Monthly Archives: April 2011

Dueling Octopuses slash Our Downstairs Bath

Located on the main floor of our house and sandwiched between the office and the guest bedroom, this is the bathroom used by most folks who visit our house.

I love the beadboard wainscoting (that you can’t really see here because it’s on the left wall), the octagon and dot tile, and the original medicine cabinet. There’s also a pretty big linen closet to the right of the camera in the above shot, providing some serious storage (a valuable thing in a house this old).

It currently houses a lot of toiletries that probably need to be tossed, extra towels, air filters, and our vacuum cleaner. I have a feeling that when our family grows I’ll probably have a lot more stuff that needs to live in here and I’ll have to find a new spot for the vacuum cleaner.

We haven’t done a thing to this bathroom beyond putting our stuff in it. I love the sunflowers shower curtain but I go back and forth about whether it makes sense in this room. Sometimes I think about replacing it with just a simple white curtain, but I worry about the room feeling too cold and sterile. My biggest problem in this space is with the sink, because it is so not what I would’ve chosen and I think it’s way too modern for this house. I’m considering replacing the bowl and faucet with something more my style, like this:

White vessel sink |

Tall Brushed Nickel Faucet |

The “vessel” aspect of it will still be very much intact (which is in my opinion too trendy and likely to look dated sooner than I’d prefer), but at least the white porcelain and spigot-ish faucet are a little less stark. The glass sink and polished chrome faucet are such a pain to keep looking nice. I need to look into whether it would be more cost-effective to just replace the whole cabinet-sink-faucet operation, rather than throwing money at it to try to make it work.

And now for the dueling octopuses. Our friend Ryan pointed out to us last week that these hooks hanging next to the sink bear a striking resemblance to two octopuses ready to fight.

Some things just can’t be unseen.

How Many Tryforos’ Does it Take to Hang a Birdhouse?

I bought this adorable birdhouse for $20 at a local arts and antiques market when my friend Lauren was visiting last weekend. $20 is a little steep for me to spend on just one pretty thing without a whole lot of function (it’s not like I’ll be sleeping in there) but it was just so charming I had to have it.

Unfortunately, I often find myself in the uncomfortable position of having bought something on impulse and then having to figure out how to make it work. In this case, I’d imagined my quaint little birdhouse hanging from our oak tree, but had no idea how to hang it.

I did some brainstorming and gathered my supplies:

I tied the keys to one end of the wire and uncoiled a generous allowance, then got Nick to toss them over my chosen branch. I cut the wire and tied the cut end to the birdhouse, then pulled on the keys to hoist that baby up into the air.

And that’s when my plan fell apart. How to keep it up there? Finding ourselves in want of a ladder and not having one, we created a super-person to get the job done. I tied the wire into one giant loop hanging from the tree branch and twisted it near the base of the knot until my little birdie hotel was oriented just the way I wanted it.

You like how I got that shot above? I had a feeling it would make a funny picture so I set my camera on the porch railing and started recording video, then took a frame to post as an image. Some lady actually walked by mid-tying and said, “Now that’s a pretty picture!” As for the video, there’s no way that’s ever getting posted. Me, in leggings, hoisting myself up onto Nick’s shoulders = not flattering.

It’s a bit lower than I’d originally planned, since even our super person could only reach so high. I’m feelng inspired now to hang a few more at staggered heights, so I suppose we’ll need to procure a ladder. Does anybody have any better strategies for hanging a bird house? After the fact I considered maybe installing an eye-hook in the tree trunk and tying the end of the wire to it, then maybe obscuring it somehow.

OMG Tomatoes!!!

Remember when I mentioned that I was trying to grow tomatoes this year, but I thought I’d already ruined my chances?

Look what I found the other day!

I actually said OHHHHMMMMMGEEEEEE when I saw them. Out loud. To the tomatoes. Yes, I think they were pleased with my enthusiasm.

