, it spawned the entire room. We knew we wanted to upgrade our old TV cabinet (a rickety particle board book shelf from Wal Mart), however we always had in mind a nice wooden piece with legs. But when we glimpsed this white lacquer Lane dresser at Estate Specialist downtown, our vision started to shift. It’s definitely a vintage vibe, but more of a 1970’s space age feel than the Danish piece we had envisioned. In the end, we love the sleek lines and cool, quiet look.




I’m so excited to have all of you along for the ride as we transform this space! Thanks for all of the support so far – You must know that it means the world to me.

Enjoy your day!

All in the details…


Source | designlovefest

I think all of us in blog land gave a collective gasp of joy at the reveal of Bri’s living room earlier this week. Done by my muse/idol/insert-something-glowing-here, Emily Henderson, this space is literally the stuff of (at least my) dreams. Mid-century flair, vibrant throw back colors and a hint of tribal funk, I’d love to flop into one of those cool chairs and just gaze around. For hours.

Let’s talk details…

1…We own a fabulous (thanks to John!) 1970’s coffee table, a couple of great mod dressers and an arm load of vintage trinkets from the brassy era that I adore so much, but the one thing we DON’T have is a mid-century cabinet. We have neither the space nor the budget for one in our current home, but that doesn’t stop me from drooling over every one I see – The piece pictured above is a great example of juuuuust the kind I’d pause in front of and mentally cry over not being able to drag it home.

2…Another “m-m” (I’ve decided to shorten the era specific phrase because even I’M sick of hearing myself spout it off every other word) piece we don’t have is a teal couch. We’ve got a really great straight-lined sofa in our living room, but it doesn’t really hold a candle to this in-your-face teal tufted number. I die.

3…Despite knowing what a gem we have in our own thrifted m-m coffee table, I still feel myself turning emerald with envy over Bri’s. Those brass details are really one-of-a-kind. I sure wish I could have delicate vases of flowers balanced on ours too, alas…there are too many tails wagging their way destructively through our home each day – God love ’em!

What are your favorite details?

For past “All in the details” features, click here

P.S. I just had to share – One of my fabulous readers, Mary Ann (of School of Moxie), picked up two of my fine art prints and happened to blog about how she displayed them. I love how they look on the wall in her studio, don’t you? Thanks for sharing with us, Mary Ann!


If you blog or photograph how you display your OWN Art Carried Away prints, I’d love to see them and share with everyone! Email me at DreamGreenDIY@gmail.com, or connect via Facebook/Twitter. And, as always, thanks for everyone’s support and constant creativity! You guys inspire and motivate me each and every day.

Employing my DIY discount

One of the hardest things about being an avid antiquer or thrift store fiend is the devastation that goes along with the discovery of something one-of-a-kind, but out of price range. “The thrill of the hunt” quickly transforms into some kind of cruel joke played by fate. Imagine if Aladdin had FINALLY uncovered the genie’s lamp in Jafar’s lair and, after gazing at it in wide-eyed jubilation for a moment, could only sigh heavily before turning around empty handed. I know some of you must be able to relate to this (slightly exaggerated) feeling…

Well that’s largely how I felt when I came across this gorgeous jadite cake stand at the antique mall my friends and I toured in Charlotte, North Carolina. If any of you are nodding along to this narrative, then you’re probably also familiar with that fleeting moment of psychosis when you seriously consider forking over the ridiculously large sum just to have something to show for this moment. I definitely thought about paying the $125 listed for this gorgeous antique, but ultimately walked away, regret all but pooling in my fading footsteps.


BUT. Believe it or not, I have been able to turn that regret right around with a simple, affordable and TRULY one-of-a-kind DIY project that has me thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t go broke over one little cake stand.

This story continues right here in our own little town of Lynchburg, Virginia. As I narrated on Wednesday, my friend Ashley and I made a visit to a local antique mall called Peddler Antiques. I had PROMISED myself that I wasn’t going to buy anything, but that was before I stumbled upon a little $12 mint dinner plate. If you scroll back and forth between the cake stand and my antiqued plate below, you can hardly tell a difference in color. It was perfect! Except for the cake stand part…Enter a $5 candle stick I found nearby in the same store. After tentatively touching the bottom of the plate to the top of the candle stick and envisioning what could be, I knew that I was onto something wonderful.


Have YOU ever made a cake stand from a dinner plate and candle stick? My mom and I went through a majorly obsessive phase with them one Christmas, crafting a whole tabletop full of them, which we later filled with cookies and passed along to friends and family during the holidays. If you aren’t familiar with this particular DIY, click here for a straightforward tutorial. Essentially though, you place the candlestick on a flat surface, load it up with some kind of adhesive and center the plate on top to create that floated stand effect.

As you can see from that supply shot above, my plan was to use krazy glue, but that ended up failing completely. I’m not sure if it was just that my candle stick was a little less than level or what, but the glue didn’t stick at all. Thankfully, John happened to be in the room during this moment and offered me a tube of all purpose adhesive caulk to try instead. At this point, I was open to any solutions, so I squeezed a generous amount of the caulk along the top ring of my candle stick, centered the plate on top, gingerly flipped both over and crossed my fingers for a day or two while I let the seal dry.



At first, I was a little worried that the VERY visible white caulk would remain so, but by the time I was willing to chance handling the DIYed cake stand, the seal was crystal clear and hardly noticeable. The hold was pretty strong too – After setting it on the bookshelf in our bedroom with no teetering or cracking whatsoever, my confidence grew exponentially in this newly discovered adhesive. I will definitely be stealing that tube again for future projects.


In a wild turn of events, I actually decided to use my newly constructed stand in the bedroom as a place to display my perfume bottles rather than pastries. I don’t actually NEED a cake stand all that often, only when entertaining, so using it for something more “everyday” just made sense. And if I ever get the whim to use it in the kitchen for a party, it’s easily snagged from upstairs.




So in the end, although it hurt more than words can describe to walk away from that beautiful jadite beauty at the antique mall, I have an extra special place in my heart for this piece that I was able to design and create myself. Same concept, same color and same beautiful effect – I couldn’t ask for more.



Have you guys ever been able to recreate something that you WISH you could have but couldn’t afford? That sense of DIY pride is hard to recreate, am I right??