As of now these three little guys are the only ones, but there are several other flowers blooming that I’m hoping will turn into big juicy fruit. I’m freakin’ thrilled. Even if giant caterpillars ate these tomorrow and all the flowers fell off with no intention of bearing fruit and this were the end of my 2011 tomato train, I’d be happy to have gotten this far. I can’t believe I stuck a plant in the ground and it actually grew tomatoes. It’s a brave new world.

Fruity Ice Cubes

One of my favorite ways to add a little luxury to my life is to whip up some fruity ice cubes. These are awesome in the warmer months and make a delicious addition to all my summertime beverages.

The exact recipe and proportions are usually based on what I have on hand, but the basic idea goes a little something like this:

  • Fill an ice cube tray with fruit. Sliced strawberries, halved grapes, fresh or canned chopped pineapple, and raspberries have all worked well for me.
  • Pour some liquid-like water, gingerale, or juice-into the tray and freeze. My fave is a mixture of pineapple juice and gingerale, but the possibilities really are endless.

This is a great way to use up fresh fruit that you don’t want to spoil. Strawberry season is in full swing in Louisiana and I am about to freeze me a whole summer’s worth of frozen strawberry goodness. I make several trays at a time and pop a few cubes into a glass of water here or some iced tea there. If you add some triple sec or tequila to the mix (but not so much that it won’t freeze) a cube or two added to a glass of wine equals instant sangria. You can store the frozen cubes in a ziploc bag if you’d like to free up your ice tray, and I’ve had no trouble keeping these in my freezer for several weeks at a time.

I’m working to give up coke and this really helps me satisfy my sweet tooth without the guilt. Nothing but simple fruity goodness.

P.S. I’m 85% sure my neighbors are starting to think I’m crazy hanging out on my porch taking pictures of flower pots and ice water.

Everyone Needs a Friend Who’s All Ears

This Easter weekend was a bit sad for our family. Our pet bunny, Harold, passed away on Friday. I’ve had him since college and both Nick and I will miss him terribly.

We had a little bunny funeral, complete with a (hopefully not too tacky) grave marker made from a garden stone and a sharpie.

A big thanks to the LSU Vet School, especially Dr. Heggam, whose knowledge and compassion made the heartwrenching experience bearable.

Godspeed, Haroldiño!

Aged Clay Flower Pot

First off, a big LWOTC welcome to new readers from Knock Off Decor! I was so excited to be featured and am thrilled to have y’all here! (for those of you wondering what I’m talking about, Knock Off Decor is an amazing blog featuring DIY projects that recreate upscale design on the cheap, right up my alley!. Click here to see Knock Off Decor’s feature on my DIY zebra rug, here to see my post about searching for inspiration, and here to see the rug I created with a canvas dropcloth).

I’ve been working on a little container garden for my front porch. I love the look of aged clay pots. I also prefer white pots to the orangey terra-cotta ones. Orange is not really my favorite color and I feel like it distracts from the plants a bit. Despite my distaste for orange, I’ve had this little terra-cotta pot for a few years now. It’s got some chips and dings but the color is, unfortunately, staying strong. I decided to speed things up a bit.

I wiped it down and let it dry out, then wiped on some white-ish paint (Quail Egg by Valspar) that I had on hand.

Then I wiped on a thin coat of some taupe mistint paint that I picked up for a $1 a few projects back.

I gave it a light sanding all over, then three more coats of white paint, sanding between coats. Taking the care to sand between coats is rather unlike me, but I really didn’t want it to look like it had obviously been painted.

After the final coat had dried, I gave it a pretty aggressive sanding and used the side of a paint stir stick to scratch it up.

Then I rolled it around in some compost until it looked nice and dirty.

 My only regret is using semi-gloss instead of flat paint. I think even the subtle sheen is too much. I’m happy with the result, but I think I’ll keep experimenting with techniques to age the cheap-o clay pots from the nursery. I’m thinking some sort of wash may do the trick. Have any of y’all discovered a cheap, easy, and effective method for making new-ish pots look old? Or found an inexpensive source for old pots?

P.S. check out my previous post about this container garden here, and the rest of our porch and front yard here.

Favorite Nook

This little landing at the top of our stairs was unused space and kind of blah before we thought to put a little table in the corner. Now it’s a nice pop of color when you look up from the dining room.

In the house tour, you can see that we had a round table with a colorful tablecloth here before, but after Pistachio (our kitten with a mustachio) knocked it down the stairs TWICE, destroying a beautiful hurricane vase on the second occassion, we switched it out for something a little heftier. Above it we hung a framed photo of Nick and I at my friend Cassie’s wedding, as well as pictures of each of us when we were little.

I placed a potted herb (chamomile) and an old book I found at Goodwill on top. I love how the tabletop is worn and cracked. I bought this nightstand as part of a bedroom set from craigslist, then painted it the same color as the dining room dresser and distressed it just a tiny little bit.

It’s right next to our teeny tiny master bathroom, so the wire basket (originally purchased at Hobby Lobby for our wedding) that I placed underneath is a great place to store extra hand towels and washcloths. I added some white candles in a mason jar just for fun. And you can see here that I never got around to painting the underside of the drawer. My bad, little nightstand! Sorry to leave you exposed on the internet like this!

Filling in and personalizing little areas like this has really helped our house start to feel like home.

Now I just need curtains on those windows!!!

Inspiration Hunting: The Great Outdoors

With the arrival of warm weather I’ve been spending more and more time outside and dreaming of ways to beautify our outdoor spaces. All photos from (which I totally lurve). Click on the pics to see them in their natural habitat.

Jean Allsopp Photography eclectic porch
eclectic porch design by birmingham photographer Jean Allsopp Photography

Marielle eclectic patio
eclectic patio design

Romantic Tarrytown Terrace eclectic landscape
eclectic landscape design by new york Westover Landscape Design, Inc.

Decatur Bungalow Remodel traditional porch
traditional porch design by atlanta architect Soorikian Architecture

Quaint Hyde Park Exterior traditional exterior
traditional exterior design by austin architect CG&S Design-Build

Bonk - kitchen and addition traditional exterior
traditional exterior design by dc metro architect David Vogt

Cole Residence traditional exterior
traditional exterior design by charleston architect Frederick + Frederick Architects

traditional patio design by atlanta architect Castro Design Studio

Cape Cod Outside Spaces traditional landscape
traditional landscape design by boston interior designer Michelle Jacoby, Changing Spaces

Hollywood Residence - 01 tropical landscape
tropical landscape design by miami landscape architect orlando comas

Duggan residence traditional landscape
traditional landscape design

Garden eclectic landscape
eclectic landscape design by los angeles media and blogs Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

Projects traditional landscape
traditional landscape design by kansas city RDM Architecture

Frenchflair traditional landscape
traditional landscape design

A GARDEN THAT TELLS A STORY traditional porch
traditional porch design by vancouver landscape architect THOMAS KYLE: Landscape Architecture

Hope Designs traditional porch
traditional porch design by toronto home staging Lori Howard

Debra Campbell Design traditional porch
traditional porch design by other metros interior designer Debra Campbell Design

Acadian Home traditional porch
traditional porch design by atlanta architect Soorikian Architecture

Covered Porch traditional porch
traditional porch design by atlanta architect Soorikian Architecture

Acadian Home Dining Porch traditional porch
traditional porch design by atlanta architect Soorikian Architecture

Garden contemporary porch
contemporary porch design by seattle landscape architect ModernBackyard

spaces design

Houses modern landscape
modern landscape design by san francisco landscape architect Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

div>Exteriorscapes traditional landscape

traditional landscape design by seattle landscape architect Exteriorscapes llc

Banyon Tree Design Portfolio contemporary landscape
contemporary landscape design by seattle landscape architect Lisa Port, APLD

AMS Landscape Design Studios mediterranean landscape
mediterranean landscape design by los angeles landscape architect AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc.